31 October 2011

The F-word... Yea or Nay?

I don't ever swear in front of my kids.

Hardly ever.


But I have been accused of a foul mouth in other areas of my life. Honestly though, it's how I was raised. In fact, nowadays I have to keep on my folks to not swear around my kids.

I recently read a blog in which the writer was decrying the dropping of f-bombs in a movie detailing intense physical exertion, camaraderie, sleep-deprivation... In the 2-hour movie, the word was used something like 6 times.

The comments left by readers were mostly of the "oh, I hate the f-word" ilk. Except mine.

I find that Sick. Physical. Effort. strips away my already-porous filter. And I have heard training partners, teammates, other athletes fall into that same camp.

I ran this yesterday...

I'll tell you more about that amazing, mutherbleepin', hilly-ass run tomorrow, but right now I am talking about the f-word.

While I just exercised some self-censorship in the blog, you can bet I dropped a few f-bombs out on that trail... in the 80ºF blazing sunshine, most notably at 0.75 miles, 2.5 miles, 4.5 miles, repeatedly from 6 to 6.6 miles, and again when I hit 12 miles and realized I still had at least a mile to go. There might have been a few additional moments of f-ness and maybe a few other choice words tossed in, but honestly, I was pushing my limits... and when I push my limits, it is that edge I am leaning over that becomes my focus... not my choice of language.

I challenge you to run this route and not drop an f-bomb...aloud or in your own head.

I could say something judgmental like "People who do not ever drop an f-bomb in a super intense workout are simply not pushing themselves hard enough." Or "People who never drop an f-bomb ever are repressed, uptight, dispassionate beings." But instead, I understand that they are working with a different vocabulary than I.

The f-word is not offensive to me in certain situations... well, in most situations. But I don't want it used around my kids.

How do you feel about the f-word? Do you ever use it? When?

Do you think less of me now that you know I do use it sometimes?

This post is linking up with Lovelinks #29! Come check out the great blogs participating :)

Hairy Dinos and their Fossilized Poop: Visiting the Lawrence Hall of Science

An eleven-day school vacation in the end of October is never easy... for the parents. Are we done yet?

I'm hanging in there!

Two more days. 

I feel like my brain is mush. The difficulty lies primarily in stringing together two coherent thoughts in a single sitting with four belligerent bossy active kids demanding my attention. We did luck out on the weather this past week, though, which saved my mommy-hide hugely. We got out of the house and did super fun stuff like visit the zoo, throw a football around, explore the Wild West, and take on the...

We pulled up to this place and were greeted by the sight of 7... yes, SEVEN... school buses. I instantly thought of the movie Madagascar, because almost everything that happens to me triggers some quote-index directly linked to kids' movies. Friday. Field-trip Day. Total mob-scene. 

Once the hundreds of field-trippers went inside, we had the outside attractions all to ourselves...more or less.

I know you're wondering...

After climbing around on the double-helix for a long time, 
they decided to play Whale Rider...

...and Whale Walker...

We rode the whale and climbed the DNA for a good 30 minutes or so, and then we braved entry. The changing exhibit this season is a dinosaur extravaganza. We were greeted by a life-sized Triceratops and her baby...

And there was a mini dino-dig where kids could practice their paleontological skills...

I cannot remember what sort of dino bones these were supposed to be. 
The matrix is not sand or gravel but a sort of chipped rubber... 
probably a lot easier to clean up and doesn't get in eyes or hair when thrown.

And who can guess what this is?
If you guessed...
then you're right!

Even juvenile T-Rexes were scary...

...but unlike their adult counterparts, they were also most likey hairy!

We seemed to be about an exhibit or two behind the field-trippers, which worked out well. I did get to watch some of the stragglers misbehave, as stragglers stereotypically are wont to do, and it took a lot of self-control to not do what the chaperones were supposed to be doing. But I held back.

We saw allllllll the dino stuff and then headed outside. 

This is my kids' favorite part of this place... because it involves water. It is a demonstration watershed management display. The kids use the white plastic rectangles to dam up parts of the waterflow. They can see how to divert water, how to increase flow through certain channels, what happens you make a dam... and get wet.

Another water-related first... no one went in this time. 

And probably because it is located a stone's throw a major fault, 
there are some really cool earthquake demonstrations
this was the only one that was visible because it wasn't teeming with kids

Back inside, Baby X loved this 'impressions' board...

And this is the thing I thought was the coolest...
You aim the open end of the drum, whack it with that big mallet, and the soundwaves strike those pieces of hanging fabric. They ripple and flutter. If you get the waves aimed just right, they pop a huge ripply circle in the floating banner. The visual is pretty spectacular.

We were there for about 2 hours. The older three kids had a blast. We had ditched Miss C at preschool for the day so even I got to have fun. (She is a fun kid, but I need to be constantly vigilant and deal with her flipping out tantrums when things do not go her way... she is two, after all). But it did feel good to get home, eat lunch and lay on the sofa. I needed to rest up for Sunday... and Preparing for the Rapture III!

It's coming ;-)

29 October 2011

The Wild West, Whistling Footballs, and ... a WINNER :)

What day is it? I forget. They all blur together when my kids are on school break, which they are as I mentioned on Monday.

That was the day they made the fort under the dining table. At that point, I had no idea what we would be doing to keep them from killing each other avoid ripping my hair out amuse ourselves. Luckily, the weather has been very cooperative this week. On Tuesday we went on our exciting zoo outing. We saw all sorts of interesting things like motionless alligators, motionless wallaroos (bigger than a wallaby, smaller than a kangaroo), monkeys involved in giggle-inducing grooming behaviors, fighting bats, and entertaining otters. And we went on rides. Looking at the picture below, you might wonder who it was all for...

"Smile, kid... we're having fun!"

How do you follow up an awesome 5-hour trip to the zoo? With 45 minutes at the funnest playground around, of course! Why only 45 minutes? you might ask. Because it is right near Big G's Wednesday piano lesson place, and that was all the time we had.

Welcome to 
The Wild West

This playground and all these cool Wild West things have been here since I was a little kid. It was my favorite playground... and that was a long time ago. They've given things a facelift and a paint job or two, and some things have been rearranged, but it's still an amazing place for kids.

"Break me outta here, sistah!"

"Yay! We're freeeeeeee!"

Ride 'em, cowgirls... the fastest pink getaway pony ever!

Sweet pic of my gals... Miss C is a might tuckered out.

A 45-minute Fun Blitz. The rest of the day was totally bogus. For me, anyway. The kids got to go out for burritos with dad while I went to my massage appointment that didn't happen due to transportation issues for the masseuse. Such a total bummer. Might be part of why my Thursday run sucked so badly :(

"Playground" was the order of the day on Thursday, too. It was just me and my boys. We rode bikes (against their silly will) to the very, very nearby park. What complainers. Where do they get this from? Neither my husband nor I are like this... really. They are getting good modeling for active, 'tough-it-out' lifestyles. Of course once we got there they had an excellent time. 

Throwing the whistling ball...

And playing some inexplicable 'king' game in which Big G was the king and Q-man was the peon...which clearly didn't sit well with him.
Fortunately, it evolved quickly into some bird-watching thing... 
we were right on the water and the diving pelicans were a huge hit :)

I'll have to share what awesomeness we did on Friday tomorrow... after I attempt a really hard run that is making me nervous already. Hills, hills, and more hills. Keeping my eye on the miles and not on the pace :)

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend and that all the racers have great races!

Oh... and the big announcement!!!!

The winner of the Great Moving Comfort Giveaway is...

Marisa @ The Pace of My Life !!!! (email me for specifics regarding your prize!)

Her "i tweeted" comment corresponded to the random number generated by random.org.

Many thanks to all of you who entered...your enthusiasm was just awesome! I hope you new followers do stick around... it is wonderful to see your comments and visit your blogs :)

28 October 2011

Vecchio Venerdì... young and happy at the beach!

Before I had kids, back when I was young... like, 35... I took a whole lot of classes at a local community college. I already had a degree and a half, but I love school. And I had a huge pile of student loans and a crappy job...which meant paying those bad boys off was a real challenge. I found out that by being a full-time student, I could defer my loan payments...until I stopped being a full-time student. Enroll me, please!

I took things that were fun and interesting to me. French, Italian, Spanish, German, Drama, and Photography... all in the same semester. It was such a blast. I was even in the school play. Really.

But this post isn't about the play or the languages. This post showcases my photographic skills... such as they were. This was pre-digital...darkroom work required.

The assignment: a set of self-portraits...

  1. what the world sees, 
  2. what you see, and 
  3. I forget.
Today, I am sharing with you... which one? Let's make it fun... you guess :)

I set up a tripod on the beach. This really is a self-portrait. Cool, right?
The weird thing at the base of the rock is Nereocystis.

I promise to show the other one where I am actually in the freezing cold water in late October of 1998. But you'll have to wait until next Friday.

As far as my workouts... yesterday's run sucked wad. Leaden legs, hip injected with sulfuric acid, husband ran with me for the last 2 loops... we have 'issues' when we workout together :P And tonight's bike ride was just there. Nothing different from the other night except no video. I am hoping that this weekend's hilly extravaganza run is incredible and that my body is just knowingly saving itself ;-)

Tomorrow I will announce the winner of the Moving Comfort Giveaway! and I will show you some awesome stuff I did and saw with my kids over the past couple of days. Yeah, I'm a tease. 

Happy weekend!

27 October 2011

Nobody Puts Emu in the Corner

Now I've had the time of my life...
and I owe it all to you...

I really appreciate the tremendous response on my Garmin bitch-session, I got some great advice about an elusive 'average pace' setting (thanks, Jeff, Tricia, RoadWarrior and Lauren). And was shamed into reading my manual (thanks, Patrick). And was reminded about traveltime to and from outer space (thanks, Jill). I used my Ivy League degrees and your pointers and figured it out. Go, me.

This newly-discovered setting made my speedwork Tuesday so much more enjoyable! (skip ahead if that's all you're interested in) Especially since I did it after walking around the zoo all day long. I spent a split-second getting twisted about the prospect of tired legs, but a quick slap reminded me that these guys are my priority right now...

So I shelved my stress, and we had a blast.

Our closest zoo has rides. I never force my kids to see the animals as a condition of getting to go on the rides...I hear a lot of other parents loudly stating this requirement upon arriving at the gates. For me, whatever the kids want at the zoo is what we do. So it was rides first...most importantly the Outback Express train. Miss C had been seriously screeching for hours about seeing these guys..

Wallaroos...bigger than a wallaby, smaller than a kangaroo.
None of them were moving. 
It is debatable whether or not they were lawn ornaments or living creatures.

Big G and I appreciated how the zoo tried to authenticate the Australian Outback experience...

And I never knew how awesomely an emu's camouflage is suited to the California chaparral landscape...
That hairy-ish, haystack-y grey-brown thing is the emu.
I know... you can't hardly see him even when you click to biggify...
see? camouflage in action :)

Big G insisted I take this exciting picture of a motionless alligator...

But I was more interested in cute things like this...

I swear this is the first-ever zoo visit where one of my kids did not fall in on the Lily Pad Crossing.
For real. A miracle.

And action shots like these fighting bats...
One on the left was just a bully. 
Dude on the right was just hangin' out... and other dude just started going nuts on him... 
all males at this zoo (it's right there in front of you, in case you hadn't noticed)...

And these grooming apes...
I started giggling so hard.
This one ape totally looked like he was sunning his balls. And he was. 
Then the other one started grooming him... picking crap out of his groin area...
that is what you see here :)...clicking will enlarge.

But the highlight of the day had nothing to do with male mammal genitalia. The highlight was feeding time at the otter enclosure!
Check out this movie for all the action and squeals of delight!
I love otters!

At the end of the day, when everyone else was finally in bed, it was time to get my speed on. And I did. Total distance was about 5 miles. After a mile and a half warm-up, it went like this...

2 x 0.25 mi with 0.25 mi rest between.... 1st one @ 7:36 pace, 2nd one @ 7:27 pace
2 x 0.6   mi with 0.25 mi rest between.... 1st one @ 7:39 pace, 2nd one @ 7:33 pace

And I followed that with a mile and a quarter cool-down. The workout didn't destroy me. Don't get me wrong...it was hard! The idea was to hit 5K pace... and this was faster than that for sure.

I must say this increased the level of my awe for some of my Nuun teammates. I already knew them to be fast, stellar athletes, but Dorothy (incredible mom of 3 who pushes a triple stroller while running a 6:05 mile), Emily (super sweaty Ironman), Susan (nurse on the run) and the aforementioned Lauren (relay-running goddess) hold this pace for 26.2 miles! While elite/world-class athletes are waayyyyyy faster, I find myself more impressed, more 'wowed' by what I'll call "ordinary" people who are capable of extraordinary things. And running a seven and a half minute mile for an entire marathon is definitely extraordinary in my book! 

Here's wishing those ladies the very best in the upcoming weeks! A few of them are running the  Marine Corps Marathon or the  NYC Marathon ... and Emily is still being a sweaty animal while rehabbing a freshly-broken foot :( sad face for the broken foot part. Go, ladies! You are amazing and inspiring :)

My Moving Comfort Giveaway ends tomorrow (Friday 10/28) at midnight. Be sure to enter here!

And I've noticed that I am startlingly close to 500 followers. There will definitely be some kind of super weird cool giveaway once that happens! Encourage your irreverent friends to check out Taking It On and follow if they know what's good for them ;-)


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