31 December 2013

How to define 2013?

The year can be boiled down to three pictures and three words...

yes, this is my x-ray...which I saw for the first time today

yes, this is my husband...who'd kill me if he knew I posted this

yes, these are my kids...who inspire me every single day

2013 was the hardest year of my life...but it finished up well, creating a nice segue into the New Year. I'm ready for 2014. 

May it grace us all with an abundance of joy and good health.


Jingle Bell Hell 2013 Recap

It's hard to begin.

I didn't run this year. I sat in the back of my car and passed out donuts. I handled the state-of-the-art video for the finish line and monitored the new chip-timing.

It was fun, but I have to admit it was kind of sad to not get to run.

It was a glorious morning...

On the cold side, but not as frigid as last year.

I arrived early like a good race director should...armed with donuts and prizes and the trophy...

I had a hunch there would be very few runners so I offered donuts to hikers. Again, some looked at the smiling, donut-offering weirdo with suspicion while others gleefully accepted. Lesson for all of you: gleeful is way better than suspicious...it's a much more enjoyable way to go through life.

Jen showed up first...rarin' to go. Since RoseRunner had failed to respond to my wake-up text, we assumed she would be a no-show and Jen went on her merry way.

Forty-five minutes later, RoseRunner and her husband whipped into the parking lot and sauntered over to the start line, thinking that this year's chip-timing would be working in their favor. It wasn't. Lesson for all of you: prompt arrival at that start of a race can be the difference between #winning and losing.

Here comes Jen, sprinting to the chips!

but you may never get to see it :(

And with a good STOMP!

#JBH2013 was over and the victor was ... ummm... donut-ed.

I always like to use super flattering photos of my friends.

And scenic backdrops.

Many thanks to the three runners who showed and many thanks to the several virtual participants!

I aim to put together a round-up of the virtual recaps, so please email or tweet me your link AGAIN...I just moved and things have been pretty chaotic and I don't want to miss anyone!


Thus, Jen joins the winners who came before her...
inscribed in ballpoint pen on masking tape...

14 December 2013

What could be more fun than moving?

Moving during the holidays!

While trying to resuscitate a dying blog and host a virtual-and-IRL holiday race.

And coping with a crabby, stiff, painful arthritic hip.

I could go on but I'll spare you.

This is just a reminder that Jingle Bell Hell 2013 Week started today. Yay!!! If you missed the original post it's HERE.

I really hope some people come to the IRL version next Saturday. Yes, of COURSE there will be donuts. If people actually promised to show up, I'd get a box of Peet's coffee but y'all are a flaky bunch ;-) I won't be running this year but am hoping to get PT-clearance to ride my bike along the course to make sure no one CHEATS this year. Last year there was some discussion about length of course and who won and if everyone ran the same distance (they didn't) and if that was legit (it was).

So this is a rambling, nonsensical post by a frazzled, moving, achy momma who still hasn't gotten a tree or presents for her kids...or husband...letting you know #JBH2013 is ON and to share two priceless bits of YouTube garbage that made my older kids laugh so hard they cried...

Because laughter is what makes the world go round...right?

Happy Weekend to everyone! May your running feel effortless and your spleen do it's thing and your yoga ball stay where it's supposed to ;-)

Lots o' love...


22 November 2013

JINGLE BELL HELL 2013 is a-comin'!!!!

Many many thanks to Run with Jess for giving me a swift kick in the butt on this...
She is the MOST AWESOME Race Ambassador EVER!!!!
I've become such an absentee blogger of late (try the whole last YEAR) 
so I'm wondering how many people will see this! 
I hope you all will share it with EVERYone you know or don't know because...

The more the merrier!!!

You may or may not remember that I've been race director for an awesome holiday race for the last two years. (That takes you to the first running...click here to see the most recent recap). Remember how no one attended the 2011 event knowingly and the winner of the real life race was a random guy who had no idea he was a part of the resurrection of Jingle Bell Hell. 

Runner Chris...random guy who won last year's race!

And then last year, the indomitable RoseRunner was crushed by SFRoadWarrior in a surprise upset. Of course she did have a 2-mile handicap! I was able to lure flesh-and-blood, intentional participants with DONUTS!!! There will be donuts again this year.

And there were all of the virtual participants who never received their prizes and probably hate me now :( If y'all knew what my last year has been like, y'all'd forgive me in a heartbeat...I promise. Note: lack of blogging was due to IRL insane turmoil and putting-back-together-of-life-pieces.


We're giving it another go! It's time to sign up for this fabulous event!

Below is information on the race...past and present...a little history...some details...hope to see you there, either in the flesh or in spirit!

The 6th running of 
Jingle Bell Hell
1/3-marathon and fun run 
Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Inspiration Point, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California
Rain or Shine

or wherever in the world you might be :)

The starting point of the real-life event is Inspiration Point in Berkeley, California and the course map is...

and the elevation profile is...

as determined by my Garmin.

The History

My best friends from high school used to put on a race in December. It was small in terms of the number of participants but huge in terms of fun and adventure. Initially, it was a half-marathon, but they found that very few of their friends were at all interested in or capable of running that far. Additionally, the course involved some running on a twisty, narrow road with minimal shoulder that did see its fair share of traffic...especially on weekends. So they abbreviated it to a 1/3-marathon (more or less...a bit over 8 miles) and were able to run it entirely on a paved, car-less road.

My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I ran in their 3rd Annual Jingle Bell Hell in December of 1995 (see picture above...I am front and center with the socks on my hands, he is in the back in the light shirt). It was freezing by Bay Area standards...but not wet. Not everyone went all the way out to the turnaround...and that was just fine.

I won the trophy that year... the "Actually Trained for This Race" Award...

Each year, the winner gets to have their picture taken with this perpetual trophy and have their name added to the illustrious list on the bottom... ballpoint pen inscribed on masking tape, 'cuz we're classy like that. And there will be some prizes that can be taken home as well :)


I am really hoping to see some local runners in attendance! It's not far from San Francisco, San Jose or even Santa Cruz... looking west or south. Concord is super close to the east, and Sacramento is just 90 minutes away to the north. It's a great follow-up to the early December races, like CIM and Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas

If you're coming in from out of town and need a super cheap place to crash...with an SF Bay view, in a solid structure, and don't mind driving about five miles...

The Albany Bulb Waterfront has some very artistic structures that may or may not be inhabited by squatters.

If you want to do virtual version of Jingle Bell Hell, here are the parameters...
  • Must be at least 5K in total length...no maximum.
  • Must be done on a challenging course (and if you hate treadmills, that means it could be on a treadmill) because the idea is "Hell" ... that is the important part.
  • Must be done between Dec. 14-22, 2013... any time of day or night. This gives you two entire weekends to choose from.
  • You must laugh at least once... can be an evil laugh, a laugh of futility, any kind of laugh but laughter is a MUST.
  • Email me a link to your Jingle Bell Hell recap so I can post it and we may all share in the fun... please include something about when, where, why regarding the laughing part and what made the run your special brand of Hell :)
Participants in the virtual race will be entered in a prize drawing. Things like fueling products, Nuun hydration products, winter running gear, running safety items, some random stuff... I want to try to have something for everyone... depending on how many or how few participate. Going with that whole "Everyone's a Winner" thing :) Don't want anyone's self-esteem damaged by a silly sporting event.

And I WILL send out the prizes this year!!!! FOR REAL!

Leave a comment if you want to participate!

13 September 2013

The Moving Fiasco

We are renters. I've blogged about that. With renting comes the possibility that you could find yourself in a house that's for sale and you aren't buying it...which means you need to move. That's the place we currently find ourselves. No biggie. Go on Craig'sList and find a new place, right? Unfortunately, it isn't always that easy. Combine our family size (which, yes, we CHOSE) with the tight and expensive rental market in the Bay Area (and yes, we choose to live here) and you find affordable pickings rather slim.

We found a place back in early July. We were stoked. It was in our neighborhood and a nicer house than the one we currently live in though almost identical. It had a little more square footage and NO PINK CARPET. After some negotiation, we agreed on a tenancy start date of mid-August. We gave notice on our current place and go about the prep for moving in, offer to take care of some stuff at the new place to ease the stress of the owners, get their approval and appreciation...looking like a dream landlord/tenant match. Then one day...

For nearly a month, the house had been vacant except for our casual comings and goings to plan what would go where, the painter taking care of some stuff, a flooring guy repairing a problem, cleaners cleaning. Once all this was done, my husband started loading a few things into the place assisted by X.

X: Daddy, what is THIS????? (she points to her feet and lower legs)

Daddy (looking closely): Ummmmm... (examining his own feet and lower legs now, too)

X: How is dirt moving?

Daddy (looking skyward with a very pained expression, heaving a huge exhale): It isn't dirt. It's fleas.

The place was infested.

Some people are completely nonplussed by fleas, but neither of us were interested in taking on the beastly task of eradicating them or holding the population at bay or ANYTHING to do with living amongst fleas.

We did a lot of research on fleas and how to eliminate them from a house. We learned so much...life cycles, resistances, etc. What we determined is that the previous tenants had a cat (we saw the cat). The cat had fleas. When they moved out, they flea-bombed and vacuumed and shampooed the carpet. This got rid of the adult fleas, but the eggs hatched and the larvae pupated and the pupae were taking their sweet little 4 weeks to mature. They then felt the vibrations and heat of potential hosts when we started moving around in there. This triggered their emergence as adults, wherein we discovered them. Yay.

Getting rid of the adults isn't that difficult. There are ways to render the eggs no longer viable that aren't too invasive or time-consuming. But the pupae. Their little cases are like concrete. Eliminating these is next to impossible. You pretty much have to wait their 4-6 week maturation and then provide them with a host or they'll just hang out in a dormant, suspended state waiting for just that. Ugh.

And so began the communications that ultimately led to our legally terminating the lease, getting all of our money back and not moving in there. It wasn't fun, but we're counting our lucky stars that it went fairly easily.


We had given notice on our current place. We have negotiated an additional 2 weeks. What that means is: We now have one month from Sunday to find a place and move into it and completely vacate our current home. Just a leeetle bit stressful. Yes, the home ownership conversation has been opened. I'm not sure if we could make that happen by October 15th...and still not sure if we want to take on those different sorts of headaches. I guess, wish me some luck!

Hope all of you are enjoying peace and sanctuary in your homes! And no pests!

04 September 2013


A lot has transpired since my last post way back in mid July...enough to overwhelm me to the point of saying let's leave it at that and start from here.

It was a super busy summer. Yes, we went to the zoo. Come on...it was vacation. Of course we went to the zoo! No elephant penis this time, but.... the alpha male baboon was extremely happy to be alive. The kids giggled but it wasn't particularly noteworthy. The baby baboon, on the other hand, was adorable.

Family-friendly photo.
My kids are still super amazing and beautiful. Yes, they FINALLY all started school this week. I now have a kid in high school, one in middle school, one in elementary school and one in preschool.

Lest you think I now have tons of time to live a life of leisurely manicures and pedicures (which I've never been inclined to get anyway) or fun shopping excursions to places other than the grocery store or daily yoga/pilates/whatever classes now that everyone is out of the house for the better part of the day, think again. We are in the midst of a moving fiasco. Most of you know that moving in and of itself is a pain in the ass, right? Okay, now throw the word "fiasco" in there. It super sucks. I'll explain more later. Maybe. If I remember.

Bottom line on family life: All's well. Yay.

Today I met with awesome singing injection doctor for the seventh time since February. There have been some ups and downs regarding my overall health and my hip, but things seem to return to a level place eventually. I've done precious little in the way of exercise, and that's still been okay with me. But...

After conferring with my physical therapist, my chiropractor, my massage therapist, my awesome singing injection doctor and MYSELF, it has been determined that it is not unrealistic to start a little running again at the end of the month and additionally not unrealistic to possibly run 5K on Thanksgiving (yay, Sonoma Turkey Trot...of course it won't be to defend my title...lol).

I'm hoping to post more frequently now that the kids are back in school, but that most likely won't really happen until the moving situation is sorted out.

Nonetheless, here I am :)

Hi!  *smiles and waves*

Hope you all are doing well and hope we can get reacquainted.

If you want to see some photos from our summer adventures, I've been posting on Instagram...xlmic.

13 July 2013

So many things...

Yep, it's been a long time again.

On Tuesday, my sixth injection is scheduled. So far, so good. Nothing earth-shattering, but I do feel positive changes. Even if I'm unable to comfortably run ever, I will NOT write this off as a waste. What that means is: I'm still not running. And what that means is: I will simply regale you with photos of my awesome children. Click out if you must :)

Here's what's been going on since we last spoke blogged...

X returned from her field trip to France 
(because the zoo wasn't enough for her class).
 Poor girl NEVER got her luggage. EVER.
It's still missing.
And her host family was pretty bunk...
lots of familial "issues," shall we say?
But she got the most amazing reception from
her adoring siblings at the airport!

Clockwise from top left: 
X moved up from fifth to sixth grade in a little ceremony, 
G was in a play (he's the lump on the floor...more on that in a minute),
G graduated from middle school 
(he's the really short one between the girls, also more to follow),
and Q was a little too laid back during his end-of-the-year musicale.

So yeah, G was in a play. I knew he was taking Drama for his elective. I had some chickenscratch on my hardcopy calendar about Drama Night one Monday in early June. No one ever talked about. No school emails about it. So...on the day of, I decided to call the school and find out if my chickenscratch was bullshit. It wasn't. 

I picked G up from school and asked about it. "Oh, yeah!" he said. "Do we have a French hat and a coat a farmer would wear?" 

WTF, amiright? Show's in two hours and he's asking about costuming. 

As luck would have it, I DID have a "French hat" and the perfect coat. He was so excited.

Evidently, several families also missed the nonexistent memo and there were numerous late arrivals. And then the show happened. In past shows, G has portrayed "characters" like a silent bush or a mute policeman who points once or twice. My husband opted to skip the show and take a "personal night," thinking this would again be the case. However... This time G was onstage a LOT. And he talked a LOT. I remarked on this after the show. He was super exasperated with me.

"Mom..." he said. " I was the lead."

So yeah, G is kind of shrimpy. I know this. But when the graduating eighth graders were all standing on the stage, I seriously thought he was sitting down! Then I realized that all the girls were sporting hooker shoes...seriously. And the outfits. Total hootchie-mama city. I think I'll be an active parent and engage in a conversation about appropriate attire when my girls graduate!

 For Father's Day, we went to a Japanese restaurant.
While the sushi was totally unappealing to the kids,
the chopsticks provided a lot of entertainment :)
 That noodle DID end up on the floor.

The kids started their summer swimming lessons,
and the same week it rained a lot and was freezing cold.
Awesome SF Bay Area summer :)
These June pictures were just too cute to not include.

I will sincerely miss our playground visits 
when C starts daily all-day preschool in September.

At what age do kids figure out appropriate restaurant behavior?
You think I'd know this, but I must have amnesia.

 Did anyone NOT see fireworks this summer?
Our city is going broke and the show was only 15 minutes...
but it was AMAZING!!!!

That's all!

27 May 2013

The most important thing you need to know about my absence is...

...it was my birthday somewhere in there.


Fifty is nifty.  (insert cheesy-yet-sincere smile)

Officially 50, taken just after midnight...
it was even scarier with the flash

Once again I've allowed 6 weeks to pass between postings...or has it been seven? Whatever. I've missed you. You've missed me. Now we're reunited, and it feels so good.

Tonight's not the night to share the ins and outs of my absence, just know that it's a challenge to write a semi-fitness blog when you aren't doing squat in the way of fitness activities and that I've been spending a ton of time with my family.

Back to my birthday...

My present to myself was to take my kids camping.

I've only been camping one time since I was eight years old. ONE TIME. My husband is an Eagle Scout, but he was not coming with us. I was undaunted. He had some valid concerns...

Him (super skeptically): Do you even know how to pitch a tent?
Me (incredibly upbeat):  Ummm....nope! But there are probably instructions, right?

*he hesitantly nodded, indicating that, yes, there probably were*

Him (super skeptically):  Do you even know how to build a fire?
Me (incredibly upbeat):  Wood...paper...matches...what's there to know?
Him (totally exasperated):  You can't just light some paper on fire and HOPE that the wood catches, too! You have to BUILD a fire!
Me (incredibly upbeat):  Yes! Yes!...the whole oxygen thing...right...gotcha!

*he rolled his eyes not imperceptibly, totally unconvinced I was capable*

Him (with great certainty):  You're bringing the stove, right?
Me (with equally great certainty...and incredibly upbeat): Nope!
Him (utterly incredulous):  What! Why not!
Me (incredibly upbeat):  Ehhh, I don't want to hassle with the fuel part and if it still works and how to work it since I've never used it...I figured we'll just eat cereal and sandwiches and maybe jam some hot dogs on sticks and roast them in the fire I'm going to "build."
Him (UTTERLY INCREDULOUS): You are KIDDING?!!!  You can't just stick hot dogs into an open flame and expect them to cook! Jeeeeezus! You need coals and embers...it takes skill and know-how...Jesus...
Me (incredibly upbeat...especially now that he had called upon Jesus to help me):  Ehhh, we'll figure it out...it'll be fun!

So yeah...I totally figured it all out. Did the tent thing. Did the fire thing. Totally rocked it. Didn't do the hot dogs the first night...instead picked up the worst pizza ever to contaminate our lovely planet on the way in. Did successfully toast marshmallows to perfection.

We were having a mini heat wave and Miss C insisted on wearing her new swimsuit all day...which included to camping.

Ballerina swimsuit + mismatched shoes = cutest camper ever.
These giant eucalyptus stumps were very cool. There were three of them on our campsite. We were the only campsite that had them. Sounds lucky, right? It wasn't. More on that later.

Sleeping in the tent was uneventful the first night. Thankfully.

We awoke the next day and decided to go for a hike. "Hike" is stretching the truth a little, though. The map showed a one mile loop around the camping area and called it "easy"...which was totally the truth.
The hike started off really well. Everyone was in high spirits!

We saw wild turkeys...which I must note for Jillsmo because I'm her Top Turkey-Sighting Blog.
No lie...about one half of a mile into the hike, the whining started. It was cool, though. I was all about it being fun...no pressure to complete...a DNF was totally fine. We found a place on the map where the trail appeared to come really close to the road about 100 yds from our campsite. We scrambled up the poison oak-infested hillside (the kids screamed about the poison oak the ENTIRE time) and emerged into a loving couple's morning tête-à-tête over their breakfast. Ooops.

Once back at our campsite, it was high noon and the awesome stumps proved to be the Ghosts of Shady Pasts. Yep. We had zero shade and temps were in the 80's. So being the resourceful life forms that we are, we dragged a blanket over to a shady spot in the middle of all the campsites and .... camped out there all day :)

Miss C brought an ungodly amount of tiny, lose-able toys in her little Dora backpack.

Her favorite part of the trip was the PBJ-on-hot-dog-bun sandwiches. Here she has one jammed on her finger.

We hung out in that shade all day...until we couldn't take it anymore...we needed ice cream.

Grossest ice cream ever...bubble gum. X started to cry. She had been so looking forward to yummy, cold ice cream and hers was disgusting. I was not a mean mom. I didn't make her eat it. I didn't tell her "well, suck it up, buttercup." Nope. I said "yeah! Looks totally gross! what kind do you want? Let's just get you something different." Easiest solution ever, right?

We did cook hot dogs in our second stellarly-built fire. And they were perfect. As was the fire. Again. I am like a pro camper...or a natural camper...or just really damn lucky...or something. Or it was my husband having called out to Jesus on my behalf.

Then the kids played cards and read Harry Potter number-I-have-no-idea with flashlights in the tent.

SO FUN!!!!!

...until it was so NOT. Time for bed, right? yeah, I thought so, too.

They slept well.
Last picture of me being 49...important to take that in the camping place bathroom.
It started to rain as we pulled the tent down and packed up our stuff. That just made it more exciting :) It was an easy 40-minute drive home. The campground is not the most wilderness-y...being just 30 minutes from downtown Oakland! The unpacking was pretty easy...probably felt that way because all the sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses are still in my car three weeks later! I should do something about that...

The next day was my actual birthday.

The sun came up.
My little girl and I went to the local rose garden where everything was in full bloom. She ran, of course. I didn't, of course.
We walked down magical paths.
We stopped to smell roses as big as her head.

She created the most wonderful photo opportunities.
All before 10 a.m.

I am truly blessed to have this life.

I am so grateful for everything (yes, everything) these fifty years have brought me.

Here's to the next fifty!

Sending my very best thoughts and wishes out to all of you :)

09 April 2013

Coming up on six weeks...

That's how long it's been since I've checked in over here.

I'm chagrined.

Two words that have taken on markedly less importance in my world of late would be "blogging" and "workout".

But it's time for both to return...not with a vengeance, though. With thought and care.

I know everyone who used to read Taking It On has probably been quite curious about my injection schedule and how my hip is doing, so that will be the first order of biz.


I had my second PRP injection on March 20th. It was amazing. No singing, sadly. But cute, nice doctor same as the first time. Nice, big needle again, too.

Unfortunately, that alcohol bottle is not the drinking kind.
Might've helped had it been.

Recovery seemed faster than the first time. While there is still some soreness and inflammation, that is deemed normal as the injection causes an inflammatory healing response. The truly remarkable thing is the ease and smoothness of movement, especially when not bearing weight. The range of motion and increased flexibility is arresting. And I have been cleared to start working on the elliptical...as long as it doesn't hurt. You bet your ass I'll be paying close attention and safe-guarding my investment and progress. The instant it hurts in that not good way, I am off the machine. Interestingly, I'm not feeling driven to jump back on. It's Spring Break over here...the kids are all home...I've got things to do and people to play with. I'll probably get back to things of a workout nature in a week or so. Injection #3 is slated for sometime before the end of the month...no set date yet.


None. Nada. Zip. And totally NOT stressed about it. I have so much on my plate right now. While working out might help decrease some of the stress, making it happen might increase it. I look at it as a wash and have let go. It'll all come back when it's time. For now, I'm focusing on feeling healthy and happy and spending a ton of time with my kids :)

Which brings us to...


My oldest just got accepted to an amazing local high school. I am so proud of him. Of course, it wasn't his first choice and so he's having a hard time getting excited about it. I do wish we could skip this phase, but we can't.

Photo taken two days after he received 
the first-choice school's wait list letter...hence the attitude.
Who'm I kidding? He'd have the attitude no matter what.

My big girl is just a joy. Doing great in school. Helpful wherever she is. Lots of harp playing and reading books. Lots of creating cool stuff like wallets made out of found materials and earrings made out of safety pins and writing books and drawing involved fashion pictures. She is really just the coolest of the cool.

I convinced her to go on the Ferris wheel at the local boardwalk.
We got stuck at the top...and I took this picture.

My little boy turned 8 since the last time I posted. Still non-stop, he had a bounce-house extravaganza for a party and a cake topped with General Grievous.

And my baby turned 4! She was super duper sick on her actual birthday but did get to share the bounce madness party with her big bro.

I've missed you all. Sounds corny, but it's true.

It's very likely that I'll be around a little more, but no guarantees.

Hope all o' y'all's worlds are treating you well :)


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