Thursday, June 29, 2006

Radioactive Reb

I think that If I go into a dark room I will glow a nice bright shade of green. And it's quite possible that I would set off alarms if I tried to enter a government facility. Maybe they are using my body as a vessel in which to transport spy technology...I'm sure that they can see me from satellites with ease. Maybe the doctor really isn't concerned about my hip injury at all. Maybe I don't really even have an injury, but I've been secretly brainwashed into thinking that I have an that they could get me in to the hospital to inject me with radioactive material..... hmmmm, I hadn't thought of this before. What was that??? I think I heard something outside my house just now....Probably CIA or FBI agents monitoring my movements or trying to find a way to pump me full of more space-age spy technology....
Really, I'm not paranoid OR a conspiracy freak. Really. I'm not. I swear. Why don't you believe me??? Anyway, I had x-rays and bone scans today, and in order to see the bones and their vitality better, they shot me full of radioactive goo. I'll get the results on Monday.

Do you know if Radioactive Goo has some anti-gravity properties? Weightlessness? Because when I went to my dietician today, I was 5lbs lighter than three weeks ago. And 7lbs lighter than I was for the Marathon five or six weeks ago. I really can't believe that all of this dieting is actually working, can I?? Nah, probably just the Radioactive Goo.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cross Training Begins

I reluctantly started cross training after my doctor appointment yesterday. Cycling on my stationary recumbent bike in the basement. It felt good on the hip, no real pain to speak of. Afterwards I was a bit sore, but not bad. I biked for a half hour, and went ten miles. This morning I woke up with hip pain as bad as if I'd run yesterday. I was discouraged but it hurt less throughout the day and this evening I tried again. As my doctor said, I don't want to lose any of my endurance while I can't run. Tonight I biked for 45 minutes and went 15.25 miles. Although I was sweating up a storm and my legs were pooped, I never felt tired. I mean I never was breathing really heavily and never had to fight to keep going like I do with running. Afterwards I didn't have that "I kick ass--I am woman, hear me roar" feeling that I do after challenging myself on a run. But my legs couldn't turn those pedals any faster and I was changing up the resistance throughout the workout. I miss running. And it's only been a week.
The only good thing about biking is that when I enter my miles/time into my workout log, it pops out "2:57 minute miles"...which is pretty fun to see. I can pretend that I suddenly got seven minutes a mile faster...and try and gloss over that I did it on a bike not my feet.
Tomorrow are the xrays and bone scan, with results coming at Monday's appointment.

Libby has this boyfriend. A hot little redhead with a big smile and fun laugh. Ethan. They refer to each other as 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend'. (yes, they are three years old) They tell one another that they love each other. Libby also loves "Mommy Ethan" as she calls his mother. She asks me several times a day if she can see them. Yesterday she carried around two bandaids everywhere we went (she has a thing for them) telling me that one was for Ethan and the other was for Mommy Ethan. She asked if she could go to Ethan's house yesterday, while she was home sick, and when I told her that Mommy Ethan was at work (we work together) and Ethan was at his sitter's house...she resorted to asking if she could go see Daddy Ethan. I'm telling you, she loves that family more than her own. Tonight as I was getting her pj's on for bed, she threw the back of her hand up to her forehead, fell backwards to the floor and sighed, "I'll never see Ethan again..." My little drama queen.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

When He Said "Stress Fracture" Did He Mean Mentally or Physically?

I went to the Sports Medicine Doctor this morning to get my hip checked out. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I was very worried that this doc would be like the one who told me I was ancient and dusty and should be as inactive as possible so as to not cause massive disintegration of my bones. Thankfully, he turned out to be a great guy. A runner. A marathoner, even. So he gets it. He gets the marathoner mentality, as he put it. He guessed (correctly) that I ran with this hip pain for quite a while before I was willing to take a few runs off. He also guessed that the pain must have gotten very bad for me to take those runs off and to come in to the office. Dr Marathon, as I'll call him here, said that I have to go in on Thursday to get X-Rays and a bone scan of my hip and pelvis. He is concerned that it is a stress fracture of my Femoral Neck. He also spoke of an MRI in my future but I can't recall if it was if I do have a stress fracture or if I don't.
Leading up to my appointment I was very freaked out that I'd be told I have a stress fracture and that I had to take the Summer off and that for the second year in a row I would not be running the Fox Cities Marathon. But when Dr Marathon told me that I might have one, I didn't start wailing and moaning and falling to my knees as I'd predicted. Because Dr Marathon said that if I have a stress fracture, we will work together to come up with a modified training plan that will get me to and through the marathon.
In the meantime, I have to lay off of the running and cross train instead. That means biking, since I don't swim, at it requires a swimming suit.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still freaking out.
But Dr Marathon had a way of gaining my trust and he told me that he'll get me to that marathon. So I am biking and resolving to do my most grandiose freaking out after the bone scan and/or MRI. I went for my first (indoor) bike today while my sick three year old (bad Strep Throat!) was sleeping. The hip didn't hurt while biking, and is only a little more sore afterwards. We'll see how my knees hold up.

Yes, my daughter has Strep Throat. and my other daughter is cutting two teeth this week. and my house is on the market. and there is an open house this weekend....again. and my husband is gone for two weeks straight, on business. and because of the tests and the Strep Throat I am missing a lot of work this week, which always makes me nervous. oh, and now I'm on another antibiotic which is one of the very last ones to which I'm not allergic, and if it doesn't work, I have to have sinus surgery. So, I'm thinking that I also have a stress fracture, mentally, stress.

And now my husband called to tell me that he's coming home for the four day weekend, then going out of state again for ten more days.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Reb's Weekly 38-Word Movie Review

This week's movie:

Baby Einstein's Baby Neptune
Thirty minutes of water images from puddles to bathtubs to oceans + Thirty minutes of good educational entertainment for my 9 month old = Thirty minutes of time to myself to clean and/or shower while single parenting. Must have!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Two More From the Wedding

I worked on these today, thought I'd post them.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Bride in Bowling Shoes and A Tooth From Amelia

Today I had the privilege of doing the photography for a friend's wedding. She is actually the daughter component of the mother/daughter/son daycare my girls attend. Norah is a laid back girl with a fun non-conventional spirit, as is her mother. I adore them. They are truly unique and special. So it was only fitting that Norah had a truly unique and special and fun and non-conventional wedding. She got married in a bowling alley. The local news caught wind of the story and filmed the entire thing.
It was fun and everyone had a great time. I will say that the ceremony part of my photography job, and all indoor photos (because if you get married in a bowling alley, you have to do some of the portraits on the lanes, right?) in the dim lighting had me quite stressed out. Add to this that my (as of yesterday) nine month old daughter was spitting up on every soul in the wedding party and half of the guests. Chris is out of town so he wasn't there to hold her and although I did wear Amelia in the carrier (my running friend sewed it for me) while doing some photos, I couldn't for much. She thought that my camera was a toy and had an uncanny knack for grabbing it right as I snapped the photo.
Now she's always a big spitter-upper, but she's cutting one of her top teeth. Today. And that always makes it worse. Also gives her the joys of diaper rash, fever, and crankiness. So between the stress of the lighting and bowling lane portraits, the fact that I was having an allergic reaction to my antibiotic, and my teething baby covering wedding party's black and white bowling shirts in strained-carrot colored spit up, I was a little worn out.
The weather held out and was perfectly bright but overcast, exactly as I'd hoped. So outdoor portraits went great and were much less stressful....exept that the groom had a peculiar habit of making faces and showing his nipples for the photos....
I will share a couple of my favorite photos.

It was heartbreaking to miss my weekly long run with Jo this morning. Between my hip and the lung infection there was just no way I could go. I see the Sports Medicine doc on Tuesday, and I'm hoping that it's inflamation and that he gives me a cortisone shot. Saw my Internal Medicine doc on Thursday, and she said that if this three week course of a strong anti-biotic does not "make me feel like a new woman" I have to get the sinus matter how bad the timing may be. (I've been finding excuses not to have the surgery since Amelia was born 9 months ago). See, the lung infection is secondary to the chronic sinusitis I've had for, like, a year or two...and it has a very bad effect on my asthma. My doctor knows me. She knows that running is very important to me. So she used the running card. She told me that if I want to keep running, I have to fix the sinuses so my asthma stops getting worse.
My last chance was this antibiotic. I was praying that this was the one that fixed me up and that I could go back in three weeks from now and tell that doctor that I feel like a whole new woman. But wouldn't you know it...I seem to be allergic to the medication. I have many antibiotic allergies, but we thought this one would be okay. It's not. I feel extremely dizzy, lightheaded, and everything seems to be swimming. I feel drunk, but not in a good way. I'm even slurring my speech on occasion. I had to stop the meds and will call my doc on Monday, feeling like a whole new woman, but like a whole new drunken woman, which I don't think was what she was looking for.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Too Hip To Be Square

After a strong but very painful run last night, I woke up this morning barely able to put weight on my left leg. My hip is out of control. It's been getting worse over the last month, and when I realized that there is no way I can keep running on it and deny that something is going on, I called my doctor. I asked for a referral to a sports medicine guy and told the nice nurse what doctor not to refer. In the past I have seen one Ortho doc for my knees and shoulder. I saw him for the first time as a young teenager. He's done surgery on me and helped me get back into playing shape for softball or whatever sport I was playing at the time. So when my knees both flared up badly after a 12 mile walk two years ago I went in. I wanted to walk the Green Bay Marathon (I had yet to take up running) a month later and needed to be fixed. He looked at my knees and said that I have j-tracking in both knees and serious cartilage issues (they sound like a meat grinder when I bend and straighten them), but that he would not do surgery. He told me that I should just wait until they are bone-on-bone and get them replaced. Here's the kicker:

He said, "Rebecca, you are in your thirties now and you're a mother. You should just become more of a couch potato. You are never going to be an athlete again"

Let me tell you, that did not sit well. I was shocked and angry and scared that it might be true. But I knew that I wasn't going to let it be true. I didn't walk that marathon, but I did start running a couple of months later (for the first time since my first knee surgeries in Jr High) and completed the Fox Cities Marathon a couple months after that. My knees don't give me much trouble anymore...a little soreness sometimes, but it seems that I strengthened the right muscles by running and now they work better.
My nurse was a little horrified by the story of what that doctor said and consulted with a doctor to find me the right sports doc. I hope he doesn't encourage me to take up arthritic hands couldn't handle it.

I go in on Monday, and I won't be running until then. I'm praying that it's just some bad inflamation and a cortisone shot will be all I need. With the next marathon in September I can't afford more than two weeks off from training.

I was just starting to feel better about my day when my three year old told me that I have whiskers like Daddy.

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's Official!! I'm a Superstar!!!

I've known it all along, but everyone seemed to doubt it....I'm a superstar.
Today I got an oversized postcard in the mail from the marathon. It has my photo from the marathon and it says it. Finally someone sees the truth and even sends the word out in a mass mailing. (You got one, too, right?....if not, I'm sure it will come tomorrow)

My hip has been preventing me from feeling my full superstardom lately, though. My friend Lars, a PT guy, says that it's bad tightness. My quad/hip flexor needs to be 'mobed'....I'm not sure what that is, but I can tell you that it hurts like mad. He did a little of it to me today, but said that I need to go for a full session with a massage therapist. Sure, sounds relaxing when I say I'm going to a massage but let me tell you...this is no cucumber-on-the-eyes, lavender-scented-air, new-age music-drifting-me-into-a-light-coma-of-relaxation type massage. This is more like the very-large-and-hairy-Helga-beating-me-up-shiat-su-type of massage. This hurts. So I left a voicemail with someone my friend/massage therapist recommended and left a voicemail. Hey, if it gets my hip working right again, I'll do about anything.

The Careers of My 3 Year Old and 8 Month Old

Chris is gone for two weeks on business, which gives me a lot of girl time with Libby and Amelia. We get to do a lot more talking and playing than we normally do, since Chris isn't here to share their time. Tonight I was watching them and trying to see their futures. What will they be when they 'grow up'? If their careers were based completely on what they are like and what they enjoy right now, at age 3 and 8 months, what would they be?
Amelia would be a rock star. Or a stunt double for action movies. Or a muppet. She's got the screeching wail, crazy hair, and smart-assed attitude of a rock star. She's fearless and thrill-seeking like a stunt double. And, well, the hair and silly expressions of a muppet.
Libby would be a photographer...her specialty, artistic portraits. Or a comedian. Or an interpretive dancer. She has an incredible talent for taking's amazing, she's always been able to pick up my big camera and frame up interesting shots of people. Some of her photos of the people in our life are my favorites. She is like me in that she'll do about anything for a laugh, no matter how silly it makes her look. And Libby's got moves. Always has. That girl can shake it and she's not afraid to emote.

Here is a photo that Libby took of Amelia and me tonight (check out the rock star hair). And one of Libby from this evening

Sunday, June 18, 2006

(Missing) Father's Day

It was a glum Fathers Day for me. Neither my father or my daughters' father was around. My dad passed away nearly two years ago. My husband left this morning for an extended business trip.
Libby and I made cookies for Chris yesterday and sent them along with him on his trip with a note hidden in the middle of the bowl. We had fun and Chris was happy to have baked goods to take along on his flight. He called me from his rental car on the way out of the airport in Washington and came accross the note while we spoke. I guess he likes the cookies.
Had an open house today and in the 1.5 hours we had six different parties through. And about an hour later the realtor called saying that one of the couples who attended wanted to come through again with their realtor. So we evacuated the house again and spied. They were there another half hour or so. I got an update from our agent a while later and turns out they really like it and are going to talk to their bank to see if they have to sell their house before buying ours..or if they need to write an offer with a contingency. And she said that the couple from Friday (my day from hell) also really liked it but are trying to decide if they can live with the lack of closet space. I am so ready to sell this house and not have to deal with showings and open houses and the stress they bring. Without Chris here to help, they're even worse.
My hip is really painful and I think I'm going to call my doctor and see about getting into a sports doc. I can't take time off of training, as the next marathon is only 12 weeks away or so. I'm hoping that it's something simple and that a cortisone shot could do the trick.

The Weekly 38 Word Movie Review

this week's movie:

Russel Crowe is sexy. Joaquin Phoenix is whiney and ugly. Blood, gore, and swords. Engaging story and amazing cinematography. Hot guy from Janet Jackson's video as Russel's sidekick. Liked it better the second time. Unfortunate magot appearance. Blech.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Sad, Sad Tale of a Sweltering Twelve Mile Adventure Run

Today our training plan said to run 12 miles, which would be just fine on any other day. Unfortunately the training plan doesn't take into account unbearable weather or pirates. That's right, there were pirates.
The plan was to start at about seven this morning to try and get done before the worst of the heat and humidity. It was very hot and humid from the start, and when we finished the thermometer said 88 degrees. I've always been sensitive to the heat, and my asthma tends to get worse the hotter it gets, so it was not a pleasant run for me.
We started out with me limping and moaning from my left hip pain. There was some discussion about feeling as though we were trying to breathe under water, with the high humidity. A bit of complaining of too little sleep added in for flavor, and a pinch of 'how far are we running?' for pizazz.
All was well once my hip eased up a bit and we started to wake up and stretch out. Ran out into the country outside of Jo's town, then along the lake for a bit. I was starting to get really hot and my seizures got pretty active. When we hit mile 6 I had to stop and lay down in the grass. I felt really sick from the heat and wasn't doing so well. Threw some water on my face (and tried to throw Jo's water on her but she blocked it with her ninja-like reflexes) and started back out. I went back and forth between feeling okay and feeling dizzy, too hot, and seeing dots and stars. Jo was hot (but as my husband would say, she always is hot...she's become my 'hot friend Jo' and I never stop hearing about it) but looking strong and doing well.
After last week's long run my husband (I believe in an attempt to sound like a hard-core runner and impress 'Hot Jo') asked us if we are going to add Fartleks to our training program this time around. Now, if you are not familiar, they are a type of speedwork. This came up about a mile into our run, and a serious conversation ensued. "What a terrible name for a training element"...."Fart-Lick"...... "What good can come of fart-licking while running?"..... and this evolved into a rather nasty discussion of "Shart-licks", which would at least add some electrolytes or minerals, or something that could help one's performance.
At about mile 7.5 we encountered our second major problem. A pirate ship. It was docked along the running trail in the marina. The skull and crossbones flag flew high on the mast. We looked around nervously for the pirates, as they tend to be dangerous scoundrels, savvy? A dark and ominous cloud hung low over the ship and and a strange odor wafted toward us. It consumed me. I coughed. And suddenly there was the source...the female pirate and her Chanel no5 were getting out of their Lexus, gathering mimosas for their morning sail. It was a tad disappointing. Pirates have changed since I last saw one. Granted, that was in a movie theater and his name was Johnny Depp. But he makes one sexy pirate with the hair and the makeup and the hat and the boots and the gold tooth and the puffy shirt....savvy?
We altered our route at mile 9 and decided not to run the tressle bridge over the lake, as it would be terribly hot out there with no shade to protect us. Again I was feeling quite ill, as though I was overheating, and had to sit down on a curb in the shade. Took a drink and stood up and Jo threatened to throw her water on me. I spread out my arms, closed my eyes and braced for the cold impact. And it didn't come. I opened my eyes and she was just looking at me with this expression that said, "are you seriously that strange?". I encouraged her and she said that as much as she would LOVE to, she just couldn't do it...she just "wasn't that type of person". Hmm, well la-di-da, Jo, I'm surprised that you've chosen to associate with someone of my type for all of these years. But then she did it. And the luke-warm splash that hit me was like heaven. As we decided, it was like the Nes-tea Plunge, except it was water (not tea) and I was standing up, not doing a back-flop.
We headed back towards her house and I did better again for a while. Then I started getting REALLY cold. I had goosebumps everywhere and was shivering. I thought this was a tad odd, since it was 88 degrees and I'd been running in the sun for about two hours...but we perservered. At mile 11.6 we decided that enough was enough and walked the last mile back to her house, where I layed spread-eagle in the cool grass of her front lawn and eventually entertained her neighbors with various toe-touching, hip-swiveling stretches, and Jo took of her running shirt to show me her 'hot' shoulders. Then we engaged in a rousing muscle-flexing competition and I headed home to an ice bath (to which I added a substantial amount of ice cubes this week, due to my very painful hip).

Friday, June 16, 2006

Did you ever have one of those days?

Well, I had about three of them since I went to bed last night.
I'll preface this with Libby's one little sentence that got the next rediculous 24 hours rolling.

"Mommy, I gave Chumley all of my raisins"

Did you know that raisins (and grapes) are toxic to dogs, just like chocolate?
No, neither did I. But they are really bad. They can cause renal failure.

Chumley started throwing up within two hours or so of the raisin feast. And he continued vomitting nearly constantly through the night (we were therefore up most of the night helping him and cleaning up after him.) Once his dinner and many of the now very plump and grape-like raisins were expelled, he continued to throw up liquid. In enormous amounts. We gated him off in our bathroom, as it has tile floor and would be more easily cleaned than our bedroom carpet for our Open House on Sunday. Each time I heard him throw up (and I obviously had missed a few times) I'd get up and go in by him. And each time there was stomach fluids covering the entire bathroom floor. Granted, it's a very small bathroom, but we are talking pipe-burst, toilet-overflowed flooding. Chumley was covered in vomit and soaking wet. He was miserable. We were miserable.

I got up and cleaned the bathroom again, then got ready for work. As soon as I got to work at eight I called the vet. This is when I was informed that raisins are toxic to dogs. And that I needed to get him in. We scheduled an appointment for 11:30. I would leave work to take him and we would beg the vet to let us pay next week, since we have approximately 25.00 to our name.

About an hour later the realtor called. She just got off the phone with an agent and her clients were 'very interested' in our house. They wanted to see it at 3:30. We generally need a day's notice for a private showing, as with two children, two big dogs, and the two of us, our house is not usually in 'showing' quality. Plus we have to figure out how to get the dogs out of the house for the showing while we are at work. Keep in mind Chumley was throwing up all last night and this morning. I decided to polish it up a bit as quickly as possible after Chumley's appointment and say 'yes' to the showing.

I rode my motorcycle home to get Chumley for his appointment and realized when I got to the door that my and car...were hanging on the hook inside the door. I could see them. So I call Chris and he says that he'll jump on his motorcycle and be home in 15 minutes to let me in. I call and move the vet appointment back 15 minutes.

Get in the house and Chumley is literally dripping wet with vomit. It's dripping off of his tail and chest and he's leaving paw prints on the floor.

At the vet I am told that Chumley could be very very sick and he'll need to stay overnight and possibly all weekend. He will need IV fluids, medication, and bloodtests. They agree to let us pay next week because they know us.

I get back home and call work saying that I can't come back in and am taking four hours of PTO. I didn't know what was up with Chumley and I had to clean the house and I was a wreck anyway. So I clean.

At three I get Holly, the Black Lab, into the car and we park accross the way in the church parking lot and spy. It's a youngish couple driving a gold colored Focus or Toyota. They are in the house for 25 minutes. That's a pretty long time for one of these things. And they left with papers in their hands.

The only good news of the day came while spying, when the vet called saying that Chumley's kidney test were okay, he's doing well on IV fluids and the meds have made him stop vomitting. I can bring him home tonight if I keep an eye on him and give him meds. Thank God. I was so scared and I love him so much...he's been my most constant companion for 8.5 years.

When the dogs and I get back home we walk up to the door and realize that the realtor has LOCKED ME OUT. We have one lock for which we've never had a key. The lock on the doorknob. So we put green electrical tape on it when we listed the house to make sure that the agents would not lock it from inside and inadvertently lock us out. Well, for whatever reason they seemed to think that the green tape was there for it's beauty and locked it anyway. For the second time of the day, I was locked out of my house. And this time Chris would not be able to come home and save me. There simply was no key. Now we were going to have to spend more money we didn't have on either a locksmith or on fixing the broken window we climbed through.

I tied the dogs up in the backyard and went to pick up our girls from the sitter. I rambled on through the story of my day so far and how I was locked out again...and she somehow knew how to jimmy a door lock. This woman knows everything. Seriously. As I was talking to her, Amelia spit up large amounts of orange food/formula all over my shirt.....twice. and got the sitter's floor.

Went back home and tried her technique on my door, and thank God it worked. I got in, got a swimsuit for Libby and snacks for Amelia and all I needed to give Chumley an outdoor bath. It's about 90 degrees today, so closed the door because the a/c is on. Washed Chumley, played with Libby and started to go in to get some food for Amelia. And realized that once I had broken into my house, I had never unlocked that lock after I'd jimmied it. So, for the third time today I was locked out of my house. Fortunately I managed to break in again and unlock the door.

Finished feeding Amelia and went in the house to put leftovers in the fridge and dropped the jar of baby food on the ceramic tile floor. It shattered everywhere. I now had glass and baby food all over the recently scrubbed back entry of my house and needed to get it all cleaned up before Libby came running in with her bare feet from playing in the water.

Oh, and I came down with a sinus infection yesterday afternoon and by this morning it was treating me to a very sore throat. Should be a nice addition to my 12 mile run tomorrow morning.

So, do you ever have one of those days?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The gnomes have outgrown their current tree stump and toadstools and need to relocate to more spacious quarters. They have become desperately cramped and with only one latrine to share they have lost all hope of privacy.
When they found a home with larger trees and stumps and toadstools (and even two indoor latrines) they encouraged the man and woman to put their home for sale. And the gnomes and the people cleaned and straightened....scrubbed and scoured.....and spent hours disposing of every dog hair and removing every spot of baby spit up. And yet nobody bought their home. The gnomes are tired. They are stressed. And with the man of the house leaving Sunday for two weeks on business they are concerned about the woman's sanity. They worry that two small children, two large dogs, full time employment, marathon training, and cleaning a house for showings will push her over the edge....and they love the woman. She has kept them safe and provided lovely flowers and toadstools. She has loved them and defended them against the man who doesn't like them and the child who wants to play with them. They see that the time has come for them to stand up and protect their woman. They must find a buyer for their house. They are pleading for your help, for they cannot do it alone. Someone, please, BUY THEIR HOUSE!!!!!!!

Even the children seem to have outgrown their wagon...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Good Run and a Wacky Child

I ran six miles tonight with my other running partner, Dave. Both of us are having nearly identical left hip issues, making us a particularly amusing sight. Had our hip problems at least been on opposite legs we could have tied the bad ones together and run a three legged six miler. And we probably would have been faster.
We had to alter our route a bit when we got stuck at the river with the bridge out. We thought that the big orange 'Bridge Out' sign a half mile back had just been to keep the crazy kids out of the flats. We tried to find a way to sneak over....but there was. no. bridge. Took a detour through a frightening paper mill property and were back on track and had an otherwise uneventful run.

Libby is an independent spirit and we love it. She likes to pick out her own outfits and accessories. This morning she chose her red tie-dyed skirt and Hooters t-shirt, accessorized with Dora band-aids. She added the my green hat this evening and requested that I take her picture.

Last night eating ice cream in the backyard...the sunlight hitting her was perfect

Posing in her fancy outfit

Having a crazy moment by the garden

Strange child for sale...price reduced

Chumley sneaking some ice cream last night during our little picnic in the backyard

Monday, June 12, 2006

Reb's 38 Word Movie Review

We don't have cable, so we end up renting movies nearly every weekend. Or occassionally going to the drive in with the kids. So I thought I'd do a weekly movie review. To make it interesting, I've picked a random number of words that will be in each review. That number is 38. No more. No less.

This week's movie:

This is my new favorite movie. It is quirky, hilarious, artsy, romantic, and has a message. AND FEATURES A GNOME (not a main character or anything...). Unique camera angles, and the subtitles didn't even bother me. Rent it!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

First Official Java-Adventure Training Run for the Fox Cities Marathon

It's official. We're in training again after only two weekends off. It really seems like longer than that, though. Our last "long run" was 26.2 miles, yet I was suddenly nervous about ten. Maybe it's something about starting over from the beginning. A new training season, a new marathon (though I've done this one before, in 2004), and the fears, expectations, insecurities, and challenges that come with it. Can we do it again? Will my body hold up through another 14 weeks of marathon training? Will my determination and drive? And what about our finish time for this one...can we set another PR? Will I get tired...burned out...sick of getting up early to run ridiculous distances before most people are out of bed? The excitement is there, too--a new season, a new race. I can legitimately call myself a runner again without feeling silly because I'm training for a marathon. I get to experience the sense of pride and accomplishment and strength when I finish longer and longer runs. And I get to hang out with my best friend every weekend for a few hours to talk about anything and everything...without husbands or children around. I have certainly been blessed with a supportive husband and an amazing best friend, which makes training (and life) much more easy and enjoyable.

On with today's run report.
Both girls were awake before Jo showed up and they love 'Auntie Jo'. Libby was absolutely brokenhearted when we said that she couldn't come along. Had the run been shorter today, we'd have taken her along in the running stroller and just switched off pushing her, but ten miles would be a bit much for all three of us.
We started out in the most painful direction possible from my house. It is a continuous uphill for about two miles....punctuated by a painful climb up what is known as Capital Mountain. Climbers and hikers come from far away places to climb this mountain and most leave having been defeated by the mountain. okay, so maybe it's just a minor hill in town, but have you ever tried to run uphill for two miles on an early Sunday morning? Trust me, it feels like a mountain. After reaching the summit we stopped for one of Jo's ten pee breaks, and we took off again....downhill....finally.
The downhill left us fully energized and ready for some serious latin dancing when we passed 'Fiesta Acres' condominiums. We sang and danced with the mariachi band in the driveway, stopped for a quick try at the pinata (I broke it, which is no surprise seeing that I'm a legendary former professional softball player and National Pinata Crushing Champion) and then were off again. The marraccas in Jo's fanny pack got a little annoying after a few blocks, and my sombrero did bounce around a bit. But it definitely kept the sun off of my face.
As we entered a business park we were distracted by the hot men working on the street or the sewer or the street sign or the landscaping or something...i'm not really sure what they were doing, actually. I wasn't really focussing on their work. Regardless, we were distracted. And nearly stepped on a decaying squished bunny. We were both pretty horrified and tried to be a bit more aware of our surroundings. This was becoming increasingly challenging for me as my seizures were getting a bit more 'eventful'. For those of you who don't know about my seizures, I have a mild form of Epilepsy. The seizures are in the temporal lobe of my brain and are generally more annoying than scary. Dizziness, vertigo type feelings, seeing stars and spots, etc. Over the last six months or so, however, they have worsened a bit and on some of our really long training runs (18-20 milers) I started having more serious issues...even involving some flopping, slurring, disorentation, and loss of control of extremities. Never fell down but was definitely more irritating than usual. With some med adjustment and careful regulation of my electrolytes during training, I got them back down to 'normal' most of the time. Anyway, I realized that I wasn't keeping up on my Gatorade intake and was having a bit more seizure activity than normal.
Our route took us past the cemetary where my girls are, so we stopped for a brief visit. Next we headed towards Jo's friend Raja's house, as she was planning on joining us for the last three miles. Now, Raja quit smoking yesterday, has a bulging disk in her back, and does not run. When we met up with her she said that her back was bothering her and she was just going to walk behind us. Okay. Walk behind us?? Hmm. So I guess people do notice that we are slow. But come on, we're not that slow. We explained that if she walked behind us, she'd only see us for a block or so. Raja decided to walk on her own and try running with us when she had cleared out her lungs and trained a bit.
On this next leg of the run we came across some very large tents set up on the univerity grounds. Lots and lots of water. Nice clean, cold, bottled water. I'm pretty sure that the event organizers noticed me drifting in that direction with a pathetic look of desperation on my face, because several of them jumped over chairs and sprinted towards us, talking into their radios and reaching into their blazer pockets...... Jo grabbed me and pulled me back onto the sidewalk and we continued on.
During a particularly hilly section along the river at about mile 8.5 we encountered another runner. A male runner. With long dark thick hair, no shirt, and an amazing smile. Not that I noticed. Jo just pointed it out, that's all. She turned around and started following him, but when a female runner appeared just a few steps behind with a mean green-eyed look on her face Jo backed off.
Finished strong in the Jo To Go parking lot, where Jennifer the coolest coffee shop girl ever served us up some iced lattes and conversation. They know us there. We've been the crazy running girls for a while now. Once, when it was a -40 degree windchill, we ran together on treadmills in a nearby healthclub....and we drove up for our coffee. They were seriously concerned. We love the Jo To Go ladies.
My left knee was giving me some pretty good pain for the last three miles or so, and post-run my left hip flexor thing got VERY sore...but I'm hoping that the hip thing is still just some irritation from the marathon and will work itself out soon. The 1.5 mile walk home was a nice cool down, and fairly uneventful. Took a long ice bath while eating pistachios when I got home and on with the day.
Next week the java run is in Jo's town and 12 miles. There is always much mayhem and danger in Jo's be ready for a good report.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Flag Day Parade and Random Photos

The Flag Day parade in our city is the biggest in the nation, and is around 2 hours long. I marched in that parade every year in High School, playing the trombone....wearing heavy polyester blazer, black polyester skirt, nylons, a hat, and carrying a trombone. Most of us were near heat exhaustion by the end, but we had fun. When I saw my alma mater march by this year I was stunned to see that they had really cool new uniforms that didn't seem to include any polyester and even featured sequins. Sequins are pretty much a defining feature in an outfit, aren't they? Think of wedding dresses....I think brides-to-be pay by the sequin, by the fabric-covered button, and by the pearlescent seed bead. So, it seems to me that sequins are really the icing on the cake of band uniforms. Not the store-brand chocolate frosting out of the can, either....but homemade buttercream with a delicate chocolate syrup drizzled lightly over the top. What I'm trying to say is that the band seems to have catapulted out of the ghetto and into the sparkly, clean, and pristine suburb.Libby and Amelia seemed to love the parade. Amelia more than Libby, apparently, because she didn't fall asleep half-way through. The parade time fell smack dab in the middle of nap-time. I cannot understand how Libby can sleep through marching bands, firetruck sirens, semi-truck airhorns, and Shriners in miniature cars....but will wake up instantly if I carefully pull her door closed during a nap in a quiet house. Amelia bounced and watched and flirted with others on the curb nearby. And she only spit up on me three times. I think she loved it. Maybe she will turn into a band geek like her mama.
Tomorrow is our first long run post-marathon. It's only 10 miles, but it's the furthest we've run in a few weeks and I'm a little nervous. Even my short runs have been tough for me since the marathon. I'm fatigued and am having some left hip-flexor and right foot issues. I'm hoping for a nice easy ten and to enjoy this 'short' long run before they start getting longer again each week. It should be nice and cool and dry, and we're running at 7 am. I'll provide my weekly java-adventure-run report tomorrow. (We always have mapped our long runs to end at a coffee shop about 1.5 miles away from home. Then we walk our cool down carrying lattes. And our runs are always full of adventure and mayhem...and if they aren't...well...I make it up. I've been producing the weekly report for my online running club since we started training for Green Bay. Now I'll post them here.)
Last weekend we did some hiking at a local State Park and attended Chris' parents' vow renewal ceremony. Kitty and Jim have been married for 25 years. I will share some photos from the parade, hiking, and the ceremony. Also one of Amelia in the fort we made in Libby's room this morning while Chris was sleeping.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Aren't runners supposed to be skinny?

All my life i had the (apparently incorrect) belief that runners were skinny. Especially distance runners. I mean, if a woman is running 40 miles in one week, I assumed that she would have to be skinny. Doesn't that make sense?
So when I became a runner at age 31, I had grandiose visions of myself running through fields of daisies and butterflies, startling up baby bunnies with the warm glow of the July sunset on my face....all while wearing a size 2 running outfit. No jiggling. No bulges. No rolls. Just firm, toned, lean, suntanned limbs with abs that rippled with each stride.
But two marathons later I'm still white, freckly, short, and....well....not a size 2. And I haven't found that field of daisies. Although I do scare up a mangy bunny or two on my early morning runs.
I know a lot of 30-ish year old mothers who run. Some really are skinny and toned and rippling with suntanned abs of steel. But most of them are like me. They are more sturdy than skinny. Definitely not fat, but more stocky and normal. They look fit. And they are. But they can't squeeze into a size 2...a recent poll showed that they were mostly like 8 or 10.
I should find comfort in knowing that I'm not abnormal...well, regarding my body...and I know that I should focus on the fact that I'm strong and fit and athletic, not on the number on the scale or tag of my new jeans. But I just can't. I want that field of daisies and butterflies with the sunset glowing onto my chisled abs. And I want to go and buy a new pair of sexy size 6 jeans.
If I can't have that, I'll happily settle for being at the weight I was four babies ago. It's just ten pounds away (well, 8 away as of today, I guess)...but for whatever reason my body really, really, really likes those 8 pounds. My body wants to see my love handles squishing out the top of a size 10 pair of running pants and my belly swinging from side to side with each not-so-graceful stride through an industrial park outside of town on an overcast day.

Marathon Photos

I thought I'd post a few photos from the marathon.

My Green Bay Marathon Race Report

My Green Bay Marathon Race Report
On Sunday, May 21st I ran the Green Bay Marathon with my running partner and best friend, Jo. It was a very long the report was bound to be long, right?

**Chapter One, Making The Pilgrimage.
Jo picked me up at 5:45 am on race day. It was about 40 degrees with a brisk wind. It’s a 30-is minute drive to downtown Green Bay and we were concerned about parking. We both had our coffees in hand but I really couldn’t drink much of mine and stuck with the Gatorade. The drive was fairly uneventful, unlike the drive to the expo the day before when we were inches from being side-swiped on the freeway by a dumber in a Jeep. Arrived near the starting line, found parking, and wandered to the bag and tag area. This was fairly traumatizing, as we had to give up our jackets (did I mention that it was 40 degrees) and the wind had picked up substantially.

**Chapter Two, The Great 6,000 Person Poop
The crowd was very large already, as there were 6,000 people registered for the races. There were not, however, 6,000 porta-potties. Did I mention that it was 40 degrees and windy? People were taking their time in the heavenly blue shelters of stench because they were warm.

**Chapter Three, Joining the Herd
After exiting the warm blue stench-houses we made our way to the corrals. Unfortunately, because we basked in the warmth and stench too long, we were stuck at the back of the pack, with the walkers. We could see the sign for the five hour pace guy (we named him “Five Man”) way up ahead, but there was no way we could get to him. We figured that since he was starting so far ahead of us, that we’d get our five hour finish if we just were able to keep him in our sights.

**Chapter Four, The (False) Start
The gun went off. And nobody moved. For like two minutes.I started crying. This was going to be an emotional race for me…I was doing it for my dad (who will be referred to as “Owen D” from this point forward). Said a quick prayer and a word or two to Owen D and we started inching ahead. I was a little concerned that the Nazi Walkers were going to take us out.Started moving a little faster, then into a jog….and then we added our part to the high pitched screech that was 6,000 timing chips going over the starting mat.

**Chapter Five, The First Few Miles
It was an amazing sight. As far as you could see was a sea of runners. Bouncing Bouncing Bouncing Bouncing Bouncing Bouncing BouncingWe were in awe. I had the biggest smile ever plastered on my face, looking around at the runners, the spectators, the blue sky….and I started hearing this obnoxious noise that I couldn’t place and was getting a little annoyed at how it was ruining the mood for me…..and then I crossed Mile 1 and realized it was the chip pad. Oh, okay. I like that noise. Crossing the chip pad (at each mile) was music. Plop, plop, plop…..thud thud thud thud……shuffle shuffle…..pit pat pit pat pit pat….an enormous collection of drum beats over a soprano note….the crowd cheering….people holding up lighters….. We were SO rock stars. (okay, so there were no lighters, but whatever.

**Chapter Six, Bob the Barefoot Marathon Man
On Saturday I came across a website about this guy named Bob who was going to be running in the Green Bay Marathon. It was going to possibly be his 50th barefoot marathon. I forwarded the link to Jo and showed my husband. I told Jo we’d have to watch for him. Suddenly, from out of nowhere he passes me on my left. Right next to me. I yell out, ‘Hey, BOB!!! I just read about you yesterday!!!” He turns and smiles. I ask, “is it number 50???” and he shows me his bib number…49. He says, “number 49 barefoot, 50 all together.” He says that he heard there was another barefoot runner up ahead and that he’s sorry but has to move on. We yell “go get him!!!!” and he’s off like a flash. It was like seeing Forrest Gump. We saw a running celebrity. Turns out Bob had about a 4:12 finish. Pretty cool.

**Chapter Seven, “Salad Shooter!!!!!”
Jo and I had Olive Garden Saturday night.My stomach wasn’t feeling so well…..I’d taken two Immodiums pre-race, but was still pretty concerned. As you recall, they don’t call our little running team the Trottin’ Bitches for nothing (you non-runners may not be familiar with what is known as "runners trots" but I'm sure you can figure it out)… We decided on the drive to the race that when we stepped out of a porta-potty we’d loudly say, “Salad Shooter” as it’s sung in the old commercials………. As it was the previous night’s salad that would probably be our downfall. My good friend, Imodium failed me. We made a few “Salad Shooter” stops mid-race.We wanted to be sure to tell you that had there been no “Salad Shooter” episodes or L O N G waits at porta-potties, we’d have finished at LEAST five minutes sooner. There was this porta-potty somewhere around mile 11 that I HAD to stop at…but three very ‘put together’ and snobby looking ladies beat us to it. They stood around, made comments about how ‘disgusting’ it was and took FOREVER. After waiting for three minutes, we decided to take our chances on another one being close by. Made it to where the half and full marathon courses split (I think around mile 12) and there were three porta-potties with NO LINE. They were all occupado, but no line. So we wait… and wait….and wait…. And finally someone comes out of the end one. And this bi#ch of a girl just jumps ahead of us and goes in!!!! Grrrrrr. So we wait…and wait…and wait…. And a line is now forming behind us and I checked the doors since nobody had come out in about 3-5 minutes… locked. Occupado. Then we hear the bi#ch girl in there BLOWING HER NOSE!!!! OOOOO, the line was getting fired up at this point. Finally she came out and Jo went in. When she came out, I was still waiting!!! And when I came out (Salad Shooter!!!!), the guy behind me was still waiting!!! Unbelievable. We were p i s s e d !! So, it shouldn’t be hard to meet our new time goal for Fox Cities Marathon in September…We do NOT eat salad or desserts the night before.

**Chapter Eight, How Far is THIS Marathon????
Jo and I had planned on playing a game of Double Dog Dare throughout the marathon. We would each supply a dare during each mile to keep it fun and interesting. Whoever lost, by not completing the dares, would give the winner a piggy-back ride over the finish line. We didn’t end up playing our game because we didn't need it. However, we (well, lets be honest….mostly just me) did do some of the planned dares, just for fun.
*I made a loud fart noise as we passed a runner.(Jo was supposed to say, "excuse me!!")
*I asked Jo, when we were right by another runner, “How far is THIS marathon??” (runners are asked how far 'this' marathon is all of the time...when all marathons are 26.2 miles.)
*I asked Jo, when we were right behind a guy runner, “Man, how far IS a 5K?? I’m really getting tired!! (somewhere around mile 16)
*I yelled to a spectator, “We’re in first place, right?”
*I asked someone, “How far to Soldier Field????” (that’s where the Bears play…Packers’ rivals)*I did some quality dancing when we came across spectators with music playing….
*I told a lady that her eyes were gorgeous. She said, “Oh, well aren’t you so nice!” I replied, “well, they are, and no, I’m really a pretty big bi#ch” Jo piped in, “yeah, she really is”

**Chapter Nine, Amazing Feats
We were pretty incredible, let me tell you. After the first several miles we really didn’t get passed again. We would get passed when we did our walks through water stations, but then we’d pass them up again right away. We held our pace through the marathon, which was a goal of ours. Others were slowing. We even passed a Packer. I didn’t recognize his name, and he wasn’t very big or particularly athletic-looking, but he was wearing a jersey…. And I think we passed two Kenyans, too. But Jo told me not to tell you about that. We also beat the cow guy. And the old guy in jean shorts. And the VERY fit-looking couple who we leapfrogged with for many miles (they asked us at one point how we were pacing…we explained that we were walking about a tenth of a mile through each water station. In the end I couldn’t see them when I looked behind us. AND we beat a LOT of people who looked a LOT better in their running outfits than us. THAT was satisfying, let me tell you. Fo’ Sho’.

**Chapter Ten, The Somewhat Disturbing Robotic Pace Girls
We did not see Five Man for a very long time. We thought we had passed him, and even had a fairly lengthy argument with three other runners about where Five Man was…ahead or behind us. Turns out they were right and he was ahead, but we cannot figure that out as we never saw him. We’re thinking that he either took a stealthy shortcut or cruised by during a ‘Salad Shooter!!’ moment. Regardless, without the help of Five Man, we managed to somehow keep our pace within SIX SECONDS on every mile from 11-26. How weird and scary is that??

**Chapter Eleven, Root Beer and near puking at mile 24
Jo told me the day before the race that there was to be root beer at the mile 24 water station. This was something that kept us going and excited throughout the race. We could not even begin to describe how tasty ROOT BEER would be at mile 24. As we ran along the river trail for six miles, I at times fantasized that the river was made of root beer watched how it foamed and fizzed and swirled…. It was euphoria when we arrived at mile 24. We each grabbed a big cup and walked and drank in the sweet nectar of the gods. Threw down the cups and started running. I didn’t tell Jo this until after the race, as it was at about this time that she started to panic just a bit and I didn’t want to freak her out…but I was VERY close to puking up my precious root beer. The running and fizzing and swirling all made for a belly very full of foam and it REALLY wanted to foam over as though I were a frosty mug. But I had waited a very long time for that root beer and I was NOT about to lose a drop of it.

**Chapter Twelve, Lambeau Field “The Frozen Tundra”
At mile 24 or so you come around a corner and first see Lambeau. You know you’re almost done, AND you know that you soon get to run INTO the stadium, through the players’ tunnel, and out ONTO the field. The 25.5 mile water station was Mardi Gras themed and we were given beads. (and no, my friends, I didn’t have to flash anything but my smile for them…..). Jo said at this point that no matter what we did, because of our current time, we’d finish before our goal of five hours. We made it to the parking lot and ran up to the stadium, going into the players entrance. We ran into the bowels of the building, and then into the tunnel from where the players run out onto the field. There is a row of bricks in the floor when you are about to enter the field and a plaque that reads something about all of the champions who have crossed those bricks over the years… I made sure to step on them for Owen D. And then we were out into the sunshine and running around the track. I reached down and plucked a blade of grass from the field and carried it with me to the finish line. We FLEW around the field. Jo yelled at me to tell Owen D to slow down. He was definitely running with me. My feet had wings. My heart did, too. It was amazing. And ten we ran back out through the tunnel, back onto those bricks, and out into the lot.

**Chapter Thirteen, The Big Finish
At this point we could barely see the finish and it looked like SO far away. I heard a couple other runners say the same thing. But suddenly we heard the familiar screech of the chip mat…mile 26. Honestly, my legs wanted to stop here. But then we saw the funnel and took off. We sprinted that last .2 mile. So fast, in fact, that the announcer missed us and never announced our names. And then, there it was….the final screech and the photographer and the medals and the silver wraps…..

**Chapter Fourteen, The Aftermath
The first people we met up with were Jo’s parents. Her mother looked absolutely bewildered. They were confused. Turns out they had gotten to Lambeau to watch from there at a little after 11, thinking that we were finishing then….and none of the rest of her family was there. (They were all at the finish line) They waited a long time and then finally gave up and went out to check on our times and where we were…and were told that we had JUST crossed the line. Somehow in their leaving the stadium we crossed paths and missed each other. They were so bummed. Then Jo’s huge entourage swarmed her and I tried to find my husband and girls. I went towards the bleachers where they had been watching the finish but they had gone to the family reuniting area (which I didn’t see until after we met up) and Jo’s brother–in-law went and got them for me. Pictures, hugs, popsicles for the kids and a 26.2 brew for me. A lovely way to end a marathon.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of Jo. She has come so far and she inspires me. A year ago she could barely run one block. Two years ago she was nearly a hundred pounds heavier. She now is a training machine and I can barely keep up with her. I am blessed to have a friend and running partner like her.

Okay...I figured out how to post an entry. (now I suppose I should say something)

I've been thinking of starting a blog for quite a while now. Honestly I was a bit intimidated by it and thought maybe I was cut out more for just reading those of other people. But I have mastered setting the thing up and putting up my photo....and now, after hemming and hawing and consulting the gnome, I even managed to post an entry! See, what were you so worried about? I'm a PRO at this! It's a breeze!

The biggest things in my life at the moment are my family (Chris and I have two beautiful girls, ages 3 and 8 months), running and training for marathons, photography, my motorcycle "Daisy", and my obsession with gnomes. So, I imagine these will be the most common themes in this blog. There will undoubtedly be many of my photos posted, both the artsy ones and the zillions of my children. There will be tall tales of my weekly java-adventure-long-runs with my running partner and best friend, jo. Sometimes my imaginary friend, a wise, smart-assed old gnome will surely pop in to post about a thing or two....but I would take his comments with a grain of salt. He's an imaginary gnome. There might be something wrong with someone who takes anything an imaginary gnome says as the truth... not that i would know anything about that. Seriously.