Friday, October 30, 2009

Running buddies

Today was the first time I ran with a buddy. And I loved it. I liked having someone to chat with during the 4-mile course, and I think I might have slowed Special K's time down a bit, but my time was about average for an average run. But the conditions that we ran in were pretty entertaining.

It was pouring down rain, but warm. We ran two wide loops around Meadowbrook, which included going through low lying areas that were basically large lakes or rushing rivers of water on the south end of the park. At one point I thought I saw a baby turtle. "What is that? Is it a crab?" K asked. I stopped and took a gander. My mind flipped back to 8th grade biology. "It's some kind of crustacean!" We named them Ernest and Denise after the donors noted at the nearest sign, and we waved at them again as we ran through the water a second time.

When we were done, I loved that we had done it. But when the wind and rain were beating on my back door this a.m., I really just wanted to hear her say, "Coffee and egg white omelets at Le Peep?"

But we did it. And I'm ever so thankful that we did.

Now for the big question, do I dare try out the Second Wind Running club?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Waiting for -- SUPERMAN!

Halloween cuteness through the years...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hitting the Running Wall

I've been running 5 times a week on average. I go anywhere between 1.5 and 7 miles (although usually, I like the 2- or 4-mile runs). But I get bored of hearing myself think even with the music stylings of the Beastie Boys, Nelly, Chuck Berry, Madonna, etc., in my ear. So I try to make my runs more challenging by changing paths, terrain and by trying not to be a wuss about weather (mostly because I'm more of a wuss about the treadmill than getting wet or cold). Don't judge. I fell off a treadmill at 250 lbs in front of a whole gym of skinny Northern Virginia people in 1999. It took me 3 months to get up enough courage to go back to my gym. It took just as long for the ultra nasty leg and hip bruises to go away...

Today, I ran around the lake behind our house for the first time in a long time. Really I haven't been back there since I transitioned from walking to running. I made a lap and a half around and started walking. My feet were wet from the low parts of the trail where water collects and where running into the grass just finds more grass-covered puddles. It was foggy to the point that I couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of me. So, I took a turn and decided to run up and down the big giant sledding hill. I did it twice. Then I returned to the path.

I was still bored. So bored that I decided I had to pee, and I went home at the 20-minute mark when I was supposed to be out there for 45 minutes.

Is it the blah weather? Is it that I only got 5 hours of sleep? Is it that I am nervous about meeting my goal to run the whole 5k with no walk breaks on Sunday? Is it the fact that I have a midterm at 12:30 p.m. that I feel kind of whatever (yet, still worried) about? Is it because this is the last week of MacTroll's rigorous travel schedule and I'm fatigued? Is it the 'crazy be everywhere all at once' schedule this week? Whatever it is, I hope it goes away for my run after lunch tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Manic Monday

I ran around town today like crazy doing a lot of stuff that needed to be done. This morning I got X-man to school a bit late, but he was having a hard time waking up and he didn't want any breakfast, but once he got there he "see ya later, Mom"ed me and pushed me out the door. He was apparently his normal self the rest of the day.

From 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. I was test driving a RAV-4. We're looking for something roomier without risking too much gas mileage. My 2002 VW Golf gets 24/29. The RAV-4 gets 21/28. Plus, it's got more room to haul around stuff. I'm super excited that next week we could have a new car. One without a tape deck...

Then I came home and had lunch and headed to my weight management meeting. I've lost 79 lbs since February, and am excited that I'm approaching an ideal weight and body fat percentage number. In other words, I'm kicking ass and taking names. I'm also running in the Rattlesnake 5k this Sunday. Are you?

After my meeting, I went home and rounded up Riley and Maya. Maya was going in for her annual check up and vaccinations. Riley was going in to get scrapings done to be retested for ringworm. We're all hoping he comes up negative, so we can stop bathing dogs and cats.

We have a weekly playdate with Roger Rogers and Curious J that X-man loves to go to. He gets very excited when I drop him off from school every Monday knowing that he's going to play with Curious J. So at 4 p.m., we headed over there.

Since 5 p.m. we've had dinner, learned to play X-man's new Bob the Builder computer game, read some fire fighter books 4 zillion times and watched a little Superman.

Tonight I have to study some more for my midterm tomorrow, which sucks because usually after X-man goes to bed, I want to fall asleep too.

Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday are equally full of fun. Except I'll actually have time to run (in the rain, hooray!).

Anything exciting happen to you guys today?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hair issues

Last December, I had a short British rocker kind of do. I also dyed my hair back to its normal brown. I liked the cut. I liked the color. But having short hair is outrageously expensive because it requires a cut every 6-8 weeks before you start to look all feathered around the ears like Olivia Newton-John. (Yeah, at age 6 I would have killed for that look while I danced to "Make a Move on Me" in my living room.

Anyway, I decided because of my weight loss expenses the whole hair thing was gonna have to go. So it's been growing out for a year and is now just a bit past my shoulders. It's very fine and light, walnut brown with a few summer highlights in it.

But I'm starting to feel like a helmet head.

So I'm looking for ideas. I hate bangs. I'm not against highlights but I won't regularly get them (usually once every 6 months). I like texture, but at the same time, I'm not likely to even blow dry it much less put product in it unless it's a special occasion. I need wash and go...

Got something you think I'd look good in? Let me know. Cause this is what we're dealing with now. :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

I seem to be running hot and cold this week. On days were the weather is nice, I feel energetic. On Wednesday, I even went out and ran almost 7 miles. But on days where the rain comes back, I feel lethargic, moody, slow. I had issues finishing my 3k run around the hood today.

But the trick is that I'm having trouble sleeping. You'd think all the running, good eating, decent bedtimes, etc., would keep me running like a well-oiled machine. But this whole weather thing and getting darker earlier thing is bringing me down.

Seriously, I'm dragging.

So it's 7:43 on a Friday. I'm about to go take a Tylenol PM and see if I can get some sleep. And hopefully, when I wake tomorrow, I'll feel rejuvenated.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ugly Demeanor

Usually, I'm a woman who is pretty even keel. I don't judge people on appearance. I give them time to sink in. I'm usually pretty understanding and not quick to make assumptions. But today, today I got annoyed at a great many things I don't normally get annoyed at.

I am usually a woman who supports parents and their choices, because I know, particularly the parents that I'm acquainted with, would dive in front of a moving train for their young ones. But today, I'm annoyed at how combative things are about certain subjects. How the tones that some parents use in order to voice their opinions comes across as the loudest one around, and I worry that other parents who haven't had the chance to really think about an issue and determine what is best for their family are influenced by that loud, bullying voice. I've always tended to hear what the voice says, and then determine for myself whether to listen. But when the shouting gets louder and the angry group it's solicited as minions starts going, the voice of dissent is often treated like it's crazy and invalid or even dangerous -- rather than just different.

I hate when people do that to each other. I hate it. And it makes me want to take the other side (even if I agree with the loud person's opinion) just to point out that diversity in views is always a good idea. That there is no one exactly correct way to do everything, and that by choosing something different that person isn't telling you you're wrong. Instead, she or he has found something that fits better for him or her. Shades of gray. I firmly believe in shades of gray.

I went to dinner at Lavender Lemonade's tonight all full of angst about this kind of stuff. Her usual pleasantness completely calmed me down for a while. But as I think about earlier today, I get frustrated. And I wish things were culturally different. And I wish the loudmouths would just shut up a bit, so I can regain my zen abilities again.

Because one of these days, I'm going to be tired of being the adult you can count on. The dependable, rock solid Looseyfur. One of these days, I'm just going to implode. I can feel it. Don't push me. You've never seen me mad. And trust me, there are reasons for that.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where to Start?

It's 8:56 p.m. I have a lot of things I need to do because I spent the day enjoying myself and my family and did no chores. Well, that's not true. I ran the laundry once and washed the dishes twice. But the living room is the pits, the kitchen is a mess and I need to wash a bunch of stuff. And my husband just pointed out that I haven't showered yet today as he tries to run his fingers through my hair and pulls it. Not his fault. I haven't showered yet...

But as a family we walked the CU on the Trails 5k today at Robeson Meadows West Park today. Xander ran for about 2 minutes out of the 52 minutes we were out walking.

I'm petsitting for a friend this weekend. So I drove over and ran in and visited her boys momentarily. They were both passed out in sunbeams on the kitchen floor and hardly opened their eyes when I refilled their water and food dishes. I pet each of them, one to a deep purr and the other to a lot of insistent chatter before taking off for the Early Bird Sale at Karen's Kloset where I bought three warm and fuzzy sweaters, a pair of jeans (size 8 Polo for $8 -- which made me feel good) and a blue down winter coat for $16.

Then I came home and ate lunch with the boys before taking X-man to Lincoln Square where he enjoyed the games and the bounce house and the candy at the Disabilities Expo. We followed it up with a visit to the Art Mart train tables, where he picked out a friend for a fellow Tiger who has a 4th birthday party next Saturday. Then we went to the video store where he picked out the newer version of the Justice League -- only to get home and realize the guy gave us the 1970's Superfriends Season 2 that we rented last week.. There were no tears, but there was a big giant fat lip of sadness and disappointment, and I needed to do some filing at my desk and get started on dinner -- so I blew 32x what it cost at Rentertainment and bought Season 1 of the Justice League.

As it turns out, when MacTroll got up from his 4 hours of freedom where he got to nap and shower, both boys were sucked into the cartoon, which I have to admit, is actually very well done.

I made a phyllo tomato, cheese, basil pizza for dinner. But my sample bite said that it wasn't really great. So I shredded that recipe. I didn't have any calories left for a cooked meal, so I had a bowl of HMR chicken soup with 2 cups of vegetables and a 10 calorie jello cup.

Then I ran over (literally) to my friend's to visit her cats again. Turns out that it's 1 mile there and 1 mile home. And I managed to set a new "fast" time on my Nike+ for the mile, which made me feel pretty okay.

Now, I'm sitting here procrastinating. That's what this whole stupid summary of my day post is about. I should shower and fall into bed asleep, but then tomorrow would be all about this kind of stuff, when really, I want it to be fun again. I guess I just wish all of my time to myself didn't include picking up and washing the same things over and over again or include me out sweating my guts out while trying to stay in shape. Because that's what this whole fitness thing has lessened. It's not that suddenly someone said, "Here let me take more off your hands so you can do this." That's not how it works when you're a mom.

Instead, you get to lessen the time you spend trying to defrag your brain under the covers of your bed or nose in a book or drinks out with the girls -- with fitness. It's a trade, and I think if I loved running more, I would be okay with it. But I still find it a chore. Unfortunately, I can completely see it's practicality. And I'm a pretty practical kind of girl.

Okay, I'll stop rambling now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good Friends

I have met a number of good people in my lifetime. People who have different values and different ideals and different ambitions for their lives. It's given me perspective. It's taught me not to make assumptions. It's taught me how to be open-minded, and it's made me very thankful to them for being welcome to share in their triumphs as well as their challenges.

When I first met KTDID in college, we came from two very different types of life. I was from an economically depressed city where the number of kids in my high school was at least 3 times more than the people in her entire small rural town. She held creationist values. I'd been an agnostic since I was in fifth grade. She was stricken by homesickness. I was thrilled to finally be independent... but she was fun and she was smart, and she knew how to listen and call me on my crap.

Now, we're living in the same building again. We've gotten more similar in our big picture beliefs as we've gotten older. As individuals, we've been broken and put ourselves together so many times, with so much glue, that we're amazingly adept at figuring out where each of the little pieces go for each other and helping to hold those pieces in place until the glue dries again. And in those cases, I can ask for her help without feeling vulnerable or like I'm losing my dignity.

In addition to the emotional stuff, we are able to live together, car trip together, go to Ikea on a Saturday and pack a car together without one annoyed or stern word to the other, share a tight kitchen, bathe apprehensive cats, raise a precocious little boy and have each other's backs.

Those are all rarities in this world, and I just wanted to acknowledge our 15 years of having them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trends in Coupon Clipping

I am not a person who goes ape shit for stuff that's free. Clipping coupons or using deals for brands and things I don't need so I can have free stuff isn't something I focus on when I clip coupons.

I focus on things that my family normally uses, brands that we like. $1 off one kind of deodorant isn't a seller, if I know that it doesn't keep me dry or if I smell like I haven't showered in a week. To me, they can keep their dollar. I don't want their product.

But I am a pretty avid Sunday morning newspaper clipper. I'm also a clipper. I watch other couponing sites for things we might need. I always turn over my Schnuck's receipt to see if there's an oil change or a lunch coupon that might come in useful.

I am, in the last 3 months, noticing a trend in couponing. Vary rarely (my major exception is when I clip from County Market's penny pincher listings) are the coupons for actual food-related items. Instead, most of them are for household items like toilet paper, shampoo and cleaners. This is fine, except I only buy those things once every 4-6 weeks. So, I'm wondering, where are all the food coupons? They used to be everywhere.

And why, instead of getting coupons at stores for products I don't use (hello, Tidy Cat) can't I get them for products I do use?

Every 4 weeks, I have a $150 bill at Meijer that I watch deplete to around $115 with the household coupons that I saved. I'm grateful for it. I always apologize to the cashier for the madness of that many coupons. His or her response is always one of encouragement, but the person behind me in line is either impressed or annoyed. And I'm no couponing master.

But the other 3 trips during the month are painful. They're all food based for recipes I'm cooking. Sometimes I get lucky and hit in-store specials. But I cook so much with fresh fruits and vegetables now that those savings are few and far between.

Has anyone else noticed a depletion of food coupons? Or maybe it's just the brands that I use?

Oh -- and just a little plug. Karen's Kloset is having a sale on Saturday. From 8-10 a.m. everything in the store is 25% off, from 10-noon it's 20% off and then from noon until 6 p.m. it's 10 percent off... just in case you're looking for any fall clothing!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tanger 5k Run for Mills Breast Cancer Institute

I ran my second 5k today in Tuscola at the Tanger Outlet Mall. The course was 3 3/4 laps around the mall, and can I say that laps are very frustrating. Mostly because, as I've said before, I don't think really well when I run -- so counting to 4 is kind of difficult for me as I try to move my body, not think of how much I don't really enjoy running and breathing at the same time.

But I did a much better job this time than I did at the Ambulance Chaser. Official time was 32:55.

Next weekend, the family and I are going to get up and do CU on the Trails in Champaign, if the weather is agreeable. X-man has been dying to get his own race number. I may take mine from today, in case they don't have them there. I'm also signing up to run the Rattlesnake Master in Meadowbrook Park on Nov. 1 and the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.

I have to keep moving, right?

Anyway, here's my run from today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh, the Guilt!

Our dog tested positive for ringworm, so we've been treating him with meds and baths, but we also have to bathe our cats twice a week. Today, we had two casualties to the chaos. One problem was that we did it when X-man was home, which is different, but it couldn't be helped due to our schedules.

Maya and Nyssa are easy to crate. Luke and Clawdio are not. The shampoo requires the cats to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. So we wash one, put them in a carrier with a towel, get another wash, etc. When we're done with all four, we start rinsing and putting in the leave-in lotion. I got nipped by Clawdio. It didn't break the skin, but my thumb is bruised a bit.

The neurotic boy cats know when something is up, and they hide under our bed. So we have to take our bed apart to get them. X-man wanted to be present and refused to play in his room or downstairs. So he parked his butt next to my closet. I told him to stay there out of the way because the cats were scared.

As MacTroll and I are putting the mattress up, Luke, our 15 lber, goes crazy and starts trying to jump through the slats of our platform bed. And, of course, our 3 year old runs to try and help him get out so he doesn't hurt himself on the wood. I've got my hands full of pillowtop mattress and there's a king-sized bed between me and the situation. So I shout, "MOVE AWAY" as my child gets a face full of cat paw. The scratch isn't very deep because thankfully before we started this whole mess we clipped everyone. Plus, X-man apparently shut his eyes, which is great because holy cow that could have been even more terrible. He was fine after I cleaned the cut, put Neosporin on it and gave him two popsicles.

But I still feel like the worst parent alive.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Running: How I know I'm serious(ly stupid)

It's pouring outside today, so I figured I get on an elliptical at the gym and stay nice and dry.

Then on my way to drop off X-man at school, I realized that I was being silly. It's just rain. But I have no rainy weather running gear... I'm an amateur. Everything I own is cheap wicking stuff from Wal-mart/Target/Kohl's, which is great for sweat, but does nothing in a pretty dampening rain.

And with the way the weather is going this week (rain, sun, rain, sun) it's likely to be raining for my next 5k race on Sunday morning.

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

So, I stopped by Body N Sole and gave them some money for a waterproof running jacket that vents sweat. So, by the time you're done, you're wet on the inside from sweat and the outside from rain -- but you aren't chilled to the bone.

In other words, I still looked like a drowned rat. Nice. Now we all know I'm crazy, because any sane person would have just pulled the covers up and gone back to bed on a gray, dreary day like today.

Anyway, here was my rainy run...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Retail Randomness

So before I went to Oakbrook I was looking at coats. One of the ones I liked was this Tahari Wool Blend coat. I like the wide collar. And even though I usually hate ruffles, I think that it makes this coat more feminine than you're usual "dress/work" coat. It's listed at $198 at -- without any sales. :-(

After work today, I went to pick up a pair of shoes I bought in the Macy's pre-sale on Monday. I wandered through the coats, just to peak and was shocked to find the coat above with a giant 40 percent off sign. Sweet!

I was so excited to try it on, and it was very cute. But I was sad that I didn't love it. Maybe the cheaper price would sway me!

And then I looked at the tag -- $420! Wait, what?!?

And sure enough, at the Macy's web site, it lists the retail price of the coat as $420 -- but it's on sale for that 40 percent off for $273.

Huh? Yeah, so I put the coat back, picked up my shoes and moved on. But I thought reason 1 for comparison shopping...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An Opinion: Patricia Polacco Books

In my children's literature class we have an author study due on Thursday. I pulled Patricia Polacco out of the hat four weeks ago. I dutifully ran off to the library and got a selection of her books and brought them home. Then X-man and I tried to read them. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze.

So, I began my research. She was born in Michigan -- great midwestern connection, right? Her mother's parents were Russian and Ukrainian immigrants, so I tried to channel my fave SIL's mother, who also immigrated from Russia to increase my interest. No luck. She overcame a learning disability to go on and get a PhD in art history. Her parents were divorced, like mine... alas, blah, blah, blah.

It's not that her themes or stories are terrible, they're just not -- compelling to me. I can completely get behind the idea of forming community, of appreciating and creating bonds with grandparents, of celebrating heritage and the wonderment of children from various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. But, snooze.

I read all the books and chose the ones I liked the best for my annotated bibliography. I wrote my author's biography for my poster board and took the appropriate pictures for my poster board, which I'll put together tomorrow after work. And Thursday, I'll hand it all in, with my Polacco-themed book bag starring Reschenka the goose and her magically decorated eggs.

But I really wish I would have gotten an author I loved -- or even one I hadn't heard of before that was a new discovery. Instead, I got Patricia Polacco. She's written well over 20 children's books. She's won numerous awards. She seems like a tender soul, and yet, I couldn't get into her.

Clearly, working in a children's library department for six years made me particularly over critical.

Monday, October 5, 2009


At 4:30 a.m. I woke up to X-man coming out of his room (he always shuts his door behind him).

I called out to him and he came stammering into our room drunk on sleep. He maneuvered over to my side of the bed and I lifted him up and placed him under the covers in a big hug.

"I love you, Mommy."

He patted MacTroll's back a couple times and then fell back to sleep.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Big Question

Why is it when I have "kid-free time" it means doing homework, dishes, laundry, gardening, cleaning up the backyard, mowing, going to the grocery store, planning/cooking meals, cleaning toilets, etc.

But when my spouse has "kid-free time" it means googling shit or playing sudoku?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Heat is Not On

Usually my life feels like a race. A scramble to get things done. A sprint to keep up with my child. A relay with my friends so we can try to prevent ourselves from going absolutely crazy with all the good and terrible that life brings each day. A marathon to try and pace myself so I don't just roll over and die.

Today, I've decided I need another analogy, because a race indicates that there are winners and losers, professionals and amateurs and it defeats the point of the actual journey.

I have a number of things going on right now, so I'll just share them with you and stop looking at other people and comparing. Instead, I'd like to do what they teach us at school. "Focus on the individual's needs. Everyone develops at their own pace. Relish the growth. Celebrate it for each child at each moment."

1. While out on my run today, I had a thought -- I think the owl pencil, bent up spoon and left adult shoe that were on the side of the road were tossed out the car by a two year old with a first time parent (that could so easily have been me a year and a half ago). I can see him playing with the newly found window button that the parents meant to lock off, but always put off. Then he's laughing at his ability to control the window and grabbing every foreseeable item from the back seat and flinging it out of the car while chanting, "Fly! Fly!" I'm pretty sure CSI could connect the dead bunny on the side of the road at being a victim of a "drive-by shoe-ing."

2. Tomorrow, my friend Quigs is running the Bucktown 5k in Chicago. Quigs is a hater of all things outdoors. But even more, she's not a big fan of running (a feeling I definitely share with her). But Quigs has totally been my inspiration on all things weight loss and fitness oriented for the last 8 months, so I wanted to give her a shout out. She's an amazing friend and a brilliant woman. Plus, I have it on high -- from the Reverend -- that she likes to push the pace. So I'm hoping she kicks some ass!

3. Our house has run into a plague of sorts. We have mice and a ground squirrel in the field behind us, and as the weather has gotten cooler they've started burrowing in the parts of the garden that are done for the season, which would be fine, except that KTDID and I have two dogs who like to chase them, dig at them and put their noses down their holes, which has led Riley to test positively for ringworm. It's not an actual worm -- it's a skin condition, but it does mean that he's on meds for several weeks (and just as his allergies were getting better) and we're bathing all of the cats in the house twice a week. Zoe goes in for her appointment with Dr. Mary next week.

4. MacTroll is coming up an his random Marketing tour of the United States. Last year, he traveled to 3-4 cities each week for 3 weeks straight every month for six months. This year it's been reduced to just the next month and a half, thank goodness.

5. It is only Oct. 3, and I am cold. But I refuse to put the heat on. Instead, I'm walking around in sweatshirts and fuzzy socks. Does that make me a cheap bastard? Or cheap and stupid?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"You're not ever going to eat cake again? -- Never?"

Both Tinselbee and Quigs have asked me this question this week. I entered into the maintenance phase of my program, but I'm still aiming to lose. What maintenance means is that technically, I'm out of the box. I can eat anything I want. But right now -- I'm choosing not to. And I don't know what foods will eventually be reintroduced into my diet. I do know that I have particular trigger foods that launch emotional eatings or drinking.

Things like baked goods, El Toro margaritas, mashed potatoes, french fries, cake, ice cream, cheese. Oh howdy, do I love cheese. There's a part of me that says that it would be safer to not reintroduce any of those foods -- particularly in a full-fat version. But there's another part that says, how I eat those foods might just need to change.

For example, cheese in a Cooking Light or Weight Watcher recipe is reduced fat and in small quantities. No, it's not a giant grilled cheese sandwich or smothered chicken or cheese and crackers or cheese on baguette. But I'm thinking those cooking light recipes (like goat cheese and roasted corn quesadillas) are going to be in a safe box down the line.

Processed sugars, however, are another story. I just don't know if I'll ever have a good enough reason to sit down and consume pastry or cake again. Most of them being between 300 and 700 calories -- and right now, I can only consume around 1700 calories a day to maintain this body. That's around 1/3 of a day's worth of food for one piece of cake. I don't think it's worth it. But one day, I might indulge.

Part of this program is that by moving away from those foods, I'm not convinced I want them in my life anymore. They weren't good to me before... why would I go back, when clearly I can exist quite well on what I've been eating. When I can create good meals (right KTDID and MacTroll?) on things that are really quite healthy and don't include those items.

So, my realist, hottie friends are definitely right -- I should never say never.

But I tend to be an all or nothing girl, so we'll see how this goes.

Getting ready for my second 5k

So, I've been trying to work on running whole 5k. Today I managed to walk twice on a 5k run for 2 blocks. But I was pretty happy with my run.