Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Iced Ankles, Blueberries, Chocolate and Maslow

I'm sitting here icing my ankle. I don't even know if that is what should be done, but I don't know what else to do. I'm taking ibuprofen too . . . and soon, I'm going to try heating my ankle! I also wanted to buy some special topical herb that heals tendons the minute it is applied (I mean it probably does) but I couldn't remember what I'd googled to find it and I couldn't find it again. Also, I bought new shoes. I may or may not have been influenced by how cool they looked. Clearly that should be low low on my priority list, but, I have been wearing shoes all about stopping pronation for so long and they have been booooring to look at. So when this particular shoe claimed to be pretty much the best running shoe in the world . . . AND happened to be blue and yellow . . . well, I bought it. I'll let you know if it is the best shoe in the world later . . . when they aren't being shipped back because I accidentally bought the wrong size. Boooo. (That is boo like I'm booing at myself -- like two thumbs down . . . not boo like a ghost trying to scare you).

So, tendons. Tendons connect muscle to bone -- as opposed to ligaments that connect bone to bone. But tendons and ligaments don't have a super great blood supply coming to them, so they aren't speedy healers. It is very frustrating to me because I know the real cure is a lengthy rest period followed by sloooowly easing back into exercise. But that would mean not having my endurance built up to do awesome on this marathon . . . but I already don't run awesome because I literally run with a weird hoppingish gait because of my ankle. The real reason this is sad is that this has been thee most perfect training opportunity I have ever had all thanks to my AMAZING niece Ashley who, of her own free accord, comes over like ten mornings a week (is that even possible) to let me run. I seriously pray thanks for Ashley every day (between my prayers for my ankle to get better). It would never occur to me to do something so nice and so time consuming. So, with such a perfect opportunity, I am extra grumpy at my ankle for acting all wounded.

Anyway, I finally decided to take a week -- ONE WEEK -- off. I will lose one of the twenty milers I had hoped to get in and a week probably isn't enough time to heal much anyway, but like I said . . . there is the ice! Go ankle go!

And, on an unrelated note, I like how you always see studies in health magazines, etc. that say something like, "Good News!! Chocolate is actually good for you!!" and then proceed to say, "one ounce of DARK chocolate is super great to have each day -- but just one ounce -- and the more bitter the chocolate the better. So indulge! Enjoy yourself guilt free!" They should end those articles with, "HA! Suckers!" because they day an ounce of dark chocolate is indulging will be a sad sad day.

Oh, and here is something for my WA friends. Look how sad! I bought this today for $4.00 -- on sale! They aren't even fresh! All of you go pick your huge bowls of blueberries and shed a tear for me.

Another something: The other day my sister and I found a skirt in a catalog that said, "Meets all of your physical needs." That made us chuckle. Maybe you could eat it, but then how could you use it for shelter? Perhaps it meets your needs consecutively -- like wear it for a walk, use it for shelter from a storm for a night (when you get lost on your walk), and then eat it the next morning for breakfast. That doesn't leave you in a great situation in the end though, does it.
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But thinking of all the possible physical needs one might have (and whether or not this skirt might meet them) caused me to think of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (are you all familiar with this?). It is a pyramid and the idea is that you can't fill the higher needs until the lower needs like food and shelter are met. Wouldn't it be amazing if this skirt could actually help you to reach the top of the pyramid, which, as we all know from our studies of Maslow, is "self actualization."

I think these new blue and yellow running shoes are totally going to help me achieve self actualization! Not that a new skirt couldn't help.

Alright, my twenty minutes of ankle icing are up. Think what might have come out of this post had I had to ice for forty!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Abe's Hair and a Penny Clip

Have I mentioned Abe's hair before? I like it kind of long and, you know, "cool." Mike likes it pretty much butched, so we just go from one extreme to the other. At least his hair spends most of the time in the middle non extreme realm, but once it has spent a few weeks moppy like I like, off it all comes at the hands of Mike. What about Abe's say in this? Well, he doesn't actually have a say right now. I'm sure the time will come soon enough that he won't allow us to just have our way with things. Here are his most recent before and after shots.

The cool face in this one is because he thought he spied pineapple on his pizza (it wasn't pineapple, it was just the dough under his cheese . . . but clearly it would have been awful had it indeed been pineapple). We just got back from swimming so he's shirtless.
And here he is shorn. He told me he just looked like some kid he'd never seen before. Some kid who is tough and cool apparently.
And, here is some more footage. I can't help it. I adore this trouble making girl so much, and no one can know how hilarious and fun she truly is because the minute anyone beyond our immediate family is around, she gets all silent and grumpy. And when I try to film her saying and doing darling things, she only wants to see what I can see in the camera. This was after her bath tonight. I really do love crazy little toddlerhood.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

7 1/2 Month Jesse Footage

Hello boy. You are one darn good and cute little fella. And, it is a good thing that you are because you still spit up insanely giant amounts of spit up roughly 10 million times a day. So much so, that I have had to reassure some of my older nieces that this is not typical because they are starting to be terrified of babies after watching you do what you do. BUT, you are good at all the important things. Like being so so so so cute!!! We love you and all your cuteness and good little contentedness Mr. Jesse Frank. Remember when you were so tiny for like one second? Now you are a complete baby -- not even one bit a little newborn. How? Who knows. I like you.

video

Friday, July 17, 2009

Americana and "dumb couches"

As most of you know, I am quite fond of my husband, and for many reasons, but one of my favorite things is how often he says and does little things that make me laugh.

On Wednesday I told him that my blog entries were always boring lately. "What's something fun I can write about?" I asked.

"Write about Americana," Mike replied.

"Huh?"

"Americana. Everyone loves to hear about Americana in the summer time. You know -- hot dogs and house dresses."

He would give me nothing further on how house dresses and hot dogs (and I'm assuming cherry pie, fireworks, picnics and flags) could develop into a post. It is a shame though. I am sure he is right. Americana does seem right for summer and if I could turn this into a post about it, oh how lovely it would be. All I could think, however, was about a skirt I once saw in a catalog made out of patches of cute fabrics -- most of them in red, white and blues. It was a very cute "Americana" skirt and I regret not having purchased it. Instead, the best I can do is make this post have red and blue colored text.

So, enough of that. Last night I was watching "Lark Rise to Candleford." That's right, that show that is a BBC mini-series. KUED is replaying the episodes and I think it is season two, but I seem to be catching up to what is going on and who is who now.

Anyway, remember my dream of how I would be watching the DVD of it (which I couldn't get) while Mike watched with me? I mentioned he'd have the laptop in case he wanted to peruse some want ads? Well, that is just how it was. Mike was looking at motorcycles and four-wheelers online. He kept showing me different ones and asking my opinions.

Apparently my opinions were lacking proper enthusiasm and interest because Mike said, "You don't even care about these motorcycles."

And I defended with an equal accusation of, "You don't even want me to watch Lark Rise."

At which point Mike grumbled something like, "Fine, I'll just look up what you want." And, after a moment said, "Look, there aren't even any of those on here."

I looked over to see a screen that said, "No matches found." When I looked up to see what he'd searched for, I saw, "dumb couch." I guess that would be more along my lines than a motorcycle, but what is most along my lines is my Mike. I love him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Things Kids Expose You To

Shortly after I had Daisy, my brother Chris, his wife Priscilla, and my recently returned from a mission nephew Adam came to see me. What with labor having finished only an hour previously, the conversation naturally turned (at least naturally to me and Priscilla) to the details of my labor. After awhile of hearing this discussion, Chris turned to Adam and giving him a congratulatory pat on the back, informed him, "You are no longer a child. You are a man now."

So, maybe that is where it starts -- with the details of labor, its onset and full conclusion, but it certainly doesn't stop there. Oh noooo. That is far from the last of the unsettling images that will be placed in your mind. It is just that later it will come directly from your offspring.

Here were two conversations yesterday that were MILD -- very mild, but that made me slightly shudder all the same.

Abe: Daisy, did you know that people in China eat dogs with the hair and stuff still on.

Goldie (interrupting their conversation): I don't like to eat animals!

Daisy: Goldie, every time you eat meat you are eating animals.

Goldie: Well! I don't mean that. I mean I don't like to eat them when they're like alive.

Abe: Goldie, pretty much no one eats animals alive.

Goldie: I know, I don't!

Abe: Goldie! We mean that . . .

Me: Abe, maybe its best if we just sort of stop this conversation for now before anyone gets too upset.

Then, a few moments later Daisy calls in a tattle-tale sort of way, "Mom! Goldie thinks number two is alive!" (Yes, number two is what you think it is).

I looked at Goldie with eyebrows raised. She looked back, neither denying nor defending herself, just looking nervous. I smiled and shook my head and she just smiled too as if to say, "Mom, I know you would prefer we just drop this, and I would prefer it too because I may truly think what I think, and I don't know that I can properly defend my position or that you want me to have to."

As I said, those were two fairly mild things. There are oh so many questions and interesting bits of unasked for information regarding bathroom occurrences and on and on. Funny kids.

Also, I mentioned Abe explaining co-managers to Daisy the other day. It is also sadly funny to hear them discuss the harsh realities of life with one another. Here is what I heard coming from the front porch the other day (presumably they had discovered a bug caught in a spider's web):

Daisy: Abey! Let it go!

Abe (exasperated): I can't, Daisy! If spiders can't eat anything, bugs will take over the world!

Daisy: But that's only one single bug!

Abe (with loud frustration and annoyance): Daisy! (and then in a more quiet but sadly final tone)It's already dead.

I can't really explain this, but it is quite fascinating to me, when I look at my kids, and compare them to my baby Jesse, that they not only develop speech, but their minds actually grow to have their own thoughts and crazy unique ideas and ways of explaining the world -- things I never even put in their heads . . . and, of course, that is especially amazing when it is about more than just eating dogs with hair, and "number two," and the food chain, but even that stuff just reminds me all the more what a miracle these little people are. Somehow it almost seems impossible to me that the tiny little things I once carried inside of me are here making jokes and telling stories and creating their own assumptions and opinions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Co-Managers

I love hearing my kids explain things to each other. They come up with much better analogies than I ever could. The other day Abe was asking me about buying a business or a zoo and what you would do if you didn't know anything about the business, etc. I told him you'd probably want to hire people that knew about it or maybe have a co-manager to run it with you. He asked what a co-manager was and after I explained it he said, "Oh, like a co-pilot helps the pilot."

Just then Daisy popped into the conversation. "What's a co-manager?" She asked.

Before I could explain Abe piped in with, "It's like a co-pilot. Like if Han Solo owned a newspaper, then Chewbacca would be his co-manager."

Daisy seemed to understand completely.

Reunion Pics . . . Sort of

So, I know I was promising more pictures of my humongous family from our recent reunion, but first I didn't have enough pictures, and then, all of the sudden there were way too many pictures to choose from. Both my sisters Amy and Megan took tons of great photos that they shared with the rest of us, and I had some of my own. In the end, there was no possible way to choose which of the hundreds to post. So, instead, you just get a few quick ones that show very little of all the family.

Here were my two youngest at the end of the reunion. Penny in tears and Jesse passed out cold (though "it wasn't with out a fight" as Mike informed me -- Jesse is at the point where he is starting to not like to sleep in our arms and apparently it took quite a lot of crying before he gave up and Mike was the victor). Also I put these two because I think Mike is so handsome.
Perhaps a close up of "Jesse defeated" is in order.
And where was I, you ask, while Mike was battling these grumpy little ones?

I might have been here -- tempting death with some of my sisters and nieces on this rope swing.

Or maybe I was battling kids of my own. I've mentioned before that any fun we give our kids generally requires putting up with equivalent amounts of misery. It can't be helped. It's how they get their fun. At least the memories generally tend to be happy. (The firemen in my sister's little town spray this crazy foam stuff all over the place and the kids pretty much swim in it. . . . Goldie could never tell us what exactly was wrong. She sat in the foam sobbing but didn't want me to remove her.)

This is just a darling picture of Daisy with her cousins Kate, Charley and Maddie. Isn't Kate's little pointed toe the cutest thing?

And I couldn't resist this picture of Abe. Look what a cute boy I have. This is him looking into the arena after riding one of Megan's horses. Megan took both of these last two pictures I should add. You are getting great Megs! I should also add that Megan and Josh are pretty much living the life that should be Mikes.

"Track!!"

So, this is not a "pet peeve." I am sure we all have little pet peeves, but there is something about those little things that seems to show some smallness of character or an intolerance that isn't attractive. Maybe it is bundled up in the word itself? Petty and peevish.

I try to stifle those little annoyances. So, as I said, this isn't a pet peeve. I wasn't mad at anyone, but as I was running on the track yesterday I found myself wishing that more people knew track rules of etiquette. They don't, so it isn't their fault. It is like anything. I'm sure there are all types of activities that have rules I don't know so I ignore them. Just like the rules of where and when you should use cell phones. I have forgotten what proper etiquette says so I am sure I don't follow it.

Once a friend explained to me a "bowling rule of etiquette" which was -- you don't bowl at the exact same time as a person in the lane next to you. I was quite surprised to learn this because I hadn't realized there were certain good manners in bowling. Still, I have tried to observe that rule when, about every other year, I happen to be bowling -- just in case the people next to me are serious bowlers who recognize good etiquette and appreciate my observance of it.

On to the track. It is basically the same rule as driving -- if you are on the inside lane and someone comes up on you, it is always polite to move over a lane. Everyone who ever ran on a track team knows this rule. In fact, it was considered fine to call out, "track!" as you came upon someone so they would know to scoot over a lane for a moment. It made sense because sometimes someone would be practicing a precise time on a 200 meter run and naturally they would be coming much quicker than someone doing a warm up or the 2 mile. Alas, it would be considered rude or simply very strange to call, "track!" in the ordinary non-tracky world.

Just as there are some who stubbornly refuse to move out of the fast driving lane because "they are going the speed limit" there will be those of you who like to use the track and feel it a violation of your rights to have to move to lane two just because someone else is running faster. And if that is how you feel, so be it. No one will arrest you, but if, perhaps, like me with bowling, you want to know good etiquette, there it is. Inside lane is for whoever is running the fastest. You are under no obligation to move if you are already in an outer lane, and you can walk at a snails pace in lane one if you don't mind simply walking over a tiny bit for a moment when you hear faster steps approaching.

I don't even like to run on a track. I'm surprised how many people do. I always prefer to be out enjoying different scenery on the roads (or preferably trails), but when I am training for something, I try to throw intervals into my weekly runs. Intervals are basically speed work. So, instead of running for distance, you run miles, 800's, 400's, etc. at an uncomfortably fast pace. The idea being that it will help increase your normal running pace. A track is nice for these simply because you can so easily keep track (no pun intended) of your distance.

Anyway, yesterday I was nearly killing myself trying to sprint 400's (once around the track) and 800's. And at every lap I had to run out and around groups of mom's moseying along with strollers along the inside lane. Occasionally even just standing and chatting in groups along the inside lane. I know they weren't intending to be rude. But I was seriously barely making each sprint and it seemed oh so difficult to have to interrupt my goal each time running out and around. I just found myself wishing they knew and ever so grateful to the occasional runner that knowingly stepped to the side to let me pass.

So, now you all know. Now maybe I need a more interesting post seeing as this was boooooring. Probably none of you ever run on a track and have no real need of knowing this tid bit of information. I will tell you this though: "Track!" was such a great word to be able to yell. I find myself wishing I could use it all of the time -- in the grocery store when carts are blocking the isle and not realizing someone is behind them, "track!" I'd simply call and they'd scoot right over. On campus I was always one that preferred to walk quickly to my destination. How convenient to have called, "track!" all along the crowded sidewalks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Running Pains and The Old Days

I remember at the end of my senior year my body kept trying to be sick, but what with state track, AP tests, graduation things, etc. there was simply no time for such nonsense. So, I simply had to put off being sick as best I could. It worked pretty well . . . only in the end I lost my voice for about a month's time.

The same thing happened occasionally as a semester would be ending in college. There would be papers due and finals to take. The flu would be knocking, but it simply had to wait until the day after all was done -- then I could hold off no longer and it would claim me.

Something similar (only slightly different) seems to be happening to me now. My knees were beginning to hurt running (as they have before) so I got some new pronation control running shoes (my ankle turns in too much during my heel toe strike -- which stresses your knees), but now my right ankle is developing tendonitis and hurts all the time (my sister-in-law Missy -- champion runner and Physical Therapist -- thinks these shoes have too much pronation control and are now stressing my outer ankles). I know my poor joints are trying to give out -- trying to be sore and have a good long rest, but there is NO time!! How can I let my injuries take over and expect to complete the training I need to for this Sept. marathon? I can't. No time now for such weakness. I just keep barring the door as best I can and hoping the latch will hold until after the race. Then the injuries can go ahead and claim me if they must.

Whatever happened to the old days when, if an unexpected rainstorm began during a mere stroll to a nearby manor, you would be immediately taken with a raging fever? You would most likely not even be able to finish your walk before such a life threatening condition would set in.

I guess it was probably best that women were all so frail back then. What other chance would there have been for some rich and noble bachelor to chance upon a woman in her moment of despair and carry her to safety? How else could he be expected to court her so devotedly and lovingly as he might whilst she lie in tremors and tossings on her sick bed? Eventually the fever would break, he would bring flowers, she would gaze serenely into his eyes, and a wedding would be forthcoming.

I suppose it would never have done for her to have been running about the countryside, miserable and sweaty with an aching knee and a sprained ankle. I can't imagine what kind of prospects that might have produced for any woman.

I guess it is lucky that I have already been courted and wed. Now Mike doesn't even have to send for the local doctor and bring me flowers and wait patiently night and day at my bedside. He just might have to buy me a new pair of running shoes . . . again . . . like he surprised me with only a month ago . . . because it would immediately fix all my knee problems (I'd assured him) . . . and there certainly wouldn't be more problems.

So, it actually might be easier for Mike if he could just toss me -- soaking wet, and in a feverish delirium -- over the back of his horse and trot me to safety. Maybe we are supposed to be frail after all. Who went changing things?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

From Mark to Megan

Most of you already know I come from a large family, but maybe you haven't all seen my large family. We had a family reunion this weekend (our first official one). Here are the stats on our family. 2 parents + 11 kids + 11 spouses + 57 grandkids + 6 grandkid spouses (well one is engaged) + 8 great grandkids = 104 people. 104 people??!! Could my parents have guessed at that when it was just the two of them starting their tiny little life together? Crazy.

Anyway, not quite everyone was able to be at the reunion -- a couple grandkids (mostly married ones) were away, so 12 were missing, but 3 friends came along so there were 95 of us in all.

I am so sad I didn't take loads of pictures -- but there was too much going on. Still, I will post one now and I will post more fun reunion pics when I have stolen a few more from siblings.

When we were little, instead of "Mark. Set. Go!" We would say, "Mark . . . Tony, Kathy, Amy, John, Rob, Chris, Aaron, Shannon, Nancy, Megan. Set. Go!" And that was us, in order. And here we are now. The original crew.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What I've been reading and watching (or not watching) lately

So, I finished War and Peace awhile back . . . or did I? Well, it is quite frustrating. You see, the story was done. The characters gone. The 1200 pages traversed. The tale finished. . . . And yet . . . there was more . . . 30 pages more. What's 30 pages after 1200, you ask? Oh nothing. I know. I have to finish or I may as well have just stuck with only ever having read the abridged version. It is just that before, when Tolstoy would leave off the story to philosophize about wars and the whys and wherefores (in a "which came first -- the chicken or the egg" fashion), there was always the pull of needing to get back to the story to get me through it. But to end the story and then expect me to read 30 more pages of tiny print? Sigh. I must . . . but I am not the intellectual some of you might be and while I recognize the value in much of what he says and have learned a great deal about Napoleon and war itself, I have to force myself to read it and in truth, I don't enjoy it. Still, I'll do it, but may I just say, that I think War and Peace is a great great book with amazing people and a great story . . . SOOO, despite my own embarrassment at having previously read only the abridged version, it now occurs to me that I would most likely recommend the abridged to anyone wanting to just have a really good book. There you will find all of the story line with fewer of the breaks.

But, while I have been putting off reading the rest of those pages, I read Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. She wrote The Goose Girl -- which I've heard of but never read. Anyway, it is a quick young reader type of book, but just a fun and happy thing to read. Thanks Marnie for lending it to me (when it wasn't even yours to rightfully lend).


Next, I read Watership Down by Richard Adams. My mom read us this book when I was probably 10 or 11. I didn't remember the story line though -- just that I'd liked it. Anyway, its about rabbits. I know, I know, you are thinking it couldn't possibly be good or worth your while. "Rabbits!!?" you are thinking, "That's a good one!" I don't mean "about rabbits" as in "a book telling you about rabbits." I mean that the characters are indeed rabbits, but seriously, it is such a great story. I think Abe and Daisy would love me to read it to them, but some of it is a little violent so I will probably wait, but honestly, I spent the last half of the book "on the edge of my seat" so to speak -- biting my nails and thinking they would never make it. It really is quite a great tale. I think Mike would have liked it too, but I knew I was too impatient to read it out loud to him because then I could only read it when he is home (and since we have been reading a book for the past two years together, I knew what waiting to read it with him would mean).

As for watching -- I don't watch much anymore. In WA, all the shows came on at 8 or 9 pm when my kids were asleep, so Mike and I sometimes liked to watch something or other. Here they all start at like 7 pm! As if that would ever work. We still watch LOST and as much as I hate saying I love something that everyone says they love, I do like it, and I think all of you should get the first season and starting watching right away if you think you would never like LOST. Anyway, LOST isn't on right now so I really don't watch TV.

But, the other night I happened to turn the TV on one of the public broadcasting stations to find a little show called "From Lark to Castleford" coming on. It only lasted an hour and was as charming and good as most any English countryside show I've ever watched, but I wasn't sure if I'd just seen the end of a mini series or what. I looked it up and it turns out it is an entire BBC series. It has already had two seasons. I was so excited to watch them every now and then, so I looked on Amazon only to discover they were priced in "pounds" equivalent to about 46 bucks in American money. And that, just for one season! To add insult to injury, it said that the discs wouldn't work in most US DVD players. What?? Do we have different DVD players than the Britts? What is going on here? Since when are good English shows made exclusively for the English? I was so happy thinking of myself cozying up on my couch at night to watch an episode or two. Mike would be with me -- and while I might let him have the laptop handy to peruse classifieds when bored, he would mostly enjoy them with me. What has this world come to? Somehow I really can't accept that there can be NO "From Lark to Castleford" for me.
Anywho, there is the run down on my recent media experiences. Are books media?

A Little This and That

I was not joking around about these things bringing the birds. This is a common sight. Sadly they are all starting to die.(No, not the birds, sillys. The flowers!) I wish more perennials would bloom all Summer.

Next, here are the plates my kids made. Now, whoever said I wasn't a fun mom? Oh wait, it was my own self that said it. Well, never mind that. Clearly I was mistaken. Anyway, by the time you buy the papers, pay for the plates to be made, and pay for the plates to be shipped; each plate only ends up costing about 8 billion dollars! (Side note: Once, in one of my religion classes, the professor said something about the number "40" in the scriptures. You know, it rained 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus fasted for 40 days, etc. He said something about the Hebrew or Greek word actually meaning "many." I don't know if that is right, but I notice when I exaggerate I tend to use an "8" followed by millions and billions, and maybe that is why; maybe that is just my own "40" -- my own number signifying "many.")
Also, here is something you won't want to miss.
Yes, that is the doll and the frog that Daisy and Goldie made. Really, could anything be cooler than those stuffed animals? I can't think what could. Maybe you need a closer look at frog to be convinced (and yes, Goldie did draw the pattern herself):
The cool thing is, they like them as much or more than any of their other stuffed animals or dolls.
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