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Friday, December 21, 2012

MN Running

The Christmas vacation is going well -- lots of travel, lots of fun times so far -- and the running too has been grand.

On Tuesday, when we got here, I hit the road for a 4 miler, Wednesday I did a fun 7 miles, and yesterday, I went for cold and slippery 3 miler.

Today, I rested.

Tomorrow, it's gonna probably be the treadmill, but with temps in the single digits, I'm not gonna complain about that!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Like a Prom Dress

We're off!

Minnesota, here we come!  We're bracing ourselves for the frozen north, and I'm sure it'll be a shock to all our systems, so we spent the weekend -- in between cleaning, laundry, and packing -- soaking up the outdoors and the warmth and sun of South Florida.

As for the running?  Well, I've got my tights!  My goal is simply to fit in what I can; it's gonna be a busy trip, but I'll make some time to run.  I'm sure I'll need it so I don't lose my mind.

I'll probably post a few periodic things to the blog over the next 12 days, but for the most part, expect radio silence.  So, enjoy your own holidays!

Later gators!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funnies

Norah has had some good ones lately.  Thus, my holiday gift to you:

"Here, Mom," handing me a wrapped gift from under the tree, "open this.  It's coffee."


"Oh my gosh!  Guys come in here!  My poop looks like meatballs!"


"I want Brady to come over to our house and sleep in my bed"

Me: "But where would you sleep then?"

Norah: "In my bed too!  I'd sleep next to him!"

Me: "I think that will kill your father."


In an effort to spread out the gift opening a bit, we decided to let the kids each open a gift last night, and at bedtime, Norah had a case of gift-openers-remorse.

"I should've opened the red one.  I wanna put this back in the box and open the red one."


Norah's argument that she should get her turn on the iPad:

"But, Mom, there's new games on there: I can make Mac&Cheese and I can make cupcakes..."

Me: "I know those are fun, but Dad's using it right now."

Norah in the whiniest possible voice: "But, he's not sharing!"

"Just be patient, you'll get your turn and you can mix up Mac&Cheese to your heart's content."

"But, it's MY iPad!"

Me: "No, it's not, it's mine."


This morning: "Mom, you gotta wipe Caleb's nose.  He's got a lot of boogers and they're bothering me."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santa: Take the Sweat Away!

After nearly 2 months of gloriously pleasant "winter" temps, in the last few days, South Florida has greeted the return of icky hot, humid weather.  I realize that for those living in the frozen north, that might sound delightful, but for me, the temperate winter months in SoFL are about the only perk to running in a sub-tropical region.

So, to be greeted by 80+ degree temps and 90+ relative humidity is not welcome this time of year.  Last night when I ran, I returned home as soaked in sweat as I would be in mid-summer.

Not cool, December, not cool.

Of course, I suppose I should try to savor it: Next Tuesday we fly to MN where I'm gonna freeze my tookus off for 10 days (I haven't experienced a smidgen of winter in 4 years -- the last time we were in MN at Christmas time -- and am most certainly de-acclimated to cold and snow).  So, I know I shouldn't be complaining, but I can't help but be kinda looking forward to running in the cold instead of the heat.

I'm gonna regret that sentence, aren't I?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back to the Gym

At the start of the semester, I had been making treadmill running at the campus gym a regular habit.  I don't love the treadmill, but I was taking advantage of a window of time in my day and, with the timing, the treadmill was the best fit.

Then late September struck and several things happened at once: I got sick (for about 6 weeks), my semester really got underway, and the weather cooled off.  This trio had me out of the gym for more than 2 months.

That's not a bad thing.  I prefer to run outdoors even if it is at night, in the dark.

But, this week, I decided to give the gym one last hurrah! before the end of the semester.  You'd think with finals week this week, I'd be buried in work and wouldn't have the time to squeeze in a run with the treadmill, but while I am buried in work, my schedule for finals is irregular this week, so I have some extra pockets (and even a day -- Thursday, I think I'm planning to stay home) of time that I don't normally have in any given work day.

So, this morning, I arrived on campus, outfitted in my running clothes and totting my gym bag.

It's been so long, it took me 3 tries to get the code for the faculty locker room correct.  And, then at the front desk of the gym, the girl behind the counter exclaimed: "I haven't seen you in forever!"

The good thing about it being finals week is that students are all at home pulling their hair out and mainlining coffee, and they're definitely NOT crowding the gym at 9 am, so I had my pick of treadmills and never got even a single treadmill neighbor while I ran.

I dutifully ran my 3 miles, but lordy, it was tedious -- that never changes.  I pretty much stared at the digital display the entire time counting down the mileage and the minutes until I was done.

Afterwards, I showered (in the locker room where they now have HOT water -- yay!) and got ready, and now, sitting here in my office, I feel that sense of superiority that a runner gets having gotten her run done in the first part of the day.  Really, I think that's the only advantage I can say this morning's run had.

Still, while it's a singular advantage, it's a significant advantage because tonight, at home, when I have that extra time, I will appreciate it.

Now, onto that mountain of papers.  Anyone wanna read those for me?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Foto Friday: Christmas Cards

Getting two kids to look and smile at the camera at the same time is just about as difficult for me as solving a word problem in an Algebra class -- a task I deem impossible and usually just abandon.  But, this year, I lucked out and managed to snap this pic of the two kiddos for our holiday card: A Christmas miracle!

Like finding a four leaf clover, this shot was purely a stroke of good fortune. 

Among the outtakes, there were about 1.2 billion other pics that featured one of them looking, no one looking, someone crying, someone picking his or her nose, Scooter's butt, or Caleb pointing at something using his middle finger.

One of these years, I'm gonna just use "those" pics.  It's more representative of the true nature of this household, which is place where a girl can sneeze masking tape out of her nose at the dinner table or where a boy stands up and pees in the bath tub every. single. time.

Still, I always refrain from using those "bloopers" because I figure the holidays are a time of magic and make-believe, and with such perfectly posed smiling pics, I can kinda trick myself into believing that these two are nothing but sweet, obedient angels.

They sure look that way, don't they?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Running Buddy

Last night, I was getting ready for my run, and Norah declared that she wanted to go with me.  She didn't want to ride in the stroller, she wanted to run.

I said okay, and she got on her running shoes, and off we went!

At first, she was truly into the running:

"Look at me running, Mom!  I'm so fast!  We're super runners!  This is so fun!"

Then, after a bit, she declared she was "super tired" and needed a walk break.  From there on out, we basically ran intervals -- run for about 1or 2 minutes and then walk for a few minutes, then run again.  In total, we went 1.25 miles, and it took us 28:50.

We took some detours so we could view some houses' Christmas decorations and lights, we took some detours so Norah could pick up sticks or so she could inspect a hole in a tree, and we took one detour so she could "walk through the dirt."  And, all along, we chatted.  Norah, like most 3 year olds, basically narrates every single thought that enters her head, so it went a little like this:

"Ariel's not my best friend anymore."
"Natalie is my best friend now.  She has the same shoes as me."
"Brady's also my best friend.  Because I like him.  And he likes me.  He told me."
"Brady said I could come to his house and play."
"I want Brady to come to my birthday party."
"My birthday's in August.  That's really far away.  I'm gonna be...how many am I gonna be?"
"I want a Barbie cake for my birthday."
"I want Barbies for my birthday too."
"I told Santa that I want a Barbie for Christmas."
"Santa's watching so I have to be good so I get presents and candy.  I've been good."
"Brady's been good too."
"Brady has an elf that watches him and tells Santa if he's good or bad.  He's good.  I don't have an elf."

To me, even though I could've run a full 3 miles in that time, the "run" was priceless.  Since I got pregnant with Norah, and ran with her then, I've always hoped that running could be something we share as she grows up, and in my mother-daughter-running-fantasy, I've hoped for runs exactly like this (well, maybe more actual running, but that's a process).

It was kinda hard to put aside my selfish desire to get MY run done, but in all other ways, it was a great run.  Mostly because of the wonderful company.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

#1,000 and Jury Duty

So, the last time I blogged, I left you sitting on the edge of your seat about my nearly 1K for the year's mileage, so first let me relieve you of the burden of that anticipation:

I did indeed get my final miles in last Thursday and Friday so that I hit 1,000 by Nov 30th.

Over the weekend, then, I got Dec kicked off with 2 short runs (3 miles and 4.5 miles respectively).  I don't really have much by way of Dec running goals -- the month will be busy (I have less than 2 weeks remaining in the term and then we fly to MN for a 10 day vacation over the holidays), and I don't know how much running will get done.  So my Dec approach is just run what gets run.

In other breaking Jess news, I had to serve on jury duty yesterday.  It was a long day of sitting and waiting, but on the whole, it was actually a kind of pleasant day.  I just sat and read all day.  I never get to do that anymore!  It helped that I am reading a really engrossing book:

I'm actually reading like 3 books right now (hopping around between them depending on my mood), but this one has sucked me in.  I started it Sunday evening, and after yesterday's marathon jury duty reading session, I'm 2/3 through it.  In many ways, the plot is a bit predictable, but it's compelling nonetheless.  Plus, it's very fast-paced and the reading is easy, so I'm speeding through it, which is kind of a nice break from the other two books I'm reading which are a bit denser and more demanding (Book 3 of Game of Thrones and the Lincoln biography Team of Rivals).

Back to the jury duty business: I didn't get selected for a jury, so what sucks is that I'm still obligated to call in every night for the next two weeks, because I may still have to return to serve within that timeframe.  Worst timing ever with the end of the term, but whatever.  I think the likelihood of getting called back within the next two weeks is slim, but we'll see.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


As of right now, that's how many miles I've run this year.

Originally, I'd been hoping to hit the big 1,000 mile marker in early October -- then the SICK happened and my fall mileage really took a nose dive.  Oh well, that happens, right?

Thus, my revised goal: Run the year's 1,000th mile by tomorrow to close out November by hitting a 4 year high in yearly mileage (I haven't even come close to 1,000 miles in a year since I got preggo with Norah).

If everyone goes ahead and does a leeetle math, you'll see that I need 9.51 miles between today and tomorrow to round out this goal; this means running 4.75 miles both today and tomorrow. 

Challenge extended?  Challenge accepted!

Mile #1,000, here I come!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Gear: Boobies Edition

So, I'm just gonna go ahead and admit the unadmittable: I have been wearing some running bras for about 7 years now.

Dudes probably don't know that's a "bad" thing, but ladies probably know that supposedly, you're supposed to switch out regular bras once every 6 months or so (does anyone truly do this?  I don't know about you, but last I checked, bras aren't cheap, so I know I don't replace bras that frequently), and because running bras are meant for the nitty-gritty of ta-ta support, you're not supposed to wear one for even that long.

Ha!  Really? 

Sports bras are just as expensive, if not more so, than regular bras, so who truly can afford to replace them that often?  And, what do you do with the old ones?  You can not donate bras, no charity accepts them, because, um, who wears someone else's old bras?  Especially running ones that have months or years' worth of sweat saturation?  Yummers.

Anyhoo, as I said above, I have a few running bras, which I'll be honest, are very comfortable, and I've been wearing them for far too long. 

And, unfortunately, boobs change after you have kids.  Sorry, if you don't have kids and you want them and think that your boobs now will be the same afterwards; I'm here to burst that bubble: Kids will ruin your boobs.  During pregnancy, you get totally rad boobs, and then if you breastfeed, the radness continues, but then when you stop nursing?  Nature is like, "No boobs for you!"  And then what you're left with is something that resembles an orange in a tube sock.

In short, my boobs now are not what they were years ago when I first started wearing a few of these old bras, so the truth is, even though those ancient bras are comfortable, they're not really giving me the support I'm supposed to have while running.

Knowing this, and being concerned for the support of my sweater bunnies, Jerry bought me some new sports bras as an anniversary gift (forget Victoria's Secret, I want Nike!).  The past few days I've been able to wear my new gear, and I have to say, they are delightfully comfortable and, wow, HELLO support!

Guess I need to demote a few of the really old bras.

Ladies, what's the longest you've worn a sports bra?  Dudes, aren't you glad you don't have to even think about this?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Holiday Round-Up

The Thanksgiving 4 Day weekend is always one of my favorite times of year: So many of my favorite things rolled into a 4 day holiday!  Here's the rundown of the 2012 Turkey Day Weekend:

Thursday morning, I got up early for my annual running of the Turkey Trot 5K.  We had lots of friends join us to either run or spectate, so it was a festive way to kick off the day.  We had perfect running weather, and I ran my guts out and scored myself a new 5K PR: 26:35!  Shaved 74 seconds off the old PR!  I was pretty proud of myself. 

Here's me and my cheering section afterward:

After the race, everyone came back to our place for some donuts and coffee to celebrate strong running all around -- I think everyone who ran met or exceeded their race goals -- and then once everyone packed up and left post-race, we put the parade on while we tended to the Turkey Day dishes that we needed to prep.  Then, in the early afternoon, we headed over to our host's house for the afternoon/evening festivities.

We had a wonderful day over there.  The kids played, the adults drank and snacked, and then we all stuffed our faces with an overwhelmingly awesome dinner.

Here's Caleb and his buddy Mason "driving" the Jeep:

Here's Norah taking a little break from running around (she and the older kids spent several hours literally running in circles):

And, here are the kids (minus Caleb) at the kids' table during dinner.  There wasn't much eating going on there, but they had fun dining together:

When we got home Thursday night, we had two very tired munchkins (and we were pretty spent ourselves), and let's just say it was an easy bedtime! 

On Friday, we drove to Miami to meet up with Jerry's sister and her family, who had flown in to depart for a cruise, so we spent the afternoon and evening at their hotel in Miami, and again, the kids wore themselves out, this time playing with their cousins.

Sunday was our 7th wedding anniversary, so Saturday night, we had a sitter and Jerry and I went out to celebrate -- by going Christmas shopping!  Kinda lame for an anniversary, but it was awesome to shop without the kids, for the kids, and simply taking our time walking around Target is pretty much heaven to us.  We still took the time to have a nice dinner together, but it felt good to get 90% of our shopping done too.

Today, then, we all had the groggy-eyed adjustment of returning to work and school and the shock of being back on a schedule this morning was a rude awakening, but at least I only have 3 weeks left of the term, and then it's Christmas Vacation!  I think I can survive until then.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's What She Said

Last night, I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and I overheard the following conversation between Norah and Jerry in the living room:

Norah: "Caleb is getting bigger and bigger.  Soon, he'll be big like me and he'll wear underwear!"

Jerry:  "Yeah, soon he'll get big and wear underwear, but that's still pretty far away.  He's still a bit of a baby and he'll probably wear diapers for awhile longer."

Norah: "Yeah, but soon he'll get big and wear underwear!"

Jerry:  "Yes, it'll happen soon.  But, you know what?  That's actually gonna make me kinda sad."

Norah: "Why?"

Jerry:  "Because when he's big and wears underwear, it'll mean there's no more babies in this house and I'll miss having you guys as babies."

Norah thought on this for a moment and then responded: "Maybe someone can let us borrow their baby."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey Trot: Race Preview

On Thursday, I'll run my 8th consecutive Turkey Trot 5K (viva la streak!), typically the only 5K I run each year, and always my favorite race of the year -- mostly because it starts and ends across the street from my house, and who doesn't love that kind of racing convenience? 

For my initial few years with the race, I used this race as my "A" shot at annual 5K PRs; interestingly, it has never provided me with a 5K PR.  Then, for a few other years (the past 4 years), I ran it just to run it: I was either pregnant or just getting back to running post-baby and I had no expectations for time.

This year, however, may be a different story.

Since recovering from my string of autumn illnesses, I have been logging some of the fastest runs that I've logged all year.  Last night, I ran a 3 miler in 27:06 (which was actually a slight disappointment since I'd been on target to run a sub-27 min/3 miler but had to stop and wait to cross an intersection, and I lost a few seconds off the run).

Thus, I think I may be poised to try and chase down my 5K PR (currently at 27:49) on Thursday.

Although just saying that feels like a jinx.  Still, jinx or no, the conditions are ripe for a potential PR:
  • The weather is forecast to be PERFECT: 58-60 degrees at the race start.  To me, that is THE best running temp.
  • Always in my favor with this race is my knowledge and familiarity of the course.
  • My recent speed has boosted my confidence that I still have the ability to run fast.
  • Knowing I have a cheering section at the finish line is a good incentive; I love having Jerry and the kids there to cheer me on.
Still, despite the conditions in my favor, a Trot PR has always eluded me in the past (maybe I psych myself out because I feel I ought to be able to ace this race), and a conservative part of me doesn't want to over-extend my hopes.

I'm trying to quiet that doubter in me, though, and I think after 4 years of running this race "just to run," I'm ready to run a race where I try to leave it all on the course.

And, afterward, I'm gonna eat my weight in turkey.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Running: A Necessary Friend

For the past week, I've been wrestling with a personal conflict that has had me emotionally and mentally wraught. 

I don't mean to "vague blog," but I cannot openly discuss the particulars of this because the public blogosphere is not the place, but don't worry, everything is fine in my immediate family: Jerry's cool, kids are cool, Scooter's a fat turd, but he's cool too.

Anyhoo, I have been churning a lot of things over in my mind, many of which I thought that I had already "gotten over" -- either through time, maturity, or by running it all out -- but, it turns out that the intensity of my reaction to this recent conflict has revealed some distasteful aspects of myself and my feelings about issues that I thought I had long ago leg wrestled and won.  I've thus realized this past week that I have some work to do for myself and that, perhaps, some mental and emotional hurdles require lifelong attention.

Running, then, has been a valuable companion this past week.  Despite my emotional baggage, my runs have been a way to "lighten" my load.  It has been an outlet for anger that I didn't know was broiling just beneath my surface, and the result has produced has some very satisfying runs: Mentally, but also physically, and I've run some of the fastest runs that I've logged all year.  And, man, have they felt good. 

Thanks, running.

Certainly, running can't replace the valuable talks and insights I've gained through my supportive spouse, my brother, and a few close friends, but it has been a great means to converse with myself.  Running alone doesn't solve everything, but it sure does help.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grateful for the Great Ham and Cheese

Norah doesn't quite grasp emotions yet.  Or, really, she doesn't quite grasp the complex expression of emotions or emotional language.  For instance, in response to a question like, "Why are you crying?"  She often says, "Because I am."

Recently, at school, their focus for a week was on emotions, so they were learning about happy, sad, angry, frustrated, scared, etc.  Still, even after the week's study, Norah pretty much limits her emotional range to "That makes me happy!"  and "That doesn't make me happy!"

Yesterday, then, I was trying to talk to her some about Thanksgiving and what it means to be thankful.  Granted, "thankful" is a toughie in terms of emotional range, and I used a lot of big words (grateful, appreciate), but I also did my best to frame it in her "what makes you happy" way of understanding the world.  So, I was explaining the kinds of people and comforts that she has in her life that she should be thankful for; then I posed the question to her: "So, sweetie, what are you thankful for?"

"Sandwiches," she told me.

"Sandwiches?" I asked.  The choice confused me.  "Candy" I could've seen coming, but sandwiches?

"Yeah, sandwiches make me happy."

Okey-dokey.  Sandwiches, people, Norah is thankful for sandwiches.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Times the Charm

Today, I had the day off work, but my brain was "occupado" with an issue that was gnawing at me.  So, I figured I'd start the day with a run both in an attempt to get the run done and to allow my mind the opportunity to contemplate.

Unfortunately, the run was no fun from the start: I hadn't eaten any breakfast and my tumbly was a rumbly, and then despite the fact that running usually allows me the opportunity to let my mind wander, I just couldn't focus.  A half mile into it, I knew that this run wasn't happening.  I threw in the towel and walked home; my brain no better for the lack of a completed run.

I spent the day organizing dressers, closets, and shelves -- cleaning out old clothes and toys and sorting what should be kept, re-organized, donated, and thrown.  After organizing, I got to cleaning -- the deep kind of cleaning I only get to do about once every few months.

The combination of organizing and cleaning felt good: cleansing, refreshing.  This helped ease my mind of the issue that was nagging me, but as my chores drew to a close, I still knew that I could benefit from finishing the run I'd started earlier in the day.  Originally, I'd planned to reward my housework with a mani/pedi, but I decided that my feet would be put to better use by pounding the pavement.

So, I laced up and headed out for the day's second attempt at getting a run done.  This time, I also chose to take along my Shuffle for some tunes, and I had a great run: 3 "fast" miles (a 9:30 pace, for me, that's smokin').  When I finished the run, I felt much better: My problem wasn't gone in those 30 minutes, but the run allowed me to see that the issue wasn't as dramatic as I'd made it out to be; plus, I just felt more mentally sound.  I was still unsettled, but I could put the issue into better perspective.

This is why I run. 

It provides me with the necessary mental and emotional release I need, and when I have something tugging at me, bothering me, my first instinct is to "run on it."  My friend Wendy said once that we're "all running away from something," and that has always been a sentence that has lingered with me for contemplation.  Do I run away from issues instead of face them?  Maybe.  But, after literally thinking on her statement for years, I have come to the conclusion that running is my way of facing what troubles me; it helps me determine how to solve problems or how to allow to "lay down" some problems.  And, I figure, there are worse ways of dealing with such issues.

What do you think?  Are we all running away from something?  Or, running toward something? 

Is it just two sides of the same coin?

Friday, November 09, 2012


I mentioned one running item I'd like to add to my Christmas wishlist yesterday, but that's honestly the first time this season that I've given any thought to what I'd like.  Up until yesterday, I've been focused on the kids' lists, mainly because every day, Norah talks about her list for Santa: "...and, I want an Ariel cup, and an Ariel plate, Tinker Bell wings, pixie dust, a Belle dress, glass slippers, Cinderella gloves, and Barbie..."

See any themes there?

The past two evenings, she has been absorbed in paging through a Target toy flyer we got in the mail.  We told her to circle the items she'd like to add to her wishlist.

She has basically circled every toy in that booklet.

She's also been kind enough to consider not just herself, but Caleb, and what he'd like from Santa.  So, in the Target flyer she thoughtfully circled toys she thinks he'll enjoy: Thomas the Train sets, Hot Wheel cars, Tonka trucks, etc.

This morning, then, on our way to school, she had the following conversation, basically with herself:

Norah:  "Caleb wants some Jake and the Neverland Pirates toys from Santa."

Me:  "Okay, well, he'll have to put that on his wishlist."

Thoughtful pause.  Norah: "Caleb doesn't have the words to say 'I want Jake and the Neverland Pirates.'"

Another pause, then: "I can tell Santa for him.  I can tell Santa: 'Caleb wants Jake and the Neverland Pirates.'  Yeah, I'll do that."

Problem solved.  It was a very cute moment.

This holiday season (which has technically not even begun yet) brings me back to my own childhood when I spent hours pouring over the Sears and JCPenney toy catalogs circling items for my wishlist.  Did you do that too?  Did Santa deliver on all those goods for you? 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Winter Running

This morning, I had two running outfits in hand: In one hand I had a short sleeved shirt and shorts; in the other, I had a long sleeved shirt and capris.  It was 50 degrees out and a tough call.

In the end, I went with the short sleeves and shorts, and I was grateful I hadn't chosen the warmer ensemble.  I know that despite the fact that at 50 degrees I feel cold at the start of the run, a little ways in, I'm always nice and toasty.

When we have temps this cool (I know, that clause just made many of you hate me), I do wish I had arm warmers.  I think they'd be a nice way to compromise the two above choices.  Maybe I should put them on my Santa wishlist.

Anyhoo, I'm truly loving the weeks we have now had of lovely temperate running weather.  The other night when I was running, I was honestly thinking to myself: "This is SO great!  I love this!"

I just wish I had winter's temps with summer's long days because the one compromise with winter is the lack of daylight.

By 5:30 pm, it's dark here, and for me this makes it hard to get out and run, for several reasons:
  • I'm not inclined to leave the house once it gets dark.  This self-imposed isolation seems to be increasing with age.  I know that 10 years ago, I went places after dark.  Now, I'm like, "What?!  We can't leave the house!  Look, it's dark outside!"  Thus, it's hard to get up the mojo for an evening run.
  • The darkness at 6 pm is not darker than at 6 am, but it feels more insidious.  Like, I'm definitely toying with being murdered if I'm out running at 6 pm. 
  • Even though I run well-lit, residential streets, there are pockets of shadowy darkness, and it seems very possible that I will trip over a lip in the sidewalk and break an ankle.
  • I've seen two raccoons the past few evenings when I've run after dinner.  I fear rabies.
  • Vampires.  'Nuff said.
In the past, I ran the darkened streets with less hesitation, I think (or maybe I always have this initial adjustment and then totally get over myself), but this year, I think I'm gonna fill my Amazon cart with enough reflective gear and headlamps so as to be seen from the moon.  I might also buy a little canister of mace.

Careful, raccoons, careful.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Season of Sick and Voting

They say that things happen in 3s.  In my case, this fall has been marked by 3 distinct illnesses for me: Mystery fever, flu, and now ear infection.

The current ear infection is the byproduct of a cold I picked up from the kids over the weekend.  At first, the cold seemed pretty harmless -- runny nose, that was about it -- but then Sunday night my right ear began to ache, and by the end of work yesterday, it felt like the entire right side of my head was throbbing.  I've never had an ear infection before, that I can recall, but I knew it was either that or aliens had laid eggs in my ear canal and the pain was millions of tiny alien hatchlings making my jaw their new home.

A quick visit to an urgent care confirmed that it was the former -- phew!  That just meant anitbiotics, not full out alien-attack.  I started the anitbiotics last night, and the prescription strength Motrin was a life saver.  Hopefully in a day or two, the infection subsides, and I can hear again.  It's shame not to be able to listen to all of Norah and Caleb's whining.

In other timely news, I voted this morning.  The wait wasn't bad, even though Jerry and I had the kids with us, the line moved steadily and the kids were actually super good for having to stand in a line that didn't end with a Disney character or a ride.

I may be the last person in America who enjoys politics and isn't cynical about it.  I genuinely believe that our government has the power and ability to improve the everyday life of its citizens.  Elections typically get swept up in the "big" controversial issues of government, but for me, it's about the daily contributions and effects that government has made and does make on my life, and I appreciate everything in my life that has been a product of government support:
  • the public schools I attended growing up,
  • the state university I attended for both undergraduate and graduate school,
  • the federal loans that allowed me to pay for graduate school,
  • the public college that employs me,
  • the National Parks I've enjoyed vacationing in,
  • the public parks I played in as a child,
  • the public parks I take my kids to on a regular basis,
  • the roads I drive on,
  • the bridges I drive over,
  • the ports and airports that have been departure points and destinations for me,
  • the federal regulations that have allowed us to re-finance our home,
  • the laws that allow me to drink my tap water without fear or hesitation,
  • the protection and safety provided by police, fire department, and military,
  • the mail delivered to my home 6 days a week, and
  • the equal opportunities and rights afforded to me by being an American citizen
I may be an idealist when it comes to government and politics, but when I look at what a lucky life I live here in America, I know that much of that is owed to the grandeur of idealism.  Cynicism didn't prompt this country to forge a new nation; idealism did.

So, when I vote, I always feel good.  Even if my candidates don't win, I know that I am a fortunate person, born, and living, in a fortunate country.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treatin: What a Treat!

The kids had a great Halloween, and we all had fun trick or treating tonight!
Jerry and Caleb at the start of the night:

Norah and Caleb taking a little candy break on a scenic bench:

Norah, Miller, and Caleb sharing a box of Nerds:

Caleb stoked that he scored another box of Nerds:

This is Norah on sugar:

We had a lot of fun, the kids got a HAUL of candy, and while everyone stayed up past bedtime, they still got to bed at a reasonable time, without much drama or sugar-infused fuss.  All in all, an excellent close to what's felt like an entire week's celebration!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Running

Following Sandy's innocent pass through our area at the end of last week, we have been graced with lovely weather: Cool, dry, 50s-60s.  Gorgeous!

Perfect for running.

Too bad there aren't more hours in the day.  I've been able to get out and enjoy short runs, but it would be nice to have the time for something longer.  Alas, with shrinking daylight and a busy schedule both at work and at home, it's hard to fit in even those short runs.

I hope the temperate weather lasts; I think Sunday we don't have anything planned...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Taking Kid Pics: A Mission Impossible

Getting one kid to look when you're taking a picture is a fate best left to chance; getting more than one kid to look at the camera at the same time?  Yeah, that's like this "Frankenstorm" -- happens once a century, I imagine.
Evidence?  Pics from today. 
Here are Norah (shorter version of Wedding Rapunzel) and Caleb (Spiderman) with their friends for a Halloween party today: I think each kid in each of these pics is looking in a separate direction.

So, you'd think the task might be easier if the numbers were reduced down to two, but nope, just as elusive a task.  This afternoon, we carved pumpkins, and I tried getting a few pics with the kids and their pumpkins.

Maybe because I watched the first half hour of "Talledega Nights" last night when it was on TV, but Norah, below, reminds me of Ricky Bobby in his first interview: "I don't know what to do with my hands!"

I tried taking Caleb's nook away, and this prompted him to come after me to retrieve it.

Jerry's pumpkin carving skills are impressive, but clearly distracting. (In case you can't tell, Jerry carved the Spiderman and Tinker Bell pumpkins and I did the artistically wonderous one on Caleb's lower left -- with triangle eyes and the "O" for a mouth.  Yes, my skillz are unmatched.)

And, sometimes, Norah just purposely ignores me when I'm taking pictures.  She can be a real gem.

And believe it or not, the above few with just Norah and Caleb were the product of bribery.  Yes, they each got a sucker for that performance.  If it weren't for suckers, I'd not manage any pics at all!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Body in Motion

Everyone is familiar with Newton's 1st law of Motion: If an object is at rest, it will stay at rest; if an object is in motion, it will stay in motion. 

The same seems true of me and running.  When in a groove (training for a race or streaking), nothing can stop me from running.  But once I break that pattern, or routine, motivation is slow to return and I easily find excuses that allow me to skip running.

Thus, for the duration of my recent streak (3+ months), I ran more than 400 miles.  Then, I got sick, took 7 days off, and well; now the mileage is shaping up to be extremely pathetic (I may not break 50 miles for October).  It doesn't help that I'm at midterm in the semester, which aside from the end of the term, is the busiest few weeks of the semester, plus I feel like I have a bazillion other little things on my plate right now.  None of them big, but combined, I have felt overwhelmed lately.

Plus, it's raining.  It's called Hurricane Sandy -- have you heard about it?  (Read that question with dripping sarcasm; who hasn't heard about the news-hyped storm that has been labeled a "Frankenstorm"?  My god, news channels must be slobbering with excitement: election climax plus giant storm?  Jesus Jetfuel Christ, it must be the ideal ratings potential!)

So, I've taken the past 2 days off.  And today it's really rainy and windy...so, yeah, someone needs to shove me out the door and just demand that I run.

Dammit.  Guess I have to do that myself, huh?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jess: 4 Bugs: 0

Yesterday, in comically cliche running fashion, I gulped down two bugs.  It was the sort of ingestion that we typically imagine when we picture insects flying into our gullets: The two literally went THWAP! against the back of my throat as I inhaled them with my gusty running lungs.

Other than swallowing two bugs, I also got one in my eye, and one flew straight up one nostril.

It was an all out bug-assault, and I was like a Jess Tank mowing down the flying insect population.  Odd for this time of year; I don't usually think of late October, when we have cooler more temperate weather, as being the normal environment for spawning these small, black gnats.  But, nature sometimes surprises.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Running on Beat Legs

Yesterday, Michelle Obama visited the college campus where I teach.  For me, it felt like a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to see the First Lady, so I was excited to see her speak.  Her speech was good: She was articulate, intelligent, but she also felt very accessible and "homey," and she was by turns humorous, contemplative, rousing, motivating, and she even got me to tear up a little -- which is no easy task -- so by all means it was a worthwhile opportunity for me to see her.

However, seeing her basically took up my entire day, and it demanded a LOT of standing and waiting.

The standing and waiting began at 11:30 when my friends and colleagues and I went to wait in line outside the gym where she was speaking.  It wasn't a bad day to be outside (we lucked out that it was a temperate day yesterday), but still, high noon meant temps in the low 80s.  In the shade, we were comfortable, but in the sun, we broiled.  The line was a painstakingly slow crawl through security, and it took us 2 and 1/2 hours to get into the gym!

Once inside, it was another hour+ before the First Lady took the stage, and then she spoke for about 40 minutes.  So, by the time I left, I had been standing for nearly 5 hours.  I hadn't peed, I hadn't drunk much water (because I didn't know what the bathroom situation would be), and I hadn't eaten anything.  I was toast.

Standing wears me out.  I mean, I'm used to being on my feet for several hours a day teaching, but standing?  Standing is different.  It wears my legs out, but also my lower back.  And, I think I'm worse than a child about waiting; it's so mentally tedious for me, even with company to chat with, and I can be incredibly impatient about lines (just ask Jerry about me and theme parks; he says I'm worse than any kid).

So, seeing the First Lady was a good experience, but also a tiring one, both physically and mentally.  Thus, when it came time to run yesterday evening, I really wasn't feeling it.  But, I also knew that I wanted to get out there, so I trudged through 3 slow, hard miles on tired legs.  Once done, I was pleased I had gotten out there, even if it took what felt like for.ev.er. to run those 3 miles.  Next time, though, it would be smart to run before choosing to stand for most of the day!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jell-O Faces, Puke, a Speeding Ticket, and the Zoo: aka, A Weekend with Jess

1.  I don't know if it's the excitement of Jell-O, or if he's just a natural goofball, but Saturday afternoon after some raspberry Jell-O for snack, Caleb was hamming it up for the camera.  Here are a few poses that struck me as particularly funny:

2.  So, you saw the red Jell-O, right?  Norah had that too.  After snack, we went to Target, and on our way home, Norah suddenly barfed all over the car -- bright red puke shot out of her, like the scene in The Exorcist.  We were seconds from home, so we were able to get her out of her puke puddle and into the house and get her cleaned up.  (The car was another matter; that took some CLEANING.)  After the volcano of vomit, I was bracing myself: Dear God, I just spent a month being sick, is this the start of a new round? 
Thankfully, it didn't materialize to much.  Norah was fine the rest of the evening; Caleb had one loosey-goosey diaper, and was fine; Jerry complained of feeling gross, but nothing much came of that but whining; and I had a bit of deuce juice first thing this morning, but a half dose of Immodium took care of that.  *Knock on wood,* but I think we just flirted with whatever this bug was.
3.  Today, we went to the Palm Beach Zoo for their annual Boo at the Zoo.  On our way there, I was busy talking to my SIL, who's down for a few days, and I wasn't really paying attention to my lead foot...until that damn highway patrol's lights came on in my rearview.  Nerds!  He wasn't willing to be lenient with me, and was even painfully sanctimonious, "Look at you, transporting such precious cargo at that speed"; save it dude, the ticket is enough, thanks.  So, I think I've gotta hire one of those ticket clinics for this one; the cost of the citation is outrageous, and it demands a court appearance.  Dang nabbit.
Otherwise, our trip to the zoo was fun:

Still, that ticket left a sour taste.  I suppose it's karma: I deliver a hard lesson to a student for cheating, and Fate makes sure I too get to learn a tough lesson.  Phooey.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week's Wrap Up

Thanks for the comments on yesterday's student dilemma; you guys all had some strong, and insightful, opinions about the issue.  Truth is, as soon as I typed the post and hit "publish," I'd already confirmed my decision; sometimes, I just need to write a problem out to find my solution. 

I stuck to my initial decision, and syllabus guideline, that the student fail the class.

There are details here that I've excluded for simplicity's sake, but basically, the essay's plagiarism was deliberate and blatant, and my syllabus clearly defines this and its consequences.  Ultimately, it's not fair to other students if I allow one person to circumvent my policies.

And, yes, I've had other students plagiarize before; in fact, I've had MANY cases of plagiarism -- each, I've treated in the same way, but occasionally, a student reacts in an unexpected manner that gives me pause.  Thankfully, plagiarism has actually declined it the past few years (due in large part to software detection that professors have at their disposal), but it still crops up about once or twice a year.

I've taught at the college level for 12 years now, and one of the biggest challenges is remembering to treat students as individuals.  I teach either 5 or 6 sections per semester, each class with a seat capacity of 25 students, so on average, each semester I have somewhere around 125-150 students.  It's easy to think of them, and their work, as a mass: As the cliche goes, "It's hard to see the forest for the trees."  So, sometimes when a student pleads with me or complains to me about a decision I've made, it forces me to remember that this student is unique, and I have to step back for a moment and make sure that I've considered them thusly.

Anyhoo, like I said, I made what I believe is the fairest decision and I informed the student of that decision, and she seemed to accept that.

In other news, I stood in line this morning for an hour and half for tickets on Monday to see the First Lady speak on our campus.  Now I just have to finagle some other instructor to cover my classes so I can actually go see the First Lady's speech.  That and find parking on Monday -- our campus is likely to be a quagmire in all regards because of the event.

Lastly, in actual running business, I decided to rest yesterday.  Part of me wanted to jump straight back into another streak, but after the time off, I think I need to work back up to that.  But, I do plan to run today and through the weekend.

So, happy weekend to everyone -- hope it's filled with some good running!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Last night, I ran another 3 miler as a follow up to Tuesday's start back to running.  My legs were a little stiff at first but they warmed up enough and the run went decently (slow but steady).  Today, though, I can really feel the back-to-back runs in my quads.  It's been awhile since I've felt sore from running; strangely, it's kind of an enjoyable feeling.

Am I sick in the brain or what?

In other news, I have a student issue weighing on me, which has been making my brain sore.  I had a student plagiarize an essay.  My policy on plagiarism is very rigid: Students who deliberately plagiarize (submit work that is not theirs -- and this student's work was NOT hers, it was copied from various websites) fail my class.  End of story: failure.  But...the student is now pleading with me for a second chance, and I'm on the fence about it.

Part of me feels like I need to stick to my syllabus' policy, which is harsh (I take the hardest possible line of punishment the college allows because I feel plagiarism is a serious affront to academic integrity), but I typically feel that students who plagiarize need the harsh lesson -- you steel, you pay.  However, another softer part of me feels that people do deserve second chances, and that perhaps a merciful approach provides just as much of a "teachable moment."

As I was running last night, I tried to sort through a solution, but I felt like I could argue with myself for both sides and 3 miles weren't enough to come up with a way to solve my dilemma. 

What's your opinion?  Deliver the hard lesson, or take the opportunity to allow someone to learn from her mistake and correct it?

Man, to even be thinking about allowing her a second chance means I'm getting to be a softie.  Some colleagues and I were talking about how parenting has changed our teaching the other day, and I said I didn't think it had changed me much: Now I see how it has. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Running to Decongest

Yesterday, after 7 days off, I went for a run.  Not only had I taken 7 days off, but before that, it'd been weeks of nothing but 1-3 milers.  I don't feel like I'm "starting over" with running, but I do feel as though some ground was lost due to nearly a month's worth of illness. 

Thus, the 3 miler last night was a bit laborious: My lungs burned a bit at first since I still have some major respiratory congestion, but I am the sort who believes that running is a good decongestant, so I figure the running is just loosening some of those goobers up.  After I warmed up some, though, the running went smoothly and it felt good to be back at it: My legs and my brain had missed it.

Afterward, I coughed for about 10 solid minutes, but it was "productive" coughing, so it was annoying, but probably good to get some of that gunk out.  Now, if only running could help unplug my ears; I'd like to be able to hear again.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Patch, October Crafts, and Miscellany

After 100 consecutive days of running, I haven't run in 6 days.  It pains me to have such a huge gap, but I have been sick, yo.  I'm healin', though, bit by bit.  Right now, I'm feeling better but my congestion is awful, I have no voice, my ears are plugged, and I have a cough that sounds like I've been smoking for 20 years.  Not sure when I'll be completely healed or when I'll try for a run, so I figured I'd go ahead and fill the silence with fun pics of the kids.  Who doesn't like that?

You'd never figure that I've been sick by all the activities we've been up to lately (which is maybe why it's so tough for a mom to get over being sick); it's been lots of fall festivities!

This past weekend, we made a pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch.

Here's Norah selecting a pumpkin; she pretty much wanted to take all of them home:

Caleb thought the pumpkins were cool too:

Here's the whole fam damily on the tractor ride; if Caleb weren't giving the camera the stink eye, I'd blow this up to an 8 X 10 and frame it since it has to be the first pic of all 4 of us where we're all looking at the camera:

Caleb being used as a periscope in the corn maze:

Norah and Caleb doing their best to pose for one of the many pictures I'm always demanding of them.  They did a decent job: Caleb is smiling, Norah was willing to put an arm around him, and wave: One day I'll have these monkeys fully trained!

Aside from the pumpkin patch, we've been getting in the Halloween mood with some crafts.  Here are the kids sporting their spider hats:

And here are some pumpkins they glued faces on; Norah's cracks me up.  It looks so menacing, which is the effect of turning both the smile and the eyebrows upside down.  Not sure if she intentionally wanted this effect or not:

And here's how Caleb markers his witch's mask:

Which shouldn't surprise us since this is how I find him all too often:

Sidenote to the above: The pictured deodorant later went missing and has yet to be found.  Our home is a blackhole where items simply disappear.  I assume the deodorant went where the lid to the mayo jar did.  Yes, we are missing the lid to our mayo.  That's our house. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


There's only so long one can continue to wisely run when so clearly sick.  I don't necessarily think that streaking has prevented me from getting better, but it probably hasn't helped either, so yesterday...I didn't run.  And I don't plan on it today either.

Thus, endeth the streak.  Made it 100 days.  Guess I'll try and break that number some other time.  For now, I need to rest and get over this bug.

Plus, I'm sick of writing about how sick I am, so expect silence on my end until I'm over this thing.  If the silence lasts longer than a week or so, assume "this thing" killed me.

Monday, October 08, 2012

100 Days

Friday night, Jerry woke me up to tell me that I felt "like lava."  Then, he rolled over and went back to sleep.  7 or 8 years ago, I think he would've stayed awake long enough to offer to get me something.  As it is, after 7 years of marriage and two kids, I guess I'm on my own when sick.

So, I got up to check my temp (102, BTW), got some aspirin, some water, and went back to bed.  Later, I woke up so drenched in sweat that I had to get up, change my clothes, and chose to go to sleep on the couch rather than get back in under the sweaty sheets.

In a sense, that was my weekend: Fever, accompanied by sore throat, congestion, and ears so plugged I can barely hear.  Yippie!  Isn't that how everyone wants to spend their weekend?

Meanwhile, as for the running, on Friday night, Jerry says to me: "Do you think it's a good idea to keep running?"

Argh!  I've been asking him that question for 2 weeks and the gist of his advice has been: "Do whatcha want, honey."

I told him: "Well, I'm only a few days away from reaching 100 days; I can't stop until at least then.  I'll just run 1 milers all weekend."

Him: "Yeah, but...are you really gonna stop at 100 days?  That's your record.  I don't think you're gonna be happy just tying that; you're gonna want to go to 150 days or 200 days, or 365 days."

Ummm...so after 7 years of marriage I guess he won't fetch aspirin, but he does know me.

So, I ran the requisite 1 milers all weekend, which was disappointing when I'd had high hopes mid-week last week, but c'est la vie.  I'm trying not to dwell on what I'm not accomplishing and trying to remind myself of what I am accomplishing.  

And, today?  Today is day #100.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Stop Typing Now

I think I have to think twice before typing the sentence "I feel better now."  Karma sees that sentence published so boldly on the interweb and is like, "Oh yeah?  Well, then, hows about we fix that!"

So, yeah, I'm kinda feel crappy again.  This time, I think it may be something new since it now comes outfitted with a sore throat and some mild congestion.  Caleb is super snotty and has a horrible, wet cough; Norah is also vaguely sick, but these things don't affect her like they do Caleb.

Apparently, all of our immune systems are like eager puppies who just want to roll onto their backs and let these viruses tickle their bellies.  That, or I suppose I should stop licking the snot of their faces.

What?  That's not a legit method of child nose cleaning?  Did you just mouth vomit a little?

Happy to make your Friday.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Looking Back at September

I know, I know, we're already 4 days into October, but I never had a chance to review September, so here goes:

The month started strong, and then I was struck down by disease and was basically reduced to running the bare minimum for 2 solid weeks.  I went from running 40 mile weeks to eeking out 15 mile weeks.  I'm not sure which upset me more: Feeling like crap every single day for 2 weeks, or having to reign in the mileage so dramatically.

In the end, I ran 113 miles in September -- the lowest monthly mileage in my streak so far -- but, hey, I still broke 100 miles, so that makes me feel decent.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any real long runs done as I'd hoped, so while I had tentatively been thinking of an HM at the end of this month or beginning of next, I think I'm going to have to skip those opportunities and aim for a late Nov or early Dec HM to round out the year.

Ultimately, it sucks that I spent 10 of the month's 30 days suffering from a mysterious illness, but the streak survived.  There were a few days there last week when I almost threw in the towel, but phew, I sure am glad I didn't!  I may have run more 1 milers than I would've liked, but at least I ran them.

So, on to October!

I plan to continue streaking (especially now that I'm a mere 4 days away from reaching 100 consecutive days), and this month, for serious, I want to start logging some long runs.

This week, I have been taking it pretty easy.  Each day this week I've been feeling better by small increments, but I don't want to push myself too hard when this virus has clearly sucker-punched me.  So, I've been sticking to 3 milers, but hopefully, tomorrow and this weekend (fingers crossed), I'm feeling good enough to log a little farther distances.

One thing I can say for certain about being sick for a long period of time: It makes you appreciate feeling healthy!  For the past couple of mornings when I wake up and don't feel totally awful, I'm like "Yay!  This is awesome!"

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Welcome Surprise

Today, for the first time in about 6 weeks, I turned on the shower in the faculty locker room and...BLAMMO! 

H-O-T water!

The maintenance gnomes who work in that building must've finally gotten around to fixing whatever had been ailing the hot water heater, and I was blessed with the most glorious post-run shower since the start of the semester.

Halleluja and holy shit!  Things must be turning around for me.

Monday, October 01, 2012

And on the 12th Day of Viral Infection, My Fever Gave to Me

This morning was the first morning in 12 days where I woke up and didn't feel entirely like warm turd.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't wake up feeling like unicorns had been kissing me all night, but to wake up and feel even a smidgen like myself was a welcome feeling.  I still took two Advil to ward off the small undercurrent of crud I could still feel, but I think I may be on the mend (*knock on wood*).

Coincidentally, the dr. called this morning with the results of my blood test, and it showed that I had nada.  No mono.  No bacterial infections.  Nuthin.  So, again, the dr. reiterated that I was probably just fighting a particularly clingy virus. 

Incidentally, Jerry said he woke up this morning and felt a little icky.  He said his throat was sore.  Uh-oh.  I hope I didn't pass on the 12 Days of Ick to him!  Ah, the gift of marriage: Wherein you get to share EVERYthing.

In the meanwhile, I haven't let this bothersome bug interrupt the streak.  Over the weekend, I did my best to rest as much as possible so I just stuck to 1 milers, but today I ran 3 miles, and felt pretty decent.

Today is Day #93.  7 more days and I tie my 100 day streak from 2010!  Virus, schmirus!  I gots to keep running, yo.

Friday, September 28, 2012


So, I ended up going to the doctor yesterday.  They did a urine test, a throat culture, a flu test, and drew my blood.  The results of the blood test are still out, but everything else came back negative, so the prognosis?  "Probably some kind of virus."

Today, I decided to take the day off work so I could get some extra rest.  I think I've been trying too hard to just plow through this ick, but I think I clearly need some rest.  I slept this morning for an extra 3 hours.  It was pretty awesome.

Hopefully, by the time the blood test results come back, I'm feeling better.

As for the running, the doctor was not totally for it, but wasn't totally against it either.  I take that as a green light on at least getting short runs done to keep the streak active.

I'm too sick to work, but dammit, I'm not too sick to run! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday's Wondering

I have been running a low grade fever for 7 days now.  It's my only symptom (that, and a fever's accompanying side effects: chills, aches, fatigue).  I manage it easily enough by taking two Advil first thing in the morning and two in the late afternoon; while the Advil is in effect, I feel pretty much fine, but when it wears off, I feel like shark farts again.

So, using the all-knowing, and of course, trustworthy, powers of the interweb, I have determined that I either have a common virus or I have cancer.  Oh, WebMd had 91 other possibilities mixed in there as well: In case you're wondering, a low grade fever is THE most generic symptom you can exhibit, so it pretty much qualifies you to have everything from Lyme's disease to AIDS.

Thus, for you dear readers, who also have all sorts of interweb medical expertise, I have two questions for you:

My one question at this point is this: Should I go see an actual doctor?  I keep thinking, "Eh, this is gonna pass in another day.  A doctor is just going to charge me my co-pay, tell me I have a virus, and send me on my way."  But then another day passes, and I wake up and still feel like warm poo.

My other question, which I may be far likelier to ignore your advice on, is this: Is running right now advisable?  Because I'm still running.  Not much -- 3 miles a day -- but I haven't let this break my streak (today's run was day #89: I really can't stop now!).  Like I said above, with Advil, I feel alright and the exercise is manageable, but it does tire me out, thus, the short duration.  I also wonder if I'm doing myself in any favors in shaking whatever I've got by powering through the running each day.  Still, if I quit now, and then I suddenly get over this temporary plague, I would KICK myself for breaking the streak!

Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Do you think this fever will kill me and that I'll then re-animate as a zombie?  Thats' really the worst case scenario, right?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

The weekend was a whirlwind of airports, the wedding, and more airports.  But I had a lovely (but brief) visit to DC and the wedding I attended was nice -- and probably the most unique wedding I've ever attended (can you top a gay, Wiccan wedding among the weddings you've attended?  if not, add it to your to-do list!).

I got back home Saturday night and was simply pooped.  A combination of flying, the Drammamine necessary for me to fly, wine at the wedding, and still not feeling "right," left me exhausted.  Yesterday, I played catch up with household chores, and even with a nearly 2 hour afternoon nap, I was still beat at the end of the day and still not feeling good.  So, I went to bed when Norah did.  At 8 pm.

This morning, after 11 hours of sleep, I think I am better.  I seriously don't know if I've been sick or what -- it's like I have "kinda sick" symptoms but not totally.  It's weird.  (I also had very strange dreams last night; fever dreams?  I don't know, but I can tell you there were zombies.  And I haven't been watching or reading any zombie stuff as of late.)

Despite the travel and the not feeling on top of my game, I did keep up with the running over the weekend, although I'm sad to report that I totally missed out on great running in DC (weather was PERFECT).  There just wasn't time for more than a short treadmill run in my hotel early Saturday morning.

I'm hoping that this week is a week of routine -- I could really use a "regular" week -- and I hope I get over whatever "bug" I've had.  I've been alternating between chills and sweats for almost 4 days now, so if I'm not over it soon, I'm certain it's the plague.

Friday, September 21, 2012

1 Miler

In a streak, there is always the safety net distance of completing at least 1 mile in a day to keep a streak active.

That's what I fell back on this morning.

Last night, I had a weird night's sleep: I woke up at midnight with chills.  I felt sore, achy, and cold.  Then, a few hours later, I woke up completely drenched in sweat.  I either have the little virus that Caleb had (his only symptom was a fever, so I still don't know if he had a virus or was just teething), or I'm going through menopause.

When I got up this morning, I just wasn't feeling "good."  Nothing in particular was paining me or making me feel ill, but I sorely wanted to just crawl back into bed and sleep a few more hours.  Since that wasn't an option, I went out and just did the 1 mile minimum.  It was slow. 

Now, I have class and then I'm off to the airport for my trip to DC.  I doubt there will be an opportunity for me later this evening for more miles, so I think I'll just have to let that 1 miler stand as today's run.  So far this week, I'm logging the lowest mileage since June.

Eh.  I suspect the world won't end.

Ayhoo...I'm looking forward to getting some extra winks on the plane and reading my book.  Enjoy your weekends!  Check ya later.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Minimum Requirements

This week has been a bit...busy.

My SIL was in town visiting for a few days.  Caleb was sick (or just teething, I don't know, either way, he's been a Crab Apple).  And, tomorrow, I leave for a day away to attend a wedding in DC.

It's not overwhelming or anything, but combine the irregular week with seemingly low levels of energy (maybe I'm getting sick, or teething?), and I have just been scraping by each day with the running.  3 milers all week.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  It has kept the streak active, and 30 minutes of running each day is still decent, but for it to be Thursday and to have only run 15 miles so far this week...well, it feels like I'm being a slacker.

Perhaps I'll perk up over the weekend (I'm looking forward to being able to run Saturday morning in DC -- I better get some autumn temps!), and then next week presumably will be back to a more normal routine for our family, and hopefully, for the running as well!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Robot Commentors

So, what's the 411 about comment settings on blogs? 

I always used to have the word verification, but I know that since Blogger changed it and made it more complex, some readers have a hard time deciphering it and just give up on trying to comment (and I know from reading some others' blogs that it IS a pain).  So, I removed the word verification.

And now?

All kinds of spam is filling my email via the comments section.  Sorry, "Anonymous," I have no need for prescription drugs or to contribute money to a disposed Nigerian prince.  It's annoying.

Because I open my email and I get all excited at first: "Ohhh!  25 new comments?!"  And then I discover that it's all just random characters cobbled together or an add for knock-off Louis Vitton purses.  Nerds!

Does anyone who doesn't use the word verification get this much spam?  A few of you, I note, use the comment moderator, is that better or more of a headache since you have to approve each comment?  Should I just accept the robot comments and be happy robots are even reading?

Let me know your thoughts as blog writers, and preferences as blog readers.  "Anonymous"?  You can just butt out of this discussion; take a little robot siesta.

Monday, September 17, 2012


bore'mill (bor'mil) n. A machine designed for the ease and convenience of running that inadvertantly creates almost universal running lethargy in users. Frequent users may find that the machine's reptition and tedium induce intense user boredom and unusual fatigue.  Especially on a rainy Monday morning (which, for 8 academic years has always been a holiday, but was determined this year to NOT be an academic holiday) when the user slept poorly.

Such users may find that instead of running an intended 6 miles, he or she can only eek out 3, and even that may feel strenuous.

Users of this nature may be named Jess.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

Nearby, there's a "Nature Trail" -- ie, a 1/3 mile loop of spared swamp in the middle of suburbia -- and often I take the kids there to walk.  It's relaxing for me because I don't have to worry about cars, and it's more scenic than a regular walk in the neighborhood, and in 1/3 of a mile, these two find more than enough sticks, pine cones, rocks, etc to fascinate them.  That 1/3 of mile typically takes us 30 minutes to walk.
Anyhoo, this afternoon, I decided to take my camera along and snap a few kid pics along the trail.
Caleb struttin' his stuff:

Norah posing with a weird look on her face.  She was very proud of her outfit today (when she picked it out, she emerged from her room and asked: "Hey guys, does this look cool?"  I told her it was totally cool.  Shhhhh!  Don't tell her about not wearing white after Labor Day!), so she was actually sorta, kinda cooperative about pics.  Still, I told her to "smile natural" and I mainly got looks like this one:

Halfway through the walk, there's a long boardwalk over the swampy part, and Norah refers to this as the "Troll Bridge."  It's her favorite part.  Starting from here, she had a series of pics wherein she posed with hands on hips in each one:

Typically, Caleb gets tired toward the end of the walk, and he's not adverse to just laying down in protest.  Here, he was initially looking at some plants between the slats of the boardwalk, and then he just gave up, and was like, "Nah, I don't think I wanna walk anymore."

On the other hand, it takes a LOT to wear down Norah; here she is burning off a little extra energy:

After the boardwalk, Caleb was ready to ride, and Norah is all too happy to push him.  She often doesn't watch where she's going, though, so I have to keep steering them out of the pine needles.

At the end of the walk, there was a nice breeze, and Norah declared: "Ah! It's a nice summer day!"  I informed her that it was, in fact, fall now.

Her: "What's fall?"

Me: "Well, in other places, fall is when the temperature gets cooler and the leaves change color."

Her: "What leaves change color?"

Me: "All kinds of leaves.  They turn red, and orange, and yellow!  But, here in FL, we don't have that.  It's basically summer all year."

She thought on that for a moment and then said, "Yeah, I like summer."

Most people do, I told her.  Me?  I always miss autumn.  Come mid-September, I'd be totally willing to trade 90 degrees and green leaves for crisp temps and colorful leaves.  Enjoy it, if that's where you are!