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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why, Hello Soapbox! Yes, I'd love to Step Up!

Now that Memorial Day has passed, and summer has officially arrived, everywhere I look (ie, Facebook, the shiny magazines at the grocery store), I see articles and posts about getting ready for a "bikini body."

These articles are loathsome since they prey on people's bodily insecurities, are often condescending, and truthfully should read: "Pinpoint the parts of your flabby ass that you hate enough to change, then hold yourself to impossibly high standards of exercise and nutrition to try and melt that flabby ass away, then hate yourself for falling short of the impossibly high standards."

Equally, though, I also dislike the opposite "Love your flabby ass with all its extra assiness" articles.  Both, I think, say something similar (even though I doubt that's their intention): Dwell on your body and take up emotional real estate with that contemplation.

So, if I'm complaining about both, what kind of health/exercise/body image article titles would I like to see?

How about:

"Exercise!  It makes you feel less bitey and ensures you don't end your day mumbling incoherent fragments while bouncing your forehead off the wall"?


"10 ways exercise will make you strong so that you don't throw up each time you have to push your kids around the zoo"?

Maybe even:

"If you eat a balanced diet, sleep 8 hours a day, exercise, and spend time relaxing, you'll have a higher quality of life and MIGHT even live longer"?

Lastly, perhaps:

"Like your bod enough so you don't have any damaging complexes but not so much you post obnoxious abs selfies"?

I doubt I'll see those headlines anytime soon.  

Too wordy, right?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Where the Asphalt Ends

The greenway closest to my home is about 3 miles in length, but future construction for it plans to extend it many more miles (eventually putting it right by our house, actually; but who knows how long that will take).  For now, once you get to the end of the road, it just sort of dissolves into a worn, dirt path.
The path isn't very pedestrian friendly, and is probably used by more deer than humans, but it's passable as a running trail.  Almost always, I stick to the asphalt, but occasionally, I've gone "off road."

It doesn't go far (about a quarter mile and then abruptly ends), and it's not groomed at all, so it slows the running down considerably.

Still.  Sometimes a runner has to run off the beaten path.  Just a little.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Potty Training and the Quest to find Rocket Ship Underwear

Potty training Caleb has been as easy as a trip to the moon.  Granted, the kid has had a lot of life disruptions during the process, and every parent knows that potty training is largely psychological (screw this part of their life up, and you pay for therapy instead of college), so we've been as understanding as possible.  But, last week, I determined it was time for Underwear Bootcamp, in which we went full time underwear (during the day), and dammit, even if I do a lot of laundry, we'll get this business done.
The first few days were urine-soaked, but he has mostly done well (with pee -- he has yet to drop a deuce in there).  However, I feel like he's missing the appropriate motivation.  If he had that, I think we could turn the corner from ME wanting him to go on the potty to HIM wanting to go on the potty.  We have promised toys and candy aplenty, but he's not easily swayed.
One barrier (I feel) is that he doesn't find his underwear to be superior to his pull-ups.  If he had the undies he liked, I think - maybe, just maybe -- he'd drum up some enthusiasm about NOT crapping in his drawers.
Unfortunately, the kid underwear selection is extremely limited.  You go to Target (why shop anywhere else?), and the choices are limited to licensed characters, so boys get the vast choice of either Jake, Thomas, or Superheroes.  Caleb has no particular passion for any of these.  He picked out Jake and Thomas simply because they were deemed the best choices of the 3, but he doesn't love any of them. (Very different from Norah, who LUH-VED the Disney princesses.  And, parents of little girls are pretty much tripping over Disney princess apparel.)
So, I launched the only other shopping tool I rely on: Amazon.
Zilch for what he wanted (rockets ships or sharks).
So, then I did a Google search.  Very limited results (there are some Gap shark undies, but when I showed Caleb the images, he said he didn't like them), but I did find Underdoodles, which features some unique designs, including...rocket ships!
Problem?  They're $12 a pair!
Still, I filled my shopping bag with them.  Then, when it came to checking out, I stalled when I saw the total, which equaled the GNP of a small country.  Plus, they take 7-10 days to ship.  For a nearly 3 year old, 7-10 days is like seventy-ten years; I need something NOW.
In the end, I didn't buy them.  Would the $12 (a pair!) undies really make THE difference?  Are they worth the expense and the wait?
For now, those questions will be left to linger in the ether of my abandoned shopping cart.  We'll persevere with the substandard Jake and Thomas and wish that we lived in a world where a boy could find rocket ship underwear a little more easily.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Flip Belt Review

I've never had much need to carry items on my runs.  For water, I've often relied on handhelds.  A house key has always fit nicely in my shorts' pocket.  And, I've never been in the habit of carrying my phone with me.

But, since adapting to some changes to my running habits in NC, I often find I am carrying both my keys and my phone.  So, change was in order.

When I explained to Jerry my needs, he said, "So...you're looking for a fanny pack?"

"More like Batman's utility belt," I clarified.

After browsing Amazon, and reading reviews, I decided to order the Flip Belt.

My reasons for this selection -- out of the eleventy billion other choices -- was mainly that I liked the idea of zero buckles and the guarantee that shit wouldn't bounce around as I ran.

It arrived last week, and I immediately put it to the test.

First off, this has no buckles, so to secure it around your waist, you step in to it and shimmy it up around your hips; then, you slip your necessities into the pockets.

My keys and phone (I have an iPhone 5s, with a LifeProof case) fit easily, and there is certainly room for more.  I could fit gels, money, cards; basically, I feel I could rob a bank and fit all the loot in its spandex pockets.  So, the roominess is nice.
I put my items in, then did the fliparoo to fold everything over against my body.  This is why the product has no zippers or flaps either; it's secured by being pressed against your body. Grandmas traveling Europe would be pleased.

Off I ran!

I've run with it a handful of times now (never further than 5 miles, though, bear in mind), so here are my thoughts:

  • No buckles, zippers, or fasteners helps reduce flappage, chafing, and general annoyances.
  • Items really don't shift or rub or go bump on the run.
  • It's easy to access the pockets if you need to retrieve items.
  • It's inexpensive ($28.99 on Amazon).

  • Do you like running in Spanx?  Me neither, and this feels like a Spanx-belt.  I don't need any help having my attention diverted to midsection chub, and this made me hyper-aware of it. Notice how, in the ads, everyone sporting it looks like they eat abs for breakfast.  I'm sure they don't worry about muffin-top, but for regular humans, this may be an uncomfortable feature.
  • I also didn't love feeling my stuff jammed into my kidneys.  It doesn't necessarily leave an iPhone imprint on your liver, but I bet if you used it for long, it would.
  • Sizing may not be designed for human-sized people.  I wear small or extra small for most clothing and apparel, but decided to err on the side of caution by going with a medium, and I kinda wish I'd gone with a mega large.
  • It's a bit warm.  As you might expect from a Lycra girdle. 

The final lowdown:
Its pros and cons kinda even out to a solid "meh" rating.  Good idea, very convenient way to run "hands free," but I bet Batman doesn't feel like his stash is being stored in an elastic cummerbund.

Monday, May 19, 2014


This morning, Jerry and I took the first steps to becoming REAL NC citizens by visiting the DMV and applying for our driver's licenses.

No one wants to visit the DMV, just like no one wants a root canal, but compared with the Florida DMV?  This was like riding a unicorn over a rainbow.

In FL, the DMV is basically purgatory: Super hot and nothing but waiting.

In FL, you can make an appointment for the DMV, but that appointment is worth as much as the money in Monopoly; the "appointment" just means that, at some point on that day, you will get your turn with a hostile employee.  If you don't have an appointment, I assume that, exactly like purgatory, you just wait forever.  10 years ago, when Jerry and I went to the FL DMV, it shook out like so:

We made our appointment and arrived that day when the DMV opened.  When we arrived, the line of people snaked along the side of the building: 100 people in front of us, all waiting in the sweltering Florida sun.  So they smelled great.  When they opened the doors, we were herded in to a giant waiting room decorated with the charming décor that all DMVs seems to favor: It's a design meant to deflate your soul.  Beige linoleum, florescent overhead lights (one of which is obligated to occasionally flicker and buzz as if possessed), and uncomfortable folding chairs, all lined up with such close proximity to one another as to ensure that you will spend all day trying to establish elbow supremacy with the person seated next to you.  Who, from the start, has an aroma that you can taste.

Then?  We waited.


But, after watching the procession of those who were called before us, it made us uncertain as to which fate was worse: the eternal waiting or dealing with the openly aggressive employees who, at all moments, seemed poised to push the secret behind-the-counter-button that would release the above-head tub of piranhas.  Brought the wrong documents?  Piranhas!  Struggle with the vision test?  Piranhas!  Take too long signing in the rectangle box?  PIRANHAS!

Eventually, in our respective turns, Jerry and I were each called forth and dealt with the surly examiners with the same trepidation as Seinfeld did with the Soup Nazi.   Thankfully, since neither of us asked for bread, at the end of the day, we were each rewarded with our FL licenses.

And, we never went back.

In comparison, the DMV here in NC -- while still a DMV, that still made me feel a bit bitey (how hard is it for the online guidelines to be consistent with the reality of what the office asks for?) -- was worlds better.  We were in and out in about an hour, the examiners were friendly and joked easily with us, and at no point during the process did I feel like it was possible I might have to spit in someone's eyes and leap across the desk to throttle them.

The only downside is that you don't immediately get your license -- just a piece of paper and the promise of a license -- but, in 8-10 days?  That shiny little baby should arrive in the mail, and I'll officially be a North Carolina resident!

Then I can go ahead and submit the proof of residency to FL to excuse me from that pesky jury duty I postponed...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Running Partner

It was a rainy day yesterday in NC, so I wanted to run close to home, which means laps around the neighborhood (refer to the lack of sidewalks mentioned previously).

Norah was adamant, then, about joining me.

She did a great job and ran a little more than a half mile with me at a 10 min pace.  In her own words: "Phew!  That was fun!  I'm so sweaty!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day 500

Today was a running red letter day: Day 500 of my run streak!

To celebrate, I ran 5 miles.  Because I embrace clichés.

It was also my first run with my new Flip Belt (review to come next week).

On the one hand, I can't believe how awesome I am to have run 500 consecutive days.  On the other hand, I'm like, well...shit.  There is no other hand.  

500 days is just badass.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Swings Can Suck It

Whenever we go to a park (everyday) or step into our backyard (all. day. long.), I cross my fingers no one wants to swing.

Because, obviously, I hate fun.

Of all the playground equipment and activities, no other piece demands so much parental effort while asking so little of the child.  What do they get?  A gentle breeze and the lilting, relaxing feeling of gliding through the air.

What do I get?

Zero breeze, sun always in my eyes, the monotony of pushing someone "higher!"

It's work.  And, frankly, I haven't brought them to the park so I can work.

I've brought them so I can sit in the shade and scroll through Facebook.

They're cute, though.  That's supposed to make up for everything, I guess.

The best case scenario, however, does sometimes arise: One will take an interest in pushing the other, doing the work on my behalf.  

So I can sit in the shade and take pics to post on Facebook.

I wish playgrounds would just yank all their swings out so it wasn't an option.  In which case, I'd be able to just shrug with upturned hands, and sigh disappointedly with them: "Sorry guys.  Blame the playground overlords.  Not me."

Inwardly, my heart would smile.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Piñata Analogy

Have you ever smacked a piñata?  Not just stood there and clobbered it, but been to a birthday party where they blind folded you, spun you in circles, and handed you a bat, then let you swing wildly in the dizzing dark?

If so, that's what I think moving is like.

You're disoriented, feeling your way in the  darkness, blindly trying to figure out what the fuck you're doing.

Also, it feels like bystanders are probably laughing.

For me, I have to first locate the essentials (Target), then branch out from there.  Thankfully, smart phones help a lot with navigation (10 years ago when I moved to FL, if I got lost, I was just screwed), but even my smart phone can be dumb, and I've found myself needlessly adding extra mileage in pursuit of necessities in the past 10 days.

The one thing that helps provide me with centrality is running and finding the necessary running routes.

Here, in North Carolina, they don't seem to believe in sidewalks, or shoulders for the roads, but they do have greenways -- nicely paved trails that wind prettily by scenic creeks.  The running there has been lovely, like this run on Mother's Day:

Or, this early morning run last week:

It would be nice to step out my front door and get to these places on foot, but I value my life and hate the thought of Jerry having to find my body in a ditch, so for now, I have to drive to such running locales.

I haven't found the DMV yet, but I know where to run.  For me, that's really the first step to citizenship in a new place.  I still feel weirdly out of place, and am certain I will for awhile, but finding my running groove helps make it feel like I'm finally making some solid connections with the piñata. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014


After a few months of blogging hiatus, I decided to return: newer and better than ever!

Relocated too.

Not the blog.  Me.  And the rest of the family.  I brought them too.

It seems impossible to summarize the past 4 months, not to mention the move itself, so I'll just say this: It's impossible.  Let's skip to the gist of the move and then "move" on, shall we?

Two weeks ago, we (as in the movers) loaded up the moving truck in FL.

And then we (as in "we" -- we didn't take the movers with us) stopped off for a quick Disney visit to take advantage of one last trip as FL residents.
Then, we met the movers at our new house in North Carolina, and they brought all our stuff despite the fact that we didn't take them to Disney!

She's a beaut, isn't she Clark?

We're still unpacking boxes and hanging things on the wall, but we're starting to get settled in.  So, I figure "Why not return to blogging?" so that everyone can keep up with me and my captivating life, especially now that we're in a new place with new adventures.  Should be fun!  Hope you'll read along!