QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I'm on blogcation, y'all.... family trip to Colorado...

I'll miss all of your blogs while I'm gone, but I'm gathering great blog material....

So please don't be offended if my comments don't show up on your blogs this week...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's a matter of perspective

I went biking to cross train on the flat Eastern shore yesterday... no hills and no bugs. No, just a lesson in humility this time.

As I rode north, I was going a lot more quickly than usual according to the pace on my Garmin watch. I attributed it to my gains in training and clearly evident athleticism...

Then I turned around and went south:

Ah. The wind. Going south sucked.
Note: pictures are not drawn to scale (I think I was the only one who hated coloring in kindergarten), except the big butt is realistic....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It DRIVES me nuts.... (pun intended)

I'll come right out and admit it. I am a type A kinduva gal. I'm conscientious, I like to be efficient and I have little patience, although having two boys has taught me that, patient or not, things don't always go your way. I'm actually infinitely more patient than I used to be BK (before kids).

I'm digressing already, though. sheesh.

My type A personality extends into the realm of driving, yes. I typically a drive a bit more quickly than your average driver, and I am always aware of what's around me (except when I'm crackberrying while driving... kidding!) Some driver habits just irritate the bejeezes out of me... here's what I don't understand:

1. WHY do people do this: ??

Why oh why oh WHY do people pull out in front of me when there is no one behind me? I can understand, if there is a lot of traffic, pulling out with any opportunity you can... I can also understand if you're a really fast driver and you don't want to be behind someone slow.... but WHY pull out, when there is no one behind me, and then drive 10 mph under the speed limit?!!!! Argh!

2. You're sitting in the left-hand turn lane at a traffic light behind a column of vehicles. The left turn arrow isn't quite long enough to allow everyone through in one cycle, making traffic build up a bit. You're allowed to pull about 1/4 to halfway into the intersection to get ready for your left turn; indeed, the laws of geometry tell us that it's a shorter time period to complete the turn if you've already pulled up AND you have the right of way to make the left turn when the light turns yellow (right of way over the oncoming traffic when the light turns yellow). Look:

See? WHY do people sit behind the line and wait for the light to turn red and then a green arrow again? I wish cars came with a special horn that just said, in a gentle, friendly tone, "beep... um. I would have turned THERE..."

3. In a merge situation, why don't folks let you in? Do they really need to be to their destination a millisecond earlier? (exception - people who drive down the shoulder and then try to "butt" in at the last second....because as well all know, they're more important than everyone else...)

4. Have we all left our blinker on by accident at some point in our driving careers? Yes? Me too. K. So we can't really bust too much on the people driving down the highway for miles and miles with their left blinker on, cuz we've all likely been there. If not, good on ya! (as they say down under)

5. You don't see those "baby on board" signs as much anymore, but I've always found them kinda humorous. I feel like putting a "13-year-old on board" sign in my car. As if you're driving with your husband behind a car with a baby on board sign and your husband's tailgating (not that mine EVER does... ahem) and you say: "oh, honey. Don't tailgate. There's a baby on board." Moments later, you excuse the tailgating habit because the husband is only tailing a teenager, farther down on the totem pole of humanity.

6. Speaking of signs, how about bumper stickers? Isn't it funny that bumper stickers are meant as a sort of communicative mechanism to talk about your interests and yourself while you're driving? I can think of no other situation in which it is more difficult to begin a conversation with someone else than as two strangers in a car going 75 mph, unable to see or hear each other. Instead, shouldn't bumper stickers be on our foreheads or shirts or something? Or maybe it's necessary to brag about how smart your kid is "My child is an honor student at blah blah elementary school" in a situation in which no one can argue with you to the contrary? I love the bumper stickers that say: "my dog is smarter than your honor student." I'm not knocking bumper stickers -I get a kick out of 'em (Much to the husband's chagrin, I, myself, have 3 bumper stickers on the truck: "26.2," "Run," and "Runner Girl."); it's just funny to me that they evolved in the first place. Ya know those stickers that say: "save the ta tas"? I just saw one that said: "save 2nd base." lol!

7. How about the folks that are superabundantly proud of their car's make? I'm talking about the prodigious H O N D A plastered across the back window. Hmmm. why?

8. Here's a classic and it DRIVES me nuts (ha ha. get it? DRIVES me? hee hee)... A highway with 2 lanes in each direction. 3 cars traveling in one direction. 2 cars driving side by side, with the car in the ... um... PASSING lane... NOT passing. The third car is me, chronically stuck behind the non passer. ARGH!! (insert casual acceptance of hypocritical nature about earlier comment about getting there milliseconds sooner....). It took me a looong time to draw the above diagrams, so use your imagination on this one! ;)

9. Not slowing down or moving for a runner or biker. Or worse - HONKING at a runner or biker out of frustration. C'mon, people.... I can't run around in my neighborhood in circles for a 24-mile run... at some point I must use a busier road... A horn makes me jump outta my skin!

10. Speaking of horns, honking in stand-still traffic. Uh.... why?

whew. I feel better now. Wanna vent?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A boy and his dog... oh and the cat

So while 10-almost-11-year-old son is plotting what he wants for his birthday (see 2 posts down), 13-year-old-sometimes-smart-alecky-but-most-of-the-time-still-sweet-son is bonding with his dog... I can't help it. Watching my favorite canine girl and my favorite 13-year-old play together makes me chuckle, especially since she is more agile and athletic than he:

[please ignore the oven timer buzzing in the background...sorry. At least it's proof that I actually cook sometimes!..the frozen pizza... I mean baked Mahi Mahi... was done!]

Meanwhile, behind me, indoor-Katie-cat attempts her escape. She's had it with the indoor world of being chased by the dog. She's throwing her paws into the air and chancing it on the outside world (with no claws). Goodbye, cold, cruel, indoor world where my poop and tinkle are scooped for me, my food is provided, I nap the whole day long, and I try to eat the big goofy animal's dinner... no, it's out to the adventurous outdoors for me...

Sadly for her, Katie's escape is attempt is cruelly thwarted in a matter of minutes. It's back to the drawing board for her. Will she slip out a different door? Slowly dig a tunnel? What will she think of next?

I'm blushing....

A big muchas gracias (guess that's redundant, huh?) to my blogosphere friend Chris at Maugeritaville for my best blog award... Really... I can't possibly accept this aw.... well okay... thanks!

I'm supposed to pass it along to 15 of my favorite blogs (yikes!), so here goes, in no particular order, so don't get your panties in a bunch...

A Reservation for Six - a crazy lady with 4 kids and lots of wisdom

Blog Ignoramus - emotions explained poetically

Blunt Delivery - Never boring, that's for sure

Confessions of a Reforming Geek- comedy au natural and a fellow runner

From 0 to 3 in 90 Days - all about the humor found in 3 awesome adopted kids (and a great playlist)

Frosty Runner - Another fellow runner who trains and lives in... Alaska! cool!

Housewife Savant - extremely creative writing

Mental Poo - holy cow is this guy funny. Just read.

On the Front Porch - awesome, well-written, articulate wit

Seriously - a Florida gal who shares my love of German Shepherds

My Girls and Me - one of the most creative moms I know...

Feet off the Table! - just seeing the cute way her girls dress is reason enough for a visit

She's Just Another Manic Mommy - I LOVE this lady and her tales of her two

The Child - Deep and thought-provoking

The V Spot - just plain hilarious

Whew! Do yourself a favor and pay them a visit.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just so we're clear....

The 10-almost-11-year-old son's birthday is quickly approaching. In case I didn't know from the list he gave me 6 months ago, here again is another list of what he wants for his birthday, complete with visual stimuli, reviews, instructions and respectful consideration for my pocketbook.... ahem. Behold: (if it's too small for you to read or you forgot your reading glasses, click on the picture and it will magically get bigger. totally nifty)

okay, then. To the back, he says:

Apparently he is not above begging or bribery....

And here is the list-making urchin himself, looking quite smug he will get what he wants for his birthday... and with a grandma who would don headphones and watch a movie in the SUV next to him, why shouldn't he expect to haul in the loot?

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's a buggy world out there

7:48 pm: I put on my son's bike helmet, get my bike out of the garage, and make sure I have my water bottle.

7:50 pm: I head out for my 14-mile cross-training bike ride through the countryside.

7:51 pm: As I ride down to the end of my street, a bug flies straight into my left nostril. Pleasant.

7:52 pm: After extricating said bug from my left nostril (we'll leave out the details how...) while riding, I continue my exit from the neighborhood.

7:58 pm: A gnat flies directly into my right eye. Or perhaps I ran into him (or her?). Whatever the case, there is now a gnat in my right eye, rendering it rather uncomfortable. No mirror to evict the gnat...

8:00 pm: I am still rubbing my right eye (while riding... always continuing to pedal!). The gnat is, no doubt, dead and smushed now, but nonetheless remains in my right eye.

8:06 pm: The gnat in my right eye is likely still there, but I can't feel him/her as much now, leaving the coast clear for the bug to fly into my left eye. No, I'm not kidding. Ahhh.

8:19 pm: I've ridden about 4-5 miles by now, so I'm breathing heavily... with my mouth open... As I'm riding along pleasantly, a bug fies suddenly into my open mouth and ends up near the back of my throat. I cough but ingest the bug. yum. (not). I try riding with my mouth closed but really kind of need my mouth open to breathe....

8:35 pm: Armed with extra protein, the ride is going pretty well as a bug flies into my nose again... I forget which nostril. It doesn't really matter, does it?

8:37 pm: Another bug flies into my mouth. Oops. Swallowed again notwithstanding my efforts to cough him/her out. (Do bugs have genders?)

8:40 pm: I look down at my white shirt dotted with little bugs.

8:46 pm: I've turned for home now, having huffed up a large hill during which I progressed so slowly that, delightfully, no bugs entered any oraface of my cranial region. (or otherwise...) Flying rapidly back down the hill up which I pedaled, however, provides ample opportunities for bugs to end their lives, kamikaze-style, into my shirt.

8:52 pm: I brush the little gnats off of my white sleeveless shirt as another bug flies into my face, but misses my nose, eyes and mouth! Hooray!

9:00 pm: Home stretch now. The sun's gone down and it's almost dark. No bugs - must not be attracted to the busier road on which I'm riding....

9:05 pm: I pull into home as another gnat swoops into my nose.

Ahhh, what a good bike ride. I have to give credit to the diagram above; I found it on blondeonabike.blogspot.com. I couldn't have described it better myself....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Just when you think you're outta blog material....

Along comes a car ride with the boys.

As Exile on Mom Street says... or is it Manic Mommy? Ya can't make this stuff up!

As we were on a 45-minute drive home recently, the boys predictably became a bit rambunctious in the back seat together, thereby (equally predicatably) irritating the husband and me.

The husband firmly exhorted the boys to stop horsing around and settle down, to which the 10-almost-11-year-old replied whinily:

"I'm NOT horsing around, Mom."

The husband and I chuckled.

"Uh. He's commonly referred to as 'Dad,' " I corrected.

"I know but he's nagging me like Mom," retorted the 10-almost-11-maybe-won't-make-it-to-his-11th-birthday-in-a-couple-of-weeks-year-old.

Friday, July 10, 2009

So THAT'S why I was a bitch...

You know that little thing we women get every month?

Yeah. I still haven't gotten it down.

I was a late bloomer, but even so - I have over (doing the math in my head here...) 24 years' experience with the monthly visitor - that's 288 months ... well, minus 22 months of pregnancy. The point is, I should have this down by now.

but no. nope. not at all.

Comes as a complete surprise every time. What the!.... ohhhhhh. So THAT'S why I was such a bitch yesterday...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm definitely not sure...

I have cold-weather exercise-induced asthma. If I never tried to run outside during cold weather it wouldn't really matter; however, as you all know by now, I'm a runner. One puff of Advair before a run in the cold does the trick.
Why am I telling you this? It's just background. Keep going.
I get mail-order refills for the Advair prescription that last 3 months. (still background, I know. Hang with me here...)
The last time I ordered a refill the 3-month prescription, I received double the amount (a 6-month prescription). No problem, but they also charged me double. Problem.
Well, this should be a snap, I thought. I'll simply call my friendly customer service representative at blah blah mail order prescription service.
After plowing through touch tone hell, I was finally connected to a human being.... but, alas, not a very smart one.
I suggested that I simply send the extra 3 months' prescription back for a refund.
Nope. No can do, she explained. Ya just can't return prescriptions.
She suggested I just keep it all and suck it up. She wasn't rude, just a little, well, blonde.
Um. No. Nice idea, but I only use it during the winter, and it has a shelf life... you see where I'm going with this. She didn't, though. Double payment for ability to use half of drug = money not well spent.
I charmingly convinced her that a credit or a refund, notwithstanding my inability to return the drug (since it wasn't my fault), would be the right thing to do. She agreed.
Just to follow up on our solution, I summarized at the end of our conversation:
me: "Okay; thanks very much. So... you'll be crediting me for the extra amount sent, right?"
friendly blonde customer service representative: "Um, I'm definitely not sure..."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A lesson in humility

Recently the editor from our local magazine contacted me to ask if I would be a part of a story on marathoners. The gist of the piece would be something to the effect of: crazy-busy-working-moms-squeezing-in-training-for-triathlons or marathons. Well, heck… I’m just a little bit of a ham, so I agreed to be interviewed for the feature. We did a phone interview (twice since the writer lost the notes from the first one), and she told me the story would appear in the September issue. I thought that was it. Voila.

“By the way,” she said as a postscript to the telephone conversation, “the photographer will be contacting you soon to get some shots.”



Sure enough, the photographer contacted me.

“I wanna get some shots of you training,” he specified.

“Oh…uh. Okay. Well I um. I run,” I pointed out the obvious.

I mean I cross train a bit and do some resistance workouts, but mostly I run and I run and I run. Uphill, downhill, no hills (ahh), faster some days, more slowly on scheduled recovery days. But I definitely run a lot. It's what I do.

I relayed my training schedule to him for this week, and he planned to meet me at the beginning of a long bike ride (cross training) with my friends yesterday to snap some photos, and also at my track workout this morning. He mentioned that he’s a runner, too, so he guesses that’s why he got this assignment.

I was 11 minutes late to the meeting place for the bike ride through every fault of my own, my two buddies and the photographer all waiting for me. It turns out the photographer is a 20-year-old college student doing this as a summer job. My two triathlete friends are ready to go and look the part. They have suave adult bike helmets with mirrors, biking gloves, cool shoes, and slick road bikes. Me, on the other hand, I’m not a regular cycler, so I clumsily pulled my 13-year-old’s mountain bike out of the car (my 18-year-old mountain bike goes “CLANK…. CLANK… CLANK… CLANK.” I took it to the bike shop for a tune-up and the owner chuckled. “Um…. Not worth it,” he gently informed me) and strapped on my son's red bike helmet, feeling a bit awkward. No road bike. No mirror. No cool cycling sunglasses. No cool gloves or shoes. Just me. In my kid's Schwinn helmet on his Schwinn mountain bike. Okie dokie, Mr. photographer. Snap away! I sure am proud! At the end of the photo op I encouraged him, his being a fellow runner and all, to join me for some of my run the next day at the track. “Cool,” he responded; “maybe I will.”

This morning I was a bit more in my element at the track. I was wearing my black running shorts, my sleeveless white running top, some sunglasses and a visor with hair sticking out of the top in a lovely way. I’d rather look silly in a picture than acquire even more freckles. My scheduled workout was a mile and a half warm-up, 12 repeats of 400 m at about a 6:30/7:00 pace (with a 2 minute “active recovery” between, connoting a slow jog), and a mile and half cool-down. My canine running partner and I started the warm-up before the photographer arrived, and after a mile or so I noticed him dutifully trudging across the field, camera in hand.

We exchanged good mornings and, as Sophie and I rounded the track each lap, he snapped photos of us from all angles. I don’t think I’ve had so many photos taken of me since my wedding. It was a bit unnerving, so, smart-ass that I am, after a few laps I yelled, as I passed, “this would be a lot more fun if you would stop snapping and start running…”

After a plethora more shots, he fell in next to me during a 2-minute recovery lap.

It turns out this kid is really fast and runs for his college cross country team. Oy.

38-year-old-female-me: “So,” I queried, “what are your events?”

Thin 20-year-old-male: “I mostly do the 5-mile.”

38-year-old-female-me: “Cool. What does your coach have you do for speedwork?”

Thin 20-year-old-male: “Oh, we do mile repeats and sometimes 400m repeats.”

[At this point we accelerate to a faster pace for the 400m repeat – I’m not able to talk until we finish and go into a recovery jog].

38-year-old-female-me: “Ah… I HATE mile repeats,” I whined. “I do those Fridays. What kind of pace do you do for your mile repeats?”

Thin 20-year-old-male: “Oh, about 5:20s.”

Insert wide eyes and gasp. Jaw falls to the ground.

38-year-old-female-me: “HOLY COW!” (I do about 7s for my mile repeats. I don’t even think I could do one mile in 5:20. Keep in mind for a mile repeat, one must do a fast-paced mile, jog a bit, and then REPEAT the fast-paced mile a minimum of 3-5 cycles).

Thin 20-year-old-male: [chuckles goodnaturedly]

38-year-old-female-me: “Geez! What kind of recovery time do you get?”

Thin 20-year-old-male: “oh, about 1 minute.”

38-year-old-female-me: “Sheesh!”

As we did a few cycles of fast-paced 400m and then jogging recoveries, it did not escape my attention that he was barely breaking a sweat, nor was he breathing heavily, notwithstanding that he was running in a lane farther outside than I (and therefore running even farther/faster).

It turns out that his best 5K (3.1 miles) is 16-something. Wow! Those are 5-something-minute miles….

38-year-old-female-me: “Golly!” I manage to sputter in between breaths on a fast-paced lap, “this is a cakewalk for you; you’re not even breathing heavily. What’s your regular base pace?”

Thin 20-year-old-male: [quite casually] “What’s the pace right now?”

38-year-old-female-me: “About 6:35.”

Thin 20-year-old-male: “About this,” he answers without a hint of condescension.

38-year-old female me: [chuckles as much as is possible while out of breath]

In the meantime, the energetic Sophie is lying down in the shade on one side of the track, intelligently staying put while watching us go round and round with great interest, probably thinking to her canine self: “you people aren’t very bright, are you?”

It was a bit humbling running with a college cross country racer, yes… but at least he’s never done a marathon… and he was very polite about running my pace…and I felt myself pick up the pace a bit in the final few repeats to save my pride… and I consoled myself (audibly) with the facts that I am almost 20 years older and female…

I don’t know what Soph’s excuse was. I guess chasing the stray cat across the entire field at full speed did her in.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gummy bears, anyone?

Items found in the dryer this week:

- 1 penny

- 1 quarter

- 1 pen drive (argh)

- 2 little wooden sticks, each broken on both ends; use unknown

- 3 rocks; not sure what kind

- a library card

- 2 small, red plastic thingamabobs (?)

- 3 screws (again, ?)

- a few assorted gummy bears

- a snickers wrapper

- a very short pencil with no eraser
- a piece of paper, folded, with an indecipherable note on it

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Put out

(above: you caption it, please)

put out' (adjective) - a state of irritated distress

Sophie is quite put out that she needs drops in both eyes twice daily.