Saturday, November 29, 2008


We are out to lunch and the girls are talking about the new "Tinkerbell" movie.  F leans over to me and in a not-so-quiet voice announces:  

"I know I am a boy, but I like fairies."

The 405

My 40th birthday came early and in a big way thanks to my incredibly generous mother.  The present at the top of my wish list cost about $350 retail.  My mom figured with tax that would bring the total to about $400.  By her estimation $10 a year was a pretty reasonable amount to spend on her favorite and only son.  I suggested that she may want to refigure her estimation as I was pretty sure that some of those years (especially most of the teen years) I probably owed her more than $10.  She agreed, but pointed out that there were a lot of years that were easily worth $20 so an average of $10 a year was appropriate.  We went to REI and picked up the most powerful watch I have ever had on my wrist - the Garmin Forerunner 405 with Heart Rate Monitor.  

So, in the past few days I have spent time playing around with all the various functions and have had a couple of occasions to run with it and work with it in action.  Boy is it fun!  I am still figuring out some of the more interesting details of it, but I have discovered one unsettling bit of information.  This information has me in a quandary because it affects more than just myself.  Do I share this information with the running group or do I keep it to myself/ignore it and continue on the way we have for over a year now?  The disturbing information is that I now know precisely (or more precisely) how long we run.  And it ain't as far as we have been figuring.  What to do?  What to do?  At some point I am sure someone will ask, "Hey, Mr. Fancy-Watch-GPS-Heart-Rate-Monitor-Old-Timer-Bastard, how far does that super-fancy time piece say we actually ran?" and then I will have to be honest, won't I?  That question will probably be asked sooner rather than later now that I have posted this and most of the running group reads this on a regular basis.


My brother-in-law is in town and staying with us for Thanksgiving.  He asked F to get him something from the kitchen and his reply was: 

 "You got it, bro!"

'Tis the Season

Thanksgiving went by in a blur and we are already supposed to start thinking about Christmas, but I just can't get in the mood.  There is no snow on the ground. It's been very bright and sunny lately.  It is cold, but by no means bitter.  It still feels more like fall then like the holiday season.  At least it did, until this morning.  

Running my regular route down to Lake Harriet at 5:15 in the morning, in the dark, slightly sensory deprived in the dark, with my ears under a thick hat, I ran by Sunnyside Gardens.  Sometime in the last four days they got their order of Christmas trees.  The scent was a heavenly surprise and I broke into a wide smile and breathed deeply.  As I was basking in the memories of past Christmases triggered by the sweet smell of freshly cut pine, I remembered that there is another little tree lot about half a mile down the road in a little park I run by.  And there it was, my second hit of the holiday season.  There is something about that smell of Christmas that makes me smile more than anything else.  To get the opportunity to enjoy it by myself early in the morning made it all the sweeter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Half-way There

That might not be completely accurate, but it feels like it because the stress of making a giant meal for 17 people is finally over.  One bird in the oven and one bird on the grill and they both turned out great and finished within minutes of each other. (My personal favorite was the grilled turkey, but I may be biased.)  



The aftermath

Everyone got along.  Crazy is still just that - crazy, but I was too busy to spend much time listening to her idiotic and ceaseless prattling.  Apparently, she is "thinking about getting her kids into soup" - as an example of idiotic prattling.

There was too much political talk so I would just get up and leave.  A's dad looks good (oh, he had a pace-maker implanted on Wednesday and was discharged Thursday around noon.)  We have about 36 hours left until we are left alone.  I think I might be able to survive.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Son of a Bee Sting!

It's 11:45 PM.  A and I are asleep, cozy in bed. Under warm, soft flannel sheets with a down comforter on top.  Mmmmm! So nice.  So peaceful.

"AAAAgggghhhh!  AAAAgggghhhh!  AAAAgggghhhh!" high-pitched, girl-shrieking from A as she is kicking at me.  "AAAAgggghhhh! AAAAgggghhhh! AAAAgggghhhh!" high-pitched, girl-shrieking from me as I am startled awake by my wife kicking me and shrieking at me.


"Oh, it's you! I woke up and couldn't figure out who was sleeping in the bed with me.  (Zzzzzzz.)"  She mumbles as she rolls over and goes back to sleep.

Yes, honey, it's ME.  Your husband of twelve years who has slept next to you the vast majority of nights over those twelve years.  

As I lay there with my heart pounding out of my chest, I realized it doesn't instill a lot of confidence in the impression I am making when my wife doesn't recognize me in our own bed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Danger in the Freezer

For whatever reason, since the TCM I have developed new aches and pains.  My left hip gets tight, but I can kind of stretch that out.  Then there are the shin splints.  The doctor gave me the thumbs up to run without pause as I don't have a stress fracture, but he suggested I ice my shin to help rehab it.  Taking that advice, I grabbed an ice pack from the freezer and Ace bandaged it to my shin over my sock.  Well, I thought it was over my sock.  Turns out it was only half on my sock and half on my bare skin.  As I walked around the house with my lower leg sufficiently numbed, I forgot about the ice pack - for about a half hour.  When I did remember the ice pack and decided to remove it I found the bare skin above my sock to be very white (whiter than normal - hard to believe I know) and very cold.  Creepily cold.  The thought that entered my brain - "Holy Shit!  I struggle all winter to stay warm and avoid frostbite and I fricking give it to myself in my own house."  Needless to say, I have a nice reddish area that now has some feeling in it, but still looks strange.  It's not worth a photo right now, but if it gets particularly gross, I will pass a visual along.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finnism at the Movies

Sitting in the theater watching previews before Madagascar II a music video comes on that is actually an ad for the National Guard.  The video has lots of images of soldiers helping disaster victims and fighting battles - lots of carnage and sadness.  At then end of the video, when the theater is quiet, F says to no one in particular, but in a very loud voice, "I DO NOT want to see that movie!"

I hope that you have learned your lesson

After running errands on Sunday afternoon I come home and A matter-of-factly announces she had to save F's life.  In an irritated voice she explained that he was eating lunch with his friend and was cramming (we are a family of crammers) his sandwich in his mouth and talking (which he never seems to stop doing) and laughing and he aspirated his lunch. 

I picture it going down this way - F is talking and laughing and standing at the table eating as fast as he can (the kid never sits down in a chair).  A warns him to stop cramming food in his mouth, but he keeps cramming, talking and laughing.  Then the talking and laughing stops. A looks over at F's eyes bugging out of his head, puts her hands on her hips, cocks her head, rolls her eyes, lets out a big sigh of exasperation and walks over him, spins him around and gives him the Heimlich.

Not this Heimlich                                 This Heimlich

Tangential story - My mom was an emergency room nurse when I was growing up and she would do training for the EMTs and first responders in our small town.  One night while she was teaching the CPR course she accidently referred to the Heimlich Manuever as the Heimlich "Removal".  Well, she couldn't get off of it and referred to it that way for the entire night.  To this day we refer to it as the Heimlich Removal just to make her nuts.

Tangential story II - Not really a story but a joke told by my dad who made every joke an Ole and Lena joke and told it in a "Scandihoooovian" accent.  Ole and Lena are having dinner with Sven when Lena starts to choke.  Sven gets all excited and runs to dial 911, but Ole remains calm and tells Sven, "No need to worry.  I know yust what to do."  So Ole grabs Lena, spins her around, pulls down her pants and licks her on the butt.  Lena lets out a giant cough and the piece of food she was choking on flies out of her mouth and across the room.  Sven looks at Ole, eyes wide in amazement, "Ole that was yust incredible! How did you know what to do?"  Ole replied, "I yust learned CPR - they call that the 'Hind-lick Manuever.'"

Back to the story - I only picture it going down that way because that is kind of the way A told it and that was kind of my reaction - eye-rolling, an exasperated sign and the phrase, "fricking kids."  Needless to say, I am never one to miss a "teaching opportunity."  For the rest of the day, every time I saw F eating something I felt compelled to remind him to be careful so mommy wouldn't have to save his life again.  It remains to be seen if he has learned anything.

New Shoes and More Good Stuff

It has been an interesting morning.  First off, it's bright and sunny for the first time in about six days.  I got my new running shoes (thrilling, I know) but they are still the Sunny D flavor (ugh).  I forgot that I got a 20% discount from the store I go to so they weren't $95 they were $76.  Then I go to the grocery store and get coffee at Caribou afterward.  I am waiting in line behind someone who, it seemed, had never ordered coffee before and there was much discussion about price and what had been charged.  I was trying not to look impatient even though I obviously was.  As I finally made it to the front of the line to pay, the woman behind me offered to pay for my drink because she had to wait for hers to be made anyway.  I of course declined a couple of times and then caved and accepted her offer, because, hey - free coffee.  Now, I can't wait to do that for someone else.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Love New Shoes

I was still befuddled by my shin pain (which wasn't bad after yesterday's run, by the way) so I looked at my shoes.  Turns out they are over three months old and have nearly 400 miles on them.  400 miles - every time I see that it always amazes me.  How fast the miles pile up.  Looking at the soles I have some pretty good wear, especially on the right shoe.  It's interesting how losing what seems like such a thin amount of rubber can have such a big affect on my body.  So tomorrow is new shoe day.  I hope they look better than my current pair - I feel like I am wearing Sunny Delight on my feet - and hate Sunny Delight.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Just give it time

So my last post had me concerned that I had a stress fracture and that I would never get enough time on the bike.  Well, I had that X-ray and I have a perfect tibia - no break , good news.  It must be a little bit of shin splints - bad news.  Stretching, Aleve and ice will have to do the trick.

I got on the bike for half an hour today.  I tucked the computer in the seat bag and strapped my old watch on the handlebar just to keep track of time.  A nice easy ride to get me started.  If I can do that at least a couple times a week and build up the time in the saddle, I should be good.

I just need to keep reminding myself to give it time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mid-November, already a little frustrated

Too much time on my hands (no job - rainy, crummy day - home with sick kid) makes me think too much.  I tried to get on the bike trainer yesterday - I have it set up in the basement in front of the TV instead of in the laundry room like last year - but it didn't go well.  The batteries were dead on the remote and then the sensor on my computer wasn't picking up.  Once I got in the saddle, I lasted all of about 20 minutes total.  I was too bored!  I hate a treadmill (haven't been on one in years and not even close since I started running last year) so I am not sure what would make me think a bike trainer is much different.  It's not!  Way boring! But I have to figure out how to get some time in the saddle.  The bike is easily the weak part of my races and if I want to make the gains I have projected, improvement on the bike - even a little - will get me there.  

To complicate matters I have decided it is time to get an x-ray of my right shin.  I have had on and off pain for months now.  Nothing excruciating or persistent, but recurring and localized.  I want to make sure it's not a stress fracture or something that could put me out for a long time if I don't get it taken care of.  The thing of it is that it doesn't hurt after I warm up during a run.  It is most uncomfortable after I been sitting for awhile.  Strange, but I figure better safe than sorry.

So my mind has decided to be frustrated - "I will never get enough time on my bike because attempt one was rather dismal."  "I have a broken leg!" "I am going to be 40."

One thing I can't do anything about, the other one probably won't come to pass (and if it does, I am one tough mo fo) and the third one I just need to keep getting on no matter how long or short a time.

I have to just take it all one day at a time.  

How not to parent

"Dirty Skirt" lost her nomination for parent of the year.  Last Saturday her five-year-old son broke his tibia (the big shin bone) straight through about three inches above his ankle.  He was pillow surfing down their main steps while mom and dad were in the kitchen cooking up a batch of meth.  That last part was a lie - apparently mom and dad were in the kitchen "drying dishes".  Call it what you will - the kids were unsupervised.  None of this disqualifies anyone from parent of the year.  

The poor kid had surgery to reset his bone and is now home and in so much pain he can't be moved.  "Dirty's" family has just bought a new house and is still in the process of selling their current home so they are hyper vigilant of making any sort of mess in case they have to show it.  Her son has finally gotten to the point where he can sit in his wheelchair (it just gets better and better) and move around some.  

Yesterday, the kid is finally mobile but still learning to drive and he kept bumping into the walls.  "Dirty" finally got fed up and admonished the kid - "If you don't stop running into the walls I will take away your wheelchair."  

Cross her off the ballot!

Rainy Days and Mondays

Today is obviously Thursday, but the sentiment seems appropriate.  It has been cloudy, cold-ish and drippy for the last four days or so and it is starting to get to me.  E has been home with a cold for two and a half days now. Which means I have to stick close to home and haven't been able to get out much.   F has been up in the middle of the night for a variety of reasons for a few days now, so I am a little sleep deprived.  And to top things off I have eaten terribly for the last three days.  I am pretty sure I have eaten more servings of Oreos (with milk however) than fruits and veggies in those three days.  Running usually gets me back on track, but it was rainy, cold and windier than expected today and those things combined with lack of sleep and empty calories equaled less than exuberant running this morning.  I need some snow or sun to lift my mood.  Or maybe I just need a nap.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Everyone always goes back to that place of comfort - a happy place - when things get stressful or disappointing.  At least that is the way it happens for me.  For a long time when I get to tough places in my life, I start to have swimming dreams.  The pool was my happy place for so long.  I dream I have to do some insane workout after not being in the pool for years or I have to get in and race with no training.  Thing is, they are pleasant dreams.  I feel in control and calm.  I never finish the race or the workout, but I always feel good about it.

Well, now I have developed a new happy place.  Apparently it's a triathlon.  I have been having tri related dreams lately.  Again, they involve being thrown into a workout or race with no training, but in them I appear confident, competent and do just fine.  

Too bad at this time there is no money in sport for me, but it helps get me through the days - and nights.

Thank God That's Over

This blog was never really meant to be a rant or a political soap box, but I feel the need to walk up to that line right now.  Thank GOD the election is today.  I am so sick of the ads from both sides and then all the PACs and special interest groups.  I voted this morning and I am DONE!  I hope my guy wins, but I really am not too worried either way.  If the world hasn't come to an end in the last eight years I think we will be safe going forward.  I just hope it's a landslide one way or the other so there won't be weeks or months of litigating for a president.  As irritating as this campaign has been, I am glad we live in the country we do.  Sure there are things that could be done to improve the process, but there is in any system.  OK - 'nough said!

On a separate note - I ran 12 miles in the past two days at a sub-8:30 pace.  I feel like I am coming back.