Monday, December 29, 2008

Onward and Upward

Happy Birthday to me - I turned 36 yesterday. Here's to another fun and fabulous season as a back-of-the-pack age grouper!

Irony at its finest - today I took Bear to the store and picked up organic milk, organic bananas, organic yogurt and a variety of green cleaning products. Then I temporarily lost my mind and got him his first McDonald's cheeseburger for lunch.

Goal postponed - haven't found that wagon just yet, but only because a nasty virus found me first. Entering the 4th week of being sick, finally starting to think I may soon be able to move more than arm's length from a box of kleenex and my narcotic cough medicine. To keep things lively, Bear has been sick with the same thing at the same time, only with bilateral ear infections to boot (times two, beginning of December and recurring last week).

Decisions, decisions - wonderful surprise of a monetary gift from my mom just big enough to treat myself to either a Garmin 305 or a wetsuit. Fencepost wedged firmly up my ass, though logic will likely fall in favor of wetsuit. (That choice will prevent hypothermia in all those Lake Michigan races I've been wanting to enter, and no matter how much I might believe to the contrary, I can't actually die from cool chart envy.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sylvia Milhone Bailey, 1902-2008

My great-grams, Sylvia (Milhone) Bailey, passed away last night at 106.

She always said she wasn't going until the Cubs won the World Series again. I guess she couldn't wait any more.

I had plans to go downstate last week in part to take Baby Bear to meet her, but the Bear and I both came down sick (we still are) and postponed our trip to next week.

Now there's an enormous snowstorm bearing down on us, with up to 11 inches of snow expected by tomorrow. Down home, they're expecting an inch of ice today with snow the next 4 days. And Wonderful Husband has no vacation time because of his surgery, and my relatives don't count for bereavement leave and ohbytheway, he's covering for 3 people on vacation. And we wouldn't be able to board the dogs on such short notice on a holiday weekend. And my fat pants are tight.

And did I mention the enormous guilt over not making it over to the hospital to see her when we were down for Grandma's funeral 5 weeks ago? While my cousins went to see her I had to take the Bear bad to my mom's for a desperately needed nap. And since WH was being forced to use vacation time we had to head right back home, so we didn't make any extra family visits.

Mom told me last week that when they were making arrangements for my Grandma they realized that the headstone for my great-grandpa and Grams will have to be redone. Back when he passed away (~1965) they thought they'd be proactive. So they started Grams' half of the stone. With a "19.." I find this endlessly amusing.

Here's hoping Grams can get WGN in heaven so she can see the Cubs come through for us some day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gear for Goals

If I'm going to reach my goal of doing an Olympic distance race this decade (not to mention the pact I made with mommymeepa to shoot for a HIM in 2011) I need to get my hands on a wetsuit, because around here the longer races are in Lake Michigan.

And as much insulation as I'm still packin, even I can still get hypothermia in Lake Michigan. In August.

I know there are a zillion wetsuit options out there and they all fit differently and I should try on a zillion and one to find the right one. But I've also noticed when my fellow curvy girls out there have been successful in their searches and wound up singing the praises of a wetsuit's fit. I just wish I'd actually written down the brands when I was noticing said singing.

So to all the voluptuous vixen athena goddesses out there... I'm begging you. Please tell me where to start my search?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hitchin Back Up

It's time to admit (first to myself, then to you) that I've fallen off the wagon in a big way.

It wasn't voluntary and I went kicking and screaming.

I clung to the wagon by my fingertips and let it drag me for months. But I couldn't hang on any more, and a few months back I finally let go.

Even then, I stumbled along trying to keep it in my sights, hoping if I limped and crawled long enough I'd catch up eventually.

With every missed workout I could almost see the wagon getting smaller and farther away, until it finally dropped out of sight over the horizon.

Since then I've been drifting aimlessly, my weight creeping up and my mood plummeting down.

I've been beyond overwhelmed with everything life has thrown at me the last few months and trying to get back to my training routine hasn't even been on my radar, let alone my priority list.

The result is that I am, currently, a raging bitch. It has seriously got to be hell to live with me. I used to be proud of my patience. Now I don't even know the meaning of the word. I get up pissed off and I go to bed pissed off. I hate everyone. I think about kicking puppies. It's not good, people.

I miss the old me. The REAL me. The friendly, patient, happy me. The endorphined out me.

So I decided it's time for a shiny new wagon.

At the core of things I'm a pretty basic girl, so it can be a pretty basic wagon. I don't need fancy fold down seats and juice box holders. Or professional coaches and 12 week training cycles.

I'm going all the way back to basics. Five years ago, I found my way to a 5-7 workouts a week by starting with one treadmill session a week. I can do it again.

So, that's where I'll start. This week.

Here's hoping I find the way to my shiny new wagon by Christmas.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Grams

My Great Grams - Sylvia (Milhone) Bailey turned 106 today.

She's in the front row, on the far left.

She's outlived her husband, all but one sibling and both her children. I'm grateful she's still in our lives, but feel bad about how lonely life must be for her.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I had my mind all made up to do the Turkey Day 5K this week, then yesterday I tripped over some random new birthday toy and my knee went "ziiiing." When I got up for our 2am 'my diaper is wet and I need Momma Milk' routine I was limping.

Ugh. So much for getting in an actual event in 2008. Oh well, 2009 is right around the corner and I've still got my heart set on attempting my first Oly.

In other news.... Wonderful Husband goes in for gallbladder removal tomorrow. We're looking forward to him being done with the pain and being afraid of more pain every time he eats. He's particularly enthusiastic to have it done before Thanksgiving dinner.

Hope everyone out there in blogland has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birthday Bear

Happy First Birthday Baby Bear!

My world is a better place because you're in it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Could Almost Hate Him for This

We're about 2 weeks into the gallbladder nightmare (surgical consult scheduled for Thursday). I'm doing my best to keep Wonderful Husband fed with gallbladder friendly, low-fat meals and he's so scared of the pain coming back he's forgone his typical cheeseburger and pizza diet and is doing the same for himself when he's outside my jurisdiction during workdays.

The result?

The pain is manageable and he has avoided another major flare-up.

The side effect?

This morning he looked noticeably thinner and I said so. He's been talking about trying to lose 30 pounds for a while, so he was not unhappy to hear this and got on the scale to test my theory.

He's lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy (Belated) Halloween (photo post)

As much as I love triathlon season and how good training makes me feel, and how exciting it is to race for the sheer joy of pitting myself against myself... I'm always happy when fall rolls around.

I love that the seasons are arranged, as if for my convenience, to bring me indoors just as body and spirit are starting to feel burned out on racing and training and traveling and all the details that go along with it.

I love it when training obligations transition from mandate to maintenance, and I have time to turn my attention to other interests.

Like Halloween. Which, as y'all know, I geek out over just as much as I do over triathlon.

Everyone told me I'd have to dial back my Halloween decor now that I have a kid. I told them to bite me. My kid sleeps with a stuffed vampire; he can handle a few foam latex body parts. And after some initial confusion over the severed arm, he did just fine.

It was a perfect year with perfect weather - we took Bear trick-or-treating, ran out of (14 bags) of candy and met more of our neighbors in 90 minutes than in the last 5 years. Awesome.

Bear thought Harry was there to play with.

Helping mommy decorate.

Bear assisted pumpkin carving.

Ichabod Crane was here.

Stylin' for the trick-or-treaters.

Cool shadow effects.

Welcome to our humble abode.

On the porch (what you can't see is the dozen shrunken heads, various weapons and severed limbs dangling from the ceiling).

Dinner's on.

Ingredients for the witch's stew.

This is Bob. He hangs out with us all the time.

This was Bob's buddy. We didn't catch his name. He pissed off Harry.

This is what's left of the rotten kids who tore up our Obama for President sign because we ran out of candy.

These are the fingers of the kids who tried to take more than their fair share of candy. I took them to a party for a snack.

Wonderful Husband and I got a Real Live babysitter and went to a Real Live Party!

Who needs a feather boa when you can snuggle with the real thing? (Ok, he's really a python. But he's still snuggly.)

Harry's little sister. (Yes, I am holding a real live tarantula. Yes, it took everything I had to do it. I am genuinely scared of spiders.)

I can't wait for next October!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When It Rains It Pours

The same day Grandma died, Wonderful Husband ended up in the ER with severe abdominal pain. Tests at the time were negative and they sent him off with a scrip for Vicodin and orders to get into the first ultrasound appointment he could (which, between the funeral and the hospital's schedule, wasn't until today). He spent the last 4 days gutting out the family obligations, alternately battling a fever, pain and Vicodin haze.

We won't get the official word from our doctor until he's back in the office tomorrow, but at the appointment this morning the tech was nice enough to tell him unofficially that he probably shouldn't get too attached to his gallbladder. He even threw in that he hasn't 'seen one this bad' in a long time.

Which means... no Bahamas beach house in 3 weeks. Here's hoping we can reschedule those non-refundable plane tickets.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I Love My Friends

One of my nearest and dearest sent me this today. I am so blessed to have friends close enough they aren't put off by funeral formalities and are able to give me a good laugh when I need it most.

Whatever you give a woman, she will multiply.

If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.

If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.

If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.

She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

So, if you give her crap...

You'll get back more shit than any human being can handle.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Pauline Marie Barnes Bailey 1925-2008

The generational shift in my family is almost palpable.

It hasn't hit me yet. I'm too far from home. But just like with Grandpa, I'm sure it will hit me the farther south I drive.

I have no idea how I'm going to deal with cleaning out her house. It was the one place in an extremely difficult childhood where we felt safe, and where all the happy memories from that awful time were formed. It's where I learned about the Cubs, homemade ice cream and what Thanksgiving is supposed to smell like. The place we walked to after school to knaw on the homemade cookies we stole from Grandma's stash in the deep freeze.

For various physical and emotional reasons, the ones left in my mom's generation simply can't do it. And there's no way I'm going to leave it all to my SIL (new aka The Saint). It's the least I can do, after the last few years of everyone giving everything they had to help keep Grandma comfortable in her own home.

So after the funeral suits go the dry cleaners I'll don my work gloves and grubby jeans and start the daunting task of sorting through 60-some years of stuff.

I wonder if there are still cookies in the freezer.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Halloween Bear

I figure I've got a lifetime of superhero and monster costumes ahead of me, so this was one was for me.

(Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts for my family. Granmda is on a morphine drip now to ease her passing. If there's a god it won't be much longer, because no one deserves to go through this.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tick Tock

I've never been so aware of time passing before. Every time the phone rings I assume it's the family calling to say Grandma is gone. Every hour that passes without a call all I can think about is how she looked lying in that bed, so weak she can't even drink from a straw, just lingering and suffering.

I take a shower, I play with the baby, I bake some cookies... and she's still just lying in that hospital bed. Took weak to pull up the blankets when she's cold or press the call button for help when her diaper needs changed. Sleeping so deeply she's more or less unconsicous, unable to stay awake for more than a few seconds at a time or whisper more than a word or two. Completely at the mercy of an almost criminally apathetic staff whose primary responsiblity seems to be avoiding us when we notify them she needs something.

I can't stop thinking about how she mustered every bit of strength she had to lift her hand up to hold mine when we were saying goodbye.

I'd have sat there all day if I could, but she's contagious and the hospital didn't want me to bring the baby into her room. So I had to put being a mom before being a granddaughter. I'm still working on sterilizing his favorite toys that were in her room before the staff got around to telling us it wasn't safe.

I've never seen a human so ill before. Animals, yes. Right before we put them to sleep to ease their suffering. In fact, the whole thing is disturbingly similar to how we lost Karma, our previous German Shepherd. Bacterial infection (both in the clostridium family), endless gastrointestinal chaos, lack of immune response... and now the worst, and final step - lungs filling with fluid. It was gut-wrenching to watch my dog go through it - knowing it's happening to my beloved Grandmother is tearing my heart out.

When she could still speak, before the infection ran rampant, she told anyone who'd listen she just wanted to die, and she's been a dnr for years. I totally respect her desire not to keep living in pain, but am having a hard time reconciling that with knowing the solution is for my grandma to die.

Now my aunt says they're taking out her PICC line to check for the source of infection before putting in a new one. Mom said they're taking out her PICC line and will 'let nature take its course.' They're both overly stressed, self-centered and dealing with their own depression issues outside of what's going on with their mother, so I don't know who to believe. The only thing they agree on - when they're not ranting to me about how unreliable the other one is - is that Grandma isn't going to make it.

I was devastated when my Grandma Helen died suddenly when I was a teenager. Holy crap do I now get that's better way for things to happen.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not My Best Morning Ever

The phone rang at 7:30 this morning. It was Wonderful Husband informing me the wind took a tombstone or 3 overnight. He found 2 of them.

So at 7-freaking-thesun'snotallthewayupyet-30 this morning, I was bundled in a winter coat, trudging through 31 degrees and 30mph winds trying to find the tombstone I spent countless hours crafting from scratch.

The wind usually blows straight between the houses across the street, right for the retention pond. I know this because before we got the big recycling bins, half the neighborhood used to have to fish the little ones out of the water whenever it was windy.

I found a foam skull halfway down to the pond and knew I was onto something. Sure enough, I saw a tombstone floating in the water a few feet from shore.

I found a stick (another miracle - it's all "Prairie Grass Do Not Mow") and somehow managed to balance on a muddy, half-collapsing bank and a semi-submurged rock a bit out from shore to fish it out.

It wasn't my tombstone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Almost Perfect Weekend (Photo Essay)

Last weekend was almost perfect. The Bear and I finally got over that darn cold, so Saturday we packed up the van with the babies and a couple of great friends and headed for a local farm's fall festival. (Which is all of 10 minutes from here. I love where I live.)

Of course we had to check out the 'how tall' pumpkin. Bear was much more interested in trying to see what might be behind it.

Then there's the obligatory picture cut-out situation.

This is Bear and our 7 month old godson DJ, sitting in front of a VW Beetle painted to look like a (take a wild guess)... giant pumpkin. We have at least a dozen shots with them looking every which way but at the camera. We finally gave up.

Bear was too little for most of the activities (petting zoo, pony ride, barrel train ride, combine ride) but I was determined to give the bouncy house a try. It was shaped like a (wait for it...) giant pumpkin. I guess 11 months isn't quite old enough yet - he cried. It was really cool though, because the other little kids were being super nice to him.

So we gave the Bear to his Daddy and Rain joined me inside to use up the rest of our time. We laughed our butts off and had a blast. And bonus - turns out it's a great cardio and core workout!

Then we watched the 40' pumpkin cannon shoot for a while. VERY cool!

Then we stopped for a quick snack. Wonderful Husband and I shared a warm, fresh funnel cake drowning in powdered sugar...

...and since they made homemade apple cider donuts there, Bear got to taste his first donut! The look on his face was priceless. Half an hour later I found he was still clenching the last shreds of donut in his little fist.

Then we climbed the hay bale mountain. I figured it was a start on burning off some of that funnel cake.

Then we headed over to get in line for the hay ride. The stroller parking lot made it easy to spot. (We ended up leaving before the next ride came along; the babies were reaching their limit.)

We stopped on the way out to get pumpkins to carve, and had to restrain Bear from climbing the "Please Keep Off" giant pumpkins on display.

Case in point of the differences between the boys - DJ has a more mellow approach to things.

After getting home we grilled burgers and started to carve our pumpkins.

Earlier that day our friends told us about this site, so we did our Barack O'Lanterns together.

(Here's how mine turned out after I finished it another day.)

I had a Martha Moment and tried to make homemade marshmallows to go with our homemade hot chocolate. I don't think they're supposed to come out a giant sticky mess. At least they were still tasty.

Our friends who trekked out from the city spent the night (they call it staying at Chez Geek B&B), so the next morning we had coffee in our jammies and I threw together a quiche.

Then I made a vat of spaghetti sauce to stock up the freezer. YUM.

After breakfast, I recapitated my friend's 30 year old teddy bear who recently sustained critical injuries...

Since I was sewing anyway, I also fixed the holes in Bear's current favorite sleepy time toy. (I find it endlessly amusing he sleeps with a vampire.)

Then our friends went home and Wonderful Husband went to his mom's to help them take the pier out of the lake. At which point he wrenched his back. At which point the weekend became "almost" perfect... because later that evening he ended up in an ambulance going to the ER in excruciating pain. Good times. Luckily a couple of the right injections (helloooo muscle relaxers) did the job. He was able to come home that night (at 2 am. ugh.) and was back on his feet after a few days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Baby Ironman

He grew into the adorable Ironman t-shirt we picked up in Wisconsin.

(FYI if you plan to get one sometime, they run very small. His regular 12 month clothes are big on him, and this IM shirt is labeled size 18 mos.)

The Nuun tube is still his favorite toy, too : )

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Numbers

We're really broke these days, so for that and many other reasons I haven't been to yoga in over a month. I knew it was going to be hard once it was no longer free at the gym; with the way things have changed for us financially it's tougher than I thought to find the 60 bucks to every other month. (And it's even harder to justify when the Bear's schedule makes me miss half the classes.)

In the meantime, I started DVRing the yoga show on FitTV. Not that I've had time to DO any of them yet. But when I do find a way to fit it in, at least I've got 3 hours of yoga shows to choose from.

Long story long, instead of yoga today I went ahead with the usual Bear At Grandma's for Yoga time and went to the gym for a swim instead (we're cutting expenses like crazy but things will have to be a lot worse before I cut that $33 a month).

You might remember me whining ranting mentioning that the pool at this gym is even smaller than the sad little pool at my gym that closed. So small that they don't even bother with lap distance signs because they don't think anyone would/could really try to work out in it.

I was chatting with some of the lovely retirees who frequent the pool at the odd daytime hours I am lucky enough to be there, and I mentioned my interest in finding out how big the pool was. One gentleman knew and saved me the trouble of bringing in a tape measure.

Y'all, my pool is.... *drumroll please*.... 43 feet, 9 inches.

Oh. Joy.

Good thing I like math, because tracking my workouts just got that much more complicated.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

But on the bright side

The Bear and I are still sick. It's been a week now of runny noses and pounding heads. Ugh.

But on the bright side, I got stung by a bee.

Um, I mean, the bright side being the weather was so gorgeous Sunday I decided not to waste it no matter how sick I felt and did some work outside. And got stung by a bee.

And learned I'm still not allergic to bee venom. So bonus, right?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Comfort Food at Its Finest

I'm still sick. So is the Bear. And now Wonderful Husband makes it a hat trick.

After we got the Bear down for a nap this morning I decided we needed to feel better. Since I can't take any cold medicine, that left comfort food. So I dragged my stuffy-headed ass out of bed and into the kitchen, where I ventured into culinary territory that might even put Steve to shame.

First, I threw together some Bisquick pancakes. Because even this Martha devotee has her limits. Then I fried up a pound of bacon.

Yes, a pound. Yes, there's only two of us. But I've got lettuce and tomato and a three pound jar of mayo, so I say if you're gonna have bacon for breakfast ya might as well have it for lunch too.

Then I did something most of us have only heard about from Oprah shows featuring Dr. Oz and an interesting array of colon samples.

I fried me up some eggs in the bacon grease.

I've never done it before. Last time I saw it done I was about 14, standing at the elbow of my hard core farmer's wife Grandma Helen. And while she dropped egg after egg into the bacon drippings, she reminded me to be sure to put the special margarine on Grandpa's toast, because the doctor put him on a low-cholesterol diet.

I couldn't make this up if I wanted to.

And really, what the hell do I know? Grandma Helen has long since passed, but 22 years later Grandpa is 89 and still single-handedly running the farm. Literally single-handedly, by the way - he blew one of them off in a stupid teenage shotgun accident. And he's still, I betcha, eating his eggs fried in bacon grease, though he lets the local diner do most of his cooking these days.

So, here's to Grandma Helen and comfort food when nothing else will do. And here's hoping we're all still eating bacon fried eggs at 89.

mmmmmm... bacon.

Vegetarians are Soylent Green for chickens.

Irony at its finest...

Next time I'll go for less zombie, more smiley face.

I feel better already.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Restoring Balance

I guess I enjoyed the anniversary, the diamond earrings and that 40 minutes of Me Time on Monday a little too much, because the universe sent me a clear message to knock it the hell off.

Baby Bear woke up sick Tuesday morning (fever/cough/runny nose & diapers). I woke up sick today (head cold). With my first period in 20 months. With cramps.

And I can't take cold medicine, because it wipes out my milk supply.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Yesterday the stars aligned and the universe sent me a gift... I got my client work done during Bear's nap and he still had Grandma time scheduled for the afternoon.

After I rushed through the rest of my To Do list, I headed straight for the treadmill.

It was practically a crime to run indoors on such a perfect day, but I had to be realistic. Haven't run in months, plantar fasciitis still painful and my knees are still questionable. But it was a small sacrifice to make for the joy of a getting in a workout.

The icing on the cake was discovering that Wonderful Husband put the Moulin Rouge soundtrack on my iPod, which is now officially my new favorite workout music.

On any given day I'm all about operatic, melodramatic showtunes. But there was something magical about mixing the soaring harmonies of 'Heroes' with a runner's high. What bliss.

For 40 glorious minutes, the world fell away. Even though I was really just plodding through quarter mile run/walk intervals at a 13:40 pace, I felt like I was flying. I can't ask for more than that.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hard to Top


Apparently it wasn't enough that he took me out to Ruth's Chris for our anniversary dinner, or that we're throwing (financial) common sense out the window and going here for a 3 day anniversary weekend right after Thanksgiving.

(OK, that one's not totally nuts, my friend owns the house and we're getting a crazy deal.)

That's pretty much all a girl like me can ask for an anniversary. Even a big one like the 10th. More than I expected, actually, and more than enough to make me extremely happy.

But... guess what?

(I still can't believe it myself!)

Friday night... during dinner.... he surprised me with diamond earrings.

Did I mention how much I love this man?

(And nope, sorry, he doesn't have a brother.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Happy 10th Anniversary to the greatest husband I ever could have wished for.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ownin It

I'm getting that totally cool feeling I get when I have to order a new Speedo. Because, ya know, I's an athlete and all. And I, like, wore the old one out.

Let's not dwell on the fact that this suit wore out more from being stretched through a pregnancy than heavy training. I still wore out a heavy duty suit from actual use, and that makes me feel all kinds of cool.

I have always gotten the same boring navy Speedo. Call it an outward expression of my not-so-secret inferiority complex. I had this ridiculous idea that I had a better chance of being taken seriously as an athlete if I wore a serious navy Speedo.

Well, it seems I've grown a pair and gotten over that ridiculous notion. Even though I'm currently in the worst condition I've been in for about 3 years and I'm still plagued with nagging injuries, I'm feeling more confident about my status as an athlete than ever before.

There's something inside of me that's finally starting to believe this wasn't a phase and that my life has changed forever in the best possible way. I no longer have this desperate need for the approval of every random stranger that crosses my path in the pool or on the bike trail, and I no longer feel the need to wear gear that screams "I Belong Here. Seriously. Please Believe Me."

I have no idea where this new confidence has come from, but I decided to own it. Starting with my new suit.

This is as close as I could get to hot pink. It's ok, though, 'cause now I've got a hot pink suit attitude to make up for it.