Monday, October 31, 2011

Up Early

I got up a couple of long hours before the crack of dawn today.  You see, Anthony needed help with his makeup:

And he needed help getting into his dress:

He had to modify the back of it to fit and putting it on now involves safety pins in the back.

He tells me he doesn't plan on making make up a regular part of his day or I'd have to teach him how to do it himself.

Here he is all ready to ride to work:

Meanwhile, it's now 6:00am and I'm tiptoeing around the house so as not to wake up the dog.  I'd half planned on going back to sleep, but I've got a 5 mile run to get in this morning and Davan's make up to do before she goes to Do Jump, so by the time I got settled in and actually fell back asleep, it'd probably be time to get up again.  I wish I had a jog stroller for Lovely.  Then I'd go back to bed and run after she got here.  Ah well.  I guess I'll just be tired again tonight. 

I was tried last night and turned my light out at 9:15, but was frustrated in the falling asleep department, not managing the feat until about 10:30.  Grrr.

Davan has requested Buffy watching this evening, as it's Halloween and all.  She thinks we should go ahead and eat while watching.  I haven't really figured out what's for dinner yet...pumpkin soup maybe?....but we can probably do that plan.

Last night, we ate at the table:

Partially because we were eating family style in the Chinese sense.  That means eating directly off of central plates.  We had an interesting mix of Pad Thai and french fries.

We haven't been eating out really at all with Davan and I trying the whole gluten free thing (which, by the way, is going okay in that it isn't that hard to do, but we're not really seeing much/any difference, so I'm not convinced it's our issue, but we'll stick it out a bit longer), so we did an eating out style dinner.  I actually used a little oil in making the Pad Thai and the fries were a particular craving for a certain family member.  That'd be Anthony, although we all partook.

Well, not Ranger, who was a mix of hope and abject disappointment about the whole dinner affair:

I hope your Halloween is a good one!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dressed Up

We went to a Halloween costume party last night.  It was at the home of one of Davan's best friends and was a whole family affair. 

Davan hadn't planned on dressing up this year.  We didn't do Halloween last year and she was happy for a break in costume making.  The couple years before that were big costume years, which she enjoyed at the time.

In fact, in '07, she was so into Halloween that she had two costumes, one that was more maneuverable than the other:

She got so much attention for the dragon costume that she was inspired to keep making homemade costumes for a couple years to come.  It was a dad/daughter project for a few years.  They spent so much time on the dragon head...I was frankly glad to leave it to them.

In '08, she did this:

Actually, both her dad and I helped on this one, but it was her project primarily just with a little help.  She's a gnome on a toadstool if you don't find that immediately obvious.

Anthony was busy with his own costume that year, too:

He was CADMan.  He won the office costume contest that year.  He did his costume all himself.  No help from me or Davan.  Very independent that guy.

In '08, Davan was just going to get a little into the Halloween spirit:

However, then she got abducted:

Shocking, no?  She and Anthony were the makers of this costume again and, again, she got lots of attention with it. 

Later, though, she calmed down and was just sitting on the alien's lap next to my mom on the couch:

I guess the alien was pretty friendly.

As I was saying earlier, she took a break after that.  We had our year of alternate holidays and didn't do Halloween.

This year, Davan was, again, not going to dress up.  But then, just a week ago, she got invited to her friend's Halloween party and, suddenly, needed to come up with a costume.  She had lots of ideas, but only a week to make anything happen.  Then, on Monday, she found out that the class she teaches on Monday was being encouraged to dress in movement friendly costumes for class.  So, she went pretty simple so she could dress for Do Jump.

I'm realizing here that our pictures were less than great from last night.  I'll still share what we've got, but I'll try to get better on Monday. 

Davan went with being a jack-o-lantern.  She's just in black for clothes.  She and I both worked on her makeup:

The reason she needed to do some of her own orange was that I was also busy doing someone else's makeup.  Sadly, there isn't a picture of me actually doing it, but here is the result of both make up jobs:

Anthony made good use of the dress Grandma sent.  Here he is, showing a little leg:

He made quite a stir walking to the party:

Sadly, there isn't a picture of him without his coat on nor one of him in his wig.  Like I say, I'll try to remedy that on Monday.

Anthony will be modifying his costume slightly for Monday.  He's following up on the CADMan of '08 with CADGirl of '11. 

And me?  Well, I really didn't want to spend a lot anything on my costume, so waited until the last minute, then ran off to Goodwill to search for inspiration, but didn't buy a thing and ended up looking like this:

Yeah, the only picture of my costume, as it were, was helping Davan with hers.

This idea, though, was a book character - Mercy Thompson.  I've got a paw print "tattoo" on my navel and am wearing one of Anthony's dog tags and my wedding ring on a chain.  Then there's the shirt, which, really, I don't think Mercy would wear like that, but it shows something similar on the book covers.  Of course, on the book covers, she's also covered in tattoos, but she only has the paw print and a couple Celtic knots when you actually read the books.  And, she's got long brown hair that she usually wears in braids, so it wasn't a great costume, but I did made a bit of an effort.

The party itself was nice, but mostly people we didn't know, which is a difficult situation for a bunch of introverts like us, so we went, hung out, did the social thing, then came home to chill for the tail end of the evening. 

Both Anthony and Davan will dress up again on Monday for work, but this was my one evening of costume fun. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

There's a New Man in My Life

Here's my husband:

And here's the man I came home to today:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day Off

Yesterday, Davan and I took the day off.  Well, okay, not entirely.

Davan got up and did a quick walk/run with Ranger.  Davan was inspired by the run on Sunday and wants to do one.  We've signed up for all three of us to do the Winter Wonderland 2 mile run on the 26th of November, so she's training.

I met a friend for a walk and ran the 1.5 miles to our meeting location and back.

But then...we decided to veg.  We popped popcorn for our lunch (nutritious, no?) and watched a little Netflix.  Yeah, yeah, we were going to wean ourselves away from that.  And, really, we've cut way back, but we were feeling like a veg day.

We decided to watch Dollhouse.  Anthony and I have watched the show before and liked it, but it is a little adult in parts, so I wasn't totally sure about introducing it to Davan, but she was interested and has totally been on a woman-lead action kick, so we went for it.  We watched three episodes over the course of the afternoon.

In our defense, we did also make dinner:  dalh, brown rice, roasted carrots and a dessert of apple cobbler, so we didn't totally slack.  Oh yes, and chores were done - I scooped the litter box, took out the trash, paid bills, worked on laundry and tended dishes.  Davan did a thorough room cleaning and a mediocre bathroom cleaning (that is a skill to be worked on).

Overall, though, it was a down day.  A day of rest, which was nice to take in the middle of the week, as it's been a pretty busy week.  We took Lovely to the zoo on Monday afternoon, Tuesday was busy all day with dentist appointments and, because we were in Gresham for the dentist (we will be changing, but haven't yet), running errands that suburbs are good for (cheaper grocery shopping, Goodwill, as our local one is pretty hoity-toity), as well as company for dinner. 

Today is Davan's busy day, made busier by a Do Jump friend who went away to college being back in town and fitting in seeing her prior to Tracker's this morning.  Meanwhile, Ranger and I did a 5 mile run (with hills!), I did Do Jump work for three hours, made apple compote (I bought a big box of apples Tuesday for $10 and am trying to use them up while they're good - luckily, this isn't difficult), and rode to meet a friend for a walk and back (a 2.5 hour event).

It's all good stuff.  Who was it that thought I could fit a job in around all this?  Oh, yeah, that was me.  Of course, not all weeks are so busy and, hey, I could have skipped Dollhouse yesterday, but I have to say, I like not having to fit that in with everything else on weeks like this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Forgot to Mention

I did a quick look at the results before we left and I finished 244th out of a field of over 1000.  Who-hoo, again!  Of course, many of those were intentional walkers, but still.  I'm feeling pretty good about it.  I didn't get to see my age results or anything, but I also know I'm not anywhere near the top.  I'm just curious to see.

Ran Like Hell!

I ran in my 5K this morning - the Run Like Hell.  It was so much fun! 

First, I dragged Davan out of bed and we rode down to the start:

Okay, actually, it wasn't that early and these two weren't that grumpy.  I made them pose for this picture.  The start wasn't until 9:00 for the 5K and, while that did make for a bit of an early Sunday morning (not weekday morning) for Davan, it wasn't that awful and Anthony was most definitely already up.

It was very nice of them both, though, to come support me and here's how they were really looking:

We got there plenty early so I'd have time to find the bike check in and use the porta-potty as necessary (it sadly was necessary), so we watched the 1/2 marathoners go by, the 10Kers start and the kid's run in it's entirety before I started.  It was fun, though, and not really that much time.

Here I am before I undressed down to my running clothes:

While I opted not to dress up, just running is enough of a challenge for me, I did wear my orange shirt to keep in the spirit of things.  There were a lot of people in costume, though.

Eventually, it was time to go.  I debated back and forth about wearing my MP3 player (I will certainly for longer runs, but I wasn't sure about this one), so you can see that I'm still messing with it when we started:

As happens with races, there was a lot of movement in the pack at the start.  Having been close to the starting line when we took off, I got passed quite a bit, but I also did some passing of my own.  And some of those who passed me early I passed later.  Many people had pacing issues.  Not I, though, well, at least not until the very, very end, but that's a story for after a couple miles.

I really enjoyed the run.  I certainly ran like hell the whole time, which is what I'd been planning.  My goal was to finish is 30 minutes or less with a roughly 10 minute mile pace throughout.  I did pretty well with this, although I was surprised by a hill in the first mile, having thought it was a flat course.  It wasn't a killer hill and I did fine with it, but that was my slowest mile at exactly a 10 minute mile pace.

I tried to pace myself on a few different people throughout, but there wasn't anyone that worked for the whole run.  Some ended up pulling ahead and others I passed, but it was still a lot of fun to run with other people.  About 2 miles in, the 1/2 marathon course and our course met up, so we got a whole influx of people then.  It was pretty crowded throughout the run.

I was feeling pretty whopped as we got close to finishing, but this song actually helped.  Yeah, I like Glee music.  Live with it.  Anyway, I was glad I was using the MP3 player at this point for sure!

Anthony and Davan were waiting and tried to get a couple of pictures, but it can be hard:

I'm the one in the orange, behind the guy in the dark clothes.

 This one I'm more obvious but a little blurry.  Oh well.

I was working so hard, having put it all out there at this point.  Then I went around the corner, expecting to see the finish right there, but it was a block away.  I kept running, but had no kick at all left, nothing to pull out, so I got passed quite a bit there at the very end.  Still, though, I made my goal with an official time of 29:15.  Who-hoo! 

I worked my way around to Anthony and Davan and got the victory pic:

We checked out the after run festival, got a little free food, I drank water at nearly every opportunity, and I got a little chiropractic care from a local chiropractic college student - the school had booth - who worked on my knee issues and gave me an exercise to do, so that was cool.

Then we rode home, I showered, played with my Garmin data and now it's time to eat the corn cakes Anthony has cooked up for us.  Yum!  I wasn't hungry right after the run, but now I'm starving, so I'm off to eat!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Review: UltraMarathon Man

One of the books that caught my eye at Powell's was this slim volume:  UltraMarathon Man:  Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes.  Unlike some of the books I picked out (okay, most, really, sadly), this one panned out.

I found Dean to be extremely entertaining.  The accounts of his 100 mile+ runs (no stopping to sleep) were gripping.  Between wanting to know what happened next, what he did next and the slimness of the book, it was a quick read, but a very enjoyable one.

I found myself alternately appalled, motivated and, okay, frankly, wimpy.  This man runs through the night then plays with his kids.  Some days it's hard to get the motivation to even play with the kids and let's not get started on how much sleep I need, but that's all beside the point.

This is a short review for a short book and I'm going to leave it here because reading his accounts are much more interesting than reading my account of his accounts.  Suffice it to say that runner or not, this is a book that isn't to be missed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: Mercy Thompson Series

Okay, so this is a series review as opposed to a single book review, but we'll let the post title slide. 

There are, so far, six books in the Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs.  They are, in reading order:

Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne
River Marked

There are, apparently, also some short stories scattered in there to be found in anthologies, but I've only read the novels and, thus, can't speak to the short stories.

Often, when I read series, they start to peter out for me around book three or four.  Why?  Well, they start to feel the same or things seem really contrived or the the romance ('cause there's always some sort of romance) is either way too drawn out or ridiculously back and forth or the books are really one book split into several to make a series with no clear endings for the individual books or things just get stupid.

(As a bit of a digression here - one series that I thought did really well in this regard, that is, not falling into any of those traps, was Harry Potter.  My theory on this is that Rowling had a plan from the beginning with certain things that were supposed to happen each year to make the overarching story line work.  She fleshed out each year as she wrote it, but it wasn't off the cuff.  Each book had a proper ending.  Each book progressed.  It worked.  At least for me, it worked.  And, I suppose for those legions of Harry followers out there it worked, too.)

When there were only two Mercy Thompson books, my mom suggested them to me.  Of course, werewolves and vampires are/were big then and I started them with a wee bit of trepidation, but Mom had recommended them and we usually agree of good books, so I picked them up and I enjoyed them. 

Then I forgot about them until a few weeks ago when I saw River Marked at the library in the Lucky Day area. 

(Now, that's causing me to side track again.  Our library system has recently instituted a Lucky Day program where by books that are in high demand, i.e. have long wait lists, have a couple set aside that can be checked out for only two weeks, rather than the usual three, and can't be put on hold.  I enjoy browsing the Lucky Day section, but don't always find that what interests everyone also interests me.  Anyway.)

I realized that I'd started the series some time ago, but had obviously missed quite a few.  I decided to go back and read them, not even really being sure I'd make it all the way up to River Marked, given how series tend to go with me. 

I surprised myself by racing through each book as it came in at the library for me.  I would be exited to get the notice that it was in (which happened quickly each time, as I guess everyone else has already read the earlier books), get to the library as soon as I could and read it, even once putting aside another book I'd started. 

(Of course, it turned out that the other book was one I ended up not reading because it bored me to tears.  Who would have thought that a book about a guy breaking the world record for circumnavigating the world by bike would be so boring?  And yet...)

So, all this is to say that these are good books, even as the series goes on.  I'm impressed. 

I like reading from Mercy's point of view.  Mercedes is a mechanic by trade, working mostly on VWs, but a historian by education and interest.  She does karate and is a very independent minded woman.  She can also turn into a Coyote at will and happens to live next to the alpha of the local werewolf pack. 

There are things in Mercy's world that make it just a little different from ours (or, at least, that we know of and all that).  In Mercy's world, the fae have shown themselves to be real.  Werewolves and vampires also exist but most people don't know it yet.  Mercy, though, has acquaintances in all these arenas. 

While, up until the start of the series, she's managed to keep her head down and not get truly involved, all that goes down the drain with the arrival at her garage of a scruffy young man in serious need of a meal and offering to work in trade.  This young man also happens to be a werewolf who, she knows, isn't part of the local pack.  One things leads to another and pretty soon we've got a whole series.

The books progress in a way that makes sense to me, rather than feeling contrived.  Mercy changes and develops, as do other characters in the books.  The romance, although a little drawn out in my opinion, does progress and, once it's really established, doesn't waver in that whole back and forth way that really annoys me.  I enjoy that the books are set in Oregon/Washington and that, in River Marked, the setting is mostly in an area where we've camped and I've seen the things that set the book up, which is really fun.

I'm not sure where the series is going next, but I'm hoping Patricia is able to keep it going in a way that works for me.  Yeah, I'm selfish like that.  So far, though, she's done a good job and I recommend this series to those who like strong women, mystery and a bit (or more) of the supernatural.  Check them out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lovely Weather We've Been Having

It's true - Portland has been seeing some nice weather the last two days.  We've been out enjoying it, too, although it's all been camera-less once again.  I always like the blog entries with pictures the best, so it's always disappointing to me to write a blog entry without pictures, but apparently, not disappointing enough to make me remember the camera when going out to do fun things.  Or when doing fun things at home.  Well.  Anyway, on with the story of the nice weather days.

Yesterday started off with a run, but it was a bummer of a run.  My knees are hurting.  They do tend to do that when I run, but I'd somehow hoped they wouldn't this time around.  I've been running sporadically for months now without any serious knee pain rearing it's ugly head, but I'm guessing I've increased my miles too drastically recently.

The pain started Friday, but it wasn't too bad and Saturday was my rest day.  Sunday's run - 40 minutes at tempo, during which I was working very hard the whole time - did them in.  I was planning on just ignoring it for my four mile run yesterday morning, which was supposed to be an easy run and I was taking it easy, but, well, the pain was seriously too much to run through after two miles.  Bummer.  :(

My current running plan is to cross train all this week, which will either be walking or biking.  Neither of those activities is entirely pain free, but close if I'm careful, so that's the deal.  I can get my heart rate up pretty well on the bike, so I'll mostly do that, but I walk a lot for a variety of reasons (activities with friends, grocery shopping, going to Do Jump), so I'll keep doing that.  Sunday I'm doing a 5K race, which I'm planning on still doing.  I'm doing this one, but I'm not going to dress up - just enjoy the people who do.  I'll see where I am after that, but I will probably modify my training schedule to include more cross training with fewer running miles that I'll try to increase more slowly this time.  Hopefully, that works.  Additionally, I'm doing some exercises a PT gave me a few years back when I had the same knee pain.  Maybe it'll actually help this time.

After my pathetic two miles of running, Ranger and I walked a bit more, but needed to get home to shower and have breakfast before the Lovely L arrived.  I haven't mentioned it here, but Davan and I are doing child care for an eight month old on Mondays.  We're tag teaming it, which is working out really well.  It's good for Davan to have some baby exposure (hands on child development) and it's a little extra cash.  I'm not charging much at all, so it's not much extra cash.  Davan, though, does teach at Do Jump on Monday mornings, so I need to shower before the Lovely L shows up or I don't get to until Davan gets home.

The Lovely L got here just as I was finishing my breakfast.  I had California Creamed Greens for breakfast, if you can believe it.  I totally had a craving.  We'd had leftovers from Sunday's California Creamed Kale and I'd been thinking of it all morning.  When I looked in the fridge, though, I saw that Anthony had taken it to work for lunch.  I considered going the smoothie route, but what I really wanted was that kale.  I didn't have any more kale in the fridge, but I did have a bag of mixed southern cooking greens from Trader Joe's, so I steamed them up, whipped up some sauce and, viola, craving satisfied.  Well, sort of.  It was good, but I'd really wanted the kale.  Weird, I know.

The Lovely L and I did some chores and some playing until she got too tired to carry on and she took a nap while I got lunch together for Davan and I.  For better or worse, the Lovely L only seems to sleep for a half an hour at a time here.  Her mom says that pretty normal, but she'll sometimes stretch to a little longer.  Davan and I had the rest of the creamed greens, roasted and seasoned polienta cubes, baby bell peppers and grapes for lunch.  The Lovely L had some sort of odd mash of formula, baby cereal and maybe mashed blueberry baby food.  This isn't what I'd feed my own baby, but such is life.

Davan played with the Lovely L while I cleaned up after lunch, then we all walked to the library together where Davan and I took turns looking for books and reading board books to Lovely (or just ensure her safety while she crawled around). 

Ranger was in serious need of a walk by then and, after some discussion, Davan opted to stay behind with Lovely while I walked Ranger.  Playing with her sounded like more fun than pushing her in a stroller.

Ranger I and set off into the sunny afternoon for a stroll, but were shocked when a dog came flying silently out of a back yard and attacked Ranger.  I tried to pull them apart, but to no avail.  It was only seconds, really, but it seemed like a long time until the owner called the dog off (who obeyed right away) and checked with us for injuries.  We seemed to be fine.  I hadn't been touched, just startled and I didn't see anything wrong with Ranger.  The owner seemed sincere and truly shocked by her dog's behavior, so I opted just walk away.  When we started walking, though, Ranger started limping.  She was favoring her front left leg.  However, when I felt it, she just wagged her tail at me and didn't seem to be in serious pain.  By the end of the walk, she wasn't limping.  I guess we'll just be careful of that house and hope it was a one off deal.  We walk by that house daily and had never had an issue, so...we'll let it go.

Back at home, Lovely was ready for a bottle and another nap.  She settled in for her half an hour while Davan and I enjoyed our books.  Post nap, I was off to Freddie's for a few items for dinner.  Again, Davan opted to stay home with Lovely.

Lovely only had about a half an hour left with us after that and the two of us played with her until her mom showed up.  Meanwhile, I was plotting on ways to get Davan out into the sunshine.  Anthony had already expressed his intent for an after work bike ride, so it would be just the two of us.  I came up with a scavenger hunt - a list of ten items to be found in the neighborhood all while Ranger was with us, in a certain time limit and rewards to be had for certain levels of achievement.

Here was our list:

two people holding hands
someone eating
an ant
a squirel
a person holding a book
an empty stroller
a dog on a leather leash
a regular license plate in which the three letters made a word
a person riding a bike in shorts (yes the weather was nice, but it was still only in the 60s)
a person wearing earbuds

After an hour, we had everything but the dog on a leather leash and time was running out.  We decided that we could substitute that one item for two different ones that we hadn't yet seen or find that one item.  The two items we chose for substitutes were someone eating a sandwich and a spider web.  The spider web turned out to be really easy, but we had to go a long way from Laurelhurst park back to Hawthorne Blvd (where there are many restaurants) before we found someone eating a sandwich.  In the end, it was clear that unless I could run (no go on the knees, even the fast walking was causing trouble), we weren't going to make it home in time.  We did another little rule bend and decided that only one of us needed to make it home by the time limit.  Davan took the keys and ran.  She just made it.  Whew.

Our rewards were getting to watch Glee while we had dinner and getting to make pizza with Bob's Red Mill's Gluten Free Pizza Mix the next day (that'd be today for those keeping track).

We whipped together a quick minestrone with the use of some frozen veggie/bean bags in addition to fresh onion and garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, seasonings and some brown rice pasta.  Anthony got home just as the soup was ready.

This morning, Tuesday morning, is usually my strength training class at Do Jump.  The class was still happening, but I wasn't excited about going.  Partially, I feel like I'm wimping out, but partially I don't think it's the right class for me.  I feel like I'm working several levels past where I should be working (I leave literally shaking and am seriously sore for days) when I'm there and am using it for an excuse to ignore strength work the rest of the week.  I'm already working really hard at the running and it just doesn't seem right for me right now.  Davan expressed interest in trying it out, though, so I sent her in my place this morning.  I'm not sure what we'll do for the rest of the term, as Davan also has 3.5 hours of Do Jump Tuesday evenings and it might be too much for her in one day and as I am feeling a little guilty for wimping out...I may finish out the term or I may ask if we can just get drop in trade for the rest of the term so Davan can go to open workouts on Sundays.  We'll see.

Anyway, off Davan went to Do Jump at 6:50 and Ranger and I actually managed to go back to sleep for a while.  When we got up, I took her to one of the off leash areas nearby to chase balls (only a few times - she's not a big fetcher), sniff all the interesting smells and chase a couple other dogs.  We got home just before Davan, who came in pretty whipped, but proud of herself while also worried about hitting the wall this evening when she went back.

The nice weather made me want to be out in it.  The high today was supposed to be 73!  Not shabby for October.  Although I haven't looked to see, I don't think it actually got quite that warm, though.  Anyway, I suggested the zoo.

Davan had to think about it for a while, as she was feeling like she was doing a lot of activity today, but ultimately decided she wanted to go.  We filled a couple water bottles, packed some plums Anthony had brought home from work that were off of a co-worker's tree and a bag of baby carrots and sugar snap peas, grabbed the smoothies I'd been making during our discussion, and went out the door.  I'd have liked to ride over, but that seemed like it'd be asking too much of Davan, as the zoo is up a dozy of a hill in addition to being a longer ride than our normal range, so we drove.

We, along with nearly every Portland Metro child under the age of 5, had a very nice time at the zoo.  We chatted, laughed, animal and people watched and kept this week's apparent theme of scavenger hunts, coming up with two different ones while we were there.  The reward for the first one was getting to go see the river otters, which is a favorite.  We won, but it turned out the river otters were having nap time.  Bummer.  We did get to see a black bear frolic in a tub of water with a red ball, though, and that was probably our animal highlight of the day. 

We came very close to loosing our second scavenger hunt challenge, which earned us "soft serve" back at home for dessert after the pizza, but managed the win when, at the last minute, we saw a kid with a handful of Cheerios in his snack tray (and I'd been thinking seeing a Cheerio would be an easy one considering the ubiquity of that cereal as a toddler snack and the plethora of toddlers at the zoo today). 

We came home, got the pizza dough ready to rise, then I took Ranger out on a skate while Davan worked on Life of Fred.  After pizza making, eating (it was okay, but not great) and cleaning up, I got in a quick bike ride for my cross training. 

I got home just in time to whip up some "soft serve" with time to eat it before Davan had to run off to Do Jump.  Our most indulgent "soft serve", which is what we earned, is this:

3 frozen bananas, broken into halves or smaller
a hardy spoonful of peanut butter
about 1/4 cup of unsweetened coco powder
enough water to get things moving

Put it all in a VitaMix (or other high speed blender) and run until smooth.  It's our ice cream.  We love it.  Well, Davan and I do.  Anthony, who can't stand bananas and who came home while I was on my ride, passed on the "soft serve", as usual.  We'd saved him some pizza, though, and even left the mushrooms off his part.  We're good people.  Actually, I'd have timed the pizza to be ready when he was home for an early dinner before Davan went to Do Jump, but he'd told me he wanted to go for another after work bike ride.  However, he'd felt like he was dragging on his ride home from work and opted to skip the extra ride.  He did do a lot of strength training last night, so I wasn't too surprised.

Anthony, Ranger and I got outside one more time before the sun went down and went to the dog park again.  There were a whole lot of dogs out, enjoying the weather with their people, so Ranger got in some good running and general socialization. 

I did a stretch and strengthen session at home.  (See?  I'm not a slacker even if I don't think my strength training class is right for me.)  Then I wrote this novel.  I'm betting only my mom made it this far.  Particularly as there aren't any pictures.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday's Almost in the Bag

Sunday is drawing close to it's close and with it, the end of the weekend.  It was a three day weekend for us, as it was Anthony's Friday off, but it still is sort of surprising to me it's over.

We mostly just relaxed on Saturday.  Davan and I each finished a book.  We tried a new recipe for dinner.  Davan did have a gig with the Zig Zags Saturday evening, but it was relatively short.  It was her third year of performing at the Sunnyside Church's Autumn Harvest Festival. 

We made up for the lazy day yesterday today, though, but in good ways.  None of which I had the camera for, so you'll just have to imagine it.

Anthony got up and walked/ran the dog this morning.  He is working on adding running into his workout regimen with the idea of also doing a marathon next year.  He's having much different sorts of running issues than I, though.  My problem is that the minute I go faster than a shuffle just over walking speed, my heart rate soars to ever higher levels and I have trouble breathing.  Anthony, though, with his strong aerobic base from all the biking, is hardly breathing at all, but if he's not careful, he injures his calves because his running muscles are underdeveloped.  So, he does alternating walking and running and is trying to build up slowly.

I got to sleep in a little bit before getting up and finally cleaning up the kitchen catch all counter and side table in the living room that have been driving me nuts for days.  Then we made breakfast - our usual Sunday morning pancakes.  I recently wrote up the recipe for a friend, so I'll share.

Sunday morning pancakes (this is Anthony's thing and he's adapted the recipe as he goes, but here's the general guidelines) -

4 cups of oats processed in the food processor until it's like flour
1 TBS baking powder
cinnamon to taste, but Anthony uses about a TBS min
dash of nutmeg

Add the baking powder and cinnamon to the food processor and run briefly to mix, then poor into a mixing bowl.

Put these things in the processor:

one package individual unsweetened apple sauce, about 1/3 cup
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup water

run until very well blended, then add to the mixing bowl with an additional 2 1/2 cups (give or take - use your judgement) liquid - we usually use almond milk here, but you could use any fake milk or even water.

Then add chocolate chips to your taste and cook as normal for pancakes.  We spray our griddle before starting, but not in between batches. 

We use fresh fruit or a berry compote (basically just frozen berries cooked until they're thawed and reduced - a little corn starch can help here) or pumpkin as topping.

Today, as it's fall and all, we had pumpkin - like from an actual sweet winter squash sort of pumpkin, not from a jar.  I bake it, scrape it out and blend it with pumpkin spices, but no sweetener.  Good stuff. 

And chocolate sauce.  We love the chocolate sauce.  It's hazelnuts, cashews, unsweetened coco powder, dates, water and a splash of vanilla extract all blended together until smooth.  Also good stuff.

After breakfast had a chance to settle, I took my early birthday present out for a run.  As I've mentioned, I'm training for a 10K on Thanksgiving.  It's came to my attention that I really needed a watch.  I was going to just go get one.  I mostly just wanted to keep track of my time.  However, I decided to research a little first.  I ended up getting rather muddled about what I wanted/needed/would need eventually.  There are so many products out there.

I finally asked Anthony to do the research (he likes that sort of thing) and then get me one for my birthday.  We did talk about what I needed/wanted.  I told him I'd be okay with just a watch that had a stopwatch function at this point, but could really see wanting more advanced features when I'm training for the marathon and would also really like things like heart rate and distance measuring now.  He decided the Garmin 210 was the one and he went to REI on Friday and got it for me.  What a guy.

I was really excited to try it out, but not really so excited about running today.  Yesterday, I did run one errand.  I rode to Trader Joes to do a little shopping.  It's just under a two mile ride.  I was working hard on that ride.  It was humbling.  It was supposed to be my rest day after a full week of lots of running, not to mention a cold, but it made me not excited about the 40 minutes at pace workout I was supposed to do today.  I sucked it up and went anyway.

I really like my new toy!  I liked the heart rate monitor.  I liked the distance indicator.  I like that it keeps track of all my data and then I can look at it when I get home.  So, for example, I know that after a 5 minute warm up today, I ran 4 miles in my 40 minutes and my first mile was a little bit faster than my last mile, which you're supposed to avoid, but it wasn't drastically different, so I'm not stressing about it too much.  Besides which, my first mile was actually downhill, so...

I came home, had water, got software working, drank a recovery drink. played with my software, then went for a 12 mile bike ride.  Yeah, crazy.  I know.  After all, it was just my hardest run of the week, during which I was working really hard, and then I went for a bike ride?  Well, Anthony and Davan were going and I wanted to join in.  I did force them to keep the pace down for me so I wasn't working too hard again.  It was a nice outing.

Our family ride in Gresham was on the Springwater Corridor.  Turns out our family ride here is on the Springwater, also.  Just at the other end.  It's nice here, too.  The part we ride is along the Willamette River, which makes it very scenic. 

When we got home, everyone was hungry, I was desperate for a shower and Ranger was in need of bladder relief, not having gone out after her morning outing with Anthony.  Anthony took Ranger out, I did a quick run through the shower and Davan laid across her bed and read.  We have to do what we have to do, right?

After the shower, though, Davan helped out in the kitchen and we threw together a quick meal.  We warmed up a can of vegan, gluten free baked beans to go on some leftover polenta we've got and opened two bags of chopped kale from Trader Joes to steam and make into California Creamed Kale.  (Here's the recipe, but we do tweak it a little.)  It was delish.

We watched our Netflix video over our meal  (Yeah, it's lessened, but we're still doing that.), then cleaned up the kitchen and walked here.

We found these guys at the VegFest this year, where we had samples, and all wanted to try a scoop.  It's all vegan, which is lovely.  We had a few samples again - choices, choices, choices - and then Davan and I went with Mango Pineapple, Anthony with Marrionberry and Ranger (what can I say?  They had dog scoops for a buck.) had vanilla coconut.  It was tasty, but a little too sweet for everyone but Ranger.  I ended up giving Ranger some of mine. 

After all the activity of the day, I was still hungry, though.  I know.  It seems like we ate a meal, had dessert, then needed to eat again.  Yeah.  It seemed that way to me, too, but it didn't change the fact that everyone was asking, "What's for dinner?"  I was answering, "Remember the meal we had?  Yeah.  Dinner."

But, we came home and ate more.  We shared a bag of Trader Joe's Red Chile and Garlic Edamame (we love these), a bag of sugar snap peas with hummus to dip and the last of a bag of tortilla chips left over from our open house last week.  Then we felt better.

Now Davan is off to Do Jump for an open workout with a friend.  Before we know it, it'll be time to walk Ranger again.  Meanwhile, I'm writing this and Anthony just set down his magazine in favor of the iron (yes, he irons his work clothes and no, I don't do it for him).

I'm pleasantly tired and totally satisfied with our day...well, nearly.  We should be able to squeeze in a little couple time before Davan gets back.  I hope your weekend was a good one!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buffy Do Over

We packed up and headed to the theater Thursday evening for our big night out, all excited, only to find that the theater, like a bar, doesn't allow minors after 9pm.  :(  It was seriously disappointing, particularly for Davan, who campaigned to find any other theater with any other movie starting at 10pm to go see.  We came home and went to bed instead.  But, it was a bummer.

Even with the more or less on time bed time, Davan slept in until 9:30 the next morning, and I slept in until 8:00, so I was just as glad we hadn't stayed out until midnight and gone to bed instead.  However, something had to be done about a night of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and snacks.

I've previously checked the library and Netflix for the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie to no avail, so at first, I was saying that there wasn't even anyplace we could get it from.  Anthony asked if I'd checked Movie Madness, an actual video store a few blocks from our new home where we've rented a couple times.  No, I hadn't, so I did.  Low and behold, they had it.

So, last night, while Davan was at her straps class, I went over and rented Buffy.  When she got home, we settled down to the snacks (baked chips, Odwalla juice and homemade raw cookies) I'd gotten for the night before and watched Buffy. 

The movie itself?  Well, it was interesting.  Fun in many parts.  Stupid in many parts.  We had fun dissecting the differences between the movie and the TV show - there are lots!  And debated if it had come out in the 80s (as Anthony had thought) or in the early 90s (my input because I remembered him and I seeing it together) and ended up pausing the movie to look it up.  I was right, of course, with a release of '92.

So, we ended up having an enjoyable evening, even if it was nearly 24 hours delayed, but not quite, which made it even better for us early to bed types.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review - What Alice Forgot

I just finished reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share.

Alice is a 29 year old woman, pregnant for the first time and very much in love with her husband, Nick.  One day, though, she comes to in a gym, where she's shocked to find herself, as she hates exercise, and everything has changed. 

Alice has had a head injury and, it turns out, has lost 10 years of memory.  Lots can happen in 10 years and, certainly, for Alice, lots has.  She now has three children, is getting a divorce and, shockingly, is extremely fit in addition to many other revelations which unfold, none of which she remembers at all.  Although, she discovers that some things her body seems to know, even if her head doesn't remember - like where she keeps her keys.

How Alice reconciles the concrete reality of her current life with the, also true, reality of her 29 year old self is the premise of the book.  She's not even sure she wants her memory back.  Sometimes she thinks she might not like the person she's become.

Alice, as well as some of her adult friends, start to consider their lives in a whole new light.  I found this whole premise to be fascinating.  10 years ago, I didn't have any pets, lived in a different house (plus there was one in between), my closest local friends were playgroup moms (most of which I'm not even in contact with now) and Davan, my 13 year old, was 3.  Those are just some of the changes.  What would my 29 year old self make of the life my 39 year old self (yes, I'm the same age as Alice)?

I was delighted to enjoy this book, as I'd started and discarded four of the books from my Powell's list and was feeling discouraged.  Pick up What Alice Forgot and ponder the difference 10 years could make.

Food Stuff

For those who've read here long or know me or have read the archives (Has anyone actually done that?  Of course, all four of you who read here probably know me anyway.), you know that we're vegans.  Actually, Davan and I are 100% vegans.  Anthony is more like 98%.

We've been mostly vegan for some five years now and totally vegan for about three.  We strive to be whole food vegans - that is, not eating anything processed or more than minimally processed in some cases.  We don't always achieve that goal.  We've had Voodoo Doughnut kicks and Newman's O's kicks and eating out kicks...some of those kicks have lasted longer than others.

Over all, though, we do pretty well with eating, by far, more fresh produce than your average Americans.  We all exercise more than the minimum recommend amounts for maintaining health.  Very occasional and notable late nights aside, we all stick to a sleep routine that allows for plenty of sleep (that's only about 7 hours for Anthony, but more like 9 for Davan and I).

And yet?  We're still tired often.  Feeling kind of run down.  Davan and I get sick quite often.  It seems like pretty much anything that goes around, we get.  Additionally, Davan and I both have bathroom issues that I don't need to get into great detail here about here.  Davan has pretty bad acne in spite of eating pretty well.  I have achy joints.  I had some blood work done in the spring that shows that I'm at the very low (but within "normal" still) side of things in regards to my iron, sodium, potassium, and calcium levels, which blows me away because I eat lots of foods rich in those nutrients.

It's really discouraging, to be frank.  In fact, in the last 6 months or so, I know that's contributed to my attitude of, well, why not eat that - it's not like I feel good anyway.  And that attitude has added a good 10 pounds to my 5'3" frame in that time period.

I don't love that weight.  I really don't love feeling run down...but do I feel any more run down eating more junk?  No, not really.  Of course, I hasten to add, I do still eat a lot really healthy things.  I eat kale on an average of 5 times a week, just for an example.

Any-who, here I am.  Here we are.  My family would like answers to these issues.  If this is just the way our bodies work, we got a bad rap.  It doesn't seem right. 

Then I happened across some information about Celiac Disease.  I mean, really, who hasn't?  After all, it's quite the trendy food issue these days.  But, what I mean, is information about the symptoms.  Many, many of my issues fit the profile.  The lowness of those particular minerals, being tired, achy joints, bathroom stuff.  Several of Davan's issues also fit - acne, tiredness, bathroom stuff.  Anthony?  I don't really know.  He just seems to feel run down a lot.  He had the same blood work done that I had, but nothing seemed out of place for him.  (We did also, by the way, have testing for thyroid and a few other fatigue-related things done with nothing coming up for either of us.) 

There are tests that can be done.  And we've debated doing them.  But, Davan and I have already cut out most of our gluten sources, which can impact the results.  The other thing to do is to try going truly gluten free for three months and see if we feel any better.  It can take the gut a while to heal, so giving it ample time is important.

So, yesterday, we went through the kitchen and pantry and really got rid of everything with gluten.  Anthony isn't going gluten free, so he took some things to work.  We Freecycled some things.  A couple of things we just threw out.  We were careful to figure out hidden sources.  For example, most Mrs. Dash seasoning is gluten free, but our favorite blend, Southwest Chipotle, isn't - bummer.  And one of Davan's favorite teas - Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride (which she had some still from the last holiday season due to stockpiling) isn't, even though most Celestial Seasonings teas are.

We talked about which restaurants might truly be gluten free (probably not VegThai, one of our favorites, due to soy sauce, but we'd been ignoring that when we just cut out the obvious sources of gluten), but one or two others that we like probably have some options that are gluten free and would be open to us asking nitty gritty questions about what goes into the food.  And we found a couple other vegan friendly, gluten free option having restaurants in the area to try, both of which I've actually been wanting to try for a while.

So, we're making a real go of it.  I think eating at home will be fine.  I'm not intimidated or worried about that.  It's just that we're now that much harder to feed away from home - at restaurants, other people's houses, while traveling - and I'm not overly thrilled about that.  It'll all work out, though, and either it will be worth it because we'll feel so much better or we'll give it up in a few months.

We shall see.

Another Late Night

We're preparing for another late night for all.  Although, this one won't be as late or anywhere near as expensive as our last one and, hopefully, it will be a lot more fun.

We're going to see the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie at a theater!  A local theater is showing some classic "scary" movies (okay, most of them are too scary for me, truly).  Sadly, for us early to bed types, they're only showing these movies at 10pm.  Still, tomorrow is Anthony's Friday off and Davan now has much less busy Fridays, so we're going for it.

We've been watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show with Davan.  We've only just finished season 2, but it doesn't matter, really, as the movie takes place prior to the TV show and doesn't even have the same actress.  We just though it'd be fun.

Due to our very specific food needs, I stopped in at Fred Meyer's this evening and procured a few snacks to take with us.  I'm actually pretty excited.  Shows how often we go the the theater, no?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Open House

After living here for 2 1/2 months, we finally got around to having an open house.  We've really been pretty settled for close to two months, but a variety of factors had us putting off an open house (a Chicago trip, weekend obligations, general feet dragging).  I finally decided that we needed to just pick a day and do it before the walls started to not look newly painted and new things started looking dingy.  That day was yesterday.

We invited pretty much all of our local friends and family to stop by anytime between 1pm-4pm to see the new digs.  We told people they didn't have to RSVP, but we'd still heard a few nos and a few yeses.  We weren't really sure what to expect turn out wise.  This made me nervous.

I worried that no one would show.  I worried that too many people would show and stay too long so that we'd be too packed in and there wouldn't be enough food.

We spent the morning preparing - giving the place a good cleaning, which needs to happen every now and again anyway.  In fact, we'd pretty much taken the week off from major chores in anticipation of wanting things to be fresh for Saturday afternoon, so there was a fair amount to do.  Still, we were done ahead of schedule with plenty of time to shower and prep food.

I picked food that didn't really need much preparation, though, so that took not much time at all...then 1pm came.

No one showed up...time ticked on...1:20, we got our first comers.  We had a fair amount of people trickling in and out after that until a little after 4:00 and did not run out of food.  Whew.  We'd have enjoyed seeing a few more of our friends that weren't able to come for a variety of reasons, but over all, we all had fun. 

Davan mentioned after that she was pleased that there was pretty much always someone here for her to hang with.  Literally.  We've all seen her room, right?

Part of Davan's preparation was hanging things from her ceiling in the optimal positions. 

We do like our new digs, so it was fun to show it to people.  The crowds were about right and the food was about right, as well.  We do have some leftovers...apparently I got more carrots than needed and we overstocked beer a bit, but Anthony is not unhappy about that...

All-in-all, a successful gathering for our little band of mostly non-entertaining introverts. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Getting Old

My Grandmother (maternal type, not that she's particularly maternal, she's just not a paternal grandmother) is getting old.  She's in her mid 80s and had outlived her husband, which is astonishing, as he was always the "I can do anything sort" and she was always the "I tripped, so now I need to take to bed sort."

Grandma is also pretty oblivious to the likes and dislikes of those around her.  I'd like to say this is due to age, but the truth is that that has always been the case. 

Grandma visited us in the early summer, right in the middle of us preparing to move.  Let's just say that we did not instigate this visit.  This is how we were living when she came:

We didn't have a kitchen table, a couch, or, really, any furniture beyond beds and camp chairs.  Grandma is used to a certain amount of comfort and I was really concerned about this visit.  She did hold up surprisingly well to the conditions, but it was still a rough visit. 

She came to see this, though, which I guess I can understand, as she's pretty cute:

It was Davan's spring recital weekend.  She had two she was in.  In one, she was a girl in a sun dress.  In the other, she was a jester.  Well, she was also in a white ballet outfit, but she was much happier as the jester, which was also a solo part, so that was the bigger deal.

Of course, Davan usually dresses more like this:

(These were the horse chestnuts, which we didn't eat, but, at this point, thought they were the eatable chestnuts.  Sigh.)  Any-who, she's a yoga pants, cotton shirt sort of person.  In fact, while she did wear the occasional pair of capri leggins over the summer, she's rarely found not in yoga pants and a cotton shirt.  Everyday.

So, the point of all this is that Grandma was here just a few months ago and that Davan wears yoga pants constantly and is in no way shape or form anywhere near a girly-girl at this point in her life.  

Wait!  One more thing to point out.  Grandma knows that we are difficult to buy gifts for.  You see, she gave Davan a pair of purple flip flops when she visited and was distraught that Davan never wore them (never mind that the weather was in the 60s tops - we had a very late summer).  She made such a fuss about it that I finally said that Davan wouldn't be wearing them as she can't really stand things between her toes or shoes that flop around on her.  Grandma didn't like that a bit.  

Couple that with the fact that about a year prior, we returned matching nightgowns she'd purchased for Davan and I (they were $100 and we were never going to wear them - I couldn't stand the waste!), and Grandma finally got the point that we were hard to buy for.  In fact, she complained about that while she was here.  My mom, who was also visiting, said, "Yes, I know.  I only buy them stuff I've specifically seen them long for or get them gift certificates."  She, though, was cool about it, not pissy.

So, where am I going with all this?  Well, here's what came in the mail today from Grandma:

It's for Davan.  Not only is it shockingly not her style (jester aside), it's also a size 11/12.  Davan is a size 2 or so.  Grandma did, considerately, enclose a $10 check for alterations if necessary.

I'm a little dumbfounded.  I still think I'm going to make Davan put it on, though.  Stay tuned to see if I can force her into a picture.  Then, I believe, we'll send it to her friend Emma's house to live in there costume box. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Books, Books, Books

I finished a book last night and was suddenly faced with a book shortage.  I had nothing on hold at the library and, worse, nothing waiting to be read at home.  Not to mention the fact that the library doesn't even open until noon and my morning walk with a friend got canceled.  (Don't fret, Ranger still got to go for a walk.  However, it was only an hour long rather than the three or so hours it takes to walk with our friend, once you factor in walking to the meeting point and back home.  And, yes, it was a walk this morning because I'm supposed to cross train on Wednesdays.  Happy now?  Can I go back to my story?)

So, here I was, at 10:00am, walk done, breakfast made, eaten and cleaned up, house totally clean (okay, not so much on that one, but it's not in bad shape and the laundry is all caught up, at least), and a new resolve not to have so much screen time.  What to do?  Sure, Davan and I could have played a game or something, but I was not in the mood.  I was wanting a good book.

We headed off to Powell's Bookstore with a pad of paper and a pen.  Or, at least, I had a pad of paper and a pen.  Davan bummed a pencil and a piece of paper off of me once we got there.  Anyway, we went to browse.  We spent an hour and a half roaming Powell's (this smaller one on Hawthorne, not City of Books one downtown), writing down titles that caught our respective eyes.  We've both found that we discover a great many more books we want to read when browsing book stores than when browsing the library, particularly here at our new library, which, while still nice and able to get any book from our nice big library system, is much smaller than what we had in Gresham.

We came home with nice long lists that we each then spent some time putting holds on.  And, it turned out, a couple of each of ours were in at our library, so we went and picked them up.  Soon, we'll be flooded with books to read.  Whew.  What a relief. 

So, what's on our lists?  Well, mine, at least, are quite an eclectic list and I have no real idea if they're good, but here are some of them:

The Man Who Cycled the World by Mark Beaumont
Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
At Home by Bill Bryson
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

And, ahem, it did turn out one book I'd previously put on hold was in.  Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs.  This is the one I've actually started (although I haven't gotten very far yet between making lunch, walking the dog again, gathering chestnuts with Davan and preparing them to roast, then figuring out they were actually horse chestnuts and, thus, not eatable, but then finding out about a real chestnut tree close by that we're going to try to harvest from another day because today she has a new friend from Do Jump over - she's an exchange student from Switzerland, cool, no? and writing this blog entry).  This is the third book in her Mercy Thompson series.  I'm enjoying them in a feeling kind of guilty way.  After all, they're about werewolves and vampires and such - so faddy these days.  Still, they're compelling reads for me so far.  We'll see how long that lasts, as I often find that I start to loose interest in series after a few.

On Davan's list?  Well, let me see if she's willing to share.  She is, but she didn't write down authors.  Here are some of her titles:

Time Riders
The Friendship Doll
Shadow Children (this one has lots of exclamation marks by it - now I'm going to have to look it up)
The Happiness Project (I've read this and liked it - check it out, but didn't know it was on her list until now)
The Golden Compass (I've read this one, too, but, at the time didn't think Davan was ready for it)
Things Not Seen
Nowhere Girl

We used to read a lot of the same things.  Of course, when she was young, I read her everything.  But, then, when she was an independent reader, she started with books that didn't really interest me, so we didn't overlap on everything, but still read some together and the like.  Next, though, came a phase where we read almost all of the same things.  We read a lot of book group books because we were in three different book groups together.  And, for whatever reason, I seemed to read mostly young adult books during that time.  It was nice to pass books back and forth and to talk about them.

Now, though, we're back to mostly independent reading.  I say back to, but, really, it's new just how much separate we are in our readingIf nothing else, we were always listening to something together in the car.  Now, though, we don't drive much and don't have an ongoing car book.  I've been, gasp, reading a lot of adult books.  Most of Davan's choices aren't interesting me again.  Most of what I'm reading she's not interested in or ready for.

One of the authors I've recently revisited that Davan isn't ready for yet, but is interested in from what I've told her, is Octavia Butler, who's one of my all time favorite authors.  Two of my particular favorites by her are Fledgling and The Parable of the Sower.  If your haven't read them, you should!  Well, unless you're 13 and sensitive to suffering, then you might want to wait a few years for The Parable of the Sower.  And, if you're 13 and sensitive to what originally seems like it might be inappropriate sex (although not too graphic), then you might want to wait a few years for Fledgling.  Yeah, okay, Octavia Butler writes for mature audiences.  If you're a mature reader, though, pick them up!

We're booked up and ready to roll.  I think I'll go read a bit before starting dinner.  Who-hoo!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Our Dirty Little Screen Habit

Before Davan was born, Anthony and I were big TV watchers and movie goers.  I felt vaguely guilty about watching a lot of TV, but I was a big motivator for going to the movies.  I loved them.  We'd see at least one a weekend in the theater and often rent one, as well.

Then Davan was born.  All that changed.  I went to the movie theater all of maybe three times the first year after she was born.  We didn't watch at much TV at home, as she was pretty darn demanding of our attention.  I felt bereft.  Truly.  It was sad.  We'd drive by a movie theater and I'd look with longing at all the cars, wishing I was going to a movie. 

Then a funny thing happened, though.  We started getting time to maybe watch a movie in the evening after Davan went to bed, rather than me needing to crash the moment she did.  And...many of them weren't that good.  I had, gasp, outgrown most movies.  And TV was worse.  And Davan, unlike most preschoolers, wasn't interested in watching TV/videos/movies/playing video games.  While I still nursed a strong computer habit and we would watch something from time to time, we were pretty TV free for a while.

Next, though, Davan got interested in movies.  I think she was about 4 or 5 when this happened.  We entered our Disney stage.  Sure, other animated kid movies, too, but you know what I mean.  Screen time picked up quite a bit.  Davan enjoyed whiling away an afternoon with movies, if allowed. 

It got to the point where I wanted to make a change.  We did manage to ween back off of so much screen time.  However, we've fluctuated a lot in the years since.  There was probably a whole year that we only watched a movie once a week and that was literally it as far as using the TV was concerned.  Other times, well, there was Survivor on Thursdays, Amazing Race on Sundays, a video in the afternoon here and there for Davan and maybe a couple of movie nights.  We did seem to find a balance with winters being more screen heavy and summers being less so...

Lately, though, the TV monster has reared it's ugly head.  We've been streaming from Netflix.  We've been getting movies from the library.  And TV shows from the library.  And even renting sometimes from a local video store.  I'm not totally sure when this all started, but it was before we moved.  Saturday and Sunday evening dinner/movie nights have turned into most nights that Davan isn't at Do Jump or we're not having company.  I even found a TV show that I was watching on my own when Anthony and Davan weren't around.  I won't even fess up to what that one was, as it embarrasses me a little a lot.

One of our biggest family draws lately, though, I will fess up to.  We have become total Glee junkies.  We just discovered Glee this summer, really after the move, and we're all hooked.  In fact, we are so hooked that we caught up by finishing up season two in mid September in time to start season three with it's broadcast. 

Now, there are a couple of problems with just watching it as broadcast.  I'm not even sure we get Fox here with our, basically, rabbit ears, for one.  But, it's also broadcast on Tuesdays when Davan is at Do Jump.  And there are commercials.  Hello?  Commercials?  That's just painful.

We did some looking around and decided that we'd watch the show the following Wednesday.  It's available for streaming on Fox's website 8 days after broadcast, for the general public.  The show premiered.  We waited with bated breath for the following Wednesday and, on the given night, excitedly (seriously) settled down to watch. 

It sucked big time.  There were still commercials and, worse, they didn't cut them well, so they would come on just before a scene ended and, after the commercial, we'd see the last two seconds of the scene.  Seriously?  And the whole world seemed to be trying to stream it that night, as well, because the picture quality sucked big time.  It was very choppy and would just stop for 10 seconds at a time every now and then.  We tried pausing to let it buffer, but there was no buffering and it was worse trying to start it back up.

We discussed options.  Just waiting until it came out on DVD, while I did bring it up, was quickly shot down.  So, now, we are subscribers on Amazon to Glee season 3.  On the up side, we get to watch it the very next evening (the first time post broadcast that we're all together), there are no commercials and the streaming is decent.  We can even download if we want to, which helps, as we don't have the fastest connection in the world.

The down side?  We're subscribing to a TV show - paying to watch it and waiting with bated breath each week.  That's kind of fun, but it's also sad for a family who once prided themselves on being pretty darn near TV free. 

Factor in the fact that we watched the whole season of The Glee Project in one day on a recent Sunday (okay - Davan had a cold and Anthony had an injury, so it was going to be a down day anyway) and the fact that most nights are movie night and it's pretty pathetic. 

We're a pretty in touch family.  Davan and I spend all day together, after all, and the child, tells me everything (even if I don't really want to know the finer details of her "conversation" about cats with her best Do Jump buds - I say conversation loosely, as it really seems to consist of suddenly surprising each other with the word "cats" throughout practice) so it's not that we so much need to reconnect over dinner.  Of course, we don't spend all that time with Anthony, but, well, the man, when asked about his day, usually says "fine".  "Fine" does not a dinner conversation make, I have to say.  And we do spend a lot of family time together on weekends and often all walking Ranger in the evening together, which seems to be an easier way for us to have a conversation.

All this is justification, though.  Justification for just popping in a video and plopping on the couch every evening.

We may be coming to a natural end to such a push of screen time, actually.  Netflix streaming is new to us - we've only been doing it a few months now - and we're coming to the end of things that are drawing us in.  We just had a run of movies off a list I stumbled across.  We're about done with those and, the last several we've either only watched the first 10 minutes before going, "Nope, none of us want to watch this," or, as with last night's movie, leaving Anthony to it when only he was interested.  We've caught up with Glee, so it's a once a week sort of thing now...other than episode rewatching, which, yes, is happening, too.  Still, the point is that we probably are getting to the point where there aren't so many movies/episodes of shows clamoring to be watched.

So, we've had a run of couch potato-ism.  That's okay.  But, it's time to dust off our games and other hobbies and, maybe, conversational skills and put them all to use.  We can do it. We're strong.  Not addicts at all.  We can stop anytime we want.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pain Update

I'm going to answer a comment with a whole new post, rather than in the comments.  My mom asked about Davan's toes, her back and my abdominal pain.

Davan's toes are fine.  Not hurting at all.  Not going to the podiatrist was a good call on that one.

Davan's back is...getting better.  We went to the chiropractor for the first visit on Tuesday two weeks ago now.  The chiropractor, whom we liked pretty well, talked to Davan, which made Davan all stressed out with trying to explain her pain, then examined Davan in a variety of different positions and with a variety of different pressures.

What she discovered was that Davan's pelvis is not aligned.  The left side is kind of tilted back at the top.  So, she's been working on realigning her pelvis.  She's also given Davan certain exercises to do at home, which Davan has been pretty hit and miss about, to be honest.  Davan has gone back twice - once more that first week and then once the next week.  Her chiropractor says that some bodies respond pretty readily to adjustment while others take some more treatments to respond.  Davan will be going back again this Friday.  And, now that we've met our deductible, thanks to my little ER trip, it's really cheap to take her. 

Davan said that she didn't notice a difference at first, but that last week, she noticed that while she still had pain during back bends, it wasn't as bad.  So, I guess we'll keep it up.

As for me, well, it definitely wasn't mittlesmerch after all because it's still not totally gone.  I'm back to thinking it's a pulled muscle, which is what I originally thought right up to when it did the sharp increase in pain while I was sitting still. 

It is nearly gone now, but any engaging of my abdominals definitely brought it back on.  Yesterday was the first day that I didn't really notice it pretty much all day.  I'm a little nervous about going to strength training at Do Jump tomorrow morning in case doing the core work (which is what most of it is) aggravates it and sets me back.  I haven't decided what to do about that yet.  I'm leaning toward not going tomorrow and being really ready to go back next week, but I hate to miss another week.

What's been good, though, is after the first few days, I've been able to run with no real backlash and, after the first couple days, walking wasn't really an issue, either.

So, that's the pain update - all is getting better, which is good, but not gone, which isn't so great.

I've Gone and Done It

I've been all over the map in regards to exercise for quite a while now.  Sometimes I take classes at Do Jump, which is great for flexibility and strength.  I've been running in a here and there, no cohesive plan sort of way.  I go for a lot of walks.  I take an occasional bike ride.  In the spring, I was getting in the pool to swim a couple times a week for a while.  I often do a little stretching routine at home.  Sometimes I do strength work at home.  But, I have no real plan.  No real goal.  Everything is a bit hit or miss. 

In the spring, I'd been planning on doing a marathon length tri this summer, but...well, I let that slip to be honest.  I went to China for two weeks (I should blog about that trip sometime, no?) and then never really got back on track.  This was due in part to the move, in part to getting a couple of colds, in part to just loosing focus.

So, I've been thinking.  What should my goal be and how should I get there?  I really like being in great shape.  I like the way my body looks and feels when I'm in good shape and I want to be in even better shape.  I also want a real goal, something I'll feel proud about having accomplished.

A friend of mine is doing an ironman tri next summer.  I'm so freakn' impressed with her.  She's older than me, too, by 10 years.  And she just started back into doing tris last summer with a sprint length tri, so it's not like she's been doing this all along. 

This made me ponder the possibility of doing one myself.  But, the truth of the matter is that I'm having a really hard time motivating myself to get into the pool and, frankly, I'm more than a bit overwhelmed with the training plans that go along with an ironman.  Perhaps I'd need a trainer to help me figure it out.  Tris are expensive sports already, without adding on the cost of a trainer.  All this could just be excuses, I'm not naive, but I'm just not feeling it.

Pondering on what I can do that both will help me to be in great shape, fits into my life and will feel like a real accomplishment, I've come up with this goal:  I'm going to do the Portland Marathon next year. 

A marathon, while no ironman, is still a pretty good accomplishment, particularly as the run is the hardest part of a tri for me.  I've never done an organized run of longer than 5K, so this is a pretty big deal.  I think the longest run, even unorganized, I've ever done is about 5 miles.  This will be a big step up for me, making it a good thing for me to work toward.

Training for a marathon will definitely help with the whole being in shape thing.

And it fits into my life.  For most of the runs, I can take Ranger.  When I do track work, I won't take her, but that's probably only going to be once a week.  Oh, and later, I do plan on doing some of the group runs for the Portland Marathon and Ranger won't come to those, either, but, you know, for the most part.

Meanwhile, though, I want to be motivated now.  I'm actually thinking I'll do a marathon in the spring, as well.  I'm looking at this one or this one.  I want to do one in the spring, train some more and see if I can improve my time for the Portland Marathon in the fall.

And for immediate motivation, I've just signed up for the Give n' Gobble 10K.  It's in less than eight weeks.  I've already started a training plan.  I'm following this one with some modifications to fit my schedule.  I'll be doing it all, just with the days scrambled up a bit.  I debated between this intermediate plan and the beginner plan, as, after all, I've never done a 10K and my 5Ks have been mostly in conjunction with tris, but the beginner one didn't seem like enough of a challenge for me.

On the schedule, at week 4, there is a 5K race scheduled.  I'm considering this one.  You should follow the link.  Fun, no?  It's closer to the 4 week mark than this one, which looks like fun, too, and is a little closer, so I haven't totally decided about that yet.

So far, I've actually signed up to do the one race - the Give n' Gobble 10K.  It's two days prior to my 40th birthday and I like the idea of it being my birthday run.  I'm excited.  I'm also a little nervous about the distances I'll be running each week in my training plan, but I'm pretty sure I can do it.  I'm glad to have a goal and a set thing to work toward with a plan, as that really focuses me.  Here I go!