Friday, October 31

The Big Questions

To Nano or not to Nano, that is the question. And I have just 13 1/2 hours to decide....

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Thursday, October 30

A Happy World He Lives In

I noticed a bunch of kids wearing "I voted" stickers today at kindergarten pick up today.

Me: Did you vote, Doodles?
Doodles: Yes!
Me: You didn't get a sticker?
Doodles: I put it on my notebook.
Me: Ah. Is it a secret or will you tell me who you voted for?
Doodles: I'll tell you.
Me: Who did you vote for?
Doodles: John McCain.
Me: And how did you decide on him?
Doodles: I liked what he promised.
Me: What did he promise?
Doodles: He promised to pay for college.
Me: Ah.
Doodles: But my guy didn't win.
Me: No?
Doodles: Barack Obama won.
Me: Oh.
Doodles: When they announced the winner, I said, "Awwww," because my guy didn't win.
Me: You must be disappointed.
Pie: You voted for John McCain?
Doodles: Yes. And when he's president, he's going to keep his promise, because presidents always keep promises.

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Food Group Works!

Doodles: I don't eat junk! I'm a vegetarian.
Adam: You are?
Doodles: Yes!
Me: But you eat pepperoni.
Doodles: I know.
Adam: But that's a meat.
Doodles: I know.
Adam: But vegetarians don't eat meat.
Doodles: Yes, they do.
Adam: No, they don't.
Doodles: Oh. I guess what I mean is that I'm a meatatarian.

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Wednesday, October 29

Changing Times

I so clearly remember the absolute horror I felt when my father described to me his childhood. What do you mean you didn't have color TVs? How do you listen to a show on the radio? No tape players? How did your grandmother do the laundry? How much did the movies cost? You couldn't have copies made? No electric typewriters? WHAT was your phone number? How could a phone number have a word in it. How far did you walk to school? In the snow? Uphill?

And now, it's a game I've inadvertently fallen into with my children. Yesterday they went to get their flu shots. Which I still call flu shots. Even though what they got was actually a flu nasal mist.

"It's a new thing, guys! It squirts up your nose. It won't hurt at all!"

"Did you mind getting flu shots when you were a kid?" Doodles asked me.

"Actually, we didn't have flu shots when I was a kid. They weren't invented yet."

"REEEEAAALLLY? So what did you do?"

I shrug. "I guess we got the flu!"

It's funny, we joke about the kids not knowing why we say "dial the phone" when there's clearly no dial. But the kids play these games, where I hear Doodles saying things like, "Check us out at jumpingonthebed.com!" or he'll say to me when I don't know the answer to something, "Can't you look on the computer? Use Google."

I wonder if I'm being naive but it seems like the distance between my father's childhood and mine is shorter than that between my childhood and my children's. (And why my father and not my mother? My mother never told as many stories about her childhood, so I don't have the same frame of reference there.) In other words, life in the 1940s was different from life in the 1970s, but not as much as life in the 1970s is different from life in the 2000s.

In my pre-twelve year old life, we had multiple TVs, but no computer, no cable. Our first computer came in 1980, when we bought a TRS-80 Model III with a cassette drive and what we called "the red button of death" (press it and with no confirmation, everything you worked on disappeared forever). I took BASIC programming my senior year of high school, which put me ages ahead of most of my peers in computer literacy. I didn't get my MTV until high school. I remember begging my parents--pleading--in the late '70s for a princess phone. Remember the smell of dittos in elementary school? Ah, the scent of the mimeograph machine.

My son is conversant on using the iPod. My daughter can pause live TV. Doodles begs for time to play the new game on pbskids.com. The both receive their party invitations on evite. "Let's watch a DVD!" they plead. Pie is capable of displaying all the photos on my iPhone to her friends.

Well, just wait. One of these days they'll ask for the own cell phones. And I'll look at them as if they are crazy and say, "You know, when I was a kid, I had what was called a 'party line,' and I couldn't even call my friends when I wanted and I had to get off the phone when a neighbor wanted to us it." (True story of my brief life in Colorado before returning to my rightly position as a Floridian.) And then when they stare at me in horror, I'll explain how I had to ride my bike to school, two miles, in hurricanes, uphill... in both directions. See my childhood wasn't that different from my father's.

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Friday, October 24

Switching Up the Switch Witch

Doodles is completely looking forward to the Switch Witch. He's talking about it nonstop. Is she real? What is she like? What's she going to bring? Doodles is Switch Witch stoked. But Pie? Well, Pie is Pie.

Pie: I don't want the Switch Witch to come.
Me: But she's a nice witch!
Pie: I don't want her to come.
Me: Don't you want to get a toy?
Pie shakes her head vehemently: No!
Me: But the Switch Witch always comes.
Pie: I don't want her this year.
Me: Why?
Pie: I don't want her to take my candy.
Me: But she'll bring you a toy in return.
Pie: No! I don't want her taking my candy!
Me: And what do you think your going to do with all that candy?
Pie: Eat it! All if it. I want to eat all my candy. So tell the Switch Witch not to come.

Yeah, Pie. But the problem is, I want to eat all your candy, too. And I'm bigger than you.

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Thursday, October 23

End of Day

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1:52 p.m.

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11:27 a.m.

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11:24 a.m.

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8:27 a.m.

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8:25 a.m.

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Wednesday, October 22

Treat Me Gently

Love this article, which came to courtesy of Alisa Just remember: Don't leave me alone with the baby. Ever!

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Kindergarten Art

"Leaves trying to get unstuck, but can't."

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Tuesday, October 21

Heading to the Polls

Kate Feiffer visited Doodles's school today to read from her book President Pennybaker. There's been talk of the election and as part of the day, apparently an election was held. I didn't know about this, until I noticed late in the day that Doodles was wearing an "I Voted" sticker.

Me: You voted today?
Doodles: Yep.
Me: Who did you vote for?
Doodles [with no hesitation]: You!
Me: You voted for me?
Doodles: Yeah!
Me: Who were your choices?
Doodles: Um, our choices were, um, Bar-ick O-bama. And, um... Um...
Me: John McCain?
Doodles: Yes! John McCain! And Your Mommy. And Your Daddy.
Me: So you voted for me?
Doodles: Yeah!
Me: Aw, that's sweet.
Doodles: There was a line to write in another name. I was going to vote for me, write my own name in. But I decided to vote for you.
Me: Why?
Doodles: I dunno.
Adam: What is it that Mommy supports that you agree with?
Doodles: I dunno. I just voted for her.

And with that, Doodles proves himself to be a true blue American. No idea what he's voting for. Just going with the popular vote. And you? Do I have your support? I make no promises....

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Sunday, October 19

Settin' Records

The good news is, if I were a 55-year-old woman, I would have qualified for the Boston Marathon. The even better news is, I'm not a 55-year-old woman.

Seriously, I ran a kick ass (or kick tushie, as we say in my house) race today. I did go out a little too fast. I did have to make a pit stop in the bushes. But even so, I trashed my old PR of 4:25:07 with a 4:13:46 finish at the Baystate Marathon. True, my finish wasn't so good in comparison with others (Baystate is considered by some to be the fastest course in the country, because it's so flat and so many folks do qualify for Boston). Of course, this race had 2500 runners total, including the half, so I wasn't competing against quite as many people (Miami had about 2500 in just the marathon and NYC had about 35,000, I believe).

The route is nice, but it's a loop course, which isn't my favorite. What a loop course means is... I got lapped by the winner when I was at mile 12. I saw the USATF truck and a couple of cops on motorcycles and at first couldn't figure out why there were there... until this guy came blowing past me. The wind was pretty fierce out there--it never seemed to be at my back--and I'm petrified of bridges, and had to cross three of them, including a rather rickety one that shook with the cars.

But the leaves were gorgeously hued and the run was along the Merrimack River, which mad for some stunning views. I started at about a 9:45 pace and eased into a nice 9:35 pace for most of the run, but at mile 23, I started to hurt and at 24, my quads basically froze on me. I still kept running, but my place slowed so I eventually finished with a 9:41 pace. I had one of those finishes where I kept eying the medics, wondering if I needed them or not. But instead, I just walked and focused on not throwing up, which I succeeded at, so all was good.

And now? Now I'm done. Now I get sushi and a beer. Now I get a full week off of running and three weeks of easy running. And then? And then I start training for Miami. "Welcome to Miami. Buenvenidos a Miami."

Oh yeah. Bring it on.

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Run, Run, Run

In lovely Lowell, MA, it's going to be a lovely 54 degrees today--perfect marathoning weather! But at the moment, it's a mere 34 degrees, which begs the age-old running question: shorts or tights? Wear shorts and I'll freeze my ass off for the first hour. Wear tights and by the end I'm a sweaty mess.

I've been really casual about this marathon. For one, it's local so there's no disruption to my life. The family isn't even coming out--Doodles has religious school and after they're all going to the birthday party of the daughter of one of Adam's closest buddies. I'm up, I'm about to drive to Starbucks to pick up a friend, and then head to the marathon. I won't even have anyone at the end of the race, because I have just one friend running the full--everyone else is running the half so will be done hours before me. It's not like I've done a zillion marathons--this will be my fourth--but it just doesn't seem like any big deal. I kind of feel like I'm just going out for another long run.

...except that I had these weird dreams last night. Someone mentioned the course can get really thinned out. New York had 45,000 runners. Miami had 10,000. Baystate has 2,500 total for the full and half. So I dreamed that all the runners were pretty spread out so I had to follow the path myself. Except the marking was this faded yellow chalk line down the street, and of course I got lost. And just like the night before my first NYC marathon, I dreamed that at some point I stopped to hang out and chat and relax and then I realized after a bit, "Oh, shit! I'm in the middle of a marathon! I've got to go!" And off I went to keep running.

So I guess I'm feeling a little more tense than I thought. I have no idea what a smart pace would be for me--I really feel confident I can do under 10-minute miles (my basic goal), but how far under? I don't, don't, don't want to go out too fast and hit the wall at 20 miles, like I did in the first NYC race. But then again, it's also a sucky feeling to finish and think, "There's still some juice left in me. I could have spent more."

Well, we'll find out for sure what I can do, I guess, in about six hours. In the meantime, Run, Mommy, Run. Oh, and I'm wearing the shorts.

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Saturday, October 18

Team Spirit

This morning was the boy's first day of hockey. He's taking instructional, which covers things like basic skating, stick handling, swearing, passing, body checking, shooting, teeth replacement, and all the other necessities of hockey. It's the first step on the long road of 5 a.m. practices, traveling teams, and hockey dads (which seem to be more prevalent here than hockey moms, sorry Sarah Palin).

Our town is a BIG hockey town. It's got a rep for it, and I was floored when we went today and saw, seriously, about a 100 kids all decked up in their hockey uniforms. The first day is "try outs," meaning they place kids into one of four levels, and two of the groups meet at different times (not 5 a.m., thank goodness. At least, not at the start). The orange/blue level is for kids who are primarily in their second year of instructional (which goes from age 4 to 7). The yellow/red level is for the first timers. Doodles was placed in the red level, which is the "I can skate, but I can't do much of anything else" level. The yellow level is for those kids who were floundering about on crates. But for this first class, they stick all the kids on the ice and see what they can do. It was completely overwhelming for me, never mind the kids. Kids like Doodles were being swarmed by bigger kids who were speeding around, waving their sticks. I have to say, I got the same pangs I got that first day of kindergarten, knowing I was sending my boy out into the world of team sports. knowing there is no turning back. I got weepy watching him wait patiently to enter the ice, excited about finally starting hockey.

Of course, there's the flip side to this. And that's the hockey dad. I saw shades of it emanating from my bleacher bench. Right next to me. My darling husband. "Doodles! Doodles!" "What are you doing?" I asked. "Look at him! He's holding his stick backward. He's not a lefty; he's a righty. Doodles. DOODLES!" Adam finally gave up, but I could see the frustration oozing from him. In some ways I think Doodles would be better off if he didn't have a father who played hockey as a kid (and grown-up, too, until hockey broke him).

So it's official. My baby is getting big. And he's totally, completely, 100% a New Englander. I think I even heard him say "wah-tah," the other day, when he was asking for a drink. As long as he still roots for the Dolphins, though, all will be good in our household.

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The House Remodel Progressess

video

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Thursday, October 16

Some Kind of Help...

Doodles: Are Uncle Jon and Alicia having a baby yet?
Me: Not yet. They only just got married a couple of weeks ago. Even if they had a baby right away, it would still take nine months, remember?
Doodles: Do you have to be married to have a baby?
Me: No, you don't. But being married first is the traditional way of doing things. Not everyone is married to have a baby, and you don't have to be married to have a baby, but if you follow the tradition, you'll get married first.
Pie: Were you married when you had a baby?
Me: Yes, I was.
Pie: Why?
Me: You know, having a baby is really hard work. It helps a lot if you have a partner when you have your baby, to help take care of it.
Doodles: Yeah, having a baby is really hard work. But it's also fun.
Me: That's true. And I wanted Daddy as a partner in taking care of a baby.
Doodles: Hey, Pie, you know what?
Pie: What?
Doodles: When I was born, Mommy had a partner. But when you were born, Mommy had two partners!
Me: I did?!?
Doodles: Yes! When Pie was born, Mommy had Daddy and me as a partner. It was hard work taking care of you Pie, but I really helped a lot. I gave you bottles of milk. So many bottles of milk. Pie, you drank a lot of milk from bottles [I'd like to remind everyone here that Pie was never what you'd call a bottle drinker. She actually despised the bottle]. Mommy was lucky she had so much help.

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of help. If by help you mean being a screaming, whining, dawdling, getting in the way pain in the tush two-year-old, yep, Doodles, you were a huge help! Thanks for that.

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Tuesday, October 14

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican

For the record, my parents are Democrats. So maybe I should just send this to Adam's family:

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Monday, October 13

The Slow Slug to the Starting Line

I'm just a week away from my race, which means I'm in full-on taper mode. Tapering is when you ease off the running in preparation for the race. I hate tapering. Hate, hate, hate. Tapering plays with your mind, makes you think you're slow. It has you itching to go out for a good, long, hard run. I went out this morning for a "30 minute easy run with 5 pick ups" and all I could think was, "It probably wouldn't hurt me to go just another four miles," but I have to stop myself. This is the one time I also try to really pay attention to what I'm eating, consume lots of veggies and pay attention to my fat and alcohol intake (in other words, no drinking this week), which I know I should be doing all the time, but let's face it, I don't.

My previous marathon PR (personal record) is 4:25:07 in New York in 2006. That's a 10:07 pace. I really want to break the 10-minute-a-mile pace in this marathon, as that's a real psychological block for me. But with that three-week injury, at this point my only goal is to finish uninjured. Taking those weeks off of running really did a psychological number on me. I think breaking the 10-minute block will be like the two-hour half marathon. I couldn't do it. No matter what I just couldn't run faster than a two-hour half marathon. And then, running with a friend, I did in September 2007, and since them, I haven't run over two hours since (I've run a total of five half marathons now under two hours). I think once I break that 10-minute mile, I'll always do it. But until that first time....

So for now I'm thinking fast thoughts. I'm envisioning myself at the finish line, the clock reading 4:20 (which is just under at 10 minute pace). Of course the more I do these ridiculously easy taper runs, the more I long to run Comrades (on an up year, of course). Something about not even breaking a sweat makes me think I can do anything. My ultimate goal with all this running is to run Comrades before my 45th birthday (figuring that five years is enough time to get back on our financial feet after the remodel and that five years from now, I'll be more open to traveling halfway across the world with my children).

10 minute miles? I hope so. And if not, no biggie. It's all just training for Comrades, right? Run, baby, run.

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Sunday, October 12

Status Update

Things are tense in my oh-so-tiny apartment and I've consolidated my life down to miniature size, which is why I'm having such a tough time blogging these days. I no longer think in blog terms--the most I think is one-line Facebook statuses. Writing actual paragraphs, strings of those oh-so-pithy status updates, if you will, now seems a colossal task. My mind is thinking things like, "Jenny is contemplating tossing all of her children's toys out the window to see if anyone notices" or "Jenny is thinking of moving abroad for three months with no forwarding address" but this empty Blogger box seems to want more from me.

But here I am, with a rare moment of peace as Adam has the monsters at the playground. Our house is in total destruction mode--the roof comes off this week--but progress is happening. I can't envision this thing done, but apparently it will happen. I have an incredible lack of imagination on this. All I see are dollar signs as we need to pick out appliances, counters, fixtures and our savings account--like all of yours, I'm sure--is spiraling down, down, down, down, down....




My daughter is enmeshed in wedding planning (at 5 a.m., she woke up, literally screaming, "I NEED MY BRIDE DRESS NOW! Where's my white bride dress! Get it for me now!). We had a lovely conversation on Wednesday, mere hours before the start of Kol Nidre:

Pie: I'm getting married today.
Me: Today is not such a good day to get married. Kol Nidre is in just a couple of hours.
Pie: NO! I'm getting married today!
Me: And just who do you think is going to marry you today?
Pie: Jasmine!
Me: No, I meant, who is going to perform the ceremony? All the rabbis are busy today!
Pie: But my wedding is today!
Me: And what kind of reception will that be? You can't serve any food! The grown-ups will all be fasting.
Pie: [getting furious] NO! MY WEDDING IS TODAY!

Doodles is so Doodles. I can't even elaborate on that. He's just... well, Doodles.

And me? Well, "Jenny is going off to see a movie by herself. No kids or spouses allowed." And that sums it all up nicely.

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Saturday, October 4

Kindergarten Khronicles

Who is this child of mine and what is this life we've gotten into? At pick up today, we could hear the announcements outside, being delivered by a teacher or maybe it was the principal? "And the Red Sox will be playing not just tonight but Sunday night too in the playoffs! We wish them the best and will play 'Sweet Caroline' in their honor. Go Sox!!" Really, people? You know their not the underdogs anymore. Does anyone really still care? A friend of mine put it well. She wrote to me: "There is no separation of baseball and state in Massachusetts public education."

And then there's the fact that this boy of mine has gotten, you know, cool. After school a classmate came running up to him.
Classmate: Hey, Doodles! Hey, Doodles!
Doodles: What.
C: Hi, Doodles!
D: What did you want?
C's mom: I think he just wanted to say, "Hi."
C: Yeah! Hi, Doodles!
D: Oh.
Me: Can you try a few manners? How about, "Hi, C." or "Have a good weekend, C."
D, mumbling: Hi, C.
I had a total flashback to the boys of my elementary school years. I can't believe my son is going to be that kid. Oy.

At a fire safety assembly, Doodles learned all about what to do in a fire. He told me, "You need to leave right away! Just take the phone with you and when you get outside, then you call the firemen. If you left your pet or your toys inside, you just wait for the firemen to come get them out."

Bring your phone with you? We never learned that. Does the cord stretch to outside? The times, they are a changin'.

"Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I've been inclined
To believe they never would..."

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