Friday, December 15, 2006

New Look

I really need a new look on Maine-ly Megin. I know.

In the meantime I am absolutely thrilled with the new look at GNM Parents.

Do you like it?

Do you think it's a problem if I am half in love with most of the contributors over there?

I am off to begin our Christmas celebration this weekend with my in-laws. It will be fun and happy. I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Who Wrote the Book of....?

What, in the name of all that is good and right in this world, was I thinking?

So, my 2nd meme in a week- again started by the talented Chicken Lady- a collaborative story... and it hits me it time for dialog? Dialog? (I can't "do" heavy today, folks...) I apologize only once.

(by Mrs. Chicken @ Chicken and Cheese)
I thought I saw him at the grocery store. It was raining that afternoon, and he had an umbrella. The red and white triangles that made up his portable shelter partly obscured his face, but I caught a glimpse of his eyes. Those eyes. Huge, blue and empty.

When he left me I remember searching their vast cerulean expanse for some sign, some flicker of love. It rained that day, too. Why does it rain when you lose someone you love? My tears left him unmoved. I don’t know why that surprised me.

The baby kicked in my cart and I let my gaze fall on her face. Her father’s eyes stared back at me. Green eyes, warm and full of life.“Mamma?” she said. “Mamma!”

(by Binky @ 24/7)
The question-turned-exclamation jarred me out of my reverie. There was pressure in my temples and behind the hazel tint of my colored contact lenses. "Mamma's here," I cooed. My voice was a manufactured kind of soothing. I leaned in and brushed a kiss over Bethany's forehead, where a drop of rainwater hung like the tiniest Swarovski pendant. Its chain was made of fine blond locks.

"What do you think, baby girl?" I asked as I pulled her into my arms. "Is it time to go home?" Her searching legs and center of gravity found all the right contours as she settled atop the jut of my hip. I tugged at her coat until the hood framed her face, then I stepped into the rain. A small deluge of water streamed off the curve of the lowercase "o" on the Save-A-Lot sign and landed at the back of my neck. I could feel the tag from my shirt sticking sharp and soggy to my skin.

I sighed against Bethany's face and tried to avoid the bigger puddles on our way to my twenty year old Civic, which was miraculously close. One row over and three cars ahead, I saw a familiar red and white umbrella spanning the gap between an open door and the driver's seat of a rusty 4Runner that had to be as old as my own piece of junk. They guy I'd mistaken for Paul sat sideways and watched the rain as he talked into a cell phone.

(by Tony @ Creative-Type Dad)
Hastily reaching into my purse holding Bethany firmly, I could faintly hear the sound of his voice. His mumbled words were almost too reminiscent of Paul’s. The way he laughed as he said “Gouda” into his plastic phone brought back imagery of the two of us, sitting together last winter on the living room floor, sipping Merlot watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. Occasionally Paul would jokingly burst out vocabulary in his comedic English accent – expressions like “Don Perignon!” and “Caviar Dreams!” oh, how I loved Caviar and that faux bear skin rug.

With keys finally in hand, stumbling to open the rusty car door, I could sense this stranger's stare against my cheek. His phone chatter abruptly ended and I could hear the sounds of squeaking cowboy boots crushing the wet pavement.

(by Occidental Girl @ The Occidental Tourist)
My mind was suddenly full of so many thoughts vying for my attention at the same time that I couldn't think straight.

It can't be him, I thought, no way. What would I say? What do I look like? What am I wearing???

The answers came in rapid succession: It could be him, it's okay if it's him because I'm not angry anymore; I could talk about my fulfilling life that I've enjoyed since knowing him, like this beautiful child I created with someone else, without him; I look like shit but since I'm too hard on myself in general, I probably look just fine; men - especially Paul - don't notice what women are wearing unless it's nothing at all. Then, they notice.

When you coincidentally encounter someone you loved once, a long time ago, the traitorous mind tends to retrieve only the good memories and leave the battles and frustrations out of it. This leaves us to wonder what in the world we ever thought was wrong and maybe it was a mistake to end the relationship. After all, doesn't every relationship have ups and downs? Ours certainly did. It was passionate, without a doubt, but in every area: the loving AND the fighting. It was when the fighting overtook the loving that we fell apart. I wonder if he ever thought about all of that, even now. Paul didn't seem to notice many thing unless they were stark - naked or otherwise.

And yet, here he was - maybe - coming over to talk after all this time.

I took a deep breath, then turned around.

(by Meg at Mainely-Megin):

"Hey." He practically whispered.
Oh. My. God.
"Hi." Was it relief or despair?
"I wasn't sure you'd remember me."
"No, I..." Not Paul. Not Paul. Not Paul. Who the hell was it?
"Peter Johnston, I sat behind you in statistics freshman year."

Peter freakin' Johnston. I felt my pulse in my neck, and I focused my breathing the way I had 15 short months ago in labor. Not Paul.

Peter held his umbrella over me and the squirmy Bethany. Idle chat. Wife, 3 kids, new job, just moved into town, wife hasn't met anyone yet. Not Paul. Not Paul. Peter was bursting with the need to share his happiness, which allowed him to simply see an old acquaintance, not someone's former lover plagued by mere memory.

"Dinner sounds great, I'd love to meet Lisa and the kids."

With the baby buckled in and my door as close to closed as it got, I watched Peter close his own door. The rain rushed down the window and distorted the images. It blended the head and brake lights of the cars winding their way through the parking lot.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, it's your turn:
Bethany

You guys are next.

Christy
Heather
Michelle
Mrs. Maladjusted
Kristi
Desitin's Child
Tater And Tot
Word Girl

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Me-Me For-For You-You

This is my first me-me- an early holiday gift from the talented Mrs. Chicken (Go introduce yourself, I promise you will love her. She also writes as Amy at GNMParents!).

5 things you don't know about me:

1. This very morning I washed a pull-up in the washing machine. You see, I love laundry passionately, and the 5 loads in addition to the baby's crib sheets (yes, almost every morning she wakes up wet) that were waiting for me were not enough. I really wanted to rewash that load. Twice. On my short list of things I wish I was better at, house-keeping is in the top 5. On that list you'll also find mothering, writing, technical "stuff" (including but not limited to: web design, audio and video how to, and auto-repair), and the ability to fully embrace poverty.

2. Of my 3 children, only one was planned. The other 2 have been "glorious surprises." Let no measly little patch limit my fertility! Since we are on this topic, I know precisely the "event" in which each of them was conceived. Yeah, that's all I'll say about that.

3. If I allow the thought or image of flan, oatmeal, custard (or anything with an icky texture), linger in my mind for more than a moment I throw up a little. How do you people eat that crap? On the topic of food? I (heart) brownies. Alone, hot under ice cream, filled with fudge. frosted, with or without nuts, homemade, store bought... get the picture?

4. At times the loss of my own father still brings me to my knees. I miss him madly and my heart hurts to think that my children do not know him.

5. I love The Carpenters. There. I said it.

Bonus: I spent over 7 years of my life pregnant and/or nursing.


5 things you don't know about my kids:

1. Aidan was due on Christmas Eve and joined us reluctantly on January 4th. Clay was a week early and Lucy was 2 days early. Combined their labors total around 77 hours.

2. At various times my children have wanted to be the following when they grew up: firefighter, police officer, wrestler, warrior, chef, dancer, Santa's helper, and a hippo.

3. Aidan spent the 1st 24 hours of his life in the NICU. It was a long journey for him and he was a little shaken up by it. He recovered quickly and we went home when we were scheduled to.

4. My children are my mother's 19th, 22nd, and 24th grandchildren.

5. Our very favorite family activity is to spend long days together relaxing and playing together at the beach.

That's it! Now what? I tag someone else? Mia, my friend, you've been too quiet lately!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jingle Bell Run

Did it, survived. Considering I've only run a couple of times since August I was surprised I was able to run as much as I did. Slowly, but still. I'd never run in the cold. It was very different. It was really a beautiful day- mid 30's and perfectly clear.

Running buddy and I finished a second apart. We totally won.

If winning means finishing a 5k in about 40 minutes :)

Music makes a world of difference... (Matt, Dawn: love, love, love, love!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Package

Chris has a fun idea. I'm playing along. Here's what I would love:

- a great running MP3 file or Cd or whatever. What do you love running to?

- a couple of easy favorite recipes- anything from appetizers to desserts to beverages.

- a list of the top things you like to do with your kids. Do you have made up games? Describe them to me.

- a quote that you think I might like based on what you know about me.

- a book you've read that you think I might benefit from or just enjoy.


You know what I'd like from my family? Instead of random tchotchke? I'd like babysitting. My time with my husband is way too infrequent. I don't need anything. Babysitting is such a lovely gift. I'd also like them to take a kid overnight- just one at a time. This is a lovely gift for the kid. Something they will remember more clearly than a set of legos. It also lends itself to more one on one time for the 2 that are left behind. A bonus gift.

I love and I hate this time of year for so many reasons.


Event Announcement!

I am going to re-launch my running with the "Jingle-Bell" run next weekend. It'll be a bit of a scientific experiment to see what the time difference will be between now- not running and last summer, running.

I miss this blog. Wow, I miss this blog.

Here's where I am and what I'm doing: GNMParents. I know a lot of you are parents as well as athletes... so consider this an invitation.

Have any thoughts on the toys in your lives? Share your ideas!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I love two

It's a chilly rainy day in Maine. I spent a long while snuggling with Lucy on the couch under a warm blanket.

She calls her elbows her elmos.

She is so so soft.

She pretend snores.

She is fascinated by her nipples and (much to my dismay) has stopped calling them hippos.

We've begun the preliminary potty training process- you know it's your 3rd kid when she wears her brother's underwear to potty train!

She and Clay have had such a lovely morning playing that I keep putting off her nap. There is nothing more warming on this planet than watching your kids play together happily.

Another day at our own pace, snuggling and lovin each other.


Hope your day's good, too.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Great Source for Holiday Gifts

I never really push products or companies, BUT... I do love to share really great experiences.

I ordered a travel coffee mug for my mother-in-law for her birthday. Here's my deal- I love giving photo gifts of the kids to people who I think would like them, but I am really very bad at getting an acceptable photo in the appropriate time frame so that I can order without paying an arm and a leg to ship it today and receive it a week ago.

I ordered the mug on Tuesday, it shipped on Wedneday, and I had it in my hot little hands on Friday without paying any extra shipping charges.

The mug itself was about $20. I was very pleased with the quality of the mug AND with the quality of the photo. I had to email my pictures to the company and there was a bit of a delay due to my email. They tracked me down to make sure I re-sent them. Then they let me know thru personal email that they had gotten the images and that the mug had shipped out. My interactions with the folks at the company were just fantastic and that is what it's all about. The company seems pretty small, and in my experience they are doing it all right.

Need a photo gift? Check out MarvelousMugs.com. They are currently offering a pre-holiday special (10%) as well as discounts on duplicate orders. (Coupon code: Holiday06).

If you place an order, share your experience with me! I think these folks rock!

Best Food I've Made Since Summer Ended

This recipe is nothing but fan-freakin-tastic and if you don't try it, well, shame on you. I made it for a whole mess of people, and just guesstimated the measurements, but the original recipe went something like this:

Crock Pot Thai Chicken

1 lb chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces (place in crock)

mix together:
3/4 cups Salsa
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (I've also made it with peanut butter, but the sunflower seed butter added a whole new dimention)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated gresh ginger

Mix into chicken. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Serve over brown rice or couscous or even whole wheat spaghetti and garnish with fresh cilantro (ok, use a lot and mix it in YUM!).

Should've taken a picture, but we ate it all.

How are you guys, anyway? Share a favorite healthy fall meal here, would you? My diet needs some inspiration.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

October WHAT??

Here's what I am working on:

1. Home organization: defining systems for laundry and other household chores, complete re-org of the bathroom closet, bedroom closet, children's dressers, planning on tackling the home away from home (aka the van).

2. Being with my kids. Fully engaged.

3. Staying on the healthy food choices wagon.

4. Getting back on the running wagon (I've run twice and am having a passionate love affair with my splashy new iPod). I got scared away by the rain this weekend.

5. Thinking about starting a local mom's group. Winter's not easy for me, especially in Maine. I need a plan.

6. Making some changes with the other blog, moving from careermomradio.com to GNMParents.

7. Scouting and recruiting new contributors for GNMParents. I have found so many talented bloggers. Want to meet some of them? Check out Crankmama, Mom Writes, Scribbit, Diary of a Playgroup Dropout, The Lazy Organizer, Mommy off the Record, Stu News and Photos, There are more. I'll introduce you on another day. (Oh, and if you know a great blog that touches on some issue relating in any way to parenthood, please send it to me... Oh, you're interested? Let's talk!)

8. Anxiously counting down the days to an overnight girls trip. We're not going far, but it's nice to have a day off to look forward to.

9. Halloween costume making: pirate zombie, Hercules, and a red kitty cat.

10. I am sure there is a tenth... what could it be?


Photo courtesy of Jimmy via flickr.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Being God...


Clay (5): Mama, do people get married at a wedding?
Me: Yes, Clay.
Clay: Mama, how do people get married?
Me: Remember how Ian and Nel stood in front of the church and talked to each other? And to Uncle Scooter (Uncle conducted the ceremony)? They were getting married.
Clay: Yes, but HOW?
Me: Well, they stand up before God and each other and they promise to love each other forever and ever.
Clay: Oh, so Uncle Scooter was being God?


All 3 Punks were in the wedding. They did so great. A, who's 6, refused to even loosen his tie or remove his jacket for hours and hours. The groom, all of the wedding party had long disrobed. Not A. He was all about posing for the camera and cuttin' a rug. Clay was a little more reserved. The music was a little loud for him and he only danced once. Lucy walked down the aisle throwing rose petals like a champ. She wanted her dress off pretty early, but wanted to dance with us all night long.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rockin'

Running with music r.o.c.k.s.

Yeah, you read that right. I ran.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gratitude

I got a really nice letter last Sunday. I don't always look for affirmations that I am doing things well. That's a little lie. I do. I look for affirmations in my exercise and in my parenting and a little bit in my friendships. But they are simple and I do not dwell on them:

exercise: can I make it a mile without cursing?
parenting: can my Punks work out a conflict without my help?
friends: do people seem to want to be with me?

When my answers are "yes" then I can affirm that I am doing a'ight.

I don't look for affirmations like the one I got on Sunday. It was a lovely letter written in blue crayon from a dear friend. It was unexpected and heartfelt. I cried as I read it and for a good while after. I felt this huge washing sigh go straight through my bones.

It's really nice to know that you are living your life well. That you love your family and your friends and they know it and return it. That even without grand gestures, but simply making the efforts that feel right and come naturally you are being good. (Good parent, good family member, good friend).

I will cherish this letter. I will keep it where I can see it as a reminder to live right, and to acknowledge when other folks are livin' right. I am so thankful. I have an immediate family that I not only love but also like. I have an extended family I love and (often) like. I have a chosen family of friends that I love and I like.

I want to go on record that that letter, written in blue crayon on lined notebook paper was the best gift I've received in a really long time. The iPod Nano that came with it blew me away. Unspeakably generous. Thoroughly excessive. Just... I don't know what to say about it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Thing

Here are the things:

I'm still struggling with allergies but I'm done whining about them.

I'm frozen on the exercise front.

Career Mom Radio is fun and exciting and time consuming. I stay up late working on it, then I can't get up early enough for exercise. I am jazzed about this developing community and I love getting to hear/read these new voices. Are you working on a submission? There is a place for non-moms to contribute to so none of you have any excuses.

I have a lot to say, just not the stuff I've been saying. I'll be back with a whole lotta new stuff soon.

Just adjusting.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Career Mom What?

Ah, yes. Pop on over to Career Mom Radio. For your listening pleasure episode 6 offers lots of meat regarding working from home: home office organization, publicity strategies, and a million dollar give away.

Don't believe me? Give it a listen. And leave a freakin' comment while you're there! Oh, and subscribe. Watch that space- because starting this week the blog is putting on a little weight. I love you guys. Really.

disclaimer: i am totally lying about the $1,000,000.00

Friday, September 29, 2006

Help! This will be good for you!

I'm working on a little something for Career Mom Radio. Will you help me?

Tell me a funny kid story. It could be as simple as a mispronunciation or an epic tale.

Example:

Lucy's 2. Her language is absolutely exploding. Here are a few fun words:

Nipple= hippo
Cock= chalk

When Aidan was 2 he woke up one morning and stumbled into the family room all bleary eyed and sleepy. He looked up and saw the new curtains we had hung up after he went to bed the night before. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes he exclaimed "Huuh! (Sharp intake of breath)! Mama! God popped right out of my heart and bought us some curtains." Wha?

So tell me a story- and let me know if I can link to your site to give you credit if I use your story. And let me know if I can use your name. And if you don't have kids tell me about your nephew. Or your sister. Or tell me that story your mom always tells about you.

Make me laugh.

Hey you: don't forget to subscribe today. It's so easy. Need help? Let me know.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Allergic to Air

I remembered something this past week. It is really hard to be good when you hurt. I hurt right now. I have seasonal allergies which require me to take a daily pill from March- December. This is not a terminal affliction. I'll live. As a matter of fact I can usually take my pill as soon as I open my eyes in the morning and I am relatively uneffected for the whole day. I can live with this. However, there are about 10 weeks a year that this is not the way things work. For about 5 weeks in the spring and 5 weeks in the fall I want to saw off my head with a dull butter knife.

During this period of time I double up on my medicine, add a prescription nasal spray, and an occasional supplemental antihistamine. And I still want to cry. Nothing seems to touch the pain in my head, and my upper jaw feels like each tooth has a toothache. Every tooth. The doc doesn't really have any suggestions. I convinced her to put me back on an rx that I tried a few years ago. It was the only thing that managed my symptoms. It was great. Oh, except that I had some troubles and wound up in the ER with symptoms of diverticulitis. But my head felt great. Maybe that won't happen this time.

It's so so fun. I am grouchy and every speck of backround noise makes me want to blow a nutty. It makes it really hard to be a good mom. I have been rather short tempered with the Punks. Today we got home from the library and it was taking forever for Clay (4 and 11/12ths years old) to get out of the car. We had no place to go and other than eat lunch we had nothing to do. I was staring at the mess on the floor of the van and just waiting for my kid to get out of the car. It was taking what felt like a really long time. Ordinarily I'd've just picked up some of the crap on the floor or made a joke or whatever. I did ok on the outside, I wasn't too snarky, but on the inside I was so freakin' irritated. And when the baby went down for a nap, and I really should have spent some 1 on 1 with Clay. I didn't. I sent him away for some quiet time. And while usually that means quiet time for my boy, today it was all about me.

Some days it is just so hard to pull myself up by the boot straps and do right by my kids. After the 1st day or so I got so tired of shushing and explaining that I wasn't feeling well. I'm trying hard now not to do that at all. This really sucks. I can't not be a mom for 10 weeks a year. I can't stand the thought of being a lousy, cranky mom for 10 weeks a year.

How do you handle it when life gets in the way of being who you want to be?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Follow-Up

Well, the follow-up on my conversation with the Head Start supervisor is pretty anticlimactic. He listened. He hummed when that was appropriate and tsked when that was appropriate. He tried to make excuses for her (she had just gotten a call from a sales person before me, yada, yada, yada). I said everything I thought. I think I called her a nincompoop. I was not argumentative. I was articulate. I outlined each concern. I was high on my customer service soapbox. I even told him about writing an article about chosing childcare. We talked for a long while and I ended the conversation feeling as though I had said everything that needed to be said.

Here's the thing. With the exception of his initial impulse to defend her (which he seemed to get over when I shot a gazillion holes in his defense), he did and said exactly what the nincompoop should have. He handled me well. He said they had a call into their licenser and were working hard to put dependable processes in place to ensure that nothing like this happened again (Count the freakin' kids). He thanked me for taking the time to call. He thanked me for painting a more detailed picture of what occurred. He was good. I was sure to tell him this.

Child care is hard. The part where you deal with stubborn strong willed kids is sometimes hard. Responding appropriately to each and every interaction can be really hard. Entertaining demanding kids in an "on demand" world is hard. Challenging kids and helping them develop cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically is (you guessed it) hard. It's NOT easy. Tantrums, biting, difficult parents, smelly play dough, and crappy diapers? Oh, and minimum wage? Wicked hard. Counting kids? Well, counting kids isn't website development (I currently find this more challenging than brain surgery.) Counting kids is just easy. Plain and simple.

Would I send my goldfish there? Nope. They have a long way to go. I am still considering a call into the licenser. I have heard from a couple other parents that when they are sharing the playground space with this program the teachers are just sitting on the benches yelling to the kids. Maybe if I do make this last call then I can put this to bed in my head.

Let's practice: 1,2,3,4,5.....

Guest Spot

I'm doing a quick guest spot over at the Health Hacks Podcast (Episode 5). It's a bit about the Punks and a bit about exercise. There's lots of other good info in the show, too. I'm not an urban ranger, but yesterday I put Lucy in her jogger and we went trail walking for over an hour. It was nothing short of delightful. And the "today" bit that Chris talks about? Spot on. I don't have to worry about forever, I just need to do it today.

Don't forget to let Kevin and the gang know what you thought of the show.

OH, the follow-up with the forgotten kid will be up later today. I haven't forgotten!

Monday, September 25, 2006

One Child Left Behind

Today I had the opportunity to witness a child being left behind. I thought we had a plan in place for that. Some act or something.

There were so many things about this experience that made me sick. Here's the story:

I was walking into the park with 2 of the Punks just as a large group of kids (maybe 15) and several (3 maybe 4) caregivers were on their way out. They were lined up two by two, all neat and purty. One of the teachers asked if everyone had their sweatshirts. About 8 or 9 minutes later a dad at the park asked if one of the little girls on the climbing structure was with us. Yeah, they freakin' forgot a kid. They got all of the sweatshirts, but they forgot a 3 year old.

Isn't it standard practice to count the kids from time to time to make sure you're watching them all? Hell, I only have 3 and I do it. So, the dad literally jumped the fence, left his 2 kids in the park and ran across the street and down a bit after the teachers. They were completely out of sight. He came walking back after a few moments with one of the teachers. As they approached the fence the teacher saw fit to sternly speak to the child about how she should have listened. Not a hug, not a reassurance. A lecture. Lovely.

Now I know that teacher must have been completely freaked out. She had to be afraid for her job. But she immediately shifted the blame to the 3 year old. I looked at my kids swinging cluelessly on the swings. I know that accidents happen and mistakes are made. I also know that when you screw something up you can gain a lot of ground by simply 'fessing up and offering a sincere apology. From a business standpoint you can either save an irate customer by handling a mistake well, or you can lose that customer and 20 others because you dropped the ball and boy are they going to share their experience with the world. From a parent's perspective you can take a big giant step towards establishing peace by 'fessing up and apologizing, or teaching your kid to come clean. I know people screw things up. I really needed to know that these folks were going to take responsibility for their great big mistake. I also needed for someone to suggest to that caregiver that a hug may have gone a bit further with that scared kid than a freakin' lecture.

Back at home I called the center. My goal was to simply say, "Hey, I know this happened and it's a really difficult situation, but there is this other little piece, too. The one where the teacher blamed the kid." And I wanted to hear something like, "Yes, very hard. Thanks for taking the time to call and tell me, I'll be sure to talk with dumbass about that." It did not go well. I never even got there. I asked to speak to the center director. Now, when I start a phone call I typically introduce myself and if the other person does not do the same then I politely ask who the hell I am speaking with (but politely). This lovely person wouldn't tell me her name. She simply asked how she could help me. I calmly explained that I was a member of the community and simply would prefer to know the name of the person to whom I was speaking. She still would not tell me. I fairly calmly told her that I would call the main program (this was a branch of a larger Head Start Program) and that the reason I was calling was to discuss the fact that a kid was left at the playground today. At this point I was admittedly snarky. She breathed in sharply and said she was aware of the incident. I hung up. I had to. I had lost all hope that this woman could effectively blow her own nose let alone handle this situation. I hung up.

Why the hell didn't she give me her name? Do we even need to talk about customer service? I could've been a prospective parent. I could've been a licenser for Pete's sake. Had she simply introduced herself, the conversation would have been entirely different. I almost promise it. The reason I was calling was simply to share my concern about the way that the child was greeted after having been abandoned. Now, what reason could she have for protecting her identity like it was the freakin' Hope diamond? For the love of Pete. Is she on America's Most Wanted? Is she being stalked? Is she in the witness protection plan? What was her point?

I called the parent program and shared all of my concerns. All signs point to the fact that the local branch is being led by a complete ninny. I alluded to this fact. Some blah-blah supervisor is supposed to call me back. We'll see.

I find the timing of this incident very interesting as I am in the middle of writing an article on "Chosing the Right Child Care" for Career Mom Radio. For the record, I am not at this time suggesting that you leave your goldfish in the care of the center mentioned above.




Saturday, September 23, 2006

Aidan's Podcast

Aidan's very first podcast is up. It's heavy on the recess, but it's good stuff.

He's in 1st grade and he's wicked smaat. He really is.

Give it a little listen...

My Next Event

Maine offers such interesting events.

Who's signing up for this one?

It's a Chili Day

So I looked out the window when I woke up this morning. It is a gloomy, cold, dreary day outside. It was 50 degrees, and very rainy. I smiled, I really smiled. I don't ordinarily love these days, but I was happy for a few reasons:
  1. I want to stay home and make chili.
  2. I want to read books to my kids in a cozy couch corner.
  3. I want to be lazy and snuggly.
  4. I wasn't preparing for the start of my second tri of the season.
  5. I wasn't shivering an the beach of the lake preparing to swim 1/2 mile.
  6. I wasn't regreting my decision one little bit.

I will soon post my chili recipe, because it is delicious and very healthy. I love soup, stew, and all sorts of chili. I love it more when it meshes well with my nutrition goals.

Here's what's weighing on my mind fitness-wise:

How will I get back on the running wagon? When? I tried the dreadmill and had a lousy experience. I can't run in the evening. It's gotta be early morning, doesn't it? Damn. I've been up a little late these days and I need my sleep. Ahh... commit, Megin, commit. Any motivation out there? Lets remember I am not in love with running...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The BIG 10!

WARNING: There is really only 1 person in the world who will want to read this post. I figure with today's subscribers there is a one in six chance that you're him. I'll take that chance.

It is my 10 year wedding anniversary. I was 22 years old when I got engaged and 24 years old when I got married. My whole family thought we were out of our tree. I am the youngest of 7 children and will forever be "the baby." No one thought we were ready. Looking back, we weren't. We were both such freakin' babies. We didn't know nothin' about nothin'. We were broke. We postponed the wedding for a year because we bought a car.

The day we wed was nothing short of magnificent. The weather, the venue, the food, the love (sorry, but you shoulda stopped reading back at the warning). The sky was amazing, the air very warm but with that crisp edge of autumn. It was a perfect start.

It could have gone so wrong. When people get divorced you hear a lot of "we just grew apart." Back in 1996 we had just barely begun. Sad things happened to us. Sadness, extreme sadness, is a huge burden for a young couple. We learned to listen and talk even when we didn't want to. We learned to fight fair at least some of the time. We learned to accept apologies, and occasionally make them. We learned the business of being in love. When we got married we didn't know nothin' about nothin'. It could have gone so wrong. Change the balance a little, hold onto a grudge, shut yourself off and who knows where we would be standing now. We grew a whole heck of a lot. We didn't always grow closer, but we grew together.

It didn't go wrong. Most of our days have gone fantastically right. We have babies. 3 of them. They are strong and they are smart and they are very very funny. After 10 years we know some stuff. We want to know more stuff. We strive to do what we do better today than we did yesterday.

On our wedding day we danced to two songs. The first was the Beatles "I Will." Because we did.
Who knows how long I've loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to--I will.

For if I ever saw you
I didn't catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same.

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we're together
Love you when we're apart.

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
You know I will
I will.
We also danced to Aaron Neville's "You Never Can Tell." I am pretty sure that we thought if the grown up's heard the lyrics it would proove something about something.

It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They furnished off an apartment with a two room roebuck sale
The coolerator was crammed with tv dinners and ginger ale,
But when pierre found work, the little money comin' worked out well
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast
Seven hundred little records, all rock, and rhythm and jazz
But when the sun went down, the rapid tempo of the music fell
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They bought a souped-up jitney, was a cherry red '53,
Drove down to new orleans to celebrate the anniversary
It was there where pierre was married to the lovely mademoiselle
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell

They had a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,
"c'est la vie", say the old folks, it go to show you never can tell
My dad, who I miss dearly every day, used to say "You never can tell from how you sit, when the man in the balcony's gonna spit." The thing is, we didn't know nothin' about nothin', yet here we sit, 10 years later, and madly in love. Madly. You just never can tell. But you hope. And you pray. And you work. And you yell. And you laugh loudly and often. And you love. You love a lot. Much moreso after 10 years of marriage (wink, wink).

People say their wedding day was the happiest day of their lives. Ours was pretty perfect. But this? This is amazing.

Thanks, Rob. For being on this quest with me. And for making our family better every day.

xoxoxo
-M

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's That Time Again

Guess what's out? You guessed it (you did, didn't you?), Career Mom Radio Episode 4. My lovely daughter will one day despise me for my contribution this week.

Give 'er a listen and take a moment to leave a lil comment. You love them, don't you? Well, so do we! Suggestions, compliments, even criticism if you must! It's all worthy.

Happy, happy weekend, folks!

p.s.: have you subscribed yet? While you're at it, add Career Mom Radio, too. And share some love with the moms you know!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Decision Made

I will not be doing the tri next weekend. I'm good with this choice. I could, but I'm not. My plan instead is to continue riding and running. I'm going to do another 5k on 9/24 and I am really excited because it's a trail run. I'm going to follow it up with a 5k on 10/1, and maybe a few more before the Jingle Bell run in December.

Additionally, I am really sinking into Career Mom Radio. It's good for me to use my sometimes feeble mind and have an end product. I love that it's about being a mom. I believe deeply that this project will help fight off the winter doldrums that I often fall victim to- especially with the exercise.

There you have it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hemming

I am seriously considering bagging the tri on 9/23.

I have compelling reasons. I do!

Reason #1: It's freaking cold. Yesterday it was 40-something degrees at 7:30am. It's an open water swim and I don't have a wet suit and I don't want a wet suit.

Reason #2: Night before the race conditions are not ideal. Sharing a room with my 3 kids and Rob... not so restful.

Reason #3: The start of school threw a wrench into my training. Riding my bike and running once or 1 and a half times a week does not a triathlete make.

What to do, what to do?

Monday, September 11, 2006

PodCamp & Priorities

The virtual world is a-buzz with talk of PodCamp. It seems to me that there were about 250 folks in attendance. People from Massachusetts and people from far, far away.

Here's the thing: Within the communities of the RBF, and the tri-bloggers, and the sisterhood (siblinghood) of the couch to 5 kers or other beginner athletes, there is a sense that when you share an accomplishment people can't wait to hear more. That long before you cross the finish line (first or last) there are folks waiting anxiously for your race report. Friendly commenters who want you to share both where you've been and where you think you might someday go. That community is so nice to feel a part of. I like it.

PodCamp had a lot of similarities. Now, like in any community there were a few folks who left me feeling less than warm and fuzzy. That being said, an overwhelming number of people were so interesting and interested. These folks demonstrate commitment and dedication. By and large, they have day jobs that pay the bills. Many have happy families. They carve the time for what's important to them. I met folks who had big ideas, and little ideas. People who wanted to share what they know, and listen to what I know. People who wanted to pool their talents and ideas and create something new. It was another community that was really nice to feel a part of.

Podcasting is so very new to me. It is so cool to be contributing to Career Mom Radio. (I've a rather intersting contribution to this week's show. Tune in on Friday.) I love the idea of yet another (are you sensing a theme here?) community of people who are joining together to support one another. Again- people who are sharing what they know and interested in learning what others know. What did I leave PodCamp with? As Chris asks, what will the event change in my life? The enthusiam was delightful. People really wore their passion on their sleeves. The experience as a whole left me wanting to create more, more, more. I want to help make CMR grow and help to define it, to help it expand like a freakin' water balloon until it bursts and takes on a whole new existance- and leaves everyone all soakin' wet. I want to focus and craft that contribution. I want my kids to see me creating content, not just absorbing it. I want to continue to help them create their own content. I want to help them to find their own blogging community.

I want to go to Podcamp next year and have more to contribute, and a stronger base to build on.

Here's a challenge... I am adding to the list, not replacing a priority.

Speaking of priorities, I actually carved time to exercise tonight:
8 miles on the bike 14.something mph- lots of hills followed by 1/3 mile run followed by 45 minute brisk walk.

I'm pretending that training isn't really required for my tri in less than 2 weeks. I simply haven't been able to run at zero dark thirty. I've been riding about 1.5 times a week. WTF? I wish I could explain it. I really do.

September 11, 2006


Hug your kids. Tight.
Love your partner.


I feel the weight of today.

Friday, September 08, 2006

If You Can't Trust a Monkey

Here's my tv thing: we watch it. We have DVR so we watch what we want when we want it. And we skip commercials. My boys can each pick one show a day to watch. They don't have free reign, they chose from a list of recorded shows. This week we are heavy on the "Wonder Pets" and PBS's newest addition "Curious George." (I always loved these books. I drew the short stick and missed seeing the movie in the theater with my boys. We have the Jack Johnson soundtrack and I'm looking forward to the video.)

My son's enjoying Curious George right now, and I've heard two beautiful quotes:

"If you can't trust a monkey, who can you trust?"

and

"How many roller skating weiner dogs can there be in the city?"

So, the Wonder Pets was introduced to us by a 37 year old childless friend who stumbled across it one day on Nick jr. Here's what the Nick website says about the show:
The show features photo-puppetry animation--an animation style created specifically for this series--which allows the animators to manipulate photos of real animals. The result is striking, memorable, and truly unique. Each episode is like a mini-opera with dialog often sung to an original score by some of Broadway's top composers. And each episode encourages teamwork, empathy, problem-solving skills, and an appreciation of music and humor.
Linny the guinea pig, Ming-Ming the duckling, and Tuck the turtle don't have super natural powers, but they travel around the world (and into story books and paintings) to save baby animals who are in a pickle. They rely on team work and when the task is done they share a stalk of celery. The music is great (although I admit it sticks with me for hours- days even). "We're not too big and we're not too tough, but when we work together we've got the right stuff. Go Wonder Pets!" My criticism of the show is this: The freakin' duckling speaks babytalk majorly. So. Annoying.

What the heck is the point of this post? There is good stuff on the tube. There is also a lot of crap. Grown up crap and kid crap. Some of the kid's stuff is pretty entertaining- even for adults. Come on, roller skating weiner dogs, folks. If you're thoughtful and careful and help your kids make good choices, and help them limit their screen time (tv and computer), enjoy it. Alot of the shows out there are very creative, pretty to look at, and funny to boot. Toss in some teamwork and you're all set.

Disclaimer: too much tv, like too many deep fried twinkies, is not good for anyone. Duh. Make good choices.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

CMR: Episode 3

Career Mom Radio's 3rd episode is up. This week focuses on starting you own business. There is some great information about how to get started and what questions to ask yourself and others.

Stop by, listen, leave some thoughts... really... this is a great show that's developing here!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Look Who's Heading to Podcamp

podcamp Boston

This podcasting thing is fun!

Monday, September 04, 2006

It Happened!

I had a great run. Now, don't get too excited, I didn't "love" it. But I liked it pretty well. I got up on Saturday morning (we were staying with my sister), what was left of Ernesto had passed through during the night and it left a wet, blustery, cloudy morning in its wake. It wasn't raining, but everything was thoroughly soaked.

My plan was to do my 5/1 intervals. I started off down the first hill (oh, I didn't mention that my sister's 'hood is hilly? Heck, yeah. And I have never run any hills, ever), slow, steady. At the bottom of the hill it started up, and continued up and up and up. So, 5 minutes into it, my watch beeps. I felt fine so I kept on, thinking at the next rep I'd stop. Still fine. The next? Still fine. The wind was so loud.

I followed Chris's advice from the Health Hacks Podcast and played a little bit- road, curb, grass, jump over stick, kick crab apple. My breathing was fine, my legs were fine. I really felt pretty good.

I clocked it later and I wasn't particularly far and certainly not fast... I was actually really slow. 2.66 miles in 34 minutes (13:07/mile). But, people, these were hills, and I. Felt. Fine. I stopped for a total of 2.5 minutes to walk. Fot the 1st time ever, I didn't murmur "this _____in' sucks." Not. Once. This is big.

Let's see what happens tomorrow.

On another "It Happened" note (a much more important note): You know that friend that you never see and rarely talk to? The one that you don't speak to for months, maybe years, but when you do it's OK? It's still good? Call him or her. Struggle through the busy weekends and long distances and hammer out a time to get together. It's worth it. I did that this weekend. It was about the 5th legitimate attempt in the last year. Things come up. Real things. It didn't mean we didn't want to. It's just that life is busy and stuff comes up.The 3 of us traveled a total of 15 hours in the car (in the rain) with a total of 8 kids and a dog. We finally did it. It was lovely but way too short, and it left me wanting more. I am lucky to know these women and I want to dig deeper into the relationships. It is a damn shame that we live so far from each other and have such busy, busy lives.

It's all worth the effort, isn't it? A good run (after 3 steady months) and good friends (after 16 years). What a weekend. Hope yours was just as great.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Career Mom Radio

I am now officially a voice of Career Mom Radio... check out my debut. Send the link to your mom, your kid's mom, your mom-friends, leave a comment, let us know what you think.

Really. Go ahead. Do it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Progress

I had a great ride today. Auntie came over to hang out with the Punks. I headed out hard, trying to maintain over 16 mph for the first 5 miles. I checked at 4.7 and I was averaging 16.2. After that I tried not to focus on my average and just rode. I'm trying to spend a lot of time out of the saddle. I found pre-tri that when I was trying to climb a hill (specifically Killer but really all hills), my muscles would burn almost immediately when I stood up. So, my goal is to try and stand up despite the terrain, just to get used to it. I can't stay up for as long as I want, but I did intervals. I don't think it's going to take long to feel significant progress.

Speaking of progress, I also found that I am climbing hills much more easily. Hills I thought were really challenging a few weeks ago I am getting up without even pausing. A few weeks ago, I had to stop and rest (not walk, but rest). In some cases I am pretty much sailing up them, in others I am definitely fighting up them. This feels great.

Speaking of great, head over to the new Health Hacks Podcast and check it out. It's the Beta Episode, and it sounds great. A good group of people, a good energy, good fun, and some really good information. Say hi while you there, and let them know what you think.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Keep on Keepin' on

Just a real quick exercise update.

Saturday
I went for a bike ride. The 1st 4 miles seriously rocked. I was pushing it and really felt great. I averaged 16.7 or something. The plan was to do 15 miles. I was going to really push it for the 1st half and then take it easy- maybe do some long hills. My bike a'started clunkin' at mile 4. I'm not sure what the hell is going on with it. I was trying to do a lot a standing and really push my legs. Once the clunking started I was just getting by. I did another 4.something frustrating miles home.

Sunday
Running Buddy and I headed out for our usual 3.1. Turned out to be a junk run. We stuck with the 5/1 for 1.5 miles, then we pretty much walked. Neither of us felt good.

School starts on Tuesday. Running Buddy is a teacher. This means morning runs are on my own. I hope I can call on my reserves and pull up some stamina and some drive to keep it going on my own.

I need an Ipod. I really do.

Friday, August 25, 2006

So There are Athletes, and Then There Are....

Have you seen this? You must have.

This is such a beautiful story.

I apologize for ever bitching about my pace, my lack of _________ (confidence, skill, patience, clothes, drive, strength, blah, blah, blah.) I especially apologize for bitchin' about the Punks.

So, there is a saying around our house, "dead Dads aren't much fun." This is very true. However, Dads who rock the world like Dick Hoyt deserve to be read about. Maybe even more than once. Maybe even more than twice. Dick Hoyt and his son Rick inspire me.

Tell me about someone who really inspires you... Really, tell me. Please?

(Oh, and Rob- if you say me- you are so dead.)

I can't wait to run tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Event Snaps

Here are a couple snaps of the big event:

Here I am swimmin'. Yeah, right there. See me?

My orange butt exiting the water heading to the transition
area. I was running so, so, so fast it was hard to get a picture! ;)


And moments from the finish line. Notice how small the path is. Not entirely
inconceivable that one might run right past it. You can see that, right? Right?

So, not fabulous pictures. Rob apologized that he wasn't the best photographer. He was a little wrapped up in the moment. Chris got a lot of great video footage... which of course will require a ton of editing!

For those who are asking "what's next," maybe a 5k a week from Wednedsay. Then I am looking towards one last sprint this season, 1/4 mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3.4 mile run on Sept. 23. I'm sticking with this distance and 5k races for the forseeable future. I also plan on looking into some training plans and find a realistic plan for moving forward not backwards during the winter. Considering how I hate the dreadmill, this will present a challenge.

What's next for you?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Done!

What a weird day. Here goes:

Alarm goes off at 5:45. 5 minutes later, I'm up and dressed.

The race started at 8 am, so I gobbled up a bagel with sunflower seed butter and downed a bottle of Propel. I poked around a little and headed out the door solo. The friends and fam followed shortly after. During the ride I listened to music and noticed how many cars were carrying a bike. I got to the park a little before 7, and the cars were a'lined up a'waitin. It was nearly 7:30 when I was parked and taking my bike down. The nerves kicked in.

At the transition area it was so hard to find an open spot to rack my bike. Some of the early folks were a little less than open to sharing "their" space. I swear it was like their transition areas were set up on beach blankets. A guy finally scootched his stuff over 1/4 of an inch and I jammed my bike in. How dumb did I feel when a 9 year old had to tell me to try putting the front of my bike seat up on the bar. Doh! There were so many beautiful racing bikes. The hybrid and mountain bikes really were few and far between. I'm not ashamed to admit I had bike envy. So, blah, blah, blah, I get my postage stamp sized area all set up and looking purty.

The fam arrived and I said hello and gave kisses all around. A few finishing touches and I headed down to the water... with my specs on. Goggles over specs? Uh, back to the bike and then with a little prayer that no one would crunch my glasses (I forgot my case), I headed back down to the beach.

The race dude gave a little (or incredibly LONG) confusing course overview. I managed to get my cap on and I was adjusting my brand spanking new goggles when... SnAp!! Yup, 2 minutes before the start. I curse and scramble to tie them securely. Phew, another little prayer that they hold.

And we're OFF! I stayed pretty far back at the start and let the mighty athletes find their place. I got into a rhythm and was sighting well when BAM! (are you enjoying my sound effects?) A swift kick in the head from a large male foot. Maybe not sighting perfectly. I was a bit rattled and gulped a couple-too-many mouthfuls. Yum. I switched to breaststroke and got back into a rhythm with great visibility... and I was passing people... swimming breaststroke! For the rest of the race I alternated between breast and free and felt pretty ok. Out of the water I got a few low-fives from the Punks and the hubby, ditched the cap and goggles with them and headed up to the bike. Rob said I looked really strong coming out of the swim. I was startled to see a 9:xx time when I crossed into T1. Considering things were cramped, T1 went well. Quick dunk of the feet to rinse the sand off, socks, sneaks, bike shorts, shirt and helmet and I was off, running the bike out of the transition area. Not super fast, but fine.

I felt a little nauseus pretty early on in the bike but was cranking along pretty quickly (for me- mind you the oh so beautiful bikes are whizzing by me at an alarming rate). Mile 4, here comes Killer. I did ok. I shifted down into granny gear and by chain kind of klunked out. I thought I lost it, but it re-engaged. I rode a little more and then pleupht! I was in good company, that mountain was a killer. I did see quite a few folks fight up it and it was great. Really inspiring. It took longer than I expected to recover my breathing, but there were some nice down hills and some managable up hills. I was still nauseus and not moving quite so quickly. I saw lots of dead frogs, a couple chipmunks and a freakin' porcupine along the side of the road. I figure I was about 10-15 minutes behind my goal on the bike. This surprised me. With the exception of Killer, I thought I was a bit more prepared. I came in and racked my bike, dumped my helmet, grabbed my do-rag, hugged the Punks, dumped a water bottle with them and shot down the trail into the run.

Very quickly some cramps started. I slowed to a walk and focused on my breathing. I damned the bagel I'd eaten and tried to maintain a fast pace. I walked a good bit and chatted up the folks that passed me as they were headed back in from their run. They all mumbled, "You, too" or something. One guy initiated a high five/good work thing as he passed me. Nice guy. The first mile was a trail run. The path was very well maintained but there were soft spots that I just don't feel on the road. My legs felt good but I couldn't shake the damn cramps. I only sipped the water and Hammer Heed drinks at the 1st and second mile aid stations. Oh, after the 1st mile mark we were on the road for a short bit. I was maybe 20 yards back on the trail when I heard some persistent horn beeping. I turned and saw a Jeep and assumed it was some folks offering encouragement. Nope. There was a woman leaning out the window trying to ask me for directions. I shit you not. I motioned toward my race number and turned to continue. They kept beeping. They kept BEEPING!

About a half mile out from the finish the guy right behind me started chatting with me. He even introduced himself and we shook hands. Anthony. Funny. This is the kind of thing I loved about the Danskin. The support. The girl power- although Anthony and a few others offered me some people power. In my mind that's what this shit should be about.

I was gearing up to "finish strong" as the end approached. I was running through the cramps and really pushing my pace. Then I missed the freakin' turn off for the finish line. I ran right past it and was so confused. I had to ask someone where the f'ing finish line was and run BACK to catch the turn. Shit. The good part? Rob saw me- so my cheering section started screaming like mad from somewhere behind the trees. It was so great to hear them. It's hard to finish strong when your eyes and throat are welling up.

The official times won't be posted until tomorrow, but I think it was about 2:14. Biggest thing I walked away from the day (performance wise only) having learned is not to be intimidated by the swim. I can hold my own for that distance.

It was amazing to have my family there cheering me on. I can't... yeah. And our friends and their fab kids. Chris got a lot of video, and maybe some snaps? Not sure. They all were so supportive and so very nice and loud. Not just for me, for everyone that passed them. That was a beautiful thing for my kids to learn.

I'm sure more thoughts will come, and possibly a picture, but for now... goodnight.

Typos/Grammatical errors? Too bad, too tired.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

2 days

I'm feeling pretty good. For the past few days I've done some easy rides and longish walks. My knee has been a little funny so I've been doing advil and ice. Overall my list of inspirations has stuck with me and I am not too stressed out about the event. The weather looks fine, low 80's although the humidity is on its way back up.

I am really looking forward to experiencing the day. My only other tri experience was 3 years ago in Massachusetts with a Danskin sprint. Have I mentioned that I loved it? Great girl power stuff, totally encouraging, and Sally Edwards (super star triathlete) always finished last so there goes that fear. I've spent more time preparing for this one and although the distances are a little longer I feel more ready. Then, I did it with my sister but had no cheering section. Now, I go at it alone, but my fam will be there to cheer me on. I hope the kids are at least a little bit engaged in the whole race atmosphere and aren't bored stiff waiting for a glimpse of me during transitions and at the finish. How will they know I'm coming? It would stink if they waited around for so long and then missed it. Baring an unforseen broken chain or flat tire they will know about when to start looking for me, I guess. Our friends the Brogans will be joining us, too. I'm counting on Chris playing the role of official photographer. I'm excited to experience another tri event. It will definitely be different. It's much smaller and there will be boys there.

I really hope I can keep this attitude throught the next day and a half. Tomorrow will be packing, laying out my transition area and pre-registering. I expect some nerves and I am a little worried about falling asleep on Friday night. I have some falling asleep issues anyway, but the night before something big?? Yeah.

I'm glad the week is almost over.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Career Mom Radio

GNM has launched the Beta Episode of Career Mom Radio. This is still a test show- please do send in your thoughts and ideas on the show. This is going to be really, really great and this episode has a nice introduction to some of the contributors. Give it a listen!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Inspiration

Are you bored yet? I am tired of writing and feeling down about myself, and of my fear of not succeeding, and of worrying about coming in last or not finishing the Wildbear.
I've been struggling to get over the mental hurdles. This here post is another step in that direction.

In no particular order here are some thoughts that are pulling me up:

  1. Aidan told me last night that he wants his next post to be about exercise. He and Clay both ran around the block with me last night before my run. Aidan seemed fascinated by his sweat and his racing heart. After my run he raced around the house, first 6 laps, then 5, then 10. I timed him. He talked about how good he felt all night. My kids are learning from my actions.
  2. John "the Penguin" Bingham continues to use run/walk intervals.
  3. This Runners World article was very reassuring.
  4. The way that I perform in this race will not be the way that I perform in the same race next year.
  5. I'm doing it.
  6. I just read Will (the race director's) blog, he wrote:
    After the morning meeting, we shot up to Range Pond for a site visit... Seeing the park in the summertime today reaffirmed my initial belief that this is one of the best possible venues for a race. Our goal for this week is to begin marketing the heck out of it around Portland and try to get as many first-timers as possible. I have to admit, though, there is one hill on the bike course that is a beast. The course map and elevation chart will be posted on the website in the next few days.
  7. I might have to rest during the hill. SO WHAT? It really is a scary hill... it's not just me. It's a freakin' beast.
  8. Someone has to finish last. If it's me this year, then maybe next year it won't be.
  9. It's only exercise. I am doing now what I wasn't doing last year. I feel better than I did last year. I gripe about not loving exercise, but I have had some moments on the bike that I have really enjoyed. What I thought might never happen has... I've come to really need exercise. My body will eventually catch us and show improvement.
  10. Have I mentioned my kids?
  11. Last, but never least, could my husband BE more supportive?
Thanks for sticking through my self-pity and blah, blah, blah. Your comments rock.

I think I'm back!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

HA!

Last night my brick was rained out. Not a light summer drizzle, but a holy crap that was loud storm. So, did I climb on my dread-mill? Did I make alternate arrangements?

Nope. I ate an ice cream cone while listening to Fat Guy Gets Fit, (!) read a couple blogs, read my I just cant put it down book (thanks to Mia for the suggestion). And then I went to bed. Oh, not early so as to be rested, but how'd it get to be so late? late.

Ooops. So tonight I'll juggle a finally Friday evening with the fam, a lawn mowing, and a bike ride. No big.

Tomorrow will be big, though. I'm doing a dry-run of the race course. I don't actually have the run route, but I'm tackling the killer hill. I'll make up a run route.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Purchase

I bought a tri suit on Ebay. Here's a headless picture of me modeling it, aren't I looking fit? If all goes well the suit will arrive in the next couple of days and I will have time to test it out. My plan will be just to throw on a tank to bike and run in. It matches my sneakers. How cute. (Purely coincidence, I assure you. I am still not a girl- just cheap)
GEL-FORTITUDE™
Geesh, when you look at them side by side they sure do clash... I told you I'm not a girl.

My Son

Aidan is featured in an article written by Chris Brogan on Lifehack.org.

How cool is this?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The (Unofficial) Results Are In

The "race" report:

So, my running buddy picked me up and we headed into Portland. We were both a little nerved up, especially when we heard that the Beach to Beacon (10k race that was held last Saturday here in Portland) winners were rumored to be there (it turned out that the 6th place runner was). We decided that our goal was to finish in under 40 minutes. We also decided we weren't going to stick together the whole time. If one of us felt driven to either push on or fall behind the other person shouldn't feel obligated to match pace.

A few things: it was quite warm but not super hot and not very humid. I have never run in the evening. I have never run a 5k. We've been run/walking 10/1:30 minute intervals for 3.1 miles. We decided to scratch that and try and run the whole thing. I'm estimating that there were 40 or so runners. We jumped in towards the back of the pack and we were off.

It's hard to keep your own pace when you are in a pack like that. I knew I was starting off a bit too quickly. I think our 1 mile split was 10:30. That's pretty fast for me (I know). At about the 1.25 mile marker I wished we'd stuck with the intervals. I went a little further and had to take my 1st walk break. Buddy went on ahead. My mouth was so dry. I run with gum to avoid this, but tonight it didn't work. My mouth was so so so dry. I contemplated asking a stranger who was walking for just a little tiny chug of their water. I didn't.

I started running again after 2 minutes or so, but I just couldn't get a rhythm. Nothing felt right. My number was flapping around. I struggled to find a good pace and found myself doing shorter intervals- brisk walk and almost sprint. Not a good approach. It was really windy and it was blowing right towards us. My hat blew off crossing the bridge at about 2:25 miles. I don't love the hat and it turned out to be a big pain in the ass, but I didn't want to be a litter-bug, so I went back and got it.

Buddy was in sight and we were pretty close to the finish line. I thought it would be cool to catch her and cross together. I almost did it. I crossed less than 10 seconds behind her. We were both pretty pleased with our times, but not at all happy with our race. Does that make sense? We didn't feel good doing it, but were ok with the end result. I think we decided next time to do the intervals.

Unofficial time: 36:43 (11:38/mile)

Here we are, with times to beat and performances to improve upon: I am in the middle, running buddy is on the right and running buddy's friend is on the left (she kicked our butts with a time of 33 minutes)

Flash back: 14 Months ago

My sister was visiting us from Connecticut. She asked then 3 year old Clay if he would show her where the clothes dryer was. He brought her into the bathroom and announced:

Here it is (pause).
And that's the wetter (points at the washing machine).

Kids are sources of endless entertainment.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

11 days and Counting

Just Training:

Easy short swim mid-day.
Brick: 10 mile bike at 14 mph/ 1 mile run 13:14
My legs felt like lead the whole run and the calf pain was back (right side of my right leg just above my ankle). I had to stop a couple times to walk briskly.

Tomorrow: my 1st ever 5k

Monday, August 07, 2006

Check Out My Kid

My eldest has discovered the wonderful world of blogging. This is his creation, I only helped with the technical piece. He researched all of the information and decided what facts to include.

He is so smart and I am so proud of him.

Check out: Information About Stuff

Aidan is a HUGE fan of comments!

(you gotta love it).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

NO! NO! NO!

I am so sickened by the very idea of Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. I get that 10% of sales opening weekend will go to WTC charities (Hello... 10 p.e.r.c.e.n.t. of one weekend). I get that it is supposed to be about heroism not terrorism. But it is about terrorism. Shit.

I see a clip from the news after the attacks and I am immediately brought back. Hell, I don't even need a clip- they are all burned forever in my mind. I just need to call it up, and I am back in front of the tv. I sucked up every speck of information as it was happening. I was obsessed. I can't believe it was 5 years ago. Everything changed. Who doesn't know someone who died? Who doesn't know someone who ran from the rubble? Who doesn't know someone who worked at ground zero? 6 degrees or less, I bet. I know people from each of those categories. I was aquainted with a family who flew on Flight 11. An uncle (in-law) ran. A dear friend was there day in and day out. Everyone knows someone.

So, a movie. A motion picture. I am not a fan of disaster movies in any form. All of the war movies? Not for me. Do they have their place? Yes. But this? It's too close. It's hard for me to believe that enough time will pass to gain "historical perspective." Freedom of speech, blah, blah, blah. They have every right to make this movie. I know I don't have to see it. I thank the modern technology that allows me to fast forward through the trailers. Is it just me? Will you see it?

I keep wondering: how do the survivors feel? How do the families of the victims feel? How do the people who worked in the morgues for months and months trying to identify pieces and parts feel? How do the folks who suffer from PTSD feel?

Isn't it too close?

News Flash

It's hot. Everyone, everywhere is talking about it. I tried to run this morning. Of the 3.1 miles I might've run 1.5 of them. I was poorly hydrated and my luna bar just sat in my gut like a rock.

I think we are going to the beach this afternoon. Rob will meet us there and we will stay through dinner.

My bike goes in for a tune-up today. Isn't it strange that I will miss it? I hope to have it back by Friday.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Today's About the Bike

I drove the bike course for the tri today. You know, in my car. By the time I finished I was completely intimidated. I felt weak and scared. I stewed about it for awhile. You see, there is this killer hill around mile 6. The ride as a whole felt really long.

So tonight I followed the training plan and headed out after a small dinner. My goal: 20 miles, any speed. The temperature was in the high 80s and so very humid. I was well hydrated and pumped up. I should definitely mention that during dinner my family was training, too. They practiced over and over again how they would cheer for me during the race. Over and over. So, I rode out of the driveway to a loud cheer and then I tackled some nice hills. I felt like I hit the first 14 miles harder than the the last 6- when I checked it turned out I averaged a pretty slow 12.9 mph. I was a little surprised it wasn't faster. It felt like it should have been faster. Keeping in mind the heat and the distance I decided to lighten up a little and simply complete the last 6 miles. 20 miles at an average speed of 12 mph. I'll happily take that. Oh and killer? Bring it on. (ok, I'm talking large here, but my plan is to climb that hill in a training ride next week. I. won't. walk.) So, I drove into the driveway and popped out of the saddle and did a lap around our little block. It stunk. Like, um, a dead skunk buried in a pile of cow shit. I'm totally cool with that. It still felt good to finish.

Sidebar: My bike seat offers a whole new view of the streets of Maine. In a word: roadkill. I really have to thank the powers that be that I am sitting here blogging and not dead in a gully. With every bump over a squirrel's skeleton or a raccoon's tail or *shudder* the other stuff, I squeezed my eyes as tight as could be... and just drove on. So, yeah, I am pretty dang lucky.

I was also scheduled for a swim today and I did it. It was uneventful. I have been thinking about where I want to be in the start. I don't want to get in other people's way, but I don't want to be boxed in either. Hmmm... It seems a lot of triathletes are intimidated by the swim. I don't mind the open water or the distance (the distance is so much more managable when you remove those pesky pool walls and ditch all of those turns). I get caught up a little when I remember the crowd and how I felt to be swimming so close to so many other people. Kicking others and being kicked. Not having any space to get around a slower swimmer but feeling the person behind me swimming up my butt. I have another swim tomorrow night.

Any thoughts on deciding on your proper starting position?

PS: During tonight's ride I mooed at some cows that I passed and baaed at some sheep. I really was glad to be out there.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Tasty Summer Fare

Rob and I were talking about a cooking show he caught for a moment this morning. Chicken... lots of butter... heavy cream. Good? Yah, I am absolutely sure. I have ordered and loved every bite of dishes like this... B.U.T. Who cooks like this at home? Seriously, who cooks chicken in a stick of butter with heavy cream?

Not me. I have made some really great dinners lately. Wanna hear about them?

Meal #1


Tonight? No photos to prove it (sorry, I'm not used to taking pictures of my food), but we had a simple dinner of Sauted Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce and Roasted Veggies. Prep time: 15 minutes, cook time 20 minutes. So simple, so tasty:

Veggies
This is the only thing that takes a bit of prep time and the longest cooking time. Tonight we had carrots and zucchini, but you can really do anything. Our favorites include beets, broccoli, and asparagus. Anyway, take the extra few minutes to slice your carrots and zucchini the long way instead of like coins. It really makes a difference. Spread the veggies in a single layer on a sprayed roasting pan. Lightly coat the top with a little more spray oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Toss it in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Basil Cream Sauce
Take out your blender or food processor. Toss in a cup of fresh basil, 2 cloves of garlic, a couple teaspoons of shredded asiago cheese, and 3/4 cup fat free sour cream. We served the sauce as a dip.
(I can't wait to play with this and come up with some new flavors... lemon mint? curry? chipolte pepper? hmmm...)

Chicken
Slice boneless skinless chicken breast into thin strips. Spray frying pan with non-stick olive oil. Quickly saute the meat in a hot pan. Set aside.

I skipped a starch tonight, but a quick couscous? Little more time- add some potatos to your veggies or even bake a couple red or sweet potatoes?

Meal #2

I had 3 pot luck picnics to attend last weekend. I brought a Roasted Veggie Salad with Ginger Lime Dressing to 2 of them. I really wanted to bring something new that I would enjoy eating and would be a healthy option. I made this up. It was good. This picture shows half the quantity of what I made.

Chop your favorite veggies into bite sized pieces. I used zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, broccoli and garlic. How much? Well I filled a 10x 13 pan with these veggies. Toss lightly with EVOO (I throw it all in a bowl with a lid so I can add a tablespoon or so of oil and really get it all coated.) Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Roast at 375 for about 15 minutes. You want the veggies to keep a crunch.

Meanwhile, shred raw carrots (I used about 3 cups), dice up a can of beets, rinse a can of garbanzo beans, slice up some tomatoes, and toss them all together. Add the roasted veggies when they are done.

Dressing
In a blender or food processor combine the following:
Fresh diced ginger about 3 tablespoons
2 teaspoons garlic
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons EVOO
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar

Blend and toss the salad. Add the dressing gradually so you don't overdo it. Serve hot, cold, or at room temp. As a finishing touch sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds.

This technically isn't a meal, but serve it up with some simple grilled fish or chicken and voila! How about over some brown rice or couscous?

Whe needs the fat-laden meals? These dishes had a touch of your healthy oils, lots of flavor, veggies, veggies, veggies and some beautiful colors.

Training: 3.1 miles in 40 minutes. Getting up at 6 am did not, in fact, kill me. I didn't feel like I was dying until midway through the last interval. I think I only said "this sucks" once. It was fine. The bike course is now posted and it's 2.58 miles longer than I thought it was. I'll drive the course tomorrow and adjust tomorrow's evening ride accordingly.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bike

I rode 12.2 miles and averaged 12.8 mph. Very slow compared to last week's 16 miles at 16.5 mph. It happens. I hope for a longer ride on Tuesday.

This week in training:

Sunday- 12 mile bike ride
Monday- 3 mile run (6 am)
Tuesday- 18 mile bike ride/ 15 minute swim
Wednesday- 3 mile run (6 am)/20 minute swim
Thursday- 10 mile bike ride
Friday- 3 mile run
Saturday- 18 mile bike ride

I'm terrified by the 6 am runs. Really frightened.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Oh, Shit!

So my darling Lucy is usually good for a 2- 3-hour nap each day. Imagine my surprise when I heard her today 50 short minutes after putting her down for a nap. Shock! Horror!

I listened to her delighted babblings for a while and knew she was chatting with her babies. I was cautiously optimistic that she might doze off again... and then I heard it... "Mama... I pooped."

So, clearly she wasn't going back to sleep. Shucks. I open the door and there's my girl reaching out to me. Is there a better sight in the entire world as this beautiful child reaching out to me? Wait... what's that she's holding? "Look Mama, I pooped." Oh, yes. She handed me poop. A little shit from my little shit. Her diaper was folded- clean and neat in the corner. When I lifted it up thinking it might be full of poop she laughed and told me that her buty (translation- pacifier) was in there... sure enough, it was. So, in summary: diaper- clean and folded in the corner, poop- on the hands, on the belly, all over the crib, the sheet, the dress, the 4 stuffies, 2 pillows, 2 blankets she insists upon sleeping with each night, and... on the *gag* face.

Today’s lesson- Lucy is still fascinated by her ability to remove her diaper. This means that even though she fell asleep in the car and you're worried she might not fall back to sleep if you take the time to throw some shorts on under her dress, you hafta take that risk. It just doesn't matter that you were up with her for x hours during the night and the idea of "quiet time" is as appealing to you as crack is to a junkie. You hafta take that risk.

Oh, shit.



Megin's got a new home now. She's snapping and writing about it at Through Meg's Lens. Swing by, won't you?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Hey Mom,"


...my 6 year old says, "do you think you'll win your race?"

"No, A, I won't."

"Why not?"

"There are a lot of other people racing and they have been doing it for a lot longer than I have."

He ponders my reply. "Mom, you should really try to win."

"I'm not going to win, but hopefully, I'll finish."

"What if you try really, really hard?"

"Even then, buddy."

"Why, Mom?"

"There are a lot of people who will be faster than me."

"You should try your hardest."

"Oh, I will, buddy. I am practicing every day and I am going to do my very best."

"You might win."


Yup, I might win. If the planets are aligned, God miraculously makes me a runner the night before the event, there is a bizarre forcefield around Range State Park that prevents all other participants from entering the race, oh and hell freezes over. Then, buddy, I might have a chance of placing... maybe. Isn't a 6 year old's mind predictable? I have as good a chance as winning as this chick. What confidence. How delusional. I love it. I can't wait to see his reaction on race day. God, I have to finish.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Products of Camp

Oh, my boys were taking some art classes last week. Art classes called "Petite Paint Party" and "Eric Carle Adventures" Look what my talented little twits made:

Aidan, 6

Clay, 4
Jackson Pollack, look out!

The poem reads: The Mean Dragon
A dragon, a greedy dragon
He was a big dragon
He got sick and then
He sneezed fire.
Aidan, 6


Clay, 4
Clay, that is one very fine seahorse a la Eric Carle

There are piles more of their artwork. We will be revamping the walls in our house to hold it all. They really had a great time and I definitely need to stock up on my watercolor supplies. It really made me want to paint again (she says as though she once had the ability to paint glorious sea scapes or life-like portraits... which she didn't). I like painting bright lively kids stuff. Quite a few years back I collected cigar boxes and painted them for my nieces. They were vibrant and fun and personalized. When can I do that? Hmmm...

This week Clay is taking Espanol 1,2,3 and Aidan is taking Myths of Long Ago, and they are both taking Crazy Constructions. FUN!




Practically Perfect Pasta Palad

Pasta salad is awful for you. All of that mayonaise, eggs, fat, fat, fat, blah, blah, blah.

Pasta Palad (I had to go with the alliteration), on the other hand: delish and nutrish (caution: dork typing).

You are all screaming to know how I made it... ok, I'll tell you:

1. Saute your veggies of choice in about 2 tablespoons of EVOO and fresh garlic. Transfer to your serving dish. I used broccoli, asparagus, carrots and canned diced petite tomatoes (it's what I had).

2. Add about 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a whole lot of fresh chopped basil.

3. Toss in about 1/2 pound al dente pasta of your choice (I like farfalle). You can step it up a bit with the whole wheat pasta. You can serve at room temperature or chill for a couple of hours. If you chill it you may need to add a bit more oil and vinegar.

4. Right before serving stir in about 1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella or shredded asiago cheese. It didn't photograph well, but it sure tasted good.

Hope you try it, hope you like it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mini-Brick

First off: I registered for the Wildbear today. Done.

In other headline news I also did a 16 mile kick-butt bike ride today. It took 58 minutes and it wasn't completely flat. I pushed through some hills.

As soon as I got off the bike I shuffled my legs of lead down the street. I can't consider it a brick workout as I only shuffled a little more than .1 mile. It was a taste, and if I am being completely honest, it tasted kind of like liver and onions rolled in dirt. That transition is definitely going to be the biggest challenge at the Wildbear. I need to seek out some more information on training for that.

This week's schedule:

Sunday- 16 mile bike
Monday- 3 mile walk/run
Tuesday- 10 mile bike (with Lucy) followed by run
Wednesday- 3 mile walk/run
Thursday- 8 mile bike (with Lucy) followed by run
Friday- rest/walk day
Saturday- long bike or run


Oh and eating? I'm tracking. I'm on plan all week. I even have some recipes and meal ideas to post about. All excitement, all the time here at Maine-ly Megin.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Food For Thought, My Friends

I really like lobster. Lobster rolls, lobster stew, steamed lobster. YUM. Definitely on my top 10 list of foods that I love. Apparently, strange things occur in the waters of Maine.

What do you suppose this guy would look like when you cooked him? How completely bizarre is that stripe down his back? He must be photoshopped.


Hmmm, what else would I put on my top 10 list? Here are todays top 12 (I just couldn't eliminate any):

In no particular order:

1. roasted zucchini
2. hot fudge
3. hot, salty, greasy pizza
4. fresh baked bread
5. avacados
6. apples in October
7. Lobster
8. warm brownies a la mode
9. sweet potatoes
10. the most decadent of chocolate desserts
11. baked brie
12. red, red wine (shut up, it's my list)

Food, yum. I really, really love food. Tomorrow's list would be totally different. Except maybe for #10. What's the 1 food on your list that wouldn't change?