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A Favor

I have a favor to ask of you all.

When I criticize my body or the way I look, please tell me to stop. I'm trying really hard to start telling myself, but it's hard sometimes.

Any day now, our child is due to be born. I was thinking about the lessons I want to pass on, and one of the big ones is that making positive or negative judgments based solely on a person's physical appearance is an unhealthy way to go through life.

We are so much more than our outsides. There's nothing wrong with spending time caring for and decorating our bodies in ways that make us feel good, but passing judgment on someone based on how they look rather than who they are (whether it's a positive or negative judgment) is always a bad idea.

I can teach my child that, but if I then turn around and look at myself in the mirror, or in a photo, and say "Ugh, I look so [insert term here]" I will be transmitting a totally different message.

Jason took a great picture of a friend and me yesterday. We're both pregnant, standing belly-to-belly and smiling at the camera. We'd just spent a fun afternoon stocking up on baby stuff and catching up and generally having a kick-ass time.

When he showed it to me later, my first thought was "Well I look awful. Those pants make me look fat. My hair looks weird. That can't go on Facebook. I'd better have him delete it so no one ever sees that I went out in public looking like that."

Then I thought about how fucking sad that is. He had just taken a couple of quick pictures, to capture this moment where my friend and I are both pregnant and happy and excited and sharing that with each other. It wasn't a photo shoot; there wasn't another picture to choose that would both capture the moment and make me look "better."

When I looked at the photo again, I saw the important part. We weren't just smiling, we were beaming at the camera. It's the kind of photo I can see us both showing to our kids someday. "Hey, you know your friend X? That's a picture of me and their mom when I was pregnant with you and she was pregnant with X!"

Are my pants kind of frumpy? Yup. Is my hair messy? Oh yeah. But the reason why is more important that the pants or hair themselves. I could have put on a more polished outfit, one that makes me look "better" by society's standards (and, to be fair, pants that don't double as pajama bottoms in a pinch). I could have done something with my hair other than pulling it back in a half-assed bun.

But then I would have had to wait half an hour for those other pants to come out of the dryer, or spent less time snuggling with my husband and more time doing laundry the night before. I would have had to stand in front of the mirror fussing with my hair. I have nothing against spending time picking out clothes I think are beautiful, or making my hair look fancy, but in this particular instance, spending time with the people I care about was more important.

And I want my child to know that anyone (myself included) who looks at that photo and focuses on criticizing my hair or my pants (or anything else about my appearance save the fact that I am clearly having a good time) is missing the point of the photo. The only important part of my appearance is that I appear happy. I asked Jason to take it not because I want to look at it in twenty years and reminisce about my pants or my hair on that particular day, but because I want to look back and think "Oh yeah! That was the day we went to Costco with Amy and bought ALL THE THINGS because we were expecting to welcome our baby any day and she was due not long after and then we ate giant, messy sandwiches and got various sauces all over ourselves and laughed a lot. That was a fun day."

Things Are Happening

They're happening in my uterus.

It feels like maybe backflips and/or somersaults. Lots of them.

Pudding (chosen as the little passenger's nickname when I asked Jason "Are you ready for pudding?" in reference to the dessert I had just finished making and he gave me a puzzled look and asked if I meant the baby, in which case, no, he was not quite ready) has gotten big enough that I can actually feel movement now.

It's a strange, fascinating feeling. I like it. It's comforting to know that Pudding is in there, hanging out, doing gymnastics and growing. We went in for an ultrasound early last month and they said everything looks a-okay (though they weren't able to count Pudding's fingers, since those little hands were in almost constant motion).

Today I'm right around 22 weeks. We're signed up for childbirth class and carseat class and another class (I forget the name of it now, but it sounded like a good one when I signed up, I'm sure), and I'm trying to find an infant CPR/first aid class. I also interviewed a doula who I really felt like I clicked with, and who I think we'll end up hiring. I have a bunch of books that I'm reading all at once.

I still feel woefully unprepared but I do have another what, four months? That's enough time to read more books and finish the baby's room and buy a carseat and... well, it's probably enough time for really just those things, and buying necessary clothes and whatnot. And to maybe get my head a little more fully wrapped around the idea of having a baby and being a parent. I did this on purpose! I feel like it shouldn't be so mind-boggling now that it's really happening.



This is long overdue. Attention, federal government: Please follow suit at your earliest convenience NOW.

A Query

If you were my slippers, where would you be?


Ridiculous Shoes and Soup

Earlier today I went for a very, very short run in my shiny new Vibrams. I bought them while up in Duluth with my friend Amy and I am super-excited about them. They look like this. The store I bought them at (Duluth Running Company) had them in all four colors but I thought the red ones looked the nicest. I like red.

Short run: Awesome. My calves are a little twinge-y now but not in a bad way.

I was in Duluth Friday night through yesterday afternoon to do the Harvest Run with my friend Amy. We stayed with her fiance's aunt, who is an incredibly nice person with the most comfortable spare bedroom I've ever slept in. Sleeping there was like sleeping on a soft, appropriately supportive cloud. Even if I did dream mostly about zombies.

The race was great! Only they didn't have a mat at the starting line, which is a first in my (admittedly limited) experience -- the chip-timed races I've done so far have all had mats at both the start and finish. So I don't think my time was quite right. There were 400 runners on a very narrow bike/running trail, so the start was pretty staggered and I know I started a little while after the gun. I wouldn't care except that I really gave it my all in this race and I was sure my time would be better than last weekend's time, and it wasn't. My official time wasn't, anyway. In my heart I am pretty sure I did better and that's encouraging.

Now I am making soup, using a recipe I more or less made up myself. I'm going to share it here and I'll tell you later if it was good or if it sucked!

Experimental SoupCollapse )

The soup turned out not to suck, but it was a little on the bland side. Not bad, though.

OMG, I Finished!


Finishing, I mean.  The actual act of running ten miles was slightly painful at times.  Also I almost stepped on a squirrel that had been flattened by a car which was both sad and revolting.

But I finished!  And I had fun.  I met some nice people.

I did not pass out at mile 7.5 and have to be hosed down by strangers, all up in my face.

I did not puke.

I did not even need the snot rag I went to Target to get.

I was not passed by any speedwalkers (that I noticed).  Nor any athletes from the races behind us.

I have no blisters or chafing.  Maybe that only happens when a person runs longer distances?  All I know is that I'm glad, because chafed nipples do not sound fun.

It took me two hours and twelve minutes to finish, which is slow as hell but not as slow as I expected!  I was guessing, based on my practice run times, that it would take me more like two and a half hours.  So go me!  I really need to work on my pacing, though.  I started out way too fast and really struggled near the end.  I am also making a mental note for the future that training for a run that's taking place on pavement by running primarily on the lovely, soft gravel of the LRT trail is maybe not the best idea.  My knees are a little angry.

My mom and dad came out to meet me after the race and take me back to my car in Minneapolis.  My mom was so adorable -- she went online and read up on what people are supposed to eat and drink after a race and she brought this enormous bag full of food and beverages for me.

We took some pictures, which I will stick behind this cut to spare your friends page.Here they are.Collapse )

It was fun times all around.  I hope you all had equally awesome weekends.


The Night Before

Where I should be right now is bed but I am too keyed up and excited to go to sleep just yet.  I'm excited about the race tomorrow!  And yet sort of nervous.  I know I can do it.  I'm just worried that I will publicly humiliate myself in some fashion above and beyond the mild humiliation of running incredibly slowly.

One of the freebies I picked up at the Health & Fitness Expo when I went to get my race packet was a "gift certificate" from RoadID, a company that sells ID bracelets for runners and cyclists who don't want to carry their wallets but also don't want to be without ID if they're injured.  It's for fifteen dollars, which is actually not bad considering that most of their products cost thirty dollars or less.  However, it came with a little brochure full of "Thank goodness I had my RoadID!" stories.  They did not motivate me to buy a RoadID so much as give me one more thing to worry about, after reading this story:

I was at the 7.5 mile mark of a 10 mile race when a cramp that I had started to nauseate me.  All of the sudden I felt my throat closing off and I could not breathe.  I started wheezing - then, no breathing at all.  The next thing I remember is people hosing me down - their faces all in my face...

THANKS A LOT, ROADID.  That's just what I need to worry about -- passing out and waking up to find total strangers hosing me down and getting all up in my face.  Also I just looked at the gift certificate and it expired in January of 2010.  Assholes.

To make myself feel better, I bought a new technical shirt and a pretty headband.  I also scored a free pair of socks from the Mayo Clinic, which is pretty awesome.

Several hours later (after lunching at Cupcake and dining at Vescio's... mmmmmm, pasta), I went to Target where I picked up more race-related items, notably a new pair of pants and a purple bandana to use as a snot rag, because I am still kind of sick and sniffly, and I realized that tissues are not going to do the trick -- who wants to finish a ten-mile run with pockets bulging with used Kleenex?  That would be gross.  I suppose a snot rag, by its very nature, is also gross, but at least it's not wasteful or bulky.

I made it to the parking lot before remembering that I "needed" to get some of those Starbucks Via iced coffee packets.  I know.  I know.  But they're so delicious, and I like to make one and let it sit in the fridge overnight so I can sip it as I'm driving to a race.  It calms my nerves, and it doesn't make me quite as wired as black coffee would.

Okay, I am going to bed now, for real.

If you have some free time tomorrow and/or are the sort of person who enjoys watching paint dry, you may enjoy using this tracking tool to watch my slooooooooooooooooooooooow progress from Minneapolis to St. Paul.  My bib number is 18174.


Not Fit for Morning

Over the years I've gotten to be more of a morning person, in that I get up before nine a.m. on the weekends even when I don't have to. I'm not sure why, exactly, because I am still not what anyone would call an actual morning person.

Case in point: Yesterday morning I got up, stumbled into the shower (where I got soap in my eye and swore about it), then dashed back to the bedroom (dripping water all over the place and stubbing my toe) to get the towel I'd forgotten, dressed myself (successfully and without injury) and then made coffee (the iced, instant Starbucks kind, so no points for not burning or setting myself on fire). Fortified with a few sips of caffeine, I prepared to leave the apartment.

It was cold out yesterday (and is today) so I decided I needed my favorite black hoodie. I retrieved it from the bedroom and tried to put it on.

But there was a problem. I stood in the front hall holding it, and for a good ten or fifteen seconds I was SO PUZZLED. My hoodie wasn't working! There was something wrong with it! The zipper wasn't there. And it didn't have sleeves, or a hood.

Because it was a pair of pants.

I had picked up a pair of black sweats that were on the floor near my hoodie. (They should have been in the hamper, and the hoodie should have been hanging up, but the story of How and Why I Am Not Neat is an entirely different and longer tale). And I had tried, or at least thought about trying, to put those sweats on like a jacket.

Post Flu-Shot Tomato Quiche

So I got a flu shot after work today, which always leaves me feeling a little tired and icky. I came home and had a hurried dinner of cereal and milk* and then biked up to one of the bars in Hopkins for a first date that turned out to be kind of boring. I had a Surly, though, and that was awesome.

After biking home I was tired and still hungry, and I wanted something really easy and quick but delicious and relatively healthy. I had a bunch of fresh tomatoes from my friend Maria's garden that I wanted to use up, so this is what I made. Apologies if it doesn't make sense -- the Surly went straight to my head.

Post Flu-Shot Tomato Quiche

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cold water

1/3 cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheese
About 1 cup chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Blend the flour and salt with a fork and make a well in the center. Vigorously blend the water and oil and pour into the flour and salt mixture. Mix just until dough leaves the sides of the bowl and holds together in a ball. Press into a nine-inch pie pan and blind-bake for ten minutes.

While the crust is baking, chop tomatoes and grate cheese; set aside. Whisk together the eggs and milk.

Remove the crust from the oven and immediately sprinkle the cheese and then the tomatoes evenly over the bottom of the pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the tomatoes and cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the quiche is set.

*Now I have that song stuck in my head.

Teeny Tiny Hat

I had some yarn left over from the baby sack (which I foolishly did not take pictures of before gifting, but oh well!) so I made a matching hat using this excellent pattern.

Other things I made this weekend: scones and quiche. I am especially pleased with the quiche, because I made it totally on a whim this morning, entirely from scratch, and it turned out deliciously. Plus it was a great way to use up the leftover green onions and chives and eggs I had hanging out in my fridge just waiting to go bad.