Friday, May 28, 2010

My longest run

Don't be deceived by the title of this post. I am not actually writing about my longest run (which was the one and only marathon I have run, 26.2 miles). Instead, this post is about one of the runs I did leading up to my marathon.

In December 2004 I let a good friend talk me into training for the June 2005 Anchorage Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska. She argued that it was for a good cause, I agreed, signed up and started training (and raising almost $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) right away.

Back then I was working the occasional 12 hour night, but mostly days, in the ICU. Fitting runs in around my schedule got a little tricky sometimes, but pretty much worked out if I planned ahead. Of course, as John and I got engaged in April '05, things started to get pretty busy, and that planning didn't always happen.

What does all of this have to do with my longest run? I'm getting to that.

I had just finished a stretch of nights in the beginning of May, went home and crashed into bed around 9 a.m., and then got up around 1 or 2 p.m. I knew I needed to get a run in, but was too tired to put much effort into it. I decided to go the the Boulevard, which anyone from around Portland knows is the mostly flat 3.5 mile trail around the Bay. Just what I needed. I didn't bother eating or drinking anything before I went, because I would be back home soon anyway. No need to fuel up for such a short run.

I started out pretty slowly, slogging thru my run. About halfway thru, though, I started to perk up. It was pretty warm, but not baking, and an occasional breeze came in off the water. I came to the end of the 3.5 miles and thought, I'll do it again!

So off I went, in the opposite direction, thinking that this was pretty good. I would get some miles in when I hadn't even planned to, so my mileage would be right where it should be for the week.

But wait.

I needed to do my 16 mile run this week.

Darn it! I hadn't planned my week out well, it was already Thursday and when was I going to fit in my longest run yet? I had never run 16 miles before, but it was a hugely important part of my training, and I needed to get it in this week.

At 6 miles or so I was feeling pretty good, and I had an epiphany. I could do my 16 mile run today! Right now, in fact. I would just run around the Bay four times, plus 2 miles. There were three water fountains for when I got thirsty, so I would be all set.

Off I went, changing directions again, back the way I had originally run around, heading out for my third loop. Partway thru that loop I started to think, I'm all set for water, but I haven't eaten anything for at least 12 hours, that can't be good. At the very least I'm probably sweating out all of my electrolytes.

The nurse in me started to picture what could happen . . . I deplete all of my sodium and potassium stores and collapse to the ground at mile 15, in full cardiac arrest. There are no medical personnel around, and by the time I get CPR it's too late. I end up resuscitatated but in a Persistant Vegitative State. I'm Maine's Terry Schiavo, forget the marathon, forget getting married, forget any kind of life!

At this point my imagination had gotten pretty carried away, and I knew I had to come up with a solution to my no fuel problem. I didn't want to stop running, I was on a roll. I had water, but at 8 miles was only halfway to my goal and had no gels with me.

What to do to avoid certain death?!

And then I had it. I would just replace the electrolytes I was losing! (Please remember I was a bit sleep deprived from working nights, hadn't eaten in a while, and my brain might not have been thinking at its best.)

Having come up with the perfect solution, I continued on my run. And for the next 8 miles, each time I stopped for water, I made sure to get a good swipe of sweat off my forehead, and then lick off every little bit of salt off my hand. I don't know what all the other runners/walkers/bikers at the Bay thought of the strange girl licking her own sweat, but I do know I lived to tell about it.

Two weeks later I had to do my 20 mile run; I placed water bottles ahead of time, brought gels with me, and ate a whole banana halfway thru. I was proud of myself when I finished it, but my strongest memory of that period of training is of that 16-mile run, and how I cheated death by being my own personal salt-lick.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Toy Hoarder Baby

John and Sophia were playing with toys in the living room when he had to leave the room for a few minutes. He came back in and was surprised to see that Sophia had gathered up all the toys from around the room, and was hoarding them in her lap.

And now, here is the video:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To work, or not to work . . .

Actually, that's not really the question.

The question is, how on earth do people work full-time and do everything else, like keep the house in any semblance of order, cook, pay bills, etc?

Monday and Tuesday I started orientation at St. Mary's, a hospital in Lewiston. I am going to be working a night (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) a week, but some of orientation has to be done during the day. The orientation itself was a piece of cake, but wow, the work just to get there!

Mom watched Sophia, so I had to drop her off in the morning before heading in to work. St. Mary's is 2.5 miles or so from our house, but in order to get there on time Sophia and I headed out of the house at 7 a.m. A full HOUR before I needed to be to class. Class 2.5 miles away!

Never mind the getting up early to pack up her extra clothes, diapers, bottles, frozen breastmilk, monitor, toys, other food . . . the list goes on forever. I felt like I was packing for a week, and it was only two days.

I don't know how folks do it when they both work full time. We only had to do it for two days, and I am still playing major catch up around the house today. Of course, part of that is because by the time I picked Sophia up, got home, and John and I put her to bed, I was done. No more energy to cook, clean, or anything else. So we ate leftovers one night and eggs the next.

Wonderful to be home today, spend time with the Snuggler, putz around the house, get back to my routine. Definitely won't take being home for granted for a while!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Living room re-do

I fell in love with our living room for its windows. NOT the lace curtains in said windows, or the strange blue-green color painted on the trim, and certainly not the bland cream color painted on the walls surrounding the windows.

I do love that they are huge, and let in tons of afternoon light, and that I have four in just a moderate sized space. That said, the following pictures illustrate the need for a makeover!



We moved in April 2009, and began the huge project that was the nursery. Because that was such a huge undertaking, we pretty much just chucked our furniture into the living room and called it good. Then there was the whole adjusting to having a baby that slowed up the decorating.




By September I was itching to do something to make the living room more ours. So I painted it. When people would ask what color, I hesitated to tell them, because I painted it purple. And it looks awesome, but when you say purple, they think Barney the dinosaur, not sophisticated and great. I thought about posting pictures, but other than paint, not much had changed. So I waited.

But now the wait is over, because my photo wall is complete, so here is the living room, one year later!




There are still things I would like to do, but now it's ours. I am blessed to have a husband who is cool with me painting the living room purple, or any other color that makes me happy. Now we sit and visit with friends, relax together, or play with Sophia in a much more finished living room.

Cost of the makeover? About $150! Paint, supplies, coffee table, photo wall, green painting, everything. Thanks to family for other furniture, curtain sheers, and accessories . . . thanks, Mom!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Family photo wall

I have finally finished a major project that has been on my plate since last fall. I got the idea to do a picture wall shortly Sophia was born, but where to get that many frames . . . and for cheap?

Octoberish Sophia and I were out for a walk, and happened by a yard sale up the road. The lady had a bunch of picture frames, all sizes and shapes, but wanted more than I was willing to spend. I told her I would be back the next day at the end of her sale.

Next day came, Phia and I headed back to the sale late afternoon, and lo and behold, she gave us 14 frames for FREE!!!

From there I needed to spray paint them all a uniform color. Note to anyone attempting this, don't spray them in the basement near the furnace when the heat is on so that the fumes go up via the vents into the entire house.

Having learned my lesson I waited for spring to come, so I could safely spray the frames a nice uniform black, OUTSIDE.

Late April I got a few coats of paint on my chosen 13 frames, picked pictures, ordered them from Wally World, and framed them. Now, that last sentence sounds practically glib compared to the blood, sweat, and tears that actually went into the process. A "blueprint" was involved, showing which pictures I anticipated hanging and in which frames, so that I could order the right photo, in the right size, for the right frame, in the right layout (portrait or landscape). Whew!

(Note for fellow budget-conscious decorators out there, instead of doing custom matting, I just used white posterboard, cut on my own papercutter, behind each photo. Looks just as good to my eyes.)

Finally I had all my ducks in a row . . . pictures framed, tools at the ready (including a power drill! and special screws for plaster walls), and lots of determination.


Step 1: hang the paper cutouts corresponding to my pictures. Rearrange. Rearrange again. Try different amounts of space between picture frames. Rearrange once more.


Step 2: drill 31 holes in the plaster wall while attempting to hang 13 pictures, because it turns out that 1 3/4 inches is not the right distance between them, and 3 inches is not either. So much for my paper trial run. Turns out 2 1/2 inches apart is just right. (Goldilocks, anyone?) Putty up the 18 leftover holes, wait for it to dry, sand smooth, paint. And paint again. Clean lots of plaster dust off the floor, furniture, myself, etc.


Step 3: At last, when the last bit of paint is dry, hang up the pictures!!!

In the end I was so happy with the results I was glad I didn't just leave them 1 3/4 inches apart as I was tempted to. It was worth the extra work to make sure I really liked how it looked.

Without any further ado, here's my photo wall!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The sleep lottery

Explanation: I wrote this post a couple months ago, in the middle of much sleep deprivation, and then forgot about it. I came upon the draft of it today, and decided to post it as a prelude to my next post.

I am not a fan of the lottery. I have never bought a ticket, unless you count the trick ones. You know, "You have won $10,000!" but the fine print includes redeeming the ticket within 30 second. Those are fun to give as gifts.

Being the miserly person that I am, I refuse to participate in a contest where the odds are 1:3,000,000 or some such. (I do look forward to the day that the Publisher's Clearing House folks knock on the door!)

While I knew becoming a mother would change my sleeping habits, I didn't count on feeling like I am entering a different lottery, the sleep lottery, every night. Each night I put Sophia in her bed and pray with her that she will have a good night's sleep.

Really, deep down inside I am praying that I get a good night's sleep, and that I will win the jackpot and get to sleep all night long.

I know that Sophia wakes more than some and less than some, and my family thinks I am blessed to have a baby that sleeps as well as she does. I was spoiled when she actually did sleep thru the night for three weeks when she was 2 1/2 months old. I know the day is coming in a couple of months that theoretically she might actually be sleeping thru the night. I realize all of this.

Ultimately though, none of this head knowledge keeps me from hoping, night after night, that tonight I win. Tonight I will beat the 1:3,000,000 odds, and my 7 month old baby will sleep thru the night. I will put her down at 6 p.m., and she will wake at 7 a.m. With no wakings in the night! What would be even better?

If I could sleep thru the night too, and not wake up wondering if she is still breathing because she didn't wake at 11 and 3. Because at this point, I'm pretty sure if she actually does sleep thru the night, I will be left lying awake staring at the ceiling waiting for morning to come when I will know she is okay.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A new look

Alright, so here's the new look for my blog . . . what do you think? I thought I would have to play around with a new template and HTML, but these changes were all thru the new blogger settings. So, here's what it looks like for now . . . but now that I know how easy it is who knows! The world is my oyster.

Random cuteness, or something . . .

Getting ready to head out for a run with Mommy, aren't I cute in my bandana?!

Matching mama and baby!

Mommy, I hab a code! Ah-ah-ah-choo!!!

(Sorry, folks, I know that one is gross, but I just had to do it!)

A curtain

We have been in our house for just over a year now, and made some changes here and there. Painted the living room purple, decorated the nursery, organized the basement. Yesterday I added in a small detail that I have been wanting for a while now.

A front door curtain!

Previously, when you walked up the front stairs and knocked on our front door, you could look in and see all the way thru our house and out the back den doors.

Old view from outside:

No more! Now there is a lace curtain, made from a dining room curtain the former owners left. I am generally NOT a fan of lace, but decided to make an exception in this case, as (a) it was free, and (b) I can still see out and know who is knocking at the door.


New view from outside:

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