Monday, March 29, 2010

You didn't think I'd skip the fundraising message here, did you?

My apologies to those of you who got my e-mail and have to read this twice ... but since most of you haven't donated yet, I don't feel toooooo bad about the duplication.

This summer I'll be participating in a very special event called the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I'll walk 60 miles over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men. But as crazy as that sounds, that's not the end of it ... or rather, that's not the beginning.

Because in order to survive walking 20 miles a day for three days, I have to train, and train hard. I'll be walking four times a week, every week, in every kind of weather, from now until the end of July. I'll be averaging more than 30 miles every week, for a total of more than 600 miles by the time I'm done. I'll be rearranging my schedule, fighting blisters and chafing and boredom, and dragging my 5-year-old "training partner" behind me in a wagon for part of it.

Why on earth would I do this to myself? Because net proceeds from the Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk are invested in breast cancer research and community programs.

I've been lucky so far - while breast cancer has touched the lives of my family and friends, so far it hasn't taken anyone I know. But unless something changes, it's only a matter of time. Consider these chilling facts:

- Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and is the leading cause of death among women worldwide.
- One person is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes in the United States.
- A woman dies from breast cancer every 68 seconds.

That's why I'm walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. With every step I take, I'll be helping to stomp out breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts.

I've agreed to raise at least $2,300 in donations. So I need your help. Would you please consider making a donation of $60? Keep in mind how far I'm walking - and how hard I'll have to train. I'm hoping to complete my fundraising by June 1, 2010, so that I can more fully concentrate on training as the event approaches.

You can give online at Just follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising Web page and make a donation. You can also call 800-996-3DAY to donate over the phone.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


P.S. Ask your employer if they will double your donation through a matching gift program!

Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Busy weekend for my feet

Saturday, 14 miles total, part of which I did with Jason and Liza in the Metropark:
Today: 8-ish miles at the mall, partially with one of my sock club buddies, and partially with a new friend I met while walking (Hi, Linda!). I was so interested in talking that I did a few extra laps beyond what I was supposed to for today ... can I count that towards what I missed out on last weekend?

I've decided that the purple yoga pants that I've had since before I was pregnant with Liza - they have to go, or at least get joined by a few extra pairs of walking pants or shorts. Because having to wash them every other day isn't doing much for their longevity (and the pants aren't doing anything for my rear view, either).

Friday, March 26, 2010

One of these days I'll remember ...

... that there are entirely too many kids in Liza's preschool class for me to be going, "Oh, fer shur, I can crochet everybody an Easter bunny out of scrap yarn in my stash, no problem."
I love the insane zombie twins in the back row, and the fact that by the end I had decided I liked the decapitated rabbit heads better than making the whole bunny (because it's faster! and, um, cuter, right?).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Annual spring river stomping

Just like last year, we managed to take advantage of a freakishly warm break in the weather to go stomping down at the river. Notice Liza's idea of appropriate attire for wandering around in the muck:

"'Watch for ice?' Yeah, right."

There is nothing more fun than standing in 1/2" of freezing cold water.

Unless it's TWO people standing in 1/2" of freezing cold water.

New skill of the day: the rail fence sideways shuffle.

Her favorite part of the trip? The deep puddle - complete with floating trash and dog poo - in the library parking lot.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hopeful sign

Yesterday I walked 12 miles. That's about 3 hours of continuous walking, in case you were wondering. I finished with no new blisters, although there was a spot on my ankle that was a little irritated from where the lining of my sneaker had worn through.

Today I wasn't sore at all.

I was supposed to walk 12 miles today.

After about 4 miles it became obvious that the worn spot on my sneaker was going to eat all the way through to my ankle bone if I didn't take immediate action, and band-aids and moleskin weren't doing anything (yes, I had them with me).

So I cancelled the rest of the walk.

And I was disappointed that I had to do it.

And I'm kind of considering doing the whole thing tomorrow instead, even though it's supposed to be a rest day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The latest in spring fashions

Hoodie, yoga pants, and rubber boots. She's all that.

My daughter is beautiful.

That is all.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The yellow fabric appears again.

First I used to to make curtains for our kitchen in Kentucky.

Then I used it to make curtains for our kitchen in Ohio.

And today, when I wanted to use some fabric I made out of one of Liza's drawings, I pulled the yellow fabric out again. Because it's apparently just not a kitchen without some of this nearby:

You can find instructions on my other blog here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Well gee, thanks for that advice, Dr. Helpful

Yesterday I gave in and took Liza to the doctor. She's been complaining every night for the last two weeks about having a sore throat, but the complaints only come as part of the litany of reasons she can't get ready for bed yet, so I've been ignoring them. Yesterday she started with the runny nose and cough, though, so I figured it would be a good time to get her checked out and find out what the doctor recommended for seasonal allergies. Humidifier and Zyrtec for the win!

I also wanted to talk to the doctor about the anger management issues that Liza has been having recently. I know that the time change messes with sleep schedules, and stress can make kids do weird things, but the tantrums have just been out of control for the past few weeks. It's not just that she gets upset about normal things, like getting ready for bed - it's things like having a 20 minute screaming/kicking the wall/throwing things fit because "one of the kids started eating his snack before I was done making it into a smiley face on his plate" (not that she had told the kid to wait, or that she was doing something special with snack, or anything). And once she decides she's upset, it spirals out of her control, and we're in for seemingly endless inconsolable screaming over every. single. thing. She won't look at us, she won't be consoled, she won't stop flailing around - it would be entertaining if it was some other person's kid on YouTube, but it's my kid, and she's pissing me off.

Luckily this sort of crap just happens at home, not at school or at the park, but it's still not getting any better despite our attempts at helping her through it. Rationalization doesn't work, ignoring her doesn't work, consoling her doesn't work, deep breaths don't work, threats don't work, and we're starting to run out of ideas. Jason and I have both had to restrain ourselves from attempting to beat some sense into the kid. We know it won't help, but on the 10th day of "I-huh-can't-huh-stop-huh-crying-huh-because-huh-I-huh-don't-huh-want-huh-to-huh-brush-huh-my-teeth-huhwaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh" it starts to sound like a reasonable option.

Unfortunately, we got to see the "sick kid" doctor instead of Liza's regular pediatrician - yes, the practice is large enough that they have one doctor just for handling the kids who are sick and need to be seen the same day - so we didn't get the usual sympathetic ear. Instead we got:

  • This is very common in kids her age. [yeah, common in everyone except every other child she has ever played with]
  • Don't send her to her room, she has to learn to cope with the frustration where it happens. [that's going to be fun during playdates]
  • Hold her arms firmly in front of her, [did I mention it takes two of us to hold her down to brush her teeth some nights?]
  • Look her in the eye [you weren't paying attention to the "won't look at us" part, were you?]
  • And explain to her why her reaction isn't appropriate [you also tuned out the part where we already do that and it doesn't do squat because she still can't calm herself down, didn't you?].
  • Set a timer and tell her she has 10 minutes to calm herself down [also fun during playdates]
  • And ignore her during the 10 minutes but stay nearby [I guess you also missed the part about how she crawls up the front of me bodily, using my clothing as handholds if I refuse to pick her up? And what am I supposed to do when the 10 minutes is up and she's still not calm? Do I get to whack her then?]

I was polite and told her I would give it a try, but I also got her to give me the list of pediatric psychologists they recommend just in case we needed to up the ante a bit. Because honestly, she knows she's overreacting, and she understands that she needs to do things differently, but we haven't managed to come up with a coping strategy that will help her calm herself down. I swear, some days its like she's got the Niagara River of emotions going on in there, and she's just the poor schmuck in the barrel going over the falls (again and again).

The doctor did have some helpful suggestions about bedtimes, so we're going to try doing things a little differently. Instead of dinner - play a few minutes - bath - teeth and hair - books - bed, it's going to be dinner - teeth and hair - calm play longer than we used to - books - bed, and we'll do her bath in the mornings. That gives her more time to play outside now that it's light later, moves the toothbrushing so it's no longer part of the going-to-bed battle, and lets me do her hair in the mornings when she's more tractable. Bonus: with her hair wet, it's easier to convince her to let me pull it back out of her face into ponytails or braids, and it stays back neatly for a longer time.

The best part is that doctors of any sort are one step below God in Liza's list of Those Who Must Be Obeyed, so when she whines about the new schedule, I can just pull out the "sorry, the doctor said we should do it this way" card, and she's likely to go along with it. Boy, do I love using authority figures for my benefit!

And I've got that list of psychologists, just in case I need to call in another higher authority* for backup.

* Not sure she'd agree to the authority, though. When we went in to meet my mother's therapist, Liza didn't want to talk to her at all, and I think the longest sentence we got out of her the entire time was, "If you're a doctor, then where are your licenses and stuff?" Apparently having paintings and tapestries on the wall rather than diplomas makes you suspicious, as far as my daughter is concerned. I guess I'll have to pre-screen the potential psychologists for office decor as well as bedside manner ... sigh ...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Proof that I am trying to dilute the crazy a little

It's pledge time on our local public radio station, which means I've been listening to a lot of commercial radio in the car recently. I keep hearing the same commercial over and over again, and I think it's starting to get to me ... because walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is starting to sound like a good idea.

Pros of participation:
  • I've lost 10 pounds this year, and I'd like to keep losing at least another 10 or 15 in the near future.
  • Walking - it's healthy! It's cheap! I don't have to join a gym or drive across town to do it!
  • The training schedule would have me walking four days a week, with the worst of the distance training on the weekend when Jason could be in charge of Small Child With No Endurance.
  • Walking that much will give me a better appreciation of the spring and early summer weather - look, flowers! Birds! Biting insects!
  • I know several people who have made it through breast cancer, and it would be a good way to celebrate their lives.
  • Completing it would be the most impressive thing I've ever accomplished.
The crazy:
  • Dude, it's like walking most of a marathon ... three days in a row.
  • Camping? After walking for 20 miles? You can't be serious.
  • The training schedule is set up for 28 weeks. As of right now I've got less than 20 weeks before the Cleveland event, which means that I'd start training at higher mileages than I'm probably ready for. Like, I'm supposed to walk 10 or 12 miles tomorrow.
  • Who decided it was a good idea to put this thing at the end of July, anyway? Did nobody look at the average temperatures for July and August?
  • Whoa, do I really want to do an activity where chafe-reduction products are recommended on the packing list?
I haven't made up my mind yet. I'm leaning far enough toward participating that I've printed out the training schedule and I'm going to try it for a week or two to see if it's even feasible for me to do it without massively injuring myself.

I started "slow" today with a walk that was about 4 miles, and I think I should get bonus points for doing it in the 40F rain. I know I weighed about three pounds more when I got done than I did when I set out, just from the rain that soaked into my jacket (and pants, and shoes, and hair, and gloves). And while I definitely felt like I was exerting myself more than I usually do and I'm a bit stiff this evening, a walk of that length wasn't unpleasant, and I don't feel any worse than I usually do after the first day or two of working in the garden each spring.

So I'll let you know what I decide ... especially if I decide to go for it, since I'm going to need all of you to help me raise the required minimum donation to participate :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nature journal

Things to add to our nature journal, should we ever get off our butts and start one:
  • This past Wednesday was our first bee/yellowjacket sighting. First there was one, then a couple, and by nightfall there were maybe 20 of them going to town on the crocus in our front yard. The preschoolers who were trying to pick crocus bouquets were not amused.
  • Crocus will actually hold up as cut flowers. We're on the third day now, and they're still not yucky.
  • Crocus open when it warms up, then close again when it gets cooler at nighttime.
  • Yesterday was our first ladybug sighting. We put it on the rose bushes out front in hopes of jumpstarting the aphid war.
  • The squirrel with the three bald patches we're calling "Mangy," and it's probably a female because it's spent all morning gathering dead grass and leaves and trundling them up to a hole in a tree in our neighbor's yard. It's going right past the peanuts and dried corn and only grabbing nesting materials, which I think points to babies being on the way sometime this spring.
  • The squirrel with the thin tail appears to be a male, as far as I can tell from 10 feet away through a screen door. It's been going for the food, and running around the yard in a weird way that sort of drags its hind end around on the ground (marking territory? spreading disease? scratching an itch?).
  • First robin spotted on Wednesday.
  • Hawk spotted in the trees across the street, carrying something long and floppy (snake? grass? yarn?). Was being chased around by smaller birds, but still landed in the same darkened area of a tree several times. Building a nest? Hope it's one of Cinderella Blue Mermaid's kiddos from last year, although that would mean that the nest in our next-door neighbor's yard is probably going to be unused this year.
  • First chipmunk spotted today on the back porch. Zach was not amused.
  • The third squirrel that frequents our back yard is definitely male. I know this because he just came up to the screen door where the two cats are sitting, peeked past Zach and appeared to case the joint for usable materials, walked nonchalantly to the glass side of the door, put both front paws on the window to get a better look around Bella, and then ran away, giant squirrelly balls dragging behind him. The cats were not amused. I can guarantee you that Zach will puke someplace today from all the excitement.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wow, is this ever tedious

As I think I've mentioned before, I have opened a second shop on etsy to sell my photos and related products. If you're not reading this through a feed reader, you can check out some of my new items over there <-- on the sidebar of the blog.

Getting this sucker ready to go has taken way more time and effort than I expected. After all, I already took the pictures - how hard could it be to get them listed? I didn't want to bother just listing one or two photos - nothing looks sadder than a store that's practically empty - so I wanted to be ready to populate it quickly when I was ready to go. That means that for the past few months, I've been going back through every digital photo I can locate, copying the ones I thought might be worthy of selling, and then winnowing the selection down to something reasonable.

I've been researching other etsy sellers to determine pricing, and shipping costs, and what sizes and products I might want to carry. I've been playing around with some different ways to present the photos, things that might set me apart from the 14 million other people shilling photos on etsy.

I've been editing the photos, cropping and color correcting and adding watermarks to keep the deadbeats from stealing my stuff.

And I've been procrastinating. The period of uncertainty at the beginning of any project is the worst for me ... I hate not knowing what I'm doing, I hate having to make decision after decision relating to things I know little about. If I could wave a magic wand and it could be DONE, that would be so much less stress-inducing. But that, of course, isn't possible, so instead I've just been ignoring it. I've been getting lots of knitting done, and cooking, and the house has been pretty clean for the past couple of months.

Until last week, when I realized that the two hours each week that I'm stuck sitting at the nature center while my daughter takes a science class is the perfect time for me and my laptop to have some quality time together. Two hours each week when I can focus, without any phones ringing or kids calling or wash that needs to be done.

I've been getting lots done, but my god, is it tedious.

open picture
edit to 5x7
correct color
save file
add watermark
shrink file
resave file
open etsy listing
copy and paste most of the description
manually select pretty much all the same options for the rest of the listing where I can't cut and paste
import pictures
save listing

I just took a bathroom break to relieve the monotony - that's how boring it is.

But at the same time, it's really cool to go back through the files, picking the best of the best, seeing all the places we've been and things we've seen. Even if I never sell a single print, I've got some damn fine photos, and that makes me proud.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ten signs that the apocalypse* is upon us

  1. Liza is at a play date with the girl down the street. I'm at home. By myself. Getting work done. By myself. Did I mention there's no one else home besides me? (cue choir of angels)
  2. Last week Liza volunteered to go to the kid's club at the grocery store to hang out while I did the grocery shopping. She stayed there the whole time and was sad to go when I was done. (cue a larger choir of angels)
  3. I'm typing a blog post while sitting in the sun on my couch. So THIS is why I paid the extra to avoid getting another desktop machine ...
  4. I successfully gave my daughter a French braid yesterday. This is notable because a) her hair is long enough, b) she stood still while I tugged on her hair for 10 minutes, c) it stayed in all day and gave her beautiful waves when we took it out last night, and d) before yesterday I'd never managed to French braid anyone's hair but my own and have it stay in for more than 3 seconds.
  5. My daughter managed to embroider this with only minor assistance from me. You can read more about it here.

  6. I bought seed-starting supplies this weekend. I guess I need to sit down and calculate the best planting date based on our last frost prediction (May! We have the chance of hard frosts until May!), lest I end up with an egg carton full of seedlings and a glacier in the back yard.
  7. I've finally started stocking my new etsy store, G Sees. Go forth and buy 5x7s!
  8. We bought a weeping pussy willow tree from the grocery store last week, and we haven't managed to knock it over, pull off all the catkins, drown it, starve it, or otherwise permanently damage it (yet). It's happy and leafy and weepy and fuzzy and pollen-y and I lurrrrrrve it.
  9. The snow in our front yard is almost entirely gone. There is, however, still a solid 6" of snow on our entire back yard, should we decide it's necessary to make another snowman.
  10. We have the first flowers of anyone in our neighborhood. I cannot tell you how happy these make me every time I see them.

* or spring, it could be spring instead of the apocalypse. Hard to tell, really.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I'm feeling very old

Today I signed up for Liza's kindergarten registration meeting and sent away to have her join the Girl Scout Daisies.