Monday, December 31, 2007

Celebrating, Baby Nolan Style

Note: No babies were harmed in the making of this pictorial. But a star was born....

Hi everybody! I know I haven't been around much lately, but my Mommy has me busy with all these play dates, and photo shoots and whatnot. And that's not even to mention all the time I've been spending learning to crawl, climb stairs, trying to walk, and frankly trying to stay so devilishly handsome. Sheesh! I sure have been busy!!!

But guess what? I heard my Mommy on the phone tonight asking my Auntie Megan to come over and watch me while she and Daddy go out...something about "date night" and trying to save the marriage, yada, yada...But all I know is that means it's party time!!!!

Finally, they're gone! Hmmm...now this doesn't look like where Daddy goes to get his "special tea." In fact, my Mommy says my Daddy doesn't even know this thing exists, much less use it. What does that mean?

Ahh, now this is what I'm talking about. It sure is cold in here, but I think I struck gold! Hey, can you keep an eye out for my Auntie Megan? I think she passed out in a Twizzler-coma while watching country music videos and drinking hot water in the living room. I heard her ask my mom what to do if I start choking, so she's pretty useless anyway. Hey, do you know the difference between the yellow and the brown ones?

Ohh, too many choices! And I thought choosing the spatula over the laddle for pot-pounding was hard!

Hey, what's this? Apple sauce? What's that doin' in here? Get this outta here - it's Miller Time!

This one looks good - brown, great taste, less filling. And now that I have some fine motor skills, I can twist the top off myself!

Oh screw it - I'll take 'em all!

Hee hee hee....Who needs a sippy cup when you got a long neck bottle and some new swallowing skills! Those delicious refreshments sure went down quick! I sure and getting hungry though. I think this is what my Daddy calles "munchies," but he usually has a burrito or some White Castles. Hey, maybe we can wake Auntie Megan up and she can she can take us to the drive-thru! What? She's drooling on herself with a Mike 'n Ike stuck to her cheeck? Shoot. Well, I guess this box of popcorn will have to do.

Mommy!! Mommy's home!!! Hiiieeeee, Mommy.....you sure look pretty....so pretttyyy...I love you Mommy..... Why are you yelling Mommy? What empty bottles? Mommy, you're yelling in my ear and killing my buzz! Why's Daddy laughing? Ugh...Burrrppp... I think the room's spinning..gotta pee... spinning.... Momm-

Zzzz.......

What the-?
What time is it?
Ohh, my head is splitting.
How'd I get in this box?
And where are the clothese I was wearing last night?
What's that, Daddy? "Keep it up and this is where I'll be spending my adulthood?" I don't even know what that means...
Hey, can I get some Gatorade and some greasy fries? And turn down that t.v. - my head's gonna explode.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gross

I was driving home from the bike store today and I saw a man in a car pick his nose and eat it.

A grown man - not one with a sippy cup strapped into a car seat.

People still do that?!?

Made me so sick I spit up the JuJu Bees I was eating for lunch.

But then I swallowed them again.

Hey, can't waste good JuJu Bees.

That is all.

Carry on.

Overdue Training Update

Boooorrrring.

But I figure since I started this blog about triathlon, I should at least mention it here and there.

So here ya go.

Today I did my second long ride-run brick. For some reason, I feel like at this time last year, I was doing them way more, and way earlier. But it might just be that my coach is trying as much as he can to protect my back. So I did one two weeks ago, and one today.

Overall, I think it went well. The ride was so-so, not my best, but not my worst. The run was fairly short, just 20 minutes off the bike, so there were no problems there.

I think the two things I am struggling with the most lately are motivation and nutrition.

Let me explain.

Since Christmas, I have has a serious case of motivation loss. It might just be fatigue from the holiday - the traveling, food binging, and socializing - so when I got back to Chicago Wednesday night, I was wiped out, and never quite recovered. Who knows? So this week it's been hard to muscle through the rest of the workouts. I'll have you know, though, that I got them all in, with a little creative rearranging.

The reason I am a bit worried about it is because it is so early in the season yet - I still have 3.5 months. Is this normal?

And then the nutrition - Holiday food binge aside, I have been holding steady when it comes to my food (please ignore the empty Mike n Ike boxes around the computer). Where it is problematic, though, is when I am actually working out. I try to eat, try to get the bars down, drink the Gatorade, but I usually just want to throw up on myself.

Suggestions?

I am going to try using GUs for a while, try to see if those might be easier, but even the thought of that makes my stomach flop. Since when did my little steel trap of an organ get so sensitive?

So I know this one was boring, and frankly I have a bunch of funny stories to amuse you with, but I think right now I am going to write some reports, take it easy on my Sunday, and post tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life as Usual...

Which means that I avoided some work, visited with my mom, and met my realtor to look at a condo.

Of course, this place isn't going to pan out.

Although there were several signs, such as the hole in the living room wall and pink walls throughout, I think the most notable one was the dead mouse in the closet of the second bedroom.

I know. Right?

Ugh.

I am one crappy, stinky, rodent-infested dump away from dropping this house hunting business.

Oh, and I skipped a swim today. No fear, it will be completed tomorrow, if for no other reason that I can't stand to tape it to the Wall of Shame. Let me explain.

See, when my coach sends me workouts via email, I print them out, cut them up, and paste them to index cards. Each time I finish one, I take the index card and clip it to the stack of completed workouts. You know, gives me a sense of accomplishment and frankly helps keeps my messy self organized. And I can take the swim workout cards to the pool really easily.

So smart, I know.

(Golf claps)

But when I miss a workout, I take the card and tape it to the wall, which coincidentally is right next to the fridge (shame, shame, shame). Right now, there are three cards up there - one 30 minute swim (missed due to my laziness), and 2 15-minute runs (both runs missed due to sore knees). I've been training for about three months now (or 12 weeks) so I guess three isn't so bad, but I will be damned if I have to put another one up there.

So pool it is. Can't wait.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

10 Hours...

eight pee stops, four cups of coffee, $150 in gas, and almost six hundred miles later, I opened my front door.

Sigh.

I am back home. In Chicago.

There's not much more to report about the trip (see the previous post) except that I truly ate my face off until I passed out in a food coma at about midnight, but not before my team won a crazy game of Pictionary and I watched Shrek the Third.

When I awoke this morning, I noticed immediately that my knees hadn't quite healed from the beating I dealt them yesterday. I also noticed that my belly stuck out a lot further than I remembered....

I hit the road early 'cause the ride really was 10 hours. As I was making my way through Iowa, I was thinking of all these funny posts I could do, but frankly my friends, I am just really beat. It's about 9:30 PM here right now, but it feels like it's next Saturday. So my funniness is a bit dried up right now, along with my eyes (which are burning), and my body's hydration (a day full of coffee and a lemonade does not a hydrated athlete make).

Me thinks it's time for bed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Happiest Holiday

As I have mentioned before, this Christmas was my first away from my family. On top of that, I was meeting my BF's family for the first time.

And now it is Christmas afternoon, and I have to say that things couldn't have gone better.

I will admit that last night and parts of this morning were hard, as I really missed my family and the traditions we have been working to establish. But they were great and called me after their mass last night, and passed the phone around the dinner table to let everyone say "Hi!" My sister told me that things didn't feel the same without me at the head of the table. Cheese and I had just come out of a movie and were driving home, and I had to look out the window to stop myself from crying. Those were the first tears. I wasn't sad, I just missed them.
As for my own Christmas here in Kansas, it was different,but the same. Let me explain.
Cheese and I woke up earlier than our recent 10AM alarm (for the last two mornings), laced up our shoes, and hit the road - me for a 2 hour run, he for a 4.5 mile run.
Now that's true beauty. First thing in the AM.

We hung together for the first loop, then I stopped to pee and for water at his house and headed back out. About a mile later, Cheese pulls up next to me on his bike - still in his running clothes and what appeared to be freezing his ass off (in addition to the cold, it was windy, which made it difficult for me, and likely miserable for him). But he hung with me for a full hour, in the cold and wind, just pedaling next to me, and even almost taking a header off his bike in the ice.

Seriously. Who does that?
For the last half mile, I listened to my IM song (City of Blinding Lights by U2) and ripped it out. My knees were literally breaking and my back was spasming, but I sprinted whatever I had left back to the house. As Cheese brought his bike in, I walked it out, stopping briefly to catch my breathe, watch the steam rise from my jacket, look up to the bright blue sky, and just let myself be overwhelmed by my life at the moment.

This was the second cry.
But a good one.

Then we showered, waited for his niece and nephew, and refueled. And I have to say that, upon their arrival, things were a lot less hectic than I anticipated.

Me and Farley. Looks like I found the sweet spot.

For me, my gifts were great, but the best thing I unwrapped was a framed picture of me and Cheese under the Wrigley sign on our first date, with the dollar I won from him that night and the ticket stub.

I cried. It was beautiful.

That was the third cry.
Also a good one.
The video and photo to this moment are priceless - I'll post them when I can.
He also got me a watch that, when I unwrapped it, his neice screamed out, "I bet it's a ring!"

It wasn't, but we all got a good laugh.

Then I proceeded to eat my face off at dinner, helping myself to two full plates of food and a serving of every dessert - and I went back for seconds on the apple pie.

Hmmmm...pie....I wonder if it's still out.....

I talked to my family several times today, and though I missed them, I felt really at home here.

The night was rounded out by a game of Hanna Montana with the niece, some Webkinz, and a game of Shout with the whole family. Another trip to the leftovers food table was also thrown in there, as well as a quick change from my jeans to stretchy pants.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Mine was emotional, but in that good way.

I continue to be grateful.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Quickie

Thought I would sneak a quick training post in between the Kansas holiday reports. Today, I rode my bike for 3.5 hours on the trainer in Cheese's basement, much to his parents' disbelief. I believe the exact words were, "Now that's just crazy." The comments were just as soft when they asked about my Christmas morning run (2 hours). Imagine lots of head shaking.

Later on, following two servings of dinner, six plates of dessert (no joke) and one full box of Mike n Ikes, Cheese's mom told him (when I left the room), "Megan sure does like to eat a lot!"

I should also mention that, when not working out, I wore my pjs, robe and slippers...all day. Even for dinner (changed back into them after the ride).

So I can't quite tell if all this means I am making a good impression.

Or perhaps the impression I am making is one of a exercise-addicted food pig who has no clean clothes.

Either way, I think they will definitely remember me.

Somewhere back in Chicago, I am making my mother proud.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let the Holidays Begin

Sorry - I know I totally promised to post the other day, but I was pressed for time with the packing and the traveling and the leaving for Kansas that there was simply not enough hours in that day. So here is the story, taking it back to Wednesday.

Cheese had come in Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning the marathon of "Getting Things Done" ensued. The big event that day was my sister Devin's 4th grade class Christmas pageant. I took a video, but she told me I can't post it because apparently there 's some kid in the class whose dad wants to kidnap him so they can't even hang his pictures in the hall with the other kids and...uh...yeah...whatever.

In any case, it was hysterical. My sister built this sled thing that was about 10 feet long, and the kids held it up in the front and back, and walked around the assembly room singing "Come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you!" as groups of kids jumped in the sleigh. It was great.

And right before the assembly, when my sister brought her kids down into the room, my mom and me put these gift bags on the kids' desk that my mom made. See, the school my sister works for is really low income, and mostly immigrants. So my mom does all these things for them, like at the beginning of the year, she made all 32 kids the pencil cases filled with school supplies. So for Christmas, she made gift bags with scarves, and hot cocoa, and pencils, and festive sippy cups and all kinds of stuff. So after the assembly, the kids got back into the room and literally went berserk. It was pandemonium. Did you ever see that Saturday Night Live skit where they make fun of Oprah's Favorite Things and the women are throwing chairs at each other and one's head explodes?

Yeah, it was kind of like that. Only with 4th graders.

One girl literally threw herself on the ground and wailed.

So yeah, it was good stuff.

So then we had dinenr Wednesday night with our friends (as posted) and on Thursday, it was time to start packing the bags, making the Mrs. Field's cookies (to bring as hostess gifts - and yes, I did in fact make them and did not bribe my mom to, like originally planned - and they are DELICIOUS, just ask Cheese's belly), and preparing myself mentally to take a 9-hour car ride to Kansas for Christmas. And though it took a while, all the stuff got done, and we landed here in Kansas at about 6PM.

Last night I got to meet the sister and brother in law, attend his niece's basketball game, and go out for dinner. Today, we traveled to his hometown, and I met the parents.

Apparently they told him I was "a keeper."

Hee Hee.

And he wasn't kidding about being from a small town. It really is like a movie - complete with the tiny downtown, little video store, local grocer and of course the Dairy Queen, which we probably would have attacked in our post-workout hunger frenzy, but the weather is so atrocious that just about everything was closed down.

This is the type of place I have fantasized about moving to - away from the crunch and rush of the big city - and sliding into the slow pace and easiness of country life. Funny how he wants to run from it, and I want to embrace it.

And though I don't want to speak too soon, I think I have even managed to make nice with his MASSIVE bulldog, who not only charged and knocked me off my feet, but clamped down and humped the dear life out of my leg upon my arrival. Now that's what I call a warm welcome.

Side note - wouldn't it be funny if that were a socially aceptable way for humans to say "Hi?"

I think I won him over with both the softness of my pants (the better to hump upon...so I've heard) and the Mike n Ikes I fed him during movie time (including the one that fell out of my lap when I got up to go to the bathroom - hey, where'd that come from?)

So I am now two nights down with my Kansas stay and I think all things are going well. Cheese seems to still enjoy having me around, my family hasn't collapsed without me, and I have managed to get away from work for a few hours and take a nap today. And in all of the madness of the last five days, I have managed to get in every single workout. Although my bad if effing killing me. Should be a fun 3.5 hour ride tomorrow.

Oh, and my sincere apologies for leaving ya all hanging about the Christmas present. I really wanted to post a picture of it, but the camera thing is still not working - so I will just tell you what it was and then post the picture later (because believe me, the picture is way better than how I can describe it).

I got a Blackberry 8830 World Edition.

Yes friends, I am now completely accessible. I get my emails immediately (which is why I had to change my email address - see my profile for the new one!) and it has a full keypad while still being really slim and light (hence, my text messages are pounded out at the speed of light). It's crazy cool, even though I don't know half the functions yet.

So thank you Santa (AKA the 60-year white woman from Bridgeport I call Mom) and Merry Christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

AUGHH!!!

I was so excited to post tonight about what happened today, pictures and video and all, but my camera is giving me a big middle finger right now. So no post tonight, but I will promise to do so in the morning. Sorry!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Comfort

In the last few months, I have learned that there are two different types of people – the ones that “show up” for you, and the ones that don’t.

In my experience, I have always given people the benefit of the doubt, and multiple opportunities to “show up” for me. And sadly, sometimes I have been let down. But it usually takes some time before I finally give up on them.

I like to believe in the goodness of people, which I guess is sort of weird, given my field of work and all the badness I see in child welfare. But even in the program I work, we are always trying to give the parents the benefit of the doubt, give them a chance and some help to make things right, to show up for their kids.

And just like people in my own life, sometimes these parents can get there, and sometimes they can’t.

For me, it always surprises me when people fail this. I am a pretty reasonable person. I don’t ask a ton from others (at least I don’t think I do) and I probably give more chances than most. And when people don’t show up, I take it personally, often wondering what I did to be left like that.

And like “that,” I mean feeling like I am naked and standing on a corner in the cold winter wind, shielded by nothing other than the thin veil of my expectations. As these last few months have passed, this thin veil has done little to protect me from the painful and biting cold winds of other’s flawed character. And each time the wind of flawed character blew, the chill went through me to the bone, and the veil whipped against my faith, self-esteem and heart. With each blast of cold, I prayed for the sun, a ray of hope to warm me and let me know all the waiting in the cold will pay off - that behind those winds stood a solid friend.

Now, it would have made sense to let go of that veil, but I kept holding onto it, hoping, I guess, that it would turn into something more substantial. It never did.

But oddly, as that veil of failed expectation whipped against my body with each harsh wind of other’s let-downs, my shivering body became slowly wrapped in the feather down jacket of love, support, patience and goodness of my friends, boyfriend and family. With each positive relationship, another layer was added- a hat to protect my thoughts, gloves to protect my ability to give, and a wool sweater to protect all that is inside me. At some point, I realized that those winds were no longer able to penetrate me because I was shielded by the warmth of these new layers. And the only feeling better than that warmth is letting go of the anger of unfulfilled expectation and watching that veil fly away.

Because I know it’s not me. I know I am a good honest person who deserves to be surrounded by the same. And I am totally surrounded. It took me 31 years to figure it out, but I did. Finally.

And I have asked my family and friends, "But why did you not show me this jacket before?" And they responded, "You would not have taken it because you believed the wind would listen to you and stop blowing."

This does not mean that those winds have stopped blowing. No, in fact, those winds will always blow for as long as characters are flawed. With each new piece of information about the failed potential of others, or the “badness” of those who fail to show up, those winds will blow. And one of the harshest gusts blew this weekend, when the true character of "friend" finally swept my eyes open to the reality of what I had for so long tried to justify/ignore.

People are who they are. It is that simple.

But I am no longer vulnerable to the piercing pain of them. I am no longer surprised by the gusts, left shivering in their wakes, or left waiting for people to show up. Even with the new information about this person, I was more startled by the fact that I was not disappointed or even surprised by the news of the behavior.

Rather, I was shown - over and over - the goodness of the people that willingly show up. People willing to spend hours on the phone with me, travel hundreds of miles to be with me, spend time going to dinner with me, ride their trainer next to me, or wait while I hash out the the next two weeks of training.

And I am done being that emotionally naked in the cold. It's not necessary. Not with the life I have.

With Christmas upon us, and the literal frigid weather that Chicago brings with it, I am no longer afraid to leave the comfort of what was once so familiar and harmful, nor do I “brace” myself for the next harsh storm. Instead, I simply put on my new jacket, and all the other layers that my support system has given me, and open wide that front door.

At this moment, I am getting ready to leave for Kansas to spend my first Christmas away from my family. I am really very sad about this. But amazingly, I have packed all their support and well-wished in my suitcase, and will take them with me to show off to my new family (very excited about this!) in the form of my own character. After all, they made me who I am. With all this warmth, I can’t imagine there ever being another wind to make me so cold again.

So to my family, I love you for helping me zip up my jacket, to Cheese for tightening that scarf, and my friends for tying my boots. My post will never fully express how much I love you, and how truly grateful I am that my life is so full.

Here’s to the new year, and new clarity, and a new beginning.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Putting it Together

Yell-o.

I have a ton of thoughts brewing up in the old noodle, but right now I am not sure where I need to go with them.

Training-wise: I have my first bike-run brick since the injury today (in a few hours). Fingers crossed it goes well.

Personal-wise: This is where I am stuck. It feels like there is a lot going on, but yet I can't put it into words. I tried a couple times tonight, got a few drafts down, but in the end, couldn't pull it together.

I will try this again later, after I get a few hours of riding and running under my belt this morning. Maybe the thoughts will sort themselves out.

Sorry this is so lame.

Standby.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I Must Have Been on the Good List

Cause Santa Baby came early to Chicago!

Now, I can't quite say yet what was dropped down my chimney 'cause I promised my lips would be sealed until Christmas, but I will say this - it's the hotness. It's shiny and fancy and I have for so very long wanted it and I can't stop touching it.

Guess you'll just have to keep checking in until I reveal it.....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Megsicle

It was cold (29 degrees).

It was windy (24 miles/hour).

It was pretty long (1:45, about 10.5 miles).

When I finished, it was dark (5:15pm) and the left side of my face (which faced the west and the wind) felt like I has a stroke.

And yes, that meant I was also drooling on myself.

I shivered the whole drive home from the lakefront, even with the heat on skin-melting-High.

But I was also one of only a few runners tackling the path today.

As Danielle said, I definitely felt like a badass.

Strength

I am about to hit the road for a 1:45 run.

Right now, it's 30 degrees, but with 24-36 mile/hour winds to make it feel much colder, and like you're running in place.

But it's been so long since I have run outside that I am beginning to wonder if maybe I am a scaredy-cat.

Something tells me I am going to depend a lot more on the strength of my mind rather than the strength of my body to finish this.

So here goes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Compliment

A couple years ago, my sister Ellen wrote me a card and told me I was the funniest person she knows.

I took that to heart, because more than anything, I love to make people laugh.

Tonight, I was told I was an inspiration to someone trying to accomplish a major athlete goal of his own.

Of all the words I might use to describe myself, this would not have been one of them.

To the giver of the compliment, I say thank you for this.

And for pushing me to see myself as different from what I have always believed.

And for having the patience to stick with me as this slowly evolves.

Monday, December 10, 2007

By the Numbers


3:00 Hours- Time spent on my trainer Sunday morning

1:45 - Time spent by my sister on the treadmill Saturday afternoon

1:10 - Time to be spent by Cheese on treadmill today

1:45 - Time to be spent by me on a treadmill Thursday for my long run

Thank you, Mother Nature, for unleashing such a brilliant series of ice storms that have not only made traveling difficult, but is crippling all of our individual training efforts.

Of course, I blame no one but myself for all the time spent indoors either on the treadmill or trainer. I mean seriously, what idiot lives in the Midwest and thinks a spring Ironman is a good idea? One guess, and the answer rhymes with Began.

Guess I need to update the IPod.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What Was I Thinking?

Funniest thing happened today. Strange, really.

At some point today, I slipped, fell, and somehow managed to lodge my head up my butt.

Got it good and caught up there, I did.

Now, I don't remember doing this, but I have to imagine that I did, because there is really no other explanation for why I decided I NEEDED to go to Costco on a Saturday afternoon during the Christmas shopping season.

Yeah, I did.

I suuuurrrre did.

Threw myself right in the middle of what can only be compared to as feeding time in the lions den at the local zoo.

And here's the thing - I still have no idea what it was that so very important that I went there. I had a goal, I swear I did - in fact, I am pretty sure, in hindsight, that it had something to do with Christmas shopping or wrapping paper or something of the sort. But as soon as I walked through that garage door opening and saw the chaos that awaited, I got really disoriented, frightened, and frankly, stupified.

So I did what any tired and confused woman with a historically low level of patience would do - I grabbed a cart and wandered aimlessly. 'Cause nothing settles your nerves more that trying to wiggle and squish your way through jammed isles, aggressive moms, and husbands with a dead look in their eyes, while looking for nothing in particular.

But I did. Yup, sure did.

I managed to find some things that I convinced myself I needed (a 6.5 pound bag of frozen chicken breasts and two boxes of Go Lean bars) only to stand in a line that wound its way towards the back of the warehouse. On the positive side, that line moved fairly quickly, which was good because by the time I checked out I had a steam line of pee trickling down my leg (the end result of my refusal to wait in yet another line for the bathroom). Okay, so maybe I didn't actually pee in my pants, but dang I came close.

Highlight! I have "Scrubs" on in the background as I am writing this, and JD just said he was "feeling lightheaded like right before a poo faint." Ha ha ha! Good times.

Ahhh. Feeling better....

So note to self: Self, please do not ever, EVER do that again. Ever. There is nothing that you need so immediately that requires entering the Kingdom of Consumerism during this time of year on a Saturday. Please reserve such trips to either midday during the week, or simply not at all. That is why the Internet, Express Postal Delivery, Pea Pod, and the local grocer were created.

I have to go now - I have some chicken I need to defrost.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Visit Randoms

I realized that I hadn't really posted much lately about training. I guess I don't really have a ton to say about it except that it's moving along. Pretty much all of my rides have been done inside, and will continue to be, given our recent snow and tonight's onslaught of more white stuff. Runs have been okay, but my left knee hasn't really wanted to cooperate. Thus, I am making some adjustments. The back seems to be holding up - some days there is virtually no pain, other days there is a lot. But I have b-weekly massages and weekly chiro appointments to continue working on this. Not to mention all the back strengthening exercises I have doing.


I will say, however, that I am fairly confident, with each passing days, that IM will happen for me in April. I would say that having to pull out of this race last year with only four weeks to go was the most disappointing thing I have experienced, so I am doing EVERYTHING I can this year to stay healthy and take care of my back. And so far, so good!


Yeah, so not so much exciting stuff there. I also had some leftover pics from Thanksgiving and Cheese's visit, so I thought I would post those. How very lucky for you.


Black Tie Bingo. Please don't judge the messy room behind us. I would say it doesn't usually look like that, but...it does.


Cheese: I have a baby sitting on my lap.
Baby Nolan: Mom? Mom? Seriously. I was just sittin' by myself, banging on my bowl with my wood spatula, all dressed in my felt footies and waiting for bedtime, and BAM! Next thing I know I'm sitting' on a stranger's lap! Why does this keep happening? Can't a baby get some peace and quiet with his kitchen utensils? Or do I have to be "on" all the time?


Cheese: Oh, I think someone needs their diaper changed! Did someone make a stinky?
Baby Nolan: Yeah someone made a stinky - YOU! Why does everyone blame it on the baby? Don't you know that when my mommy changes me and sees there's no doo-doo, they'll know it's you. Please. Be a man, man.

Baby Nolan: Yeah, so, maybe this guy's not so bad. He's good for chillin' and doesn't seem to mind me resting myself against his belly. Yup, yup, we're just two badass dudes just chillin, watching some football. Hey Dad - how 'bout hittin up the kitchen for two milkies?
Mia the Dog: Will someone pay attention to me? Love me? Anyone? Sigh.

Um, yeah. Guess who hates grocery shopping? The day before Thanksgiving?



Turkey Trottin with my sister and Cheese. Brrr. Even looking at those pictures makes me shiver!
So that's all I got. I'll say a small prayer for something interesting to happen in my life, so I can give ya all something to chew on.
Later!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The YAY! List

So I said I would follow-up my bad mood and Punch List with a list of things I have found myself smiling about lately. But before I do that, I need to make three additions to yesterday's Punch List.

1.) My wind shield wipers that decided to stop working today, after our 6+ inches of snow fall. Beautiful.

2.) The 100,000 miles warranty that ran out 12,000 miles ago and will not cover the new motor for said broken windshield wipers.

3) The girl at the gym who approached me – while I was mid-sprint on the treadmill – to ask me to show her how to use the treadmill (apparently she failed to see the four Fitness Team members who very jobs are to demonstrate how to operate the equipment). Now, I am the girl who will stop on a busy downtown Chicago street at lunch time and write you out directions for anywhere, but interrupt my workout and I’ll…I'll....well, apparently I’ll help you then, too, because that’s what I did, only to have her snap at me when I showed her how to decrease the speed. And then she walked off the treadmill after only three minutes! I should also mention that I needed to tell her to “walk” when the treadmill started, ‘cause she just stood there when the belt started. You’re welcome, honey. And still out of shape.

So that’s that! Bad mood dispelled! Off to the nice list!


Megan’s YAY! List

-Christmas shopping done midday on a Wednesday with a list– no crowds, in and out.

-One-cup coffee makers

-Burning hot showers

-My flat screen – how did I go for so many months without a TV?

-Being able to identify completely with a song, and then screaming it at the top of your lungs when driving (or in the shower, or while working in the evening, whenever the mood strikes, really).

-Or lip syncing them when running on the treadmill. Guilty.

-Yoga – yeah, I’m on that bandwagon, but ya can’t argue with results!

-Shopping for men’s dress shirts and ties

-Fresh apples and bananas

-Triathlon, ‘cause it makes me feel like an athlete

-Setting goals, ‘cause I won’t workout otherwise

-The color pink

-Being in that “comfortable” place in a relationship, but still being in that silly, goofy, passionate place, too

-Speeches by Ozzie Gullien – he could read me the telephone book with that accent

-Cup of soup

-The daily afternoon check-in from my sister – like clockwork, they are

-Fleece pullovers – as of tonight, it is officially an addiction (just added a pink one to the family!)

-Being taken up on an offer to baby sit – yeah, someone trusts me with his kid

-Sports massages

-Running without pain

-Finishing editing a report by the end of the day

-Friends who never give up calling

-Hitting a string of green lights – during rush hour

-Finally knowing how I deserve to be treated - without feeling guilty for it

-Being missed by someone

-My mom quitting smoking after almost 50 years – Go Mom!!!!

-Going to bed with tired muscles

-Friends who are willing to run long with you for no other reason than they like your company

-Finishing a two-week training block and NOT missing a single workout

-The car starting in the morning

-Pretzels and all their starchy, salty goodness

-The swim store – so many goodies!!

-Leaving Target without the usual candy stash

-Respecting myself, setting limits with those who don't, and silently taking the high road

-Texts just to say, “Love ya!”

-My nephew who had a photo shoot for Gerber


See, if I just have some time, I can come back to what really makes me feel good. Thanks for dealing with Downer Megan over here, the words of support you provided, and the funny pictures of your baby planning with golf clubs (Joe). I was driving home yesterday and thought how incredible it is that so many people, many of whom have never met me personally, can be so supportive and thoughtful.

Did you ever see the movie "Evening?" At the end of it, an elderly Meryl Streep tells Toni Collette that, if there's anything she's learned over her lifetime, it's that so much of it doesn't even matter. I try to remember that when I get down - that twenty, forty, fifty years from now, all of the those things bugging me now won't matter, may not even be remembered. And when it's important, I will know it. It's kinda that same concept of not sweating the small stuff. But it sounded better when Ms. Streep said it.

So crisis averted, life back to normal. And just like yesterday, feel free to add your own YAYs!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rebound!

Bitch is back.

So I was a little crappy the last few days. I have since figured out what was getting me down, which was really a combination of a lot of stuff coming together at a bad time.

But I have since pulled my head out of my butt (as my dad was so fund of saying), knocked out a stellar swim/run workout, and got some work and Christmas gift planning done (planning, not shopping – I need to prepare myself before venturing out into the mad lands).

However, while in the funk, I was talking to a friend who works in the contracting/construction business, and he said he needed to complete a punch list. I have no idea what that means. However, I thought, given my mood of the last few days, I would make my own “punch list,” though likely not of the same variety of my friend. To contrast, I have also developed a “Yay! List,” which will follow this one, possibly in the next day. So here’s my send-off to my funk.

Megan’s Punch List (i.e. People/Things I Would Like To Punch Out)

-People who take advantage of others’ goodness and friendship.

-People that drive down the street at 5 miles an hour, like they are the only one out there, or don’t use their turn signals but instead just come to a dead stop at the corner when surprise turning.

-Parents who can’t understand that their own behaviors contribute to those of their children (i.e. mothers who bring 6 different boyfriends in and out of their son’s life, then move their son around the state and stay in homeless shelters, and then punish him by showering him in cold water MIGHT have something to do with his aggression and hyperactivity. Perhaps? Let’s think, people.)

-Bad workouts.

-People who always make big plans, but then find any excuse possible to not follow through.

-Liars.

-People that swear they have tried everything to lose weight, and just can’t seem to do it. Trust me, you haven’t.

-Liars.

-Screeners who send me 25-page reports to edit at 8PM, and tell me they need it for a staffing the following day. Instant scorn.

-The blisters on my arches from new orthodics.

-People who are nasty and abusive and toxic to others, but then can’t take perspective on their behaviors or understand why other might not want to be around them.

-People who use my office, then leave dirty napkins and tissues on my desk. Seriously?!?

-People that do relationships “on their own terms.”

-People who make fun of my eating habits (maliciously, not in a joking way) or my workout habits.

-And then listening to those people say, "Well, I would do that to if only I didn't have ____ (fill in the blank with family/husband/work, etc)."

-Organic fruit that costs a ton, and rots quickly.

-Consumerism of Christmas.

-Media forecasts that overblow pending snow storms, billing them as "the BIGGEST storm of the season!!!!" Then we get an inch or less of snow.

-Menstruation.

-The cost to heat a house.

-My trickling shower.

-Being in the car, miles from home, and needing to go to the bathroom. It will literally make me sick, seat and shake. And that’s just to pee.

-Dirty swimming pools.

-Girls who wear short shorts at the gym, thus allowing their asses to hang out. That's not my sweat you smell - it's your desperation. Keep it in the bedroom.

-Nasty divorces and sociopathic exs. Trust me – they will get theirs. Eventually.

-Pushy real estate agents.

-People that can’t park within the lines in a parking garage, and end up taking two spaces. Selfish.

-No open bathrooms on the lakefront path during the winter. What? Runners suddenly don’t need to pee in cold weather?

-Not getting paid on time.

-Snow.


And that's all I came up with in one day. Please feel free to leave your own "punches."

Kisses!

Mental Health Day

When we were younger and didn't feel like going to school, my mom would let us stay home. If there was nothing actually wrong with us, she would call it a Mental Health Day. Ya know, cause sometimes your mind just needs a day off.

I just cancelled all my appointments today because I need one of these days. The last few nights I have struggled to sleep, so I am really quite tired. Plus, I have a long workout today, and what better way to get it in than take a day off work? Plus, minus a few random days during the year, I never use my sick days, so why not?

And most importantly, I have just felt kinda down, and need a day to chill. It could be the quietness of my apartment after Cheese's two week visit, or that it will be two weeks before he's back. It could be the significance of this past weekend and time of year, or it could just be that work has been so very busy and the new cases so horrific that I just need a chill day. Maybe it's all these things together.

In any case, I am taking a Mental Health Day.

So before I sign off for today, two more things - To get me out of my funk, I started making a "Grateful List" last night when I couldn't sleep, so prepare yourselves for that within the next day. And second, I wanted to say thanks to everyone for their wonderful comments about Saturday's post. I also had the chance to speak with several friends who were there during my dads' last days, and who remembered on Sunday and took the time to call. That felt really nice and supportive.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Weird Day

I started this post talking about how weird I was feeling today, but not quite certain why. I knew I was feeling tired because of the long hours of work this week, the amped up workouts that leave me fatigued (but in a good way), and the private practice I have worked the last two weekends, despite having Cheese in town.

The post was long, slightly rambling, mostly complaining/not complaining about training, and then I almost hit send when it hit me. I knew what felt weird.

Today, it is cold, windy and snowing here. Perfect for a quite afternoon of chicken noodle soup, movies and a feather-down comforter with your boyfriend, who will be leaving tomorrow.

Today is just like it was four years ago - cold, windy, slightly snowing.

Only four years ago, there was no chicken soup or comforter that would have made anything better.

Four years ago tomorrow, my dad died.

My dad was only sick for six short months (lung cancer is like that - once its diagnosed, your sort of screwed). But for the first two years following his death, ever detail of those six months he was sick flooded me from May 16 to December 2. Two years of remembering every phone call, visitor, doctor's appointment, medication, casserole, hospice stay, trip up and down the stairs with the oxygen machine, meltdown in my bedroom when I thought no one could see, faked smile and positive words of comfort (from me to them), every prayer services.

My dad's cancer spanned, at least briefly, all four seasons. So for those first two years after he died, the changing of seasons brought with them those memories. The late springs brought back feelings of shock, frenzy, hope and despair - trying to learn all the terminology, typing out lists of questions before each appointment, getting different opinions, being questioned by his friends about whether I knew what I was doing or was I doing enough for him. My dad giving up one day, fighting the next. The band-aid he wore to cover the growing tumor on his forehead, the one we used to think was a pimple and for which I gave him acne cream. The tumor that never stopped growing. The book we kept by the phone to record the hundreds of messages. The button thing they put under his chest skin to put the chemo needle in, so they didn't have to ruin his arm veins. The period of time he walked around with one eye closed.

The summers reminded me of the times I would sunbathe in the yard while he napped upstairs, or the heat of the car as we sat at the McDonald's drive-through for his muffin breakfast after radiation (it was all he felt like eating). When I would come home from the grocery store and my dad would be "holding court" in the yard with his police friends, who came to see him, to be comforted by him, more than they could give him comfort. The blueberry muffins someone always brought every week. My dad's cup-of-soup he LOVED. In July.

The autumns brought with the a slight chill, the FBI jacket and Yankees hat he never took off, the smell of his hospice room and Panera dinners we would eat there during our all-night vigils, and the Thanksgiving he spent in his bed. Sitting on his bed and asking him for help planning his own funeral services. Who did he want as pall bearers? The morphine drops we put in his lip, the Harvard shirt he loved to wear. The day the hospital bed came. The day he stopped opening his eyes.

And then the early winters. Now. The cold, the snow. The sounds of him taking his last breathes. The feel of his skin, oddly warm, then not. Ellen, sobbing. The sight of the black body bag being wheeled from our house and all of us kids, standing on the front lawn, watching, sobbing. Then the flurry of arrangements, the anger of people being left out of said arrangements. Shopping for a funeral outfit and explaining to the dry cleaners that you needed his police uniform by the following day because he would be buried in it. The exhaustion. The thank-you cards. The brownies someone brought on the kitchen table. The friends.

Then finally - the silence of the house the day after he was buried. Devin laying in his bed, silent, staring, lost. Me laying next to her, lost myself. No one to care for, no visitor to entertain. My heart felt like it was punched. My eyes wanted to cry, my body wouldn't let them. His bed was cold, icy, empty. Silence. Gone.

As the years have passed, these memories have started to fade a bit, but writing them just now made them come flooding back. Sometimes I forget my dad died. I mean, I think about him in some form everyday, but not always in the past tense, cause I forget that he is not actually here. I mean, I think about him at times of big events, like weddings and graduations, or when I do something great and I want to call him to absorb his pride - those are the times it is more obvious. But daily, I guess sometimes I just think he's at work, or at home, and maybe I should stop by this weekend to say hi, pick up the mail, bring some chicken fingers.

Yesterday, I was running at the gym, and I thought about him at IM in April, then realized he wouldn't actually be there. It felt weird. In that second, I realized that I missed him. And since I don't remember he's dead, I don't miss him as much as I think I should. It just kinda feels like I haven't talked to him in a while, which wasn't so unusual when he was alive. But I missed him yesterday.

That feels weird to me.

Four years.

Long enough for some distance, not nearly long enough to forget.

Do you ever?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Um, Yeah....

Damage has been assessed.

4 pounds, three days.

That's gotta be new muscle, right?

RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!

Ahhh, forget it.

I would say I could use it for extra insulation for those long, outdoors rides, but who am I kidding? All my rides are done in the comfort of my apartment/dorm room, in the glow of my new flat screen. The closest I get to the cold outside is viewing the new episode of "Everest" on Discovery.

Sigh.

But seriously, the image of having to push that little metal block up further on that swinging arm of the scale has been enough to make me take my hand out of the bag of chocolate rice cakes (sounds innocent - they're not - they're sugary and addictive and easy to consume by the BAGFUL) and let Cheese eat the last piece of pumpkin cheesecake.

I guess if I can put the L-Bs on, I can take them off. Hey, I managed to go to the movies last week and NOT get the popcorn.

Of course I ate two bags of candy.

I never said I was perfect.

And now I have the saddlebags to prove it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A New Ode to Food

I have spent most of the last week inundating you all with escapades of my social life, which, oddly, have include more events than in the whole last year combined. Funny how when you have a house guest, everyone suddenly wants to hang with you. Or maybe they want to hang with my house guest, and I’m just along for the ride? Hmmmmm…

I think the only thing I didn’t mention was the blogger reunion/Kansas football party on Saturday, which I sadly did not take pictures of, but have to say that Clyde and his wife are super sweet, and their daughter is amazingly adorable. It was great times, even if Kansas lost. Sorry, Cheese.

Unfortunately, the downside to so many social activities is the massive amounts of food consumed. So after a week of straight-up binging, I found myself two neglected children and a lip-synced MTV performance away from being Britney Spears – and not the hot “I’m a Slave 4 U” variety, but the “Gimme More”-and-by-that-I-mean-Cheetos Britney Spears.

Only, I probably ate her Cheetos somewhere in the food frenzy.

And my biggest mistake was thinking that my workouts would balance this all out – but you can only burn so many calories in one day, ya know? An 8k can only fix so much, right?

Oh food, oh food, how I both love and hate you.

So in the spirit of the holidays, just like last year, I came up with a neat little diddy to commemorate a week-long food binge only “The Biggest Loser” contestants could appreciate.

Here’s an early Christmas gift to you. You’re welcome.

I Am Now Fat
By Megan of Project Procrastination

Oh, the old healthy Megan, with shiny hair and skin,
The one with the small arms, defined waist and single chin.
She has disappeared, at least briefly - a victim of sugar and fat
Reduced to cellulite and seeking solace in her new yoga mat.
My once-flat belly, described by my sister as “chiseled,”
Has now been undone with pumpkin cheesecake and turkey gristle.
I thought by my workouts, I would be able to maintain
My decreasing body weight, minus my back pain.
An 8k for Thanksgiving to balance the feast
That would take place that night, feeding my belly (the beast).

But oh no!

The turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and bread
Not to mention the apple pie and cheesecake that still dance in my head.
I ate so much I actually belched and threw up when I got home-
I swore, “Never again!” but the vow would quickly be blown.

But oh, if it was only Thanksgiving that did it,
In fact, it was entire week of binging that that turned my baggy sweatpants into “fitted.”
It started with the infamous Black Tie Bingo
Where around the food table I danced a-ringo
Crab cakes, croissants, brownies and vanilla cupcakes!
Oh, the perils of having a family who bakes!

Then onto Thanksgiving, which we now know about,
Followed on Friday by wine, cheese and Mexican food with friends going out.
Then Saturday night, it was the Kansas football party,
Complete with Lou Malnati’s pizza, beer, and laughs a-hearty.
But that night I thought that I would be good,
So I ordered a grilled chicken breast, and avoided the pizza as best I could.
But that night the appetizers were what did me in,
The spinach dip, potato chips and cookies did win.

The official detox began yesterday with a bike ride
Two-and-a-half hours of sweating left few places for the L-Bs to hide.
But I blew it again today with Lime flavored chips
Dang! They are good! Even if they go straight to my hips.
I then washed them down with some sushi and ice cream
Well, really frozen yogurt, but nothing rhymes with yogurt.

So damn you pizza, turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and chips!
To hell with you cheese, bread, pies, cakes and dips!
You may have won this battle, but I WILL win the war
A fat little girl, I will be NO MORE.
‘Cause see I will be an Ironman, it’s this path I will forge
I will train myself to re-focus on fitness, not a gorge.
No movie popcorn or candy slip-ups
It’s water, fruits and veggies, measured by the cups.
The pool, bike and running will keep me straight
So myself at the end of the month I will not hate.

I know, I know. Pulitzer quality. Please, you’re too kind, but the applause is quite deafening. And while you have reached the end of this shockingly poignant piece of poetry, take comfort in knowing that, come New Year’s, I will likely have a few new pounds and more tasty stories of native delicacies, straight up from the rolling hills of Kansas. Bring on the fried squirrel!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Old School Lovin'

Okay so I lied. I said I probably wouldn't post for a few days, but then I had dinner tonight with one of my oldest and best friends, Anne-Marie, and her husband (who shall remain nameless, per request-hee hee) and - what a surprise - I happened to have my camera with me!

Anne-Marie recently traveled to Prague for business (she's a hot shot lawyer) and, in a fit of insomnia, she stumbled upon an old email of mine that included a link to the blog, and she began reading. Hey, I'll take any reason for readership, even if it's pure boredom.

Interestingly enough, she began on the posts from July, which also happened to be the month of her wedding. And, for those two loyal readers of mine, you may remember some comments I made about her bridesmaids dress (floor-length seer sucker ring any bells?) At the time, I think I commented that the dress was hard to imagine, but turned out better than one might think. Anyway, Anne-Marie thought I was bagging on the dress, and since I have not yet received my pics from the wedding, I can't prove that I actually liked it (evidence being me in the dress and smiling).

So I am posting these pics for two reasons. 1.) To make up for possibly bagging on her dress that I, in fact, liked (frankly, I thought I looked pretty good in it!) and 2.) Because Anne-Marie has gone too long without making an appearance on this blog, and reminded me of that tonight (which, if you ask me, is kinda bold for someone who just started reading it, even though its been around for a year, but I'm just sayin......Just kidding, kid - Love ya!)

So here we are, Anne-Marie, her husband (who again, shall remain nameless, but yet I will post his pic), Cheese and me (pointy boobs and all). We began the night with wine and cheese at her house, and then went out for Mexican food. Between her husband and Cheese, the night was hysterical. One of the funnier parts, however, was when the normally-together Anne-Marie leaned over to me about 15 minutes into dinner, and loudly whispers, "I know I might be saying a lot right now, but I am really drunk." Which was then followed by a loud review of my boyfriend each time he left the table to go to the washroom. In fact, I believe her words were, "I like him, I like him...Do you like him? You better like him."

She later told him (drunkly) that he passed the interview.

He was relieved.

And he wasn't even wearing a tie.

And I promise that, when I get her wedding pictures, I will most definitely post them. Me in all my blue seer sucker glory.

Hallelujah.

Oh, and Anne-Marie?

If it's between a pink spatua and a man that cooks dinner using it? I'd go with the man any day. It's time to let it go.

Kisses!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blessings and Some Frozen Turkeys

Right off the bat, I am not going to make this post about all the things for which I am grateful. I have been working hard this last year to regularly identify, appreciate, and verbalize these things, so that I don't have to save it all up for one day a year. Needless to say, I spent my entire day surround by or in (phone) contact with those most important in my life.

Today started with the annual Turkey Trot in Lincoln Park. First off, it was literally 30 degrees and SNOWING this morning. Not to mention the brisk wind whipping us from the north. Waiting for that gun to go off was unbearable, but once the race actually began, it was not that bad. The runners braving the cold were me, Cheese, my sister Devin, and my running partner Warren (same guy from a recent post who wouldn't let me take his picture). And my brother-in-law Patrick was a super stud, coming to cheer us on despite the hellacious weather. What a trooper, cause lord knows that if that were me, I not only would have NOT gotten out of bed, but if I was forced to I would have bitched the whole time.

When the gun went off, I immediately lost all my running partners, so I ended up doing it on my own. My best time in this 8K was last year, which was like 42:something. Today, I managed a 45:08. Oh well, I can live with that, especially after an 8 month layoff. I felt really good for most of the race and at one point, between Mile 1 and 2, I was running through alongside the Zoo, with the yellow-leaved tress canopying the path, and the snow lightly falling, surrounded (somewhere) by my friends and family, and I had one of those moments. You know, those moments when you just inhale, look at the sky, and let the cold air just run through every cell of your body, appreciating the fact that your alive, and giving thanks for your health and all the things that got you to that moment. If the day ended right then, it would have been perfect.

Okay, sappy moment over. Moving on.

Cheese did fantastic - it was his longest run yet, and he had a PR! He looked great as he finished, and I was so proud to be able to scream his name. My sister and Warren also did great (they seem to have this little competition each year to win, and this year I believe it was Devin).

Here are the frozen turkeys, all finished and COLD. It's me, Cheese, Warren (yes, he let me take his picture! Thus, he is no longer a sissy, as I once accused him), and Devin.

After we went home for a nap, a hot shower and some eats, we headed on down to Ellie and Nat's for some seriously good food. The last few years, we have been working to establish some new traditions, so things have been weird, including different foods, new people, ect.

But this year, the family was relatively whole, and it's been a long time coming. Perhaps it was the fullness of my family, the reconciled relatiosnships and the brand new ones, but I swear it all made the food taste better. And when it was all eaten (pumpkin cheesecake and apple pie and brownies included) there was no rush to leave. We just all sat around, watched football and laughed. Again, it was perfect.

Me, practicing (just kidding, Cheese). Can you believe this kid's not even one year old yet? He's huge!!!
Me and Devin. Pre-dinner binge. As you can see, I don't yet have the meat-sweats that would later come with the enormous amount of food I would consume. Even Cheese was like, "Whoa Megan!" when I not only sucked down a full plate, but then proceeded to get seconds. And a piece of every dessert.
Hell yeah I did.

We took a family photo to send to my brother Nolan, who spent Thanksgiving with his fiance and her family in Tennessee, where they live. From left: Baby Nolan, Ellie, Nathaniel, my mom, Patrick, Devin, Cheese and me.
(After posting and re-reading this, I noticed that the sign above us reads, "Live well. Laugh often. Love much." How appropriate.)
I may take a day or two off posting because the next few days will be pretty busy around here, but I promise to back. I hope everyone out there enjoyed their day as much as I did, and was able to take a second to inhale, look at the sky, and just appreciate the people and things that got you to that place.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time for Some More Randoms

I know I just had one of these posts, but sometimes the thoughts just get to runnin' and they're hard to stop, ya know? No? Well then, never mind.

Enjoy.

1. I believe that sidewalks are like streets for feet, and should be navigated as such. Thus, if you drive on the right side of the road, you should walk on the right side of the sidewalk. Not in the middle, and not to the left either. See, by doing it this way, respecting the Feet Street, you avoid all those awkward moments where you and the person walking toward you get in this little dance of "Which way is he going to go?" and then you end up nearly colliding and mumbling "I'm sorry" under your breathe when you're really not, in fact, sorry, because that guy should have been on the right side to begin with, as you were, adhering to the Rules of the Feet Street.

2. And why do I always apologize to strangers? For random shit too. Like if I accidentally cut them off walking out a building (when they should try not walking so close to the building when door can swing open), or if they cut me off at Starbucks (yet I apologize - huh?) or if they don't move over when walking three abreast with their friends down a street and I end up having to walk in the grass around them. What is that about? Maybe I need to address this with my therapist. Let's move on.

3. Similarly, if you are walking next to someone, like a friend, and someone is walking towards you, it is common courtesy to simply step to the side- perhaps the front or back of friend - so that the other person can pass.

4. And while I'm on this topic, if you are in a grocery store isle, and there are other people in that isle, please make sure you park you cart as close to the shelves as possible when viewing the goods, and NOT smack dab in the middle of the isle, thus preventing people like me from passing through. And yes, I would be talking to you, Man With the Two Daughters Who Looked Me Dead In the Eye, Smirked, and Then Proceeded to Stop Your Cart in the Middle of the F-ing Isle Right in Front of the Cheetos and Debated the Merits of Crunchy Versus Flaming Hot with Two Five-Year-Olds. At least one of your daughters had enough sense and courtesy to move your grocery-cart-fashioned-like-a-plastic-kid-car. Must have learned her manners from her mom. Ass.

5. There seems to have been an explosion of squirrels in my neighborhood. And not those of the friendly variety either. Exhibit A: Cheese and I were returning from the grocery store only to be run down in front of my apartment building by a - how do you say? - disturbed looking squirrel. And he actually chased the Cheese down. Seriously. Check out the link to see a grown man squeal like a little girl, and talk bad-ass to a five-ounce rodent.

6. I am pretty sure that the Crazy Squirrels are likely due to the odd old lady that lives in my building and feeds them. Who does that? Feed squirrels? Apparently, if you're about 103 years old, 5'0, 65 pounds, and wear a brown wig, knee-high rainbow colored wool socks, three wool jackets, Chuck Taylor high-tops, and a scarf (in July) feeding squirrels is just what you do in your spare time. It's like your thing. Ahh, retirement and old age has never looked so good.

7. And P.S. If you are 103 years old, you are not fooling anyone with a brown wig. Especially when it's worn backwards. Hey - just sayin'.

8. Of course, I have not ruled out the possibility that the Crazy Squirrels implosion is perhaps due to the frequently with which I accidentally run over the Sane Squirrels, thus leaving the Cray/Sane ratio at an imbalance.

9. Smart Start Cinnamon Bars are my new favorites. Had two for an after-dinner snack tonight. Yeah, that's how I roll.

10. American Gangster? Good, but not as good as I expected. Movie theatre popcorn? Yeah, still as good as I expected.

11 (Bonus!). And lastly, I broke my candy fast to indulge in a little Mike n Ike action Sunday night. Sure it wasn't enough that I gorged myself at dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and boyfriend, but then I topped it off with a box of sugar and some fake butter over high-transfat popcorn. God Bless America.


Cheese, Me, Devin, and Patrick: Post-Black Tie Bingo, Pre-Movie Theatre Binge

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Black Tie Bingo

My sister and her husband tend to throw these really great parties. My sister LOVES to entertain, and between her and my mom, can cook something SILLY.

Last night was no exception. the theme for the party was Black Tie Bingo, and the girls has to war their best party dress (that they wore only once - so think bridesmaid's dresses) and guys had to wear a black tie (didn't have to be tux, just a black tie). I wore a dress I literally wore twice in my life, about five years ago, and Cheese (who, by the way, is in town for two weeks - yay!!) looked amazing in his new black tie and suit.


It's me!


It's Cheese!

This is Cheese and my friend Joe (you may recognize him from the wedding pictures!) Joe was looking all daper, but his wife was unable to join us because they couldn't get a sitter. This is Cheese and Joe "pouring one out" for her!


My mom catered the event, and the food was seriously SICK (I called her this morning and told her that, and she worriedly responded, "Why honey? What was wrong with it? People got sick?") No, that's a way of saying that it was so ridiculously good Cheese and I permanently planted ourselves by the table all night. Beef tenderloin on croissants, chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce (all homemade) crab cakes with homade mustard sauce, some amazing things which I have no idea what was on it but DAMN! There was so much more, but I can neither spell them, nor fully explain how good it was.

My sister also hired a bartender, which would explain why everyone was so shitfaced by night's end (Cheese, Joe and I being the exceptions).
The hostess with the mostest, and her gorgeous son, Nolan. Nolan lasted about ten minutes from the time I got there until the time his little model feet slid into his Nebraska Huskers onesie. Oh, apparently Ellie's friends call herson Zoolander, because of his recent Ford Modeling contract. If you look closely, you can see his version of Blue Steel.

Ellie doing her duty as caller. Did I mention that I won one round of Bingo? I walked away with some Williams Sonoma soap and lotion. But Cheese and I didn't win the Best Dressed Couple Award. I call bullshit on that. Recount!!!


It was a really fun night. My sister definitely did it up Martha Stewart style. And as I mentioned Cheese is here (got in Friday night) and we have pretty much just been hanging out. He is staying through Thanksgiving, and will likely extend his trip. YAY!!!!

You know what that means? More pictures!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Punishment

Today was my long run. Well, long for me. It was about 7.5 miles, so I decided to do it on the lakefront path. My friend, Warren (the running guru who has completed about 11 marathons and led me complete my two Chicago marathons) nicely agreed to run with me. He is training for Rome in the spring. He's a running machine.

By the way, I brought my camera to take a picture of us, but he refused. He said, "No one wants to see my ugly face." Sissy.

Anyway, I woke up this morning with sore knees, faltered over whether or not to do it today, and gave in.

As the run began, I immediately knew there were problems. The knees pretty much were in agony over the entire run, so much so that at two points, I even asked Warren if we could walk.

And while the conversation with my running buddy was great, the internal dialogue went something like this:

Me: Oh, knees, please feel better. Please let this be one of those things where, once you settle in, you feel better.

Knees: Yeah, okay, Big Girl. Let US do you a favor. Let US get you through.

Me: I sense some anger, Knees.

Knees: Anger? Anger?!? How intuitive of you. By our calculations, you do long ride Sunday, cross train on the Elliptical for an hour Monday, do yoga, swim AND run yesterday, and you expect us to be happy? Girl, please.

Me: Okay, okay, okay! So I haven't treated you so well these last few days. I just got really excited about training, and figured I would see what I could do.

Knees: Says the lady whose been rehabbing a back injury for the last nine months, and has already had two surgeries on us from over-usage. Real smart. Hey, aren't you a doctor?

Me: Well, you don't have to get so sarcastic. That's my fighting tool. And besides, I already apologized.

Knees: Really? I didn't hear it. Hey other knee, did you?

Other Knee: Nope. Can't hear anything over the throbbing pain that is radiating under my cap.

Me: Guys, listen. I really am sorry. I know you and my back are taking the most abuse in the next several months. I was wrong. I should have given you a day off. In fact, I will give you a day off tomorrow. I promise. Not even a swim. A whole day off!

Knees: Oh how very generous of you. As long as we make it through the pounding you are currently delivering to us, right?

Me: (Silently weeping) I am begging. And I don't beg. Anymore. Not even for food.

Knees: Alright, fine. We'll stop hurting for the last few miles. Besides, your Back told us it wants to punish you for a while, so I guess we can step aside.

Me: I understand. And guys? I promise - no more being a pighead. You work hard, you deserve your days off.

Knees: It's about time you give us some respect. Now, Back - it's your turn.

So that's how it went down.

Lesson learned.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's late, and I need to eat some more Ibuprofen. For dessert. To compliment the nice plate of Aspirin I ate for dinner.

Yum.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Moments When the Miles Aren't So Hard

7:59 PM.

Knock on the door.

Stranger: "Is this apartment ---?"

Me: "Yes."

Stranger: "Then this is for you."


Special delivery from California.

He's been working almost 100 hours a week, and yet he still takes the time to think of this and do it. And send the card I received in the mail earlier today.

My heart is so full it hurts.

I love that feeling.

How did I land this?

Friday can't get here soon enough.

And then I'm not letting him leave.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Frequent Flyer Miles

Wow. Check out this schedule:

  • December 21 - Kansas for Christmas (time to meet the BF's parents!)
  • January 25 - Miami, Florida for 1/2 marathon (with the BF!)
  • February 24 - New Orleans to cheer on my sister as she runs the marathon in hopes of qualifying for Boston (run Devin!)
  • March 8 - Tennessee for my younger brother's wedding (all grown up!)
  • April 13 - Ironman Arizona (fingers crossed!)
  • April 21 - Boston, to cheer on my sister, who WILL qualify (chance of a lifetime!)

Holy mother of all things air travel. God, I hope I have enough vacation time.

On that note, time to set up more private practice clients. Something's gotta fund the next six months.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Bank

So another week, another long(ish) ride in the books. Right now, my back is feeling okay, but I know that the next five months will be peppered with regular chiro appointments, bi-weekly massages (already scheduled through the end of January) and continued improvements to my diet (and no, I did not give into the sugar shakes of the previous posts - I stood my ground, and ate some high-fiber cereal instead - you're welcome, colon).

And on Tuesday, I start yoga!!!

A friend has been talking to me about getting started for a while, and frankly I have tossed the idea around since the back injury. But I didn't really trust my gym to try it out there, and was really too lazy to look for a yoga studio (despite the fact that I live in one of the most granola-y towns where yoga studios are like Starbucks). So when I was introduced to a studio in the neighboring north suburb, I said, "Hell yeah!"

I was supposed to start tomorrow, but my newly appointed yoga partner can't go, so alas, it will have to wait 'til Tuesday. I was just reading on the benefits of the yoga on back injuries, as long as you don't over do it (which, at this stage in the game, I have no desire to do - quite a far ways from the old, push through the pain Megan). So there's that.

On a separate but related note, when I was doing the IM training last year, I started making a list of the costs related to this event. I think I need to start doing that again, if for no one else than myself, because seriously, I can really let this stuff ruin my otherwise rational perspective on money. Although, I do like to believe that in the end of all of this, I will be stronger than ever, and hopefully on the road to a lifetime of successful races.

So like Go Mom Go commented a couple posts back, all of this - the increasingly long rides, the sometimes-crappy swims, the used-up weekends, the coach/chiro/massage therapist/yoga - they are all deposits into the Bank Of Ironman.

Oddly, the more deposits I make, the more monetary withdrawals I am forced to make. And when your account is at the Bank of No Cash Flow, balancing the checkbook with all this activity is like an effort in futility.

Sigh.

Is it April yet?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Shakes

It's Saturday night.

I worked all day in private practice, have been working on reports all night, am having SERIOUS sugar withdrawals, there's not a single honey wheat pretzel in the house, and I'm 1500 miles and six days away from seeing my BF (who I have not seen in three weeks).

AND I just banged my funny bone writing this, which is not only NOT funny, but has numbed my left hand.

Please, does anyone have a good joke or story? Anyone?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Three New Reasons I Love IM Training

This is the beginning of what I hope to be a really long list of things I love about IM training. I feel like, going through this for a second time, and following a really horrible and disappointing back injury, I am a lot more appreciative of the little things. So here's to training!

Why I Love IM Training:

1. Long workouts and 2-a-days justify a REALLY long and REALLY hot shower. Ahhhhhhh.....

2. My math skills are steadily improving with my endurance (lap counting and adding, foot strikes and cadence, pedal strokes, money subtracted from grocery fund for chiropractors/coach/masseuse, etc.)

3. In the last two weeks, I have literally shoved anything I can find down my throat that could be remotely justified as food (qualifier: it stood still for more than five seconds or could be covered in ketsup/bbq sauce) AND this is what happened:

Oh yeah. I figure it's at least an inch. Not that I am trying to lose weight (I am not), and truth be told, it likely has something to do with the abstinence from daily meals of Mike n Ikes and Red Vines (minus one relapse on Swedish Fish candies last weekend - I was stressed, I already psychoanalyzed it), but I'll take it. Plus, I am taking to the idea that if you eat a bunch of small meals through the day, you metabolism hikes up, which is what I have been doing.

Now if only I can find the desire to hit the weights, I may be able to make something out of this soft shell.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fish Out of Water

Before I left for my swim this afternoon, Cheese said to me, "Swim like a fish. You're making yourself stronger. Now go tear up that pool. GOGOGOGOGO!"

So I tried.

And I did swim like a fish.

If that fish had no fins.

Or gills to breathe.

And was left for dead on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Ya know, there are times when you have a bad swim, and then there are the BAAAAAAD swims.

I was slated to do a 2100 (as a point of reference, I did a 2200 at 41:19 last week - not fast, but solid for me). The warm-up was okay, but it all fell apart during the main set. At one point, I noticed I was wiggling through the water. Not gliding, as a fish might do, but wiggling, like a worm dropped into a bowl of water.

Wiggling.

Try as I might, I couldn't find my form. And boy did I want to quit when I looked at my watch and saw I was only 25 minutes and about 1100 yards into it. Yikes.

The only thing that got me through was hearing the voice in the back of my head saying, "You're making yourself stronger." So I may not have swam the perfect 2100, but I stuck with it, thus making my mind stronger. Hey, something needed to grow today, and if it couldn't be my swim endurance, it might as well be my mind. 'Cause that will for sure come in handy in Arizona.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

On My Way

Oh, training.

How I do love you and fear you, all at the same time.

When I was getting ready for bed last night, I looked at what my bike workout was for this morning, as was a tad surprised to see it was a 1:45 ride.

Now, I know to most of you, that's so short it may not even be worth doing. But to me, it would be my longest yet. Pair that with the upcoming training plans I just received from my coach (which includes a 2:15 bike and 1:30 run), and I got a little scared. Kinda like Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush, when she almost dies surfing, then can't get back into the water, even though she knows she has the ability. And she ends up mentally talking herself out of it most of the time.

Of course, I am not Kate Bosworth (I'm taller, thicker, have brown hair, and no coke problem), and surfing is not within the realm of things I know how to do, but you get the picture.

So I got on the bike today kinda freaked out. But guess what?

Yeah, I was fine. And I still am, sitting here a couple hours later. I managed to even take a shower and lean over for the soap without pain. Now THAT is an accomplishment oft taken for granted.

With each new completed workout, I am seeing my body start to snap back into shape. The muscles in my legs and shoulders are coming back. The ability to run for more than 30 minutes without gasping is coming back. And my tolerance for sitting on a trainer for longer than 30 minutes without crippling myself is coming back. And I have not talked myself out of a single swim thus far. P.R.O.G.R.E.S.S.

All of this is to say that IM Arizona is coming into view. I have been asked by and talked to my family, friends, and Blogger friends about sharing a house down there (rented or borrowed - we're not sure yet), looking into flights, and research new training clothes for the winter training and the race. I even managed to watch the Versus broadcast of the '07 race I had Tivo'd while on the trainer today, and without crying. Though this may be getting ahead of myself just yet, it keeps it real for me. So yay.

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, I have written a longer version on the training/health/life update, but am still hesitant to post it, almost like not wanting to get TOO excited too early. So I will keep on doing the smaller workouts, and post when I feel more secure about the health of my back.

That's all I got, boys and girls.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Patches

I don't recall why it started, but around the time when my dad was sick, my family was goofing around and they nicknamed me "Patches." I think it was because I developed this horrible habit of scratching my head when I got stressed out, which caused my hair to fall out. In patches.

Since that time, I have stopped scratching my head as a form of relief, and the hair eventually grew back. I then replaced this bad habit with shopping and Red Vines.

Hey, we all have out vices.

And since that time, my naturally curly, really thick hair has grown back, in full force.

However, yesterday morning I was taking a shower, and I noticed an unusually large amount of hair in my hand. Then last night, when I was taking another shower (yes, I shower often three times daily - maybe this is part of the soon-to-be-mentioned problem) and literally a CHUNK came out. It was all knotted up, and the size of a grape.

I was like, WTF?

And then finally, when I thought my week's quota of hair had come out, I was showering after my swim this morning, and guess what - same thing. Not to mention the fact that I threw my clothes in the laundry minutes before, and they were covered with strands of my hair, as is the floor of my arpartment/dorm room.

So suffice to say, I am now worried.

I remember a time, as a kid, I used to wish for pin-thin, straight hair. I hated my hair, and even remember asking for the hair-thinning device they show on info-mercials for Christmas.

If I only knew then....

But now I have come to LOVE my hair. I do. It's really soft, and curly, and flows down my back, and I just it. But now it very well might be leaving me.

Dudes, seriously, I am only 31. I am not ready for this. I don't want to be bald by my next birthday.

And why does it only fall out up there? Why can't it simply fall out in other places? Sure would save me a ton a dough each month in bikini waxing. Geesh.

Although, hold up - that might be a little weird. Can you imagine getting out of the pool one morning, and leaving behind a little swarm of private-part hairs?

Okay - just grossed myself out.

And what doctor does one go to see about this? A dermatologist? My gyne? I don't really have a GP, so I feel stuck. Maybe it's nothing, but I am kinda worried. Of course, it could be the fact that that I wear my hair in a ponytail everyday, wear a swim cap a couple times a week, don't often brush it unless I go out, and have a thing for a flat iron every now and then. But I have never colored it or done any real damage to it, so I don't know what's up.

Any thoughts?