Friday, October 31, 2008
It isn't too big of a deal, so long as I monitor my fluid intake over the next day. I started feeling that achy feel yesterday morning, but I just figured I was sleepy. But this morning I woke up with a really sore throat and I knew that I must've been draining (and snoring, sorry Don!) last night. He too has a bit of congestion and poor little Mari has been fighting it for a few days. No fever for any of us, just having to walk around sneezing and blowing our noses.
I'm thinking positively, though and I know this will somehow vanish when we leave the time zone, so by the time I land in NY, my super duper immune system will kick into high gear and I'll be good to go.
So other thank chicken soup, what are some quick fix home remedies to nip this thing in the bud?
Oh and a prayer for my mom. She's not been feeling so hot. Her RA is in full force and she's having issues with the insurance company. (Don't even get me started on that one!) She's adamant about continuing her plans to come to NY, so I hope she can remain mostly pain free and have a good time. All the more reason to really focus my efforts and be there. Her sacrifices continue to amaze me!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
- Samantha, my sister - Mile 1 goes to her because she's always gone before me, being the big sister. She was there for my first steps in life, and she'll be in my heart on race day, cheering me on, encouraging me from afar, and reminding me to not rush through.
- Don, my beloved - He started this journey with me and encouraged me along the way. Mile two because that is where Don is comfortable running/training.
- Chae-lynn, my honorary running coach - This is where I'll hit the 5K point. It's here where I'll remember chasing her on that prediction run. It's running after her and hearing of her running stories that inspired me that I had it within me to achieve this milestone. Thank you Chae for the laughs and most of all, for making me aware of the importance of looking good while running. You make it look easy!
- My Tia's & Tio: Frances, Vicki, and Velo - I know life wasn't always easy for them. I set out to raise money for a cause to fight poverty. They struggled and learned to be frugal. I know their sacrifices for my Mother (because she was the youngest) instilled in her something so great and wonderful, that it's passed on to me. They are incredibly amazing and I dedicate this mile to them. Thanks for always encouraging me to follow my dreams! And Robin Hood thanks you too!
- My Michael and his Marco - Not too much longer for Michael to run in his relay and I think he's running 5 miles, give or take. Thanks for always being by my side! What a plethora of life adventures we've shared and here's yet another. Marco, who grew up in NY, reminds me of perseverance. His calming words of encouragement will resonate in my body, that and the image of one of his characters from Heaven Forbid(s)! ha ha ha!
- Will - I'll remember that run we went on and were rewarded with Starbucks afterwards. What a run! Pushing Mari up-hill, listening to Paperboy's Ditty. Gotta nail that nut, boy! You trekked through the mud just last weekend, grinning there at the end. I'll remember your grin and smile.
- Brother - Seven years younger, nipping at my ankles. I'll remember our walks that we took last summer and it'll be at this mile where I'll pause to smile and throw my guns up and holler: RAIDER....and I know I'll hear a faint POWER coming all the way from Lubbock, followed by a tink, tink, tink from Tink. Yes, your voice and bell are that LOUD!
- Danika, my little sister from Cali - Woot, woot! I'll get to see you a week later. Such a zest for life, you remind me to remain youthful and vibrant. Your appreciation for the little things is contagious and I plan to really take in the entire experience, so that I can recount it again later.
- Jessica & Donna - Even though I don't get to see these two very often, they are always there supporting me. Jessica, for the long walk breaks we used to take at your shortest job, EVER! Donna, for always being there. We don't get to talk much, but you are a super mom, always pushing hard for your kids and reserving a bit of time for yourself, which is always important. Thanks for being examples of moms who know the importance of maintaining a balanced sense of self!
- Carol, my Mother-in-law - Because this is how many miles I ran on our visit a few short weeks ago. Also, because even though she doesn't see it, she's a pillar of strength. An incredible foundation of determination and hard work, that is exemplified everyday in my husband. Thank you for welcoming me into your world with open arms. I can also hear her voice from far away. I know she'll be there as I smear my Chicken Poop on my lips, listening to the race online, if her Internet is working.
- Camille and Kelly - Gifts from Prince of Peace, I'm so glad to have met them at church. They are true friends. Kelly is an expert time manager, dedicating to get up early to get in her workouts before work. Thanks for sharing the Alaska vacation. Hopefully, I'll be thawed out by now and not thinking of Alaska! And a special shout out to Camille because of those many, many walks we took at Arbor Hills that got the ball rolling on all of this.
- Mikey-Mo, my cousin from Lubbock and the rest of the 806 kids - That includes his band Perfect Weather for a Stranger. Shout out to Steve-o, Zeke, Isaac, Dena, Josh, Chino, Liz, that whole group of kids crack me up. I know I can finish this race because we've completed many, many long weekends of non-stop partying that went hours and hours of unmentionable debauchery. Thanks for the LOLs!
- Margie, my godmother and cousin - A certified cancer butt-kicker and a living beacon of hope and strength. I'm halfway there!! You pushed that rock up a hill for months and months and months enduring all of those chemo and radiation treatments. I know I can go through a few more hours of running in your honor!
- Grandma & Grandpa - Grandma instilled a great sense of creativity, but an even larger sense of adventure. She has the best stories of faraway lands and interesting people. Hopefully, I'll meet a few interesting people along the way where I can chat to pass the time. This mile is dedicated to them and their dancing image that is burned in my mind. I can hear Glen Miller's "In the Mood" playing in my head.
- Daddy - The race is won by running...It sure is. It all started with the magic socks. Always, always pushing me to go faster, further, longer, to endure despite adversity. I'll be knocking on that wall and I can hear your voice through the masses. Run, Bianca, Run! It's like when I was training in the summers and he'd be walking around the park and I'd do my best to try and catch him. I didn't care how tired I was, I still ran. And even at the end, he wouldn't slow down, but rather increased his stride so I'd have to give a little more. Must give a little more, I know I have a little more. Thanks for sending Momma along!
- Friends Galore! - Lindsey, Jennifer, Bo, Anwar, Erika, Hayley, Jorge, Jason, Mike, Matt, Tony, Cousin Simon and Stacy, Richie, Rich, Bling, Breeyon Miguel, DAM Mommas (especially Jacki, Elizabeth, and Tracey), Danny (my original running friend, remember 5AM summertime runs?), Diane, Edna, Nnamdi, Shawn, Susie, Sylvia, Tamera, Trish, Troy, Vincci, Aaron...each of them at one point or another brightened my day and made my life ever so much better simply because they were in it. Thank you for touching my heart.
- Jeev - He gets one all on his own. I plan on pausing for a moment to laugh hysterically, because inevitably when I'm with Jeev, it's a jolly holiday laughfest. Then, I'll immediately think of lots of Economic books, Great Wall, and hanging Christmas lights from my roof and getting stuck. Thanks for the laugh Jeev, and that laughter will fuel me forward.
- GiGi Skip - Thanks for sending a note of encouragement! Her stories are lovely tales that should be written for many to enjoy. I look forward to lunches and dinners and the conversations we have with her. She's an amazing woman and I'm looking forward to reading her note.
- Aunt Kathy & Pete - These two siblings have adventures to fill an encyclopedia Britannica. I know where my beloved gets his wanderlust and I'm thankful for that. Cheers to adventures...and purses...and flaming pumpkins being launched from trebuchets!
- Mari-moo! - I get to see my baby at this mile. She was the reason I delayed the original plan of running in a marathon when I was 30, and my what a good reason that was. Hopefully, the endorphins will kick in when I see her and that will fuel me to the next several.
- Clyde and the the Plano Pacers - Jennifer, Chrissy, Matt, Frank, Kelly, Rena, Roy, Steve...boy oh boy, I know I'm forgetting some names! Mile 21 goes to you, because Clyde and Matt were there when I ran this distance and OMG...what a rush. I struggled through and they guys were there. Clyde=Inspiration Personified. I'm so glad I found this group and I'm fortunate they helped me with my training.
- Ada - My Ada...teammate, best friend, sister, innovator, inspirer...I can hear YOUR voice loud and clear. I know I'm going to want to struggle through, but I can hear it. MTXE...Man, how I HATED that phrase, but when you said it, it was better. And then when your girls made WWAD? I guess I'll have to write that in Sharpie on my hand as well. Because she's not one to give up or walk away. I'll be channeling that moment in time where she chased down that mugger and scared the living bejeezus out of him.
- My online blogging friends - Julie P., Shannon, Nan, Jessie, Lynn Michelle, Jenna, Ed, Perez, Zar, Julie A., Todd, Craig, Bunny, Sherien, Miles, Jessie, Robert...their words entertain me for hours. Why do I need to buy books when I have their words to read, which are more interesting, and better for my pocket book! I'll be thinking of those tales to distract me for these last few miles.
- Ashley - I'm so very glad that we reconnected. When she and I played volleyball in college, she loved going on runs. Running was an integral part of her life and she would get so jazzed to run. Wouldn't you know it that when I found her, she was running and training for marathon(s). Yes, multiple! Her donation was so very meaningful to me and I can picture her bouncing along in her signature jog. She makes running look like gliding, and while my own contorted way of running is not nearly as graceful, I know I'll "channel my inner Kenyan!"
- Maverick Folks - Christina, Tsimberg, Gridnev, Tom, John(s), Brian, Brett, Luke, Angel, Xochitl, Crystal, Vickie, Rick, Gen, Paula, Zhanna, Kate, Rebecca, Stephen, Paul, Curtis, Carter, Joe, Anne, Marjan, Brittany, Michelle, Katherine, Laura, Deidre, Evan, and Lee...thank you guys for believing! Thank you for the lunchtime jokes. I need that lighthearted humor to get me through. A special thanks to Catherine M. for the early dialog to help make this dream come true. Mile 25 goes to you, since I'll be passing the NY office as I round that corner for the last bit!
- Momma - She'll be there cheering for me at the end. Daddy bought her a finish line pass, so I'm sure I'll hear her, as well as see her. Her shrill whistle, enthusiasm, and bits of Spanglish thrown in. Andale Biankeee! You can do it Mamas! Recio, con fuerte! And I'm sure tears will be streaming down my face (much like they are now), partly because of the pain and partly because of sheer elation for the end. Momma may not be able to run, but boy can she work her wheelchair and scooter. I'm her legs on November 2 and I know my legs will be strong enough to get me to the finish. Thank you Mom, for being my inspiration and role model. YOU ARE THE REASON. Love you!
Whew...4 days to go! And when it is all said and done, I can proudly say that I ran longer than the winner. LOL!
and that last .2 is for me, because I'll be amazed and happy to say, I did it!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
It's here already. I can't believe it. I know these next several days are going to whiz by in a hurry, so today's the day to get everything done. I'm so ready and I can't wait for it. Don is gathering your happy thoughts to include in my envelope, which I'll open when I start hitting my wall. If you want to send positive thoughts my way feel free to shoot Don an email with your words and he can print them off. Or, for those of you who actually see me, you can just hand me your words in an envelope and I'll put them in my big envelope to open at that time. So far I've only received two items, but that's ok, I know more will pour in soon! :)
Oh, and a quick sidenote: Mari is suffering from some pretty severe diaper rash. We had to put her in disposables for about a day and a half before we could finish washing up all of her G's. Well, sure enough, she got a rash (just like she did the other times, except then, it was just a mild case that we caught immediately before it turned really angry.) Anyway, it really sucks and We gave her a bath and put on some Boudreaux's Butt Paste. I'm not sure it that will work, but it is definitely clearing up more than it was.) I just feel so awful about it and helpless. What are some of your home remedies? Right now she's wearing a cloth diaper, since I read that will help her breathe more.
Anyway, here are some pictures from the weekend!
Here, Mari is eating a pumpkin bagel from Einstein's. This was her first bagel ever and she just chowed down on it. What made it even more hilarious was that she just took it from me. (As we speak, she's completely FLIPPED her standing activity gym over and is singing and talking away, completely enteraining herself. She's so stinkin' cute and adorable.)
Here she is passed out after a long walk at Arbor Hills. Isn't she angelic? Ahhh...
Here we are at the Muddy Buddy on Sunday. I'm running on very little sleep, but I'm so flippin' happy! What more could I ask for? Hanging out with my daughter while we watch her daddy swim in the mud? Fun stuff!! Oh, and I must also mention that one of my besties was with me too!
Oooooh YEAH!!! This was after he crawled through the mud pit. Isn't he sexy?
And this is the mud pit that he and Will crawled through. Yes, they were submerged in it!! This was their reward for biking/running 6 miles. ha ha!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
At 2AM she stirred and so we gave her a tiny bottle of water and she quickly went back to sleep and so did I. Thanks to Don for getting out of bed, though. I slept for another three hours, nearly, and fought that space between sleep and awake. I had to shake off the sleepies, and boy was that hard. I yanked my running tights on, pulled on my long sleeved Robin Hood shirt, and laced my shoes. My head was bobbing while brushing my teeth. I kissed my beloved goodbye and kissed my baby goodbye. Both were fast asleep and resting. I met up with the group and I was so very, very glad they were there.
it was cold.
Yes, it was so cold that the above statement warranted its very own sentence. It was a nice 44 degrees out. I was ever so grateful for my skinny scarf and Dollar Tree gloves. We IMMEDIATELY took off running. Jennifer, I'd met before, was the friendiest and most awake of us all. Then there was Frank and Gene (I think that was his name). Jenn had remarked how fast Frank was, so I was certain he'd probably take off. Right when we were about to leave, he disappeared, then reappeared again wearing short sleeved shirt and shorts. AYFKM??? Wow...he's hardcore, I thought. I heard him say something to Gene and there was that fabulous accent that I'd heard everyday for week more than 5 years ago.
I was whisked away to Rome. Every day, I walked up the flight of stairs and there was this curly haired friendly young gentleman, smiling at me and greeting the day. He worked the front desk at the Hostel where we were staying. I don't remember his name, but I remember his voice and his face: dark curly hair, blue, blue eyes, a boyish face, and that oh-so-luscious Australian accent.
Anyway, it happened that I was paired to run with Frank and Gene and Jenn were together. I thought, oh well, this cold weather is enough to make me run faster! So Frank and I got to talking and next thing I knew, we were at the halfway point. I hadn't noticed how fast we were going, but at the halfway point we were still sticking to the 10 minute miles and that was with the walking/water breaks. He was here as a consultant, getting somethings implemented. I gathered that he was only here for another month before heading back home to his family. It must be tough to be away from them that long. We continued chatting about cultures, life, and what not. The last two miles, my belly was aching and not cooperating. I prayed to not have to stop at the gas station. I know I can make it home! Frank started talking about Australian football. Similar to our very own football, but different. I was quite intrigued and LOVE learning about international sports. I did a quick search on The Google (ha ha...thanks Jenna for the "W" reference!) and found some delightful eye candy. Next thing I knew, my legs were taking me to the end and I was at home in the warmth.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Unfortunately, the next few evenings and days weren't as great as a result of it, but I'm glad her immune system is building up. Anyway, as a reward for her bravery, we ventured out to the State Fair. I was so excited since this is something I go to every year and I was very afraid that we were going to miss it this year. You have no idea how much that thought saddened me. Me, not going to the fair??? Horrific!
Luckily, Don finished up early and met us on over here for a flu shot and an adventure to the fair. It was all so last minute that we were going to go directly from work. Let me tell you, I've never been happier for wearing flats to work in my life! My work gifted us with tickets to the fair, so we were off. We immediately parked right off of 30 for $5. It was a short walk, definitely shorter (and cheaper) than our super secret parking spot. I'm glad we had blankets for Mari because there was a slight chill in the air. We get to the front and are so excited by the progress that DART has made. Next year, we just might ride the rail. Anyway, there's this family of four who spoke very little English. They were ripped off by a guy selling sodas out front so you could get a discounted ticket. They had enough cash to buy 1 soda, which would only yield a discount for 1 ticket. They would save $7, but still have to pay full price for 3 more. When we walked up, we didn't need all 3 tickets since Mari got in free. I ran over and gave them our extra ticket. They were very thankful and I'm glad they could use it!
We walk in and take an inventory of our cash. We already said we weren't going to put anything on credit. So, we had $25 cash. Not a whole lot of cash, but it would have to work. Plus, it wasn't cheap ride night, so I was really scared how much the slide was going to cost. We bought our corn dogs from Fletcher's and while Don was doing that, I snapped the picture of Mari. She was still kinda sedated from the two drops of infant Tylenol I gave her just before the flu shot.
We hungrily ate our corn dogs, while we strolled along the Midway. I was greatly disappointed by the lack of creepiness from the carnies. Usually, they are dirty-looking, raspy-voiced, chain smoking, pushers of their games. These guys were ordinary, normal looking "volunteer" types, friendly and unassuming. What gives?? Only one even asked us to play a game, all of the rest just stood there smiling waiting for someone to walk up to play. This was an alternate reality. Oh, and can I say that there were people there, but not that many, it was far from crowded!
We turned the corner and there it was: The Slide!! Yippee!! But booooo!!! It cost 10 tickets!! That's a whole sheet of tickets for both Mari and I to ride. BUT, she had to be a minimum of 34 inches to ride, so no slide this year. I liked how the sign said, no pregnant women, but that wasn't an issue last year either. Nice. Oh well, she'll just have to wait until next year and so will I. Since we still had our tickets, we went off in search of Tornado Taters (another favorite of mine). I found 'em and even though they were cooked extra crispy, which I really don't like, they were good because this time, I was brave enough to not only douse them with hot sauce, but with vinegar as well. Surprisingly, it was delicious, albeit salty and tangy. Next up, fresh squeezed lemonade. Mmmm...not as good as the lemonade stand at the Lubbock fair, but it was still pretty good. It quenched our thirst, that's for sure. We headed to the livestock arena so Mari could see a cow up close. We pushed the stroller up to a calm one and they both just stared at one another. Mari seemed unimpressed and turned away. Then, we headed on over to visit the sheep. They were a little more active and cute. Jenna, maybe you can explain this one to me: why were they wearing hooded blankets??? I quietly leaned over to Don and uncomfortably said, "Um...are these sheep members of the KKK?" He laughed, and said, "I doubt it. The probably just got sheared and these outfits keep them warm." But why were they hooded, then??? I was confused. I snapped a fuzzy picture of one chewing on some hay and but it was too fuzzy from my shoddy camera phone. Oh well. Again, Mari was about to hit the snooze button. We then trekked on over to the tractors. Don was drooling over them and I must say, I have had a secret crush on tractors ever since I was a child. I like the old school ones that are shaped like a sneaker. Someday, I'll buy him a fancy one with a built-in Bose speaker system and air conditioning. It will come in handy when we're living on our vineyard or whatever it is we decide to grow.
Finally, we finished off our fair treats with frozen yogurt made with Dole pineapples. mmmm...delish! I put it in front of Mari to entice her and she perked up just a bit for a taste, then immediately went back to her frozen far-off stare. The Starlight Parade did NOTHING for her. She just sat there. Note to self: no fair visit after a flu shot. Poor thing.
That was hands down the cheapest and shortest fair visit ever, but you know what, we still had a great time!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
She's Glinda the Good Witch of the North. Isn't that cute, she's trying to use her wand?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I got to mile 14 and knew that I was going to struggle. I pushed on to 18.5 and just had to walk the last 2. I bid adieu to my running buddy while she powered through. All was not lost, though. I learned a valuable lesson: maintain pace. The first 6 miles we ran at about 9:30 minute pace and I prefer to run between 10 and 10:30 minute pace with water stops about every mile or every other mile. Not only were we speed demoning through, but we didn't make as many water stops as normal. Oh well. Lesson learned. But the ice bath when I got home made it not hurt as much as it could.
Here is Guapo. I know I talk about him a whole lot, but seldom is he caught in a photo. So here he is.
With my beloved at the Bourdain dinner. It was date night for us and we got out of the house to have a 5 course meal date and I sipped on the wine from Don's wine pairing. I also got some beautiful flowers for our date!
Michael and Jeev. They came over to cheer on their teams for the Red River Rivalry.
My stylish 7 and a half year old niece.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I know I should lead off with what I love the absolute most! Foot comfort is of the essence and in cool weather or while sporting around, I must wear socks and not just any socks, but really good fun socks.
All of this sock fascination stems from my early childhood when I was learning to walk. Apparently, I refused to walk. Then one day my father came home and proudly exclaimed to my mother, "Today is the day that Bianca will walk!" She gave him an-are-you-crazy look and decided to humor him. "Oh yeah? And how do you suppose that will happen?" He pulled out a pair of knee-highed striped socks, just my size. He sat me down and explained to me that these were magic socks. If you've ever met my father, you know his level of enthusiasm, and even more so when he's telling a story. Anyway, he put my socks on my feet, stood me up, and said the following words like a magician says their magic words, "Now walk!" He let go of me, I stood there gaining my balance and apparently, I took my first steps. I went from walking to running in no time. Oh, and the best part of it was that those first few days, I stubbornly REFUSED to do any walking unless I was wearing my magic socks. Mari has about 20 pairs of socks and I'm still in search of the cutest, best, most comfortable pair for her!
How could a girl not have a love affair with a beautiful shoe? Two words: Christian Louboutin. I've been drooling over his shoes for well over a year now. Yet, I can't stomach spending $600 on a pair of shoes. Ok, who am I kidding. If I had a spare $600, I totally would!
Anyhow, I'd pushed my love(lust) affair of these shoes in the back of my mind until my mother, out of nowhere, mentioned them. She was watching her daily Oprah and Momma O herself mentioned them and my mother casually asked me if I heard of them. That's like offering a crackhead...well, crack. *sigh* I shrugged my shoulders and told her that I absolutely loved them and enjoyed a weekly stroll by Stanley Korshak just to peek in the shoe window and quietly wave at the beautiful shoes. It's an addiction really. One of those things that you dream about. Me, prancing around in a pair of black Pigalle pumps, baking some cookies, wearing my prettiest apron and my grandmother's pearls. How very June Cleaver indeed!
As for Mari, she has these lovely pair of magic shoes from Umi. So far when she's been in them, she zips around and LOVES these shoes. She doesn't kick them off. And why are they magic? Because she actually stands in them. Yes, she's 8 months old and standing on her very own! She does it with regularity when wearing these shoes too! Awww...she loves her little shoes.
Slide at the Fair
And then there is the slide at the fair. Oh my, I have some sublime memories of that quick gleeful ride. I remember trekking up to the top, helping my mother carry the burlap sack. We'd get to the top and I'd be tremendously afraid I'd tumble down. She'd sit down, and my poor little knees would knock together, afraid she'd take off before I could be adequately settled. Silly of course, because quite unlike me, Momma always had an incredible steady balance and a motherly abundance of safety. Yet, I knew what was coming! She'd wrap her left arm around me and push off with her right hand and we'd go zooming down the slide, faster, faster, FASTER...then slow down at the end. My eyes would get bigger and bigger, and I'd pretend my bottle cap glasses were actually goggles and I was flying through the air like Ameila Earhart. When the year came where I was big enough to ride by myself in my own lane, the races began. My Mom, my sister, and I would line up and we'd take off. I can remember only winning one time, but I didn't mind. I enjoyed taking longer to go down, just as long as I was still able to zip along. Fast forward many, many years later and my bestie and I have our annual slide race. Last year, I don't remember if we had our race. I know it was raining cats and dogs that evening. Even though I was 5 months pregnant, I remember I wanted to slide. Now that I think about it, I think I did go down the slide, it just took me quite a bit longer to climb up. Anyway, I sincerely hope that we get to go this year and I can take Mari for her very first ever slide ride.
I love Arts & Crafts. My grandmother took the time to teach me the importance of all things handmade. My mother would take the time to little crafts involving pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, felt, and clothespins. When I was of the age to be in Girl Scouts, we did all sorts of crafts and boy were those the days I looked forward to. I really did enjoy making a bird feeder out of a pine cone, peanut butter, and bird seed.
I've always had an absurd imagination, at times even delighting and suprising myself with what I came up with. I was recalling to Jenna how I'd come home from my grandmother's house one summer boasting of my mad embroidery skills to my mother. I was so very, very proud of my work and I begged to learn more. She enrolled me in a class at a public library, which was filled with 5 older women, the youngest one was 76 years old. I was 8! I loved listening to the ladies chatter away, focused on their projects. We were all holding our embroidery hoops close to our faces and it must've been quite a sight seeing me with glasses as big as theirs and my young hands trying to keep up with their old, yet nimble fingers. I was proud of the butterfly and flower scene I'd embroidered on my Kmart special handkerchief. I remember being reluctant to walk into that classroom because I didn't see any other kids there and my mom was going to leave me alone for an ENTIRE HOUR! I must've done something right, though, because she entered me into the Fair competition that year and I won a blue ribbon. Albeit, I was only one of two entries, but still. I remember we used to take a field trip to the fair and when we were passing through the arts and crafts section, I pointed out to my teacher that the little piece in the corner was mine. At first I don't think she believed me, but when she sauntered over there, she threw a passing glance and on a second take, she slowly and carefully read my name. I was so proud. Too bad I have no idea what happened to my ribbon or my masterpiece!
At a very early age, I discovered pencils and Big Chief tablets. I coveted every single page and hated wasting the back sides of paper. I'd draw and draw and write and write, even before I knew the alphabet, I'd write my made up stories, emulating the same stories my mother read to me from our bookshelf every night. When I was old enough to know what boredom really was, I'd go up to my mother and in dramatic fashion, throw myself on her arm lamenting, "I'm boooooooooooooooooored!" Not missing a beat with what she was doing, she'd pause, walk to the closet and pull out a notepad and a pencil. "Tenga, here, fill this up. After you are finished, let me know if you are still bored." "What? Are you serious? You want me to write? Fill up every sheet in this 80 page notebook? With what?" "I don't care," would be her answer, "write a story, I know you have many of them in that cabeza of yours!" Tapping me on the noggin. Off I would go to perch myself on the top bunk of our bunkbeds (my big sister had the lower bunk) writing away stories of playing with fairies, love mysteries, and creating drama between my Barbie and He-Man doll. She didn't know if she wanted to quit dating He-Man and go out with Skeletor. It wasn't nice for her to judge him just because of the way he looked!
Anyway, even though it was a pain for me at the time, I now I appreciate her efforts and promoting a healthy imagination and appreciation for the written word. Isn't it nice when words dance together to create a captivating story?
Sunday, October 5, 2008
It was a tough show to watch because Mari kept zipping around in my mother-in-law’s house: getting into everything. I kept chuckling and laughing because she was getting into many things that I had no idea even existed! Everything was so new to her and her tiny fingers wanted to explore it all!
By 10:15, I went in to get Don up. We had to be at his mom’s school in an hour. We got dressed and picked up their Subway order and went to school. I kept trying to keep my eye on the mileage because I would be running around Salina later. We get there and it was nice to see all of the familiar faces. The halls were filled with giddy excitement. After all, it was career day and it isn’t every day (or even every career day) that a real life Black Hawk lands on your playground. There was also a firetruck, a couple of police cars, a seadoo, and a horse attached to a trailer.
The kids were being corralled into lines to form an “M” for a picture. Their school name begins with an M, and all of the kids were decked out in maroon shirts, while the teachers wore black shirts. Don wanted to get on the roof, and I was curious to get on up there. “I must conquer my fear, I must conquer my fear!” I cautiously climbed the ladder, hands clenched tightly, legs trembling. I was very near wetting my pants when I got to the top. I looked down and got the scary-tinglies. I hiked my leg over the edge and walked on the roof. Talk about a total freak-out for nothing! We were on the roof of a one story school! LAME. I felt brave enough to walk to the edge of the roof to get my photos. I gingerly walked around exploring the area, feeling like a rebel for being somewhere that not many people get to go (or rather want to go). Ho-hum! After we grabbed the picture, I had to get down. Again, I was a fraidy cat, but I made it. We eagerly went to the Black Hawk and explored the outside of it. We sat Mari in the pilot’s seat and she had much fun exploring all of the controls. Susan, the pilot who is also a teacher at the school, invited Don to take Mari’s place. She gave him a quick rundown of the helicopter while I walked around to the other side to sit and explore myself. I was quite surprised how bare it all was. Just the very basics, but it got the job done. Sit in a helicopter, check. I can mark that one off of my list. (Hot air balloon is still on my list.) I gave thanks to the servicemen (and women) there and we headed towards the 23 year old horse.
Mari made friends with him, gently petting his mane. We perched her on the saddle and grabbed a photo of her. This was her first time on a horse and she seemed rather comfortable on it. How fun! She was all smiles! We headed inside to enjoy in some conversation while the teacher’s ate. They were celebrating a birthday and I tasted this delicious dessert: pretzel crust, a cream cheese/whipped cream filling, topped with strawberry jello with large chunks of strawberries mixed in it. It was heavenly!
Later on, we headed on over to her Gigi Skip’s place for the meal portion of lunch. She had a nice buffet smorgasbord of goodies!! She said she whipped up some incredible chicken and noodles. I also had stuffed cabbage and baked beans. Oh, and I can’t forget about the salad with a homemade vinaigrette dressing. It was so good, I not only had seconds, but thirds as well. Mmmmmmm!! While Mari had already eaten her squash with mango, she was still hungry, so we fed her some cantaloupe. After lunch, she cheerily explored her living room while we looked through old photos of the family. Some of these pictures were so old, the frames they were matted on were falling apart. There was a picture dated from 1919! We also saw an old picture of Don’s grandfather that if I didn’t know it was an older photo, I could’ve sworn it was him on a horse. It looked so much like Don, I had to do a double take. I didn’t notice it immediately, because my attention was focused on the little one since she’d climbed onto the fireplace and was making her way towards the fireplace tools. But, when I got back, I exclaimed to Don, OMG…that looks like you! Who is that? He proudly said, “My grandpa Jim.” He has a special love and attachment to him and while I’ve never met the man, I feel like I know him. I love how the love for that man still keeps his spirit alive. Gigi said she is going to try to get all of the pictures in a book for us, and I can’t wait! Hopefully we can thumb through those photos for years to come. We had errands to run, so we had to bid adieu and be on our way.
We were off to Target and I’m still amazed when we go to Salina. I take for granted many small luxuries, thinking they’ll be wherever we go. Turns out, not so much. Case in point: I was looking for a sleep sack. I was certain that I’d seen some at Target, but no, there weren’t any. We were also putting together a baby gift for some good friends of ours and I was surprised that they didn’t have gripe water. Really??? No gripe water? I was certain they’d have it at Walgreens, so I made a mental note to go there later. The next day, before heading out to the football game, we had to wait for Joann’s to open, because they don’t open until 10AM on Saturday. 10????!!?? Wow.
Anyway, we got home and I was getting the cranky cranks. I was tired and stuffy and I know I desperately needed a nap. But, I had to go on my run. Instead of laying back down, I changed clothes and threw on my sneakers. I kissed my family bye and told Don that I might be back in an hour or two. I headed on through town, up the hill, then stopped at the coffeeshop for some water. It was about 3 miles at that point. Then, I ran down the hill, crossed the street and ran on the dike/trail. I’d misread the sign and thought that from the beginning to the end was 1.1 mile total. Instead, it was displaying the interval from each of the different starting points. So, from where I started, it was .3 miles, the next marker was .8 miles, followed by 1.1 miles. I ran the full distance and cut back another 1.1 miles before heading back into town. About an hour and a half later, I was on the front porch chatting it up with my father. I went inside to clean up and we headed to La Casita for dinner. This was the first “Mexican” restaurant we went to when I first went to Salina. At the time I was unimpressed and I continued to be unimpressed. I do like the comraderie of that place, though. There were quite a few people from my MIL’s school and eating there is always full of fond memories for both Don and myself. I think my favorite thing is making my own salsa while munching away on the chips. We even dipped our finger into the mild sauce for Mari to taste. She seemed to like it, sticking her tongue out demanding we give her some more. Funny girl!
After dinner, we swung by Walgreens to get the Gripe Water (yaaay, they had it!) and while there I picked up this lip junk called Chicken Poop. Funny name, but this stuff is great! Not as peppermint-y as Burt’s Bee’s, but it is REALLY good. I’m going to have to ask my MIL to throw in a few sticks for me when she ships Mari’s Halloween outfit. (She’s going to be Glinda, the Good Witch from the North! In a few years I’ll dress her as Elphaba!)
We got home and the family swung by to say hello. Mari got to interact with her little cousins and we were able to catch up with a lot of the cousins as well. We were so exhausted, that by 9:30 I’d lost my shine, but the party was still going strong. I grabbed my camera and started snapping some photos to help me stay awake. We were all yawning and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of how tired we all were, but 5 years ago when I first met this family, the same cousins we’d hung out with were all night owls and we were ready to go right along with them. LOL! My, my how life catches up with you, huh? Anyway, I’m so very, very glad they came over and we were able to spend some quality time with them.
The next morning we got up to head on over to Manhattan for Texas Tech v. K-State football game. Going in, Tech was ranked 7th and last time we were ranked that high, we didn’t do such a good job. It was so neat to go visit Don’s alma mater. I’d never been before and it was really cool checking it out. We stopped by Aggieville (the area around the school, full of retail shops, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars). While we were there, we had to pick up school apparel, because Lord knows that we have a dresser full of red and black and just a handful of pieces that are purple and white. After we were shopped out, we decided to head to the game.
Never in my life had I parked in a field that was probably a cow pasture before football season. It was interesting. I was thankful that we had the Equinox! We trekked on over to the stadium and even the parking lot near the stadium reminded me of the parking available at Lubbock’s fair. Just lots of dirt. The parking lot immediately adjacent to the stadium was paved, though. People in Kansas like to convert old school buses into tailgating machines! There were so many of them painted purple and each had a funky name. I guess like boats, you have to name converted school buses. Oh, and a sprinkle of them had a 2nd deck built atop the roof made of converted wooden decks. I wish I would’ve grabbed a photo of that!
Anyway, we went inside and I must say, the stadium is really nice. I liked all of the screens. They were so large and very clear. I was jealous and immediately though Tech needed such screens in their stadium. Throughout the game, I was quite surprised that the vendors weren’t going into the stand to sell their stuff. Then again, the aisles were really narrow and there wasn’t much room for maneuverability. I liked the traditions that K-State had and I was totally jealous of their cheer that was mixed with a cool song. It was complete with arm motions. I learned the movements so I can teach it to Mari. I suppose it is only fair that she know that since I’ve been singing the Tech fight song to her since he was a few minutes old! A cool first: It was Harley day at the game and I’ve never been to a football game where there was a sea of Harley’s circling the field. Talk about ready to rumble! Ha ha! Leading the pack was Willie, the power cat mascot. Fun stuff. Tech won 58 – 28, but we stayed for the very, very end. We even sat through the halftime show, which was pretty good. I was a little disturbed by the dance team gyrating along to the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and “Hey Jude.” Mari was a champ. She actually took two naps during the game.
After the game, we headed back to Salina and gorged ourselves on some Cozy burgers. Mmmm…cute and good little Cozy burgers. Yes, I ate six, an entire bag. Even though we stunk like Cozy, we headed on over to enjoy the rest of the baby shower. Good thing we went to Target earlier in the day to get some goodies for our friends. We hung around there for about an hour until we went back home. While there, I made some hairbows for Mari and wrapped the Christmas gifts for the Tennessee family who will be there for Thanksgiving, and they celebrate Christmas at the same time. I was horribly sneezy that day and when it was time for me to sleep, I had trouble breathing. I was so congested and I feared that Mari would have problems too. I put some saline drops in her nose and thought twice about putting some in my own. I laid down and minutes later I was sleeping soundly for a few hours until I got up from draining so much. Oh well. I’m just glad that I got a full stretch of 5 hours of sleep.
What a busy weekend, but well worth it!
Friday, October 3, 2008
When we bought the car, it came with a free 3 month trial for XM Radio. I had no idea how reliant we’d become on the radio, or how much I looked forward to having it until it was gone. The day we were supposed to leave, he tells me, yeah, too bad we can’t listen to the debate tonight. I told him, what? I’m certain they’ll have it on POTUS 08. He said, yeah, they probably will, but we only have XM preview, I think out service ran out. Well, since I took the car that morning, I checked it out. Wouldn’t you know it, but it certainly had run out. Man oh man! So, I logged into XM with our radio number and the site couldn’t find us. Well, duh! I hadn’t created an online account. So, I go through the necessary steps, entering the information, finally, I’m let beyond the initial site. I browse through the different choices they offer and I can’t select to add service. It keeps telling me that I have to call the number. I look on the bright side, thinking, hmmm…perhaps the customer service rep (CSR) can help get me a better deal. Quite often when I have to call in and actually talk with a CSR, they can save up to 20%! Well, the first time I called, after being in the queue for 7 minutes, the girl answered, giggled hysterically and then hung up on me. GREAT! I call back immediately, bypassing all the computertized voice prompts and this time I’m in the queue for 23 minutes!! Wow, I was really not happy. The guy I got mumbled and talked so fast that I couldn’t understand him. When I asked him to speak a little slower, he didn’t. He just kept going on and on, trying to upsell me on another offer. He was like, with your 3 month commitment, you’d be saving a substantial amount of money. He was quite enthusiastic about it too, but I simply refused to spend a huge chunk of money on something that they MIGHT change their programs in 6 months. I adamantly refused the offer and told him exactly what I wanted. The third time I told him, I must’ve conveyed the right amount of frustration because he deflated and complied. Seriously, it was long and frustrating. My call log read 47 minutes. I couldn’t believe I’d been on the line for that long. What a waste!
Later on that afternoon, when I got in my car, I eagerly turned on the radio. Unfortunately, I still didn’t have it. Bleh…Oh well, by the time I got back into my car after my hair appointment, it was up and I had access to the plethora of channels, including a few new ones as a result of the XM/Sirius merger. Woohoo!!
Fast forward several hours later, and we were listening to the debate. Afterwards, we had access to the many news stations filled with overzealous talking heads, most of whom we didn’t want to listen to. Instead, we turned off the sound and had our own post-debate commentary. An hour after that, we flipped it onto the 90s on 9 station and rocked out all the way to our destination.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
In exciting news: we saved over $60 at the grocery store!!!!! Many thanks to my MIL for clipping coupons and sending them and to Kroger for sending us coupons based on our shopping habits. I was skeptical that it would pay off, but man, their coupons saved us a TON of money!! It was awesome. We saved 30% (yeah, we buy a lot of groceries) and that was the most we'd ever saved on our bill. Needless to say, I was stoked and so was Don. That savings will help to pay for our fancy schmancy date coming up.
Also, the day before yesterday, the house across the major street from us (the alley, the street, then the other alley) was ON FIRE!!! There were a million fire engines, police, and ambulance there. We saw the fire glowing through the trees and could hear them using chainsaws on the roof. The smoke engulfed our backyard and most of the alley too. It was exciting and scary. I really felt bad for that family and I hope they were ok.
Hmmm...what else. Oh, and my neighbor had her daughter. Welcome to the world baby Ava!! She had her at home in the water and I actually talked to her and baby and mom are doing well and mommy looks REALLY great! She was 8lbs, 6 oz. Congrats Jodi!
Mari Update: She's a bonafide climber!!! Seriously, she climbed up her little playhouse slide at school. She's figured out how to climb onto her chair, balance and climb up onto the ottoman, then onto our couch, then the top of the couch. She's so fast and quite the little daredevil. She has an incredible grip on things too! She starting to sign "hungry" with much more frequency. She loves going to her school and totally loves her friends there. This week a new baby started and he's quite colicky. Thank God Mari wasn't a colicky baby. She's actually had a tough time dealing with the screaming baby, but she isn't the only one. All of the others are trying to adapt just the same. Oh, and speaking of my craftiness...I made her a homemade wubanub. Don had an original beanie baby ocotopus. It is bright and fun and she loves it. I sewed her pacifier on the end of it and she seems to really enjoy it. She doesn't have a preference for this one or her frog yet, but she seems to enjoy it just the same. So that's good. Oh, and she really likes picking up her little cereal bits of food. I'm totally impressed!
That's about it. That's what I've been up to, that and lots of catching up at work. It's been really busy there and totally helps the day go by so I don't miss her so much. Don and I are using the Cozi.com calendar to help stay organized and so far we are enjoying it. If you haven't heard of it, it is basically an online calendar to help you stay organized. There's a cool feature where you can send a message to your phone or even your grocery list! Love it!
As far as running, I think another day of super rest and I should be fine. I ran about 3 miles today and it felt good, but my foot is still tender. I'm going to opt out of the 6 mile run and hill training session to nurse it. Don made a good point: Do I want to train more, or do I want to run injury free on marathon day? I opt for the latter. I got my official handbook in the mail yesterday and it's all so real. Wow!! I can't believe it. Seriously, 5 weeks to race day and I can't wait. There's still time to donate if you so desire: http://www.biancavalenciano.com.
Have a great weekend and go Tech!! (p.s. I'm getting my hair done tomorrow, I can't wait.)