Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ab Contest Check-In: This Week I Was a Success!

It's time to report your work for the week, intrepid ab-refiners!

You were either a Saturday or a Sunday starter, and there were four possible five-minute sessions at three-points each. I did my abs on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for 12 points. I also get a bonus point for doing 10 different exercises, for a total of 13 points. Hooray!

Molly, who scored 0 points last week, called this morning to report in. "What was I supposed to do this week?" she asked.

"Oh no." I said, "I'm not falling for that. First you tell me what you actually DID."

It turns out she did three sessions for 9 total points. Much better! Congratulations, Molly, on your solid effort. Your abs thank you, I'm sure.

Everyone can report in the comments. If you did 15 different exercises, your bonus is 2 points.

And now we push to the 30th with this extra challenge: Do a total of 15 minutes of abs (your choice of days) by Tuesday. If you do that, you earn five extra points for your team.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Rare Bird, A Ratlin Bird

For five summers in my late teens and early twenties, I taught environmental education at a camp in Northern Minnesota. I used to handle snakes, turn over rotten logs, and compare notes on interesting mammal sightings with my colleagues. A bear on a morning run? Check. A fox on the soccer field? You bet. A bat in the church sink before mass? My gardening gloves and I totally took care of that, thank you very much.

Since then, I've become a total wimp about wildlife. I don't like bugs, I don't like birds, and I for sure don't like anything in the least bit large.

So, the other night when two raccoons were just hanging out by the oak in my front yard, climbing up and down the tree and staring at me with their beedy little eyes, there was no way I was going out to the car, which required a walk within fifteen feet of them, to get the candy I'd purchased to eat with my friend Jordan.

Jordan gave me a hard stare. "Give me the keys," she said, and then she marched out the front door, clapping her hands together and yelling to the "racoonies." One of them slunk toward the back yard, and the other one scrambled up the tree.

"You are so brave," I told her when she came back with the Hot Tamales.

Another hard stare from my pal. "Well," she said, "I just have never heard of raccoons attacking anyone."

"But they're rabid," I whispered. Jordan rolled her eyes and handed me the candy.

And then today, I looked up from my computer and saw a gigantic wild turkey standing on my fence. As I was running for the camera, I saw another wild turkey standing a few feet down.

The turkeys stayed on the fence for an hour. Good Lord!

Attention wildlife: we live in the middle of the city. Please seek entertainment elsewhere.

5-Minute Abs

With 13 of 14 participants reporting, here are the current ab stats through Saturday. Sunday's points will be added to our next check-in total - this one is just for the first three sessions (MWF, or TTHS).

1. Pat and Emily - 17 points
2. Liz and KC - 16 points
3. Avery and Amy - 15 points
4. Anne B. and Maritha - 12 points
5. Cyndy and Abby - 9 points
5. Theresa and Sheila - 9 points
7. Anne N. and Molly - 6 points

Pat, Liz, and Amy got 9 out of 9 possible points. Excellent work, women! Emily scored a 2-point bonus for amazing variety - check out the comments for ideas from her.

On Saturday, we'll check again on our efforts. You're either a Saturday-starter or a Sunday-starter (your choice), and then you have to maintain an every-other-day schedule until our next check-in next weekend. The variety bonus will stand as is. Then, we'll push to the finish on the 30th and one team will be declared a winner.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ab Contest Check-In: I'm A Failure Already!

Ok, so after all my tough talk, I totally forgot to do my abs on Thursday (I was a Tuesday starter); however, I did do 10 different exercises for a bonus.

I did regular crunches, plank pose, side planks right and left, bicycles, bicycles with arms, scissors, crunches with my legs to the left and right, and this horrible thing that Dan demonstrated for me where you lie down, keep you arms to the side, and raise and lower your straightened legs while trying to "walk forward" with your glutes. It was so awful, I can't even tell you.

Here's how we'll do the scoring: 3 points for each of your ab sessions done on the correct day. So I have 6 points for that - 3 for Tuesday and 3 for Saturday. Then, if you did 10-14 different exercises, you get 1 bonus point. That brings my total to 7. If you did 15 different exercises, you get 2 bonus points. For the bonus, you have to list your exercises in the comments.

Ok, so post your points below for the first three sessions! Like, if you started on Monday, just score until Friday - don't include Sunday if you've kept going. And then, if you want to switch from odds to evens, you can do that this weekend. We'll report in again next week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shef Stubbed His Toe And His Wart Fell Off

I was sitting around in the bathroom reading Waiting for Birdy while Shef zoomed cars around the tub, and I laughed out loud at one of the author's descriptions of the last days of pregnancy.

"What are you laughing about?" Shef asked. "Sarah Palin?"

"How do you know about Sarah Palin?" I asked.

"I've heard of her," he said, simply.

"No, I'm not laughing about Sarah Palin," I said.

As if. I wish. Sob, sob.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ab Contest Partners - Here We Go!

All right, let's review the rules: you MUST do your abs every-other day. That's your main way to earn points. You cannot deviate from your every-other-day schedule and still hope to win. Also, you have to do your abs for five minutes. You can do more, but you won't get any more points. If you do less, you won't get your points at all. We will obviously be working on an honor system here - if you cheat, you're only cheating yourself.

There will be a bonus for including a variety of exercises. If you can do ten different moves per week, you'll get a bonus. You may get more of a bonus if you do fifteen moves. Keep track of the exercises you try for our weekend check-in post.

Ok! So, here are the partners with links to each person's blog. If you have a blog that I don't know about, please post the link in the comments and I'll add it!

Team 1: Cyndy and Abby

Team 2: Maritha and Anne B.

Team 3: Avery and Amy

Team 4: Theresa and Sheila

Team 5: Pat and Emily

Team 6: Molly and Anne N.

Team 7: Liz and KC

Just so you know, I'm planning to totally "bring it" in this competition.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Little McMillan is three months old these days. He likes to roll over both ways, make lots of sounds; and chomp away on his hands, my chin, and anything else he can get into his mouth. Like his brother, he demonstrates a strong preference for the family king-sized bed.

"It's perfect for four!" Shef recently observed. Hmmm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick on a Pig

Last month, I participated in a contest on Sheila's blog designed to motivate readers to work on their abs. Because I love winning more than is probably healthy, I did 135 minutes of abdominal exercises in August. That impressive total, combined with my partner's substantial effort, earned me a win in the contest.

Yay! I love winning!

And apparently a contest with no prize is enough to make the difference between 135 minutes in August and, uh, NO minutes so far in September.

Let's remedy that, shall we? Sheila asked me to host the ab contest this month, and here are the terms: you have to comment to say that you're playing, and then we'll work on the key to great abs: consistency. You have to do abs every-other day for the rest of the month starting on Monday the 15th or Tuesday the 16th (your choice), and you have to do five minutes per session. That's it! We'll have partners to increase the chances that we'll do it.

Post in the comments by Monday if you're playing. I hope you are. It probably won't be that terrible.

They're Kicking Off Two Designers Tonight! You Just Need One Winner Guess! Go!

There's nothing to report.

Do you want to know how I used five CSA veggies in my dinner last night? Probably not.

Do you want to know that I really like the show How I Met Your Mother, and I've been obsessively watching it on DVD? Uh, not really.

Do you want to hear the details of my non-dairy existence? Not particularly.

That's okay. I totally feel the same way about those topics and also about laundry, my limited wardrobe, and Mac's apparent teething.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Another Baby, Another Presidential Election

After Kerry lost in 2004, I cried in baby music class with eight-month-old Shef and a few of our friends. One of the moms was a republican, but I didn't care if I was making her feel uncomfortable.

"I don't know how I'm going to explain that this is the kind of world he lives in," I said, snuffling. The other democrat moms agreed, and then we went to lunch and watched Kerry concede on the overhead televisions, tears in all of our eyes.

And now here we are four years later, and I have another baby. Yesterday, Mac and I walked with my friend Anne and her six-month-old near Lake Nokomis.

"So, you and Eleanor are going to England?" I asked.

"YES!" Anne said. "On the 24th of this month!"

"So, Eleanor has a passport?"

"She does," Anne confirmed.

"Well, she's ahead of Sarah Palin," I said. "The woman has never traveled abroad, but she's sure qualified to be Vice President."

It turns out I was wrong about that - she got her passport in July of '07 to visit Kuwait and Germany on a single trip. But, still.

If we lose this time, I don't know what I'll do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New Ep of PR Tonite! Guess Three Losers + One Winner and Then Watch What Happens.

The change in Shef since he started school last week is sort of remarkable. It's like he's aged a year in a week. All of a sudden, the toddlerisms are out of his speech patterns, his vocabulary is exploding, and he tries to make hilarious jokes and have grown-up conversations all the time.

"I'm concerned about the weather," I told him on the way to school the other day.

"Concerned?" he asked. "You mean anxious or nervous?"

"Right," I agreed.

And at dinner the other night when there was a break in conversation Shef took care of it. "Dad, do you think Star Wars Legos are cool or really boring?"

"Uh," said Dan, "cool."

"And what about Indiana Jones Legos? Cool or... reallyreally boring?"

"Cool," said Dan. We were all cracking up.

"How about Mars Mission Legos? Do you think they're cool or... reallyreally boring?"

"Cool," we decided.

And then I turned to Dan and said, "Why is he so grown up all of a sudden?"

"Because I'm four years old!" Shef interjected, handily shoving spaghetti into his mouth.