Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Know What Would Be Fun

An esteemed colleague asked me to present with him at the upcoming Minnesota Google Summit. Oh sure, I said. Sounds good! Submitted the proposal, accepted, and now I actually have to plan a presentation for the Summit. I have ten days. I'm sure it will get done.

The Summit also has a "Badge Challenge." This is a new learning thing where people collect badges for doing stuff. Of course, I'm usually all over this kind of thing. I love artificial rewards for moving through my days! But now I have to design a badge challenge. What will people have to do in my session in order to get my badge? This is what I have to figure out. Probably todayish. Then, I'll probably become obsessed with Badge Challenges and conceive a whole program for my Middle School. Then, I'll volunteer to roll it out next week, and learn an entirely new skillset - Coding! Web design! - in order to accomplish the task of launching my revolutionary new system within the short time frame.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Reach Out My Hand

With Mac, there's no guarantee he's going to do anything.  That's just the way he is.  He's willful.  Super cute and sweet and also finicky. I had to read a parenting book about how to deal with that kid.  It was called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.  Highly recommend.

Anyway.  He had his first violin recital yesterday.  Of course, I was afraid he'd just NOT play.  He started out this way.  His teacher said, "Would you like to do a quick rehearsal right here?"

"I already practiced," he said.

"I mean, in this space," she clarified.

"No," he said.

Classic error here, Teacher Jennifer.  You don't ASK him really anything.  You TELL him, "We're now doing a rehearsal right here in this space."  She's fallen into this trap more than once, and she knows the best thing to do is move on.  Mac cannot be cajoled. 

Recital starts, and Mac whispers to me about the program.  He loves seeing his name on the program.  He watches the kids go up, and honestly, he seems like he's going to do it.  A really little kid refused to go, and I said, "That kid is REALLY little. I think he's three."

This tactic of pointing out what little kids (not 5 year-olds) do only SOMETIMES works and never in the heat of the moment, just in case you are ever "in charge" of Mac.  This time it seemed to work.  The little kid made a huge scene. Mac was embarrassed for him.

Finally, it was his turn.  He marched up there, pointed to the small piano that he preferred Jennifer play, and just totally nailed it.  Here's the proof:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Temple Run

A few weeks ago I read a book called The Invention of Wings, in which Quakerism plays a big role.  When I was reading the book, I got really into Quakers and I strongly considered becoming one of them, so much that I actually googled the local Quaker meeting and visited their website.

Now, I'm reading a A Tale for the Time Being, and Zen Buddhism plays a big role.  I'm now considering becoming a Zen Buddhist, so much that I remember running past a meditation center many times.  I'm also considering once again using a phone app to meditate.

A woman at work said she thought I should maybe convert to Judaism, but there's classes.  That seems pretty hard.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Marathon After Effects

Besides vomiting, other post-marathon side effects include soreness.  In the case of a hilly course, it's extreme soreness.  Not being able to walk type of soreness.  Compression wear helps with this, as does ibuprofen.

There can also some bloating, extreme hunger, thirst, and some tiredness.

Otherwise, it's totally fine and pleasant.

I give marathoning a thumbs-up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Conceal, Don't Feel

Hobbled down to the park tonight to toss a ball to Mac.  I want everyone to picture all forty pounds of that kid. He's wearing skinny jeans and waggling around at home plate with a foam bat.

Now picture him saying, "I'm Big Poppy, and Big Poppy always hits homeruns."

It's good to be home, even though I couldn't throw him out to save my life.


2014 Boston Marathon Race Report

So, the Boston Marathon. I'm sitting in the lobby of my hotel room in my finisher's shirt. There are six other people sitting in close vicinity wearing the same shirt. I don't think anyone wants to hear a play-by-play of every moment, so I'll provide some highlights (and lowlights, just for good measure.)
  • I discovered that Dan's cousin Katie, whom I've only met once before, would be running just about the same pace as I planned to.   We decided to meet up in the Athlete's Village (where you had to report about 2.5 hours before your start time) and try to run together.  By some miracle, our meet-up plan among 36,000 runners worked and we did end up running together for all but about 2 miles of the race.  Pretty cool. Katie rocks.
  • When we walked the mile or so to the start line, we passed an awesome sign that said, "Beer, Food, and Cigarettes." That made me laugh.  Other signs that made me laugh: "Run faster, I just farted," and lots that said, "Go Random Stranger Go!"  And others that I can't remember now.  I tried to remember everything, but it blurred by.
  • At mile 13ish, we passed the so-called Scream Tunnel of Wellesley Women hollering their heads off.  You can hear them for a half-mile before you get there.  They hold signs that say, "Kiss me, I code," "Kiss me, I'm Minnesotan," "Kiss me, I'm queer," etc. etc. etc.  Some people actually run over there and get kissed.  It was crazy.
  • In Wellesley, we also passed Katie's kids.  They were thrilled to see her.  I tried to high-five them, but they were like, "Who the hell are you?"  Katie said she would explain later.
  • Heartbreak Hill is the last of a series of hills in Newton.  The uphills were hard, but the downhills (all through the course) were harder.  My quads felt shaky even before I got to Newton.  The top of Heartbreak is mile 21, and the rest of the course is downhill.  That was cool, but it also hurt.  If I ever do this again, I'll do all hills all the time.  One could never do enough hills.  This winter, I did 100% of my hill workouts on the treadmill, which means I never ran downhill.  So, I wasn't prepared for how hard it is to run downhill for 16ish miles.  I was actually unprepared for how difficult the course is.  I totally underestimated that.  Not that I would have done anything different to prepare, but still.
  • Around mile 23, I started thinking I would walk some.  But, then I realized that there was absolutely no reason to walk.  The desire to walk was 100% mental and 0% physical.  I kept running.  I played the mind games that always work for me - I have 30 minutes left of this.  I can definitely run for 30 more minutes.  Then, I have 20 minutes left.  That's all!  20 minutes!  Then, Only 4 laps around a track!  4 laps!  Then 2, then right on Hereford, left on Boylston, and I could see the finish line.
  • It was surreal.  I have been dreaming of this exact moment for 25 years.  "This is happening," I said to myself a few times during the last few miles.  It was hard to believe it was actually happening until I actually had the finish line in sight.
  • At the finish, I felt slightly dizzy and confused.  I had a hard time orienting myself to where Dan would be.  The sun was strong and sort of punishing the entire time - a shock after a winter of frigid temperatures and no sun.  I was suffering a bit for sure. Eventually, I found Dan.  I was overwhelmed by my horrible smell.  If Dan was, he didn't say anything.
  • Later, my nausea intensified and the real low was vomiting repeatedly on the street outside the restaurant where I tried and failed to eat dinner.  This has only happened to me in sunny marathons, and sure enough, I have a wicked sunburn all down my right side. The plus?  I've burned off several psoriasis lesions. Hooray! I did apply sunscreen, but I ended up dumping water on myself at every water stop due to the "heat." It was 68 degrees by the end.  I can't believe how hot that felt.  Minnesota is too cold.
Okay, I think that's enough for now.  I'll have to think about this a bit.  It was marathon 7.  I think I might go for 10 marathons?  I'm not sure.  This was the 3rd fastest and the most epic.  I'm really happy about it.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

You're My Cover Girl

I was pretty stoked when I read online that two members of The New Kids on the Block are running the marathon with me.

It's Joey McIntyre and Donnie Wood, yo. Hangin' Tough. Heartbreak Hill. Step by Step.

Also, and this is awesome, my friend Paula made me a cake and put it in the Faculty Room.

Are you kidding me with this, Paula?!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Everybody Wants Some

I was in a spectacular mood when I went in for light therapy. Do you know what it's like? I didn't. Here's the scoop:

You go into a nice waiting room and disrobe. You don a hospital gown, and then you get to pick up your own special goggles from a bin WITH YOUR NAME ON IT! You love that. It's like you belong in the phototherapy clinic, and you were meant to be there. I'm not really exaggerating.

Then, a super chatty nurse says nice things to you and orients you to a 360 stand-up light machine. She also orients you to the side effects, which you don't care about at all. You only care about your fervent desire to not look like a leper.

"Wow!" she says, looking at your chart. "You get to start off with a high dose! He's really being aggressive with this."

You feel glad about this even though you tend to burn easily.

"You might get red for 12-24 hours, but if it doesn't go away; or if you blister, be sure to let us know."

Blah, blah - let's get into the LIGHT!

You stand on a towel in the middle of the machine and hand the nurse your robe through a small crack in the door. It's awesome that she respects your right to hide your lesion-ridden body from her.

A few seconds later, all the lights come on and you visualize a clear, smooth body. It's warm and spectacular, even though it only lasts a minute. And, later, when you change into your pajamas after you shower, you notice that several spots are completely zapped. Like, GONE. Sure, the skin is slightly red, but the spots! Faded! Gone! Hope and happiness! More lights on Thursday! Lights, Lights, Lights!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Countdown to Boston

The Boston Marathon is a week from today. OMG.

I think I have my outfit selected, so I'm all set. Of course, my outfit will reveal my disgusting full-body psoriasis, which I can't stop talking about. At work, my friend Stacy asked what my number was so she could alert her son, who will be cheering on Heartbreak Hill.

"Oh," I said. "Just tell him to look for the woman with the full-body rash!"

At the dermatologist's office, I talked with the nurse about how I'd probably alarm the other participants in the storied event.

"Well," she said, "just think of all that great UV exposure!"

Nurses. They're always looking on the bright side. Such a good trait.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cream, Gel, or Ointment

Time for an update on my other chronic condition. Get excited!

Last week, my GP suggested that I would need to take a systemic medication for my hideous head-to-toe psoriasis. I spent hours researching the medication, which is really strong and has side effects. Then, today when I went to the dermatologist, he prescribed topical steriods and phototherapy. I'm thrilled. Nothing could please me more than going to the clinic over my lunch hour and standing in front of the UVB lights.

He decided on this course after inquiring after my living situation.

"Would it be possible for you to run around naked in your back yard?"

"Um," I said. "Not really."

"Okay," he said, directing the nurse to type something into the computer. "I'm prescribing light therapy. It's by far the most effective treatment for your type of psoriasis."

"Great," I said. "So in the meantime, I should go outside with not too many clothes on..."

"The least amount of clothes allowed by law," he confirmed.

"and walk around?"

"Yes," he said.

I'll try to accomplish this. I really will. But, I'll also go to the light booth three times per week for six weeks. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Summer Clogs

I have two unfortunate chronic conditions, of which you are well aware. Today, I'm updating you on plantar fasciitis. The prescription Dansko clogs have worked wonders. Unfortunately, I'm not ready to move beyond the clogs. I still need them to prevent foot pain. But for the summer, I didn't think the black patent leather pair would be appropriate. I also didn't think that the wool Haflingers would be appropriate.

So I purchased the neither cute nor cool canvas jobs with rubber bumpers pictured above. I got them for 29 dollars. I'm going to love them, and so will everyone else.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Signs of Spring

I taught my second child to ride a two-wheeler this weekend. I taught my oldest child to do it, too, but that was ages ago.

Here's the evidence:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Harshing My Vibe

Total Bummer Alert:

My wallet got stolen on Thursday night at my favorite restaurant. It was in my purse, which was hanging on my chair. Dude was loitering around our table in a weird way, which bugged me, and then he stole my wallet without me noticing.

When I play it back in my mind, I see exactly what happened. But, at the time, I was distracted, having a deep convo with bosom pal Jordan. And, because we were celebrating my birthday, I didn't pay for dinner, so I didn't notice until the morning that my wallet was gone.

By this time, Dude had charged about 1500.00 worth of stuff on my credit and bank cards. Pronto and I made the appropriate calls. Jordan called the restaurant and talked with the manager. This was a really unfortunate situation, but we've made the best of it. Pretty soon, I'll go to the DMV and get a new license.

I want this criminal to pay for his ridiculous behavior, but I bet he probably won't. Sometimes, that's the way it goes.