Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Blogging 2015: 616 down, 1399 to go

I'm putting off getting on the treadmill. I'm going to get on it, but I'm waiting until the kids go to bed so I don't have to watch Teen Titans fucking Go for 30 minutes while I run 3 miles. I hate watching cartoons while I'm on the treader, but if I'm down in the basement they have to be, too...or I'll come back upstairs to bloody Armageddon. That and they run up and down the basement stairs to tattle on each other for ridiculous infractions. "Pat keeps trying to kiss me!" "Lily touched me with her toe!" "Charlie said butt."

Today I tried to get the household back together after being on vacation for 5 days and 4 nights. The fridge was empty, the place was dirty, and there was laundry to be finished. So I was domestic today, with intermittent bouts of CrossFit Games watching.

Watching the 60+ Masters Women compete is compelling. It makes me feel alternately like I'm fat and lazy, and like there is hope for my future fitness. I actually enjoy watching the Masters more than the Individuals. You're in your 30s and getting paid sponsorship dollars to work out? Blah blah. You're 62 and took vacation from your regular job to compete? I'm interested.

Get ready for a photobomb. This is the equivalent of making you look at slides. Those of you under 30 are like "Wut? Like a PowerPoint?"

So. We went on a family vacation.
In mah brand new car.


Specifically, we went to Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness in the Wisconsin Dells. We had a 2 bedroom condo with 1.5 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a living room. It was a really nice spot, and exactly the right amount of space.

Eating 2 meals a day "at home" = winning

We arrived Thursday night and took the smalls to Buffalo Phil's. I thought I had their picture with the train that delivers the food, but I guess not. #momfail  After dinner we just kind of unpacked and relaxed before bed. The second bedroom had a queen lower and a bunked single, so we drew straws to see who got the bunk the first night, then took turns. 

Friday the kids woke up way too early and I made oatmeal cake for breakfast (see above). The waterpark outside our window didn't open until 10am, so we let them watch cartoons on the TV that was mercifully located in their bedroom.  

I have no pictures of the kids at the waterparks because my phone isn't waterproof and was also not free. I'm not an overly distrustful person, but leaving a valuable piece of electronic equipment in a canvas bag next to about a billion gallons of water and 1000 strangers seems foolhardy. Also because I love water parks and water slides and I was goddamned if I was going to stand around the pool taking pictures of other people having fun. That shit is for good parents. 

We spent 6 hours or so in 4 of the 6 water areas at Wilderness. The boys were smiling so big I thought their faces would split, and L?  Well...I think she was having fun? When she wasn't being sullen or bitching about getting wet. At a water park. Fuckin' A.

We took a break for lunch in the condo, then went back out to the water. The boys rode an innertube slide with me. If you want a workout, introduce a small boy to tube slides. I shudder to think of the number of stairs climbed. Hard to resist when the excited child is sopping wet, grinning like an idiot, and shouting "Again! Again!" Also I fucking love water slides. Again, you say? Well, if I have to...

We ended the day with mini-golf and go-karts. Word to the wise? Get shitfaced before you mini-golf with little kids. It'll be more fun, I promise.

That's a 15 for P and a 23 for C...on hole 2.

Then, inexplicably, a hole in one for C on 15.

Go-karts are a risk, but they had kiddie karts and there was zero line and 30 minutes to close. So we forked over the cash. What we determined was that L is going to let her boyfriend do all the driving (or at least better, because she spent more time bitching at traffic than driving), P will likely drive an Oldsmobile with his hands at 10 and 2, grousing about "these damn kids", and C is the second coming of Mario Andretti and is never, ever allowed to drive my car.

L, hating life.

C has lapped his brother at this point.

Game face and finger guns. Fuck.

We got back to the condo right around 8pm, and after a bit of TV watching the kids fell deeply and immediately asleep. It was glorious. Also glorious is sleeping children behind two locked doors and sheets I don't have to wash. Can't waste a good bikini wax. I'll wait here while you go poke out your mind's eye.

Saturday was supposed to be a 5k in Reedsburg for fantastic husband and I, but we woke to thunder and lightening and decided it wasn't worth it. The kids were supposed to play at a local park with a friend's daughter, but they couldn't do that in the rain. It cleared up by mid-morning, so we went to Paul Bunyan's for breakfast (which was the plan for after the 5k). 

I swear C said "I can see Paul Bunyan's ass"

I kept getting asked "What's the cow's name again?"

After Paul Bunyan, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the Great Northern Railroad, which is a volunteer-run 15 gauge railway randomly plopped in the woods off County A. There was a tiny train, 2 conductors, and engineer, and tickets to be punched before the ride. It was really cute, and the kids had a good time. I thought there was more of a museum there, but it's mostly just some pictures and a few pieces of old equipment. The locomotive was pretty cool, though, and the picnic tables were nice and shady. Also surrounded by flowers that attracted hummingbirds, which the kids thought was nifty.

Turntable at the halfway point. A 110 year old man turned this 7 ton train with one hand.

Take our picture, woman.

Everything was to tiny train scale.

We finished up ahead of schedule at the train, so we went back and had a couple of hours of flapping in the water before heading out to Devil's Lake to meet some friends who were camping there. Our kids played together, we had some hamburgers and drinks, and then we made S'mores. Per C "Mom, these are awesome. You should really try one." I haven't had a S'more in ages, and he was right. It was pretty awesome. The night was made complete with glow stick necklaces, and we were back at the condo for lights out. 

Sunday we spent the morning at the oldest water park area at Wilderness. The indoor area there was fantastic for the kids. L actually went down the slides and admitted it was fun. My parenting mission is complete. P&C rode the tube slides with me, one of which was a dark slide (you know, the ones that are painted black so you can't see what's coming?). I was worried they would be scared, but it was pretty much Giddyap, motherfucker!!! So I got to climb the stairs some more. The outdoor area was sparsely populated (because Sunday or because older park I don't know), but that was wonderful as there was lots of room. More stairs and more tube slides commenced. 

We hung out until about 1pm, then had lunch in the condo and headed out to The Original Wisconsin Ducks. No pictures, because again...water and expensive phone. I thought the tour was cool, and the boys liked the rollercoaster hills and splashing down into the water. Ls response to those things was "Ok, I hated that."

My 8 year old is really 13.

After the Ducks we went downtown to look around. I don't know why, really, it's all just fudge shops and Olde Time Photoe places. We did get some ice cream. 

I said "L, could you try to pretend you're having fun?"

C said "Take my picture with this bear."

We let them pick out a treat at Goody Goody Gum Drop and walked back to the car. I got some maple fudge, because I love that shit, and you can only walk by so many fudge shops without getting some. Six, actually. I can walk past six shops. That's my limit.

Our final dinner in the Dells was at Moosejaw, because Moose cars.

C had the best time. 

Sunday night we opted for a move and popcorn to wind down. We watched Megamind, then put the smalls to bed.

Monday morning we slept in a bit, made breakfast with the remainder of the food we had, then packed up and drove over to the Wilderness so the kids could play in the dry play area. It was actually pretty cool. Multi-level, foam ball cannons, mirror maze, slides, etc. They had a great time.

Then we drove home, and just like that, vacation was over.

I wasn't sad to be rid of the perpetual arm band.

We may go back in February when rates are low. The indoor areas are fairly impressive, and the kids all said they had a good time.  I'm impressed I didn't drown anyone. Aside from L hiding twice and freaking us out ("I wasn't hiding I was just sitting inside that tree thing because I was cold.") we didn't have any mishaps. There are poolside cocktails, and several grownup indoor slides, etc.  I'm calling this a win. I'm not ready to go to Disney yet, mostly because I really don't care at all about Disney myself. We used to go all the time when I was a kid (the perqs of living in CA and FL growing up) but that was before it was $100 a person, and truthfully I always preferred Knott's Berry Farm (Camp Snoopy, y'all!) and Six Flags. 

I didn't go fully back into real life, though. Yesterday I did something very out of character. I had my picture taken. Voluntarily. If you know me, you know I hate being photographed. When I look in the mirror I think I'm maybe kind of cute. Pretty, even, on a good day when I wear makeup. In photos? OMG I'm a TROLL. I hate my non-existent eyebrows, my huge crooked nose, and my weird squinty eyes. I will dodge a camera like I'd avoid a javelin. Dive left! DIVE DIVE! TUCKANDROLL!! SAVEYOURSELVES!!!! 

So I went somewhere and posed for pinup photos. For real. With the makeup and the hair and the outfit and everything. It started off really awkward, and ended up being kind of fun. I saw some of the rough shots, and I was shocked. I didn't look ugly at all. I even looked kind of...good. Sexy even. The photographer's assistant actually said to me "You're really photogenic...and you should always wear read lipstick." I've never worn red lipstick in my life before yesterday (and I likely never will again), and photogenic is not a word I'd apply to myself. In a couple of weeks I'll see the proofs and fantastic husband will get to pick out his favorites. 

Why did I do it? I don't know. A friend was talking about maybe having some pictures done, and I was surfing around the web too late at night, and on a whim I booked a session...because every idea had at 3am is valid. Maybe I wanted to see what a professional photographer could do with my troll face. Maybe I was hoping I'd have a few turn out kinda hot so I could look back and think "Hey, I wasn't half bad back in the day." 

I'll tell you one thing. Arching your back that hard for that long if painful.

Two things. Wearing 6 inch heels really makes your calves and hammies look fantastic.












Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blogging 2015: 553 down, 1462 to go

Disclaimer: I am super hammered. Like, college hammered. Pregame before the party hammered. Please forgive any random grammatical mistakes. Or don't. Fuck you, I'm hammered.

Yesterday was the 4th of July. Independence Day. It has always made me crazy when people get all "Happy 4th of July!" because that's just...a date. It'd be like saying "Happy 3rd of August!" or some shit.  Yay! Calendars! 

Fantastic husband had to work, so I was at home with the smalls. I did laundry, listened to whining...you know, the fucking minutia of the everyday. We went to the box so I could beat the shit out of myself (for real 1.5 mile run, 150 burpees, 1.5 mile run) and the kids could run around and be general jackasses. I finished up in a hair over 49 minutes. I brought at clementine to eat afterwards so I'd have enough sugar in my system to make it home. Three little vultures circled me. "We are so hungreeeeeee" said the vultures. "Pleeeeeease can we have a slice of orange?" So I gave it to them, because I am a great parent. 

I should be grateful that they didn't drink all my water while I was running. 

After the WOD (thanks for that, Amanda) we went through Starbucks and got lemonade, because I wanted a Passion Tea, and the smalls whine a lot when I don't get them something, too.  We came home and I made lunch, then insisted they sleep so that I could take a nap. Did I mention I did 150 burpees? Because I did.

I think they slept. Who cares. I slept.

After our nap, I took them to the splash pad in our neighborhood park. The screamed, they got soaked, C discussed his penis loudly for all the world to hear (we had a discussion about it. It went "Dude, stop discussing your genitalia. It weirds people out." "Okay, Mom"). We were there for about an hour and a half, then came home for supper and prep for fireworks.

I decided against going either downtown or to Fish Creek for fireworks. I used to work in TR so I decided to go there.  We got truly miraculous parking, then headed over to Neshotah park to kill time before the display. The kids ran around, we used the public pissers without problems, and we headed over to the field for the show.

I'd like to commend TR for it's Independence Day festivities. There was a band, a choir, two random old men singing patriotic songs, and fireballs. My boys dug the shit out of the fireballs. The concessions were cheap, and there were free cookies from Jerry's Bakery. My smalls were in small person heaven.

Glow wants for a dollar? Sign me up!

They were fabulously good sports. And when the fireworks started? They were the embodiment of wonder. Holy shit, it's dusty in here just thinking about it. C in particular was all wide eyes and WOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!! It was everything a fireworks outing should be. This being their first one, officially. They were well behaved, adorable, and the perfect little newbies. I felt lucky to have seen it.

After the show we shuffled out of the field and back to the car and we were on our way home. At 2245 I voice texted my husband that L had fallen asleep immediately and the boys had lasted until 2242.

At 2252 I was contemplating putting everyone to bed, letting the dog out, and falling into the sleep of the exhausted.

At 2256 I noticed a car on the shoulder (a minivan...it was either silver or light blue) and thought it was odd, but people pull over all the time for flat tires and what have you.  

At 2256:05 I saw something in the right lane that I couldn't identify. It was metal, and black, and there was a roundish white protrusion on the side.  I tried to avoid it, jacking the car to the left and then to the right, but I hit it...

...and we went screaming into the ditch at 72mph.

...and we flipped over 1 and a half times.

...and we came to rest hung up on a barrier fence.

...and the man who lives in the house we almost careened into was calling to me "Are you okay? Can you open the door? How many people are in there?"

...and he pulled C and P out the rear passenger window, and he opened the back lift gate and L crawled out. Then I picked up my clutch, found my phone, and crawled over the front, middle, and rear rows, picked up L's glasses, and exited the car. I said to him (assuming he was in the minivan on the highway) "Thanks for staying" and he said "Staying? I live here. We were having a bonfire."

...and I hugged him, and realized the fucking assholes who dropped the grill fled the scene.

...and the GBPD and GBFD were came for us, expecting the worst.

...and we were all fine.

Thank-you, Mazda, for making a top quality machine.

I called 911 while still in the driver's seat, then I called fantastic husband at work. I said "Hey, I wrecked the car". He thought I just rear ended someone. 

I remember walking out of the brush.

I remember giving all our details to the officer in charge.

I remember hearing the tow truck arriving and an officer saying "Ummm...do you have like, a reeeeeeeaaaaallly long cable?"

I remember the paramedics giving my kids stuffed animals and making sure they were warm enough.

I remember seeing the car, upended, being pulled out of the brush.

I am so grateful that everyone is okay. People want to credit god, or some guardian angel, for protecting us. And truthfully, if that's what you need to do, that's fine. I'll thank the good people at Mazda for engineering a car that could withstand that kind of onslaught and leave 4 people whole and uninjured. 

Because if god, or zeus, or allah, or yahweh, or who-the-fuck-ever was really looking out for us? Why was there a goddamn gas grill in the road, and why did the bitch ass pansy fuckers who dropped it flee the scene?

Shit happens. And last night, shit happened to my family. And last night, the only thing we lost was an 8 year old car. My kids are fine. I am fine. All my personal effects were intact and recovered. I am insured to the eyeballs.

Thank Mazda.





Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blogging 2015: 531 down, 1484 to go

It's good to be home, even if it means doing laundry. I didn't do laundry before we left, because I am a sloth. Post Ragnar laundry needs to be done right away or it renders your dufflebag useless. I seal up my dirty clothes in plastic bags so they don't gas the other passengers on airplanes, but when you open them up at home? That shit is ripe.

By some miracle the spawn slept until almost 8am. That is unheard of in this house. We are cursed with early morning children. I say cursed because I can guarandamntee you that when they hit middle school they'll be the type to lay in bed and moan about getting up for school. Why can't little kids sleep late and older kids rise early? Split the difference between 5am and 8am. 

Fantastic husband made pancakes for the smalls and I made my usual breakfast of egg, spinach, and mushroom.  

I love mushrooms.

The kids went to daycare for a half day so that we could get out for a round of golf. Before we left I harvested the leaf lettuce from our square foot garden. This grew so fast! This is what a 1 foot square produces in about 4 weeks time!
I'm a homesteader, bitches.

We decided to walk 9 so we went to Shorewood on the UWGB campus. It's a nice, inexpensive course with lots of available shade and plenty of hills. Neither one of us has a cart, so we carry our clubs backpack-style. This is the first time I've swung a club in over a year and I didn't do too badly, considering. Short game needs work, though. I also had two shots that took improbable bounces off trees. Fortunately, we weren't keeping score today so it didn't really matter.

After 90ish minutes of golf we had lunch and hit Costco. I had a bison burger (minus the bun) and a few sweet potato fries. No picture. You'll live. I made myself stop at half the fries. I was somewhat off the wagon this past weekend and I really don't want to undo 6 weeks of sacrifice in 5 days of overindulgence.

Seriously, why the bloody fuck does it take 6 full weeks of eating 100% perfectly all the time and beating the shit out of myself in the gym to drop 13 pounds, but I can put 5-8 back on in a weekend? I refuse to weigh myself until my digestion returns to normal, but this happens to me all the time. I do absofuckinglutely everything exactly fucking right and I have marginal success, then allow myself one night of partial indulgence and it's like all my good work is completely erased. Is this what pushing 40 does? Because it's bullshit. BULLSHIT. /rant

The Costco run was for produce and a couple of odds and ends. They had Rainier cherries! I love Rainier cherries. The are nature's candy. So I had 5 or 20.  How can you resist? They are so pretty. 

Fill me with your sweet, sweet flesh.

After unloading and playing a little fetch with the dog, we walked over to daycare to retrieve the spawn. C is still babying his leg, but he is getting less timid with it. I'll probably get him a session or two of PT to make sure he's back on track.

Dinner tonight was BLTs with L fresh from the garden. Bread is useless on a BLT if you ask me. Plus I don't like sandwiches on toast. The toast scrapes the shit out of the roof of my mouth and I'm left with pain and altered taste when I just want to be enjoying tasty tasty bacon. So I had two BLTs sans toast. Perfect.

Tastes like summer.

We put in a garden for a couple of reasons. First, to have fresh veggies on the cheap. Second, to encourage the kids to eat more vegetables (and more types). We figured they'd be more likely to eat things they helped plant and grow.

P&L liked the lettuce. They had extra sandwiches and extra veg.

You don't see a smiling picture of C with lettuce because the little turd had to be bullied into finishing his sandwich. 

The peas are blossoming and there are pods on all the plants. The pumpkins are blooming and the vines are enormous. Soon we'll have cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, corn, beans, and onions. I cut some cilantro today and the basil plant has finally sprouted. I'm hoping for a productive summer from our little patch of dirt.

After supper we went out for a walk with the kids and the dog. It was a very pleasant evening and we covered 2+ miles bringing the day's total to 8. Now I have to review a presentation I'm supposed to give tomorrow. It's back to the salt mine tomorrow night as I traded this Wednesday for last. That means 8 in a row this time around, but it's cool. 


Bedtime snack.

Hopefully I can make it to the box for a WOD tomorrow. The bad thing about going out of town is missing the gym. 20 years ago me would never have made that statement. 20 years ago me drank 6-12 cans of Mountain Dew and smoked 6-10 cigarettes a day.

I guess that's progress.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Blogging 2015: 523 down, 1492 to go (Ragnar Wasatch Back Edition)

It's been quite some time since I sat down to do this.  Mostly I've been kind of busy and I just haven't had the urge to write much the last month or so. I've been focusing on my diet in an effort to drop the twenty-odd extra pounds I've been toting around for the past few years, which makes my daily menu pretty fucking boring. I've been eating essentially the same thing every day for a month, and it works (egg with veg for breakfast, fish and veg for lunch, veg and fish for dinner, a turkey burger when I'm feeling frisky)...I'm down 13 pounds and finally got my waist below 30 inches (for like a millisecond, I'm pretty sure I gained 10 pounds this weekend on Ragnar...the price of running with people who enjoy eating and drinking). I've been running and walking, though not with the diligence I should be applying.  Mostly I've been Crossfitting and trying to get to yoga when I can. A couple of sick kids and a week-long training session for fantastic husband tossed a giant wrench into an otherwise perfect plan. Everything has leveled out now, though, so I'm looking forward to getting back on track and heading in the right direction once again.

I'm signed up for the Fox Cities half and the inaugural Bellin Women's half in September in addition to the Runner's World Festival Hat Trick (5k, 10k, and half in one weekend) in October. I'm also on a Hood to Coast team in August and a Fall 50 team in October.  Next week begins training in earnest for these races, and I'm actually going to train for these as opposed to just showing up and hoping for the best.

So. Ragnar.

Wasatch Back is the Mother of All Ragnars. It was the first, and is therefore the oldest. I believe this year was the 12th year? I could be wrong. Might be 13th. At any rate, the jumping off point is Salt Lake City as the race begins in Logan, Utah and ends in Park City, Utah. This area is known for skiing and Mormons.

We arrived with little trouble and had a tapas dinner with the team, then after the Van 1 crew shuffled off to Logan the Van 2 crew did a little sight seeing in Salt Lake.  It was a warm night and we decided to check out the tabernacle grounds. I did a fairly involved series of papers on the early Mormons for an honors class I took on communal societies. The research I did mostly centered on their time in Illinois and the move westward. My studies didn't do much for my general outlook on religion, but it was pretty fascinating. Being a godless heathen I don't have much interest in theology or doctrine, but let me say this:  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?  It can throw down in the "kick ass sanctuary" division. The tabernacle is not just a single building. It's a whole complex. Big gorgeous trees, lots of flowers, all harmoniously arranged around the main event. Several sanctuaries, a conference center, banqueting facilities, a big reflecting pool, and something like 4 visitor centers. People, there were HD television screens playing a Come to Jesus video on loop at each major entrance to the compound. I fucking love churches. Religious art is moving, man. Some of it is moving-to-the-back-and-fleeing...but moving is moving.

Seriously. It's fucking beautiful.

Being in Van 2 has one distinct advantage:  You don't have to get up early. We crashed at the hotel, slept in until after 8am (I don't even know how I managed that), had breakfast and got down to the business of preparing for the next 36ish hours. We got some food and booze (for after, we're not total lushes), and loaded up. Once we had an idea of when our team would be coming in to exchange 6, we went over and waited for updates.  It was hot as bloody hell on Friday. Over 100 degrees and clear as a bell with very little breeze. At altitude you might as well be in a toaster oven. We marinated ourselves in SPF 55 and hoped for the best. I was runner 12, which means even after my van started I had a hella long time to wait. I hate waiting. I had big plans to run in just my sports bra and skirt as it was crazy hot. I borrowed and spread a term my friend Laura uses to describe her post-kids abs.  Schmabs. I was going to go schmabs out, but I didn't end up running my first leg until 9pm, and by then the temp had dropped considerably and I left my shirt on. Schmabs fail.

Ragnar had an Instagram contest and one category was "Only at Ragnar". I didn't end up submitting this photo because I am a lazy whore, but this is pretty Ragnarific. How often do you see someone with a collapsible hula hoop and an iPhone in a parking lot?

Sue keeping her hips loose at exchange 7.

So my first leg was my dark leg. Typically the second leg is dark, but this weekend was the solstice and the day was very long. That and our 9am start meant I was full headlamp-and-safety vest on Leg 12. It was 4ish miles of who-the-hell-knows because it was dark. The temp was damn near perfect, and my swanky new wireless headphones worked like a charm.  I also had a brand new Flip Belt that I was taking for a test run. I used it to pin my number so I wouldn't have to move it each leg. 

Things I learned about Flip Belt:
1. It's comfortable.
2. It holds lots of shit if you don't mind looking lumpy.
3. If your waist is significantly smaller than your hips you'll want to size up. My waist is 29, hips 39, and it would NOT stay at the waistband of my shorts. It slid up to my natural waistline and there it stayed.

Also on my first leg I got high fives from two little kids.  I heard their mother say "Ok you guys, two more runners and then we really have to go" which was pretty cute. 

After I handed off to Van 1, we headed to the next exchange area and got some chow. Pizza. I haven't had pizza in ages. It was delicious. Then we bundled up, because in spite of the 104 degree high the low was about 48 degrees. I actually slept a little, though I have three lovely rectangular bruises on my ass from laying on the seatbelt latches in the van. 

We picked up the baton again around 4am and our first few runners got treated to a mountain sunrise and bird chorus. It was pretty chilly at first, but warmed up quickly. I got really lucky on my second leg. I picked it up around 7:30am and set off for 5.3 miles of rolling hills, beautiful trees, water, and sprawling mountain vistas. Also I wore shorts. Shorts. Fucking Lululemon shorts. That's right. I'm no longer too fat to wear Lulu. Look out, wallet. They still crawled up my crotch...it's not like my monstrous thighs disappeared...but I didn't chafe one bit and they look great when I'm walking or standing still. I did not go schmabs out this leg either as it was pretty cool when I started out.

Just off exchange 23.

I did my good deed for the Ragnar by hollering loud enough to attract the attention of 2 runners who had missed a turn. I'm basically a human bullhorn. Sometimes I use my powers for something other than evil. Along my second leg I ended up pacing with a guy named Adam and we ran and walked and talked about Ragnars we'd done and the places we're from. It was a very pleasant way to pass the last couple of miles. I'm usually a solo runner, but I know having someone to talk to helped me get through that leg quicker than I would have along.

Especially since I lost my motherfucking wireless headphones. My brand-new, used one time motherfucking wireless headphones. 

Following the handoff we went to a restaurant called The Cutting Board in the town just off the exchange. We waited forever for our food (the place was swamped) but there was plenty of good hot coffee and we had time. The food was pretty great when we got it, and we chitchatted with the owner for a while. Turns out she's driven for a couple of Ragnar teams in the past.  Once our bellies were full we went to exchange 25 to chill out for a while. Exchange 30 was the next major, and that's typically where "off" vans go to rest, but 30 was not conducive to large numbers of vans hanging out so we went to the suggested alternative which was basically deserted. It was a nice place to hang out for a while.

Oh, I will mention one thing that was truly impressive. The company that provided and maintained the portolets was amazing. Every time we got to a major exchange they were cleaning, and every single portolet was fresh as a fucking daisy. I've been in a lot of plastic potties in my day and these were far and away the most pleasant experience I've ever had with non-plumbing.  Kudos, Honey Bucket. Seriously, thank-you. 

Once we got the final hand off, our runner 7 had a 10.5 mile uphill slog up and over a beautiful mountain pass. We weren't allowed to park and give support, so we left a bottle of water and an applesauce on a light post and texted him the location. Then we drove up the mountain and marveled at the absolute death march taking place. It was hot. It was a 4000ft elevation gain. And at the top it was the Sound of Music, bitches.

We got out of the van and hiked around in flip flops, took pictures, and sang The Hills Are Alive. Sue also hula hooped with flags. Because you can't claim a mountain without a flag.

Van 2 minus Brett who was probably just reaching the applesauce at this point.

The next several legs involved hurtling down the other side of the mountain trying not to die. I was driving and by the time we reached the bottom my foot was cramped and my knee hurt from standing on the brake. That's right. Running is no problem, but I hurt myself driving the van. It was hot as blazes at the bottom of the mountain, and when I took my final handoff I was ready to be done.  My final leg ran on an extremely narrow shoulder along a heavily trafficked road. It was beautiful...see?

Behind me a small city was moving back and forth in giant vans.

At one point I was running along this scorching, stinking highway and someone in a van hit me with water. I wasn't really looking at the cars, and when it hit me my first thought was that some douchbag had spit on me. Then I realized that many vans were spraying runners with water in an attempt to help them cool off. It was still weird, but at least it wasn't a hate crime.  About 3 miles in I developed a splitting headache from inhaling exhaust fumes and I was never so glad to see a trailhead as I was when it was time to turn off the road.

Until I saw the hill. And the dirty, slippery trail leading up it. The angle was steep and the surface was slippery. I was breathing in dust and joined the ranks of 15 or so other people who had completely given up running and were just trying to make it up the grade without passing out. Once we reached the crest, the train became paved and was mostly downhill for the rest of the trip to the finish area. You could actually see a plume of dirt rising off the parking area. I stopped for a "heart rate recovery photo op" as I felt like my heart might actually explode out of my chest.

So close...and yet so far.

As we came down the hill, several runners behind me came rocketing down the steep decline hollering swear words and squealing. I almost mowed down a pre-teen who stepped into my path as I neared the finish. I shouted "Look out! Runaway train!" and just missed him. After crossing I just wanted to sit down and breathe air. Not much air in the air, unfortunately. So I drank a beer instead. 

The medal.

The finish line was at a stadium used during the 2002 winter games. Fantastic husband and I grabbed a photo in front of the Olympic marker. That's members of Van 1 behind us.

I did not burn the shit out of my face. I win.

I did not go schmabs out for my final leg even though it was hot as hell. Mostly because I didn't want to show them to 1000 people. One of these days.

Since we had a late flight on Sunday, we were able to do a little sight seeing around the area and have a couple of nice meals following a sleep in. We drove up Big Cottonwood canyon to one of the ski resorts. A few people climbed up a few hundred feet from the parking lot to play in the remaining snow pack, but my $2 floppies were not making that trip. There's a half marathon down this canyon in the fall. I may be back to try it...with plenty of time to acclimate to the altitude. It is truly beautiful there. Almost otherworldly. I have less than zero desire to ski these slopes as I'm certain I would break myself in half, but I might be talked into snowshoeing. Or hiking. Or just eating at Red Iguana a few times a week.


We got back to Chicago at 11pm, which was as expected. We filled our lungs with oxygen, drove home and fell into comas. The end of a Ragnar is always sad. You have to say good-bye to your friends and re-enter life as a responsible adult. No midnight pizza, no early morning cocktails. Non-Ragnar life is so...regular. Fortunately we have Hood to Coast in August. 

I'll be spending the next month zeroing in on my fitness goals, hitting the gym, and beginning my training for fall events. 

I need to go to Costco for more fish. 

*********************************
There was a fatality at this year's Wasatch. It happened early in the morning on day 1. We heard about it through the van grapevine and I know many people were concerned that conditions on the route were unsafe. Please read the link for more information.






Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blogging 2015: 419 down, 1596 to go

What a beautiful day it was today. Fantastic husband got up at 0530 to go to CF for his 5th class, and shortly thereafter two little boys bounced in and started making noise. I screeched at them to getoutgetoutGETOUT! and bought myself another 30 minutes of silence.

The kids got the full-on breakfast this morning with cheesy eggs, bacon, toast, fruit, and juice. They all did a pretty good job of powering it down without whining (except for C, who prefers his eggs without cheese like a communist). Fantastic husband even made it home before the girl child needed to leave for school. Overall this morning was a win.

After the kids were off to school I made myself some breakfast and a cup of coffee. I skipped the spinach today in favor of orange peppers. I love mushrooms with eggs, shit I love mushrooms with everything. Cooked down in bacon fat? Fucking nirvana. If you don't like mushrooms, I don't care. More for me.


This mango was fucking delightful.


I went to the box this morning to do the first Lurong WOD for the Summertime Challenge. It was only a 5 minute AMRAP and after the last few WODs I've done it felt kind of easy. We also did max effort thrusters for 3 minutes and that sucked pretty hard core, but at least I didn't have to do the programmed WOD-it looked like fucking murder. I did my GHDs like a good child, had a banana, and went home.

Mmmm. Nana.


Since class ended a little ahead of time (thanks, Justin!) I was home before 10:30 and since it was such a beautiful day we decided to take the dogger out for a nice walk before lunch. We did about 2 miles and used a little gravel trail that runs on one side of the neighborhood in order to avoid the garbage/recycling trucks.
Lunch was more mushrooms (gawd, I love mushrooms!) on a burger and the remainder of the pepper I sent with the girl child for lunch.
Tasty, but they ain't fries.


After lunch we headed down to Jenstar for lunchtime flow. Pretty much every muscle in my pelvic saddle has been screaming for the last few days and this was the perfect 45 minute stretch. I was so relaxed after that I managed a 4 hour nap-good news for my shift tonight. I'm far less likely to be desperately tired at 3am.

So slept the sleep of the dead and fantastic husband took the smalls to CF kids. Apparently there was a tug of war involving all the kids and teens against the 4 adult men that were present. The kids won, and the boys were excited about it. When I woke up it was suppertime, which is truly excellent timing.
Lemon rosemary pork loin and roasted broccoli.


Now I'm chillin' in the living room, watching Wheel of Fortune (I'm watching it ironically), and considering a nice cup of chocolate flavored coffee to finish the night. I should also probably pull a lunch together so I don't starve overnight.

Tomorrow I'll pretty much just be sleeping and walking the dog. I was supposed to start a belly dancing class, but working husband plus no sitter = no class. Hope I can catch up next week.

Going to work a night early is a bit of a drag, but it means I have 8 days off next rotation and that does not suck.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blogging 2015: 417 down, 1598 to go

Woot!  Got 7 miles today because we needed hamburger buns. Sounds a little stupid, yes? Well, I went to Costco this morning to refill our empty fridge and as I was leaving I got a text from fantastic husband "If still at store, get a pack of hamburger buns." I responded "Too late, but we can walk the dog to the BP."  So I got home, put away my $200 worth of awesome (we were out of a lot of stuff) and we walked the kids to school. Once they were dropped off, we continued on with the dog. The hilltop BP is just shy of 2 miles from our front door. A nice round trip walk. Well, they were out of buns so I said "Why don't we just keep going? We can stop at the one down the hill!"

Down the hill in this case was through campus.  Fantastic husband was game, so off we went. There was one package of hamburger buns on the shelf at the downhill BP, and we got it. Then we had to walk 3.5 miles home. Fortunately the rain held off and it wasn't too hot or windy. 7 miles later we had hamburger buns. I don't even eat hamburger buns.  Nice walk though, and just what my screaming glutes and hamstrings needed to loosen up. I'm skipping yoga tonight as it's softball season and I totally spaced on fantastic husband's game tonight.

I woke this morning to a snoring pile of 5 year old in my bed. I got them up and started dressing and headed downstairs to scrape together breakfast. I found a box of waffles, so we were saved. I had the remnants of a box of blueberries and my now standard egg-spinach-and-mushroom scramble.  Good stuff.

Food groupy.


Fantastic husband walked the girl child to school and I kicked back with a cup of coffee. Then he took the boys to the Y and I got ready for epic errand spending. The girl child now has a summer wardrobe and some new sneakers and we have a full fridge.  Then we had our hamburger bun walk, right before which I realized I'd inadvertently ordered TWO swingsets from Home Depot. Shit. I called them and straightened that out while we walked. Fortunately for me they don't charge until an item ships and we got one canceled prior to shipping. I do not need two giant mac daddy playsets. That is madness.

As a side note, the chick at the HD helpdesk was extremely nice and fixed my problem right away. I adore good customer service. This is what I would've had two of:



I didn't have lunch until almost 2pm due to our extended walk. Pretty basic and once again from the toaster oven.
I had to get more salmon today. It's just so damn tasty.

I couldn't tell you what I did this afternoon. It's all gone. So much for fish being brain food.

My last turkey burger bit the dust for dinner. I considered eating a bun just because.
Must get more Wildtree. Fortunately I have a hook-up.


Opted for dessert. We finally got a good batch of grapes from Costco. Fantastic husband describes it as grape roulette as half the time they look great but are mushy or sour or what have you...and when you get bad ones you have FIVE POUNDS of bad ones. These are delicious. Crunchy and sweet.
GET IN MA MOUF, SWEET THANG!

Tonight's activities are up in the air. I'll be watching Aaron Rodgers on Jeopardy, because Aaron Rodgers and Jeopardy, but other than that? Beaded knitting? Coloring? Maybe I'll READ A BOOK! FOR FUN!

My spawn are making noise, so I banished them to the basement. I will leave you with this gem from P (said while enthusiastically hugging his sister) "YOU CAN'T MILK A CHICKEN!"

I can't argue with that.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Blogging 2015: 410 down, 1605 to go.

Looks like I'm gonna have to do 5 miles tomorrow.

Yesterday I took some of my Mother's Day silence (it's the only thing I asked for) and powered through the foot of my right sock. Here's the result. I kind of love them. I needed green socks, and this was a quick easy knit.

Yay socks!

Today is the first day of the Lurong Summertime Challenge. Just 5 weeks in the summer, and I'm taking it as a cue to get back on track with the support of my fitness community.  

Here's breakfast-eggs with mushrooms and spinach. I tossed peppers in there on the weekend, but we're out now, so oh well.

I also had black coffee and an orange.

I went to the box yesterday for the Mother's Day WOD. It was a hero WOD and it was a hard one. Part of it was weighted lunges and my ass hurt like a bitch this morning, only to show up and do 80 wall balls and 1000m run. I'll be really surprised if sitting on the shitter isn't excruciating tomorrow.  

While I was at the gym, surprise! The sump pump replacement crew showed up at my house. I had them on the calendar for Friday, but there was an email I missed on Friday moving the appointment. I get like 200 emails a day. So I missed one. So sue me.  At any rate, we hustled home and the work was done. No biggie, except that it ate up all the free time I was going to use for grocery shopping this afternoon.  Oops.

The boys had PB&J for lunch by request, and I baked a nice piece of fish and tossed it on some mixed greens.  Looks pretty fucking fancy, doesn't it. You'd pay a hefty price for this in a restaurant.  I made the fish in the toaster oven while making the boys' lunch and pitching greens in a bowl with balsamic while I poured milk. 

That'll be $15 please.

I walked the boys to school in what became a fucking deluge halfway there. They thought that was awesome and they squealed and laughed with their superhero umbrellas. My sweats got wet. Flappity flappity flap. Wet cuffs suck. I was hoping to have enough time to wash before going back to school to volunteer this afternoon, but the crew didn't finish in time for me to do that, so I just stank. Meh. 4 year olds smell pretty bad. I doubt any of them noticed my crunchy hair.

I volunteer in the 4K classroom once a month. I did when the girl child was 4 as well. It's kind of fun, and it's nice to know the kids so that when my boys talk about their friends I can put names with faces. A group of 4 year olds is both unbelievably adorable and excruciatingly painful. Imagine every question that was ever thought of being asked simultaneously in 16 tiny high pitched voices and you have 4K. Kindergarten teachers deserve a medal. If I taught Kindergarten I would probably take steak knife and a tongs and just cut my own fucking uterus out to prevent having to live with a child that age. 

Today we made handprint flowerpots. I alternately wanted to hug and shake every single child. I mean cuuuuuuute, but also OMGFOLLOWDIRECTIONS.  At the end of my time they went to calendar time and I folded alphabet books. Ask me about the 4K weather song sometime. I'll sing it for you.  You'll be singing it forever. I did get a lovely parting gift, though. I don't know what kind of plant it is, but the boys are very excited to find out how it will look.


One little girl remarked "It's so cuuuuuuute"
She is super cute. It is also her birthday.

Somehow after we walked home in the drizzle, the sky cleared completely and it became a beautiful day. Just in time for us to hop in the car and go to CF kids. By the time we got home I was starving, so I tossed some hot dogs together for the kids and I heated up a leftover turkey burger and some peas for myself. 

I really love these turkey burgers.

After dinner the kids and I took the dog outside and played fetch for about an hour. She could play fetch forever and never tire.  She's so good now that she often catches the disc in the air- and tonight she was bringing it back and laying it at my feet. What a good doggie.  I did spend about half the time keeping her from pestering my plants.  Here's the garden box all planted. A little of this, a little of that and we'll see what sprouts!  The kids are already planning what to do with their pumpkins, so let's hope we get a few.

This shit is orderly 

I made the spawn go downstairs to play while I folded laundry so that I could watch Game of Thrones. It took me damn near an hour to fold all that shit. Kid laundry is the worst. But it's all done, it's all folded, and it's all put away. Except for the stuff I have to do tomorrow. Sigh.

At the moment I'm chilling out and considering having a bowl of cherries to finish the night. I think I will.

Oh, I got myself a Mother's Day gift.  A little pharmacy related jewelry.  I thought this was pretty cool.

I especially dig the old-timey hypodermic.

I'm not sure I'll make it to the box tomorrow as my errands were all fucked up today, but I do have yoga in the evening, so I'll at least get some good stretching in. It's been a couple of weeks since I made it to yoga and I have really missed it. 

Also I signed up for belly dancing. Because I enjoy making a fool out of myself in the name of abs. Now I just need one of those jangly belt things.