blah blah me me me

I just did a pace calculation for a 45 minute 10K, and there is no frikkin way I’m gonna run 6 miles at 7:15! I am hereby revising my goal for this weekend’s race. I aim to finish in 60 minutes, or slightly less. That should be possible, yes?

I’ve been having some hip pain during my runs lately, and my 7 mile run yesterday was pretty painful the entire time. I kept pretty close to a 10 minute pace, which is normally so easy. Last week I ran a 3 miler in 25 minutes and something, but I don’t know if I could keep that up for a whole 6.2 miles (which would still be more than 50 minutes), especially since the forecast is for rain on Saturday. 😦

Nevertheless, perhaps this will make me quit worrying about my time, and enjoy the associations of a couple of my favorite people whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting face to face. Eeeeeeee! I’m so excited! Hopefully Elizasmom and Elizasmomsmom will not be disappointed with my squareness. Also, I get to finally meet my neice, BuiBui and spend some time with my awesome bruzzer and his wife.


What better way to start the day than to run 5 miles, including a speed-trial 3 mile in 25:31? And then to get home and find out your basement is flooded? And it hasn’t stopped raining? And it’s really pouring? And I’m not sure there’s quite enough water in my basement? And of course the home warranty that we have is mostly only for appliances, and our insurance has a deductible of $2,300? And there are at least 30 other people in the queue before us at all the clean-up places we called? And there were 20 boxes of books waiting patiently on the basement floor for the day when we would finally be able to purchase a bookshelf? Or twenty?

I’m sorry, I really am. I’m just so giddy. This isn’t your everyday sort of excitement. And just so you know, the reason I haven’t been commenting on y’all’s blogs is because I haven’t been reading them. I really, really miss you, but I am not fully put together right now, see? So be patient. And for your viewing enjoyment, here’s a video of my darling baby girl. I tried to get her to sing “Hot Cross Buns” but she only sang the first part, and you have to use your imagination to catch the words. She does get the pitches, though. There’s also a little bit of whispering where Calvin is trying desperately to distract her off the right side of the screen.

It’s been a while since I did a running post, and I would love to find out how everyone is doing. I know a few of you are taking it pretty seriously, and a few are still thinking about it. I’ve been so impressed with the progress you’ve made, especially since you’ve started from the very beginning. Some of you had never run at all until a few months ago. I hope you’re beginning to understand the running addiction. I don’t know how many addictions could be called healthy, but running for sure is.

I’ve been gearing up to do a few races this year. I signed up to run a 10K in Massachusetts, with Elizasmom and her mom, and probably some other bloggers I’ve never met. That will be in the end of March. I get to visit my brother nungnung as well, and it will be my first time in New England. I’m hoping to run it in less than 50 minutes, but we’ll see.

I’m going to run the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon in May. It’s the biggest half marathon in the country, with 35,000 entrants. My cousin Liz and my aunt Barbara will be doing that one with me. I hope I can finish that in less than 2 hours. I finished my first half marathon in 1:47, but the first three miles were pretty steep downhill, so I’m sure I ran faster than I would on a flat course.

I’m also going to enter the Air Force marathon in September. I think my goal for that will be less than 4 hours, but again, we’ll see. I have no idea what it will be like to run 26.2 miles, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy if I cross the finish line.

I’m basing my goals on my recent running times, and on the times from races I ran before I was pregnant with Kiki, in 2005. The other day, I ran 3 miles in 26 minutes, which is better than my last 5K, even though I wasn’t racing. It probably made a difference that I was on a track, but it didn’t seem as hard as I thought it would be. Today, I ran 7 1/2 miles in blustery 35 mile an hour winds, and I finished in 1 hour and 13 minutes. I ran some hills, but the wind was really what made it hard. I thought I would get frostbite on my nose, since the wind-chill factor put it at about -5 degrees. I kept putting my mittens over my face until my nose and cheeks thawed. It was exciting. When I got home, I thought I would not be able to move the rest of the day, but now I feel fine.

So how’s your running? I’d love to hear any progress you’ve made, any races you’ve entered, any gear you’ve purchased, anything that makes you motivated, anything that you hate, anything. I’ve discovered that talking about running motivates me, whether the person I’m talking to loves running or hates it. I love running.

The following is an excerpt from my missionary journal while I was in the Philippines. It’s from my happiest time as a missionary, a very brief 9 days. The 353 signifies that it’s the 353rd day of my mission. I haven’t included any names because the stories aren’t just mine. I’ve otherwise left everything as I wrote it in my journal, including the crappy punctuation. Zone Moti was a once-monthly motivational meeting where we talked about our successes, DM is the weekly version with smaller groups called Districts. ZLs are zone leaders, DLs are district leaders. CSP is community service project, CS is companionship study, where we discussed scriptures, language difficulties, and anything that was bothering us, and where we would role-play different situations that might occur while we were trying to talk to people about Christ.

I realize this is long and boring. My whole purpose for including it here is that I want to retell a couple of the stories from this entry, and as I was reading my journal, I just decided I should put it in word-for-word how I recorded it, then add the way I remember it later.

Shoot. I never write anymore and lots of good stuff has happened. We talked to Pres about my tooth and they bought me & Sis C. tickets to Manila. We went to Zone Moti on the 4th, Wed. The AP’s went too, to gave us something to take to Manila, and they drove us to the airport from Zone Moti. I puked on the plane. Sis C. said it was the most graceful she’d seen anyone puke. How many people has she actually watched?

Sis M was happy to see me. E. L. from Ilagan mission was there too. And E. K.

After I got my tooth fixed on Thursday, I asked Sis M to get me the soonest (sic) flight back. Saturday was the best they could do, but it was OK with me. E. L. was my travel comp. We saw some members in the airport who thought is was interesting to see one Elder and one Sister together.

When I got back, Sis M. and Sis C. had set some new goals and started developing a new way of presenting the first discussion. They wanted to teach at least one 1st a day. I got excited and we went out and had the funnest time. We decided we should be kept a 3-some even though we have 2 areas. We have found some beautiful families. On Sunday, we went to visit someone we had met a couple weeks ago. We had scheduled an apt with Sis E, so she told her family we were coming. When we got there, only Bro was there and I think he was sleeping. He didn’t look too happy. He started yelling for his wife and soon some kids started appearing. Then Sis E showed up. The Bro told one kid to go get his son. Word came back that the son didn’t want to come. So Bro got up to go get him, and he came Then Bro came back too! The whole family- 2 parents, 4 kids, all together, we were so happy. And the discussion was beautiful.

On Mon at DM we reported all our 1sts and the DL’s were impressed. Sis C has this funny thing she does when she says words with Hs. Instead of however, she says “owhever” or instead of hot oil, it’s “ot hoil.” It cracks me up. Today, she also told an investigator that he needed to ask God in the name of Crisco if the things we shared were true.

Wed the 11 was Sis Cs b-day. We CSP-ed at South Elementary school. It was a big fiasco at first. The Elders couldn’t find their copy of “Pig-Pen Mary” and we didn’t have one either. Sis M prepared a thing on first-aid & Sis C did one on cleanliness. So we just decided to do those two. Only the 3rd grade teachers didn’t want to let us do it. They looked for someone of “our own faith” to show us around. The librarian at the school is a member. Then the teachers wanted proof that we’d talked to the principal & had his permission. So we went to him & waited for him to type a permission paper for us and sign it. Our first presentation was a little boring. Only Sis M & C did anything. The second we all found something to do, only the teacher decided she wanted us to teach about good manners instead. So we did what we’d prepared, then E S & I taught about kabaitan (being nice). I taught them “Nais ko’y [magiging] mabait sa lahat” (“I want to be kind to everyone”) and it was a success.

Afterwards we went to Lam-Mars for lunch with the Elders and all pitched in for ice-cream and we ate a huge gallon of it. Then we were all sick. I puked and discovered ice-cream is the same coming out as it is going in. It was still cold. Sis [] tried to puke but couldn’t and just broke a blood-vessel in her face instead. Then she got mad at me because she was jealous.

We had a great day all together. Out of luck we taught a 1st to a wonderful woman that loved what she heard. We ran out of travel money so we walked to Labinab to the R’s new house where we decided to CS while we were waiting for Sis R to cook for us (b-day food) and we made a whole bunch of kids listen to us roll-play the 1st the new way we’re doing it, with all the scriptures. Then we ate only I gave Sis M the glass with the hot water that the spoons came in. I didn’t realize it was hot and she drank it anyway, then asked for some water that wasn’t hot. I asked if hers was hot & she said yes, then I realized what I’d done. Me & Sis C started laughing & Sis M asked if there was always one with hot water. I told her yes, that it was the one for the spoons and we all started laughing so hard we couldn’t stop for about 20 minutes.

When we finally left we were waiting for a trike and one came, but then we realized we had no travel, so we lied to the driver and told him we had a pupuntahan na malapit na nakalimutan namin (another place to stop that was nearby, that we had forgotten). We walked.

I was so excited. I decided to go ahead even before all the comments showed up. I ran upstairs, grabbed the scissors, got a fistful of hair and hacked. It was great, like the feeling you get from taking it out on a punching bag. I hacked and hacked, with no caring for whether it was even. I got as close as I could to the back of my head. I even tried Derek’s beard trimmer, bit it couldn’t grab my fine hair, so I just used the scissors. I thought it would be so terrible, with huge chunks and divots in the back. I purposely left some longish ones in the front and on top.

I washed my hair, trimmed some more from my fuzzy neck, and smooshed it around. This is what I got, still wet:

That’s almost the same as the last haircut I spent $50 on. Except for the craggy back. That was yesterday. Today, I tried a little harder to get something useful out of the cut, and this is what I’ve got so far:


Maybe I just need to learn to go crazy with the library paste. Next time, I’ll go for the buzz.

First, I promise I’m not this horsey in real life. Second, what do you do with hair that’s too long to spike, and too short to wear down?



Third, are you not impressed with my self portraiting skillz? I don’t mean artistically, I mean physically. Yes, I took that one from the back, with my own arm. How is that possible, you ask? It hurts a tiny bit.

I noticed this marvelous change in my mood this morning when I went out to run. I had anticipated a crappy run, since I had to leave before 7:00 am so Derek could get to work early. I don’t love running in the dark. I geared up for a dismal 22 minutes, checked the forecast, and was astonished to find that it was 60 degrees outside. It was 61 inside. Hmmm.

I removed my long-sleeved shirt and replaced it with a short-sleeved one. I stepped outside, and it was, indeed, the same temperature on both sides of the door. After the 4 degree runs last week, things were looking up. Even my tights were a little warm.

For the past month and a half, I’ve been having pretty severe regrets about buying this house. I keep having to think back to October to try to remember how much I liked it then, how excited I was about the neighborhood. I’ve been angry at the cold, wishing we’d taken that job in Tucson. I’ve been wishing we had taken more time searching, and had found a house that didn’t leak, or have millions of drafts, some of which I positively cannot find. I’ve been disappointed to find out that we apparently live in a snooty area. Not that I’ve met anyone snooty, but everyone who doesn’t live here automatically assumes that we’re snooty and rich, because of our location. I’ve felt a little trapped.

But today, with the temperature approaching 70, all that remorse is blowing away with the 5-mile-an-hour wind. All the snow melted from the yard, so I can see my pretty yard, with greenish grass everywhere. Most of the drafts are plugged up with torn bits of cereal boxes, but that doesn’t even matter, since I’ve got the front door open to let the cool, live air in. People are walking around outside. I got the kids ready to walk Calvin to school, and they didn’t need jackets, so it only took 30 seconds to get out the door, instead of 15 minutes, with searching for and donning boots, coats, mittens, sweaters, more mittens, hats, and blankets for the wee one in the stroller. There was no complaining. They were all equally thankful for the chance to get out and run, and see some sunshine. Even the stroller cooperated more than usual, allowing me to steer one-handed while holding hands with Zeeb, who loves holding hands more than any child I’ve ever met.

Today is the perfect day to start my compost. I’ve been trying to decide on the best way to contain our compost, whether it be in a wood bin, a chicken wire fence, brick, or a simple heap. Since today is so lovely, and I don’t have any wood, chicken wire, or brick, a heap it is. I don’t know where to find some manure, to make sure the compost heats up properly, but this is Ohio. I’m sure it won’t be too difficult.

A friend from church has invited us to spend some time at the park after school. It’s hard to be grouchy when the weather is so fine.

As a rule, I’m not too big on New Year’s resolutions. For me, they’re much less effective than weekly or monthly goals. If I write down a few goals for one week, it’s not very likely that I won’t accomplish them, because the time commitment is one my brain can process without my circuits catching fire. If I ever do a long term goal, I have to break it down into many smaller, short term goals, or I will fizzle out in the first few days.

This year, though, I have come up with a few goals that seem appropriate for me for this year. Some of them are in the form of a contest, whether with other people, or just myself. I am of a competitive spirit, so this will be my motivation when doing something just for the sake of being a better person makes me want to sleep in.

1. I will run a marathon in 2008. I think the Air Force does one in September. I’m pretty sure there’s one in Columbus in October, and there are millions of other marathons to chose from. I’ve got one person who has agreed to train with me, and possibly another. I’m going to see Spirit of the Marathon to kick off my training. My goal is to finish it in 4 hours or less, but I won’t be sad if it takes me longer. It will be my first marathon.

2. I will see how many consecutive days I can go without purchasing or consuming any candy or processed sweets. This leaves the option of starting again and bettering my previous PR. I made the resolution to not eat any sweets in 2005, and I made it 5 whole days. With my new goal, I can do better than 5 days, and even if I break down and eat a box of Mike & Ikes, I can always start again the next day and do better. If I manage even to make my sugar consumption just a little more rare, I will count myself a success.

3. I will make my bed every day, even if it’s the last thing I do before getting in it at night. I dream of the day when I will be able to pay someone else to clean my house, but that day is not today.

4. I will not acquire any new hobbies or languages in 2008. I will not buy any new yarn, language books, or, dare I say it, cookbooks. But I will work on the hobbies I already have. I will practice the organ, finish my Greek, use the cookbooks I have to plan great weekly menus and actually cook as much as I can, finish the baby blankets for my cousins and the chenille washcloths that were supposed to get mailed with the soap, get my compost started, plant my garden, sew up the shirts I started, and the curtains, and the lambie suit for Kiki, and the list goes on.

Now I feel a little lightheaded. I need to go back and rework that last one so it’s in weekly, bite-sized pieces.

So does nobody remember that skit from Sesame Street where the mother sends her son to the market and makes him memorize the list? A loaf of bread, a quart of milk, and a stick of butter. He repeats it all the way there, mixing up all the items, over and over again. I don’t know why I remember that.

I woke up this morning a little cold, but ready to try to get something done today. I don’t clean very often, and it shows, so I had decided to make today the day. I would get the living room tidied, get the mountains of (clean) clothes out of all the bedrooms, scrub the bathroom sink (for the first time since we’ve lived here, I know, ew), and do some laundry.

I hate having a messy house, but it seems so futile to pick something up, only to turn your back for 5 seconds and have something else appear where it was. Or even to have the same item reposition itself from whence you took it. I hate explaining to my kids how to hang up their towel, or their coat, or the dishcloth, and having them forget before I’m finished speaking. I hate cooking and not having anywhere to put the dirty dishes, or not having anywhere to chop, because of the dirty dishes. I hate following the tornado trying to repair the damage in it’s wake, only to look behind me and see another tornado following me.

My poor kids have suffered my wrath this morning. I think I might be more stressed on the days that I try to clean than on the days I just let the piles pile. There comes a point where my blood starts to boil. It’s usually around the time when I’m making lunch and instructing the kids to get dressed, because they never get dressed after all the millions of times I ask them to all morning. Inevitably, there are no socks in the drawer. Because someone has worn four pairs of socks per day, and discarded them in various corners of the house, and someone else just can’t be bothered to look in the drawer where we pretend the clean socks live. And a third someone’s socks are just the right size to plug up those pesky holes in the heating vent grates.

Because I’m too lazy to clean up after breakfast, that youngest someone is adept at finding whatever vessel is teetering on the edge of the dining table, ready to empty it’s inevitably liquid contents onto the floor and/or very small someone’s person. Inevitably soymilk.

Because we don’t have any shelves, but we do have too much stuff, the piano is covered with junk again. Piano music, a digital camera, library books, movies, several knitting projects, a big box with a few tiny homemade Christmas tree ornaments, lotion, magazines, a tiny violin, some framed photos wrapped in bubble-wrap, and a hunting horn.

I think I’ve grown up with an inflated notion of the importance of my own talents, and finding ways to use them. House cleaning is not one of my talents, so it feels like such a colossal waste of time, when I should be getting a PhD in music, translating at the UN, finding a vaccination for AIDS, painting masterpieces, writing novels, hosting my own show on the Food Network, working as a forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian, designing low-income housing with no environmental footprint, and knitting washcloths.

In the meantime, does anyone know of a support group for people who love their kids, but HATE being a stay-at-home mom?

Mixing lye into water.

Measuring lard.

Weighing all the fats.

Blending fats and lye.

Greasing molds with petroleum jelly.


Soap almost cured in crock-pot, without color or fragrance.2070483638_36ab457901.jpg

This is how much soap we got out of a tripled recipe. The balls are just the scraps all balled up. Purple is lavender, molded in a Pringles can and sliced, the pink is peppermint, molded in a heart-shaped muffin tin, and the yellow is honey-almond, molded in duck-shaped soap molds. The brown one in the back in the cake pan is chamomile, but was too soft yet to turn out or cut.

And for a close up, you may be able to see from the pink heart how lumpy it turned out. The crock-pot way really isn’t the way you should use if you want pretty results, but for a first shot, I’m happy.


For the full report of the process, go here.

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