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Monthly Archives: February 2014

The things music makes me think….

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There is one thing that many, many runners are very divided on. Running with music. Do it, or don’t? Me? I am a die-hard-must-have-music with me type of runner. I even listen to music when I am running with others. Music to me is like my magic feather. I am convinced I cannot run well without it. I know this is not true. In my heart of hearts, at the bottom of my belly where my endurance comes from, I know I am physically capable of just running. Running far. And my next post is going to in fact be about running with others. But today, I’m talking from where I feel most comfortable. On the trail with my headphones in.

I have a vivid imagination. At least I imagine I do. When I’m running by myself and my music is blaring in my ears, and I like BLARING, I think about all sorts of things. Sure, there are days when I have things weighing on my mind, and I’m thinking about serious adult/parenting/financial/life goal types of things. But there are also days when I just feel that music. Each song does something to me.

I never tell people, not ever, the fantasies that play out during my running playlist.

Well, I’ve been holding out.

I’m gonna give it a go. Song by song. For a few songs. Maybe it will make you laugh. Which is always one of my goals 🙂

1. Come With Me Now, by the Kongos. (put it on, and imagine with me)

“Whoa, Come with me now
I’m gonna take you down
Come with me now
I’m gonna show you how….”

This is a bushwhacking through the jungles somewhere in Rwanda song. Barefoot running. Feet thumping, toes splayed, sweat just dripping from every pore – because it’s humid as Hades in the jungle. And it is lush, and green, and bright. With giant insects both crawling and flying. I am running to collect gorillas; to protect them from poachers. I’mma gonna just lead them all to safety like the pied piper of gorillas. So, halfway through this song, it is me and 25 gorillas, 3 giant old-timer silver backs, just pounding over the gnarly tree roots to somewhere safe. And we just keep running. And I save them all. Brilliant.


2. Happy, by Pharrell Williams.

“It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way…”

It’s really hard for me to not break into a super-high skip when this comes on. Really hard. Sometimes I fail. I have to smile, because I do feel happy. Feeling this song isn’t so much imagining as it is recognizing. It makes me take stock of all the things in my life that make me happy, not least of which is a great run. Thinking happy things makes me just want to tip my head back and grin up at the sun. I get you Sun, I’m just as bright as you. But realistically this would probably throw me off-balance, so instead I just look forward and grin at whatever is out there, and people probably think I’m a weirdo. And since I’m running chances are my smile looks more like an evil grimace….so its better to just focus on the song. Yep. Don’t worry about the rest of the world.

3. Umo the Powerful, from Visions of Kenya.

I do not know how to spell a single word in this song, so just bear with me. It is a little tribal, a little playful, and very Kenyan.

This one is fun. I am long, lean, barefoot and black, running faster than fast across the Kenyan savannah. I have been to Kenya. I have seen Kenyans run; not the ones who are trained to run, but the ones who just run for the practicality of it. They’re amazing. I want to look that amazing. Shit, I DO look that amazing!!! Me and the cheetahs!! We are muscle and speed, and grace and agility, and gorgeous, lithe and,

I could carry on forever. I am pretty sure there isn’t even a hint of gorgeousness when I’m running (trust me, I’ve seen my race pictures), but it is totally worth it to imagine differently. I do run just a little faster…


4. Wrecking Ball,  by Miley Cyrus.

“I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me…”

I am mortally embarrassed to say that I love this song. And I have seen the video. I sought  it out. I think I turned fire engine red just typing it into Google. This song makes me determined to go home and just shove my husband onto whatever surface is there and do the heck out of him. Yep. I just said that. If I lop off a cotton tee and slap on some workbooks and lick the faux stainless steel dishwasher will that totally turn him on? We don’t have any wrecking balls readily available.

5. Cleanin’ Out my Closet, by Eminem

“Where’s my snare?
I have no snare in my headphones – there you go
Yeah… yo, yo”

I am never as bad ass, as hard-core, as tough and ballsy as when I listen to Eminem. I am pretty sure I can take on anything; man, beast, nasty porta-potty, anything, when I hear this white man rap. And when he swears, I swear. I grit my teeth. I growl. I should take up professional boxing…Shit! I am SO freaking tough….No one should mess with me. EVER. I can’t believe I am living in the suburbs, married to a mortal man, an engineer!!! F*CK!!!! I am so tough I should just keep running until I get to a ghetto somewhere. And when the residents of the ghetto see how ridiculously, undeniably, fierce I am they will make me the ruler of the ghetto. Oh snap. I gotta get outta Lakewood.


Tonight, by Hard-Fi

“Tonight, tonight I’m gonna take whats mine,
tonight, tonight under that bright neon light
And if I ever find a way right out of here,
Tonight, tonight I’m gonna disappear.”

This one begs me to seek out hills in the dark. It is one of my nighttime favorites. Dressed in black. Black beanie. Black gloves. Running. Slick black tights, no socks (I don’t know, its my imagination!), black shoes with silver lightning bolts on the side. I might steal something!! Where is the rain? This is an awesome song to run in the rain to. Forget breaking and entering, let’s race. In my all-black speed costume I win every race. No one even comes close to me. I win every competition, conquer all hills, collect every medal. Leaping off rocks. Taking up parkour and free running. At night. In the dark. Always the dark. No moon at all. Love it.

All You Got, by Tegan and Sara

“The kind of girl who laughs and says
Get up off your knees
Oh yeah all you need is me
Oh yeah all you want is me
So you come and so you go”

I have a lot of old boyfriends. I have also never been dumped. Is it totally wrong of me to occasionally think that they (yes, all of them) might possibly think of me as “the one that got away?” When this song comes on, I practically line them all up in my head, and they take turns begging me to give them a second chance. They swoon over me, gaze longingly at me, and yearn for me. It feels awesome. Sometimes I choose one and imagine that he just drove by me on Morrison Rd, and he’ll be at the stoplight waiting for me at the top of the hill. He’ll have love letters he’s been saving over the years, and they’ll be in his glove compartment, just waiting for me. He’ll ask if he can give me a ride somewhere. And I (super-cooly) say, “No thanks. I’m good.”

and then he just watches me run off, strong and not his.

Have you guys had enough?? Do you want to download some new music, or go running? Or am I just TOO weird now?
Before you decide, just think about how much fun it is to think about gorillas, ghettos and hot husbands. As opposed to planning menus, Costco shopping trips, and which kid gets a bath tonight.

Come on Spring! You’re Killing Me.

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I am wistful for Spring. I want to see sunshine around the corner. Yep. I got it bad. Feb. 18 is actually a little early for me to be feeling this way. I quite like cold weather. Usually I am not wanting heat until mid-March. Cold is so much more snuggly than hot weather. I like that. The snuggly bit. I like all the different kinds of snuggly; soft clothes snuggly, knitted hat snuggly, snot-nosed kid snuggly, hands around a hot cuppa snuggly, on the couch with the mister snuggly; all of it I deem wonderful. BUT, not this year. I am ready NOW. Right now!!!!

Why? Well……

It’s Winter Mark. He’s getting to me. In fact, he’s killing me. I might be ready to snap. I might be ready to ship him off, duct taped to his bicycle, to somewhere warm and sunny if it doesn’t get warm and sunny here pronto. If he comes home from work and glares at the crock pot, and then me, one more time, I might…..I might….well, I don’t know. Hurl the white chicken chili at him at the very least.

It’s gotten so bad, I really didn’t want to make him a valentine. See, it is our tradition every year to make valentines. Out of whatever. It is legal to go to the craft store for supplies, but that is it. You can’t actually buy a valentine. It must be handmade. Usually this results in some fantastic valentines. Like one year I got handmade Tibetan prayer flags – with straight from the heart verses on them. Last year I made Mark a bicycle out of hearts. Another year we made Top Ten lists. Hilarious. I totally recommend you stop buying Valentine’s Day gifts and get inventive instead. It is well worth the effort. But this year it was sooo much effort I actually asked if we could exchange valentines a day late. Yes, I did.

Hey! That’s pretty big for someone who keeps a notebook of craft ideas in her back pocket.

So, who is Winter Mark, and why is he so difficult? Well, it is the cold-weather version of my generally lovable husband. He is a cyclist. A cyclist who LOVES hot weather. I mean, he’s practically a heat-seeking missile in spandex. If he can’t spend some time on his bicycle, and a decent amount at that, he gets über cranky. And whilst I may be more of a glass half-full person, he is definitely the opposite. And in the winter he is convinced that not only is the glass half-empty, but it is cracked and leaking. It is only a matter of time before the glass is drained of anything beneficial, and he is about to freeze and wrinkle away in a wet pile of snow. I know this about my husband. I know he needs the sunshine and 90 degrees. I am usually pretty adept at handling this seasonal malfunction of his. I bake, I give extra attention, I plan fun dates, we do everything remotely possible: outside in the cold, in the snow, in the wind, with and without our kids.

But this year, as many of you know, has been a little bit colder than the usual. Cold and frozen enough to keep him off his bike much more. Usually by now he’s had at least a half-dozen bike-cleaning and tuning sessions in the living room to prep for the spring. This year he doesn’t even want to take his bike out in the crud that is all over every street corner. And this reluctance is coming from a man who rode to work in the British weather backwash for 3 years. He is not afraid of dirt and wet and sludge and farm animal detritus. He just wants to pedal hard.

So, Mother Nature, I need a  break and my husband needs a bike ride. Can you ease up on the snow and subzero temps? And I think I am not the only wife feeling this way right now. I have heard from others….be strong ladies, be strong.

This workout below is for anyone suffering from enough winter. Enough for you, enough for your kids, enough for your spouse. Enough is enough! Blow off some steam with this little number, entitled:

Come On Spring!

50 sec. on/10 sec. off (if you’d like to make this harder because you’re an even bigger glutton for punishment than I, plank for your 10 sec. rest)

1. Double crunches: Crunch your knee to your opposite elbow, go back down, and up again; this time hand to opposite toe with a straight leg. Repeat. To make this harder, never let your feet touch the ground.

2. Jumping Burpee: Take one giant double-footed jump forward, then do a burpee with a push up. When you do the final jump on your burpee, make it a tuck jump; bringing your knees up to hit the palms of your hands. Jump two small jumps back. Repeat.

3. Dive bombers. Add a push-up if you need this to be harder. They are in this video at 2:15:

4. Spider-cross push ups: in the same video at 3:25

5. Crab Touch: at 4:20

6. Jump overs: Find a box or a step, place hands on the middle and jump over from side to side keeping your legs together.

7. Elbow to knee step-up:  Step up onto a box or step, bringing your knee up to touch the opposite elbow.

8. Box Leap Frogs: Using the same box or step, stand with one leg on either side. Place your hands in the middle of the box/step and jump forward with both legs (like you’re playing leap-frog over the box)

9. Dips

10: Side plank with toe touch. Choose a side to start on in a side plank position on your hand. Kick your top leg forward and touch your toe with the hand that is not holding you up. Repeat on opposite side after :50.

When I was writing down this workout Winter Grumpersaurus saw the video of Lisa Marie doing the spider push-ups and says, “Are you and your moms going to do THAT?” I told him, yes of course 🙂

So get going!

I Haven’t Heard From the Groundhog, Have You?

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So. Yeah. It’s cold. Like, so cold I am worried about our chickens getting frostbite. So cold our garage door tracks constrict and we have to help the door all the way up. So cold that snot freezes. And let me tell you, it really stings when you try to chip it off. I tried that BEFORE realizing I could just go indoors, let it thaw and then wipe with a tissue like a normal person. Ah, the things that escape me. Ah, the things that motherhood has done to my brain. Poor nose. Poor brain. Where is Punxsutawney Phil when you need him????

Whatever! There is no whining in parenting!! At least not from the parents!! At least not more than once a month! If I can help it!!

Aw, crap. Phil saw his shadow.

It will get warmer. Not soon enough though, because my computer is in the basement… it is really freaking freezing down here and my fingers are so numb I have to retype every sentence six times. Sheesh. Maybe this will be a short post. I wish Amelia could make me a hot cuppa….

Okay, enough daydreaming about steaming tea…..Image

My favorite slippers are on and so is a second shirt.

Since it’s so chilly out, and chilly makes me crave cozy, I thought I’d share a few things that will cozy you up for certain.

Of course the first is a workout! You didn’t doubt for one second it was, did you!!!

Monday Madness HIIT Workout

Repeat 3 times. In between rounds do 2 minutes of double high knees and :30 of fast feet.

Each set is :50 of exercise and :10 rest. One minute rest in between rounds.

1. Box Jumps

2. Jump Squats

3. Jump squats with kick out (Jump forward, and land softly in a squat. Stay down in squat, kick one leg out to the side; alternate legs)

4. Dips

5. Push-ups

6. Reverse Plank

7. Plank around the clock (holding plank position, walk hands and feet around, one at a time. i.e. move one hand 5″ in one direction, follow with other hand. Move one foot 5″ in one direction, follow with other foot)

8. Double v-ups (sitting with legs raised about 6″ off the ground, do an oblique crunch, touching opposite elbow to bent knee. Lower down and do an oblique v-up.) I know. That’s a terrible explanation. Check out this video:

I know, her boobs are scaring me too. Just look away when she does high knees. The Double V-ups are at 5:08.

9. Toe-touch crunches (lay on your back with legs in the air at a 90-degree angle, crunch up, reaching towards toes)

10. Superman/roll/v-up

And now, for a warm snack. I made these last night for the SuperBust. My kids loved them. I loved them. The only person who didn’t love them is my weirdo husband who somehow manages to have a natural, and very strong,

disdain for anything unhealthy. I don’t know where he comes from.

Chewy Pretzel Bites

A wonderful friend of mine has talked about Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for forever now. I resisted for a long time (I don’t know why), but I have succumbed to the culinary genius and realistic recipes that make her blog what it is. Delicious and doable. Do it.

And lastly – because my hands are still freezing – a pattern for a lovely pair of fingerless mitts. So practical. So cute. And really, not that hard to knit. Just do it after dinner, after the kids go to bed, while you’re all snuggled up to somebody (or the dog, or cat), possibly watching Jimmy Fallon, who I love ever so much.