Friday, April 29, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Do you salad?

Do you?  I do, often.  I have salads for lunch three or four times a week, and as a side with dinner nearly as often.  It's not a dieting thing.  I love them.

My dinner side salads are your garden variety green salads - lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes (in season), and that's about it.  My lunch salads are another story.  My lunch salads are meals.

I love salads. You should love salads.  They are quick and easy and a great way to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, yummy cheeses, an healthy oils.

I'm going to introduce you to one of my favorite lunch salads, the Beet and Citrus Blue Salad.  It's amazing.

You'll need:

1 head romaine heart
3-4 small beets cooked (you can roast your own once they are in seasons, but you can buy cooked beets in the store year round and they are nearly as tasty as fresh.)
1 piece citrus fruit (orange, tangerine, minneola, tangelo, clementine, red grapefruit)
1/4 cup blue cheese
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Olive oil, to taste

Slice your romain heart, beets, and citrus fruit (I used a minneola).  Put the lettuce on the plate; follow with beets, citrus, and blue cheese.  Top with blue cheese and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste. Voila!  Lunch in five minutes.  Go ahead and make this salad.  You're welcome.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Conversations with a preschooler: Breakfast

Jenni: Okay, guys, what do you want for breakfast?

Oscar: ...

Miles: ...

Jenni: Alright, do you want cereal or eggs?

Oscar: I want cereal!

Miles: I wan cereal milk!

Jenni: What kind of cereal? Miles, do you want Cheerios or Rice Crispies?

Miles: I wan Cheeros milk!

Oscar: I want Rice Crispies without milk!

Jenni: Miles wants Cheerios with milk and Oscar wants Rice Crispies without milk.  How about blackberries?

Miles: I wan black buoys!

Oscar: I don't want blackberries!  I don't like them!

Jenni: So, we have one order for Cheerios with milk and blackberries and one order for Rice Crispies without milk, right?

Miles: Yeah!

Oscar: Yes.  NO! NO! I want Rice Crispies WITH milk!  I want them with milk, Mom!

Jenni: You want Rice Crispies with milk? Milk in the bowl with the Rice Crispies?

Oscar: Yes!

Jenni: You're sure?

Oscar: Yes, Rice Crispies with milk in a bowl.

Jenni: Okay, got it.

Jenni goes into to kitchen; Miles follows, Oscar remains in living room.  Jenni prepares two bowls of cereal.  One is Cheerios with milk and blackberries and one is Rice Crispies with milk.  She goes into dining room with spoons and cereal.

Jenni: Okay, guys, breakfast?

Jenni seats Miles in booster and Oscar wanders into dining room.


Jenni:  What?  What are you talking about?  We had a five minute discussion about what you wanted and you very clearly said Rice Crispies WITH milk!

Oscar [red faced, tears streaming, sobbing]: NO!  NOOOOOOOOO!  I WANT MINI WHEATS WITHOUT MILK!

Jenni: Are you kidding me?  You never even mentioned mini wheats!

Oscar: YES I DID! I HATE RICE CRISPIES! I DON'T WANT THEM! [slides bowl of Rice Crispies across table]

Jenni: Fine, Oscar.  I will get you some mini wheats.


Jenni: Yeah, I get it.  Mini wheats without milk.

Jenni goes into kitchen, prepares bowl of mini wheats without milk, and returns it to Oscar at the dining table.

Oscar: Thanks.

Jenni: You're welcome.

Jenni returns to kitchen, puts away cereal boxes, recycles empty box of Cheerios, rinses empty milk carton for recycling, wipes counters.  Returns to dining room to check on the progress of breakfast.

Oscar is eating his Rice Crispies with milk.  The bowl is almost empty.  The mini wheats are untouched.

Jenni: So, how are those Rice Crispies with milk? The ones you hate?

Oscar: Good. I don't hate them.  They are my favorite.

Jenni: And the mini wheats?

Oscar: I'm going to eat those later.

Jenni: Of course you are.

Oscar: Can I have more Rice Crispies with milk, please?

Jenni: You got it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Conversations with a preschooler: A preview to the teen years

Jenni: Oscar, are you going to finish picking up those toys?  Oscar?

Oscar: I don't hear you, mom.

Jenni: You don't hear me?

Oscar: No, I don't hear anything you say.


Oscar: I want to bring Blanket to school today.

Jenni: No.  You are only allowed to bring Bunny.  No Blanket.

Oscar: No! But I love Blanket!  I'm going to bring him!

Jenni: Fine. Then you have to leave Bunny at home.

Oscar: No!  I love BOTH of them! I want to bring both.

Jenni: No, those are not the rules. You can only bring one to school.  If you bring Blanket, you leave Bunny.  That's it.  No more discussion.

Oscar: Well, I'm just going to pout about it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


After hurting my neck in last week's 5K, and then overdoing it by running again the following day, and pulling a muscle while weeding the garden the day after that, I took six day off from running.  I went to the chiropractor, iced my injuries, did gentle stretches.

I was feeling better, so I went for a run on Saturday.  I was going to do about two miles, and walk about half a mile.  It was an easy run, and I intentionally ran at a slow pace and made no effort to push myself.  I promised myself if my neck or back hurt, I'd just stop.  About a mile in, I felt a twinge in my neck, but it passed so quickly I thought I imagined it.  I felt it again a few moments later and slowed my pace, but kept running.

I finished my run, and felt good, but that evening my neck and shoulder were very sore.  I did not run on Sunday, but I had a chiropractor appointment yesterday that felt good, so I decided to run again last night.

By the evening, my neck and shoulder were sore.  Nelson came home and suggested that maybe I just walk.  I decided to run, and about a mile in, I felt a twinge.  And a quarter of a mile later, I felt significantly more than a twinge, and walked the remaining half mile.  I did about two miles, walking about 3/4 of a mile at the end.

This is stupid.  Really, really stupid.  I have an injury and I should lay off for a while.  A week, even two, until my neck is healed.  But this is hard for me for a few reasons.  Here are those reasons, in list form.

1) I don't want to lose momentum.  My training has been going really well.  I've been getting faster, running for longer, enjoying it more.  I don't want to go backwards.  Already my last two runs have been much slower and not as far as I had been running before my injury.  And even though I know that this decrease is BECAUSE of my injury, it still grates on me.  My own competitiveness with myself is harassing me to KEEP GOING, PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN even though my rational self knows this is wrong.

2) I'm going to fall behind in my training.  I have been training to run a full 5K at the end of this month.  I'm not going to be able to do that now.  There's no way I can make up the training.  I'm already slow and I already needed a few extra weeks to build up my speed.  Now, I'm spending those weeks healing (or re-injuring myself.) I'm disappointed.  I don't like how that feels.

3) I'm afraid if I take a break for a few weeks, I'll never run again.  Really.  I'm not any kind of fitness guru or athlete or even remotely athletic.  I could easily give up on this, I know I could.  Running is hard work and now that it is getting warm it's even harder.  And I'm reaching a point where just running is not going to cut it - I'm going to have to take it to the next level and move on from endurance try to get faster, so it is only going to get harder.  Quitting is easy.  Excuses are easy.  I can see myself going this route, even though I don't want to go this route.

4) I'm afraid my chronic pain will return.  I don't know how much I've mentioned it here, but I have for many years been dealing with some serious neck pain as a result of a bulging disc where my neck and spine meet (C6, C7, for those of you who also suffer neck pain.) It causes shoulder stiffness and sharp nerve pain that radiates down my left arm and causes numbness and tingling in my last two left fingers.  It had gotten so bad I was having trouble lifting the kids, bags of groceries, even closing the back of our van.  My whole arm, shoulder to the palm of my hand, would ache like the nerves and tendons had been slammed in a concrete door.  Since I've been running, the pain is gone.  As in no more pain.  After years and years of pain.  Not running for six days and the pain started creeping back.  My injury is nothing compared to what I have been dealing with for the past four years.  I can't go back to that pain.

So, for all of these reasons, I continue to push myself even when rationally I know pushing myself while injured is the wrong thing to do.  Even now, last night I told Nelson I would not run for the rest of the week, but this morning I'm already thinking, "My neck feels better today.  I bet I can go for a run tomorrow night." I should not do that, I should not run tomorrow night.  I will almost certainly hurt my neck and not be able to finish my run.  I will set myself backwards yet again.

I am working against myself here, and I know it.  I just don't know how to stop it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

This is all about undershirts

Last Thursday, Nelson and I went out for drinks with Becky and her people.  It was quite fun.  Delicious cocktails were consumed, good conversation was had, catching up happened.  Good stuff.

So, we are out for cocktails, and I notice that Nelson, who is sitting beside me, is wearing a shirt with small hole just beneath the collar.  It was an undershirt; he was wearing a sweater with a mock turtleneck and a zipper over top of the undershirt, but the undershirt was visible.

I cannot tell you how distracted I was by the hole in his shirt.  Every time I looked at him, I couldn't help but stare at the hole.  It really bothered me.  Well, it bothered me until I finished my first drink.  Nothing bothered me much after that.

Now, I didn't say anything, because I'm certain he had no idea it was there and he'd have felt terribly self conscious if I'd brought it up, but I made a mental note to check his undershirts for hole the next time I did the laundry.

So, we went out with some friends on Saturday night to celebrate my birthday.  Nelson was wearing jeans and a button-down shirt, layered over an undershirt.  AND THE UNDERSHIRT HAD A HOLE IN IT. Different undershirt, different hole.

Okay, so then this morning as I was saying goodbye to Nelson, I could not help but notice that he was wearing a green T-shirt underneath is gray polo shirt.  What the heck?  He told me he was out of undershirts, and I glanced over at the overflowing basket of clean laundry and told him to just grab one, but he deflected me and wore the really ill-matching ensemble to work anyways.

Clearly there is something going on with this man and his undershirts, right?

As I was folding the laundry this morning, I found that four of his white undershirts, that's nearly HALF of his entire white undershirt collection (he has like 10), had holes or worn collars. HALF.  I pulled them all aside so I could throw them away and buy new ones, but then I thought, "Why has he not mentioned the terrible state of his undershirts?  Maybe he likes his holy undershirts?"

Anyways, I decided not to throw them away. He is weird about clothes like that.  We have a whole plastic bin in our attic full of holy T-shirts (not undershirts, graphic T-shirts) that he has not worn in 10 years, but wants to keep for sentimental reasons.  Maybe he has some kind of sentimental attachment to his undershirts?  I do bleach them, so they look all nice and new, apart from the holes at least.

I will also have you know that Nelson has probably never purchased an undershirt in his life.  He went straight from having his mother buy them to having me buy them, so possibly I am falling down on the job here?  Should I just rotate out the holy ones and rotate in new ones?  I realize that I'm making too much of this, I do, but you know how sometimes the weirdest questions will HAUNT you?

I'll ask him if I can toss them tonight, but I'm just so curious about these holy shirts.

Could it be that he just does not notice the holes?

Does he prefer them because they are so soft an worn?

Has he been waiting for me to buy him some new undershirts?

Why are men such a mystery?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Happy birthday to me!  Flowers, picked out for me especially by two very sweet little boys:
Oscar woke early and wished me a happy birthday.  For my special day, he promised to clean up his toys, play nicely with his brother, and listen to me.  I couldn't ask for more.

And, then there is my birthday card.  Also picked out especially for me by my two little boys:

It makes noise.

As explained by Oscar, there are four buttons, and I can press any one of them.  I had to pry it out of little hands to take the photos.

I love having boys.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The finish

I finished my race on Saturday!  It was going really well the first half. Since I've not trained to run a full three miles, I was running in 1/2 mile increments and then walking for 1/4 mile.  And, I was doing great.  Running my best time ever (still not fast, but fast for me at around 13:23 minutes/mile) and feeling strong, but tired.

During my second 1/2 mile running interval, I was feeling tired and wanted to stop, so instead of just starting my walking a .10 of  a mile early, I decided to sprint that last .10 mile.  Dumb.  I don't know what exactly I did, but I must have hit a rock or a tree gum ball or something and I pulled a muscle in my neck.

It was painful.  Really painful.  I couldn't turn my head more than an inch to the left.  But, I was at my 1/4 mile walking point so I decided to try to stretch it out while I was walking.  It felt almost like something was pinched so I though I could pull it out.  WRONG.  Everything I did made my neck hurt worse.  And the pain was starting to go from neck into my right shoulder and down my back.

When the 1/4 mile walking interval was up, I decided to try and run my next 1/2 mile.  I only had 1.5 miles left in the race and I was hoping for a decent finish.  Well, that was another mistake.  Each step I took hurt my neck/shoulder/back more and more.  I finished my 1/2 mile and walked the final mile.

I alternated ice heat on my injury for the remainder of the day, and then made another mistake of trying to run again on Sunday.  I ended up cramping up in my calves after about running for about 1.5 miles and my shoulder was killing me last night.  And this morning.

I did some more stretching today, I'll do more ice and heat, but more importantly I'm taking two days off from all running/walking activity.  I might grab a yoga class tomorrow night, but I'm giving my body a rest from the cardio and hard muscle workouts of running.

In general, things with the running are going well.  This is my sixth week in the Couch to 5K program, so my last week of intervals.  My speed has been increasing, as has my endurance.  I've been losing an average of 2lbs a week, which is great for me (I usually average about 1.2), but more importantly, my clothes are fitting better.  I can feel that my pants are looser not only in my waist but also in my thighs.

That's the fitness news in these parts.  We had a pretty full weekend, though, including some pet related drama (don't worry, they are all still a live, though not entirely well - more later), but the weather is supposed to be amazing this week, so after my self imposed rest I'm looking forward to lacing up my running shoes again

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the best part of the race!  Look who was waiting for me when I finished:

Best. Cheering section. Ever.