Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An update for the sake of an update

I think I’m seeing some work light at the end of the work tunnel, but even so it’s still been really challenging for me to blog lately because most of my waking thoughts are consumed with an experiment I’m not ready to tell you about. Sorry to be so mysterious, but it’s the truth.

(Now I’m wondering if my sleeping thoughts are consumed with The Mystery Topic as well, but actually the last dream I remember having was some sort of play that was being narrated by the robotic voice of the text-reading program that I’ve been using to help me copy edit for up to 14 hours a day. I don’t need that one analyzed; clearly I’ve been working too hard.)

Hmm, what else? I’ve been running pretty frequently, but only for very short distances and only (after warming up) very fast. In fact, I’ve been trying Tabata-style intervals of 20 seconds all out and 10 seconds rest, repeated eight times. That’s four minutes of hell, in case you’ve never tried it, and I’m still working up to eight whole intervals for 20 whole seconds with that little rest. But it’s a quick workout and supposed to be very effective, even if it does attract some strange looks and funny comments on the bike trail. (Yesterday, an elderly man said, “Well, look at you go!” as I pounded by.)

Friday, August 8, 2014

A most excellent break

This long blog silence has been brought to you by Dopey, Grumpy, Sneezy, and Bashful. I don’t know if I need to translate that sentence, but in case you didn’t know, it’s my special code for A WHOLE LOT OF WORK.

In the middle of all that work, though, my sister invited Mik and me (Dex had to work and M.H. doesn’t do boats) to go boating with with them at Yellowtail Reservoir. I should have said no and read 150 pages of Dopey’s new book, which I am desperately behind on, but instead I said yes and it was exactly what my life needed.

The best part was that while we were hanging out swimming in this little cove, a young bear wandered down the canyon. I slipped into the water to swim over for a closer look, and then the bear jumped into the water and started swimming, too! I stayed well away—although even with a semi-bum shoulder I think I could have outswum its little bear-paddling self pretty easily—but got to watch it swim and wander around for quite a while at fairly close range.

Speaking of swimming and bum shoulders, I had not been in the water for many weeks, but I found that I can now do freestyle and breaststroke without pain, which is a big improvement. (Backstroke still hurts a little, and butterfly hurts a lot.) But mostly it was just glorious to be swimming around in a lake for fun rather than being slowly poisoned by pool chemicals and the drudgery of “laps.”

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The gluten fog, and getting back to work

One consequence of the busy swim meet/triathlon weekend is that I totally fell off the Whole30 wagon (M.H. says, “Just call it a Whole20”). The first of my rules started falling by the wayside on Friday, and by Sunday night I had agreed to go out for pizza and ice cream—immediately before falling sound asleep on the couch, which I already told you about.

I hadn’t had gluten in MONTHS, and I could tell it was messing with my brain. I felt like I was in a fog for a day and a half, almost like I was feverish but without the fever. So I’m cleaning up my diet again and trying to get back to all my excellent little rules. I’m already feeling more like myself again, and this morning I cleaned a window well, so PROOF.

I was pretty excited to start getting some work this week from sources other than Sneezy—so long to the midsummer doldrums! Then I got more work and more work and more work, and what can I say? I so long for the midsummer doldrums.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Triathlon day

Here’s a race report for my amazing triathlete wonder-child, but from my perspective:

The alarm went off at 4:50 a.m., which is just a few minutes before the stupid birds start in with their squawking, so I’m kind of used to being awake at that time. By which I mean I was feeling pretty alert and excited to see Mik race. I was also nervous. I had driven the bike course with him on Saturday and had been shocked at the difficulty of it. I tried to stay positive in front of him, but there’s a not-kidding-around four-mile-long hill in there, and he’s just an inexperienced, overconfident kid riding a 30-pound mountain bike that he likes to keep in the same gear all the time.

Mik was nervous, too, but he had several friends there who were swimming on relay teams, so at least there were distractions.

He and the swim team kids put themselves at the front of the pack in the primo position, and I was glad that no one seemed to object. As it turned out, three of them were among the first four out of the water. Mik was fourth so I stopped watching the swim after that:

The first transition went well, but after that it was worry time for me.

But the worry wasn’t too severe, because he was back from the 16-mile ride in about an hour and 10 minutes. WHEW. I was not concerned at all about the run, because I knew he wouldn’t crash or get hit by a car, and he could walk as much as he needed to. But he must not have walked much, because I was surprised at how quickly we saw him again:

Bam! It turned out he was the only one in his 13-14 age group, but he was still delighted with his gold medal, and they announced that he was the youngest person to complete the full race.

He had about five minutes to savor his triumph and talk to his fans and then we drove him to the pool just in time for his first swim meet event of the day. He jumped into the pool and got a best time in the 100 breast, even though he was still wearing his tri shorts. He also had two more pretty decent events, and then he got to go home and play games on the computer.

M.H. and I still had several hours of swim meet volunteering ahead of us. It was brutal.

We got home around 6 and put on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I blinked and it was already up to the troll part. I blinked again and Galadriel was on the screen. I blinked again and Dex was home from his climbing weekend in the mountains to find his entire family sound asleep on two couches. I don’t know what happened after that because I put myself to bed. The end!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Itchy scissor fingers

Cutting my own hair turned out to be a really positive experience. I mean, it was fun, it was empowering, I saved money, and I liked the way it turned out. But even though everything was fine, I wasn’t quite satisfied with looking more or less the same as before. I had watched 4,000 YouTube videos on the subject and become convinced that what I really wanted was more layers around my face and a cute little side bang. 

So I ponytailed it up and cut it again, and this time you can really see the difference:

June 21 (haircut needed)

July 4 (DIY cut #1)
Just now (DIY cut #2)

Surprise! It also turned out fine. So I’m still pretty happy. But also a little concerned. 

Number one, there are, like, a million selfies on my phone now, which is bad enough in itself, but I think I accidentally just uploaded one of them to a photo stream created by swim team parents to share pictures of the kids. The kids swimming. I haven’t figured out how to verify that I did this or to delete it, but I’m afraid the stream is now 1,200 photos of blue pool water with tiny, unidentifiable arms and heads coming out of it…and one of my giant smiling face. 

(If any of those other parents are reading this right now, I would like them to know that I’m not really the self-absorbed selfie-taking type. Which I realize would sound a lot more convincing if I hadn’t just told you about the state of my phone right now and if I weren’t saying it on a blog where I’ve been chronicling hair developments on and off for about nine months.)

Number two, see those cute side bangs? They are borderline—not quite, mind you, but borderline—too short, which means I came perilously close to overdoing it. So while that was super fun and rewarding, I can not do it again for a while. Someone hide the hair scissors. (Note to M.H.: Don’t really. I might need them.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Some of my gear is getting a new home

I have been having fun outfitting Mik for the triathlon. He needs better running shoes? Well, his feet right now are clones of mine, and I have three pairs in my closet, one virtually new. Tri shorts? Here are three styles to choose from! Race belt? Sure! Water bottle cage? Coming right up!

We got the bikes out last night, and I was a little disappointed at first that Mik didn’t want to use my bike for the race (I was in “Use it or lose it” heaven by this point). But I agree that there’s too much weird, new stuff on mine—like the aerobars and the clip-in shoes—and it’s better that he ride safely on his own mountain bike.

But all this got me to thinking about how sad it is that I have all this nice gear lying around gathering dust (or rust). Surely I am not so permanently traumatized by the Ironman bike leg that I will never get on the thing again? So I took off the three-year-old race stickers and inflated the tires. I think I should also swap out the pedals for a regular pair that don’t require the extra step of putting on funny shoes. After that, one never knows what one will do (sometimes even oneself).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 10: In the groove

I’ve been eating and living about as well as I know how for 10 days now, and it’s getting much easier. Some of my rules are feeling automatic, and most of the rest don’t seem overly burdensome.

The big exception is that most days I have to force myself to “clean something” (meaning above and beyond the usual; I’m not living in a barn here). Oh, and I haven’t really been able to make myself to do any meal planning at all. Unless you count “making sure we always have some kind of meat thawed” as meal planning, but that’s not exactly what I had in mind when I made the list. Oh, well.

July was a great time to start all this, because I’m in the midsummer doldrums as far as work goes. In fact, if it weren’t for my new job with Sneezy, I wouldn’t have any work right now. That’s a bit scary, but because of that built-in 16 to 20 hours a week, it’s not nearly as bad as the usual midsummer doldrums panic. And, anyway, Dex is working now, so if we get desperate, we can always fall back on the hilariously tall stack of soggy $1 bills he has accumulated from the car wash in the form of tips.