Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Planning for next year

The whole family is still pumped up about racing and triathlons, so we've been talking about what we could do next year. Mik is gung-ho about doing the adult tri (a sprint), and I had said if he did I'd do it with him. But then I had a better idea: What if Mik does the tri individually, and the rest of the family does it as a relay—me on the swim, Dex on the bike, and M.H. on the run?

Mik, of course, loves the idea. He thinks he can take all three of us.

As for me, I'm committing right now to doing something at the Big Sky State Games next year. Either the swim meet, the triathlon, or both.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bragging on my other kid now

This started out as a triathlon blog, and if that's why you read it, then you'll appreciate that the next generation is picking up the slack.

Mik did the kids triathlon for the Big Sky State Games yesterday (150 meter swim, 2 mile bike, half-mile run). He'd been saying he was going to win it, and I believed him, but I did not realize just how MUCH he was going to win it.

First, some pictures:

Oh, just being interviewed for the local TV news.
I'm making him write a race report (partly because I'm such a mean mom, but partly because I get a crazy amount of joy from my own). But since I'm sure he won't let me share what he writes, here's how it went down:

Mik got second place in this race last year, which bugged him. So I did as much as I could this time around to give him every advantage. I dug out my race belt so he wouldn't have to bother wearing a shirt. I helped him experiment with slipping on and running in different shoes without socks. I had him practice transitions in the driveway. I talked his brother into lending him a bigger, better bike. I even shared my knowledge of how to do a fast swim start, how to sight in the water, how to get out of the water, transition tips, bike mounting tips…

The one thing I didn't bother discussing was pacing, because Mik basically just has two speeds: give up or give it all you've got (cough). His triathlon philosophy can be summed up as, "Get ahead and freaking stay ahead." He told the TV reporter as much, and you can hear that here

Anyway, he shot out in front so quickly that the spectators around me started saying, "Wow, look at THAT kid." Then he did a lightning-fast transition and disappeared for seven minutes while out on the bike course. Then he took off running like he was being chased (see During picture). He came in at 13:00.79, more than a full minute ahead of the next kid to cross the line, making his parents and other assembled relatives very proud (see After picture). 

And that's pretty much the race report, except that I have another before and after to show you. On the left is Mik at last year's triathlon, when he had been eating Paleo for two months and had already lost about 10 pounds. On the right is him after eating Paleo for 12 months more. Just sayin'. 

Last year
This year

Saturday, July 20, 2013

This is how you do summer

Dex is 15½, so it might not come as much of a surprise to you that he's getting really independent, but it sure does to me. If he weren't still required by Montana state law to have a parent in the car while he drives, he might not need us at all. He can cook his own meals, plan and execute his own social engagements, do his own laundry, handle pretty much any household task—not to mention take apart a computer and put it back together again, if that happens to need doing.

Most importantly to him, he's got all the gear and skills he needs to safely go rock climbing with a friend, and he that's just what he's done maybe half the days this summer. When he came home from another expedition at around 8 last night, he commented that his hands were really trashed. How, I wondered, could they not be toughened up by this point? Oh, he said, they were really tough. "But I've been out so much this week that I wore the callouses off, and now they're just…disintegrating."

Once again I'm a bit jealous of my firstborn, who's found a way to play outside in the sunshine all summer long until his hands disintegrate.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Flawed eCard of the Day: Three choices?

See how this cleverly used the word "give" three times? It follows that it must be true that the only way to get through life is to get ripped by performing an hour of high-intensity training while being screamed at six days a week.

Or wait. Am I still allowed a rest day when I'm giving it all I've got? And if I choose to be a knitter instead of an athlete, am I allowed to just give knitting all I've got instead? What about parenting? What about work? Should I give all the things all I've got? Do I do it forever, or when I'm 80, can I decide that I've conquered my own body and life once and for all and finally give it a rest?

So many questions best not asked on my gym's super-irritating Facebook feed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I was planning to have a busy but satisfying workday, but it didn't pan out. It never pans out when the work is for Grumpy. Grumpy makes everything a million times more difficult and time-consuming and irritating than you would expect. It didn't get its blogging code name for nothing.

I would dearly love to give Grumpy the old heigh-ho, but Grumpy is also my largest source of income. When Prince Charming is thinking up doomsday scenarios under which he would have to stop writing full time and apply to work at Costco (it's always Costco in the doomsday scenarios), they generally begin with, "If something were to happen with Grumpy…"

So now I'm done working for Grumpy for the day but have not yet started on anything else (like a project for poor, neglected Bashful). It makes me grumpy. I was out of sorts yesterday, too, though, which makes me wonder if giving up eggs has anything to do with it. I think I heard somewhere that your body will rebel when you give up foods you're sensitive to, because you're also addicted to them, or something like that. Just work with me here. I'm not in any kind of mood to put a lot of effort into making sense.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A trial separation

Because I can never leave well enough alone, and because I listened to a podcast last week where this Paleo-type nutrition person made a pretty convincing case, I'm trying out giving up yet another food. (New Life Plan!) These were her seven foods to avoid:
  1. Corn
  2. Peanuts
  3. Gluten
  4. Soy
  5. Sugar and artificial sweetenrs
  6. Dairy
  7. Eggs
Since I already avoid the first six, the only new thing I'm giving up (for three weeks) is eggs. That's harder than it sounds, though, since I love eggs and had been eating maybe three or four a day on average. I don't think I actually have any of the symptoms the nutrition person cites, but she says she's found that 70 percent of people she works with are sensitive to eggs, usually without knowing it, and that giving them up for a few weeks makes them feel better and helps them "shed those last few stubborn pounds."

Well, that got my attention. Last few stubborn pounds? I would love to shed those last few stubborn pounds! Except of course I'm not weighing myself, so instead of pounds, I'll have to use a nonstandard unit, namely size 10 dresses purchased on eBay.

Size 10 dresses purchased on eBay? I would love to fit into those last few stubborn size 10 dresses purchased on eBay!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ode to softball

The church softball team played its last game this morning, and I'm a bit sorry to see the season end. I could feel myself getting more competent with each passing inning, and I even found a position (catcher, who knew?) where I felt like I was actually contributing something, rather than just standing out in the field being one of the five required women.

Granted, my primary contribution as the catcher was that I filled a position no one else really wanted, but I enjoyed getting to touch the ball every inning, I don't mind getting up and down all the time, and it fit my fielding skill set: throwing the ball back to the pitcher and practically nothing else.

Softball is all sprinting, jumping, and other explosive movements; it's great for hand-eye coordination; and in my case I got the added benefit of a whole bunch of squats. The perfect exercise, and a pretty fun game to boot.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Toward a more literary life

For maybe a year or two now, I've been writing a short review on Goodreads every time I finish a book. I sooo wish something like that site had existed when I was younger (also the Internet itself). I would love to have a record of every book I had ever read, along with my thoughts about it at the time. Wouldn't that—in utter seriousness—be an absolute treasure?

I explained all this to Dex and Mik, convinced that, based on the obvious wisdom of my advice, they would immediately open their own Goodreads accounts and start eagerly posting reviews. (And, you know, that they would start actually reading novels just for the fun of getting to write book reports about them.) Instead they just looked at me like I was ancient and insane and possibly speaking in tongues.

Oh, well. I'm sure they will find their own satisfying paths through life. Mine seems to be doing things and then writing about them. And since I enjoy book reviews, and work hard on the ones I write, I'm going to start recycling some of them from Goodreads to post on the blog as well. Not today, though. Maybe when I get busy with work and don't have time to either read or write, and they can remind me that there's more to life than quarterly earnings calls and technical documents on public transportation.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A watershed moment

Click to enlarge.

Legitimacy went up for sale on Amazon yesterday, and if that's not an excuse to celebrate, I don't know what is. M.H. has been thinking and talking about this book for at least eight years and actively writing it, on and off, for seven—dating from before we moved to Montana so that he could write full time. (It's basically the reason we moved to Montana so that he could write full time.) He's been working on Legitimacy for so long that he wrote two and a half other books between the time he started it and the time he finished it.

I've read Legitimacy at least six times. I've taken several hundred walks that were dominated by a discussion of its plot. I have near my desk a ream of paper with a 500,000-word first draft of Legitimacy printed on one side; I've been using it for years now to print Paleo recipes and my other nonsense on the blank side. I've even got my fingerprints in the book a little—a couple of nice phrases were my editing suggestions, and I came up with the name of the fictional company Zubotix™.

Oh, and of course there was the marriage- and sanity-testing blurb we collaborated on for the back cover, which might have been more trouble than the whole rest of the book combined.

When I started this post, I was planning to bring it around to some sort of "Legitimacy made me eat a ton of pizza last night and now I feel horrible" type thing, but you know what? All things considered, I'm feeling pretty darn good.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Free time and the Year Without Sugar

I'm on day four of being all caught up with work, and it's so…weird. There was probably a ton of stuff I could have done around the house, but instead I've finished four novels. Reading, not writing, obviously. M.H. is 100% on board with my crappy-romance-novel-writing plan, though, and he's already offered me three different plot outlines to use, all of them perfect. The man is a book-idea machine. This New Life Plan could totally work; I just need to learn how to actually write a novel and we're all set: I'll write for money, and he'll write for art. Art and money.

Sorry for the abrupt change of subject, but you know what is working beyond expectations? The Year Without Sugar plan. I admit I had to amend it to a Year Without Sugar on the Mainland, but it still keeps me out of all sorts of trouble. For example, I was at a Fourth of July gathering where one of the snacking options was a HUGE GLASS BOWL OF PEANUT M&Ms. Normally I would have been dipping into that thing from minute one and not stopped until I had literally made myself sick. But I had the rule, so I didn't have a single one, and it was just fine, no willpower required.

A Year Without Cheese, or a Year Without Grains, might be healthy, but it would be too much for me—because, hello, pizza. But it turns out I can actually handle myself around grains and dairy now without needing a rule, so why complicate things?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Magic bullet

I thought I'd update you on the progress of my New Life Plan, which, in summary, was to find out how to better feed my gut bacteria to keep them happy and to reduce inflammation. Here's what I did:
  1. I read that it might be good to add some resistant starch. 
  2. I bought some greenish bananas and started eating them.
  3. I felt a million times better and my clothes started feeling loose again.
  4. Problem solved. Ta-da!
Fresh from that success, I've been thinking that my New, Unrelated Life Plan should be to write crappy romance novels under a pseudonym and self-publish them as ebooks. (Not that I would try specifically to make them crappy, just that I'd be churning out one every six months or so and that by their very nature they wouldn't exactly be literature.) I've been studying the ebook best-seller lists on Amazon recently, and it's truly mind-boggling how many of them are crappy romance novels. I guess it makes sense, though. The beauty of a Kindle is that you can read that kind of stuff on a subway without suffering the shame and stigma of a way embarrassing book cover.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Hiking, Part II: Blue Lake trail

I know we just went hiking, but I saw a window of opportunity, and since this summer looks to just keep getting busier, we went for it. The plan was to hike in the Crazy Mountains from the Half Moon trailhead to Blue Lake and then back down again (about eight miles round trip) in time to catch a Shakespeare in the Park performance of Henry V in Bridger. That did not pan out entirely, and here's why:

My buddy Mik is not a fan of hiking. In this photo, we've hiked just a short distance and found ourselves at a beautiful stream cascading down a rock formation. He climbed up a big boulder and sat down overlooking the white water. See that expression of contentment and wonder? Me neither. 

It was slow going, but in the end, we got the kid up the mountain and back. NOT in time for Shakespeare—not even close—but this is one of the most gorgeous hikes I've ever been on, and I didn't mind the extra time to savor it. Plus, Mik is great company even when he's not exactly in his element.

When we got to our destination, Mik did this…

…and fell instantly asleep. Meanwhile, I took more pictures:

Getting back down was a piece of cake, and we were treated to a view of the Crazies at dusk as we left. Awesome day. The end.