Monthly Archives: July 2010

Knee Deep

I’ve been ramping up my volunteer activism this year. Partly, it is because of my son’s eye injury. It just breaks my heart to think that other people are having to go through scarier or more life-threatening situations. Mik? He’s fine. Lately, I just feel compelled to be a little more active for the betterment of our community and our world.

The one non-profit that I’m up to my knees in is Cub Scouts. I’m there for my kids because I want them to have a great experience. So it feels motherish (Motherish is my word for selfish but pertaining to my kids) instead of generous.

I have to admit that when I start evaluating all my responsibilities in scouts, I feel more like I’m in neck deep. I started out as a den leader. Then I had to take on the fund-raising chair. But, that wasn’t enough. I decided to be day camp co-ordinator, as well as, a staff member of day camp. The committee executive has asked me to be the assistant pack leader. Maybe this does begin to qualify as a generous volunteer? Or maybe just a sucker?

This past weekend, I spent my time running back and forth between fund-raising activities, parades, and day camp preparations. All weekend I felt run down, cranky, and stressed. The weather was not favorable to working outdoors adding to the discomfort. Maybe the glow necklaces would have sold better if I hadn’t smelled so bad from working in the hot humidity all day. On the other hand, my boys are going to have a blast at camp so I also felt very satisfied.

I had a stroke of selfishness come Sunday morning. Just for me, because I felt I deserved it, I ran in the Catfish Days 5k race along with 100 other people. I’m always fond of my odds when there are only 100 other people. A surprising number of them were under 12 years old.

The weather record listed the temperature Sunday morning as 73 deg F with 70% humidity. I would have bet money that it was hotter and stickier. The sun was intense or maybe I just have a harder time with it in my older years. Thank goodness the course was mostly shaded. Still, I took three 10 count walking breaks and lost several overall position places as a result.

No worries though, I turned in a decent 25:45 time. A PR only because it was my first VFF race. I had debated about bare vs. VFF. I was disappointed during the run that I had chosen the VFFs until I got to the cemetery. Those roads were all limestone. I don’t do limestone.

My VFFs got noticed by a couple of other runners. One lady explained that she was running bone on bone. I suggested she investigate barefooting. She was a little skeptical until she remembered the Kenyans. I enjoyed spreading a little barefoot love. I also caught some attention when I walked up to take my medal for 1st place in my age category.

It turned out to be a pretty good day.

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Confessions Of A Bare Foot Babe

I am not a clean freak. Seriously, I am not. I don’t have one once of OCD in me. I have to have a serious talk with myself just to finish a project. Here, look at my desk as proof of my messiness…

I confess that lately, I’ve been harboring a yearning for a broom. I have fantasies of an old fashioned hand broom, you know, its called a Whisk.  (The description on the Whisk gave me a chuckle.)

You’re wondering why a self-proclaimed slob would want a Whisk?

Can you blame me after you see this?

It might take me a awhile with the Whisk on this.

Sure, it’s partially my fault because I choose to run barefoot on sidewalks instead of sticking to the roads. Sidewalks, I have found, have a lot more tiny sharp stones which are much more painful than the glass I’ve run through.

After much investigation into the stone patterns, concentration of sandy areas, and location of driveways, I have concluded that a great number of these stones are the result of washout during rain storms. If I carried my Whisk with me, I could sweep this washout off the sidewalk and be good for several weeks. Or, until the next rainfall.  I wonder if using my Whisk would be as effective in causing it to rain as washing the car?

I confess, Monday, I went for a barefoot walk instead of a run partially because of all the stones.  I didn’t have a Whisk with me but I used my foot to sweep aside a couple rouge stones. On Wednesday, when I passed through again in the bare, I actually noticed an improvement. It makes me covet that Whisk all the more!

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Better things to do than sleep

Last week I posted on Facebook:

“Who knew you could love running more than sleep?”

As a child I would sleep until noon. I grew up and married an early bird and only slept in until 9 am. Then I had babies and slept whenever I could.

The last couple of years I have really put running as a priority in my life. The best time for my run is in the morning before everyone else in the family is awake and before I go to work. I now consider sleeping until 6:30 am sleeping in.

The problem is that I love sleep more than work. Today, I am struggling to stay awake at my desk. My solution is to close the door. Hey now, I have some work ethics here! I closed my door so that every five minutes I can drop to the floor and do a set of push-ups. It wakes me up for at least another 5 minutes. I’ve done three sets so far and I feel another one coming on. 4:30 pm can’t get here fast enough.

Today’s run was a 3.8 mile VFF loop through the park over the 1908 iron bridge. I’m hoping to run a 5k on Sunday morning but that will mean I will have to clean the house Saturday night. Hmmmm… Not likely.

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Going Bare In The Summer

The highlight of my weekend was wearing a pale yellow sun dress with bare feet to a christening. As was often commented on that day, men usually have an advantage in formal wear. Nine months of the year, women freeze and steal their husbands suit coats. However, this day, women reigned supreme in garments as we stayed much cooler in our sundresses while our jacketed counterparts melted in the 90oF heat. Which makes me wonder about the intelligence of “fashion” and “proper” dress. Shoes aren’t the only stupid tradition.

Daily, I take note of how hot my feet get after donning shoes. Mere seconds after climbing in behind the drivers seat of my car, I am peeling the shoes right off. I took pity again on all the gentleman at the Christening with their fancy leather shoes. I think I could see the heat waves radiating out of them.

Almost as soon as I climbed out of my pontoon chariot, I shed the shoes for the celebration. The hosting family is a mixture of religion and paganism so my bare feet fit in exceptionally well. It helped that it was held in the front yard of a cabin on the lake. I was surprised that their family didn’t harbor some barefooters.

Another highlight to my Saturday, K-man and I headed into the woods that morning for a mile hike. It’s hard to beat an opportunity that allows you to do an activity with your child that you both enjoy. Especially, with a kid that is constantly telling you to stop looking at him.

The in-laws must have been hit by several heavy storms because we had to clear several large branches plus climb over two felled trees. The undergrowth was very heavy. My VFFs did not protect me from the prickers but I only had a few bad scratches. K-man faired slightly better with his conventional shoes. I can not convince that kid to go barefoot. I found one tick on my VFF but K-man was clean.

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Going In The Water

Our merry little group imposed upon residents of homes across the lake during a fiery 4th of July for some refreshments. We ladies stood ankle-deep in the cooling water. Each of us holding a small plastic cup which in turn held small portions of a shimmering Chardonnay. The men from our group congregated on the dock to ogle the lavish pontoon secured to it. The owner of the lavish pontoon was on board demonstrating some of its sweeter features. Our children frolicked along the water’s edge running in and out amongst the waves. My children were still wearing the life jackets from the boat ride so they only required cursory glances to make sure they weren’t doing something silly like feeding piranhas.

The overpowering heat of the holiday had brought every speed boat, fishing boat, and two-man kayak out onto the water creating a steady succession of waves crashing into the two foot breaker wall behind me. This created fun for the kids but I was finding it difficult to hold my position in the shallow water as each wave erroded the sand from under my feet. The waves were not tall but frequent enough to be a nuisance.

Perhaps our friend, Ingrid, sister to the lavish pontoon owner, had anticipated this and that is why she stationed herself cock-eyed in a green, plastic chair in the grass a few feet beyond the beaker wall. Or, perhaps her immense irritation and anger with her husband had made her a little less sociable than usual. I had suffered in the sun on our beat-up-yet-trusty pontoon ride across the lake making me more tolerant of the waves and more reluctant to join Ingrid in the grass.

I glanced around to watch the children playing in the water. I noticed Ingrid’s youngest son, Andy, 3 years old, was also out playing in the waves with the older kids with ages ranging up to 9 years. Quickly, I reassured myself that my kids still had on their life jackets because the quickness of the darkening water at the edge indicated to me that there was a drop off.

I try not to be a judgmental person especially when it comes to mothering. I am sure I suffer many silent judgements from those who don’t understand the peculiarities of my oldest son who looks like all the other children but isn’t quite the same. I didn’t comment or give a Southern compliment when I noted that Andy was out in nearly neck deep water without a life jacket. The boy being only 3 would not be able to walk back up to the shoreline if he got in too deep. Instead of imposing my opinion, I watched Andy myself very closely, just in case. I was relieved to hear Ingrid command Andy to return to shallower waters.

Andy’s brother Christian was up on the lavish pontoon throwing items all around as though he were looking for something. Ingrid turned her attention toward Andy’s brother and yelled something that I didn’t listen to because I wanted to keep my eagle eye on Andy. Then the water level was up above Andy’s mouth.

I threw down my cup as my mind went blank. I had no thoughts but was zeroed in on Andy’s little white head that looked like a fishing bobber floating on the water. My eyes locked with Andy’s drawing me to him like a magnet.

He didn’t make a sound. He wasn’t thrashing around in the water. It was like he was just waiting for someone. If I had not been watching for how deep he was in the water, I probably would not have noticed him because he was so still.

I don’t recall if I walked or ran. I didn’t take time to consider that I was fully dressed (no bathing suit). I didn’t wait to see if any of the others, all previously lifeguards in their 20’s, were headed in to get him. I heard Ingrid say or do something but I didn’t register what it was.

I do recall a few things. I recall being locked into getting to the child. I recall wondering how many seconds he could be under the water like that before he drowned. I recall that at one point the water was deep enough that I began swimming and worried that I would cause a wave to hit him in the face. I recall thinking, no, feeling, “Get the child.”

I reached under the water and grabbed his legs just under his rear end and hugged him to me as I stood up. Immediately, I heard sounds of coughing which I took as a positive sign that I had reached him in time. Just as we swung around Ingrid was beside me saying, “Thank you, Stephanie.”

I walked back to the group of ladies snatching my floating cup from the water along the way. With water dripping from me everywhere I thrust my cup out to one of the guys and said, “I think I’ll have another one.”

I looked over at Ingrid sitting on the breaker walk with Andy clutched closely to her chest. She looked miserable but I didn’t blame her. We’ve all sat on the beach together. Sometimes we’re angry with our spouses. Sometimes we didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Sometimes we get distracted by other children. Sometimes we have friends who impose their company on us when we just aren’t in the mood. One great thing about us is that we keep an eye out for each others children.

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Summer Dishing Party

It’s another Dishing It party over at Serenity Now Thanks to Lynette at A Hodge Podge of Randomness  for letting me know it was happening.

Reading is by far one of my favorite pastimes. Once my sister got mad at me while we were travelling on a train to Scotland because I refused to put down my book and look out the window. She was probably right but I was powerless to exit the fictional world until that last page was turned.

~Give us your list of top 5 picks for summer reading.

This summer I have been reading more than I have been able to manage for the last several summers.  I’m not sure if it is because my kids have grown more independent or if I’m just more inclined for escapism.  Essentially, I’ve been reading my top four simultaneously.

  1. My first choice this summer has been the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  Straight up for the pure entertainment of it.  I’ve read more than 5 this summer.  Maybe it isn’t the most thought provoking stories but I just can’t seem to wait to get my hands on the next one. 
  2. My kids are old enough that I don’t have to read Good Night Moon anymore.  However, my next choice still falls into the kid category.  Together, with my two sons, we have been reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lightening Thief.  It is a 300 some page book so it isn’t something you can finish in 30 minutes.  I like reading the modern day spin on the Greek gods and their stories.
  3. My oldest son and I were reading the 39 clues together last spring.  I made the mistake of taking too long to acquire the next book and he lost interest.  I, on the other hand, remain firmly enthralled.  Perhaps part of it is the travelling aspect of the books.  It’s my 40th birthday wish to take another trip to Europe.  Until that happens, I will have to travel vicariously through Dan and Amy.
  4. The Lily Bard mystery series was written by the same author as the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Charlaine Harris.  If you want mystery without all the vampires then I’d look into the Lily Bard series. 
  5. When I’ve exhausted the first 4 choices, which may or may not happen this summer, then I plan to pick up another book by the UK author Tom Holt or a Christopher Moore book that has been recommended.      

 ~What genre of literature makes you want to pick up a book and read

Mostly, I read chick lit but I do find myself becoming bored with them if I read too many in a row.  I throw in a couple of other types just to mix it up.  Mostly, it has to be light reading.  I’m reading to escape everyday life and don’t want to over tax my brain on my free time. 

 ~What are your favorite magazines?

I’m not good with magazines.  I think they are too busy to keep my attention.  If I am going to read a magazine, it will be about running or health/fitness.

 ~If you had to be stuck on a desert island with any fictional character, who would you choose?

This was hard for me to find someone to hang with on a desert island.  Perhaps spending some time with Anne of Green Gables would be worth the desert island.

 ~How do you make time to escape into a good book?

I have to be careful because once I start reading I do not want to stop.  I will read into the wee hours without much notice.  It is easy when I am travelling for work because I have several hour plane rides and evenings in the hotel by myself.  At home, I read after the kids have gone to bed and the hubby is watching TV.  I’m not all that thrilled with TV shows these days so I figure reading is a much better use of my time.

 ~What’s your favorite place to get your books?

I’ve been going through books so fast this year that I couldn’t afford to get my fix if it wasn’t for the library.  It is difficult to take when they don’t have the next book in the series but if I’ve just borrowed the last 5 then I figure I can splurge on one or two from the store.

 ~What’s next on your “to-read” list?

I need to finish Percy Jackson, 39 Clues, and a Lily Bard then I am going to pick up the latest Sookie Stackhouse.

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Confessions Of A Bare-footer

There’s this guy at work. I really want to talk to him.

What?

No, you’ve got me all wrong…well…no, really… wrong.  Because he is good looking and he has a very fit body… No, really, that isn’t why I want to talk to him, not at all.

See, people around work are talking about him.  Ok, I’m not proud to admit this but I’m one of them. I noticed the other day he was wearing flip-flops to work. Seriously, I’m a traditionalist. As much as I run in the bare, walk in the bare, and work in the bare, I don’t walk at work in the bare. It’d be like wearing a wife beater to work. It just doesn’t seem appropriate.

So, I mentioned the flip-flops to a co-worker today. She gave me the I-know-what-you-mean look. She said that she saw him in someone else’s office with NO shoes on.  NO shoes! Can you imagine?

My breath caught in my throat. My heart started racing. I was simultaneously hot and cold.

Could it be? Could he be a bare-er too? How I would love to go talk to him to find out. Maybe he runs in the bare too? Maybe I’m not really the only crazy person around here afterall!?

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