Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mo(u)rning running (plodding)

Someone in Runner's World said she didn't like being referred to as a "jogger" because she thought of herself as a "runner". I think of myself as a "plodder" and this needs to change so I can win a shiny trophy before I die.

I had this bright idea that I would just go out and start running as fast as I could and see how far I got. Once I hit the streets and went for it, I didn't talk myself into the lightning speed I'd hoped. According to my GPS I hit about a 6:34 before careening into the gutter and hacking a lung out. Okay, just kidding. I hit 6:34 right before easing back to my oh-so-comfy 10-minute mile.

Perhaps, though, these self-inflicted "drills" - (along with the black nail polish idea I stole from Kara Goucher) - will bring me a better time on the next race. I'm trying not to think about the fact that I think Goucher's half-marathon PR means she ran about 4:23. Gads.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Highly Recommend:

1) Trader Joe's Fruit Floes. Have I told you about these already? Gosh, they're good. My favorite is lime, and Kevin's favorite is strawberry. (The lime are only 1 point on Weight Watchers, strawberry are two.) A box of four is $1.99.

2) UV-LED flashlights. See my previous post. They also come in handy if you want to see how much pee has splashed on the walls around the toilet over the years.

3) Flip-flops you can wear out to the mailbox with socks. They're not just for soccer players.

(I have these exact ones but with a hot pink swoosh stripe. I am a vision walking out to the mailbox in these lovelies.)

4) The Pampered Chef "29 Minutes to Dinner, volume 2". Just avoid the Quick and Creamy Mac 'N Cheese with Butternut Squash. It smells like poop and tastes worse. Everything else I've made in there is so yummy, though. I can forgive the Mac 'N Cheese in favor of a box of Kraft.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not to give you nightmares...

...but take a look what we're up against:

That's our freaky friend the Arizona Bark Scorpion. In case you're not inclined to follow that link, let me share the most precious gems from Wikipedia:

1)The female usually gives birth to between 25-35 young, (and) Arizona bark scorpions may live up to 6 years.

2)Bark scorpions, like most other scorpions, are incredibly resilient. Lab experiments have frozen the scorpions for weeks, and after being thawed, the scorpions emerged unharmed. During US nuclear testing, scorpions, along with cockroaches and lizards, were found near ground zero with no recorded adverse effects.

3)Bark scorpions do not burrow, and are commonly found in homes, requiring only 1/16th of an inch for entry.

4)Centuroides scorpions are unusual in that they are the only genus in the southwest that can climb walls, trees, and other objects with a sufficiently rough surface. Bark scorpions practice negative geotaxis, preferring an upside down orientation, which often results in people being stung due to the scorpion being on the underside of an object.

Quite a formidable foe, eh? Kevin purchased a couple UV-LED flashlights to be able to spot the suckers and launch an attack to reclaim our home.

It's gotten a little out of hand. He has taken to recording his scorpion kill right along with my fertility signs. Yes, that's right... since we use Natural Family Planning and he does the charting (that's a prescribed part of Creighton - I highly recommend it) he thought it a convenient place to keep track of his hunting success. Therefore, I can tell you that in less than two weeks, he has captured and killed TWENTY-TWO scorpions... IN OUR YARD! The photo above was taken by Kevin with the help of the UV-LED light and a tripod. Rest in peace, you death-monger.

And you all go have a good night, now. Sweet dreams.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I just don't like buffets --- should I be allowed to live in Las Vegas?

That's the question.

And why don't I like them? Usually, the food is substandard and they require too much effort. If I'm paying to go out to eat, I'd rather sit and have someone bring my meal to me.

HOWEVER --- my parents invited us to the Bellagio buffet in celebration of their anniversary, so we went along.

Bellagio's CFO might say different, but I can't see evidence of a recession once inside the casino. There seemed to be a LOT of people bellied up to the poker tables.

My notes on the buffet:

1) This was the PERFECT time to experiment with sushi. It was a no-lose situation. If I liked the stuff, I could eat my fill of it. If I didn't, I could leave it behind in favor of more traditional fare and not have to go home hungry. I tried seven to ten kinds of sushi. Especially with a couple of the salmon types, I thought, "this is just so much yummier COOKED!" So there you have it.

2) I have never before seen elk meat at a buffet. That was a first.

3) Who wastes their time on salad when there are approximately fifty kinds of seafood?

4) I had thirds on cantaloupe, of all things. Wouldn't have guessed that. (Who wastes time on cantaloupe when there are approximately fifty kinds of seafood?)

5) Dessert was scrumptious. In a bold move, I went back after dessert for more shrimp. Why not? (That's the motto of a buffet.)

6) That "why not" attitude will put the pounds on faster than ten Big Macs.

7) On our way out we saw not one but TWO brides, resplendent in their white floor-length gowns and waiting in the buffet line with their grooms and attendants. Viva Las Vegas!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


John has arrived at his second birthday!

Here's the birthday boy and Mom!

And here he is taking a shot at his basketball birthday (and yes, he made the basket):

Love that little guy!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Four years ago today my step-father passed away and I hopped on a plane with baby Bethanie to join my mom in New Mexico. It all went awry and I ended up spending the night in a hotel in Salt Lake City, having only a banana and a muffin for dinner. Funny the stuff that stands out in my memory from an emotional journey.

It's weird to have lost a close family member and to count the years as they go by since his passing. How crazy to have gone four years without talking to him. I can still imagine his voice quite clearly when I think of it.

Anyway... that's all for today. A little entry to commemorate the day he died.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"The Office" premiere night!

Kevin and I have been looking forward to this for weeks! In honor of the occasion, we had eggs, bacon, and jello for dinner. It was the most "Officey" I could come up with. Bacon for the George Foreman Grill incident when Michael burned his foot, eggs because they go with bacon, and jello for the Jim pranking Dwight (and Andy...right?) occurrences - but mine didn't have a stapler in it.

I just can't wait!

"I'll help you open your string cheese...

...but next time ask me before you try using your teeth and drooling saliva all over the wrapper."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My New Bird Hobby Idea

Let me describe my backyard for you: rocks. That about says it all. Well, there's also an obscenely large shed complete with windows and flower boxes. And a trampoline. And a crabapple tree. And a small garden. And a covered patio and a patio table and chairs. And a barbeque grill. Some palm trees. And some other trees. And probably upwards of nine-thousand scorpions. But mostly it's just rocks.

For my birthday, my dad gave me a large bag of birdseed (don't ask - I honestly can't answer). So lately Kevin thinks it's fun to scatter birdseed in the rocks all over the backyard. He also puts it in the bird feeder Joe made in Cub Scouts. We now have a veritable aviary out there. Except when they've had their fill of seed and tweety conversation with other birds they can fly away. A true aviary is enclosed, I believe. I didn't know we had any other birds besides pigeons and sparrows around here. And the occasional quail, hummingbird, and roadrunner. Turns out there are LOTS of birds around here. Maybe they didn't get the memo that this is the desert and we aren't supposed to have trees to house them. Although we do, since we didn't get the memo that this is a desert. Anyway... I should make the most of this. I think I should hang a feeder outside my kitchen window so I have something to watch other than my neighbor's shenanigans. [Seriously. I watched his divorce unfold and now a new lady-caller comes around in her Pontiac Solstice and stays til all hours.] I think I was needing a new hobby anyway. Birds might be just the ticket.

My first question to research as part of my new hobby is - why, with all this free birdseed, are there no pigeons joining in the feast? We have thousands, maybe millions of pigeons in our area - to the point that we try to run them over in our minivans - don't they eat birdseed? Or are they just content feeding on trash and pooping it out on my roof? Do they eat trash? I've heard them called the rat of the bird world so I guess I assumed they eat trash. But then again, I've never seen them hanging out by my dumpster.

My. I've painted a right pretty picture of life in the Vegas suburbs haven't I? At least I have no shortage of hobbies to pursue. Now to find out if there are any breeds of bird that prey on scorpions. If I can capture a photo of a bird attacking a scorpion by the crabapple tree, I'll post it here first!!! Stay tuned, friends!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wayne, the super-tall Dillard's employee

My mom and I were shopping at Dillard's. She was looking for some clothes and for a washing machine. In the appliances section, this sales associate guy was kind of giving her the brush-off, which annoyed me, but more than that I was noticing his fair complexion, extreme height, and apparent age (old enough to be my father).

I mentioned my observation to my mom and next thing you know we were sitting in on a Dillard's employee/community meeting. After the first part of the meeting, tall-father-possibility-guy ended up sitting right between my mom and me and we found out his name was Wayne. I was trying my hardest to muster the courage to ask him if he could have possibly fathered a child in mid-1970 when a woman in the row in front of us turned around and asked him, "Is it possible that you could have fathered a child in the mid-60s?" He said yes! Still in shock, I heard my mom whisper to Wayne while gesturing to me, "She wants to ask you something."

So I asked him, "Could you also have fathered a child born in 1970?" And he said no. The next thing I remember, my mom and I were walking in an industrial neighborhood surrounded by warehouses and factories outside Dillard's and she was telling me she was sure I'd find my birth father someday.

Then I woke up.

I wonder if it's my natural and prescription drug cocktail that is to blame for my vivid dreams of late.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day Out

My day off is also a day out but let's focus on the "out" part right now since I've been "in" a lot with homeschooling (not a bad thing at all - but I did like the change of scenery).

Started off the day at church for a morning of recollection (a mini-retreat) - part of Opus Dei. Afterward, two of the women I know from Moms' Group and I went out to Pei Wei for lunch and had a great talk about everything from Jesus' forgiveness to airplane travel with toddlers. Great food, too.

From there I wandered through Whole Foods. All I needed was some Evening Primrose Oil, so the joy of the visit was the wandering. Wandering (in a store, anyway) is a rare luxury with young children.

Spent some time at the library. A biography sounded good to me, but when I ruled out reading about actors or politicians, it doesn't leave much so I sat down with some of our current Pope's writings (that Kevin had tucked in my tote bag). I read a short "essay" on the Acts 2 church and community in general and then I stared out the window. I wanted to sit. Not shop, not even wander through any more stores so I headed for a movie theater.

Paid to see "The Proposal" and moseyed to the theater. I was the only one there so I had my pick of seats. When I sat down and put my head back, I realized that a movie was exactly what I needed. Had to ask myself if I was nervous to be the only person in a dark theater, but decided I wasn't. And I laughed at Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds and had fun pretending I was with them in Sitka, Alaska.

Then it was dinnertime. Chipotle again. That place is fantastic - both the food and the seating arrangement for me since I usually sit and read. My only complaint is portion size. Sheesh! Can't they do a half-size bowl? I noted that besides me, there were three other people dining alone - all men. Two sat there staring into space and one had newspapers spread all over his table. I read a book on fathering of all things. Kevin read it, and so did Rich and Kristi and they all want to talk about it so I dove in while enjoying my chicken bowl.

My best memory from the day - sitting alone and relaxed in a movie theater. My best spiritual refreshment - Mass after the retreat. My funniest moment - being seated at Mass between Vicki, who is a paid cantor for our diocese and Andrea who is part of the Gregorian chant group at our church: Both sing MARVELOUSLY. I don't, but it sure sounded pretty to stand between them! And my best revelation - from my friend Vicki who called homeschooling my new baby: it's tiring me out and causing HUGE adjustments, but overall quite a joy. I can take all those things with me into the coming days.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day Off & Out

Tomorrow is my monthly day out/off. My one goal is to NOT go shopping like I did last month.

What do you/would you do with a day out/off? I have a few ideas of my own but suggestions are always helpful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our little wild kingdom.

I've already said I'm not a pet person. Not an animal person period. There's a story about Saint Francis of Assisi saving some children from a wild dog and talking to it, calling it "Brother Dog," or some such craziness.

Two nights ago, I walked out of my bathroom into my bedroom and discovered "brother scorpion" crawling across my carpet. Instead of squashing him, I monitored him while Kevin got a jar. I decided I wanted to research what type of scorpion we're dealing with.

Well, brother scorpion sat in his lonely jar all the next day on top of my refrigerator, no doubt plotting against me and all my offspring. But I never got time to go online and determine his breed or level of lethalness.

SO... last night Kevin figured out we had an Arizona bark scorpion, the most poisonous of all, and then we went to sleep. This morning he said goodbye and I asked him to take the jar and its resident to work with him and "take care" of things. Moments later he came running up the stairs and said, "The cage broke - I need your help!"

I was picturing broken glass and a vengeful scorpion on the loose, but when I reached the downstairs it turned out the mouse cage had fallen off the washing machine (where it resides at night so we don't hear "Sister Mice" sprinting in their wheel for hours on end while we try to sleep). Emma, Annabelle, Measles and Alice were free! It took WAY longer than it should have to corral them all back into their cage. Kevin got bit a couple more times, and there was quite a mess on the laundry room floor, but all was well and Kevin left with the jar and the scorpion with time to spare.

R.I.P., scorpion number 15.

In one week, more live creatures arrive at my house. We'll be nurturing some caterpillars until they become butterflies and move out into the big hot Vegas summer sunshine. Unless they make friends with the mice. And scorpions. Then we could all just live together as one big happy family.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On my mind on 9-9-09

1. Only 2 months and 2 days until 11-11

2. I remember 28 years ago today. I was in 6th grade and our teacher told us it was "square root day" - 9-9-81.

3. Good movie quote with nine in it: David Spade to Chris Farley in "Tommy Boy", "Did I catch a 'niner' in there?" (Anyone but me like this movie?)

4. My nine favorite words for today: squash, malady, addled, trite, perpendicular, quasi, truncate, episode, and asinine.

5. Nine things I'm waiting for: our caterpillars to arrive; next week's shrink appointment; cooler weather; a decision about our Winter vacation; a good book to read; the (live) scorpion on top of my refrigerator (in a jar) to be identified; a race to run; dinner to make itself; the desire to paint again.

6. A memory from when I was nine years old: being best friends with Stephanie and ditching P.E. together, except on swimming days.

7. Where I want to be in nine years: Home from delivering Joseph to college!

8. Nine items on my grocery list (for this evening): salad, onion, bread, feta cheese, fruit, steak, Spaghettios, sweet potatoes, au jus mix.

9. The ninth disciple named in Matthew 10: James the son of Alphaeus.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mice Time

I'm supposed to have all this new-found TIME since I'm homeschooling. (Also since I'm condensing my Smith's-Trader Joe's-Target-Costco trips into a new "only one store a week" policy - which means I throw a bottle of eye-makeup remover in with the tortilla chips and ground beef at the grocer's.)

What to do? What to do? I KNOW! BUY MICE!

It's every non-pet-person's dream pet. Mice! So, long story short - we now have four little rodents living in a cute little barred apartment within our home. We believe they're sisters, and their names are "Measles", "Alice", "Emma", and "Annabelle".

I learned from my brother and sister-in-law who have had seven mice over the past five-ish years (and only two incidents of cannibalism, Rachel said!) that they "warm up" to you gradually. The internet info I found said the same thing, but you're supposed to handle them frequently and offer treats and so forth. So... having just moved them in less than a day ago - we got them out this morning to try to get acquainted. Couldn't catch the suckers! Measles, especially, is a wily little thing (Joe's mouse) - and moves like lightning. Out of frustration I gave up after ten minutes and the kids had to wait until Kevin got home. Poor Kevin. He caught Emma and when she quit trying to jump out of his hand to death on the tile floor, we all got to pet her. And she proceeded to bite Kevin about five times, drawing blood at least three times. Kevin has a clotting issue (remind me if we're ever in an emergency) that led a mole-removing dermatologist to ask if he was on blood thinners. So picture our pet-nervous children all watching Daddy hold Emma and blood pouring out all over the place. Gruesome, right? Bethanie thought so. She screamed like a paid star in a horror movie. Emma went back into the apartment, Kevin washed and bandaged himself, and we all took a deep breath to prepare ourselves for tomorrow's try at making friends with these vicious creatures. Cute as they are.