Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things I learned while fixing up the fireplace

1. Don't be scared to use tools with your caulk

2. Usually less caulk is actually more, but don't be scared to get enthusiastic either

3. Getting caulk all over the place isn't the worst thing in the world

4. Try to keep a steady hand with your caulk

5. Your baby will always wake up while you're in the middle of getting your caulk on.

****This post was brought to you by Moving - you gotta fix some shit before you can do it!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Surprise for you....

Another post about running! Are you tired of hearing about my running adventures yet? Do you wish I would have just kept all the baby stuff on this blog to bore you with?

We are moving into the last week of our Couch 2 5K program. The program itself is actually 9 weeks, but with our vacation and our ~ahem~ laziness I think we've been working on this for about 6 years now. But we're almost there!

The actual running is getting better. Not much easier, but bringing Tess helps give me something to fuss over to help pass the time. SB also had a great suggestion that I should be listening to audiobooks or podcasts rather than music. Normally I would buck this suggestion, but for once I listened and gave it a try. It's actually great! I have been listening to Q podcasts so far - we'll see what else I can scare up that I like.

M is still very amenable to our runs, although I have learned that I have to go pretty much as soon as she wakes up, otherwise it totally messes with her sleeping schedule. The cooler weather is presenting some challenges, mainly finding a hat that won't fall over her eyes, resulting in screams. Mittens so far are not an option at all. Ever. We've been getting by using hoodies, and thankfully it's usually over 10 degrees in the afternoons when we run... Fingers crossed she becomes more used to winter wear or it could be a LOOOOONG season!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sewing project #2!

After my exciting foray into quilting, I realized how much I love love love to sew. Why, you may ask? Because as much as I love knitting, I am extremely slow, so finishing a great knitting project takes forever. And I don't have forever. I have a kid.

So as soon as I finished the quilt I began hunting for a new project to work on. And of course the project I found was on the ever-inspiring Moda Bake Shop website. I decided to make this cathedral window pillow for my friend Stamatia.

I went out fabric hunting and found these:
Various fabrics in similar colorways from Moda Verna by Kate Spain and Fashionista fabrics.

Sewing the front piece was challenging, but actually much easier then I expected.

While I definitely could get more practice and do a better job if I ever made this cushion again, I am so very happy with the finished product, and I hope that Stamatia is too!

Things I should be up to but am too scared to start

Last night I had the pleasure of viewing a documentary film called Fortunate Son at the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema.

Generally, I miss out on this type of thing. I am a self-professed hermit and even though I love events like this, I'm also lazy and crowd-phobic, so I usually skip them. I know, I suck. However, this film was made by the husband of a friend, and I felt like I really really wanted to be there to support them.

The film is beautiful - I know he will do well with it, so if you happen upon a viewing of it, you have to see it. It is moving, poignant, thoughtful...just everything you want a documentary about a family to be, but that they rarely are.

Anyway, I left the theatre feeling the way I always do when I see a really great piece of art. Inspired, and also disappointed. People I know are doing beautiful, fantastic things, and I cannot seem to get it together. BUT, and this is a big BUT and revelation to me, his film made me realize one of the reasons so many of my projects stall.

I am terrified of offending anyone.

The whole time I was watching this amazing film about Tony and his relationships with the people around him, I felt my insides cringe for him - for putting it all out there, the beautiful moments and the ugly ones, even though it could hurt the feelings of the people in the film.

I know I write fiction, but I have realized that I am completely preoccupied by writing characters that are not too similar to people I know, or scenes that are not to familiar, for fear that someone will think they see themselves in it and get upset. Does this make sense? And this quasi-obsession generally ends in me abandoning the project because I don't feel invested in it anymore - it doesn't feel authentic or honest.

So I'm going to work on it. And hopefully it will help me move forward.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Switch it up

Our last jog was last Friday, and we decided to switch it up a little. We brought Tess!

Pro tip: try not to run on pavement with your dog, or at least as little as possible. Think about how bad you've read it is for your knees, hips and ankles. Now think about your poor dog with no comfy cushy running shoes to help brace the impact for them. Especially if you have a large or giant breed dog like Tessy!

When you think about running with a dog, it usually seems like a better idea then it actually is in practice. Since we run on a dirt/gravelly trail, and we don't run a long distance, I decided to bring Tess along for a little exercise. I didn't really account for the fact that cyclists also use our path, and Tess hates the sound of bikes. And rollerblades. And skateboards. And humans in general.
So, while it did a good job to keep my mind off the actual distance we were running, it was very tiring staying on my game as the pack leader while trying not to wheeze myself into a coma. I'm not saying we won't bring her again (she was very tired out after and a very happy pup for the rest of the evening) but we may try to time our run to hit a lower traffic time of day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

And then, like that...

...she was 8 months old.

I know!

So, here is another slideshow. I guess we'll call this one The Hair Evolution. You'll see what I mean.

The music in this one is another song we use as a lullaby - The Aspidistra Flies by Stars. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's a special kind of torture

So, being back to jogging is fun. It gets me out of the house without spending any money, it gets the kid some fresh air and some scenery, and it's exercise. We're into it. We're doing it. Yippee.

Why are we doing this again?

I guess because this past weekend was a long one, many of the running bloggers I read and my running family members were participating in some pretty big events. There were marathons, half-marathons, and a special kind of crazy, 250km 5 man relay. And the people ran, and I encouraged and cheered for them and felt great for them for what they accomplished. And I also got inspired.

So this morning I got up with one objective for the day. If these people are able to get their acts together to run these crazy distances, then I should have no problem getting myself through my silly 5k training. I only have 2 weeks of that program left, that's peanuts! And then I will train for a 10k and will sign up for an actual race. And then next year we'll be running a half marathon, or, good jeebus, and actual marathon. So let's do it. Let's go - I put together the stroller and got M in it and off we were.

And oh the agony. The leg aches. The wheezy throat with coughing. The sweating. The sore back. Is it because I'm old and out of shape, or just plain out of shape? Who cares. Aaaaaargh. Wheeeeez.  Aaaaargh. Why.  Whyyyyyyyy?

Even 20 minutes after arriving home I was still stiff and sore. I went through all of this a few years ago when training for a 5k race. I know it gets better. But when I look up training schedules for the 10k distance, it seems so impossible. They add mileage to their schedules like it's nothing, and it's very daunting. It gets me anxious about a goal that I'm not even training for, because each run now seems like such a huge accomplishment but in the grand scheme of things it's small potatoes.

So my question is - if you are a distance runner, was it this difficult starting out? How did you get through this crappy beginning stage? When do I stop feeling like a crazy maniac?

Friday, October 07, 2011


This summer has been a summer of realization for me. Several people very close to us had literally the worst summers of their lives. There was injury, and loss, grieving and pain. Their stories are not mine to tell, but I felt them so, so deeply.

I am an easygoing person, and often seem to approach important things in my life casually. This is just my way - I like humor, I like sarcasm, I like to go for a laugh. But for once I want to get serious and say that I don't for a moment take anything in my life for granted.

I have a beautiful family and a beautiful home in a beautiful city. I have the best friends anyone could ask for who love us and are always there for us with our families so far away. I have work that I love, and have been able to pursue my passion with the full support of my amazing partner. This first summer with our beautiful, funny girl was a phenomenon, and every moment with her has been a gift all its own.

So as much as I gripe and complain and joke, they are just jokes. I am happy, and grateful, and joyful, and I feel so much myself, moreso than I have in a very long time.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

My Running Must Haves

As promised, a list of stuff I use every single time I run. These are not optional, because I'm a little bit superstitious about my exercising. So if I use something, and on that day I end up having a great run, then it immediately becomes a part of The Conditions and I use it until I break it or lose it. Those are just the facts. Onward.

1. Nike Pegasus running shoes.
As I mentioned in my previous list, I have been wearing this model of shoe exclusively for over five years. I've owned several versions, and have always been delighted by them. My current pair is one year old, but since I was pregnant during that year they have seen very little action.

2.  Moving Comfort sports bra, model: Fiona.
This is a relatively new addition to my routine, since I bought this bra post-pregnancy, but holy man I love it. Fit is snug but not constrictive, lots of options for adjustment to get a correct fit, and no chafing or other weirdness. The model also just happens to be named after my kid (or at least her middle name) so there is that as well. 

Not the coolest, newest, sleekest GPS watch, but serves its purpose and hasn't let me down yet. Easy to use and pretty reliable, so I really can't complain, especially for the price. For some reason it doesn't like to pick up satellites on my street, but if I walk on down the block a bit I have no troubles. I do find the watch a bit bulky, but that's just a detail. My model also has the heart-rate monitor which is useful for us slow, out of shape people to help us get the most from the workout. 

4. iPod (various) 
Not an original piece of equipment, but indispensable nonetheless. I have used many iPods over the course of the years. My favorite one as far as just usability on the go was my iPod Nano.  However, I am currently loving using Get Running's Couch to 5K app for the iPod Touch, and I think once I finish that program I will seek out a good 10K app too, so the Touch wins as far as features. It is bigger and slightly annoying when I switch between songs while running, but the apps are well worth it to keep me motivated. 

5. Goody mini claw hair clips.

They aren't cute, but they are magical. They keep all my little flyaways out of my face, which drives me pretty much bonkers while I'm running.

6. Gnarlyfish iPod Touch armband
Does the job of keeping my iPod attached to either me or to the jogging stroller, but also doesn't interfere at all with my ability to use the touch screen. Has a band extender, which makes it suitable to use on my arm, but also without it I'm able to attach it snuggly to the stroller handle.

7. Chariot Cougar Carrier.

This is the mother of all jogging strollers. It is light. It is versatile. You can use it for cycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing too. The kid is comfy in there, and also completely contained. I can pretty much fit every single toy she owns in there with her, but she doesn't even care because the giant windows keep her occupied checking out all the scenery we're passing by very fast.

Yes, this stroller/carriage is very very expensive. Believe me, we hummed and hawed for a while over it. However, we would see them on craigslist used for maybe 20% off and they would be sold in a matter of hours. So, we ponied up to get a brand new one, and when it comes time to sell it we're sure we'll get a lot of that investment back.

We brought this stroller on vacation to the beach and it was fantastic on sand. The other day I ran in a giant rainstorm and the the kid was cozy and dry. I'm excited to see what it can do in the snow, sort of.

So that's my list of must haves. I'm pretty flexible on clothing, especially since the weather is so variable and I am forced to change it up pretty often. I don't run super long distances, so I don't bring water packs or gels or anything of the like yet, but may in the future.

What are your favorite pieces of running gear? Why?