Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twelve Words No Mother Wants to Hear

"You need to go pick up your son at the police station."

Yesterday I posted these words on facebook and then kinda forgot to go back later and explain myself.  Oops. But then it was fun to see the responses of shock, concern, and curiosity, so I decided to make everyone come here to read the story.  In other words, I'm taking the opportunity to shamelessly lure people to my blog.  Since you're here, Welcome! and please consider becoming a follower and/or leaving comments now and then.  Unless you're mad at me for leading you here and then telling a really very innocent tale, rather than one of wanton corruption.  In which case, well... make mean comments, if you must, but follow the blog anyway!  I crave readership.

This alarming collection of words was spoken by my husband, when he called me at work shortly after 3pm.
The son in question was our 6-year-old first-grader, not our 12-year-old middle schooler [how many of you leapt to the hasty conclusion that Jamie'd gone and turned sour, huh?!?  Fess up!  OK, I immediately thought of him first, too, but I swear I was thinking more "accident" than "offense", Alan was laughing so I knew it wasn't anything bad.].

Jeremy missed the bus [see, I told you you might be disappointed].
Then, he attempted to run after the bus, waving madly and yelling, in hopes that the driver would notice him.
Then, he realized that it was gone, but he just kept walking.
Then, he was crossing the entrance to the municipal parking lot (the school's pretty much behind the fire/police station) and a police car pulled in and the officer saw that he was upset, so he asked him what was wrong.
The officer (I'm sorry I didn't catch his name), then did several exciting things:  he looked up our phone number on his computer, he let Jeremy crawl around in his police car, and he showed him a computer inside the car.  Wow.  Somewhere in there he also called Alan (cutting straight to the "Jeremy's-all-right" part), and said that he would happily have driven him home but the awesome-laptop-packin'-cruiser was not equipped with a booster seat. 

Alan had his mom's car, but alas, no booster seat either.  So he called me.
And I extricated myself from work and went and found the little dude hanging out in the parking lot with the kindly officer and the school principal who had also become aware of the situation.  Jeremy was of course perfectly fine, as evidenced by the fact that he was still pretty talkative.  I did notice when I gave him a hug that his little heart was beating pretty rapidly, though!

I had a few questions.

Why did he miss the bus?  Because he and a friend were scouring the lost & found pile looking for one of his gloves.  According to Principal McHugh, Jeremy knew that "his parents would be pleased if he found his glove".  Read: they would not be pleased if he came home missing a glove on the first day he wore them this year.

Did he find his glove?  No [unconcerned].
Why don't you have any gloves? The one he had, he left with his friend so he would know what the missing one looks like. 
 Why did you try to chase the bus?  Because that happened to Madeline once and the driver saw her and stopped and let her on.  Can't argue with that, but we did explain that from now on nobody's allowed to chase the bus.  Ever.

What will you do if you miss the bus another day?  Go inside and tell the principal and she can call the police. [I assured him that the secretary is equally capable of calling home for him].

Madeline's response was very sweet: "You scared me, Jeremy!".  She didn't know anything was wrong until they arrived at our stop and couldn't find him on the bus . I'm just as happy that she wasn't watching in horror as he ran down the street.

Alan just wanted to know if they put the cuffs on him, the response to which was an enthusiastic, large-grinned.  "No!" 'cause Daddy's just silly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time For Pie

When I started this blog and wrote the blurb off to the right hand side there, I predicted that I would "mostly just write about food" but running posts have dramatically overshadowed baking posts--who'd have guessed?

So, it's time for a post about Pie, which will neatly encompass both subjects.

On a side note, James, who is customarily greeted by his Aunt Helen with "Who's my pumpkin pie?!", will frequently, out of the blue, with a big smile on his face, just say "Pie." for no apparent reason.  It's just this thing he does.  And yet, he's not much of a pie eater....odd.

Baking Pie
The kids recently helped me make an apple pie.  What's funny is that they'd all rather bake it than eat it, and they'd rather prepare it than bake it.  In other words, the great attraction isn't so much "baking with mommy" as it is "cranking the apple peeler-corer-slicer, making a mess, and fighting over the measuring spoons".  But I'm still going to say that they love baking with mommy.'s some proof that fun was had and a pie was created (not sure why the pix came out orangey...). 

I popped the raw pie in the chest freezer and ran away with Alan for the weekend (see my post on Greatness) and Mary pulled it out and baked it in time for our return.  Yummm!

Running for Pie
Go here (but don't forget to come back afterwards) and read Emilie's post about Turkey Trek 2010, aka "the Race for Pie".  The Marks-Soule-Donahey clan will be there in full force--join us if you are so inclined!
Turkey Trek 2009 was supposed to be my first race ever.  Emilie's facebook invitation a year ago was the catalyst that finally started me running.  Sure, I'd been reading her blog for a while, marveling at her running accomplishments, and getting overly emotional about her marathon adventure. And Yes, on accasion I'd heard "you should take up running" from her, from Jenn, from my husband....  But I had always scoffed and said "I don't think so" with a look on my face that said "Me? run?? you're crazy!"  And then Emilie sent that little facebook invitation.  I don't remember exactly what (if any) personal note she included, but what I heard was "You can do this. You should do this. This is fun. Come join us..."  like a siren from the sea.  And I said to myself  "Four miles.  I can walk four miles." And very quietly, just to myself, I said "and maybe I could learn to run by then."  And that same day I started Hal Higdon's 30/30 program on the rec center track.  But apparently, what the gods heard was "Oh YEAH!  I can WALK that! And I'm gonna RUN, too. It'll be EASY!"  and they cried "HUBRIS!" the way residents of Salem used to cry "WITCH!" and tossed a lightning bolt at my ankle during zumba class so I could not, in fact, walk four miles on Thanksgiving morning.  So last year, I showed up anyway, with my air-caste and my canned goods and my camera and my mom (who was there to make sure I didn't do something foolish) and we gave the group a good send-off and then I went home and finished my cleaning and baking (yes, including a pie) and hosted Thanksgiving dinner, none of which was particularly gentle on the ankle.  We got someone to take a picture of the St. John's moms who were present and Jenn put it on a travel mug for me and I cherish it, even though it reminds me that I didn't do the run.

me, April, Emilie, Jenn, Anne-Marie
I think it was knowing that feeling even on such a small scale that drove me to do the Half even though I was ill-prepared and miserable with shingles.  So I'm really excited for this year, for a new picture, (although we'll all miss you, Jenn!) and for this wonderful incentive to have all my preparations done before Thanksgiving so I can really enjoy the whole day...from morning run until evening pie.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DI Pie in the Sky Race Report

Back on September 11th, the kids enjoyed a really nice fun run put on by the Destination Imagination group as part of the annual Orono Village Festival.

There were prizes for "best use of duct tape" so we commissioned Nana and Gumpy to help out with construction the night before.  The kids came up with some great ideas and executed them beautifully.  And it paid off: they won a family award for their collective efforts.

And they raced well, too!  This was one week into my shingles drama so I was pretty useless, but Alan drove me in and parked me at the start/finish so I got to enjoy some of the excitement, even in my very fragile state.

James carried his duct tape battle axe and shield and didn't stop running the whole way.  His time was 11:04.

Madeline also did a great job and looked very fashionable with hot pink duct tape wings on her feet.  Her winged helmet reads: "Duck Tape Awesomeness". She's got great form.  Her time was 11:34.

Jeremy did his typical runrunrunreallyreallyfast! and then stop to hold his side and plod for a bit and then runrunrunreallyreallyfast!...and repeat (you can see him pausing to look back on his way up the hill in the picture below).  But he didn't get lost (every mother's fear) and he appeared to be having fun when he hit the finish line.  His time was 14:53.

I'm so proud of them!  They pushed themselves, they felt proud, they had a great time, and they were nice to all the other kids.
Here they are in their post-race DUCK TAPE AWESOMNESS!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Greatness lists 23 separate definitions for the word "great" and I bet I could list 23 things about last Sunday's Great Island 5k that were great.  [Actually, I came up with 19 pretty darn fast, but decided in the interests of time and readership tolerance to narrow it down to just the most great great things.]

The Location
Great Island truly is a great place to hold a road race: stunning views, beautiful homes, narrow roads, mostly flat, a wonderful park for the start/finish.

The Community
New Castle is an affluent island town with a wonderful sense of community. The race is a major fundraiser for various recreation programs both on and off the island, including the park where the race was held and the Portsmouth Track Team. Dozens of businesses donated goods and services for post-race doorprizes.

The People
1340 people registered for the event, with approximately 1200 finishers, including adults, teens, kids and babies in strollers.  That's certainly greater than anything we've run so far!  Plus, everyone--the event organizer, the locals cheering from their lawns, the many smiling participants--was incredibly nice (OK, except for the driver who flipped us off after Alan honked to warn him he was about to back into us).  For such a populated course on small roads, it never felt uncomfortably crowded.  Even the porta-potty line was organized, fast-moving and wound through a lovely little glen.

The Volunteers
Dozens of kind people covered registration, packet pick-up, the course, the sound system, parking, food, etc. 

The Post-Race Food
Water, bananas, apples, bagels, cream cheese, donuts, pretzels, gogurt, more donuts...we're talking variety and volume.  We stayed til the bitter end and there was still food left!

Our Times
Ok, so they wouldn't be great on a lot of other people's watches, but we both had 5k PRs and were really happy with our results.  Alan's net time was 30:31.  He was 801 out of 1145 finishers and 114/127 for his division.  My net time was 34:46.  I was 981/1145 and 153/189.  When you calculate the actual length of the course (3.16 miles per GoogleEarth), I had exactly an 11 minute pace.  It's still a big deal for me to run the whole distance, even in these short races, so that was a big achievement. Best of all: I had hardly any shingles pain! Finally!

The Door Prizes
I mentioned before the generosity of local businesses.  Not only were there probably 150 good prizes to give away, but they were distributed efficiently and fairly to the people who hung around for the awards presentations.  They just kept pulling numbers out of that fish tank and rattling 'em off over the loudspeaker until there was nothing left.  [And, No, we didn't win anything. This is why I don't play the lottery, folks.]

The Weather
No, it wasn't great: it was utterly perfect. A classic New England fall day, cool but sunny with just a little breeze off the water and gorgeous foliage.  This is why we chose Columbus Day weekend for our wedding.  Little did we know we would eventually realize it's also perfect running weather.

The Nuns
Yes, there were Running Nuns! and they were rocking the running shoes with their habits!  I was too shy to ask them to pose for a picture, but I snuck a few shots in the parking lot [which, due to technical difficulties, aren't loading here.]  They were from the St. Charles Children's Home which hosts their own 5k annually.  Cool.

The Occasion
We discovered this event when searching for a way to celebrate our anniversary.  We specifically wanted something far enough away to justify a hotel and leaving the kids behind. We weren't running away from the kids, but we were running....away from the kids.  Anyway, we had a nice time, albeit on a tight budget, in a pleasant new motel in York and enjoyed the scenic drives and a (yes, I'll say it again) great event.  We even got a good laugh when we picked up our race t-shirts saturday night (on our actual 17th anniversary) and saw that they said "17th Annual Great Island 5k". 

Plans for Next Year
Of course we have great plans for the future, that's what we do! 
Next year, we plan to do up our anniversary big by 1) doing the Great Island 5k again, 2) spending two nights in a hotel, 3) indulging in a romantic carbohydrate-laden pre-race dinner, and 4) shopping at the Kittery outlet stores (for sports apparel of course) on the way home.  And finally, since the race will be on the right date, we'll inform the race director that it's our anniversary, too, so maybe he'll steer some of those great door prizes our way!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Independent Verification

Thanks to a local photographer who already posted pix on facebook, here's digital proof that we were where we said we were today: at the Great Island 5k in New Castle, NH (with about 1200 other people).  This is at the start--Alan is reaching to turn on his mp3 player while I'm enjoying the view (literally. I'm pretty sure I was looking at a lighthouse).

Real race report to follow.
Right now I'm off to bed with a slice of homemade apple pie.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cherry on Top Award

Claudia over at ...and so I ran  gave me an award a while back which was very sweet of her and perfectly describes why someone gave it to her in the first place.  So now I am supposed to answer a question and then pass the award on to others.

1. Answer the question: If you had one chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
Claudia's answer was great.  If there is a "right" answer, hers was it.  Basically, she said that sure, she's done things she wished she hadn't at the time but they all made her who she is and brought her where she is today. 

That's hard to top. 
So I won't even try. 

I'll just be my shallow, self-centered self and talk about the one thing I would have changed about recent events.  Well, first of all, given the choice I would have opted to just plain not get Shingles.  Since I didn't have the choice, though, I'll say that I would have checked myself into the hospital on Labor Day.  I tend to appear stoic with doctors, I guess.  Even when I am in tears and obvious agony they seem to think I want to tough it out.  Don't know why, not sure what medical jargon I need to learn that will adequately translate to what the rest of us would hear as "DO SOMETHING THAT HELPS ME! NOW!!", but I'd love to learn it.  So in my present state of mind, my answer boils down to "I'd have complained enough to get IV drugs". 

In a more enlightened mood I might say something like "I would go back in time and complete all the things I promised I'd do for people but haven't yet".  I would really enjoy not having the guilt of all those unfinished projects/promises clawing at my back. I have seriously been wondering if Shingles is some kind of divine retribution.  If so, I'm sorry already!  Give it a rest!  And Do you really think that by obliterating the last month of my life you're helping me get caught up?!?!  Instead, why not slap all those terrorists out there with nasty cases of Shingles in their nether regions? Huh???  That'll teach 'em, or at least slow 'em down for a bit.

OK I think I got off topic a bit there.  I will now pass the award on to others who may or may not take it a bit more seriously and see what way better answers they provide for our mutual enlightenment/enjoyment.

2. Pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have been selected for the award.   I choose:

Emilie at One Mom in Maine, because, well, if you read my blog at ALL then this is a big DUH, but also because she's the one who made running seem less like creamed spinach and more like ice cream sundaes (you know, with cherries on top).

Kristina at Marathon Mama, because she just ran the real,-Berlin Marathon and Boston Qualified (how's that for a cherry on top?!?) and she is one funny, sassy blogger-runner-mama.

Mel at Tall Mom On The Run because she is soooooo energetic and such a great cheerleader for everyone she knows and her big beautiful smile is totally the cherry on top.  [Other bloggers please take note of how many pix Mel manages to post with herself in them.  The rest of us are pretty universally guilty of leaving ourselves out of the visual documentation.  Not only does Mel have a great record of her joys and accomplishments, but people recognize her at races all the time.  How cool is that?!?]

Alan (not my husband) at One Day at a Time because he is on an amazing weight loss journey and is smart enough to realize it (and document it) and brave enough to share it with us all.

Irene at Magazine Smiles because I love her pretty layout and how every blog entry title is also the name of a song, and because she clued me in to...

Colin at Resurrected Runner who is deliciously funny (but maybe has a little too much time on his hands?).  I love his wacky parodies: really well done and running specific (mostly).  His blog isn't necessarily "pretty" but it gets bonus points for making me laugh out loud.