Monday, September 08, 2008

Yes, I Know

It has been a long time since writing and I don't have a great excuse. I have lots of things to say, but I've not found the urge to get over here and put thoughts to code. It is because I feel like there are always better things to do. But, it is also because I think I've been self censoring a bit. I figure that some people I know might read this and I don't want to write anything that will make them think anything negative about me. It is easy to blog when you can be anonymous. But, once you are found, it is hard to just say whatever you want to say.

Today was Noah's first day at his new school. Despite having a horrible weekend with him, behavior wise, he was great this morning and I feel good about how his time there will go. He woke me up this morning, reminding me that it was his first day, and told me how excited he was to get started. He was also very excited about his bookbag and getting to wear it around. It must be great to be a little kid, man. Getting excited about a bookbag? Ah, how I wish that was enough for me at this point in my life.

It is great that he loves school. Audrey and I consider his feelings toward school and learning to be one of our greatest responsibilities as parents. In fact, the true responsibility is to create an environment in which he can express his desires and focus his attention in productive ways. School is part of that, book reading is part of that, music is part of that, even sports are part of that. And, for the first time this weekend, I saw evidence of what happens when I push him too hard. Relatively speaking, this wasn't a big deal, but it gave me pause all the same. Noah just started co-ed teeball, another thing that he is very excited about. After his first practice last week, we picked up a teeball set and some balls so that he and I could practice basic skills on our own. After Saturday's deluge, we all went out Sunday morning looking for a park and some space to play. After we found a place and we set up the teeball equipment, Noah proceeded to hack away. But, the discipline he has shown when we've played wiffle ball was nowhere to be found. Instead, his stance was haphazard, he held the bat funny, and he just kept wacking the teeball stand. I admit I got a little stern with him, but it was because I know he knows how to position himself to swing the bat. After straightening him out a few times, I tried to make the point that he needs to hit the ball and not the tee. When he knocked it down again and the tee came apart, I got irritated with him. And, in response, he said that he didn't want to practice anymore and that he'd rather just play on the playground. Serves me right for being too much of a hardass. I'm not looking for perfection. I just don't want to have to keep picking things up and putting them back together. But, I need to accept that he doesn't have much control yet, so this is par for the course. In any case, I won't be such a ballbreaker next time. I don't want to turn teeball or baseball into something that he hates because it seems like Daddy always gets mad at him.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mid-Year Resolutions

I think I need to come out with these since I'm not sticking to them without any sense of external pressure. So, I want to achieve the following things:

1. Stop drinking diet soda. More specifically, avoid everything with artificial sweeteners. I've been pretty good about this the past few weeks. It has been almost three weeks since I last had a Diet Coke, so I feel good about this. I used to drink that stuff like water, but I don't miss it at all.

2. Stop chewing gum. More specifically, stop chewing lots of gum each day. I did this as a way to avoid eating, which was fine when I was actively trying to lose lots of weight. But, now I do it to the point of making my jaws ache. This too has been a successful resolution the past few weeks. I stopped buying gum entirely and haven't chewed a piece since I had my last Diet Coke.

3. Go to bed at a normal time. Right, well, this is where I start to fail. I'm tired all the time except when it seems time to go to sleep. I doze in the car, I'm exhausted in the afternoons, and I feel like I have no energy at the end of the day. Yet, I seem to be wide awake at 11PM and so I take the opportunity to do dumb crap that is of no benefit to me or anyone else. Like, reading crap on Wikipedia about Colonial Virginia or obsessing about my fantasy baseball team. I would be better off in a number of ways if I simply read a book and went to bed at 11PM. And I need to do this or I'm going to continue to have both health and mood issues. I wouldn't be sick right now if I got more sleep. I wouldn't be testy with the kids if I got more sleep. I wouldn't find it hard to get to the gym if I had more sleep. I'd be more focused at work if I had more sleep. Right, you get the picture.

4. Stop snacking late in the evening. This is the dumbest thing of all. Part of the reason I stay up is so that I sneak to the kitchen or the laundry room and have my fill of bad carbs. I'm embarrassed at the number of boxes of cookies and cereal that I've eaten through in the past few months. So, I don't sleep so that I can stay up and eat crap that does me no good other than to make me fat. It is a by-product of my heavy running for most of the past year or so, but it doesn't make it any better. I needed the carbs then, but I don't right know. And since my running has been almost non-existent, all I've done is gain weight in the process. There is nothing more depressing to a former fatzo than to realize that you've lost control and started to gain the weight back. I've been at 175 pounds or less for over two years now. Sure, i fluctuate, but I've had it under control for the most part. This is the most I've gained back in that time period and the shittiest that I've felt about it. So, this late night snacking must end. It was never a good idea and now my body simply can't handle it. The kicker to this behavior is that I eat all this crap, can't digest it before I do fall asleep, and wake up in the morning with indigestion. Not too bright, eh?

So, I'm good on two and bad on the other two. I need to get straight with all of them. I'm taking it easy on the running and progressing well, but the weight gain and lack of sleep will override any gains I make. I need to get this under control again. If you read this, hold me to it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wegman's Ultimate Chocolate Cake

I would normally expect something called the "Ultimate" to disappoint. It is like the old saying about never eating at a place called "Mothers" - it just won't be anything like she used to make. But, if you are the least bit curious about this particular cake, I can now say that it is worth a taste or two.

Audrey and I had talked about buying one for months now, just to try it out. We both love cake, particularly cake of the chocolate variety, and we are bit discerning in our cake tastes. Now, we haven't been going to Wegmans much since it is further away than the Safeway and the prices are just not that great on most items. I did get a great price on pears recently, but I digress. So, I'm over there the other day getting a prescription filled, and I figured I'd buy the small version of the cake. It is just big enough to carve out about four pieces of cake., which is more cake than we should probably have in the house on a regular basis. But this was a special situation!

We tried it out with some ice cream that night. It is basically the best standard chocolate cake I think I've ever eaten. Nothing fancy, no interesting flavors, not a trace of something different. It is just the best example yet of the traditional, archetypal chocolate cake. I'd definitely eat it again, except it is rather expensive. The small cake is $9, making this a rather costly indulgence.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Great News!

I saw the orthopedist this morning and got a clean bill of health. The results from the MRI show no sign of a lateral meniscus tear or any damage of any kind. There was a suggestion of some degeneration on the inside of my knee, but Dr. Zimmer said that MRIs are overly sensitive to that kind of thing and that there was nothing to worry about in his opinion. So, in the end, there is some inflammation of the cartilage, but nothing that rest, ice, and some good anti-inflammatories can't handle. The best part? He said I can start running again. One mile, every other day, and ice afterwards. If I feel okay, I can increase the distance by 1/2 mile each week. So, that is like 4 miles for this week, which is a far cry from 65. I'm just happy I can run again. I've missed it terribly.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Comparing Our Kids

One of the many things I enjoy about having both Noah and Naomi is getting to see the differences between the two of them. As Naomi gets older, she is much more mobile and showing a lot more of her distinct personality, so the ways in which she is different than her brother are more pronounced. Lately, she has taken to doing things that he not only never did at her age, but that he never did at all. Noah has always been quite active, but he is a bit cautious. He wasn't one of these kids that just launch themselves off couches or run headlong without any control. He always seemed to check things out a bit and make sure he was going to be okay before proceeding with his plan. Noami, on the other hand, is an absolute daredevil. She has taken to climbing the ladder and getting into Noah's loft bed just so she can steal a sip of water from his Diego cup. She can't get herself down the ladder, but she doesn't seem to care. And, the other day, we caught her with one leg and half her body through the railing at the top of the stairs. There was nowhere for her to go but empty space and a very bad fall into the family room. And, just this weekend, Audrey found her out of her crib and crying by the window, post-nap. I'm not sure if this ridiculous monkeyness of hers is something to worry about or not, but I don't like it all the same.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gaining Some Perspective

I can't sleep much and I think my health has been suffering a bit due to the amount of stress I'm dealing with these days. Work, the kids, etc. Sometimes it helps to put things in perspective, though. It occurs to me that my life is "better" in the basic, measurable qualities than almost every person on the planet. In the vacuum of the upper income suburbs of a major American city, it seems like this life is only average. But, it isn't. It might be what we've all come to expect, but almost nobody else has a shot at this life. And, even more absurd is that my life is appreciably "better" than the life experienced by almost every other human being ever born. More security, more leisure time, better long-term health, longer life, better education, etc. Perfect? No. Any happier? Maybe not. Less that is worth worrying about? Yes, and that is my point.

It doesn't make me feel any better, really, but at least I tried.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lost Focus

I haven't run in a few weeks now. Long story, but my right knee didn't seem to like me very much. So, I've bagged on races, including a marathon this coming weekend, and I'm beginning to feel aimless all the time. If I don't have a set schedule, I just kind of mess around. I wish I could get back on the roads again. It has kept me sane over the past year and I feel like my head is awash in confusion and exhaustion without it. I find myself thinking about Eva more now and I don't have an outlet for what I am feeling.

I need to be distracted again. Anything.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Today is Naomi and Eva's first birthday. We don't have much planned for Naomi, but I think that is mostly because we don't have the free time to plan and that Audrey and I just aren't sure how to celebrate the child that lived while also honoring the child that died.

We can have a small party for Naomi this weekend. She'll get cake and ice cream, we'll blow out a candle and give her presents, and we can look back on the photos we'll inevitably take and remember it as a happy time. But, today, I can't be happy and I don't know how to navigate this day well.

I started out missing her without really knowing her. Then I missed her and all of the moments I figured that we'd lost, the unknown knowing. Now, thanks to having had a year of moments with Naomi, I miss her for both of those things and for the knowing that seems so close to having been real. I can hold Naomi and know what it would be like to hold Eva as well.

Most days, I am just angry. Not that I feel angry or that I walk around behaving angrily, but that deep down what I mostly feel is anger about what happened to Eva. I often fantasize about having something terrible happen again, possibly to Audrey or the kids, and being able to take out my anger as a direct response this time around. I think about witnessing what is left of my family getting injured in a car accident and being able to physically attack the person who is responsible. But, today, I don't feel like attacking anyone. I just want to go back to the PICU and stare at the bed she was in.

Friday, February 15, 2008


It has been a month or so since I last wrote. Life has a way of quickly getting out of control and we, or at least I, have to start letting go of anything that isn't really important. Blogging is nice, but it isn't nice enough that I want to sacrifice sleep or not get work done in order to accomplish it. If I can fit it in, great. But, if not, as has often been the case lately, well...then a blog can get very boring and stale.

But, it is time to refresh! I will separate the new posts around topics since it will be hard to make one cogent post about running, work, and daycare. First, on the running front...

My training was going very well. I had a pretty crappy race back on 12/31 in which I didn't feel or run very well. It was a 5K double loop race around the GMU campus and it shouldn't have been too bad. But, it started late in the day and I guess I hadn't prepared very well. In any case, I was tired and I had a really nagging pain in my left thigh, which didn't really disappear during the race. The crowd was thick and I had to work hard to get around a number of folks only to then need to use more energy to climb a few hills. I did pick up some speed on the downhill section of the course, but it wasn't enough. My neighbor ran the race with me, caught me on the downhill, and took off with about half a mile to go. He ran out of gas and cruised at the end, but I also ran out as I tried to catch up to him and just couldn't. So, in the end, it was rather disappointing. I don't mind losing to my neighbor, though. He is skinny and has more speed than me - the guy claims he ran a 4:xx mile in high school. And, I know I can kill him at long distance since he has no aerobic base at all. But, it isn't even about that. It is about the fact that these 5Ks have all been disappointments. I ran a great 5K last September and had a very nice PR and have done nothing but fall further and further from that mark in every race since. It makes me question whether I have any idea what I am doing and whether I have any talent for this whatsoever. I can do the work, but I sometimes wonder if I'll ever see the results. I try to tell myself that I am running so much right now that my body isn't going to be able to perform for any races until the end of this cycle. I keep reminding myself that I am training for a marathon, not a 5K, and that I will do well once I've done the training and let myself taper properly. But, I also know that when I last trained for a marathon, I had a few days and a few races in which I beat my expectations and felt very confident that I was on the right track. Not so this time around, which has been very disheartening. Most runs are a chore and I feel tired before, during, and after. Once in a while I do have a good run and come back feeling like I am where I need to be, but those are too few to be a strong source of motivation. I guess the only thing that keeps me going right now is that I believe that the training will bear fruit if I just keep working at it.

I was working at it too. I was hitting 50+ miles per week and then hit 60+ miles a week with a high of 66 not too long ago. I was doing speedwork and strides and long runs and the whole bit. Then, I dropped a 20 mile run this past Sunday because my head was killing me. I don't know if it was a sinus headache or stress related, but I felt like hell all day. I figured I could make it up this coming weekend and I didn't feel too bad since I'd still run 45 miles last week. I didn't run Monday for a number of reasons, but I did get good runs in on Tuesday and Wednesday at the gym. And then, during the commute home, I realized that my left ankle was really bothering me. The pain increased throughout the evening, although I had no swelling of any kind. It was sharp and my ankle was stiff, but the pain was localized in the front and hurt more for certain movements. I took Aleve to reduce any inflammation and I haven't run once since. I am concerned that I may have tendonitis, but at least that is easily cured with rest. I am not happy that the wheels have come off my training this week, but I am hopeful I can get it back on track soon. Maybe a light week is really all I need. Wish me luck.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Quick Running Update

I have another race report to post, but it isn't that exciting. In brief, I ran another 5K with my neighbor. I felt like crap before and after and only felt okay during the run. But, I'll write a more detailed report soon. In the meantime, I am well into marathon training and I am very happy with how things are going. I feel slow and I worry about my goal pace, but it is early yet. I've only missed one day of running so far due to illness and I had to cut back on mileage one day as well. But, I am ahead of plan so far and I've run a ton of miles the past four weeks. A ton for me, anyways. I've averaged over 50 miles per week (not sure what the exact number is) and I ran 61 miles last week, which is a new weekly high for me. And, I did it with an 18 miler in some frigid-ass weather this past Sunday. My hands got so cold that I had to stop mid-run to warm them. I stuck them in my crotch and kneeled down for almost ten minutes, allowing them to warm up and for the severe pain to go away. It was somewhat brutal, to the point where my gatorade basically began to freeze in my bottle. Not a good sign, I imagine. I just hope the weather warms up a bit soon because I'd like to avoid going to the gym, if I can.

Family News

This is an easy post. Just some updates on the really important stuff. First, Naomi has had some big events in her life recently. She's gotten her first tooth and is working on another. And, she is finally crawling. She was moving around by going backwards, turning in circles, and rolling. But, she finally figured out how to crawl forward to get at the objects or people she wants. And, she is getting much stronger and is able to stand up on her own for a long period of time, using something like a windowsill or activity table to hold onto. As for Noah, tomorrow is his 4th birthday, and I think he might lose his mind in anticipation. This is a big deal to him, as it should be, and we've done a good job of teasing him about it. He has no idea how many awesome presents he is about to receive.