Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Review: Mary

I just finished the book Mary by Janis Cooke Newman. It’s a speculative fiction piece on Mary Todd Lincoln. I really love historical fiction. I feel like it’s cheating – the author does all of the hard work by reading dry biographies and sifting through countless facts and documents. Then, if they’re any good, they turn history into something that is a delight to read.

As a reader, I feel like I’m getting an education while being entertained. Sure, I know that there is a lot that was created by the author (it’s called speculative fiction for a reason) but I had no idea, for example, that Mary Todd Lincoln had to endure the loss of three of her sons, her mom, and her husband. I also didn’t know that she was committed to an insane asylum by her son. (If I had to go through even half of what she did, you could cart me off to the loony bin too.)

The Husband (mine, not Mary's) is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to history, and I respect him for that. My brain tends to forget everything relating to history shortly after I have to take a test over the material. Since I haven’t had a history test in approximately 15 years, you can imagine that there aren’t a lot of synapses firing in the history section of my brain. That’s why I love picking up historical/speculative fiction. I feel like I just took the most interesting history class ever.

I think being a historical fiction writer would be very tough though. There’re always going to be people out there who are well educated on the subject. If I were writing a historical novel, I’d be worried that reviewers would contradict my story with facts of their own. I’m sure the authors and editors of these books employ fact-checkers to check for the authenticity of the material. Or maybe they don’t. Maybe it doesn’t matter since it is fiction after all.

At any rate, the book is worth the time it takes to read it. It's a long read - over 650 pages, but I finished it in about a week, which means that a.) I found it thoroughly enjoyable and b.) I have neglected my family, fitness schedule, and housework during the times I sat on the tush reading it.

I found this to be a great read, but even so, I found a few of the characters a bit one-dimensional. I was disappointed in the way Mary's son Robert was portrayed as a villain pretty much from conception. I understand why Newman chose this route for him, but I think there had to be more complexity to their relationship than just a mother who yearned for her oldest son’s affection only to get the cold shoulder from him. Readers who expect to get an understanding of what made President Lincoln tick will not find it in this book. Newman created an interesting personality to Lincoln, one that supported the reasons for Mary’s actions. He is cast as someone prone to depression, who doesn’t trust passionate character, which forces Mary to suppress her passion for him throughout their marriage. It’s an interesting way to portray the man who has been revered by millions for many, many years, but it's not a deep, complete picture of Lincoln.

If the supporting characters’ development was a bit thin, Newman makes up for it in Mary. If you look at the plain facts of the crazy things she did after Lincoln’s death, it’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t want to keep her locked up in Belleview Place. Newman breathes so much life into Mary that it’s easy to believe you’re reading the diary of a woman so consumed with grief and fear of what she’ll lose next that she’s forced to go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of curtain lace to keep her safe. Newman shows us the rationale behind Mary Todd Lincoln’s obsession with shopping and purchasing outrageous items that she stores away in a closet. I think it’s a success when an author can create a world in which that definitely odd behavior is justified and sensible to the reader.

There are many more parts of this book – spiritualism (séances and mediums), infidelity, feminism, complications of family and class differences, and of course the slavery debate, which is why it took 650 pages for the story to unfold. Like I said, definitely worth the read.

Now... anyone have suggestions on other speculative fiction works? I’d love to have them…

Monday, August 25, 2008


Here are a few of the images I took at the wedding this weekend. I didn't take great pictures this time, and I'm bummed. There are no good shots of the bride and groom (my cousin) because I didn’t have my camera out at the ceremony and I had the setting wrong on all of the pictures taken during dinner and dancing. (d’oh!) But trust me – these guys are in love. With a gigantic capital L. And you should have seen their first dance together!

We had a wonderful time celebrating their love. I must have saved a kid from a burning house in a past life, because I’m being rewarded in this one with an amazing family.

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
-- John Bowring

Mmmmm, Cheese...

Here are a few random tidbits of thought from the cobwebby cavern that is my mind this morning:

Am I the only person who is seriously irritated by car dealers slapping a permanent sticker onto your brand new car that forevermore advertises their dealership? Why has there not been a revolt against this practice? I mean, c’mon… you spend a gazillion dollars on a car and then have to be a free advertisement for Krazy Kevin’s Krappy Kars? I don’t think that’s right. You should get a $500 rebate for allowing them to put a sticker on your car instead, if you want to. They shouldn’t be able to force you to advertise their damn car dealership. Especially when the dealership you purchased your car from has the most annoying radio commercials EVER.

Last week, one of our QA testers (a guy) got caught listening to a Celine Dion song on his iPod. He hadn’t turned the volume up so loud that we could hear it, someone just caught a glimpse of his iPod display. You can imagine the amount of hassle he received over that. I admit it, though. Sometimes I cover the display of my iPod so that I don’t get busted for what I’m listening to. I wouldn’t want anyone to know that I was listening to old school Kenny Rogers or Milli Vanilli. What? They were hot, and who the hell cares if they lip synched! Did you see them dance? "Girl you know it's true... Ooh, ooh, ooh, I love you"

Hollywood starts driver's Ed this evening. So if you live anywhere near Tinytown, it might be advisable to stay off the roads between 6 and 9 p.m. (Actually, I think she has class tonight, not actual driving, but still...) My driver's ed teacher was named James Bond. About all I remember of him was this advice: While entering onto an interstate entrance ramp, you're supposed to hit that gas pedal like there was a cockroach under it that you are trying to kill. He'd yell 'squash that bug!' as we got onto the interstate. Fun times.

Wisconsin is my second favorite state. It's almost my favorite state. A very close runner-up. Here are the reasons I love Wisconsin so much:
  1. It is quite possibly the prettiest state in the country. The countryside provides the most charming vistas you’ll ever see if you like rolling hills, gorgeous trees, and a landscape peppered with rustic red barns. And if you don't like those things, then, well, you're just weird.
  2. They have the best billboards ever. On our drive to Madison this weekend, I saw one that read: The Mustard Museum. Home of POUPON U. C'mon... That's funny! And then there’s the fact that there is such a thing as a Mustard Museum. Another level of awesomeness that’s hard to beat.
  3. Duh… the Packers. It is so cool to stop at a convenience store and have free Packers schedules sitting at the registers. (It's also very fun to get into an almost heated argument about Brett Favre with your cousin's husband at an Irish Pub on State Street in Madison. But I digress...)
  4. Then there's my favorite: CHEESE. Squeaky little cheese curds, smelly blocks of cheese, wheels of mozzarella, crumbly cheese, fried cheese, baked cheese, creamy cheese (with wine), you get it. Cheese is good. And Wisconsin has a LOT of it.
As you might have guessed, we spent the weekend in Wisconsin. We went up for my cousin's wedding. I'll post more on that later - it was a great time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Easy Child Syndrome

You're not supposed to label your kids, but I'm going to anyway. The Boy is, and has always been, my easy child. As an infant, he was calm, sweet, and honestly the most well behaved baby you could ask for. He nursed like a champ and I have warm, fuzzy memories of him gazing up at me with his gorgeous blue eyes (one with a speck of brown in the middle). I had the good fortune of being able to stay home with The Boy for a year after he was born. During that time, he almost never left my lap. He was just a sweet, quiet, easy baby.

My children’s current personalities are definitely related to their behavior as infants, so it comes as no surprise to me that he’s a sweet, quiet, and easy boy today. Most of the time, he follows the rules. When he does get into trouble, he doesn’t throw a fit. He accepts the consequences for his behavior with a dignity and grace beyond his years. He’s a fabulous brother. I shouldn't make it sound like he's up for the sainthood - he gets into plenty of arguments with Bumblebee and Hollywood. But you’ll never see a brother help out his little sister when she needs it better than The Boy does, and he looks up to his older sister with open admiration.

I could go on, but lots of you probably have to get back to work, so I’ll continue down the path to the point of this post. He’s a great kid. But it’s this easygoing greatness that allows him to naturally get brushed aside for the frantic activities of his older sister, or the juvenile needs of his younger one. Hollywood and I have a lot of similar interests – the music we listen to, the shows we watch, our running, etc. She’s also just a more outgoing person and she jumps in there to grab her share of my attention and then some. Bumblebee is the cherished, probably a teeny bit spoiled, baby of the family. She’s still little, and as such, needs help with her bath, getting dressed, and so on. She gets a story read to her each night and we lay down with her to help her sleep. These activities are further withdrawals from the ‘time with mom’ bank. So where is the time for The Boy?

I don’t think this is necessarily a ‘middle child’ phenomenon. I think it’s an ‘easy’ child thing. Let’s face it, some kids require more hands on attention than others. It’s a shame that the ‘easy’ kid gets the shaft just because he doesn’t complain or throw a tantrum. Of course you can’t measure these things, but I feel that The Boy is most certainly not getting a full third of me. But here’s the kicker… he’s such a ‘go with the flow’ kind of kid that he never complains about it. He doesn’t act up, sulk, pout, or try something outrageous to get my attention. Instead, he takes what he can get of me and always thanks me for it.

Can you believe that? He thanks me for spending time with him. When I ask him to go running with me, he jumps at it – even when I asked him to run at 6 o’clock in the morning with me yesterday. The kid would a million times rather play his GameBoy or read a book than go out for a jog. But because I ask him to and it’s a good chance to get alone time with me, he never turns me down. If I suggest a game of chess, he’ll drop whatever he's doing and sprint into his room to get his chess set. And always, afterwards, I get a hug and a “Thanks mom, for doing X with me! You're the best!” (no, Buddy, you're the best.)

He’s the most polite kid you’ll ever meet, and I love that about him, but it digs deep into me that he feels the compulsion to thank me for my time, my attention. He’s too old for it, but I’d like to pull him onto my lap and squish him to me in a great big snuggle hug and stay there with him for a month. I wish I had more one-on-one time to give to him. I really do. For now, I’ll keep asking him to run with me, and I’ll keep playing chess with him – he finally beat me when we played last. And maybe I'll see if he’s interested in learning to cook with me. It might seem like cheating, using things like exercise and cooking, things that I have to do in my daily routine anyway, to sneak in some more individual attention for him, but I’m nothing if not a fabulous multi-tasker.

I have five younger brothers. Growing up, I don’t remember there ever being a shortage of Mom’s attention. However, I suspect that if you asked my mom, she’d tell you that I was more like Hollywood; I believe that I naturally took mom’s attention without thought to anyone but myself. “You’re reading a story to Luke? So what? Where did you put the jeans that I need for school tomorrow?!!” (There might have even been a foot stomp in there. I was a lovely child.) I think one or two of my brothers were probably more like The Boy – they coasted along, taking the attention when it was given and enjoyed it while they had it. They didn’t grow up to be serial killers or weirdos, so there might be hope for The Boy.

Please tell me that other parents obsess about these types of things too… It’s ironic that I wrote this post on Bumblebee’s first day of school… Maybe it was fueled by guilt since it’s been nothing but The Bumblebee Show around our house for the past couple of days. Or maybe it was the big bear hug that The Boy gave Bumblebee this morning before school that triggered these thoughts. Hell, it could even be PMS. Yeah, that’s probably it.

*Photo taken the Mother's Day after Bumblebee was born. What a cute bunch of kids...

It's Official. She's a Baby No Longer...

Well, she did it. Got on a bus and left her babyhood behind.

The Husband called me to see if I cried. I didn't, but only because I had a lot of picture taking to keep me busy. I'm sad for me - in that selfish kind of way. But happy for her.

She will have a wonderful time at school. She has a thirst for learning, and a bright, open mind - just like her brother and sister. Happy learning, my little Bumblebee.

Monday, August 18, 2008

School Days, School Days

The Boy and Hollywood started school today.

Every year since they entered Kindergarten, I have made them stand outside with their backpacks so that I could take their first day of school pictures. They think I'm a complete dork for making them do this, but I hope to have a big collage of their first day of school pictures at their graduation parties.

The Boy was so excited about school that he went to bed at 8 p.m. so that it would be time for school faster. He got up at 6:15 and was completely ready for school (with his backpack on) by 7:00. The bus doesn’t come until 7:55. He wanted to go to the bus stop at 7:40, but I made him wait an extra five minutes.

Here he is with his backpack:

Here are his new converse shoes that he loves so much. I love Target.

Hollywood wasn’t quite so enthusiastic, though I can tell she’s looking forward to school too. Here’s her back to school pic. This is what a high schooler looks like. (gack!)

And just for fun, here are all three kiddos. Bumblebee doesn’t start kindergarten until Wednesday, so there will be more pictures then…

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Stomach Bug and the Usual Rambling

Whew - it's Friday.

About time!

I think I’ve calmed down a bit – I'm not as freaked out or stressed as I was earlier in the week. I’m trying to look on the bright side. Sure, I have a bunch of stupid unexpected expenses that have cropped up (dishwasher, dental work, washing machine) and all of the expected expenses are coming in at unexpected prices. That sucks, but I need to keep in mind that The Husband and I have great jobs, a nice home, and money in the bank (even if it’s not as much as we’d like.) Many people don’t have those things, so why am I complaining?! Well, I'm not! It's almost the weekend!

School starts this week, so we have a shopping trip ahead of us. The kids need new shoes, and I "need" a new dress for my cousin's wedding next weekend. That will be fun! Last night was the ‘back to school’ night where we dropped off school supplies and said hello to the teachers. Bumblebee was so very excited! Her teacher prepared a scavenger hunt type of activity where the students had to do a bunch of things on the list. (empty your school supplies into the appropriate tub, find the cubby with your name on it, look at the imagination station, etc.) The last item on the list was to go give Mrs. R either a high five, a handshake, or a hug. Lots of the kids were being shy, but not my social little gal. She ran full force into Mrs. R and gave her a giant hug, a high five, and a handshake! I think she’ll be fine at school, don’t you?

The Boy dropped his stuff off in his sixth grade classroom. His class is actually a ‘buddy class’ to Bumblebee’s. Each 6th grader has a buddy in Kindergarten. They help teach the little ones to read, and do fun things with them. The kids thought it was cool that The Boy’s class is paired up with Bumblebee’s. The Boy went to find his desk, and was delighted to see that he was seated right next to his very good friend, D, who lives in our neighborhood. D’s mom and I chuckled at that and agreed that they’d have different seats within a week.

Hollywood and I went for our run last night and I swallowed a bug. This is common since we run on a very buggy county road and in August it's a bug extravaganza out there. I think I either breathe or swallow a bug at least once on every run (low in calories, high in protein!). This one, though, veered into the path of my powerful inhalation (read: gasping for breath) and it smacked with surprising force into the back of my throat. I’m not sure what kind of bug it was, since it bypassed my taste buds and went straight for my throat. But it was a big bug – felt like a vitamin. I hope to God that it wasn't a June bug because I HATE those things almost as much as cockroaches. Whatever it was, it left a mark. Even this morning, it feels like it’s still back there, but I know it can't be. (It can't still be there, right? Right?!!) I'm sure the poor little guy lived his last moments shrieking in agony over the pain of being burned alive by my stomach acid… Look – there he is! Interesting that my stomach has blue sky behind it, isn’t it?

And on that lovely note, I’ll hang this one up. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm Agitated.

But my washing machine isn't. (ha! Get it? Agitate?)

<---- That's me. Today I received a visit from the polite (but a bit on the geeky side) washing machine repair man. He was very pleasant – he showed up during the two hour time window that he’d promised, wiped his feet at the door, and said hello to my kidlets. He spent about twenty minutes grunting while he lifted my washing machine so he could peer into the guts of it. He then pronounced that he could write up a detailed estimate, but that the work would cost as much as a new washing machine. The best part is that I got to pay Mr. Washing Machine Guy $65 to tell me this. He did have the courtesy to tell me that he hoped he didn’t see me again soon, at least under similar circumstances. Why, though? Why did it have to go this way? Why couldn't it be an easy peasy repair? Nothing ever happens easily like that in real life, though does it?

I’m not as stressed about it as I was last Friday, but it still blows. I don’t want to spend a bunch of cash on a new washer. And here’s what I want to know. My mom gave me her old avocado green Maytag set when I first got my own place. That set was like 20 years old then and it lasted me several years. I bought another Maytag thinking it had to have been built with the same ‘tough as nails’ process. Um. Apparently not. This version only lasted me 8 years. Which is crap.

Washing machines should totally last longer than 8 years, even if your 14 year old kid crams 8 pairs of The Husband's 156 inch inseam, giant length, heavy duty jeans into one load without distributing them evenly. Why can’t they make quality things anymore?! I’d blame China for beginning the cheap manufacturing trend* but I’m too enamored with their girls' gymnastics team to say anything bad about them. What? Those girls are flipping adorable! And they deserved to win the gold last night, they were the better team, even though there’s no way in hell that cute little teensy one with the sparkly blue eye shadow is 16.

*Yes, I know they didn't make my washing machine in China. I hear they're made in Mexico City these days.

In other news… the kids go back to school on Monday. Well, The Boy and Hollywood do. Bumblebee starts school on Wednesday. I will have a kid in high school, one in sixth grade, and one in Kindergarten. When did I become this old? No, seriously. I cannot have a high schooler. I was just in high school myself! Really!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baby Corrie is Here!

My brand new baby niece named Corrie was born on Saturday. Check her out, isn't she just the cutest thing ever?!!

Congrats to my brother-in-law and sis-in-law. She's gorgeous! Nice work!

Oh, and happy birthday to my MIL. Looks like J and N gave you a pretty great present for the big day!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fun at the Fair!

So I'm taking the lazy way out and posting a slideshow of our fair fun today. I'm exhausted! But as you can see, we had a fun time.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sometimes You Just Want to Scream...

FUUUUUU..... (you know the rest. I'll keep it clean.)

I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I think I'll move to Australia*.

I'm stressed out about everything. I took the day off yesterday to get some errands done. Got the school supplies list knocked out to the tune of over $100. For pencils, papers, and folders. I haven't even got their PE shoes and clothes yet.

Can I get Things People Hyperventalate Over for 500, Alex?

Then, this morning, Bumblebee wakes up with a bad earache. I almost ignored it, but she cried (with real tears) when I looked into her ear. I was hoping it was a pimple in the ear canal or something. But, she had a cold with congestion and a cough last week and is prone to ear infections, so I took her in to the doctor. Yep. Big ole infection and bulging eardrum. Fabulous. I had to take another day of vacation to stay home with her. Which is fine, because it's what those days are for, and I want to be here with her when she's sick, but... the stress!

AND... then I have a dentist appointment next week, and I had to stay home a day last week to have the dishwasher installed.

And THEN... The flipping washing machine went kaput today. Hollywood put too many pairs of jeans in at once and didn't make sure the weight was evenly distributed. By the time I heard the washer's shrieks of agony, the damage had been done and the drum no longer spins.

Fanfuckingtastic. (Sorry for the profanity. Except that I'm not really all that sorry for it since I bolded it.) So. I get to take yet another day at home to wait for a repair guy next week. And I'm sure that won't be cheap. In the meantime, it's laundromat central for me. You know how many loads of laundry a family of five goes through? Yeah, probably an entire row of machines at the laundromat.

I also have a day the week after next where I have to be home to wait for the satellite installer guy (we switched providers) and I have conferences with Bumblebee's Kindergarten teacher the day after that.

And... it's a pretty busy time for me at work. Lots of big projects going on, my mid year performance review is next week (great timing: "Oh, hello, Monnik... Do you still actually work here?") I have eleventy billion emails to go through, and just a LOT to get done.

Did I mention that The Husband is traveling from now until who the hell knows when and that as usual all of this crap falls to me to take care of?

AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!! Calgon (or Coors, I'm not picky) take me away!!!

*If it's not a book you're familiar with, you have to read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It's perfect reading for days like this.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

When You're a Jet...

... You're a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette, to your last dying day...
Wait a minute. Wrong Jets.

Oy. The crushing disappointment! My boy, #4, will be suiting up in a Jets jersey.

On the bright side, at least Favre's not going to be a stinking Viking. So, it's better than it could be. But not much.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Talkative Tuesday

This morning, I was brushing Bumblebee's hair and she said, "Momma, I want to get really sick and pass it to you."

"Uh... why?" I said.

"But I want to stay sick with you."


"So we can snuggle up in my bed together and watch Monsters Inc. on your laptop. That was so fun!"

Last winter, when we were both laid up with the flu, we spent a lot of time watching kid movies in bed. I love that it's a fun memory for her - she's brought it up a few times since then. But that flu was terrible. I don't want it back. I told her we could snuggle up some weekend night in her bed and watch movies without being sick.

"Can we put Vicks [Vapo Rub] on, just because?" She asked.

Sure, why not?

Hollywood and I went for a run last night. The temp had cooled down to 82, so I thought we'd be fine. Bad. Idea. It was so humid that it felt like we were slogging through soup. We were soaking wet (from sweat or the water in the air, I'm not sure) by the time we'd gotten only a mile in.

Then - as we ran by the bridge that goes over the quaint little creek, we saw two bearded men fishing. They had parked their van by the side of the road. I didn't recognize the men, so I began to get nervous. (Remember, I live in Tinytown, population 400-ish, you recognize almost everyone...) I started obsessing about those men, conjuring up scenarios about how they would attack while we were plodding along that remote, country road. I told Hollywood that I was nervous about those guys. Our route is an out and back, so at the end of our run, we had to go back over that bridge, and it would be dark by then. Then I dispensed some good motherly advice: "If they grab you, kick them as hard as you can in the balls."

She stopped running for a second and looked at me like I was batshit crazy. "Ok, Mom," she said in an amused voice, "What do you think will happen?"

I told her I had images of one guy grabbing her, the other grabbing me, and then they'd throw us in their van and took off. Nobody would see it - there's nothing but cornfields around there.

She rolled her eyes at me and told me I was paranoid.

I explained that when you have kids, you get paranoid. Plus, I watch too much CSI, which is her fault because she set up the TiVo season pass for the stupid show.

"They look like nice, normal men." she said.

"Uh - no they don't! Did you see their beards?! Psycho killers for sure!" I replied.

"Mom," Hollywood looked at me. "They looked like Grandpa." (My dad has a ZZ-Top beard.)

"Exactly. Grandpa looks kind of scary sometimes!" (sorry, Dad!)

I'm happy to report that the two bearded fishermen drove past us in their van long before we got back to the bridge. I kept looking behind me to make sure the van didn't turn around and come get us.

Hollywood kept muttering that I was crazy, then she started quoting The Princess Bride:
Westley: ...the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next your nose.

Prince Humperdinck: And then my tongue I suppose, I killed you too quickly the last time. A mistake I don't mean to duplicate tonight.

Westley: I wasn't finished. The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.

Prince Humperdinck: And then my ears, I understand let's get on with it.

Westley: WRONG. Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, "Dear God! What is that thing," will echo in your perfect ears. That is what to the pain means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.
God, I love that kid.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quarterback Controversy, My Left Butt Cheek...

There wasn't a dry eye when you said your goodbye,
'twas the end of an era so great.
But you looked rather foolish
when you said you were kidding;
that retirement could definitely wait.

Then - oh the drama! A sportscasters dream,
Your story led all of the shows.
What will Ted Thompson do
Will he bench Aaron Rodgers?
It was a game of 'nobody knows.'

The speculation continued and the story went wild
with talk of your plight everywhere.
25 Million to retire?
Trade you to Tampa?
Can it be that the Packers really don't care?!

And now their strategy has shifted, and you boarded a plane
To join your teammates in Green Bay.
A quarterback controversy,
Right there at Lambeau.
Which QB will earn the spot to play?

Um... dumb asses? (And by dumb asses I mean Ted Thompson and his staff...) FAVRE earned the spot to play when he carried the team during the past sixteen years, despite broken thumbs, other injuries and personal tragedies.

The Husband is right. Ted Thompson should be fired. You don't try to send BRETT effing FAVRE away if he wants to play. You welcome him back with ceremony.

Who's ready for some FOOTBALL????

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Another Running Post

I've been very slowly increasing my mileage each week, and am back to where I was last fall before my hip injury and winter laziness sidelined me.

It feels good, mostly. My hip still likes to bug me once in a while, but it's minor, and so for the most part I'm injury free.

I'd like to lose 15 pounds. You'd think that I would be losing weight since I've been increasing my mileage steadily since May. But no. Not me...

The only way I've ever lost weight is to restrict my calories. I was really successful at it a few years ago. I lost about 35 pounds while on Weight Watchers. I looked great, but the weight loss was achieved without much exercise.

This time around, I wanted to get fit and lose weight. The folks on the running forums that I'm addicted to I frequent are always saying to 'run for fitness, and eat to lose weight'. Which basically means that running isn't a magic bullet for weight loss, healthy eating habits are. Nothing new there.

But that's hard for me! I know it's mostly mental. I'm trying to get away from that I ran today so I can have a cheeseburger mentality. But it's tough to get past that thought. I'm doing better about that, but am not perfect. Another thing I struggle with is that running makes me hungrier! (no surprise there...) It also makes me tired, and when I get that mid afternoon head-bob sleepiness while sitting in my cube at Giant Ass Bank, peanut m&ms are a great pick me up. It's a vicious circle (cycle? which is the correct term there?) that I deal with. I whine that I'm not losing weight and yet I eat m&ms. Dumb!

I suppose that if I get to the point where I'm running 30+ miles a week, I might see some weight loss as a result of the running, but for now, my 15 miles a week (which I'm very proud to have worked up to...) isn't doing much.

I guess if I changed my motto away from the one below, I'd fare better in the weight loss department, huh?

YUM. Doesn't that cake look awesome?