Friday, April 30, 2010

Adventures in 5Ks

I am pleased to report that tomorrow I will be running in the same 5K I did last year. I am really looking forward to it. I think I am in better shape than I was last year and should be able to run more of the race. The only thing is that my mean running coach is going to be running with her daughter, not me.

Will I be able to keep myself disciplined enough to run even when I'm tired? Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stress? What's That?!?!*

I've been feeling stressed lately, so I found a way to rearrange things and take a vacation day on Friday. My plan is to do a lot of baking for the yard sale/bake sale for Vinny's school, which will be held on Saturday. And also, to sleep.

I looked at all my timesheets and realized that I had not taken a single day of vacation all year. I worked extra on other days to free up some hours for going to Kentucky in March, for example, but I never just dropped everything and took time off. So I am looking forward to this.

* Hint: this is sarcasm.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Adventures in Pretend Play

For three days straight, my dear son has been pretending to be Velma from Scooby-Doo. I am Daphne, and Jeff is Fred. Yesterday when I woke him up, saying "Time to get up, Vinny!" the first words out of his mouth were "You mean Velma."

There is a positive side to it, though. We've been able to convince him that in order to solve mysteries, he needs to have a good night's sleep and eat a good breakfast.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Survived!

I survived the time that Jeff was away, and gained a more experiential appreciation for actual single parents. I've always known intellectually that it would be difficult to go to work all day and then come home and take care of your kid, but I didn't know it from experience. I was exhausted by the time dinnertime came around. We went out to dinner just about every night (except for Friday night when I made us some macaroni and cheese and we baked a cake for a party we were going to the next day). The difficulty of single parenting would have been even worse if I hadn't had the economic resources to go out to dinner at the end of an exhausting day. I remembered that while we were out and gave a 100% tip to the overworked IHOP waitress.

On Saturday, Vinny and I decorated the cake we'd baked on Friday night. It was a cake for a friend of mine who finally defended her dissertation a couple of weeks ago. I had promised her early on that I would bake her a cake when she graduated. I'm not sure, but I think she just did it for the cake. It was a two-layer, star-shaped chocolate cake (my standard cocoa devil's food cake from The Joy of Cooking) with raspberry filling and decorated with some awesome nerd jokes appropriate to her field of study. (I would post pictures but she doesn't know about this blog and I want to respect her privacy.)

Anyhow, the cake was a big hit at the party. Jeff arrived home late on Saturday, and I was really happy to see him, and not just because I was exhausted. It's good to have all three of us under the same roof.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Important Message to D00dly D00dz

Dear D00dly D00dz,

If you see two or more women talking to each other in a professional setting, it is never, ever appropriate to ask them what they are plotting, or to remark that seeing them scheming together makes you nervous.

Amazingly enough, sometimes women scientists get together and talk about (gasp) Science! I'd bet you a handshake and a case of beer that before you stopped by to provide your mansplainations you were not even on their radar, but that your asshattery has now been duly noted. Any political capital you had with these women has now evaporated.

With all the love you deserve,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Single-Momming It

So, Jeff is gone for the rest of the week, to accompany his parents to a funeral in Florida. This leaves me home alone with Vinny, single-momming it.

This is the first time that Jeff has left and not taken Vinny with him, so it's the first time that he has been without both of us since Vinny was born. (He claimed to have done it before, but he couldn't recall when that was, or why, so I think I'm right.) I've gone on far too many business trips, so it's a little bit of payback, in a way.

My plans: leave Vinny at school all day instead of a half-day every day (they're happy to let us do that -- for a fee, of course). Vinny is pretty excited about the prospect of staying at school all day, and eating lunch with the other kids. I just have to pick him up before 6.

Tonight, we went to "pizza house" (Mr. Gatti's), which is probably his favorite restaurant ever. We may eat out tomorrow night too, depending on how exhausted I am. On Friday, I'm going to take him out a little early so we can come home and bake a cake for a party (on Saturday) celebrating the successful dissertation defense of a colleague of mine. Jeff will probably be home on Saturday sometime, but it could stretch until Sunday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Excuses, Excuses

[Vinny is reaching for a hot pan on the stove.]
Jeff: Don't touch that!
Vinny: [Retracting his hand to touch his head] I'm just scratching my head.

[Vinny grabs some Easter candy.]
Jeff: No, you don't get any candy tonight.
Vinny: I was just checking the candy!

Me: Wash your hands after you use the potty.
Vinny: I don't need to wash my hands. They're clean!

Vinny: I have an owie head. I need some medicine.
Me: Is that really true or are you lying?
Vinny: [brightly] I'm lying!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Beauty of Spring

I was inspired by Monday's run, as grueling as it was, to take some pictures of the natural beauty in these parts. Here is a picture of the gravel path with my walking companions up ahead of me (as usual):

The redbuds are so prolific at this time of year. I am always amazed at all the pink that I see everywhere I look. It's hard to remember this when everything is just green.

As we neared a fork in the path, I took a picture of the road less taken (i.e., the one we did not take). It is beautiful out there!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Am So Exhausted

My mean running coach* and I have been doing the same 5K route at work for nearly a year. Well, due to construction, they closed our route, so we have to figure out a new one. Today we went on one potential route, and I am exhausted.

Our former route was relatively flat (insomuch as the terrain can be flat in this part of the country). This route is far from flat. There is a long but not particularly steep hill to start off the route. I ran most of the way up that hill before having to walk, then ran down it for the second running interval. I ran some more before we got to the most grueling part.

It was a steep gravel road that went straight up the side of a ridge. But it was evil and insidious -- it looked like you had finally crested the ridge, only to discover that there was more to go. Coming down was hard too, because it was steep and I was afraid I'd slip on the gravel. Luckily we were walking this part, not running, but it was harder than the running I would say.

But up at the top of the ridge, the view was stunning. The redbuds and dogwoods are in bloom right now, and the leaves are just coming out on most of the other deciduous trees. It was worth all the hard work to get up there.

After this excursion, though, I was pretty exhausted. My legs are very sore. But I felt really good about how far I ran and just how good I'm getting at running (with a little help from my running coach, of course).

* She's not actually mean; she just pushes me to run farther than I would ever go if it were up to me. So really, she's my awesome running coach.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables

For several years now I have intended to join a CSA (community-supported agriculture) but never remembered to do so at the right time. Well, finally I remembered at the right time. Our membership is in. The produce will start arriving in less than a month. I am very excited!

We're going to get a wide range of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, as the season progresses. Including some things I don't think I like -- but I'm going to try them once just to be sure my tastes have not changed. It should be a fun culinary adventure and I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Adventures in Dealing with Bad Drivers

O vast blogging audience, I seek your insights into a very strange situation I found myself in this evening.

Today as I was driving home, I was driving behind a Very Bad Driver. This person was having a lot of trouble keeping his car on the road. He would drive in a straight line, go over the white stripe on the right or the double yellow stripe on the left, and then jerk the steering wheel to get himself back into our lane, with the net effect of zig-zagging down the road.

I thought he was probably texting or using his cell phone or something. I thought about calling 911 or something, because his driving was seriously dangerous. I feared for the lives of the people riding their bikes on the shoulder. Luckily he was on the double-yellow portion of his zig-zag when we passed them. But I could not call 911 because I was on my workplace's reservation, not on a public road, so the 911 folks would not be able to get to us. I could have called the laboratory security people, except that would have required me to look at my badge to find their phone number and then type it into my phone while trying to drive and not get myself killed by this crazy driver.

So what I did instead was honk at him every time he crossed either of the lines. Then I gestured to my eyes and then to the road, trying to indicate that he should keep his eyes on the road. While trying to observe what the heck he was doing, I began to think he wasn't actually texting. I can't be sure, but he was probably not drunk, either, because there is no alcohol allowed at our workplace, and I think of drunk drivers as following more of a sinusoidal path rather than a zig-zag. (I readily admit that that could be a false assumption.) I think he did see me gesturing. It really didn't help, though. He kept zig-zagging, and at 55+ mph as he had been doing throughout this encounter.

Eventually we got to the stoplight where I would turn left and he would go straight. At this point I drove up next to him and gestured to my eyes and the road once more. He looked terrified of me and of the road in general, as if he must be a brand-new driver or something. But he did not behave as I (or presumably, most people) did as a brand-new driver: drive really slowly but stay on the road. It seems to me that you have to have a certain level of skill in order to pass your driver's test, and this guy appeared to have not yet acheived that level yet. If he was a novice driver, he didn't seem to be qualified to drive alone.

So, vast internet audience, I have two questions for you: 1, What was that guy's problem? and 2, What should I have done in that situation?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Inquiring Minds Need to Know: Max and Ruby Edition

Some important things I need to know about Max and Ruby:
  • Where are Max and Ruby's parents while they're getting into all these shenanigans?
  • Are the parents dead? We never see them except in a picture on the wall of the living room.*
  • Why does Grandma not step in and take care of her grandchildren, instead of leaving them all alone at their house?
  • And why have child protective services not been called?
  • How do they pay their monthly expenses? Did their parents leave them with some sort of annuity?
  • Does the grocer who gives Max groceries in one episode put it on their tab, or does he just feel sorry for the kids?
  • What does Ruby do with Max while she's at school?
  • Where does Max get all those amazing wind-up toys that can fly, talk, and move around to just exactly where they need to go for the sake of the plot?
  • Speaking of plot, why does this show have exactly one plot? Each episode is just a variation on the same theme: Max says one word that Ruby thinks doesn't have anything to do with what she wants, but he keeps repeating it, and finally at the end it is exactly the right thing.
  • Why does Ruby whine incessantly at Max? I think I'm going to carve my ears out with a spoon if I have to listen to her talk to Max one more time.
  • What does my son see in this show? And why (for the love of God) does he always want to play "Max and Ruby" with me?
  • Why can I not get the theme song out of my head?

* I know, I know, the author says the focus is on the kids because that's how kids see things. However, Ruby does a lot of things for Max that parents should be the ones doing, such as buying him clothes, making his breakfast, and putting him to bed.
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