Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Couch to...Wait....No

So I may have done a good, exciting thing. Or I may have done a stupid thing.

I signed up for my first 5K.

For the record, I have never run that far in my life. Also I might die. I am panicking a little bit. Please send help.

Maybe It's a Brain Parasite

Something is wrong with me. After a night of sending Rachael links to hideous dresses, I went to sleep. When I jolted awake this morning, an hour before my alarm, I thought, "Why get more sleep? Why not just go run?"

So I went outside and ran.

Since when am I the sort of person that will shun extra sleep in order to get exercise? What happened to me?

I think I must have some kind of parasite in my brain. That has to be it.

Meanwhile, I'm researching 5Ks in my area so I can sign up for one. Me. A 5K. If my gym teachers from school could see this now, they would probably drop dead of the shock.

This actually is a good reason.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Yet Another Run, This Time with Jennifer!

I conned Jennifer into running with me by being such a great target for serial killers. Today it rained in the morning and proceeded to be cold and a bit windy, just enough to make you want to NOT run.

Yet, we ran.

By the end, I felt as though I no longer had ears and resolved once more to get some kind of warm headband thing, because I can't do that again. This is the second time I thought my ears were bleeding when in fact, they were just fine.

Poor Jen regretted her choice to buy running shorts and not leggings. I mean, the leggings make you look like your legs are saran-wrapped. They do not look good on me. They do not look good on most people. But they have one thing going for them that shorts do not: They keep your skin from freezing off. I think another shopping trip may be in our future.

Somehow, when the run was over, Jennifer did not murder me herself. She may still be plotting this. Also she did not instantly tell me that she refused to run with me ever again. I am impressed by this because even I don't want to run with me again, but I have to because I am going to run a 5K.

I was thinking this afternoon, wouldn't it be nice to run the 5K before I turn 30? That can be the goal for now, until I forget about it or find a better goal.

MAYBE Jennifer will decide to run this 5K with me. MAYBE. You know they do one at Disney, Jen. We could save up and train for many years, and then go to Disney for their race. Think about it. Really, runDisney is a THING.

Oh my gosh. they have an AVENGERS HALF MARATHON. Never mind how long a half marathon is. AVENGERS.

I should maybe not Google things.

Also I downloaded the Avengers Half Marathon training program, because reasons.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bug Eating and Run #7

I went to Death Trail for my run, by myself again because The Brother thinks W.O.W. is more important than my continued existence. I wanted to try Week Three of the running app before I died in front of Jen. I mean, Jen is tough, but I don't know how she would feel about having to drag my corpse off the trail by one of my legs so that the disc golfers at the park can play through.

And do you know what? Week Three doesn't suck. I don't know why. It is likely horrible, but by some miracle, it wasn't as bad today as it will be later. But I did okay.

Week Three includes a five minute warm-up, * 90 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, THREE MINUTES of running, 90 seconds of walking, then you repeat from *, and then you have a five minute cool-down. And it didn't suck.

When I finished the run, I was really proud of myself. I mean, when I was going to gym class every day, I couldn't run three minutes without stopping to breathe. Granted, I had raging undiagnosed asthma and allergies then, but still.

I am still pretty proud of myself.

Also today I ate a salt-and-vinegar cricket. It was like a potato chip, only with more legs.

Photographic evidence:

Photo courtesy of Emily, who is on the right
My face says, "Why did I agree to this, someone save me, I am dying on the inside, what is my life?" Emily's face says, "This was my idea." Jess' face says, "Let's do this!"

Really. Potato chip. More legs.

Success and MURDER (Hopefully Not Mine)

Yesterday I went to the sporting goods store where I found socks for RUNNING. This is huge. No more blisters. At least, according to Runner's World magazine, which promised no more blisters if I used socks that weren't cotton.

I also found ear buds designed especially for runners. They allow all ambient noise to come through, so you still hear what's going on around you. This is important if you don't want to be hit by a car or murdered.

I also impulse-bought a tank top because it was so pretty. Don't you judge me.

Then I met Jen for dinner.

"You really run on the Nickel Plate Trail?" Jen asked.

"Yes," I said. But she was staring at me weirdly so I continued, "Why?"

"You know someone was murdered there."


"YES," Jen told me. "It was a boy scout leader. He was stabbed."

At that point I either asked Jen why she was telling me this, or why anyone would murder anyone on the Nickel Plate Trail, I can't remember. I guess I was too much caught up by the fact that I had been running alone on Death Trail.

I did not really believe her, so I came home and looked it up. She was right. This is nowhere near where I have been running, but the fact remains, I have been walking on Death Trail, running on Death Trail, and spending time alone on Death Trail.

This means that my choices for running are as follows: I can run on Murder Trail, down Meth Alley, or be struck by many semi trucks on the highway where I live.

Fortunately, I had already decided to run after work, although not in the park because Jen has a story about the park that is creepy.

"I guess I will run around the library," I said.

"That is an option. The other one is that I run with you," Jen said.

This was the best news ever. I have what I wanted all along, a running buddy! I am very excited. This will make running way less lonely, and I will be able to complain with Jen, which is way better than complaining alone. You should always be able to whine with friends.

We then went to Target and I found a fancy bag to use for taking my running things back and forth between work and home. It is exactly the right size and has lots of space for various running paraphernalia that I cannot live without, such as my new earbuds ans also my rescue inhaler.

I tried to style it with various gym-related things that matched it. Then I noticed the dowel rod underneath the dresser from when I made Harry Potter-style wands with the teens at the library. I should probably find a better place for that.

Pockets! I think this might even fit SHOES!

Or those might. Who knows. Shoes will have a spot, though, and space. There's a zip-up pocket in there for tiny things that shouldn't be swallowed by the depths of the bag, like my keys or maybe earrings.

And there is a pocket for a water bottle on each side. So I will be less likely to forget my water when I go for a run. The best part? No giant Nike swoosh or Under Armour logo or any giant brand name. It is just a bag. And if you look, there's a logo. But if you don't look, you don't really notice it. That's way better than paying to be someone's advertisement. If I am wearing your logo, you ought to be paying me.

Just imagine, though. I don't have to run all alone! This is huge.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Running Is Expensive

I own so many tote bags, it is ridiculous. One year I went to BEA, and when I was there, publishers were giving out tote bags with various awesome book covers on them, and I collected tote bags all week until they needed their own suitcase to get home.

So this is not a problem I should be having, but it is.

I have no gym bag. I have no gym, either, because the YMCA in town demands a pint of blood, one lung OR one kidney OR a portion of liver, 1/24th of my yearly income*, and the applicant's firstborn child in exchange for membership. But I am going to start running after work instead of carving out a chunk of every Saturday and Sunday for my run. This will also mean I will be allowed to take a rest day. Imagine that. But to run after work, I need a way to carry my stuff from home to work.

So I pulled all my tote bags out of the closet. First I put back all the ones that lacked zippers, because I don't want my sports bra to be visible to everyone I share an office with. There are six of us in Youth Services at the library and that's about five more people** than I want to see my bra.

Then I was left with five different bags. I put my running gear into the cutest one. Then I tried to put my shoes inside, too. Except the shoes would not fit along with the shirt, leggings, sports bra, and socks inside the bag. So I tried the next bag. Same problem. Then the next. Same problem. All of the bags were too small for running clothes AND the shoes. They were also too small for my work clothes, even if I didn't try adding shoes to the mix.

I thought I'd try a backpack, but I gave all those away when I realized that any future educational opportunity would involve me buying a new backpack because buying school supplies is so exciting.

So now I have to go to Target or maybe the sports equipment store this weekend and buy a gym bag of some kind. This is annoying because if I have to spend money on sports things, I want the money to go toward buying fancy clothes so I look cute before I start running. Cuteness does not last for very long due to the fact that I quickly develop the complexion of a lobster post-stock pot.***

I want one with a separate pocket for shoes, because I think that's cool.

I also want one that will make running infinitely easier. I am told that they don't make gym bags that do that, but I'm going to try to find one anyway.

While I am at the sports store, I am going to find socks not made of cotton in order to prevent the running blister situation from happening again. Also maybe I will find a reason to carry on.

* This is actually true.

** I am the only one allowed to see my bra.

*** Basically, I have to make sure my running clothes match my red face.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Running Blogs and a List of Things

Whenever I start a new thing, I hunt down several blogs I like about the thing, so I can have encouragement. Either the blogs will give me something to laugh about, something to strive to accomplish, or they will bring new interest to the thing when it gets old. I did this with knitting blogs, librarian/book review blogs when I started at the library, sewing blogs, various fitness blogs, and now running blogs.

The blogs I stick with are written by awesome people I would hang out with in real life, like Stephanie from The Yarn Harlot and Estée from Essie Button. I also keep up with John Green's Tumblr and vlogs, because he is hilarious online and in real life. I'm not giving you a link because if you don't know who John Green is, I don't think we can be friends anymore.

Other things that ruin a good blog are as follows:

  1. Pop-up ads or surveys. Anything that restricts my ability to read what I'm currently reading and then follows me as I try to scroll away will make me hate you and never read your blog again.
  2. Sites that are too busy. Even if the content is awesome, I will never read your blog if you have long lists of links along both sidebars and no actual blog posts are visible from amongst the chaos.
  3. Moving blog headers. I hate these. If your blog header is moving, it's because you want my computer and phone to stop working in order to load your blog header. So no, I will not be reading your blog.
  4. Invisible content. This is a made-up name for something that annoys me. It might have a real name. I don't know what the name is, though, so I made one up. This is when you have a title for your blog post. And that's it. Or maybe you have a title and two sentences. And that's all. But it isn't REALLY all, because if you click that little "Read More" link, you get the full post. No. If you're going to have your blog set up this way, you MUST give me at LEAST a full paragraph AND a hook before making me click to a new page. Do it the way Smitten Kitchen does things. Seriously. I need a detailed introduction. Otherwise I think your blog post isn't that important to you and it shouldn't be to me.
Note that all of these things are about style and not about content. Yes, there are content deal-breakers, too. I won't read a blog if the blogger doesn't believe in grammar or punctuation. If there is excessive profanity, nope. The list was about things that ruin a GOOD blog. You don't have a good blog if you can't write well. 

I haven't really gotten into running yet, not enough that I want lots of technical jargon or product reviews or race reports. I've found two running blogs that are funny and relatable, which is the most important thing. Here are two running blogs to try, written by two hilarious ladies.

The T-Rex Runner

Even the title of this blog made me laugh. Danielle is hilarious. She began the blog to document her goal, which is to run a marathon in all 50 states. The goal is insane, but she's on track to finish exactly when she intended to, even with the back surgery she's having today. Also this one time she went to Evansville and ran a marathon there, and smelled the tortilla factory, and her reaction was exactly as mine was. Why does something that tastes so good smell so terrible?

Lazy Girl Running

The title of Laura's blog (yes, she's a Laura which automatically makes me like her), is very descriptive of me as a person, so when I saw it on my Google search results for "funny running blogs," I clicked instantly because I thought that the author might understand me and my lifestyle. She's also written for The Guardian, among other publications, and she has a book which I'm absolutely going to read now, as a part of my quest to become overly informed about running.

Why Running on a Gravel Road Sucks

I hate driving on unpaved country roads. For those of you living in suburbs or cities, I will explain that these unpaved roads are made by dumping and spreading tons of gravel of varying size and loose dirt. The truck then leaves the dirt and gravel just like that. Some of the gravel is actually more like rocks. Some of these rocks are fist-sized or bigger. The county, because these are county roads, knows that traffic will pack the gravel slightly. And maybe, if there's rain, it will make the road settle more and finish making the road for them.

But if there is too much rain, the road washes out. Then the county either ignores the problem or repeats the process.

When it's dry, driving on the dirt and gravel road fills the air with clouds of dust. Your wheels don't have great traction, so you have to go very slowly to be sure you can stop or turn when you want to. On a wet day, your car is covered with mud. So, it's great. Really. Everybody loves dirt roads.

When you're running, you have to watch the ground in front of you in case you encounter one of the huge rocks and cause yourself dire injury. And when you get back from your run and take off your shoes, you notice that you brought a large amount of road home with you, and you have to spend the next few minutes bending your shoes in various directions to get the gravel out of the treads.

If a car happens to go by, you have to breathe in all that dust.

It's pretty awful.

My only other alternative to that tiny country road would be to run on the highway by my house with all the semi trucks and other drivers. It's awful and pretty horrifically dangerous. So I don't do that. And...that's it. No other local places to run. I have to drive almost 30 minutes to get to the trail I really like, which isn't really feasible for days when I have work.

And that is why I'm going to start running after work, in town. We'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, two weeks of my running app are complete. Five more to go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Run: In Which I Suck at Preparation

Today I went for my FIFTH run. This is probably the longest I've stuck with any running program. So, gold star for me.

I went to the trail I like best, but this time I was by myself, so I repeated my earlier warning to The Brother. If I don't come home in about an hour, I've been murdered and call the police. It's a good general rule.

As I ran down the trail, wishing I were dead (this is normal for me while running, I think "Thank God I'm still alive!" during the walking sections), I suddenly saw movement. This thing flew (or was thrown?) over my head, and then it hit a tree next to my face. I turned quickly to look at the tree. And it was a hawk, which had just missed grabbing a very lucky squirrel. The hawk was trying to remain aloft while making desperate grasps at the squirrel, which was rapidly shuffling along the side of the tree to avoid the hawk.

"RUN, SQUIRREL!!!" I shouted. (Really.)

Except there was a man on a bicycle behind me, who had not seen the hawk/squirrel drama unfold, so he thought I was a special kind of crazy.

He terrified me, because I was generally shocked at that moment, pretty much because a hawk had flown inches in front of my face moments before.

"Did you see a deer?" He was a really friendly guy. Probably mid-sixties, and he seemed like he could tell I was about to have my heart explode from my chest. Maybe he had a daughter that was high-strung, and he knew the look.

"No," I replied. "It was a hawk, and it was trying to grab a squirrel."

(That was when my grasp of reality went away a little more than normal. That should have been enough. But my internal narrator is wordy, and it wants all the observers of my life to be aware of exactly what each moment really was like, so they will fully understand me.)

"It was like real-live National Geographic. I hope the squirrel got away. I told it to run. I hope it listened. I have never had a bird of prey fly so close to me before, and I've never seen one grab at prey when I was close enough to HEAR it. I hope the squirrel is okay."

All this happened as the poor man tried to keep his bicycle from going too far forward so he could hear me without actually stopping it and causing it to fall down. It was a fancy bike, you see. With clips. The Yarn Harlot taught me about clips. You clip in, you ride. You have to unclip in order to put your feet on the ground. If you fail to unclip properly, you fall down and bleed at the side of the road/trail.

I think he said something innocuous, like "Wow," or "Really?"

And then I said something like, "That's the great outdoors!" And then he kept riding and I went back to running, trying to put as much distance between myself and the Animal Planet special going on around me.

Also I forgot to bring water on this run. And I forgot to fill my car up with enough gas to get home after driving to the trailhead, so I had to go back to my car post-run, drive into town, get gas, and then buy water. I did all of this while red-faced and dripping with sweat. I was quite alluring. It's shocking that I didn't get any marriage proposals on my walk from the car to the gas station attendant's booth.

To make matters more awkward, I felt it necessary to tell the gas station attendant all about the hawk and the squirrel and the forgotten water. She was patient with me in the same way I am patient with overly-talkative and exceedingly boring patrons at work.

I really shouldn't be allowed to talk to people anymore.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Running, Day Four.

I drug The Brother on another run today. He had a very hard time with the "run" part of running today, but he TRIED. That is the most important thing.

It was day one of week two, so the length of the running sections of the app increased to 90 seconds from 60 seconds. I kept up. Somehow. But here's the thing. This app, which I love, told me what the halfway point was on my last three runs. Each time, the lady said, "You're halfway done." I would then turn around and go in the opposite direction on the trail, so that I can make it back to where I started during the other half of the run.

But this time. This time.

The lady did not say, "You're halfway done." She did not say anything but "Begin running," and "Begin walking." And when I finally broke down and looked at my phone to see what progress I'd made, I saw that I'd done 25 minutes of a 31 minute workout, meaning that I was very nearly finished. And so I just kept going. Why turn around then, I thought, when I could keep going and look at the trail marker to see exactly what distance I was going.

And when I was a mere two minutes away from finishing the cool down section of the app, I took this humiliating picture with my phone. It is a terrible picture taken by someone who does not take pictures of herself ever, because human arms are not made to take pictures of said human's own face. It just doesn't work. I am too old for this particular craze.

What is up with my arm, anyway? My shoulder looks like it belongs on an alien.

I only took this picture to send it to Dad to drive home the fact that I made it two miles. After I took the picture, I proceeded to the sign I saw a bit further down the trail only to find that the trail crossed a road. So then I said, "IT IS A SIGN THAT I SHOULD TURN AROUND." The Brother had caught up by then, and he agreed. I am pretty sure he was already dead at this point.

On the 2+ mile walk back to the trailhead, The Brother and I saw three deer, a squirrel that was angry we disturbed its lunch, and many birds. Also many small insects. Also many people on bicycles, some of which were weird lying-down bicycles that were actually pretty cool to look at, although I think you'd get neck pain from riding on them.

And when I got home, I took of my shoe and discovered running had given me a blister. I am so proud. This is a badge of honor. Real runners get blisters. This happens to people who run a LOT. I think maybe it happened to me because I switched shoes. Or because I was wearing a different sort of sock. One of the two. But I am still proud.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Why Suffer Alone? (Day Three of Running)

Today was a running day. The gap between running on Monday and running today was enough that I actually didn't feel awful about the whole experience. I was almost looking forward to it. Almost.

Another bonus was that The Brother had said he would accompany me so that I did not get thrown into a windowless van and murdered. This is a bonus. You never can tell when someone will decide to kill you, especially when you are in my age bracket. The only way I could increase my statistical likelihood of being murdered would be to change my profession from "librarian" to "woman of easy virtue." (That isn't going to happen.)

Mum and I spent the morning trying to catch up with my father, aunt and uncle, and grandfather, who were in Elkhart trying to arrange a long-term care situation for my grandmother. We weren't able to meet them, so we turned around in Goshen and headed home after first having the best Philly cheesesteak of my life and what is likely the best lemon meringue pie in the world. We'd seen South Side Soda Shop several thousand times as we drove to Elkhart and back, but we'd never been able to stop for food. Now I'm going to insist on stopping, at least for pie. I mean, just look at how awesome this place is!

Mum and I followed my favorite restaurant practice of asking the waitress what we should order. We had a cheesesteak and an Italian hoagie. BOTH of those sandwiches were phenomenal. We saw a gorgeous lemon meringue pie in the bakery case on the way in the door, so we ordered one to take home, only to discover that their lemon meringue pie had won best in the state. Once I tasted it, I wasn't surprised. Best. Ever.

Okay. Food interlude over. I really like food. This would be why I exercise.

While we were on our way home, we stopped at a sporting goods store and I found one of these to hold my cell phone, keys, and inhaler while I run. I really have to carry my inhaler, and I can't leave my keys in the car, and my cell phone has my running app on it, so I had to come up with some kind of solution for carrying things with me. After one run, I can tell you that it stays in place and doesn't cause any discomfort. So far I'm happy with it.

I also went to T.J. Maxx, my favorite place, and found some non-cotton running shirts for summertime. Because I am going to keep doing the running thing, even during the summer. Sigh. T.J. Maxx is a great place to look for fitness wear on the cheap. They are cheaper than Target. They are even cheaper than Walmart. AND they have name-brand stuff from Nike, Reebok, UnderArmor, and the like. They even have shoes, but I still recommend getting fitted for shoes at a running store. If you just want cute shoes to walk around in, go to T.J. Maxx. If you want to run, go to Three Rivers Running Company, or to another store like it where you live.

By the time I arrived home, I was excited about running. And I went out, and it was hard. But it wasn't AS hard. I don't know if it was actually easier, or if the improved weather just made it feel that way. But I actually had fun. The Brother thought he was going to die. I think he stopped breathing for a little while. He did, however, keep up with me almost the whole way, and for someone going from a lifetime of hunching over a computer keyboard to a running routine that I find challenging after almost two years of HIIT workouts, that's pretty impressive.

He reports that laughter causes his bum to hurt. Other than that, he's alive. I might actually get him to run with me again! Somebody's getting running clothes for his birthday this fall! (And yes, I'll get them at T.J. Maxx).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Running, Day Two

Yesterday I went for another run. I left the house. Wind was howling. The temperature was hovering right around 40 degrees. A mist of rain was falling. The warm up was a lie. It was impossible to warm anything.

I wore leggings, a tee shirt, a running shirt, and a fleece because I stepped outside and could not bear it. After a few minutes, I regretted not bringing a hat and gloves. But then I realized my hats and gloves are not designed for running, and are all hand-knitted wool. I may need to 1. knit something different or 2. find something for running.

But it is spring (heh), so that will wait until I see if running takes.

Mum came along, as did Darcy. That was a nice change from last time. Darcy ran at least three times as much as I did, and it seemed as if she was having a blast.

I followed my running app. The lady was evil. She showed no mercy. And I thought I was going to die. Maybe I did die. After a while, it felt as though my brains were coming out of my ears, but I looked when I got home, and I couldn't see any brain matter in my ear canal. Maybe it was blood and not brain. Maybe it was just too dark. It did feel like my ears were bleeding or SOMETHING.

Mum impressed me by running. She did very well. I ended up further ahead than she was, so she couldn't follow the app along with me, but she ran, skipped, jumped, and did other cardio-things as she went along. Good for Mum!

I collapsed onto the ground when we got inside the house. I took off my shoes and then stayed on the floor for probably 45 minutes. Then I sat in a chair for a while longer. And then everyone was eating dinner, so I tried to eat, but it didn't so much happen.

I felt better after a bath, but still. The muscle that runs down the inner thigh? That hurts so much. It's right in the chub-rub area, and it is demoralizing.

And then I got out of the bath and made myself dinner. As I walked over to the table, the fork fell from my plate and landed tines-down on my bare left foot, stabbing me brutally. It drew BLOOD. Debra Lynn from my college saw the story on my Facebook, and she said it was a fitting injury for Holy Week. That first made me confused, but then it clicked inside my run-addled brain and I laughed so hard I dropped avocado on my lap.

Later, as I crawled into bed, I thought I'd look ahead and see what further tortures the app has for me. But then I noticed something. There was only one other workout for Week One. I looked ahead. There are only THREE DAYS EACH WEEK that running has to happen. THREE DAYS. That is all. This means I don't have to run at all until my next day off. No more suffering. No more waking up early. No more holding dinner until later in the evening so that I can run first. No more brain-dead-ness OR brain-melting OR ear bleeds. I am free until Friday, when I have part of the day off. Maybe it will stop snowing by then. Maybe it will not rain on me! Maybe it will be above 50 degrees.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blind Date with a Book

I spent all of last week working and working on bringing Blind Date with a Book to the library. I love how it turned out! This is just one of the many ways our library is celebrating National Library Week.

To make it work properly, I first collected books from YA and had Polly, my coworker who buys adult fiction for the library, pick adult books. We chose books with lots of great editorial reviews and good buzz that nonetheless seem to have fallen through the cracks at our library. In other words, awesome books that people around here need to discover! I also picked a few from some of my favorite writers that just deserve to be read, OFTEN.

Next I wrapped all of the books in brown paper. Because we're a library and these books have to be circulated, I photocopied the barcode of each book and attacked it to the back of the wrapping. And because we have to know where each book is, just in case, I numbered all the books and kept a log sheet of which number corresponded to which book. That way if someone demands Book X and insists Book X is on Shelf Y, we can actually find it for them, even though it's wrapped up and "hidden."

Being a librarian is complicated.

I also made up signs, and my student assistants and I cut out HUNDREDS of hearts to decorate the circulation desk, displays, and YA shelving.

I'm particularly pleased with how well the circulation desk turned out. And I learned to use my iPhone to take a panoramic picture, which is pretty awesome.

Each book has a few descriptive words or phrases on the wrapping, to help you figure out if it's the sort of book you want to get to know better.

When I researched Blind Date with a Book online, I had a lot of fun guessing what books the other librarians had chosen based on the keywords they wrote on the wrapping paper they used.

My space in YA is much more limited, so I had to confine the display to the side of one shelf and the top of another.

I really like how it all turned out. I have to admit, I'm proud of myself!

Before I wrapped the books, I tucked a little postcard in each one encouraging the reader to rate their date. I think, if I get any turned back in (you never can tell), I'll use them to make up another display of reader recommendations.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Corpses, Running, and Terrible Rain

I started Couch to 5K again, but for me it is more like Couch, Skip the 5K, Death.

Apparently running kills higher brain function for me and sucks out all energy, leaving me a wasted husk of a person unable to string even the shortest words together to form the most rudimentary sentence. I tried to talk to friends today, but no. Mostly I listened. And then we went to a candy store and I walked out with a box of cookies that was the size of one of my legs, so running seems not to curb my unhealthy eating habits at all.

I went home and ate steak.

Mostly, I find that running makes me want to give up and just lie down on the pavement. I'm sure if somethign really was pursuing me, it probably would want to catch me much more than I would want to get away, so fine. I will let whatever the thing is win, and I will just rest. It's cool. Who can outrun a bear, anyway? No one. It's better not to try.

I am using an app to help me time my running, and the thing started off by having me walk for five minutes. Then it said, "Start Running!" It sounded overly chipper and made me want to kill something. But nature misunderstood and it started raining pretty hard, right then, so my first real run was in the rain. Nothing is worth that. Health and long life are not worth that.

My feelings, post-run:

I should also mention that I had to drive 20 minutes to go run, because I didn't want a repeat of last year's incident involving the semi truck and the harassment. Before I left home, I told The Brother that if I didn't come home in an hour, he should call me, and if I didn't answer, I had been murdered already and he should call the police.

It speaks to how good a brother I have that he did call me, in exactly one hour.

He can share the giant box of cookies I brought home.

There was something dead next to the trail I ran on. I ended up running faster to get away from the stench of rotting flesh. Even as I ran, I thought, "Soon, the corpse on this trail will be mine. No one can survive this." Somehow I did, but this was just the first day. It is only a matter of time. Who runs five kilometers on purpose? I think this is a sickness.

I'm supposed to run again tomorrow, and Mum says she will come with me with Darcy. She says we will run closer to home, but not on the main road so we will be left alone by horrible truckers. I am thinking of dying in my sleep tonight just to avoid this run, but there is a 5K a friend told me about happening in June, and I told Mum, and now she thinks we will do this 5K maybe.

I also forgot to bring water on this run. There was water in the ditch next to the trail and I considered drinking it because I was thirsty. And then I wanted to cry. And then the phone app lady told me I was all done running for the day, but I had not reached my car yet so I had to walk even further than I was supposed to. That's the true tragedy of today, I think. Excess walking.

I thought of taking a picture of myself post-run, to share it with you, but then I said I would rather die than lift my arm above my waist to take a picture, so I just drove home.

There really isn't' anything else to say about today. If you were here, I would share some of the box of cookie with you, if you brought me water. I am still thirsty. It's been hours.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I've Got My New Shoes On

My new favorite shoes arrived yesterday! I had been longing for t-strap flats since...last year? Maybe longer. I fell in love with some that a character on a BBC drama was wearing. I don't even remember what show it was anymore. Probably one of the Masterpiece Mysteries. I do love Masterpiece Mystery. At any rate, there were NONE to be had. I could choose from t-strap sandals without an enclosed toe (not what I wanted at all) or I could get sky-high platforms...that were sandals without an enclosed toe as well (ouch and NO).

But during my weekly scroll through the contents of Modcloth, I found these beauties, and they were perfect. I'd been hunting for a pair of colored shoes to go with my many all-neutral outfits, and these looked like they'd work with pretty much my whole wardrobe.

As an added bonus, they run a bit narrow, meaning they FIT. And they are leather, which means quality.*

Here are some terrible pictures I took last night.

For the record, it's incredibly difficult to take pictures of your own feet. Nearly impossible, really.

Shoes: Seychelles Cayenne Sandals in Jade (Modcloth) Pants: American Eagle Skinny Trousers  Carpet: Needs vacuuming.  

* Do not tell me plastic shoes are good quality. They just aren't. They don't last, they make your feet sweat, and they are impossible to break in effectively. And before you suggest "vegan" leather, that is plastic, too. Plastic that people are charging extra for, because the box says "vegan." I love the idea of vegan shoes, but until you can bring me something that looks as good and holds up as well as leather, I'm sticking to leather.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Skin Is a Liar, Or How One Random Article Saved Me Thousands of Dollars in Dermatologist Bills

Months ago, I read an article. I cannot find this article now because I lack foresight and failed to save it for later. This is because I never thought it would actually have any impact on my life. Oh, was I wrong.

The article was your average "dealing with acne" sort of thing. It talked about cleansers, using oil-free makeup, what sort of treatments you can buy over the counter, when to seek out the help of a dermatologist...mostly it just listed what options of treatment people use normally after reading their first article in a teen magazine about breakouts.

But then it mentioned something I can't remember any other skin care article ever telling me. I wish there had been some mention of this before, because it's a HUGE deal. Really.

I am paraphrasing here, but these are the essentials. Whoever wrote the article said, basically, that your skin can be oily because you have oily skin OR it can be oily because it's super-dry and starving for moisture, and using the toners and salicyclic acid treatments you buy over the counter only drys your skin out more, making it MORE oily and contributing to more breakouts. The author went on to advise using a moisturizer every day, and STOPPING the drying stuff, using a cream cleanser and not a traditional soap, never using toner, and not putting any kind of drying treatment on your skin. They said that a soap may not wash all the way off, so it was important to rinse like crazy, and if you have hard water, used distilled water or one of those pre-moistened wipes you can buy in the skincare aisle.

This was bizarre. It was clearly wrong, I thought. How could that work? I mean, you have to cut through the oil on your skin to get rid of it, right?

The author said our skin is meant to keep oil, because that's what keeps it moist. So, people with dry skin are wrong when we coat our faces with zit cream and hope for relief.

I did buy the pre-moistened wipes, though, and the difference was huge. Suddenly my breakouts were way less frequent. In fact, I risked it and bought a full-sized bottle of the Sensitive Skin moisturizer from Burt's Bees, which I liked when I tried the sample.

And do you know what? My skin got even better. It was less oily. I had even fewer breakouts. But then winter came, and the change seemed to reverse. So I took a risk and tried a heavy-duty moisturizer--Benefit's Total Moisture Facial Cream. I have their eye cream. The eye cream is great. I hoped Total Moisture would be that awesome.

It is even more awesome. My skin has not looked this good since I was in my first year of college. I don't know why no one ever mentioned this dry-skin stuff to me before. All I was ever told was that I had "combination" skin and it was a good idea to dry out the oily part and leave the rest of my face alone. What a lie. Apparently, this whole time, my skin has been begging me for a real moisturizer and it has responded with great joy.

I've been using it for a month. The difference is astounding. My skin is not only well behaved, it also just FEELS better. I wish I knew where I'd read that article, because the author deserves a statue, maybe even a shrine. He or she is the BEST. I wish I could send them flowers or my firstborn child.

So. Here is my recommendation. If you have consistently dry skin that isn't quenched by daily moisturizer, and you are ready for a change, try Benefit's Total Moisture cream. It has a light scent, but it isn't enough to hurt me, so no one else is likely to even notice a scent at all. It goes on slightly greasy, but it soaks into your skin after a few seconds. If it doesn't do this, you're using too much, so cut back on the amount you're using each application.

It is expensive. But it is worth it. I want to have the babies of this moisturizer and name them after the author of the skincare article. I'm considering getting a tattoo of the bottle. Don't you judge me. There are days I don't even think I need to wear foundation, and I haven't felt that way since I was a kid.

As I wrote this, I ran a search and noticed that quite a few other people have caught on to oily skin really being dry and dehydrated skin. Here's one such blog post.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Unsolicited Parenting Advice

There will be MILD spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Solider in this post. Nothing huge. But I warned you.

Look. I'm not a parent. I'm not. I should preface this with that statement. I don't profess to know how hard it is to raise kids. But I do know common sense. And that is where this advice is coming from. Common sense.

Note that this advice carries over to baby sitters, older siblings, licensed child-care providers, neighbors, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and other people charged with the care of young children for any length of time.

I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier tonight. It was a great movie. Think political intrigue meets spy thriller meets comic book heroes, because that was the feel. I highly recommend it. Go see it. See it twice.

But not with your four year-old.*

Listen. This movie is bloody. It is violent. People die. Some people die TWICE. (That was the mild spoiler, right there. All done now.) And violence has an effect on your kids. (It really does. There are STUDIES.)

There are superheroes, and kids love superheroes. But watching someone explode is not how your child should learn about anatomy. This is a scary movie. This is more scary than a four year-old can handle.

Before you ask, yes, there was a preschooler behind me at the movie. And yes, he was sitting with someone older. His maybe eight year-old brother. His parents were there, too. But they didn't so much care that their child 1. talked through the whole movie,** nor did they care that 2. Their child kept asking his brother why people weren't moving, why that person was hitting the other person, why people were hurting Captain get the idea.

Your kid is not emotionally mature enough, at age four, to differentiate between reality and fantasy. That's just a developmental fact. Kids don't get the difference between that until they hit six or seven. Yes, a few years make a big difference. if you don't think so, take a child psychology class. Or watch your kid. One of the two.

Your preschooler will look at Captain America, and even if you tell them that he is make-believe, they will still not GET that he's make-believe. Captain America, like Santa Claus, is real to them in their head. Now, following that, imagine your kid watching people bleeding out on screen. If Captain America is real, and he is on screen, does it not follow that they will think that the bleeding is real, too? (This is a rhetorical question.)

Your child is not in a war zone, so it's a good idea to protect them from even the idea of one, since they're lucky enough not to HAVE to see that kind of violence. Celebrate that fact by watching the many great films made for kids--and adults--of all ages.

The bottom line is, your preschooler is not ready to watch the end of Old Yeller and they aren't old enough to watch superhero movies that aren't animated. If you want to have a good time and go see Captain America, go. Take note of Black Widow's necklace. And go.

But before you leave, dial up a friend or neighbor and ask them to look after the kids, because honestly, your kid should not see someone explode (or with third degree burns or without their head or without most of their blood) until they are at least old enough to tie their own shoes.

That is your free parenting advice, from your friendly neighborhood youth services librarian who, yes, has studied child development long enough to tell you you're doing it wrong.

* Also not with anyone younger than four years of age. Also not with anyone older than four by a few hours, or maybe even a few years. I would say 10 or 11 is a the YOUNGEST a kid should be before they are exposed to the kind of mass-death involved in an action movie.

** The parents now owe me $7.50. So do the people sitting three rows in front of us that were playing with their cell phones. That's six people now owing me $7.50, meaning that even with refreshments, I'll turn a profit on this night-at-the-movies thing if I could only get everybody to pay up.