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100 Medals.

100 Medals.

Running is kind of my thing. I’m not great at it, but I can accomplish it without embarrassing myself too badly. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. I ran 2 marathons about 10 years ago. I burned out on running for a while. Then I started running again. Then I had a kid. Then I didn’t run for a while. Now for the last 2 years or so, I’ve been back in the swing of it.

before running ATM

I like 10 mile races and half marathons. They’re long enough that I do have to train, but short enough that training doesn’t hijack my life. They get me to travel to neat places. They help me burn off the angry.

Baby Beez appropriates my medals. I’m happy to let her have them. I love teaching her that her mom has been strong and has worked for something that is hard.

This week, she earned her first medal of her own. She participated in a kid’s basketball class, and at the end of the session, she got her very own medal.

A medal for a job well done

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This morning, we were talking about the races I’m running this week. I told her I’m running a 10k and a Half Marathon, and I’m going to be getting a total of THREE medals. She was thrilled. She loves these medals. Jumping up and down, she exclaimed “WE’RE GONNA GET 100 MEDALS.”

I’ve been thinking about it all day. 100 Medals. Why don’t we earn 100 medals?

My girl and I, we’re going to earn 100 medals. They don’t all have to be running. They can be from other sports events. But we’re going to be strong and be healthy and earn those medals. I don’t know what we’ll do with them once we have them. But we’ll have them. With the races I’ve done, we’ve got a good start. We don’t have any deadline. But we’re going to do it. I’ve set up a photo album through Facebook, so you can watch our progress.

We’re going to earn 100 medals.

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The Blessings of Age 4

The Blessings of Age 4

We are having a lazy weekend. We have not had a true lazy weekend in so long. It”s 10:15 am. Everyone is in jammies. Baby Beez woke up at 8am, climbed in bed with us, and I yelled at her to go back in her room and play. She did. When I felt ready to roll out of bed at 9, I did so. She followed me downstairs to watch a movie. I sipped coffee and read the internet. She got her own milk out of the fridge. She went potty and washed her hands herself. I sat here and didn’t have to do anything. Mr. Beez is still asleep in bed. The only thing I have to do today is do my long run for the week. I also promised Baby Beez a visit to the library sometime this weekend. She wants to get a cookbook (preferably a pirate cookbook). It is wonderful.

making wishes

Age 4 comes with LOTS of whining and singing and noise and questions. Many days go a lot like this.  Also, she goes bat&*^t crazy if she eats chocolate, which is why I instituted a “no chocolate in the house” rule as of Friday. But these are such minor things. In general, 4 is an awesome age. I wish I could keep her here forever.

She can’t read yet. Which makes secret keeping a BREEZE. For example, we are going on a super-secret (to her) Disney vacation in February. We keep getting stuff in the mail about it. She sees the Disney characters on the mail, and wants to look at it, and I’m like HERE YOU GO LOOK AT IT ALL YOU WANT! Because she CAN’T READ, so the secret’s safe. YES.

She is old enough to understand a lot of things, but still young enough to believe everything. The world is magical.

She is old enough to have interests and get excited about things and has the skill and coordination to actually try new things out. Monday she starts swim class again, and she starts basketball on Tuesday. I can’t describe how incredibly excited she is to play basketball. I’m excited to see her do it.

She is old enough for some independence. Play dates no longer need exacting supervision. We can send the kids in a room to play and keep an ear out. Grown-ups have fun AND kids have fun.

She is old enough to do things together. We played our first game of Chutes & Ladders on Friday night. It was fabulous.

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Weekend Update from the Beez Homefront

This has been the second quiet weekend in a row. It’s partially a matter of necessity, as both Mr. Beez and I have been finishing our weeks lately with lots of catch-up work for the weekend. It’s also partially purposeful, as my bad habit of scheduling 3-4 activities a day, for each Saturday and Sunday, has led to many exhausted work weeks. That was just not sustainable.

I have been overzealous with my 5K race sign ups. Last weekend I ran and Mr. Beez + Baby Beez walked the Brookline Breeze. Yesterday, Sandy and I ran the Yinzer 5K for Light of Life Rescue Mission. Next Saturday, we’ll be hitting the trails yet again for the Run Around the Square. The 5K distance has been nice because it’s a bit of exercise without taking over the whole day. I’m considering signing up Baby Beez for a kids race in the Steelers 5K, and maybe even running the race myself, but haven’t made up my mind. After that, I’m not signed up for another race until the Army 10-Miler in October. This is probably for the best, because I’ve been using a training program which calls for long runs on Saturday. A 5K race is too short for that purpose, and it’s inconvenient to try and tack on extra mileage before or after a race.

Yinzer 5k

Lets run, yinz!

Relatedly, the training program I’m on is essentially a half marathon training program, where the race would be scheduled the week after the Army 10 Miler, so now I’m considering signing up for a half marathon on that date. Options include the Columbus Half (which is already sold out, so I’d have to look into picking up someone’s transfer bib), the Hershey Half Marathon, or the Runner’s World Half & Festival, in Bethlehem, PA. I’m not ready to pull the trigger on any of these options yet, but I’ll have to make a decision in the next month or so.

On the flipside of cardio exercise, Baby Beez and I were on a sugar high this weekend. Baby Beez insists on continuing to grow, so I had to get her new duds for her ballet class. Afterward, we stopped over at Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor. Chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles for her, and a turtle sundae for me.

Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor


photo 5

Her vociferous obsession with chocolate is just further evidence that this kid is basically the loudest, most outrageous parts of my personality in distilled form. Watch out, world.

On Sunday we also baked a cake together. No special reason, other than I wanted a cake. I learned that you should NOT bake a pineapple upside down pan in a springform pan, because the melted butter will leak all over the oven and you’ll almost burn the house down. But I promptly responded to the billowing smoke, saved the house from smoldering, and saved the cake as well. That’s a victory, right?

photo 2

photo 1

On the whole, we had a pretty sweet weekend. How was yours?


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Finding Our Way Back Toward Normal

Nearly 3 weeks in the new house, and we are finally making our way there. Over the last few days, I’ve gotten back into preparing meals in our kitchen regularly. After shelling out for take-out three meals a day since Memorial Day, cooking on our own feels like omg all this food is FREE!

We are nearly all unpacked in the new place. Pictures are even finding their way up onto the walls. The last major thing we need are window treatments, but almost all the other big things have been squared away. As much as I hate cleaning with every fiber of my being, I find myself feeling a little house proud. I’ve been better about picking up my own clutter, and making Baby Beez regularly put her toys away. What’s the sense of having a nice looking house, if it’s charm is obscured by stuff laying all around.

OMG CHRISTMAS

I’ve taken a bar exam and have raised a child while working in one of the most high-stress jobs imaginable, so I won’t say that this buying/selling house process has been the most stressful thing I’ve lived through. Still, it’s up there. There’s been plenty of fighting and a few pounds piled back on, and two very extremely unhappy screaming parrots.

Now it’s Sunday night, the birds are peacefully chewing on treats, the little one is up in her bedroom snuggled away, and I just watched a glorious Pittsburgh sunset out of the massive window. I’m marveling at the fact that I managed to spend a weekend mostly around the house and getting things done, rather than bouncing from event to event to event. I’ll be shocked if I’ll ever fit a description of a homebody, but in these new digs, it certainly doesn’t feel bad to spend a little more time just relaxing at home.

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Exploring THE ROCK

Exploring THE ROCK

It’s a little heartbreaking that our vacation is well over, and with the exception of a 2 day firm retreat to Cleveland next week (full of meetings, not adventuring), I’m not going anywhere fun in the near future. As is typical after vacation, I returned to a chaotic workload and not nearly enough time to get everything done. Add on top of that the myriad tasks that go along with settling into a new house and selling an old one, I’m surprised I haven’t completely lost my mind. I’m close though.

The one activity I was looking forward to the absolute most on our vacation was our tour of Alcatraz Penitentiary, better known as THE ROCK. I’ve visited San Francisco many times in my life, but never have I had the foresight or organization to buy Alcatraz tour tickets in advance. You can’t just stroll in and buy same-day tickets. They sell out a few weeks in advance. As soon as I knew we’d be spending part of our vacation in San Fran, I booked our trip.

View of San Francisco on the boat to Alcatraz

View of San Francisco on the boat to Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Alcatraz


The first part of the tour is the ferry ride over to the island. My kid LOVES all modes of transportation, so she was pretty jazzed to be riding on a boat. The bay is extremely windy, and since it was a hot day, this felt pretty comfortable. The boat ride is only about 10 minutes, which is just enough time for it to be fun, but not long enough to get boring.

Happy campers on our way to prison

Happy campers on our way to prison

alcatraz

We got to the island and had a short orientation about where to find things. I was really hoping to tour the island and prison with a live guide, but instead the tour is self-guided with a headphone device. Fair warning: a self-guided tour with a 3 y.o. who refuses to wear the headphones is torturous. She quickly got bored, and I was NOT about to ditch this activity because she was bored/tired/bratty. So I guided myself through much of the tour, carrying her and gritting through my teeth “You WILL be quiet and behave or so help me.”

Child, I may leave you here.

Child, I may leave you here.


Touring the prison was fascinating. Alcatraz is a lot smaller than I imagined. There were only a total of about 1500 inmates who were housed here during its years of operation. The cells of course were very small, and the whole prison was designed in the panopticon model. Back in college, one of my literature professors had a couple lectures on the panopticon, so I was very excited to dust the cobwebs off of my education and feel s-m-r-t.

alcatraz

Alcatraz lighthouse

Alcatraz rec yard

More than anything, the tour made me sad. The audio tour gave the impression that Alcatraz’ conditions were barbaric and a thing of the past. It suggested that the modern penal model is focused on rehabilitation more than punitive measures. Given several cases I’ve handled recently dealing with inmate civil rights, however, I can tell you that the housing conditions at Alcatraz are fairly reflective of the modern conditions in many restrictive housing units (and in some ways Alcatraz may be a more comfortable living situation, in light of the Department of Justice’s recent findings concerning the Pennsylvania DOC’s use of restrictive housing on mentally ill inmates.) It made me sad to think that all the tourists don’t realize that these conditions aren’t actually a thing of the past, but actually a view of confinement conditions that still exist.

Alcatraz Prison

I was hoping that the tour would be ghost-story spooky, but unfortunately there were no such scary tales. Nonetheless, it was a tour absolutely worth taking. Had my kid been older and better behaved, it would have been a great opportunity to talk about social expectations, the need for law and order, and also the importance of treating every person with dignity and humanity.