Sunday, December 1, 2013

Connect The Dots

The dots, in this case, are the random bits of information to follow.  Yes, I could have written several mini posts, but I think you know by now that I will almost always choose long-winded over short.

  • For the second year in a row, my team made the playoffs in our Keeper($) Fantasy Football League.  Although my dependence on the Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski combo seemed like it was going to destroy me earlier in the season (thanks a load for those 9 points in week 7, Touchdown Tommy), they pulled together when the time came and got me the wins I desperately needed.  This team is the one (of three) with which I most concern myself.  I'm doing terribly in the Free Family League, and I need many things to fall into place in order to secure a playoff spot in the winner-take-all League of Mostly Couples.  Unfortunately, my brother-in-law needs to beat his brother this week to push me ahead in the standings in that league, and, well, that might take a Thanksgiving miracle.
BIL's appropriate team pic
  • Cupcake (formerly known as Baby) is thoroughly obsessed with The Fox song.  She prefers the live on Jimmy Fallon's show version to the original, because she likes pointing at the horse with the Ylvis guys.  She asks to watch it multiple times each hour day, sings along ("pa pa pow"), and dances.  It's pretty stinkin' cute.
  • Rip Claw (formerly known as 6 y.o.) earned his Bobcat rank in Cub Scouts.  I got to paint his cute little face during the presentation ceremony at the pack meeting.  Charming (formerly known as Husband, because he's like my Prince and my Jax Teller all in one charming package) and I are pretty new to the whole scouting deal, and still a little hesitant.  We like the values they teach, and Rip Claw enjoys the activities a lot.  We're not entirely sure, though, that we're getting our money's worth.  It seems like a lot of expense, time, and effort are going in to securing tangible recognition that he's learned things we have taught him since he was born.  The leaders talk a lot about scouting being a family oriented program, but it is really difficult for us to participate in many of the events as a family, and I feel like we're ostracized if we complete assignments or activities just as a family, without the den.  Oh, and then there's the lightly blanketed racism that seems to pervade everything scouting-related...but that's a subject for a different post.  And they also seem prejudiced against those of us who don't sew or iron.
First time in uniform a couple months ago.
  • I'm running again!  I've been slowly building my weekly mileage up, and including lots of walking each time I hit the road.  I also was treated to a therapeutic massage recently, which helped with the lingering soft tissue pain around my healed stress fracture.  I already shared some of the lessons I learned from my injury, but I feel like I'm also applying even more intelligence and thought to my running regimen than ever before.  I'm keeping track of how much water I drink, and meeting my goal of at least 100 oz/day.  I'm strength training, with concentration on my core, hips, and quads.  I've been practicing yoga.  Perhaps my favorite change, though, has been the addition of these dynamic stretching workouts after running.  
Miranda Esmonde-White doesn't know it, but I love her.  She makes me want to hug my television.
  • I tweet!  Follow me, if you please.  I am @Rhi_Tweeter.
  • My Alma Mater has an Ah-Mah-Zing football team this year.  U! C! F!  Whooooo!
  • Nightmares have been going around at our house.  A couple of nights ago, Rip Claw slept  in our bed after a bad dream, which has never happened before.  Last night, I had a terrifying dream about the Governor from The Walking Dead wherein he was tearing the heads off of people (not zombies) with a hook, and hunting down me and the other members of my group.
  • I'm currently reading 3 books.  1 for regular book club:
Turns out, rock star stereotypes are sometimes quite accurate.
         1 for mini book club:
Page 1, I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail.  Then, changed my mind somewhere around page 1 1/2.
         1 to satisfy my inner sci-fi geek:
Better than the first (so far) and the "There Goes The Galaxy" was pretty grand.
  • Let's there anything else important that I should share?  Hmm.  Oh!  Yeah.  I registered for my second first marathon.  Did anyone else just stop breathing for a second?  No?  Just me, then.  If two marathons could be complete opposites, my first first and my second first are such.  This one is in its inaugural year, local, without rock bands (although I think it would be great if they hired some local bands to provide music along the lovely course) and without several thousand of the participants that ran in Savannah.  It's going to be great.  It's going to be great.  It's going to be great.  
It's going to be great.
       Perhaps my chant should instead be: "I will not get injured.  I will not get injured.  I will not get injured."

I know I haven't offered much advice in this post, but please feel free to comment with any questions you have about my areas of expertise, like barely making fantasy football playoffs, running hesitantly, sleeping on the couch or not at all after scary dreams, and... um... reading!  Oh, and if you need to know every single lyric of The Fox song, I can help.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Fun

Credit due to SUAR's fabulous blog for these fun Thanksgiving questions.  Be sure to click on the link to read her answers and many others!  Please copy and paste your own answers in the comments, or on your own blog.  Do it!  What else are you going to do today?  Cook?

1. How old do you have to be to move up from the kids’ table? 
The kids usually sit with their parents until they are old enough to keep their hands to themselves next to their siblings/cousins.  I don't think anyone has moved in a while.
2. Stuff the turkey or cook stuffing separately? (aka salmonella or not?)
Separately!  Blech.
3. Who sits at the head of the table?
Whoever gets there first.  We aren't like those tv families who sit down and pass dishes around the table.  We fill our plates and then sit wherever there is an opening wide enough for our bottom.
4. Pumpkin, pecan, apple pie?
Yes, please!  I usually take a small piece of every offered dessert.  Don't judge me.
I'm bringing this white chocolate, cranberry, pecan tart.  Well, what will be left of it, anyway.
5. What the hellck is mince meat?
If it sounds disgusting, it usually is.
6. Is it okay to play Christmas music on Thanksgiving?
I'm not going to lose my mind if I hear it, but I certainly won't seek it out.
7. In five words or less, worst Thanksgiving memory?
No gravy.  ON PURPOSE!
8. Speaking of leftovers. Who gets dibs on them? 
Everyone brings home way too many.
9. Worst Thanksgiving food?
Sweet potato/yam stuff.  Yuck.
10. Best Thanksgiving quick joke?
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Squanto who?
'Squanto eat all this leftover mincemeat pie?
(I just made that up.  Can you tell?)

 Enjoy your blessings today, and always.  I'm grateful that you took the time to read my blog, and I hope you'll come by again soon!  Happy feasting!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

10 Things I Hate About Me

If you're on Facebook, you've certainly seen the new thing going around.  Someone shares, "My number is __" and proceeds to write a corresponding number of things about him/herself that other friends might not know.  This is actually one of the least annoying memes (I hope I'm using that term right!) I've seen going around.  I've gotten a glimpse into the inner workings of many of my friends, which I always enjoy.  I have to say, though, my favorite was one posted today by my hilarious friend, Amy:

3 Things...
1. I'm just a small town girl, living in a lonely world.
2. I took the midnight train going anywhere.
3. Don't stop believing, and always hold on to that feeling.
4. Did I do this right?

The other day, I was debating whether or not I should "like" one of these posts in order to get myself a number.  I started listing in my head all the things I would share, and somehow, my thought process went to the movie, "10 Things I Hate About You" (wherein I thought Heath Ledger was awesome before all the other people thought he was awesome), and I thought that sort of list might be funny.  Then, I realized what a mean-spirited thing that was to think; how awful it would be for people to list things they hate about each other.  Then, I came up with this list, of 10 things I hate about me.  Stay tuned at the end of this post for the opposite-of-mean-spirited idea I eventually came up with.  You'll like it, I feel sure.

10 Things I Hate About Me
1. PORES.  They're big, they get clogged, and I hate the way they look.  I sometimes find myself staring really creepily at people with nice, smooth skin and invisible pores.  If you have been the victim of such a stare, I'm sorry for acting like a perv.

2. MEMORY.  It's just not what it used to be.  Sometimes, I blame my children, sometimes I blame my migraines.  Whatever the reason, I simply cannot remember things the way I used to.  At least 2-3 times each month, I forget how to shower.  I don't forget to shower (usually), I forget what I've already washed.  I shave one leg and not the other.  I find myself with a handful of conditioner and conditioner already on my hair.  It's frustrating, and let's face it, completely impractical.

3. EASILY ANNOYED. I rarely get really, truly, spitting mad.  I often get annoyed, and it is often by petty, silly things that don't have any bearing on my life.

I wish that obnoxious bumper stickers, apostrophe misuses, ridiculous advertisements, and people saying, "all of the sudden," "I gave it 1000%" and "conversate" did not make my brain start to itch.  

4. EASILY DISTRACTED.  This ties in with my vast procrastination skills, I think.  I get off task easily, and I always seem to be able to distract myself with silly, unnecessary things to avoid doing important, unpleasant tasks.

5. UNTANABLE.  I've lived in Florida my entire life, and I have never had a good tan.  Of course, I'm wise enough to use sunscreen, these days, but I didn't have a tan before I knew better, either.  I also have a 2-yr-old bottle of Jergens self-tanning lotion that I can't seem to remember to use consistently enough to see any result except orange elbows.  For those of you with dark, smooth skin, I apologize again for my open-mouth stares.  

6. PICTIONARY FAILURE.  I am probably the worst artist I've ever seen.  Almost everything I draw ends up looking like a rabbit, and not even a real, recognizable rabbit.  It's especially frustrating to be so terrible at drawing since I have a pretty creative mind.  I can see things drawn well in my mind, but you would think I was bypassing my hands and putting the drawing utensils in between my toes and closing my eyes.

7. I CAN'T DECIDE.  Ever.  I can come up with options, but I hate making decisions.  I guess this isn't the worst fault.  I believe my inability to make decisions comes from my strong desire to please everyone.  Also, it's probably genetic.  There's nothing our husbands love more than when my mom, sister and I try to plan things.  

8. SLUG.  Other than when I'm running, I'm a total slug.  I often wish I was one of those people who can't stand to sit still.  Instead, I'm driving around the grocery store parking lot looking for the closest spot, asking Rip Claw (formerly known here as 6 y.o.) to bring me my phone, a water, the remote, a diaper (not for me!), and lying on the couch watching television, facebooking, or listening to music all evening.

9. GRAMMAR BLOCKS. I read a lot, and good grammar is something that is important to me.  I don't know why, but no matter how many times I read the rules, and no matter how cleverly the rules are stated, I almost never feel confident that I'm using affect or effect correctly.  Same goes for further/farther.  With affect/effect, I usually just choose a different word altogether.  When I want to use further or farther, I simply try both, decide which sounds better in the sentence, and hope nobody calls me out on my error.

10. HAIR DOING.  My Cupcake (formerly known here as Baby) is going to hate this about me, too.  Similar to my drawing, my hairdos look like I grabbed the brush with my foot, closed my eyes, and then turned a few somersaults.
Not that bad, right?  I mean, the barrette isn't holding the hair away from her eyes, but...
then you see the back.  Uneven pigtails...

plus an uneven part and weird comb-over.  Poor kid.
Don't try to make me feel better about how badly I do her hair.  She sits still and patiently waits while I struggle.  It's definitely me that is the problem.  I don't think I've used a curling iron since I was 12, I use a blow dryer maybe once a year, and a flat iron seasonally.  Each time, I miss huge sections of hair, there are strays sticking out everywhere, and I usually burn myself.  You know those women who wear their hair in a sleek on top, perfectly curled ponytail right in the center of the back of their head?  Yeah, you guessed it.  I stare at them, too, jealous and amazed at their achievement.

So, there you have 10 things I hate about me, and now it is time to reveal my kind-spirited plan. I think you should tell 10 things you love about someone else.  It's like the spirit of Thanksgiving and the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of Sharing Everything on Social Networks all combined.  Be it here, or on your own blog, or wherever you please, just go on and say nice things about someone else.  Kindness is always in style, unlike my hairdo.

Have you ever caught someone staring at you and not known why?

Was it me?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Trend Bucking

This blog's title is "Unsolicited Advice," a fact which I hope you've noticed.  One of the reasons I started writing it was to share my opinions and my advice, regardless of whether or not folks asked to hear either.  (I also felt it was important to open a discussion on fries and dipping.)  Up until now, though, I haven't really offered any advice to make folks bristle, and I haven't had anyone openly disagree with advice I've given.  This post might buck that trend.

Not my feet.
I'm here to tell you that if you need to, lose weight.  Just do it!  I'll tell you how, too.  Eat healthy, exercise more.  I totally get that it isn't always that simple.  I know there are medications, illnesses, imbalances, injuries, and genetics that complicate the weight loss process.  For those of you with a legitimate medical reason for being overweight, stop reading here; this is not for you.  But for the majority of the people who are at an unhealthy weight, it is that simple.  I realized today (not because of you, or you, or you, I promise) that people need to be informed of this fact.  I'll say it again.  Eat healthy.  Exercise more.

You know what I hear a lot?  "I've tried everything, and I just can't lose weight."  YES YOU CAN!  The "everything" that most people have tried is everything but eating healthy and exercising more.  Think about it.

Pills.  Powders.  Wraps.  Books.  Drops.  Social networking (a.k.a., spending time that could be spent exercising at the computer logging food items into a database, comparing stories with internet friends, and shopping for smaller clothes to wear when you get to your goal weight).  C'mon.  I know you know this is true:  There is no miraculous shortcut.  It isn't that you just haven't found the right pill, the right thing to cut out of your diet, or the right website to encourage you.  It's that you've been trying to take the easy way out of doing something hard.

Here's something else I often hear: "I really want to lose weight, but I just have no willpower."  My (inner, because I'm terrible at saying what I think if it might hurt someone's feelings) thought is immediately, "Then you don't really want to lose weight."  Anything you really want to accomplish, you can.  I'm completely confident in the truth of that statement.  The Ironman in the bathroom stall next to you.  Boston qualified, marathon pacer, mom of 3 boys.  Someone who really wanted to change things.  I could go on for days with examples of regular people like you and me who did hard things.  Me, I quit smoking after over 10 years of a pack-a-day addiction.  I didn't use a patch, or pills, hypnosis or lasers.  I was able to quit because I wanted to quit, and that desire was strong enough to get me through the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  When you really want to lose weight, you'll have the willpower to resist the junk food, and you'll find the will to stick with an effective exercise regime.

I'm not saying it's easy, I'm saying it's simple.  There's quite a difference.  Healthy eating might mean making a lot of changes, some of which might not be popular with your family.  I've found that planning in advance makes it a lot easier to cook healthy meals, and you'll be a lot less likely to stop for fast food if you have dinner already planned.  I'll give you a few quick changes you can make in order to eat healthier.  Ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Baked instead of fried.  Homemade instead of processed.  Less instead of more.  Vegetables don't need butter, cheese, or bacon added to taste good.  Drink water.  I've got a lot more tips and recipes, and I know how to make really delicious treats that are much healthier than they taste.

Making exercise a daily habit isn't an easy thing, either, but it is so important.  You'll feel better.  You'll look better.  You'll be able to think more clearly, breathe easier, sleep better, and live longer.  It's not a shortcut, but the results of regular exercise can seem miraculous.

So, buck the weight-loss trends, and start losing weight.  Eat healthy foods.  Exercise.  If you want to, you'll do it.

Any questions for me?  I'll happily share recipes and exercise plans.

Got an inspiring success story?  Do tell!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Memo To Note!

I learned a whole lot from my failed engagement.  If you don't feel like clicking the link, and you don't already know my story, here's a synopsis:
1. I registered for the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.  My first full, it was to be. Why I wrote that like Yoda? I don't know.
2. I trained for about a month.
3. I managed to snag myself a thrice misdiagnosed tibial stress fracture.
4. I stopped running for 7 weeks.

I've read/heard that there isn't usually a good predictor of future stress fractures.  Basically, it's hard to know how much your body can take until it tells you, "That's it!" in no uncertain terms.  In my experience, stress fractures can be difficult to diagnose, too.  So, I'll share what I learned about and from my injury, with the hope that it might help someone else (or at least help my Mickey Mouse Clubhouse soundtrack-filled brain to retain information for longer than a day).

Runners always seem to tell each other, "Listen to your body."  You know why?  Because it is really, really important to do so.  You are the only one who knows how much pain you're in.  You are the only one who knows exactly how you feel.  It is so vital to know what is right, what is weird, what is totally off, and in most cases, nobody else can give you that information about yourself.  When my calf muscles started hurting in early July, I was bothered by the pain, but I knew it wasn't due to a serious injury.  I did pay attention to the warning signs, but stretching and rolling and rest didn't help, so I just kept running.  When the pain worsened and moved, I knew I had injured myself, but I listened to the "doctors" who said I could keep running. Bad idea.

Nobody likes a bully.  Chances are, you don't steal people's lunch money, call them mean names, or force them to do things they don't want to do.  But you might still be a bully.  Maybe I'm the only one whose self-talk can get pretty ugly, but I doubt it.  Don't let yourself talk to yourself like that!  Forcing your legs to run another mile (or 10), insisting that your brain ignore all pain signals, reminding yourself that other people can easily do what you're struggling to do are all excellent motivational tools unnecessary bullying tactics that can lead to or exacerbate injury.  Do. Your. Best.  Giving more than 100% effort is mathematically impossible.

WHAT WOULD _______ DO?
For me, that blank is filled with the words, 'my mom.'  Maybe your blank person is your dad, spouse, trusted friend, a doctor, or a nurse.  My mom has always been an awesome advocate, diligent researcher, and brave when it comes to standing up to doctors.  If I had asked myself this question during my first appointment with the "doctor" who gave me a cortisone shot for bursitis, I could have saved 2 weeks of non-running time.  See, my mom would have insisted on an MRI at that first visit.  She would have made absolutely certain that the "doctor" knew all the details of the problem, even if it meant telling him a 3rd or 4th time.  I let myself believe that he had listened and understood, even though he contradicted that belief several times.

Not my MRI image, but looks similar.  Sort-of.  I can't tell if this picture is of a R and L leg, or one leg from different angles.  Either way, my stress fracture was near where the arrows are pointing, on just the one leg.
I feel like I learned more about stress fractures through my experience than anyone at the Orthopaedic doctor's office knew.  There's the fact that the nurse, when she saw me after my diagnosis, actually (truly, I'm not making this up) asked me how to spell the word 'stress' (Seriously.  She thought it was strest.), plus the absence of the hop test, and the "doctor" telling me that it was a "highly unusual" place for a stress fracture.  In addition, more than one professional I spoke with before being seen tried to convince me that an x-ray would show a stress fracture.  It doesn't, until it has healed.  I have no medical training, but I still feel confident telling you these truths:
  • Tibial stress fractures can occur anywhere on the tibia, not just the lower shin. 
  • Stress fractures hurt, a lot, but not necessarily as bad as you might expect.  Lots of people continue to walk and run after this type of injury.  Don't.  
  • Usually, muscle pain means muscle weakness.  Muscle weakness means the bones aren't getting the support they need.  This is why running through pain can lead to further injury.  Get it?
  • A stress fracture can only be positively diagnosed with MRI.  I would probably get the science behind this fact all wrong, so just trust me.  I read a lot of articles, and talked to 2 imaging technologists who confirmed this.
  • Stay-at-home-moms almost never have their hands free to use crutches.  
  • It is not safe to carry your 18-month-old on your back while walking with crutches.
Not the stress fracture, the recovery.  A runner unable to run is like a singer without a voice.  Like a guitar without strings.  Like brewing coffee without water.  Frustrated.  Devastated.  Hurt.  Depressed.  I feel like I went through more pain, mentally than I did physically.  I won't lie and say that I'm okay now (especially as I type this, while I have the live streaming coverage of what I thought was my marathon open in another window) but I am much more okay than I thought I could be.  This race was not ever mine.  I shouldn't have been at that starting line this morning, because I would have been if that was the case.  Since my injury, I've volunteered at two races and one long group run.  I started a local chapter of the Moms RUN This Town group.  I watched a friend cross the finish line of her very first 5k, and virtually followed another long-distance friend as she completed the Couch to 5k training, which will culminate today!  At least partly due to my decision to register for the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, many people get to run with my amazing sister as their pacer.  She gets to help all of them meet their 4-hour finish time goal.  My dear friend and training partner will run her first marathon, and even though I'm not next to her, I know she's rockin' it and I couldn't be happier for her.  All of these facts have helped me to heal.  I've learned that my being a runner is about so much more than the miles I run.

About to set off for my first run in many weeks.  It hurt.  I walked for another week.

What have you learned, lately?

Jeremiah 29:11

*There is exactly one person on this planet that will immediately get the title of this post.  So, I'll try to explain.  One time, ~10 years ago, some family members and I were in line for a ride at Islands of Adventure.  A very intense-looking fellow briskly walked through the labyrinth to get to the front of the line, and as he walked, he poked his index finger into the air above his safari hat and loudly said, "Memo to note!  Always use Fast Pass!" It was hilarious to us at the time, although as I type this and grin at the mental picture, I can also see in my mind's eye the blank, confused look on YOUR face.  Probably I should move this tidbit to the end.  And put it in even smaller type.  And change the title.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stretching The Truth

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again.  I think it's very important to be honest with your children, and I promised myself when I became a mom that I wouldn't lie to my kids.  If you're a parent, I'm sure you'll agree that that's a really difficult promise to keep.  In many tricky conversations, I let 6 y.o. take the lead and I fill in the blanks with as much truth as I think he can handle.  For example, instead of telling him that the tooth fairy comes and brings money and takes his teeth, I told him that when I was a kid, I had a special tooth fairy pillow to hold my lost teeth and when I woke up in the mornings, I would find money in the tooth pocket.  I also read him a Berenstein Bears book in which Sister Bear lost a tooth and was hoping to see the tooth fairy.  A little deceptive?  Yes.  But I didn't lie!

He pulled tooth #4 at school yesterday, and this morning, as I laid awake with my heart still pounding from having almost forgotten to put money under his pillow, I started to think about why it's so easy for kids to believe in magic.  I don't think they're just gullible because they're young.  I concluded that it's all the little omissions, all the small deceptions, all of the unknown truths, that make the world seem full of wonder and mystery.

Wow #1-

Mom, when I'm 5 and the baby is born, will you tell me how that baby got in there?
I already told you, son.
You told me that God wanted our family to grow, so he let you and Daddy make a baby together.
Right!  And babies grow inside their mommies.
But, HOW did it start to grow?
Well, you know how birds and snakes and lizards lay eggs?  And if there's a daddy bird or snake or lizard, the eggs can hatch into babies?  It's just like that, only with people the eggs stay inside the mommy.  Then the daddy can do his part and make the egg into a baby.

Wow #2-

I think it's easier to believe in Santa Claus than to not.  I mean, if you don't really think about it.  How amazing to go to sleep one night with things just normal, and wake up several hours later with sparkly gifts, full stockings, wishes granted.   If an octopus can open a jar, a cheetah can run 70 mph, a dolphin can find food and sharks with clicks, and a peregrine falcon can use its talons to fight predators in the sky, then why couldn't a reindeer fly?6 y.o. is very observant, and I don't think he believes it's possible that Husband and I could pull off the task of shopping for and wrapping all those presents without him knowing. 

All that being said, 6 y.o. has asked some very tough questions about Santa, all of which I answered without lying:
If he sees me when I'm sleeping and awake, why does he ask if I've been good?
The Santa at the mall had white at the end of his sleeves and pants, but the Santa on the train didn't.  Why does he have to wear different suits?
Why do we donate toys to kids whose parents don't have enough money?  Doesn't Santa bring them presents anyway?
How do the elves make toys that look exactly like the toys in the store?  Couldn't they just buy them?
How has Santa lived for so many years?
Why does he want to live where it's so cold?
Did Santa bring presents to Baby Jesus?
Is Santa a real person?
If cookies are Santa's favorite food, why doesn't Mrs. Claus bake some for him?

Wow #3-

Come to think of it, 6 y.o. is not wowed nearly enough by technology.  He finds it fascinating that phones used to stay plugged in to the wall, not that we can now fit them into our pockets.  He laughs when I tell him about records and cassette tapes, and even CDs, but the fact that we can play any song with a few taps and clicks on the computer seems totally normal.  The concepts of long-distance calling, having to watch tv shows only when they're broadcast, and not being able to immediately see the photos you took are mind-boggling to him.  

The truth is, we do live in a marvelous, amazing, awesome, magical world.  Sometimes, looking around at it through a child's eyes can remind us just how wonderful it is.  I know I didn't come up with this phrase, and I'm probably going to butcher it, but it still rings true: Magic is just science we don't yet understand.  I don't think it's wrong to let 6 y.o. believe that there's a castle in the clouds made entirely of children's teeth (which is what he would do with them if he was the tooth fairy), and I don't think we're doing him a disservice by letting him leave out a plate of cookies on Christmas Eve.  Although, Mrs. Claus could probably find new cookie recipes that her husband would like by looking on the internet...

How old were you when you stopped believing in magic?

What is the most amazing thing you've seen lately?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Know When To Hold Babies, Know When To Fold Laundry

Did you know that Husband and I met while playing poker?  Did you know that from 1999-2007, I played poker an average of once a week?  Do you know anyone else with this shirt?
Becoming a mom has drastically reduced my poker playing time.  Big surprise, right?  Despite the fact that I would usually rather sleep than have pocket Aces, I'm still a player.  I just happen to use my poker skills on my children, these days, rather than on those across the felt.

Poker Face- (Don't sing the song in your head.  You know you'll regret it.)  It takes talent and skill to keep your face, tone of voice, and body language neutral when in an intense or exciting situation.  Similarly, not letting a smile escape when Baby is in timeout, grinning and giggling and nodding repentantly as she is sternly told, "Hitting hurts!" for the 23rd time in an hour, is a learned and honed skill.

Patience- The better the poker play, the longer the game.  There's no "quick pick" option in tournament poker, like when playing the lottery.  Not to blow my own horn or whatever, but I've kinda got the patience of a saint.  I can deal for a long time with 6 y.o.'s deliberate attempts to be annoying.  Hours.  Days!  I stand in front of the pantry cupboard for a total of ~2 hours, 8 minutes each week while Baby decides what she wants for a snack.
"You'd like a cracker?"
"No no no."
"No no no."
"Sesame sticks?"
"Ok. Let's put some in a bowl."
"No no no no no!  Crackah!"
"Cashews?  Craisins?  Graham cracker?"
"Wahhhh hah hah hah!  Crack ahhhhh!"
"Ok.  Here's your cracker."
It takes gobs of patience to listen to 6 y.o. read, even now that he's gotten quick at it.  Usually, he peppers every other sentence with a bout of whining, unless he's in an agreeable mood and things are moving along well, at which time Baby makes it her mission to test her lung capacity for screaming and her climbing-on-people's-heads ability.  Both of them were colicky as infants, and my patience kept me calm during hours of non-stop, inconsolable crying for those months which seemed like decades.  I've waited out countless tantrums, kept my cool even when repeating the same instructions over and over again, and I've even managed not to lose patience with drivers ahead of me on the road going 10 mph under the speed limit while a freshly-potty-trained little boy is in the back seat telling me he needs to go.  See, I realized long ago that my ability to wait for the right time to make a big move (or not) during a card game could serve me well in so many other aspects of life.  

Reading Tells- If you watch the pros play poker (don't click on this link if you don't want the November 9 revealed) in the World Series of Poker, you'll quickly see that their ability to read their opponents' tells is almost magical. I'm not that good a poker player, but I do know how to read my opponents, and my kids.  I can tell what they are thinking and can predict their next moves like I'm inside their heads.  
I like to hold 'em.
I know the look 6 y.o. gets in his eye when he's about to start talking nonsense or make gross noises come from various parts of his body.  I know just by looking at Baby when it is too much for me to ask her to put down her filthy, germy, most loved stuffed friend, Bun Bun.  I can tell when one of them is about to test the limits and run into the road, and I am rarely surprised by their behavior out in public.  I know what to expect, because I know their tells.

Calling a Bluff- Perhaps most important of all the poker skills is to know when your opponent is bluffing and you can safely push all in or make a big bet and get them out of the hand.  As a mom, it can be hard to tell the difference between, "My tummy hurts" and "My tummy hurts" and to figure out when your child is bluffing to get out of eating and when you need to scoop him up and run into the bathroom.  So far, I've been able to make the right call whenever my son has tried to bluff* me.

On Tilt- Going "on tilt" during a poker game is a pretty quick way to lose a lot of chips.  Basically, it happens when you lose a big hand or make one bad decision and immediately try to make up for the lost money by playing more aggressively or without thinking as clearly; playing emotionally rather than with your head.  Your all-in opponent sucks out and beats you on the river, for example, by getting the one out that they needed.  Or you simply call a bet when you should've raised and allow yourself to end up losing a hand that you could have won.  I've learned that parenting is not its most successful when played done on tilt.  Despite all the patience, all the good reads, all the knowledge about child-rearing and decision making, sometimes there are bad days.  If you let that frustration get to you, or you start to question yourself as a parent because of one mistake, or you focus on the negative instead of on the big picture positive, you'll soon find it difficult to make good decisions or to keep your smile.

They say that Texas Hold 'Em is a game that takes just minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master.  I believe that almost the same thing can be said of parenting- almost anyone can become a parent, but then it takes the rest of your life to master the "game."

"When in Vegas, I play __________"

Lady Gaga or Kenny Rogers?  Whose song is in your head after reading this?

*Husband and I don't take lying lightly, and we don't call it 'bluffing' around the house.  I promise.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I've Got Something To Say

October, as everyone in the free world knows, is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and I am grateful every single day for the treatment she received, for the diagnostic technology which allowed for fairly early discovery, and for the pharmaceuticals which have helped to keep her cancer-free for nearly 8 years.  I don't think it's possible to receive a diagnosis as frightening as cancer and not have your life changed.  I know that my entire family thinks differently about breast cancer, now, and will never again look at a pink ribbon without feeling so blessed that my mom beat the disease which takes so many.  

But that's not what I wanted to say.

I love football.  Specifically, American, NFL football (not that silly old kind you play with your actual foot on the ball).  Each year, for the past several, the NFL has "gone pink" all through October for breast cancer awareness.  I have several problems with this.

  1. When will we stop paying so much money for pink merchandise, that we could be spending on donations that can help people?  In case you don't watch NFL games, let me share. 53 players on each team.  Dozens of coaches.  Cheerleaders.  Owners.  Refs.  Guys on the sidelines throwing beads and noisemakers into the stands.  All of those people have different, pink accented outfits to wear in October.  Pink socks. Pink cleats.  Pink paint on the field.  Pink gloves.  Pink pom-poms.  Pink pocket squares.  Supposedly, the pink gear is auctioned off at the end of the campaign, with the proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society, but according to this article that had me nodding in agreement all the way through, the NFL declines to say what percentage of those funds are actually donated.  Plus, even if 100% of the profits are donated, it still cost money to produce those items.  LOTS of money- and that money could be used for such better purposes!
  2. Is awareness really what we need?  I think we're all aware of breast cancer, the risk factors, and the ways to diagnose (monthly self-exam, mammograms as recommended by your doctor).  Who doesn't know that?  Is it the average NFL fan?  No.  If I had my druthers, the funds raised by the many campaigns would go toward: a.) Mammograms and treatment for women without health insurance or who couldn't otherwise afford them and b.) Prevention research.   There are plenty of other problems that we need to be aware of.  Sex trafficking.  GMOs.  The Buccaneer's inability to win games, even when they're handed the W on a silver platter.
    I'm not sure that I'm ready to talk about this image, yet, but you can ask if you need an explanation. I'll do my best to overcome my anger and frustration.
  3. Men can get breast cancer, too.  It's rare, and it's easier for men to detect a problem because men typically have less breast tissue than women.  See the statistics, risk factors, and treatment options here.  But, breast cancer awareness campaigns, like the NFL's, and many others, make it seem like it's just a girl thing.  I <3 boobies!  Put on your pink bra!  Save the tatas!  The fact is, breast cancer is much less discriminatory than the NFL.  There, I said it.
Here's my advice, NFL:  How 'bout you DON'T use a widespread disease that kills thousands of women each year to boost your ratings with a demographic that you want on your side. DON'T profit off of the fear and suffering of so many people.  How 'bout, instead, you raise awareness about the diseases that kill men, since they're actually listening to you from September-Superbowl Sunday.  Or, don't buy thousands of pink towels for sweaty guys to hang over their rear ends, and instead, spend more money on treating the health issues that so many of your former players face.  If nothing else, could you at least make it believable that this campaign of yours is doing some good?  Please?

If you could choose, what disease/problem would everyone be made aware of?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Intelligence "Quonundrum"


No, I take that back.  It isn't fair to you.  My exasperation has nothing to do with you.  It's just, I've been writing a post about 6 y.o. for weeks, and I can't seem to say what I want to say.  I've written lots of words, of course, but I can't seem to get my point across.  So, let me try again, this time using the K.I.S.S.(keep it simple, stupid) method that so many of my college professors were fond of pretending they invented.

Be still, my heart <3
A recent letter, conference with the principal, classroom change, conference with the new teacher, and lots of research have combined to bring up a lot of questions in my mind about intelligence, achievement, being gifted, and parenting.

Pride = Prejudice? I worry that showing too much pride in my children will lead to prejudice from their peers and teachers.  If I tell anyone who will listen about all the words Baby can say or about all the ways 6 y.o. impresses me with his knowledge, do those listening immediately feel defensive?  Like most parents I actually know (not those tv parents), I don't compare my kids to others.  However, I always think that they think I'm bragging, like, "Lookit what my kid does!  Does yours do that?  No?  HA!  I win!"  If that were the attitude behind my words, I think some prejudice would be justified.  It was this fear, of eye-rolling behind our backs and alienation of our son, that kept Husband and me quiet(ish) last year, when he was in Kindergarten.  I think we both felt that it was more important to go with the flow, to let the teacher lead, than to make a fuss about how bored he was, and how little he seemed to be learning in school.

Gifted?  I'm growing increasingly annoyed by the label 'gifted.'  Everyone is gifted.  Some are emotionally gifted, some are athletically gifted, some are artistically gifted, some are gifted at making friends, some are gastronomically gifted, and can eat anything.  The belief, which can be confirmed with an IQ test, that 6 y.o. has greater intelligence than some, does not change who he is, how he has been raised, or what he can eventually achieve.  We've taught our son that name-calling is wrong and can be hurtful.  Similarly, I feel that labels, even those intended to be positive, can be harmful in the long term.
Red oval marks the spot of my educated guess of his IQ.
When a new teacher meets him, I don't want them thinking, "Oh, here's the gifted 6 y.o."  I want them to think, "Here's a unique 6 y.o."  Is it so much to wish for his teachers to get to know him and to recognize and adapt their teaching to the ways he is "gifted?"  His current school doesn't have a gifted program.  Testing is done after 1st grade, so if he qualifies and we decide to enroll him in the gifted program next year, he would have to leave his friends and all that is familiar to go to a new school.  Is that fair?  Conversely, is it fair to make him sit in a classroom where he is repeatedly "taught" things that he already knows, just because he's sitting with people he knows?

Parenting 101: Husband and I both love reading.  We read to both of our kids, and have since before they were even born.  We talk to them.  We answer even the really hard questions that 6 y.o. poses to us.  They're smart kids, and we have always parented under the assumption that smart was a good thing.  We bought puzzles instead of video games (until quite recently), we play games instead of watching television (at least some times!).  When our son started preschool at age 3, we were thrilled that he already knew his colors and letters and how to count, which were the requirements for the end of the year.  Each year since, we've been less and less thrilled with what our child knows in relation to the standard expectations and in relation to his peers.  I feel ridiculous, even admitting that.  We should only be proud!  He knows the things he has been taught, so why do we now feel even the slightest twinge of regret at having taught him?  It's because we don't want him to be an outcast.  We don't want him to hide his intelligence in favor of seeming "normal."

Butterfly on his knee, on release to the wild day.  Oh, and those are Clone Wars Captain's bars (homemade, of course) on his shoulders.
I've started to worry that preparing Baby for school, teaching her colors and letters and numbers, is not as good a technique as is keeping her on the same level as other kids her age.  Should she have been watching inane television shows a long time ago?  Which is more important, early in life?  A sense of belonging, or academic achievement?  6 y.o. isn't lacking friends, and I do think he feels like he fits in with his peers.  But how long can that last, I wonder.  How long before he withdraws into his own head because his thoughts are more interesting than the chatter of the kids around him?

My fears ---> his fears? When I was in 8th grade, our class had a spelling bee.  I lost on purpose.  My teacher knew I had thrown the game, and made me compete against the rest of the school.  I won.  I went on to a larger competition (districts, maybe?) and came in 2nd, meaning I was one of 2 people who moved on.  The next step was a regional bee, wherein I came in 8th place.  I went out on the word 'tirade,' by the bye.  I refused to study the list of words I was given to prepare for the district and regional competitions.  I didn't want to win.  The point of that story is this: will my fear of achievement transfer to my children?  Would all of these academic worries and talk of gifted-ness be irrelevant if not for my own concerns about feeling braggy and making sure my kids are comfortable with who they are?

The truth of the matter is that Husband and I think we have the best son on the planet.  He's brave.  He's funny.  He's adventurous and oh-so-handsome.  He's smart.  He has traits that make me think he's going to out-think me by the time he has out-grown me.  His memory is remarkable, his problem solving skills are very advanced, he's artistic and thoughtful, introspective and curious.  He loves being challenged, and he loves puzzles.  He reads, and comprehends, as if he's been doing it for years (plural) rather than year (singular).  He's also short-tempered, complains of a headache when the coffee table is turned backward, and would rather not participate than not be first.  The truth is that YOU also have the best kid on the planet.  The best one for you and the best one for us are different, but by design, I believe.

Does any parent know the best way to parent?  No.  We need to teach when we can, take what comes, solve the problems we are able to, and make sure our kids know that they are the best on the planet.

Have you ever thrown a game in favor of your opponents?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Na Na Na Boo Boo?

You know how when you tell someone you love dearly something- like, where you think a lost item is, or that their bike is going to get rusty from being left on the porch because the rain gets there, too or that they can't trust a certain friend, and then it turns out you were completely right and you find the lost item, the bike gets rusty, and the friend commits a blatant act of betrayal, but you don't want to stick out your tongue and gloat about being right because you love the person dearly and you don't like to see them suffering?(Or . That sentence went on so long, I'm not sure whether it ended up being a question or a statement.)  This is like that.  Well, sort-of.  I mean, I don't love Dr. Schmoctor, but I do love running (dur).  I probably don't care that it might hurt his feelings or damage his credibility with his other patients if I limped marched into the office and waved around my MRI results while chanting something like:

You're not a doctor but neither am I
You're not a doctor but neither am I
You didn't want to order an MRI
You didn't want to order an MRI
You said my problem was bur-si-tis
You said my problem was bur-si-tis
That's what we call a swing and a miss
That's what we call a swing and a miss
Sound off!
You were wrong
Wrong Wrong
Sound off!
I was right
Right Right
Na na na na BOO BOO!

I'm not really one to brag, though, about being right.  It is enough to know that I have proof that I told him so.  I told everyone so!  

Since I've been very grumpy whiny busy eating chocolate focused on other things and haven't written a blog post in a while, I'll sum up for you. 
7/4: Flat white flip-flops are the only shoes that match my 4th of July party outfit.  My calves hurt after standing all day in them.

7/8: Marathon training starts, despite my still-hurting calves.
7/9-8/10: Marathon mileage buildup at a totally safe rate.  Seriously.  Calves hurt at the beginning of each run, usually felt better a few miles in.  Around the beginning of August, I took a few days off because my left calf was hurting really bad.  I had a few bad runs because of the pain, but I could still run.
8/10: 12 mile, hilly run.  My left knee started to hurt during the last 3 miles.  Took a couple of days off.

8/21: 1st Chiropractor appointment.  Knee and calf had still been sore, despite only running twice in 11 days. Chiropractor convinced me that the problem was my hips, which makes perfect sense.  She stuck some KT tape under my knee, cracked me from top to bottom, and told me I could run.
8/23: Ran, it hurt.
8/24: Ran, it hurt much, much, much worse, and in a different spot.  My knee felt okay, but my calf and upper shin hurt very badly.
8/27: 2nd Chiropractor appointment.  Same diagnosis, same treatment.  She did check for signs of a clot in my leg since I told her that my left calf was so sore.  Too much pain to run, too much internet reading to ignore the signs of a stress fracture.
9/4: Dr. Schmoctor diagnoses my pain as bursitis, despite the fact that bursitis is usually more knee and less shin.  Injects me with cortisone, says I can run after 2 days, when I should be pain-free.
9/4 (later): Solar Cortisone flare, lots and lots and lots of pain and swelling.
9/6: Pain back to normal level, I run.  It hurts, but I don't care.
9/6-8: Pain much worse
9/10: Pain back to normal level, I run again.  It hurts a lot.  I care a little.
9/13: Second visit to Dr. Schmoctor, he admits that if it had been bursitis, I would be completely without pain.  Orders an MRI.  I don't ask whether or not I can run, because I'm sure that I shouldn't.
9/20: MRI.  It's an even louder "wowd" than I had expected. I fall asleep for 2 minutes at a time, several times throughout the procedure.  Impressive, no?
9/23: Baby's 18-month birthday!  My old friend Will's 34th birthday!  Terrible, awful, frightening migraine!  Phone call on behalf of Dr. Schmoctor with the MRI results.  "Mrs. Knowitall?  You have a stress fracture.  Try to not put any weight on that leg, and come back Wednesday."

Remember my engagement?  It's officially off.  I'm very sad about it, but I'll be alright.  Just like when a relationship ends, it's hard to stop thinking about all the things you're missing.  But then, eventually, you're able to recognize that if the relationship had been perfect, if the other person had been meant for you, you would still be together.  Savannah Rock 'n' Roll and I are not meant to be together.  I'm confident that soon, I'll find my Husband of marathons.  My Race Charming will come along and sweep me off my feet, and those 26.2 miles will feel like I'm riding on a white steed.  

My Prince
Let me ask your advice, for once.  Should I make a big deal about Dr. Schmoctor's misdiagnosis?  

Monday, September 9, 2013

What I'm Reading IV

Wow.  It has been a while since I've shared my current reading list.  How much were you missing it?  Be honest.  Probably, you haven't been able to read a single book, not knowing what that one random blogger/runner gal was reading.  Please accept my apologies.  Since my last entry of mid-way through the book reports, I've read a few books, but not nearly as many as I would have liked.  One significant (to me, only, I'm sure) milestone was when I did not finish the chosen one for book club.  I was the only remaining member of our
group who had completed every selected book for every meeting for nearly 3 years!  This one was interesting, but not in the way that it made me want to get to the end.  I found the topic compelling, and the anecdotes disturbing, but after not very many pages, I got it.  Food giants + Government = Yeah, let's get ourselves some land and grow all our own food.

I'm not technically reading the next book club selection, yet, but I did submit my reservation for a copy from my library.
I think it's going to be good.  I just found out that the author wrote "High Fidelity" which I didn't even know was a book, I just thought it was a John Cusack film.  I found it when I was at the library, trying my best to be a good book clubber, and instead checking out 3 books that were not chosen for club discussion.  "High Fidelity" was one, but I haven't technically started reading it yet, either.  Nor have I begun The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler.  You may have done this before, too:  I walked up and down the New Releases section in the library, simply looking for something to strike my fancy.  Judging all the books by their covers, basically.  I recognized the author's name (Names?-Lars Kepler is a pseudonym adopted by a married couple, so I never know whether to refer to the author in the singular or plural, masculine or feminine.  Annoying.), and realized that I had read "The Hypnotist" a year or so ago.  I almost remembered what I needed to remember before checking out, but the thought was still just a quiet little buzz.  Finally, after a while, the buzzing grew louder.  "The Hypnotist" had been suspenseful, but really awful, plotwise.  There were like, hundreds of pages about a point which, in the end, didn't matter a single bit.  So, I probably won't be reading "The Fire Witness."  I can't put myself through the worry about whether or not the Pokemon characters are relevant.  (Seriously.  There were Pokemon.)

Um.  So, now, after all that about the books I'm not reading, which could be considered a Lars Kepler-ish way to annoy blog readers...

I love this series of culinary mystery novels.
Love, love, love.  That might be one too many 'love's, considering all the murders poor Goldy the Caterer has to deal with, and how the timing of the events in each story is way, way, way off.  However, the latest book in this series has been fun, so far, and I don't yet have figured out whodunit.  The best part of these Culinary Mysteries is that the author includes recipes for all the dishes the caterer prepares.  You can bet I'll be baking Crunch Time Cookies soon- they have toasted pecans and toffee chips!

Just tonight, I finished reading:
Long ago, in my Freshman year of college, I was required to read this book for my World Religions class.  I wish I could remember what 17-years-ago me thought of the story, and compare it to what I think now.  I was surprised (again, I think) at how quick of a read this deep, meaningful, filled-with-ancient-African-names-I-couldn't-pronounce book is.  I definitely recommend it.  If nobody actually requires you to read, these days, consider my recommendation a forceful one.  You know what else?  Take notes, while you read, and afterward.  You'll want to remember the story and how you felt about it.  Psst!  That was the advice for this post.  Don't look for it at the end.

There's something very special, almost sacred, about classic novels.  After a page or two of my eyes glazing over from trying to figure out the unfamiliar words and spellings, I get swept up and start enjoying myself.

Pretty sure "Public Domain" means they're not going to need me to add a link, here.
I don't care for Fanny, the "heroine" of this novel.  She's a whiny, prissy, crybaby, sissypants.  I also don't much care for Edmund, her love interest/cousin.  He's too smart and proper for his own good, and he's one of those who can't see his nose past the end of his face (Confession-I'm not entirely sure I know what that saying means, or that I used it in the right context.)  Despite my annoyance at Fanny's actions and Edmund's silliness, I am enjoying this book.  I'm 3/4 through it, and every time I start reading again, it's like I'm transported to another time and a whole other world.  Plus, the characters frequently use one of my favorite phrases: by the by.  Only, they spell the second 'by' with an 'e', so now I will, too.  I'm proper, like that.

Classic or modern?

Read anything good, lately?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Doctor Schmoctor

So, I'll admit it.  I kinda glossed over an important detail in my previous post- that I hadn't visited anyone with the letters M.D. after his/her name, or even visited someone who clocked in to an office with "Orthopaedics" on the door.  My stress fracture was diagnosed by the person who knows me better than anyone-me.  I'm really good at reading, you see, and I read a lot about stress fractures, patellofemoral syndrome, stress reactions, etc.  Also, I do all my work pro bono, which is the right price for a client like me.  The thing is, though, that I am also somewhat  of a stickler for rules.  Don't get me wrong, I'm really cool and chill and down for whatever, but... okay, that's not true.  I'm not cool, chill, or down for whatever.  I like doing the right things.  I like being held accountable.  I like paying for goods and services that I get.  I don't cheat at Solitaire or at any of the Scrabblish word games I play on my phone.  As John Goodman's character put it in "The Big Lebowski":

"This is not 'nam.  This is bowling.  There are RULES!"
I could only go for so long without following the rule that had been niggling at my brain since the pain in my leg got really bad.  When you're hurt, you go to the doctor.  I do believe that the chiropractor I saw was correct in her assessment and treatment of my injury.  I am certain that my hips were/are out of alignment, which caused extra strain on the muscles, tendons, and joints in my legs, which led to pain.  She also did this spasm relief thing which I haven't exactly been able to describe, yet.  It was weird and amazing and a little frightening, but in a good way.  I plan to visit her regularly once I hit the road again, hoping that adjustments will keep me in line (har har) to prevent further injury.  I knew she couldn't treat a stress fracture, though, so I canceled my latest appointment with her and started calling Orthopaedic clinics.

Call #1:
"_________ Orthopaedic."
"Hello!  I am a new patient and I would like to make an appointment, please."
Blah blah blah name address insurance nature of injury blah blah blah
"Okay, I'm going to put you with Dr. C____.  Next Monday at 12:45"
"Oh.  That won't work."
"Or you can come in as a walk-in.  We're here until 8."
"But I wouldn't see Dr. C____?  Do you think I need to?"
"Ma'am, all our nurse practitioners and physician's assistants are highly qualified.  And, if they think you need to see Dr. C____, then we can make an appointment for you at that time."
"We're here until 8."

Call #2:
"Thank you for calling _________ Orthopaedic __________.  We are unable to take your call at this time..."

Me to Husband: 
"Well, I guess I'll go to the walk-in clinic."
"What?  Right now?"
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Is that not okay"
"It's just, I was hoping to go for a run."
See, I've been in a pretty nasty mood, lately.  My amazingly supportive Husband was the one who insisted I go see a doctor, as he knows how much running and the marathon-to-be mean to me.  Let us pause then, for a moment, and admire my restraint. My undying love for my husband.  My ability to talk myself out of reacting with violence in certain situations.  My remarkable skill at NOT using sarcasm as a weapon.  He doesn't deserve those things.  But seeing strangers wearing running shoes makes me angry, these days, so Husband running when I can't is a little bit of a mental challenge to overcome.
"Oh.  Kay.  Please do that now, so I can still have time to make it to the doctor before you go to work."
"Do you think I have time to go?"
"Yeah, sure.  I mean, how long do you think it will take?  Not more than an hour and a half, right?"

Clinic Visit #1:
"Hi!  I'm here as a walk-in.  Could you tell me how long the wait is, please?"
"Hm.  About an hour and a half."
"Oh.  I guess I'll have to come back."
"Okay.  We're here until 8."

Call #3:
"Thank you for calling __________ Orthopaedic ___________.  We are unable to take your call at this time..."

Call #4:
"Thank you for calling __________ Orthopaedic _________.  We are unable to take your call at this time, but if you stay on the line, someone will be with you shortly."
8 minutes later...
"__________ Orthopaedic ___________."
"Hello, I'm a new patient and I would like to make an appointment, please."
"Slip and fall?  Auto accident?"
"No, I'm a runner and I believe I have a tibial stress fracture."
"Okay... I'm not going to be able to get you in for a while."
"What you should do is go to urgent care and get an x-ray."
"Yeah.  Just have them x-ray it."
"But a stress fracture doesn't show up on an x-ray."SourceSource. Source.
Heavy sigh. "A fracture is in your bone.  An x-ray looks at your bone.  So if there's a fracture of your bone they could see it on an x-ray.  Just go to urgent care and have them x-ray it for you.  'Cause I won't be able to get you an appointment until, like, next Wednesday."

Clinic Visit #2: 

I won't go through all the dialog, this time.  The receptionists were very pleasant, the wait was very short, the nurse was funny and kind and had just started running, the x-ray tech knew left from right, and the "doctor" (actually an A.R.N.P) was a good listener.  I actually like getting x-rayed.  I think the technology (although quite old, now) is amazing, and I like the way my bones look.  (I understand that insurance companies and doctors need to see the x-ray images, even if what they think they're looking for doesn't usually show up.  I also really hate being talked down to by strangers.) It turns out they don't take a person at their word when they come in with a self-diagnosis, and they like to run tests.  The "doc" and I took a look at the images, and yes, I desperately wanted to take a picture of my bones on the screen in order to share it here.  But, that's against the rules, I'm sure.  

I can't believe I've made it this far without sharing what the "doctor" concluded:  "YOU CAN RUN AGAIN IN A DAY OR TWO."  Not 4 weeks.  Not 90 days.  Not a stress fracture, he believes.  A tibial stress fracture typically occurs about 6 inches lower and 1/2 an inch to the left of where my swelling and pain are centered.  He diagnosed my problem as Pes Anserine Bursitis of the knee.  He preached for a good long while about the benefits of stretching 2x/day, even when I'm not running.  He first said I could resume running in a week, but when I asked him again, he said to just give it a couple of days.  He shot my sore spot with cortisone, and said the two words I most wanted to hear, "Don't despair!"  I do have a back burner kind of fear that he's wrong, but I should know in a week if that's the case.  If I'm still in pain then, I'm to come back.   "God bless" the "doctor" said as I left.  Not "good luck."  I knew it!

Post Clinic Visit

After the music to my ears and the needle to my knee, I knew it would be difficult to wipe the smile off my face.  However, after a few hours, the pain in my leg was increasing, not decreasing, and I was frowning.  Okay, grimacing.  My entire leg swelled, and I was relieved to remember the words I had heard so often during the past 36 hours- "We're here until 8."  At 4:30, I called.

"Thank you for calling ___________ Orthopaedic.  We are unable to take your call at this time, but if you'll leave a message, we will get back to you as soon as possible."

I left a message, politely detailing the problem of my giant leg that hurt much worse than it had hurt before.  They didn't call back.  Eventually, Husband and I figured out that it is likely a cortisone flare, which I keep thinking of as a solar flare, since it sounds so much more important.  It should clear up in a day or two, just in time for me to start running again!

Follow the rules.  It's advice that you've been given before, I'm sure, but that's because it's the good stuff.

Would you pay for someone to make unpleasant phone calls on your behalf?  I would.

Wanna guess what ink color I used to write out my back-to-running mileage plans?  Yeah, I said 'ink.'  Because I'm going to run again.