Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Day In The Life Of Me

Are you ever so pleased with yourself that you are inspired to write bad poetry about your good decisions?  I was, yesterday, and even started a (terrible) poem on this very page.  Then, I was needed in the playroom as a Trouble referee, and had some time away from the computer to re-think my decision to wax poetic here.  Once I determined that I would just write a regular blog post, instead, I was again inspired, as I had made another great decision, and nearly burst into joyful song.  Quickly, I remembered how much better my singing voice sounds in my head than in my ears, though, and quietly sat down to just type like a normal person.
Rantom picture of my feet, Husband's back.  It's better than no picture, and better still than my poem would have been.

My day started at 4:20, when my alarm sounded and I found myself wide awake, barely even trying to talk myself into staying in bed.  Our running group meets for 5 a.m. runs 3 times/week, usually, and although I often tell myself I'll join them, it had been 6 months since I had actually found myself yawning in a dark parking lot with several other flashlight-wielding runners that early in the morning.  I was out of the house by 4:38, and at the meeting spot at 4:50.  (I didn't beat my always-early-for-everything friend there, though.  I thought I was golden, getting there 10 minutes early, but I guess I'll never beat her.  She even had to deal with her 4 yr old's potty accident before she left the house, and still got there first.  I mean, not that I care.  Whatev.)  Not only did this run start at 5 a.m., it was a speed workout.  We did a warm-up mile, then started Yasso drills- 800 meter (1/2 mile) 5k-pace repeats with 400 meter (1/4 mile) recovery walks between.  Most of the runners had done this workout in the preceding weeks, and had worked their way up to 6 repeats, but Kim and I decided to do 3, as this was our first speed training session.   
My friend Kim, after her first speed workout yesterday morning.
Okay, that's a lie.  This picture was taken 2 years ago.  
I must admit-even if it's annoying to read- I was really proud of my run.  My first 800 was 3:46, or a 7:31 min/mile pace.  Second one was 3:52, third was 3:50, fourth was 3:55.  My slowest pace was still well under 8 min/mile.  Which, it turns out, is my 5k goal pace.  And yeah, after 3 repeats, we started to sound like the drunkards I used to have to listen to when I was tending bar, "One more!  Just one more!"  We both had to get home to get kids to school and such, so we had to cut ourselves off after 4 instead of our planned 3.  I went home, stinky and sweaty and feeling like I could take on the world.

A few hours later, I had completed my usual morning tasks, showered (yes, that's separate from a usual morning task), remembered to put moisturizer on my face (which makes me feel so grown-up), and Baby had awakened from her morning nap.  She and I went to the produce market, where I remembered everything I wanted to buy, found the very best apples for a very low price, and I managed to keep her from grabbing and throwing any of the "bah"s ("Ball?  No, Baby, that's a lime.  And that's a potato.") she was so keen on pointing out.  
"Yes, that's a book."
So what if I captioned a different photo in almost the same way the other day?  These are our conversations.

Before Husband left for work, I made beef stew (recipe below) and put it in the slow cooker.  Then, I washed and sliced the strawberries and put them in a container for easy access, threw out all the rotten old produce in the fridge to make room for the new stuff, gave Baby a snack, and cleaned up the kitchen.

I got a great parking spot at 6 y.o.'s school (if you arrive too late you have to park next to the very slow-moving line of cars, and there's no easy exit from those spots), was happy to see him write "green" in the air as soon as he exited the classroom so that I would know he'd had a good day, and convinced him to leave the snail he found on the curb without any tears at all.  Baby and I had lunch when we got back home, 6 y.o. achieved a new high score on the Subway Surfers app on the Kindle, I completed step 2 to make No Knead Bread, and then Baby and I both had a nap.

The next few hours were filled with the delicious smells of bread baking and stew stewing, the delightful sound of children playing without fighting, and the continual self-congratulations, mental applause, praise, and back pats that I so deserved.

After dinner was thoroughly enjoyed and almost entirely cleaned up, I took Baby and 6 y.o. to Office Depot.  6 y.o. needed a blank notebook, he said, and I was happy to oblige.  Maybe it's like this for everyone, maybe it's just for me (and now, my son), but I find something so exciting and wonderful about having a blank notebook.  It's like the feeling I get when I finally have, in my hands, the last book of a really good series.  I don't know what's going to unfold as I turn the pages, but I know I'm going to like it.  I can't wait to get started, but I also don't want to be rid of that best kind of anticipation- the kind which will never disappoint.

Blank pages, sharp pencils, and fresh markers.  Almost as blissful a scene as the secluded beach picture above.
Baby had a bath, 6 y.o. drew some pictures in the first section of his notebook ("Section 1- science experiments, section 2- drawings, like of animals in their habitats, and section 3- sentences about what I'm feeling." Boy, do I love this kid!), they both went to bed with no trouble, and I settled in on the couch to write this post.  

Since I like to focus on the positive side of things (you should, too!), I will pretend that the day ended as wonderfully as it began.  The hours of Baby screams (teething?  sick?  hungry?  gassy?  all 4?) and soul-crushing weariness that followed are not the important things to remember about the day, or about life in general.  I see nothing wrong with my detailing the triumphs, big and small, and skipping over the failures, like being unable to slice the bread because it was stuck to the baking dish, or turning my back on Baby for her to hit her face on the floor and bite her tongue bloody, or not finishing this post until 14 hours after I started.  It was a great day.  I have a great life.  In general.

Let me congratulate you on a triumph!  What are you proud of today?

Beef Stew
I'm not going to try to figure out exact measurements, since this is not a cookbook or a contest submission.  If you need them, though, let me know.

1 lb. beef chunks                                    
3 Tbs. butter                                                    
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper                                                      

Dredge the beef chunks in the flour, brown in melted butter over medium heat for approx. 8 minutes

2 cups water
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 bottle of chocolate bock or other dark beer (what you do with the other 1/2 of the bottle before noon on a weekday is your business)
Lots of salt                                                       
Minced garlic

Stir together in a slow cooker, add the browned beef chunks.


Chop and stir in the vegetables (except the peas, you don't have to chop those).
Cook over low heat for 5-6 hours.  Serve with rustic chunks of bread you've pulled off the loaf by hand.


  1. So... curb = snail habitat, right?

    1. Yup. It was on the safe side of one of the parking space curbs, actually.

  2. Replies
    1. :)

      Thanks again for the bread recipe!

  3. You really are awesome! Love the post and insight into your day...even with the challenging parts it sounds more fun to me than clocking in for a 9-5 shift;-) Your son sounds so sensitive (meant in the best way possible) and imaginative. Thanks for your continued support on daily mile! I'm going to have to come meet you & Jenn someday.