Bluebird Down

The pursuit of domestic bliss, one glorious debacle at a time.

Ay, Caramba! and A Holy Freakin’ Moly July 28, 2011

Apparently today at our house it was Let’s Finally Be Decisive and Change Our Entire Lives Day. Z and I have made three very important leaps forward — leaps into the deep, dark unknown.

Decision #1: It’s time to make some babies in a Petri dish. Hey, there is romance and then there is fertility. Don’t confuse the two. Z’s test results were good: The Time Trials were a success! Z made Dr. M run through the options once again. Insemination was taken off of the table. My eggs get more and more decrepit every single day and, as far as Dr. M is concerned,  it’s best not to chance giving birth to a baby dinosaur. [How is that for gender disparity — Dr. M said Z is working with slightly deformed goods, but mine are just aged, and yet THE WOMAN is the problem. Typical.] So we are inevitably back to working with in vitro fertilization. My fertilized eggs will be monitored in the dish for five days before the best and – hopefully – brightest of the bunch get returned to the mother ship. [If I’m going to all this trouble, this kid better be a daggone rocket scientist.] If the first round doesn’t work with my eggs, we go to donor eggs and the process starts again. I’m going to be buying baby food with my social security checks at this rate.

 

This is how I imagine a petri dish full of my babies.

 

Decision #2: Z wants to own a business. We looked into a franchising possibility today and are super excited about it. We’ve been conducting our due diligence. Once things become more concrete, I’ll be less mysterious on the topic. On our way back from the doctor’s office, we are discussing all of the possibilities. Z will manage the business and staff and I will create the marketing plan. I was blurting out ideas when he informed me that he expected me to keep my day job. Say what?! So, wait, you expect me to 1) keep my day job 2) have a kid and 3) also work at the family business? He went into his passive-aggressive happy place trance before he emerged an hour later to declare, “We’ll still need your work health insurance if we have a kid.” That was just rude putting all of the responsibility for our baby dinosaur’s health on my shoulders. I’m going to need Z to work on his daddy and his negotiating skills.

 

Who needs an MBA?

 

Decision #3: I was feeling bold the other day and submitted a writing sample to a local community paper. And lo and behold, I am their new contributing writer. It’s a volunteer position, so I have to keep my day job. [Reoccurring theme, anyone?] I worked on my first story today. It’s 500 words about an upcoming event. I was interviewing the event coordinator, when in mid-sentence, my brain screamed out, “Who the heck do you think you are? You aren’t a writer! You can’t submit this story for publication! You don’t know what you are doing!” My subject was too distracted by the thousand details still to be done and the stifling temperature in the venue to notice that I was having a nervous breakdown in front of her. Luckily I have a really poor attention span, even for my own breakdowns, and recovered quickly. Yeah, I can do this. [I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!] When it becomes a reality and I see it in print, I’ll post it here.

 

I bought these to soothe my apprehension, but they just made me nervous, so I hide them under the bed.

 

All and all, you can’t really argue with a day filled with a baby dinosaur, a husband with a purpose and 500 words for publication. I’ll be thanking my lucky star tonight.

Stress Reading: On Writing by Stephen King. So far it’s more of an autobiography  than a book on writing advice. Pleasant read though.

Training Log: Oh boy.

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Will the Zucchini Never Cease? July 26, 2011

Filed under: Cooking,Currently Reading,Food,Recipes,Training Log — Teri @ 7:59 pm

The problem (or challenge, if I were being politically correct) with basing your diet on mostly locally grown, in season food is that you can get pretty tired of eating the same thing over and over. At the beginning of the season you are thrilled – how much better the farmer’s produce tastes compared to the grocery store! Oh, how we have suffered! A few weeks into it, you end up wishing you never ever had to lay eyes on that vegetable again, much less eat it. Take the zucchini. I don’t know how long zucchini season is in North Carolina, but it seems to go on forever. This summer I’ve stir fried it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Z has grilled it. I’ve roasted it. Z got desperate one night and made little Boy Scout tin foil vegetable packets like you learned to do on your first camping trip. Yesterday I read an article on active.com about Gwenyth Paltrow’s love of fried zucchini. Apparently the desire for it motivates her through her workouts. [She is such an odd bird.] Given that we don’t all have Gwen’s genetics or personal trainer, the author created a zucchini dish for the rest of us: Baked Parmesan Zucchini. Ta-da! It’s actually quite good. Try it, but then please pray for the end of zucchini season.

 

Possbily the one millionth zucchini I've eaten this summer.

Baked Parmesan Zucchini
7 small Zucchini
1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
Dried Basil
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp Bread crumbs
2 Garlic cloves, minced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the zucchini in half and place in baking dish white sides up. Brush the zucchini tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix parmesan, bread crumbs and garlic, sprinkle over zucchini. Sprinkle with paprika and dried basil. Cook for 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender. [I’m thinking this would work with eggplant too.]

 

Finished Reading: A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion. Apparently I didn’t read the description very well, because I didn’t expect to cry.

Currently Reading: On Writing by Stephen King

Training Log: Zip. Zilch. Nada.

 

Jumping In With Both Feet July 25, 2011

Maybe I need a psych eval, but I think I’m going to do it. I’m going to run a 5K every weekend for 14 weeks in a row. It’s really 16 races, because two weekends are double headers, but who’s counting? When I posted my training idea last week, my friend Emily rightly pointed out that I was nuts. Actually she said something like, “That’s a lot of races and a lot of money.” I just read between the lines that she was calling me nuts. And it was true, my original schedule was helter skelter and I hadn’t considered registration fees and traveling costs. I reconsidered, over analyzed, took notes and decided to carry on.

My Road ID bracelet arrived, just like Edward Wimmer promised.

My Fall 5K Schedule:
August 20: Run Wild 5K at the NC Zoo, Asheboro, NC
August 27: Holden Uganda Family 5K, Fayetteville, NC
September 3: March of Dimes 5K Run for Healthier Babies, Wilmington, NC
September 10: Brunswick Family Assistance 5K, Sunset Beach, NC
September 16: Moonlight Madness 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
September 24: Poplar Grove Plantation Autumn 5K, Wilmington, NC
October 1: Women’s Only 5K, Greensboro, NC
October 8: Ardmore 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
October 15: Neuse River Bridge Run, New Bern, NC [or] Trick or Treat Trot, Wilmington, NC
October 16: NC Oyster Festival Road Race, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
October 22: Reading Rocks 5K, Fayetteville, NC
October 23: Boos and Brews 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
October 30: Monster Dash 11, Raleigh, NC
November 5: SC Pecan Festival Run Like a Nut 5K, Florence, SC [or] Heels for Hope, Chapel Hill, NC
November 12: NC Holiday Flotilla 5K, Wrightsville Beach, NC
November 19: 31st Annual Turkey Trot, Pinehurst, NC

The Commitment:
Total Miles to be Completed:
49.6 (not including training)
Total Registration Fees:
$395
Total Miles to Travel Roundtrip:
2,610 (which is almost $300 in fuel costs)
Total Hours of Sleep Lost to Early Morning Drives to Races:
32

OK, so maybe I am nuts. But let’s not forget that most races are organized to support the Greater Good. This fall I will support the following causes:

  • American Association of Zookeepers
  • Clean water wells in Uganda
  • Healthy baby services
  • Family assistance services
  • Historic preservation
  • Mammograms for low-income women
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of NC
  • Library books for children
  • Cancer research
    …and…
  • Beer

Z has agreed to do any race that’s not on a Saturday, with the exception of the my first 5K that he has promised to do with me. That commits him to five runs: Run Wild 5K, Moonlight Madness, Neuse River Bridge Run, NC Oyster Festival Road Race (the last two are during our anniversary weekend) and Monster Dash 11. I can probably talk him into more. Because if you are going to be a hobbling, blistered basket case with bad knees, it’s good to have company.

53% Through Reading: A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion

Training Log: Ironically, there was no training today.

 

The Wicked Witch of the West Had Killer Legs July 24, 2011

Filed under: Currently Reading,Exercise Follies,Family,Field Trips — Teri @ 10:27 pm

If you squint, you can see Bike Boy in the distance.

The Tiny Room Tour is over halfway through the North American dates. Z and I spent the last five days on Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks. True to form, our cabin accommodations were spartan — no TV, no kitchen, a mat for a bed. It was sorta awesome. I took away a few important thoughts from our time together: 1) my husband eats Oreos incorrectly 2) the Wicked Witch of the West must have had killer legs 3) it’s impossible to take a good photo of stars.

On the way to the bath house the first night I looked up to the sky and was completely blown away by the number of stars that could be seen. It’s a forgotten advantage of living away from urbanization. Layers upon layers upon layers of stars in a sky was so black that it looked soft. Van Gogh totally should have painted Starry Night on black velvet. It would have taken it to a whole new level.

One of my favorite moments was sitting on the mat at bedtime eating Double Stuf Oreos with Z. I revere the Oreo. I take my time, twist the cookie away from the cream, eat the cream (while trying to peel it up in one piece — let’s face it, you can’t lick that stuff), then eat the cookies one by one. Happiness. I look up and see Z stuffing the whole cookie in his mouth. No reverence. No remorse. I was stunned that I was married to a man that didn’t know the proper technique to eating an Oreo. I tried to teach him. He listened, then popped another whole cookie into his mouth.

The next morning we decided to bike the seven miles down to the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum. I packed Gatorade, apples and granola bars in case we got distracted and didn’t get back in time for lunch. We always get distracted. We were almost to the museum when we ran into the traffic for the ferry to Ocracoke Island. The ferryman (no, not that ferryman, luckily) waved us over and said we could take our bikes and hop the line to the front if we wanted to take the ferry. We hadn’t planned on going to Ocracoke, but who can resist hopping a huge car line?! We weaved through the cars and parked our bikes up front. A guy in his mid-20s was already waiting with his bike. He was friendly in a quiet and mild mannered kind of way. He told us he was biking from Rochester, New York to Greenville, South Carolina to visit family. He had already rode 850 miles, mostly taking a coastal path. He had camping gear tied to the back of his ten year old bike. Did you do anything special to your bike for the trip, I asked? I put new tires on, he said. So much for needing the latest and greatest equipment. At the end of our 40 minute ferry ride, I wished him luck and told him to be safe. He blushed and took off down the road in a blur.

Meanwhile, Z and I had 13 miles to go to make it to Ocracoke Village. I was on my beach cruiser and Z was on his mountain bike. Z let me set the pace since my beach cruiser doesn’t have gears and was being solely powered by my pudgy little legs. We were pushing slightly uphill and against the wind for the first nine miles. That part of the island is completely undeveloped except for Highway 12 South running from the ferry dock to the village. At intervals we could see the ocean through the sand dunes. It was incredibly hot, but the sky was blue and, even though I was peddling like mad against the wind, it felt great against my face. As I struggled to come up with a word to describe what I was seeing, the only thing that would come to mind was, “This is the day the Lord has made.” We stopped halfway to visit the Ocracoke Ponies, who were mostly hiding in the shade. When we got back on the road, Zef couldn’t hear me due to the wind, so I entertained myself by humming the theme song for the Wicked Witch of the West. She may have been wicked, but with all of that bike riding, she must have had killer legs. Thanks to the wind, it took us two whole hours to get to the village. We were hot, sweaty and thirsty and it was two hours past lunch time. We stopped at the first pizza place in the village — Jason’s Restaurant. Chris, the waiter, took pity on us and brought us huge glasses of water in addition to our tea and soda. [Why, oh why, does no one on the Outer Banks carry Coke, I begged to know. Because the Pepsi bottler is in New Bern, Chris said definitively. Oh.] Maybe I was just hungry, but the pizza is amazingly delicious. If you are ever on Ocracoke Island, go there. Ask for Chris. You won’t be disappointed. Before we left, Chris wrapped our leftovers for the ride back and filled our empty Gatorade bottles with ice water. I was expecting to battle the wind again, but the ride back was utterly calm. We arrived at the ferry in under an hour. Told you that pizza was amazing.

Currently Reading: A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion

Training Log: About 60 bike miles over the course of three days.

 

Insert Rocky Theme Here July 17, 2011

Filed under: Currently Reading,Exercise Follies,Training Log — Teri @ 9:57 pm

That's the name of the game, kids.

It’s less than five weeks until I run my first 5K. Thirty-four days to be exact. Now, that may seem like a lifetime to the fit among you, but I still have a long, long way to go in my training. Tomorrow I start Week Four of the Couch to 5K (C25K) program. So far the longest run sequence has been three minutes. Tomorrow will look like this:

5 minute walk
3 minute run
1:30 walk
5 minute run
2:30 minute walk
3 minute run
1:30 walk
5 minute run
5 minute walk

Luckily I have an app on my iPhone that operates simultaneously with my music. When it’s time to run a very stern lady says, “Run now!” and the screen turns red. It seems like green would have been more appropriate, but who am I to judge.

C25K is a nine week program, so I should be running three miles just in time for the 5K. I’m not even setting a pacing goal. My goal is to run the entire thing and finish. Then I’ll have a pace to work up from.

Right now I have three areas I need to concentrate on help with my running:

Stretching: Let’s face it, stretching is the math homework of exercise. No one wants to do it and slackers like me don’t do it. Pretty much the only time I stretch is after spin class. Justin will tackle you if you attempt to leave his spin room without stretching your IT Band. While I haven’t been sore, I have been stiff. And my feet, oh my feet!, are stiff. I probably need to hit up the yoga classes too.
Hydration: It drives Z absolutely nuts that I hate to drink plain water. I need to get over it though. The other day I was so thirsty while we were out running errands that I felt weak. I stood in the middle of Harris Teeter and downed a bottle of Snapple tea. I paid for the empty bottle at the checkout. Totally an avoidable problem.
Nutrition: I eat too much. But I’m hungry. And then I eat too much. Ugly cycle.
Mental: I don’t think of myself as a runner. Now in spin class I can put those skinny chicks to shame. I’m awesome on the bike. I need to feel that confidence when I’m running. I need to think of myself as a runner.

You would think I was training for the Olympics, right? Of course not. Just one of my little projects. And I can get really wrapped up in my little projects.

My Fall 5K Schedule:
August 20: Run Wild 5K at the NC Zoo, Asheboro, NC
August 27: Holden Uganda Family 5K, Fayetteville, NC
September 3: March of Dimes 5K Run for Healthier Babies, Wilmington, NC
September 10: Brunswick Family Assistance 5K, Sunset Beach, NC
September 16: Moonlight Madness 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
September 24: Poplar Grove Plantation Autumn 5K, Wilmington, NC
October 1: Women’s Only 5K, Greensboro, NC
October 8: Ardmore 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
October 15: Neuse River Bridge Run, New Bern, NC / Trick or Treat Trot 5K, Wilmington, NC
October 16: NC Oyster Festival Road Race, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
October 22: Reading Rocks 5K, Fayetteville, NC
October 23: Boos and Brews 5K, Winston-Salem, NC
October 30: Monster Dash 11, Raleigh, NC
November 5: SC Pecan Festival Run Like a Nut 5K, Florence, SC / Heels for Hope, Chapel Hill, NC
November 12: NC Holiday Flotilla 5K, Wrightsville Beach, NC
November 19: 31st Annual Turkey Trot, Pinehurst, NC
December 3: Mistletoe 5K, Winston-Salem, NC

Finished Reading: Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Currently Reading: Greyhound by Steffan Piper

Training Log: Yesterday: Activity: Spin, Time: 51 minutes, Miles: 20, Calories Burned: 500; Today: Does cleaning the kitchen count?

 

Justice Through Consumerism July 15, 2011

Filed under: Cars,Currently Reading,The Devil Debt,Training Log — Teri @ 9:33 pm

I love that I only attract car salesmen that couldn’t sell ice in Hades. It makes the car shopping experience more bearable. The Mini Cooper guy wasn’t much of a talker. On our test drive we were like a family about a 1,000 miles into a long road trip. Everyone just stared out of the windows in silence. The Toyota sales lady agreed with me about every issue I had with the Prius. As we sat in a preowned model, I questioned the $25,000 sticker price for a car that had 35,000 miles on it. The new Prius (which she apparently didn’t know about, but we saw in the back) was $30,000. Why shouldn’t I just buy the new Prius since it has better options, no mileage and the price difference isn’t that great, I asked. Good point, she agreed. Wish we had a new Prius, she sighed. I wasn’t about to remind her that we just had a five minute conversation about the new model sitting in the back of the lot. I slid away before she started singing Mary Had a Little Lamb and twirling like a ballerina. Today we visited the Subaru dealership. The guy spent two and a half hours with us and never once asked us if were interested in buying the car. I think he was lonely. Or killing time. Or in the $50 office pool for who can drag out the deal the longest. He was nice, so I don’t mean to give him a hard time. I just worry about his livelihood.

My renewed interest in car shopping came after an embarrassing display of Honda power yesterday. I was at a very busy intersection in town, on my way to meet Z at Home Depot. Two lanes turned left at the stoplight. At the last minute, I arrogantly pulled into the empty left lane when I saw a Smart car sitting in the right lane. “Ugg, they will go soooo slow,” I thought. My 2003 Honda will absolutely blow it away. The light turned green and the freakin’ Smart car blasted off. Or at least it seemed to blast off because it left me in the dust. I was alone in my car, but I was still humiliated. Forget my downright hippified position on debt and owing The Man. I was just shamed by a bright blue Smart car. I need justice. Cherry red, six cylinder, moon roofed justice.

 

Subaru Outback: It appeals to my granola nature and my fantasy athletic-girl lifestyle. But I still haven't bought it.

 

Halfway Through Reading: Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Training Log: Activity: AMT, Time: 13 minute before spin class; Activity: Spin, Time: 47 minutes, Mileage: 16.6, Total Calories: 645; Activity: C25K W3D3, Time: 23 minutes, Mileage: 1.5, Calories Burned: 200

 

Ode to the Power Washer July 14, 2011

After several weeks of lackadaisical effort on the back yard renovation, we kicked it into high gear today by power washing the interior and exterior the garage. So what, you say. You don’t know awesome, I say. Power washing is fun! To make it more clear, power washers are the high-grade heroin of the OCD elite. I can now understand, without prejudice, why George the Handyman tripled my water bill a few summers ago after he bought his first power washer. I mean, those babies can move some dirt — like in an infomercial!

Announcer: Look at how disgusting and dirty this garage floor is!
Audience: Eww!!!
Announcer: But wait… apply water directly from the So Awesome It’s Better Than Heroin Power Washer 2500 and – viola! – sparkling clean and just like new!

Audience: *Squeal with delight!* Applause, applause! *Squeal with delight!*

It’s addicting. I watched Zef wash down one wall and desperately wanted to try it out. “Let me use it!,” I pleaded. “No, you manage the hose,” he said as he turned the corner. I’m pretty sure he felt a tantrum coming on, so he handed over the reigns. “I have to go pick up Pete! anyway.” Sure. Sucker.

 

Right before Z turned over the reigns.

 

My favorite part was hosing down the dilapidated metal door. It had at least 25 years of dirt crusted on it. I was very methodical — right to left, inch by inch. It was very cathartic! Of course, I was doused by water and mud and paint chips (most likely lead based). It was in my hair, all over my t-shirt, a couple chunks got in my eyes. But that’s the price you pay for good time. I made it halfway through the garage interior because Z came back with Pete! and took over.

Sunday is garage painting day. I most likely will not be participating in those festivities. Z is renting a power painter. The Home Depot guy advised against a power painter in an enclosed space, but then agreed when Z said the garage ceiling had exposed roofing nails. He walked Z over the biohazard suits complete with goggles and dust mask. I giggled while Zef looked defeated. I can’t wait. I’ll take lots of photos.

 

Sparkleeeeeey clean!

 

Finally Finished Reading: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Currently Reading: Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe {I bought it as a joke to read aloud to Zef during road trips, but now I feel really obligated to read it since it was $12.99… for an ebook. Highway robbery!}

Training Log: Oh, nothing.