Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chicken Combs

Kira had a band concert at her school tonight so Mitch and Sam and I went to watch.  They were pretty good, but the most memorable part of the entire outing was how weird my husband is.  After the performance we were in the lobby talking to some parents and friends.  My friend was talking about having to have knee surgery sometime in the future, and another guy that was there was talking about having to have hip surgery.  Okay, whatever, people talking about things they have in common, right?  Here is how the conversation went:

My friend: I was supposed to have surgery last summer but I just couldn't.
Guy: Yeah, I was supposed to have hip surgery but I don't think I've got the time right now to do it.
My friend:  I have been getting these shots that help with the pain a lot.
Guy:  Oh yeah?  Cortisone?
My friend: No, it's some kind of gel and it really works great.

Mitch:  Oh yeah, it's a lubricant made from chicken combs.

Me:  ..........What???????
Mitch:  Yeah, they make a gel from chicken combs. (This said while miming a chicken comb with his hand)
My friend:  ....... I don't want to know where it comes from.
Me:  I don't even know where he gets this stuff.
Mitch:  What?  It's true.  Look it up.
My friend:  Oh yeah?  Do you work in the medical field? (she knows full well he does not)
Mitch:  No.
My friend: ..............
Guy: ..............
Me: ............ (mouth hanging open)

Later in the car:

Me:  Seriously Mitch?  WHERE did you come up with that one?  Chicken combs? That has to be one of the weirder things you have ever said.
Mitch:  Get your phone out and look it up.  I'm serious.
Me:  No, I'm not falling for it.  It's just about the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Mitch:  Everything I said was true.  They get it mostly from roosters with big combs.  And they have to be tall roosters.
Me: .......????....... what?
Mitch:  Look it up.

So I Googled it.  And found this.

Rooster comb injections may cause reactions for people allergic to chickens or eggs.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Beat Jeff (vol. I) <-optimism

I'm getting fit and in shape and I feel pretty good about it.  I am seeing a personal trainer, Jeff, who I adore, but he and the other trainers at the gym I go to are annoyingly fit.  For example, one day the workout was to do 150 wallballs for time.  Wallballs is an activity where you throw a 14 pound medicine ball at a line on a wall.  The line is about 8 feet up, so the process is to squat down low with the ball, then shoot up and throw the ball at the line.  150 times.

It was absolutely exhausting but I didn't want to take too many breaks to catch my breath because it was being timed and I wanted to beat all my peers. (I'm suddenly competitive.) I finished at right around twelve and a half minutes and was extremely proud of myself. Jeff was proud of me too. I thought I was the greatest. That is until I learned that Jeff and another trainer, Brendan, did the same activity; except after the 150 wallballs, they did a bunch of burpees, and then 150 more wallballs. Jeff did the first set of 150 wallballs in five minutes. Yeah, that's right, five minutes. I fought and scrounged and almost threw up doing it in twelve minutes, and he blasted it out in five.

My goal lately has been to do something, anything, better than Jeff.  It's not happening. I saw him do a standing ab rollout one day, so that is the current goal I am working on and I am getting closer. Just when I thought I was hot stuff, I saw him doing one-armed ab rollouts. If you are not familiar with ab rollouts, let me just tell you, a person has to be freakishly strong to do it with one arm. Freak-ish-ly.

I want to be that strong.

This morning Jeff was talking to my friend Rae Ann and me about his and Brendan's latest feat of strength. They had a contest to see who could squat down and hold it the longest.  Jeff said he beat Brendan and could do it for 8 minutes.

"I really have to poop."

We said big whoop. So what? Who can't squat?  So he challenged us to go ahead and try it. We did. I got nine minutes and quit because, why go on? That was all I needed to beat Jeff. Rae Ann went to 12 minutes and then only quit because she had to go to work. I still don't see what's so hard about squatting for time. The most challenging thing about it is that it really "engages the bowels" (if you know what I mean), but otherwise, what's the big deal? I'll tell you what the big deal is:

I beat Jeff. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Parenting 101

I have the best husband in the world.  Kira is thirteen and is socially retarded. Harsh words? Maybe, but if the shoe fits...  In just the past two weeks she has had a long texting conversation with a strange man who accidentally texted the wrong number; AND she sent aerial photos of our house to someone online who said they are moving in next to us. When we FREAKED about that she said that we were overreacting because she knows who it is. We asked who and she told us a screen name. She doesn't know who it is in real life.  Yeah, I see you shaking your head. We are still shaking our heads about that one.

So we gave her the expected lecture but Mitch has quietly taken it upon himself to be with her every second she isn't at school which means he comes home from work early to be here with her so he will be able to intercept the internet predators she has cluelessly lured directly to our home. Just imagine a "To Catch A Predator" type scenario, but instead of meeting Chris Hansen and his smug face, and having a humiliating television interview and an arrest; they would instead be met by a raging dad-monster and get disemboweled and die a horrifying death. The nice thing for me is that while he is home waiting to murder internet predators, he fills his time cooking and cleaning which I appreciate almost as much as keeping our offspring safe.

The other day Mitch had to run some errands so Kira had to go with him. They were sitting somewhere waiting and he said he had a good look at her and thinks she is turning in to a beautiful young lady. While he was looking at her lovingly, probably with the song "Daddy's Little Girl" running through his head, wondering where the time has gone, she looked at him and said, "Hey Dad,...my mouth tastes weird."

We have a couple long years ahead of us. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Update!  I got a clean bill of health so I suppose my stupid uterus can stick around for a while longer.

Why is it that we (as a society, not me or you specifically) have been able to perform seemingly miraculous tasks in the field of medicine like organ transplants and mapping the human genome, but women's reproductive health is still a fricking mystery?  I mean, the ovaries and uterus lie inches below the surface of the skin in the lower abdomen, yet they might as well be disembodied and off in the universe somewhere based on how much we know about what is going on in our particular ovaries/uteruses (uteri?) at any given moment.  That just seems wrong.  Is it because women's health is still not a priority?  I can hardly believe that because more than half of us are women, and in the past few years almost all of the medical professionals I have dealt with are women. But if that's not the reason, what is?  It's something.

The reason I am thinking about this is because YET AGAIN I am having issues with those particular woman parts. This isn't the first time.  The first time was when I was in college and had what turned out to be a benign tumor on my cervix.  The first doctor that looked at it judgementally diagnosed me with genital warts and applied some kind of acid. What?  No!  Yes.  It was horrifying.  So I went to an actual gynecologist who did a test other than a peek and an assumption, and figured out that it was in fact a tumor, not warts, and needed to be cut out and biopsied.

The second time was when I was pregnant and during an exam a doctor discovered pre-cancerous abnormal growths on my cervix.  They had to be cut out.  While I was pregnant.  It was stressful.  Not only that, it was painful.  And it was ridiculous because the amount of gauze that can be hidden away in a pregnant woman is astonishing.  I was like a clown pulling out handkerchiefs at a horrific children's birthday party.

The third time I was diagnosed with "stage 0 cervical carcinoma."  Well?  Is it cancer or is it stage 0 because stage 0 would seem to indicate there is no cancer, yet the word carcinoma would suggest there is.  Again, it had to be cut out.  This time I suggested that maybe they just cut out the whole deal because I had already had my babies and I didn't need those parts anymore, and if they were going to just exist to cause me problems, why keep them?  I was told no, that was too radical and sent on my way.

This time after experiencing some unpleasant symptoms that I will spare you the details of, I went in to the doctor, was examined, was sent for an ultrasound and was told to wait for the doctor to call.  That's what I'm doing right now.  Waiting.  I want this not to happen again.  I want a partial hysterectomy.  I have researched it and I know the risks and rewards of it.  I get that it's a major medical procedure, but to me it seems like preventative medicine.  I don't WANT to get cancer and by all indications, that seems like the path I've been heading down - getting it, catching it early, then cutting out chunks.  I would like to avoid the anxiety, stress and worry associated with having symptoms every few years, but in order to really be heard, it seems like I may have to actually become hysterical, hence proving the need for a hysterectomy.  I've been practicing and I'm getting pretty good at it.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Parkour, Celebs, Day-drinking, and Three-hole potties: My trip to DC

I'm in a dumb phase lately.  I can hardly think a coherent thought.  Tonight I sat next to a man I work with every single day and I could not for the life of me remember his name.  Then I had to get money from the ATM and I couldn't remember my pin number.  Jesus, what is happening to me?  And the dumbest thing I've done is totally forgetting to write about my trip to DC with my sisters!!!

We went for a long weekend because Amy was going to run in the Marine Marathon, but she got a deferment for a year because she didn't exactly train in any way whatsoever.  Oh well, we decided to go to DC anyway and it was FUN.

The first night we checked into our hotel and got settled, then went for a walk.  Our hotel was right downtown, kind of by the white house, so we walked down there to see it.  It was lit up pink for breast cancer month.

Then we were walking around and Beth was talking about how she is really into Parkour lately.  You know, Parkour?  Like this:

Amy and I didn't quite believe her and told her to prove it.  She took on the challenge and jumped off a one foot step, and then leap-frogged this barrier-thing which would have been really cool if she didn't stub her crotch and fall down.  If the barrier was three inches shorter, it might have been impressive.  So then I tried to jump over a fire-hydrant but forgot I was wearing a skort and almost killed myself.  We are lucky we came back from Washington with all our teeth.  Here's Amy Parkouring her ass all over the place.

The next day Amy and I went for a run.  No, you shut up.  I can run!  We ran for about 23 miles all over the Mall area.

 Amy says it absolutely was not 23 miles but I don't know how she knows it wasn't because we didn't map it out or anything. It was probably pretty close to 23.  

We went to the Holocaust Museum.  Depressing.  They have a gift shop in the lobby so you can shop for key chains and coffee mugs that say "We Shall Never Forget" all over it.  There was even a little stuffed bear in a trench coat who was wearing a little tag that said, "I'm a refugee."  It was a bit much.  Amy thinks that a bar would do better business than a gift shop because after going through and seeing all the horrors that was the Holocaust, a person really needs a good stiff drink.

So then we went to have a good stiff drink, which leads me to the day-drinking portion of our trip.  We did a lot of that.  That's what vacations are for, right?  At one bar we sat next to a guy that told us that Chris Brown of beating-the-shit-out-of-Rhianna fame was arrested at the W Hotel right across the street from us. Turned out to be true.  Some guy photo-bombed a picture Brown was in so he ran after the guy and mercilessly beat him.  Seems like an appropriate response.  We also went to the W Hotel (fancy schmancy) to have a drink in the bar that is on the roof.  It was nice but every table had a reserved sign on it and nobody came to sit at them.  I got a free beer.

Saturday we went to MOUNT VERNON!  We took a boat from DC up the Potomac to the estate.

Amy and Kristen on the boat to Mount Vernon.  They can
barely contain their excitement.

 Unfortunately we only got four hours to tour the place.  I thought it was kind of a rush, but nobody else did.  You can see barely anything in four hours.  We hit the high points:  The house, museum, tomb, wharf-area.

This guy took us through a hay-bale maze.  What's the point of a hay-bale maze, you ask?  I don't know.  You can see right over it and figure out your path.  Easy.  This guy said to shut our eyes and go through conga style.  It was weird.

Then I saw one of my favorite Mount Vernon attractions:

The three-hole outhouse.  Amy asked me once if I could meet George Washington and talk to him, but only if we were both using the three-hole outhouse, would I do it?  Probably.

The next day was the marathon so we went to watch the runners.  It was a beautiful day and it was fun to watch the marathon.  The people at the front of the pack run fast the whole time.  I mean FAST.  It's not a sprint, j'all!

We met some cool people while we were there.  We saw Senator Franken at the airport and said hello to him.  We met a retired Capitol Police guy at a diner one morning and got him talking about senators who are all bluster in public and who cry in the elevator at the end of the day.  And we met Carlos Arredondo, an activist who helped save people after the Boston bombing.  I recognized him from a picture and we talked with him for a while.  He is a fantastically nice person.  I was really happy we got to meet him and I got to take a picture with him and an ice-cream sandwich.

The last day we were there we walked around for miles and miles and miles.  We went to the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery too.

Amy took this picture of me nerding it up in front of a statue of George Washington surrendering his commission after the Revolutionary War.  He was dreamy.

I also got this really cool photo of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.  Nobody was there right then because the marathon was going on and everyone was cheering on the runners.

But before I got that good picture, I got this one:

This lady literally ran into the frame at the last second.  I wish I knew who she was so I could send her the picture.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kira in the Car

"This weird guy keeps texting me so I told him I was from Canada so now I have to think of a city in Nome to tell him I'm from."

SO many disappointments for a parent packed in to one short sentence.

Friday, November 1, 2013


I've been going to a gym with a personal trainer for five months and I love it, LOVE IT.  I have met so many great people and I got my three best friends to join me, so now working-out is like going to a party.  AND I got measurements taken for the second time since I started and I have made fabulous progress!  I've lost 9.75 inches off various places on my bod, and have lost 3% body fat.  I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

However, I think that old cliche about dumb jocks might be true.  I'm getting fitter and happier, but I think at the same time I am getting dumber.  For instance, the other day we all did a rowing test to find out our "race pace."  We did 2000 meters as fast as we possibly could and that is our race pace.  Now when we do rowing workouts we gauge how fast we go according to our individual race paces.  On the machine there is a monitor that tells you how fast you are doing a 500 meter race, so 1/4 the time you would do a 2000 at race pace, right?  Are you getting this?  So anyway, here is a conversation between my friend Rae Ann, me and our trainer, Jeff:

Rae:  How fast should I be going?
Me:  Race pace.
Rae:  What's my race pace?
Me:  1/4 as fast as your time you got on the 2000.
Rae:  It was 9:43.
Me:  Okay, 9:43 divided by 4.
Rae:  .....(crickets)
Me: .....(tumbleweeds)
Jeff:  What are you guys doing, get started.
Rae:  I can't figure out my race pace.
Jeff:  It's 1/4 as fast as your 2000 time.
Rae:  ......(crickets)
Me:  ........(tumbleweeds)
Jeff:........ (haunting lonely wind)
Rae:  Well?
Jeff:  Just go at a 2:20 pace!

(9:43 / 4 = 2:36)

And earlier the same day the three of us talked about a series of box step-ups we did the day before.  We did 20 step-ups on the right leg, then 20 on the left leg, then 19 on the right, 19 on the left, 18 right, 18 left and so on and so on down to 10.

Rae:  How many step-ups do you think we did altogether?
Me:  20 + 20 + 19 + 19..... etc.
Rae:  I know how to figure it out, dummy, but what is the answer?
Me:  I don't know.... probably about 900.
Jeff:  It was not 900!  Oh my god!
Me:  Well then how much was it?
Jeff:  (crickets)  I don't know.  It's probably a hundred and some.

(It's 330.)

So then I got measured and one of the parts that gets measured is my bicep.  This is supposed to be measured with your arm down and relaxed, but I don't want to know how big my arm is relaxed, I want to know how huge my pipe is fully flexed.  After telling me to put my arm down and stop flexing so he could just get the measurement already, Jeff took the standard, boring measurement of my arm relaxed and then conceded, "Okay fine, let's measure it flexed."  It increased by 3/4 of an inch from 11.25 to 12,  and I was disappointed.  Jeff said, "What did you expect?"  I said, "18."  and he said, "That would look RIDICULOUS," and he spaced the measuring tape out to the circumference of 18 inches and showed me how big my arm would be if it did flex to 18 inches.

I don't think it would look ridiculous, Jeff, I think it would look awesome.

Rae and Jeff and I might not be advanced math whizzes (adding, dividing, estimating = advanced math), but we look amazing.


I went to the gym today and Jeff said that although he thought this post was funny, I had my calculations wrong.  "Yeah, right!"  I said!  It's simple math!  When I'm sitting down with a calculator I think I can do simple math, JEFF.  He said, "You calculated Rae Ann's time as if it was on a scale of 100, but minutes and seconds are on a scale of 60 (idiot).  You figured 9:43 as if it was 943/4, not 9 MINUTES and 43 SECONDS divided by 4." Which is ...

....Okay, I'm sitting here with my iPad fully intending to give Jeff his redemption and when I figure 9 minutes divided by 4 I get 2:25, but I don't think that is right.  Why can't I do this?  ...OHHHHHH, I get it, it's two and a quarter minutes, which is 2:15.  Got it.  Stupid fractions.  And 43 seconds divided by 4 is ... just a minute, must grab the calculator because I don't trust myself to do simple division... 10.75.  So Rae Ann's race pace (if in fact her 2000 time was 9:43 which Jeff also thinks is WRONG) is 2:25.  So he said he was only 4 seconds off.  But you weren't!  You were 5 seconds off!  HA!  IN YOUR FACE!  He said her time was 9:39.  If in fact that is true, her pace would be 2:24 and Jeff would then be...... 4 seconds off.  Dammit.

So then I said, "Okay, you may have been right(ish) about the seconds/minutes thing, but you totally blew it on the number of step-ups we did!"  All he said (smugly) was "...PER ...LEG."  330 divided by two .... just a sec... calculator... is 165.  Shit.  He was right about that too.  Goddamn it.

So there, I gave Jeff his stupid redemption, but he should know you can't believe everything you read on the internet, it's full of blogs written by total morons.  (Who's the dummy now, nerd?)

In other, totally unrelated news:  I'm teaching CALCULUS next semester!!!!  Yay!