Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guns n Art Projects

Last night I walked into the breakfast room, and Brian was sitting at the table humming to himself as he cleaned his automatic rifle.  The A&E show about solving murders, The First 48 was on the television.  I started laughing.  Brian turned around and looked at me.  "What?" he asked.  He had all his little brushes laid out neatly and he was working away furiously, shining up each piece.

I explained that in any other house this probably wouldn't be happening.  I had come into the room to practice with some paints for an upcoming project in my 7th grade classroom.  That meant that at one end of the table, an enormous lethal weapon was being cleaned.  At the other end, a simple, school art project was being created.  The dichotomy did not escape me. 

We worked peacefully together as the detectives solved the homicides on television.  I discovered that one paint set is better than the other that I tested.  Brian realized he had another gun he really should clean.

So, next week my kids and I will create lovely pictures with simple watercolors.  Brian will keep the city safe from Big Ben and the Steelers.  We have our weapons poised and ready.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hit the High

I got there.  For just a moment.  Runner's euphoria.  It was spiritual. Well, that might be a stretch, but for something that I have always poo-pooed in the past, it was pretty amazing.

I refused to get out of bed one minute earlier than I had to this morning, so that meant my workout would be pushed to this afternoon.  I had clothes and shoes at school to change into.  I would hit the treadmill after my last class.  I grabbed my i-Pod for inspiration and told myself I would have no excuses. 

Tomorrow is Weigh In for Biggest Loser at school and I ate precisely as I pleased at the conference in Galveston over the weekend...yikes! 

I hopped up on the treadmill, our school nurse, Sam beside me on the other.  She showed me how to plug in my age and weight for calorie burn; I had never bothered before.  As I embarked on my workout, I considered how I would proceed.  Just walk?  I didn't have my inhaler, the newest addition to my repetoire.  How would I do?  It's been several days since I'd had a walk or run. 

I did a 5 minute walk and decided to try a two minute run.  Let's see how it feels.  Feels pretty good, as a matter of fact.  I walked a minute after that and worked in intervals of run two, walk one for quite awhile. 

Suddenly, as I began a new run interval, as I focused on a point outside the window, the music's volume swelled in my earphones.  I sped up.  Goosebumps raised up on my arms.  I felt so energized I thought I might just run right off that treadmill and off into the sunset.  It was exhilarating.  My mind was completely empty for once.  Runner's high. 

Then I became aware that I must be experiencing runner's high and came down as quickly as I had gone up.  I had run a minute and a half longer than I had intended to in that interval. 

I decided that it was such an amazing experience that I must have it again soon.  I also decided that guys must be able to talk about it more often because they empty their minds much more easily than women do. 

I ran a total of 19 minutes today in a 35 minute workout.  I'm pretty excited.  I can't wait for tomorrow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Verdicts...

Well, after MUCH waiting and waiting and....waiting....

It seems in a way such a waste of a reasonably pretty day off.  Two doctors' appointments.  But they were necessary, I suppose.  I don't like going to the doctor.  That would require admitting I need help, now wouldn't it?

But after a very long, half-naked wait (he wanted to do an exam--which is cool, but he visited with another chick who had 1/2 hour's worth of fertility questions while I sat there under my paper cape--not cool) at the gynecologist's office, we found out that I may not be as old or broken as I keep trying to convince myself I am.  And while we wait to get the all clear from the oncologist, I get to go back on the pill.  Excellent news, really.  I've missed it. 

So, the first visit was a success. I so appreciate the doctor's complete...I wouldn't even call it optimism.  It's more like "Why not?"  Or something...I'm not sure how to explain it...but I like it. 

So, the second visit was about my possible asthma.  The doc said it seemed reasonable to assume it might be a touch of asthma brought on by exercise and if I wanted to keep on with the running, an inhaler would be the first stop.  We tried a breathing test, but it didn't reveal anything.  Would have been pretty entertaining for you to see though.  He plugged my nose and made me blow into a machine a bunch of times.  I got a little light-headed.  So tomorrow I will get to try my first exercise with an inhaler.  Hopefully, it will be a whole new experience for me.  If not, next stop is the pulmnologist. 

I appreciate Brian sitting through the appointments with me.  It wasn't the most exciting of days.  But I'm glad he was there to hear all of this with me.  Thanks, baby. 

Working 9 to 5...again....

Julie and I signed up for Luke's Locker Winter 9 to 5.  Uh, brrrr...but we wanted to stay motivated, and it was cheaper for her than the BGO.  It lasts longer and works on different skills.  Our bonus was our Kimi is coaching the 9 to 5. 

We missed the first week becase we were at the Jiggle Butt 5k.  The women only race benefiting the women's shelter.  It was a blast.  We didn't go fast; Julie stayed back with me because it was just the two of us.  It was fun to see the teams who came all dressed up. You could make signs for yourself to encourage yourself in addition to the signs that were already there from the race to spur you to keep jigglin'.  It was very cool; very inspiring.  It took us 50 minutes though because I had to walk the whole way.  It was so cold and I have such a hard time breathing in the cold especially. 

There are so many things to think about...and it supposed to be a sport where you can just let yourself go and you can think about other things.  But I am too busy worried about getting enough air.  But more on that in a minute.

I didn't feel like training this past week for my first week with the 9 to 5.  Seems as though my female troubles are not improving as a result of the exercise and I was in a fair amount of hell this week.  So wogging took a backseat.  Plus, North Texas residents can attest to the fact that there wasn't a real good time to go out and wog without getting frostbite.  Ay yi yi yi.  It's that time of year when I consider immigrating permanently to a beach somewhere, and then I remember my passport is out of date.  It's on my list of to-do's. 

Anyway, this Saturday I woke up and not only was it still colder than my warm-blooded nature prefers, it was misting rain.  C'mon.  Really?  Fine.  Fine. Fine.  Let's separate the real women from the delicate flowers this morning.  So, I went.  Without having trained for a week, not being able to breathe in the cold weather.  In the misting rain.  At 6:30 am on a Saturday.

I'm telling you that not to try to impress you so much as to perhaps illustrate my dedication (or insanity).  Our group is about 15 or so.  Most of them already have better stamina than me. Again, I wonder, is there something wrong with me?  I've been working out about 3 times a week (usually) for 3 months.  Should I really be having this much trouble breathing?  A nagging thought tells me probably not.  Even my brother who loves to tease me about being chubby and out of shape thinks maybe it's time to ask someone professional.

Julie and Kim left me right away.  That's ok.  We don't run on the side of the street with the cemetery anymore.  Dang it.  I can't just flop over the fence when I can't take it anymore.  Oh well.  As Kim helpfully pointed out, there is a large Post Office on our side of the street.  Perhaps they could mail me where I want to go...maybe to that beach? 

I watched the other, slower members of our group as I struggled on alone.  The girl in front of me seemed to be fighting much the same battle I did early on last time.  She would walk on for awhile and then run a bit as her wind would allow her, but that seemed to be mostly when I got close to her.  She didn't seem to want if she slowed to talk to someone that meant giving up somehow.  I know how that feels.  I let her go on.  Mostly because I couldn't get enough breath to catch up to her if I wanted to. I hope she will stick with this.

For some people more than others it's a battle that is hard to understand.  And yet we are willing to fight it, for reasons known only to us.  Even when, as for me, it seems to get harder instead of easier.  My doctor appointments are today.  I'm hoping to come away with some answers.  I'll let you know. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Night at the Raynsfords'

Well, don't be jealous.  My date night was pretty racy. 

It started at Johnny Carino's Eye-talian Restaurant.  And because of the day I had with middle school boys and their middle school minds and mouths, I had two glasses of Riesling.  And the lobster ravioli. 

I have to admit, I didn't even want to go down the street to Carino's.  I had already been to my nail appointment this afternoon, so I was ready to curl up in my lounge clothes and be a sloth until tomorrow morning when I wog my heart out at the Jiggle Butt 5k with my friend Julie.  Happy New Year!

But Brian offered to take me out and he wanted to do at least 3 other errands along the way.  And his reasoning was sound.  If we get them out of the way tonight, we don't have to battle everyone else in the free world on Saturday and Sunday.  Very well then.  Errand date night it is. 


After Carino's we went to the Home Depot where it was happenin'.  We needed a light bulb for the bedroom and some faucet covers for the cold weather coming.  So practical, so grown up.  So buttoned up. 
We got the last two faucet covers they had.  Haha. 

After rocking The Home Depot, we hit The Kroger.  Now, here I actually had some fun, and I loathe grocery shopping.  But we usually go to Target because you can get so many things in one place thereby eliminating the need to go to two or three stores.  (The same idea behind Wal-Mart, except I don't have to go to Wal-Mart. Yeah, I'm a snob.) 

I had forgotten how many choices you have at the grocery!  Almost immediately we discovered swordfish steaks!  Swordfish!!  Guess what we'll be eating later this week?  We walked up and down each aisle, not only because we were unfamiliar with this store and hadn't made a list, but because I was fascinated by all the items they had. 

They had falafal mix and beignet mix.  There had to have been 100 kinds of hot teas.  The only aisle I was curious about that I didn't get to was the wine aisle.  We were winding down our trip and I figured I could save that aisle for another time.  I want to be able to savor it. 

We ended up spending more money than we would have at Target, but it was relatively easy to explain though we both agreed we really love Target.  We also believe that we will be back to the grocery story again soon.  Fortunately we can have fun together anywhere we are, so this date night was as good for me as a night out at the movies or an expensive restaurant. 

And Brian probably had to spend more money on me anyway.  Now it's time to hope Texas A&M wins the Cotton Bowl.  Gig 'em. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Happy New Year!

Yesterday we had a little housewarming party/Rose Bowl Party.  Normally I really don't like watching my Horned Frogs on TV.  Bear hides in the farthest part of the house from me; I tend to get a little overwrought and excited and my dog is a sensitive guy.  He doesn't like yelling...even if it's not at him.  (As if I have ever yelled at that angel dog.)  I have no idea why I think they can hear me, but my Frogs are important to me and I take their games seriously. 

Anyway, Brian and I cleaned and cooked as we watched the Rose Parade in preparation for the biggest game TCU has played in decades.  This year is even more special because the combined bands from our three local high schools marched in the parade this year, the only high school band from Texas.  They looked quite impressive as 550 of them marched down the street in unison.  I'm quite proud of being a product of the district as well as a teacher now, so I have taught many of those marchers.  It's a circle I'll gladly continue. 

Good friends came, enjoyed the game with us.  As I say, normally I am a bundle of nerves watching the Frogs on tv, but last night I just didn't feel like we could lose.  My friend Cathy felt the same.  She and her husband, Chris sat serenely on the couch watching the Frogs do their job, one play at a time. 

And at the end, the Frogs had stayed strong and done what they had decided to do.  They won.  They wanted to be champions, and as a proud alum, I felt like it was one of the best holiday gifts any one of us received. 

It was a win for everyone who has ever been told that you just aren't enough....whatever.  Those boys have always accepted with grace that there are things about college football that they cannot change, no matter how good a team they are.  So they do what they can with what they are given.  They are every day heroes, making it happen. 

The boys arrive home today, with stars still in their eyes I imagine.  I know I'm still pinching myself.  It was an awesome way to begin the new year.  Thank you, Frogs.  Everything looks pretty rosy right now.