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Archive for August, 2010

Aug 31 2010

Beyond Two Miles

Posted by Mugs @ 11:31 am in Pets,Running

I am still plodding along towards my goal of running the 5k (3.1 mile) Turkey Trot in November on Thanksgiving morning. At the end of June, I was feeling good and had worked my way up to two miles.

Then the summer heat and my inherent laziness dealt me a blow. The temperature repeatedly rose above 90 degrees and with high humidity, even at 0800, I lacked all energy to run very far. My runs shortened to a mile or a mile and a half. When I finished running, I would be dripping with sweat.

One morning, in a heat daze, I found myself walking along and it slowly dawned on me that I was no longer running. “When did I stop running?” I wondered, but had no answer. Thankfully, I arrived home safely. I drank a lot of water that day, for I recalled the dazed man I saw almost collapse within sight of the finish line at Dale’s last race. The man had no idea where he was or what he was doing. A kind bystander, who he almost collapsed on, helped him across the finish line and into an ambulance.

In my dazed state, I thought I could hear past drill instructors yelling at me from my memories, “Drink Water!”

Blaze wasn’t too keen on these summer runs either. At the end of each run, he would be panting heavily, his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Trust me, this wasn’t a result of my rate of speed. To get back at me for this torture, Blaze would take an inconvenient nature break that forced me to carry a smelly bag as we plodded towards home.

During the summer, I was the one taking Blaze out of his kennel in the morning, so he couldn’t escape the leash that forced him to run. Now that school has started, Gabe feeds him and puts him out in the backyard first thing. The other morning when I opened the back door, leash in hand, ready for the run, Blaze high tailed it down the steps and under the porch before I could grab him. Not wanting to crawl under the porch to drag him out and not wanting to play “Catch me if you can!” (which I can’t), I just went running by myself. As I left, he sat at the gate and watched me go.

Last week, the oppressive heat finally broke and I began to consider reaching the two mile mark again. I set before Dale the task of finding me a two mile route. While it is true that Dale already has a two mile route starting at our house, plotted out for Josiah. It is also true that I don’t like that route, because it involves hills.

Be warned: If Dale has plotted out a route, it is best not to disparage it in any way.

I asked him to plot out my new route along a flat stretch of road in distances of 2 miles, 2 1/4 miles, 2 1/2 miles, 2 3/4 miles, 3 miles, and 3.1 miles. While Dale was attempting to do this, I interrupted him and asked him to do something else.

Be warned: This annoying habit of asking someone to do one thing and while they are in the middle of it, asking them to do another thing, is my best effort to drive family members, relatives, and friends crazy. When I do this to you, consider yourself one of the family.

Because of the second thing I asked Dale to do, he was never able to finish my new routes. However, he did tell me where exactly the one mile mark would be.

A few days later, I ran the route Dale originally plotted for Josiah.

Be warned: I do some things just out of spite.

Aug 30 2010

Haircuts

Posted by Mugs @ 8:48 pm in Family

The children attend a school where, much to Gabe’s dismay, hair length is regulated. Gabe’s hair grows fast and thick and is almost always an unruly mess. The principal does not often talk to Gabe, but when she does it is most likely to say, “Get a haircut!”

When school finished last spring, I told the kids that they did not have to get their haircut at all during the summer. I also told Josiah that he did not have to shave. By the end of the summer, Josiah looked like a 25 year old hippie, and Gabe’s hair was a tad bit long.

Zeke actually loves to get a haircut, because he wants his hair to be “the sticky up kind,” and Abby wants to go more often than I am willing to pay.

The haircuts may have changed their look, but as the before and after shots attest, it doesn’t always change their attitude.

Aug 29 2010

St. Louis City Museum

Posted by Mugs @ 8:30 pm in Family,Sightseeing

On our way to Minnesota this summer, we stopped by to see my brother Howie and his family in St. Louis. Every trip to see Uncle Howie, brings a new place to explore. We’ve been to the Magic House to blow bubbles and make our hair stand on end. We’ve been to the zoo on a rainy day and enjoyed the animals and the free admission. We’ve traveled in a tiny compartment to the top of the Arch in search of a grand view. We’ve cheered loudly when Albert Pujols hit a home run at a Cardinal’s game, and we’ve learned about sound waves at the Science Museum.

I knew that Howie, who never runs out of fun places to go, would find yet another unexpected gem. He, of course, did just that.

This time we visited the St. Louis City Museum, and it was a fun place indeed. The museum looks as if it was created by a group of architects, artists, metal workers, and carpenters scheming to try to keep their own children entertained. It is a wildly fun place.

We decided to go up on the roof first, and slide on the giant slides. The elevator had a wait, so I told the kids we would just walk up. I was excited when I read that to get back down, we could ride a ten story slide. This information should have clued me in to the fact that a slide ten stories long could only be in a building ten stories high.  Sometimes I’m not too swift, and in this instance I exhibited that both mentally and physically. The kids were none too happy as we trudged up ten flights of stairs.

On the roof, we discovered a giant metal praying mantis, a ferris wheel, a wide metal slide, a long concrete slide, a giant rope swing, a cage to climb in, a stepping stone fountain, and a bus dangling off the edge of the roof. The ferris wheel guy liked Abby, so we kept going around while other people got on and then got off.

“Go around again!”

The roof was a lot of fun, but the ten story slide down was a major disappointment. The slide was made of metal, and it was in need of wax paper. The place figured this out eventually, and started sending people down with wax paper to sit on. We were not so lucky and had to scoot the ten stories to the bottom.

Our disappointment with the ten story slide was quickly washed away by the sight of the dinosaur cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites. There were giant dinosaurs carved into the spines of the rocks, bubbling glowing pools, crystals, and places to climb over, under and through.

“Cool!” could be heard echoing off the walls.

Outside the museum, there is a massive metal climbing structure big enough for adults to climb up, over and through. The bones of airplanes are welded on at the top, and once my nephew Ean (3 yrs old) saw them, he said “Airplane! Airplane! Airplane!” until we climbed on up.

There are also giant ball pits in which you can pummel others and others can pummel you. My nephew Jadon jumped in and was nearly lost amongst the rubber balls. Josiah and Gabe undertook a dodge ball war with some pushy kid. It took them awhile to make their escape.

Above the dinosaur cave is a large gallery decorated with glass shards and strips of cloth It looks like the sea. It has a giant whale to climb in which contains more slides and secret passages, including one that goes under the floor. The kids went down under the floor, and when they did not reemerge from the hole I was watching, I began to fear that they had gotten stuck. Not wanting to get stuck down there myself, I sent Dale down to find them. He managed to jimmy his way through and thankfully discovered an alternate exit.

On the second floor, we found a machine that made shoe laces, a bank vault to walk through, and a giant wooden barrel in which to have a race. Everyone gave the barrel race a go, and Dale felt no sympathy when he sent his children sliding down the slats.

The third floor was the location of Ean’s most loved train ride, a lame yet funny magic show that my niece Aaralyn smiled at, a building block area, and an art room. In the art room, Abby made a mask, Gabe sculpted a banana, and Zeke painted a picture. Dale was supposed to be helping Zeke and he decided it would be helpful to give Zeke a lot of paint. There was so much paint on Zeke’s picture that it took an entire day to dry. Gabe’s clay banana sculpture was dropped and broken, in commemoration of his wooden banana sculpture which years earlier was dropped and broken.

Please no more banana sculptures!

The funnest area on the third floor was the skateless park. It was a large room filled with skate ramps and a lot of children jumping off, over, and on top of them. Zeke’s favorite ramp was really steep and he slid down it over and over and over again. Josiah was quite adept at sliding down one ramp at a run, running up the one across from it and scaling the top. If I could find a medicine ball, he would be ready for the IOCT.

The entire visit was filled with the unexpected and the kids had a blast. My favorite moment came when Josiah sat down at a ratty looking grand piano (sitting in the middle of the third floor landing) and played Linus and Lucy. A hush fell over the crowd and many people stopped in their tracks. When he finished, a loud cheer rose up. For me, it was a wonderful moment on a wonderful day filled with imagination.

Aug 27 2010

Time With The Cousins

Posted by Mugs @ 1:01 pm in Family,Sightseeing

When I go through a difficult time, my perspective can become skewed towards negativity. The grievousness of the situation shields my eyes from the simple joys, the happy times, the laughs. Although there was sadness this past summer, there were also precious times and good moments to remember. Once again, a great thankfulness has overtaken me that we are all alive and well. I am ever grateful to have been raised in a family that finds pockets of peace and joy even during the hard times.

Aug 23 2010

Early Bedtimes

Posted by Mugs @ 10:30 am in Family

With the start of school comes the painful process of enforcing earlier bed times. Josiah has been the least likely to fight this, primarily because for the last three weeks, he has had a schedule that looked like this:

0600 Wake up and run the neighbor’s dog.

0800 Cross Country practice – run 6 to 8 miles.

1700 Walk the neighbor’s dog, because you can no longer run, attempt not to pass out in the humid 90 degree heat.

2200 Go to bed because you are exhausted just thinking about doing the same thing tomorrow.

Abby pretends she goes to bed, but has a flash light hidden in her bed, so she doesn’t actually go to sleep.

Gabe just goes to bed. He, like his father, is an early bird. No  matter when he goes to sleep, he usually wakes up before 7.

Zeke knows he is supposed to go to sleep, doesn’t want to go to sleep, and thinks of new maneuvers each night to drag out the “go to bed” drama.

Below is the conversation he had with his father the other night:

Zeke: “I’m just getting a drink of water.”

Dale: “You don’t need any more drinks of water. You have had plenty of drinks.”

Zeke: “I have a lot of saliva.”

Dale: “Well, go spit in the trash can!”

(Zeke goes over and spits in the trash can. I am laughing hysterically. Dale finally cracks.)

Dale: “Get a drink and go to bed.”

(His siblings are justified in their complaints that the boy is spoiled. However, in our defense, the things the boy says are just plain funny.)