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Ebert, sand monsters, candy, & rest days

If you want to say something questionable to a movie geek, question Roger Ebert's taste in film. He, to be blunt, was probably the most accurate test of how good a movie was by how he judged the quality. The more I learned about film, the more I came to rely on Ebert's review as a shortcut to whether a film was worth seeing. After seeing a film, I'd read the Ebert review to see how close I came to impeccable movie taste. What did he see? What did I miss? How did Ebert explain the directing, the acting, the framing, the set design? 

In short, he was movies. The only other people on his level are named Spielberg, Kubrick...he'll be remembered in Hollywood as a great in the same breath as Hitchcock, Welles, Cary Grant. A legend. 

Being from Chicago, last night the local news/talk was filled with stories, clips, and people remembering Ebert. As a frequent reader of both his movie and non-industry writing, I knew quite a bit about what an amazing man he was. He could hold court, intelligently, on subjects other than fact, he hadn't really wanted to be a movie reviewer. But some of the stories surprised even me. His hard-drinking 1970's, his very hot/cold relationship with partner Siskel...they disliked each other, but--in his own words--could unite against a common enemy. 

Ebert could defend his ideas against all comers, but did so with class and a warmth and charm that stayed even in his darkest days of illness. The world is a little short on heroes these days--honest to goodness people we can look up to as examples of how to live and treat others. Ebert was one of the few. 

* * * 

Lately, I've been trying to take the kids to the playground in the afternoons after they've gotten up from naps and had lunch. The weather has been warmer and getting them out of the house is a delight. Plus, I'm trying to set the stage for a summer of bike rides, picnics, and outings. 

But Cole has been reluctant. Especially because we've turned them into pickups of the mama when she's working from the library. He wants to skip straight to "get mama!" So cute...I hope she feels the love in that small little gesture. 

So yesterday, the playground we usually go to wasn't enough to tempt him. I turned to sand. And the mere idea of a sandbox had him changing his mind. But it turned out to be Leda who spent most of the afternoon in the pit--filling cups with sand then dumping them all over herself. When Kelly went to give her a bath in the evening, there was sand in Leda's diaper. 

Cole, on the other hand, found the dump trucks and diggers left there and spent most of the afternoon parading them in a line around the playground equipment. Under. Over. Down the slide. When we first arrived, some bossy little girls asked to immediately borrow the shovel we'd brought then pushed him waiting for the slide. He was so confused. 

* * *

This morning, Cole was in the kitchen and started snooping around the candy drawer (yes, we have a candy drawer). He wanted some, but I noted that he needed to go practice sitting on his potty first. Which he tried to tell his mom was what he wanted...but she didn't hear me and didn't understand him. 

Which led to him asking again after a diaper change and then a standoff of sorts. He wanted candy. I insisted he do something for it. It was really the first encounter I've had as a parent with a strict battle of the wills. His independent desires versus being under my rules. It was a very self-aware child development milestone for me. The marked start of him realizing he can challenge my authority. It's weird to realize he's his own little being. 

* * *

I made an early comment on a thread about "rest days" and the importance (or not) of them during endurance training. And have now been amused while reading the debate that popped up about how critical rest and recovery is or isn't. Too many variables! It's like watching someone insist Mozart is the best music have a point, but it's so wildly open to interpretation that the comment itself becomes worthless. 

Interestingly enough, Joe Friel posted on his blog today about some new triathlon science and research into endurance athletes. And one thing he covered was block periodization. Interestingly, it helps some people. Also interestingly, it hurts others. Let this be a lesson that you are not anybody else. Very few things apply to everyone. 

Several times I've nearly piped up that the science geek in me wants to reframe the issue to stop the bickering. Rather than debate the word "rest" perhaps it would be better to think of workouts as "stress" with how much stress you apply to your body being one variable. Then the time it takes your body to adapt to that stress to gain fitness as another. Plus nutrition. Plus macro and micro cycles of periodization. Too complicated? I agree. You can't standardize all that across the board. Which is what makes the conversation ridiculous. 

The bottom line is listen to your body and don't pay attention to others. Do what works for you and to hell with everybody else.