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Showing posts from September, 2014

Taper time!

With my 20 miler under my belt yesterday morning, it's time to taper. I felt pretty good in terms of fitness and muscle fatigue for most of the way and am actually going to chalk up my not feeling well to the heat. It was 60 at the start and in the 70's by the time I ended and I'm simply not a very good runner in warmer weather. I accept it. Came home, opened the door, and found a puddle of pee in our hallway and my son with a worried look on his face saying, "I'm so sorry." So no usual post-run euphoria for me. I had to shower and we were meeting another family at a fall festival. I didn't get enough to eat or drink either, spent more time on my feet, didn't nap, and ended up falling asleep on the couch a little sore.

I'm mostly doing ok this morning. Which is, I'm hoping, a good sign.

The hot topic in endurance sports lately seems to be taper length. Mine is going to be the standard 3 weeks though people are doing more or less these days. As…

Moving beyond feminism?

No, this is not one of those "do we still need feminism" or "why I'm not a feminist" posts. We very much still need feminism and I very much am one.

But Emma Watson, bless her, has caused quite a stir this last week over her speech to the United Nations. Her speech--correctly--has brought to the front all sorts of dialogues about the role of men in feminism and the equally-interesting discussion about what happens when feminist principles are brought to the men's side of things. There's a lot going on here, but I'll try to unpack a little of what I've seen.

Dads immediately had a positive reaction...what I saw, at least. Especially at the attempt to identify the fight to bring an end to male stereotypes and discrimination against men. It was posted on walls, quoted, and links to the speech were added as a great step forward in gender equality. For those of us who have daughters we're trying to raise with feminist ideals, it's not such a …

Beginning Beekeeping

Last night I started learning about beekeeping from Morton Arboretum's beekeeper, Greg Fischer, of Wild Blossom Meadery. He's kept bees since he was young and, by the way, brings a selection of meads to sample for class. (Last night we had one sweet and one dry and I confess to liking the dry better.) Greg does have a presentation on his computer about bee types, hive types, hive basics, and such, but the real treat is in hearing him speak at length about his passion. He sometimes loses his train of thought, but can go off the top of his head about bees in a way that is both accessible and complete. And he's totally open to questions from the practical to the philosophical.

Some of you may remember my previous seminar during a "bee weekend" and I liked it enough to come back for even more. I'd say I'm in the middle of the class with a range from "about to start a hive this spring" to "what's a bee?" I have enough knowledge to educa…

You want what?

Last night was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.

It took us 2 hours to get through 2 items on the agenda so we ended up tabling a 3rd item until next time. In theory, they were pretty simple issues...whether to allow on-street parking overnight on 2 local streets by permit and what to do about speeding on another local street.

Before the meeting, I had access to lots of basic information in a packet that is available to commissioners. In my head, I already had the start of an opinion. But sitting down at the table, staff handed me another small packet of e-mails from residents giving comments. And there were 20 or so residents in the room waiting to speak to us in-person via public testimony. There is time to question staff and get clarification on ordinances, history, data, and any specifics. Then the task is to converse with your other commission members and come up with some sort of...action.

But keep in mind that action has to be a recommendation to elected officials…

Lessons from my well-socialized kids

Yesterday, while talking to a mom outside my son's school, I made the observation that whatever our misgivings about particular elements of our children's education, their opinion was what really counts in the end. Especially at age 4. It doesn't matter how I feel, what matters is that my 4 year old is having fun, learning, excited, and gets to see his friends.

And mine is. It kind of amazes me actually. Because I was definitely not that kid. My son is in many ways...well, me. But in other--very important--ways he is unlike me to the point where he is unrecognizable to me. That push-pull sometimes clouds my judgment in how to handle him.

I'm sure some of the readers of my blog remember me in preschool. They may even beg to differ with my account. It's just a general feeling. Very few specifics are in the memory banks. I remember some cardboard blocks painted to look like bricks. Floor mats with wooden gym equipment for tunnels and slides. I remember singing lots of…

5th running anniversary

It's been a weird week.

I've had a cold with an over 100 degree fever, yet still had a checkup at the doctor on Monday. Where they found I had high blood pressure that day (cold meds?), a slight and apparently normal heart murmur, and I'm being sent for a list of blood tests because...well, I'm old. Or, at least, I've reached the age where I've started getting lectured about things that could kill me. Something eventually will but fortunately nothing on the laundry list is immediate.

I could still probably eliminate some more processed foods from my diet, do a little better about working out during the off season, drink a little less alcohol. The irony is that I'm probably in the best shape of my life fitness-wise. Sure I'm carrying around a few extra pounds, but I certainly can do things in terms of athletic performance that I never could when I was young. Health is weird like that. I certainly don't expect my body to be a physical specimen of perf…

Mammals, terrorists, and Disney

My kids are currently obsessed with eggs.

Any eggs. Kinder Surprise Eggs. Baby chicks hatching out of eggs. Ants laying eggs. Nests. And cheetahs hatching out of me back up. My son doesn't understand mammals. We've had the talk several times. And he gets that mammals don't hatch, but I think it presents him with a kind of philosophical quandary. Every other creature--fish, birds, insects, reptiles, dinosaurs--seems to come from an egg. He seems to feel ripped off. It makes no sense...there's no rational explanation for why we mammals do it differently. (We'll ignore egg-laying mammals for now.)

Now that's the kind of question that bothers me as to how to answer as a parent. Why don't mammals lay eggs? It's like my 4 year old asking how big the universe is or why are we here. No way to make that answer age-appropriate without feeling like I'm doing him a scientific disservice.

On the other hand, my kids comprehend bad guys. With the a…

Ha, ha...sexism

A couple of people...dudes even...have taken to posting one of those "har har" funny pics on social media of men doing something stupid with the tag line "why women live longer than men." Cute. This latest one is a couple of guys, a ladder, stairs, and a rather novel way of getting at those high spaces. 
I'm not one for taking away anybody's right to a good laugh. Even somewhat questionable, possibly offensive laughs...sometimes those are the best. But it also seems like a good time, fellas, to do some straight talk about our mortality rate. And it actually has little to do with us doing dumb stuff on lawnmowers. 
We see the doctor less than women. We exercise less. We're out of work in higher rates. We eat worse than women. We're less educated than women. We're in prison at higher rates than women. We have fewer friends. We're in more high risk occupations. 
The list goes on and on. 
Do men do stupid stuff? Maybe. But if you stop and think …

Challenge Family and Rev 3 merge

A couple of disclaimers as I start this post. 1) I have applied to be a Team Rev 3 member for 2015. My understanding is that the team will continue under the Challenge brand. But I'm in no way currently affiliated with any of the major triathlon companies. 2) Triathletes, I'm writing this for the general public who may not be as familiar with the sport. 

Like most people who come to triathlon, my first taste of it was due to Kona. That's the famed Ironman World Championships held on the Big Island each year--the one you see on TV in the award-winning NBC broadcast. The telecast usually covers both the pros and a few inspiring Age Group amateurs who have overcome obstacles or have amazing backstories. It's always inspiring and uncompromising in the portrayal of how difficult a 140.6 mile race is. But with a healthy dose of "you can do it, too." It's dramatic and full of emotion.

It also helped that The Mama was a triathlete when I met her. She'd raced …

When to turn on the dad-rage?

We're new to this school thing. So sometimes it's hard to know what to make a big deal out of and what to let slide in Buddha-like compassion for others. My general rule when it comes to my kids is that anything that doesn't bother them requires an extra level of scrutiny before it rises to "problem" territory for me. Something of a developmental equivalent to "no harm, no foul." It may bother me but if it's something over their little heads then chances are it's a problem only grown-ups have.

Which is exactly what happened yesterday at pickup from school. The fact that it was at school thus put it in the realm of quasi-child-related issues. But--this is big--it happened while my child wasn't present. It didn't directly involve a teacher of his. It involved school staff. Which, by my usual definition, put it firmly into the realm of "non-problem." Let it go.

Essentially, it was school policy related to pick up procedure. Despit…