Viva la Résistance!

Just like so many of you, I went to the Women’s March on Washington today.

What an amazing thing. People marched all over the world. The magnitude of the marches was incredible. I am so proud of protestors for standing up for what they believe. It was a joy to see all my friends on my Facebook feed and their photos of the march or their messages of solidarity for those of us who were able to go.

The idea of going into DC with a gazillion other people pretty much sounded like my worst nightmare, but I wanted to add my body and my voice to the crowd. (Calling congressional offices to express my opinion also sounds awful, but I’ve been doing that too. I hope you are as well.)

Fortunately, I found a couple of good people to go with: Sam and my friend Sunday.

Photo of Sam, Sunday, and me at the Women's March.

We were a good team.

We were going to try to meet some other friends, but it was completely impossible to get anywhere there. By 9 am, we’d wormed our way up to the side front of the crowd, but then discovered that our friends were (of course) on the opposite side of the street.

We did see Jesse Jackson though.

Photo of Jesse Jackson at the march.

Sam: “Who’s Jesse Jackson?” Urgh. I needs to do some edumacating. Once we got home I gave Sam an assignment to research both Jackson and Gloria Steinem before Monday.

The three of us spent a lot of time wandering around through the crowd. We saw a lot of great signs. We saw so many beautiful people. We witnessed nothing but courtesy and friendliness. We were able to hear some of the speeches, but there were so many people there that it was difficult to see the big screens or hear.

Photo of a sea of people in front of the capitol.

So. Very. Many. People.

We did not, however, see food. At some point I realized that I had my child with me and I should feed him and also, maybe more importantly, feed myself because I was hungry too. We then began to wander with a little more direction. Unfortunately when there are so many people crammed together, there is no food without big lines. Eventually we found a CVS and made up a lunch of potato chips, cheese sticks, nuts, and candy.

Photo of Sam sitting on a railing eating a handful of chips.

Am very good mother.

We spent some more time walking around and talking. After standing in the cold for so long, it was starting to get chilly. I had told Sam to wear a coat, but he insisted that his sweatshirt over his t-shirt would be fine. I tried to insist, but he was having none of it.

Sometimes I hate being right.

I bear hugged him for a long time to keep him warm but then he finally took me up on my offer to trade his tiny, thin sweatshirt for my awesome, warm coat.

Photo of Sam wearing my coat with the hood up.

Am VERY good mother.

At some point after one, we began to look for a bathroom. Because it was, you know, a women’s march, there were like 15 porta potties and a thousand people in line for each of them. Our trek led us near our Metro station and since we were pretty tired by then and Sam was definitely ready to go home, we decided to head out.

We didn’t know it at the time, but there were rumors that there were so many people at the march that there was no longer any room for an actual, formal march. I think people might have marched later, but we were there until 1:30 or so and although there were definitely people marching off the published route, the main march hadn’t started.

It was absolutely exhausting, but I am so glad we went. Thanks to Sunday for letting Sam and me tag along at the last minute.

We all know that one protest march isn’t the answer. There is a lot of real and tangible work to be done. But it is a powerful symbol. And today was powerful indeed.

It’s Only a Matter of Time Before He’s on the Food Network

One of the first things I wanted to do after I finished my marathon was to take a nap. But then I wanted to eat sopapillas and drink margaritas. See, the last time I was in Texas, we went to eat Tex Mex food and there were sopapillas and they were delicious and Quinn ate some and he fell in love with them and now every time I go to Texas I have to eat sopapillas (and drink margaritas—but Quinn doesn’t do that part yet).

See?

Photo of me eating a sopapilla in front of a large plate full of sopapillas.

Not pictured: My margarita

I have yet to find a place in Maryland that serves sopapillas, which is why it is so important to eat them when in Texas (or New Mexico, where they originated). Quinn, yearning for them upon our return from Texas forced me to help him make some, making our home the place in Maryland that serves sopapillas. That was nearly two years ago.

This year for his school’s international night, Quinn was offered the option of creating a cooking video as his project. He volunteered to make sopapillas. In case you would also like to know how to make sopapillas, I asked for Quinn’s permission to post his video here.

He did all the cooking and I did all the shooting and editing, which was quick and utilitarian, but solid. Although when he got home from turning in his flash drive he very matter-of-factly said, “I told them I edited it.”

(I think they might have known he was lying through his teeth.)

For your viewing and cooking pleasure:

I highly recommend you make and eat them. Enjoy!

Mission Accomplished!

I just got back from Houston today after finishing my marathon. That’s right, friendos, I’m now officially a marathoner.

My stepfather took the following photo of me clapping with joy shortly after I crossed the finish line. I think I look so happy not because I just ran a marathon but because I could finally stop moving.

Photo of me after crossing the finish line. I am grinning and kind of clapping.

Actually it was because I was so delighted to see my family cheering for me.

I finished in just under six hours, which is significantly longer than my goal time. I also probably walked at least two of the last five miles when I realized just how damn hard a marathon is. I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to run the whole thing, but I also realize that I did the very best I could do and I am very proud of myself for ambulating 26.2 miles, almost all of them at a run—or at least a rapid shamble.

I’ll be back soon with a race report. I tell you, this race was quite a thing. I’m so happy I did it. I enjoyed the whole thing so much that I am already itching to do another one. 2017 might just be a two-marathon year.

Until I have my race report ready, I just want all of you to know that I’m so grateful for your support and all of the support from my family. I couldn’t have gotten more love on this endeavor and I know just how lucky I am. Thank you!

Past Stimey is at it Again

Oh, man. It’s actually happening.

I think it might have been last June when Past Jean decided it would be a GREAT idea for Future (now Present) Jean to run a marathon. Past Jean is an asshole.

I have run sooooo many miles to train. I downloaded a training plan and I followed it to the mile. I ran my 20-mile training run on Christmas Eve and then I walked two miles home because Alex chose a video game over me and left his phone in the other room and therefore didn’t get my text asking him to pick me up. Then my phone died so I couldn’t call him. It’s like Santa came early.

I have two miles to run tomorrow morning and two more on Saturday morning and then I toe up to the start line on Sunday. The marathon I am running is the Houston Marathon, so I leave for Houston tomorrow after work.

I felt pretty calm and confident about the whole thing right up until I started packing. Then I panicked. A marathon?! Oy. As my friend texted to me the other night, “You know that’s, like, TWO half marathons, right?”

Anywho.

The reason I chose the Houston Marathon is because it is flat. And because my mom lives in Houston. Also, I wanted to run in the winter so it would be cool, but because it was in Houston, it would not be too cool.

You’ll be happy to hear that it’s going to be 75 degrees and humid on Sunday. Oh, and it’ll be raining. This is not ideal for someone who has largely trained in 40-degree weather, also known as The Weather That Is So Cold Your Phone Battery Will Completely Drain Before You Have Time To Call Someone To Pick You the Fuck Up.

I’ve packed my tank top to run in. I’m bringing my Camelbak because it might be hot enough to need it. My shoes are in my backpack. I have my energy blocks for mid-race fueling and I have a grocery list made up of jam, peanut butter, and Snickers bars. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting something absolutely fucking crucial,* but honestly, at a certain point all I can do is go out and run.

This is actually one of the best things about races. There is a lot of hoopla leading up to it and so much goes into it, but once you cross the starting line, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. That’s what I’m going to do. For 26.2 miles.

I am unstoppable. I am unstoppable. I am unstoppable.

Then I am going to eat so many sopapillas and drink so many margaritas. I am going to be a total embarrassment to my family. It’s going to be great.

You can follow along with my progress on the 15th if you want. You can track me on the Run Hou ’17 app or on the race website. I’m bib number 14922. The local ABC station website will be showing live footage of the finish line until 1pm Houston time as will ESPN3. I plan to cross the finish line between 12:12pm and 12:25pm after running for more than five hours.

Actually it will be later than that because my corral will start substantially later than the 7am start time. I’ll be taking a map of the route with me in case it takes me past the six-hour cut-off time to run the thing. It turns out that I slow down significantly after about 16 or 17 miles.

Here we go, people. Good luck, Five Days Hence Jean.

 

* Seriously, what did I forget?

Stimey’s 2017 Race Calendar

Photo of me running next to words that say, "Stimey's 2017 Race Calendar"

January 15: Houston Marathon
Houston, TX
26.2 miles
Official time: 5:56:08 (PR)

February 19: Sykesville Shiver Shuffle
Sykesville, MD
5K
Official time: 34:24

March 25: MCM 17.75K
Sykesville, MD
17.75K (11.03 miles)
Official time: 2:20:32

April 1: Run to Remember
Columbia, MD
7K
Official time:

May 6: Nanty Narking Nearly 9K
Sandy Spring, MD
Unclear
Official time:

May 20: Germantown 5 Miler
Germantown, MD
5 miles
Official time:

September 17: Revenge of the Penguins
Carderock, MD
20 miles
Official time:

October 22: Marine Corps Marathon
Washington, DC
26.2 miles
Official time:

 

 

Beginning-o-Year Postaramalamadingdong

Alex says the fact that my last post here was on December 2 should, “weigh on you very fucking heavily.” And then he gave me a disapproving look.

Well, Mr. I Can’t Even Be Bothered to Put Emoticons, Signatures, and Explanatory Paragraphs in Emails, Much Less Write a Blog, we can’t have that, now can we?

First things first: Happy New Year. Let’s get this shitstorm known as 2017 started, shall we? Ugh.

Alex was in New York for concerts (obviously), so my kids and I celebrated New Year’s by watching TV, playing a vigorous game of indoor catch with foam dice, eating delicious snack foods, and doing things like putting scarfs on cats.

Photo of a cat wearing a scarf. Her ears are back and she looks vaguely horrified.

Starfire sez, “Halp.”

It was a good time. We were all in bed by 12:07.

Today is the day for resolutions. To that I say, “Let’s check out how last year’s resolutions went.”

Resolution #1 was to write more. Oy. NOT accomplished. (See above note about December 2.) I only wrote 46 posts in 2016, down from 51 in 2015. Let’s carry this one over to 2017. I resolve to write more in 2017. I got a new computer for Christmas and I’ve already put charging cords all over the house, so I can’t be all, “Well my computer is going to run out of power so I should probably just crush this candy instead.” Also, I’ve already transferred my book writing software (purchased in 2013 and clearly highly utilized <—sarcasm) to my new computer as well. Could this be the year for a book? Is it merely the year for the transfer of book writing software to a new computer? Only time will tell.

Resolution #2 was to turn my digital photos in photo books. I’m going to call this partly successful. I have up to 2010 done and hope to do 2016 this week. That just leaves me with five years of backlog and some of those years I don’t even know where the photos are so that should make them super easy. o_O

Resolution #3 was to significantly change my body shape and lose a noticeable amount of weight. I lost just over 28 pounds this year (45 total!), so I’ll call this a win. I’ve also changed sizes. My new jeans and work pants fit for about a month and now they’re baggy too, so yay, me, I guess. Although I don’t really like pants shopping, so now I’ll be baggy for the next year until I’m ready to go shopping again. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m getting there slow and steady, which is the way I want to do it. Therefore, I resolve to continue my weight loss and body change in 2017.

I have two more resolutions that are new this year. I am tempted to make the next one a resolution to run a marathon, but that seems like cheating because I am running a marathon on January 15 and if I don’t check this one off, I’ll be heartbroken and unmotivated to do anything else for the rest of the year, so let’s call that not a resolution but a foregone conclusion and make my running goal this: I resolve to work on running faster in 2017. (Faster for me is still pretty slow for the rest of you.) I plan on continuing to run long, but after January, my long run goal might be a 20-miler in September. Marathon training is hard, y’all. That said, I ran 1,044.4 miles in 2016. I’m not sure I can beat that in 2017.

My last resolution has to do with my kids. Parenting is easier now that they are older and do things on their own. That said, I’m starting to miss them. I feel like I can go whole weekends without spending quality time with them because they’re off doing their own things and I’m off doing errands (or running for hours; see “marathon training is hard”). So, I resolve to spend more time with my family doing things together in 2017. I realized that Sam is likely to leave home in just over three years and his brothers aren’t far behind him. I’m lucky that they still like to do things with Alex and I, so I’m going to take advantage of that and force them to do even more things with Alex and I until we are all so sick of each other that we’ll be happy to part ways when college time arrives.

I hope that if you are a resolution person that you have the best of luck with yours as well. From Team Stimey to Team You, Happy New Year!

Four photos, each one taken in front of a Christmas tree: 1. Quinn 2. Jack and his cat Starfire gazing at each other 3. Sam 4. Selfie of me and Alex

Team Stimey says happy 2017 and we hope it’s not as bad as we fear it could be.

Summer in December, Wisconsin Vacation Part III

I know that it is December and we got back from summer vacation months and months ago, but I have to finally write this because Sam keeps asking for it. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, SAM?! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!

Remember how months ago we went to a cottage and then a cabin in Wisconsin? Well, after that we went to a resort town called Wisconsin Dells. We’d been there three years ago and Team Stimey was ready to go back.

We arrived way after bedtime, so we checked in to our hotel and got ready for bed. I remembered something we had left in the car and went back out to be greeted by the dawning realization that very clearly there was a cheerleader camp taking place at the resort and ours was the only room on our entire floor that wasn’t full of teenage girls.

The horror. The horror.

I should take a moment here to pay homage to the hero of our vacation: my noise canceling headphones. Seriously. This would have been a very different vacation without them, especially in Cheerleaderville.

Jack in particular had been really excited to go back to the waterpark. He, along with Quinn, couldn’t wait to get in the wave pool and the lazy river and the waterslides.

Photo of Jack in a double inner tube totally reclining.

This is one of his relaxo places.

Photo of a double red waterslide with Jack going down it on the left and Quinn on the right.

And this is his excito place—Jack on the left, Quinn on the right.

Sam and Alex, however, were a little less excited by the whole deal.

Photo of pool-side chairs and tables. Alex and Sam are sitting at one reading books.

If you look closely, you can see Killjoy One and Killjoy Two reading books at a table.

Alex did eventually join the water people and Sam spent some time swimming, but I think he might have only gone on one waterslide total over the course of three days.

That’s okay though, because there are so many other things to do at Wisconsin Dells. I spearheaded one particularly successful outing to take advantage of these attractions early on in our stay.

I had seen a poster for something called Zombie Outbreak and it looked awesome. It’s like laser tag where you wind your way through a dark, twisty building and people dressed as zombies jump out at you and you have to shoot them in the head or else they tag you and you lose points.

Clearly this was the right place to take my kids.

I asked everyone in the family if they wanted to join me and even showed them a short video I found online so they could know what to expect. Turns out, the video didn’t fully capture the experience of Zombie Outbreak.

Selfie of me, Sam, and Jack in front of the Zombie Outbreak sign.

Quinn and Alex were smart enough to hear “zombie” and stay in the car. Sam and Jack were foolishly brave.

You guys, it was so much fun. Although when we were getting our training and Jack was all, “I don’t like jump scares,” I probably should have guessed that it wasn’t going to go well. At least I learned who I’d be able to count on in the zombie apocalypse. Answer: ME.

It went SO badly. Jack was devastated by the experience and ran out of the building crying once he was finally able to escape. Sam covered his dismay a little better.

In a desperate bid to make Jack love me again after I permanently scarred him, I suggested that we do some go-karting.

Mission success! Jack loved me again. Quinn, on the other hand, was collateral damage in a high speed go-kart wreck caused by reckless teenagers and bashed his head against the headrest, sending him to the car in tears, making that two of my kids I’d badly damaged in the span of an hour.

Jack in a go-kart

Jack took Quinn’s extra ticket after he was injured. As long as only one kid at a time is emotionally, psychologically, or physically hurt, I’m doing okay, right?

Knowing when we were beat, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and more swimming, which, thanks to poolside dining, took place at the same time. Dinner was made even better by the arrival of vermin looking for a handout.

Photo of Quinn eating a burger in the foreground, with a raccoon visible on the other side of a chainlink fence.

I’m guessing that raccoon is pretty well fed.

The last time we’d been to Wisconsin Dells, the standout event was JET BOAT! Naturally, we wanted to do it again. JET BOAT! is a tour of the area waterways on a speedboat that spins out and splashes the passengers and is generally awesome for the whole family. Not like a zombie apocalypse at all.

Photo of Jack, Quinn, Alex, and Sam on the boat before the tour.

Look at everyone all dry and excited.

Photo taken of the front of the boat entirely engulfed in splashing water

Then this happened.

Photo of Jack, Quinn, Alex, and Sam, now quite wet.

And we were left with this. If you look really closely, you can actually see water dripping from Jack’s nose.

Alex really wanted to go miniature golfing at this very cool course that we drove past and we were going to do it after JET BOAT! but for obvious reasons, we were unable to follow through on this and therefore Alex wasn’t able to do the ONE GODDAMN THING he wanted to do in all of Wisconsin Dells and we are MONSTERS.

As we did each night at the Dells, we spent the evening at the indoor water park. Jack and Quinn spent hours in the lazy river and lured me in as well. I liked to float happily around and occasionally take photos of my kids with my phone safely encased in its waterproof pouch. Jack liked to direct my happy floating to spots underneath waterfalls.

Three photos of Jack and I 1. Us floating 2. Me under falling water, Jack laughing hysterically 3. Jack and I laughing.

This is probably the least flattering trio of photos of me ever, but it is unlikely you will even notice that what with Jack OMG JACK AND HIS FACE behind me.

We only had one day left, of which we took full advantage.

Photo of Jack in a swimsuit holding a watersliding mat.

Jack and I went on a bunch of waterslides together. He’s a fun companion.

Alex and Jack on a roller coaster waterslide.

This is Alex with Jack on the roller coaster waterslide. I never even knew such a thing existed. It was great fun.

Sam at the bottom of a waterslide.

This is the one slide Sam went on. I think he lost a bet and had to do it. I wasn’t going to miss the chance to photograph him.

Jack and Quinn hugging in the lazy river.

And I’ve probably said it 800 times, but Quinn and Jack together? They are the best. Here they are hugging and carrying each other in the lazy river. Just because.

“But wait, Stimey,” you may be thinking, “Did you go on any waterslides? Did anyone take a photo of you?”

Don’t worry. I left my phone with Alex when I went on a slide and he captured me at the bottom.

Photo of a splash. No person is visible.

I know it’s brave to put a swimsuit photo of me online.

Our very last night in Wisconsin Dells, we went to dinner at the hotel steakhouse. We’d gone to the same restaurant last time we’d been there. Their motto is “Where Size Matters.” The first time we’d gone, Alex and I had ordered a side dish of potatoes made up of probably five pounds of potatoes that made us feel bad for being Americans.

Photo of a giant cleaver. Quinn has his head on a block under its edge and Sam is pretending to hold the handle.

This blade outside the steakhouse wasn’t sharp enough.

But—and this is probably why Sam wants me to write this post so goldang bad—Sam remembered from the last time we were there that there is a 50-ounce steak on the menu and he had been talking for three years about how he was going to eat one.

But Alex and I are reasonable people—WE ARE—and no way were we going to buy him a 50-ounce steak. That said, we were happy to order the 50-ounce and two plating fees so all three kids could share it.

Sam sitting in front of a plate with a 50-ounce steak on it.

That is a lot of steak.

Unfortunately, both Quinn and Jack had filled up on bread and they each ate about a bite of it then returned their uneaten portions to Sam’s plate.

Jack and Quinn, mouths full of bread.

Based on this photo, I think Jack may just have been too tired to eat as well.

Alex and I consumed our reasonably sized dinners and watched Sam consume huge amounts of food in a short amount of time. One of the staff even came out from the kitchen under the pretense of removing something from our table to gawk.

Two photos of Sam gobbling a steak and one of him giving two thumbs up over a plate with just bones.

He even gnawed off the hard-to-get meat stuck to the bones.

It took him maybe ten minutes. It was, quite honestly, a feat.

Photo of a brownie sundae in front of Alex

And then he shared a dessert with his brothers.

He was a little hysterical for the rest of the night. I think he went into Meat Shock. I kept a close eye on him to make sure he wasn’t going to barf or die or something. He seemed to emerged unscathed.

Sam holding a t-shirt that says "Where Size Matters"

Plus, the restaurant gave him a t-shirt!

The next day we checked out early to start our long drive home. Alex took a bunch of our stuff to the car…

Photo of Alex pushing a luggage cart piled full of luggage.

It turns out that Team Stimey needs a lot of stuff to survive.

…and the kids did their part.

Jack and Quinn carrying two empty cups and a stuffed animal.

Thanks for carrying those two EMPTY cups and a stuffed cat, guys.

From there it was just a billion and six hours to drive home.

Alex driving holding a stuffed cat so it looks like the cat is driving.

This is how you amuse yourself on a billion and six hour drive.

This turned out to be one of the most fun and relaxing vacations that Team Stimey has been on for a long time. It was nothing like the long, stressful stretch of time that it took me to write about it on the interwebs.

Now it might be time to go on another vacation!