Dinner, Team Stimey Junior Style

Although this looks like a pretty ordinary photo, there is not a single thing that I don’t love about it:

Photo of my three kids at the dinner table. The situation will be described in the post below.

(Click to embiggen.)

It so perfectly describes my family. Now I’ll use a thousand words* to tell you exactly how it describes my family.

First of all, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there on the left sits Starfire in a chair. She sat there nearly completely still for a solid 15 minutes all like, “What in the actual fuck? Where is MY plate of spaghetti?”)

I don’t know that we need to go too deeply into our food choices, but there IS a green salad on the table, so maybe that makes up for the canned crescent rolls there on the lazy Susan.

Speaking of that green salad, you might notice that Sam and Jack each have ONE piece of lettuce on their plates. Neither of them was able to finish it. In his defense, however, Jack did lick his. Barely.

You might notice that Sam is ingesting nourishment when I took this photo. That is because he never stops putting food in his mouth. He ate four helpings of the spaghetti. (And then said he was too full to eat his tiny scrap of lettuce.)

You should now move your attention over to Quinn, who looks completely disgruntled. Let the record show that he, in fact, was completely disgruntled. His reasons were twofold: (1) Quinn does not care for spaghetti. Or apparently salad with “cream,” a.k.a. salad dressing. (2) Jack was eating his spaghetti with his fingers, which makes Quinn gag—and scream, apparently.

My house is a riot of conflicting access needs.

Jack tried really hard to eat his spaghetti with his fork, but, c’mon, it’s spaghetti.

Also, you can rest assured that I didn’t actually give Jack poison to drink for dinner.

All in all, a pretty accurate representation of our family dinners. At least no one burst into tears when they arrived at the table and saw what I was serving. That has happened in the past. Often.

Lest you think Team Stimey dinners are all screaming fights and food refusal, I offer the next two photos, which show the end of dinner when Jack spent a good five minutes scripting a joke that *I* didn’t get, but that Sam and Quinn found HILARIOUS.

Photo of my three kids. Quinn has his head back and is laughing uproariously.

You can’t tell, but Sam was laughing too.

Photo of Quinn and Jack. There eyes are locked and they are both smiling. There is a box of double chocolate Krave cereal on the counter behind them.

Jack and Quinn have a really tight connection. This photo totally captures that. I love it.

Also, please don’t judge me for my terribly sugary and non-nutritious cereal choice visible in the background.

* Actual word count: 387

Love

I took a really quick trip last weekend to Southern California. My beautiful aunt passed away late last month and I felt an overwhelming compulsion to hop on a plane and go hug my uncle. Which I did.

There are some things in life that feel really unfair. Losing the love of your life far earlier than you should is one of them. It makes me so sad to know another amazing couple to whom that has happened.

So I’m going to take this opportunity to try to put some love into the world via my aunt’s creative husband and beloved dog.

Photo of a small black and white dog standing next to rocks placed together to spell "LOVE"

You have all my love and friendship, Uncle S.

Musicality, In Progress

Because Sam plays two instruments, he has to practice a lot. Oftentimes this happens in the evening, when I’m sitting in a partially darkened living room and he plays his flute or bassoon, or even sometimes just noodles around on the piano.

It is one of my very favorite things in the whole world.

Just tonight, I was futzing around on my iPad when Sam was practicing his flute. He was trying to work something out, studying his music and working with his metronome. He looked up some piece of music on Alex’s phone and mimed the fingerwork on his instrument as he listened.

He has a PROCESS, people.

It is amazing to watch. I don’t even care if he sounds particularly good or not. It is particularly amazing to me because I am not musical at all. Instrumental music is not something I would have ever suggested to any of my kids as their thing. I think that is part of why I love his musicality so much—it is all his.

Watching your child find and grow into a passion, well, that is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever been privileged to witness.

Sam sitting behind a music stand. He is wearing all black with a black fedora and is holding his flute.

Sam at a jazz band clinic last month

I have no real reason to tell you all this other than sometimes I am just really struck by my children and what they bring to the world.

In case you are less, you know, in wonder at my kid, I’ll give you Sam’s advice for dealing with anxiety during performances or auditions: “If you’re nervous, just pretend that [the audience] are boxes.

“And that a couple of the boxes have heads.”

Sad Cone

I don’t remember if we were driving or running the first time Alex called my attention to him, lying on his side in a muddy puddle. We couldn’t figure out what his purpose was there. There was no logic to his being placed by the side of a running path in the center of a collection of rainwater where it was unlikely anyone would step, whether he was there or not.

“You know what I feel sad for?” Alex asked, pausing before gesturing to the side of the road and answering himself. “Sad Cone.”

Photo of a bright orange cone lying on its side in a puddle of water.And it was. It was so sad. There he was, lying face down in the muck and the freezing cold and the rain. And no one cared about Sad Cone.

Except Alex and me. We cared about Sad Cone.

Sad Cone lived in a puddle by the side of Alex and my running route. We would also regularly drive by Sad Cone. We always made note of him as we passed, checking to see how deep his puddle was or whether his mud coat had climbed higher. Sad Cone became a character in our lives.

During our runs, I told Alex about running mantras and how sometimes internally repeating such a mantra can keep a runner moving when they think they can’t go on. One day, during a particularly difficult stretch, Alex said, “I AM NOT SAD CONE!” and thus was born a running mantra.

(He also sometimes uses, “OUTTA MY WAY, JERKASS!” complete with flailing arms and shoving, but I prefer the Sad Cone mantra.)

We kept Sad Cone company all fall and he gave us a smile every time we ran passed him. We noted when his puddle seemed particularly cold or dirty. We commented when tire tracks appeared around him. His mantra pushed Alex to run when it was hard. We were contemplating bringing a Sharpie on a run so we could give Sad Cone a face and share him with the other runners on our path.

Then, just as Sad Cone’s puddle shallowed and started to ice over so that we could start thinking about reaching him, we drove past one day and noticed that someone had saved him. He was still on his side, but he was on dry pavement on the other side of the road. By the time we went running the next day, Sad Cone was gone entirely.

We didn’t even get to say goodbye.

We’ve been running a few times since Sad Cone left and it’s just not the same. We’ll never know who put him in that puddle or why and we don’t know who took him away. Sad Cone is gone, but we will always remember him.

Project Stimey Enters Year Three

Photo of me running with type over the top that reads "Project Stimey: Part III"Happy New Year, people. I suppose today is the day of resolutions, which I am in full support of. For me, however, it is a day of reaffirming and evaluating Project Stimey, my multi-year Stimey Improvement Program.

For the past couple of years, Project Stimey has been focused on exercise and fitness, something that I have been extremely successful with. I ran nearly 617 miles last year and ran in a dozen races, including a half marathon. Just today I ran my first race of 2015, a 5K in which I set a new personal record.

I still don’t have the body I want, but I finally feel like a runner.

I still have a lot of goals for my running. For example, I want to run 720 miles next year. That’s 60 miles each month. I really want to run 70 miles a month for a total of 840 miles in 2015, but I’m going to make 720 the goal, with an eye on trying to get 70 miles in during as many months as I can. We’ll see how that goes.

I also want to get faster. I’m aiming for consistent 11 minute or faster miles by the end of the year. We’ll also see how that goes. Although my 5K this morning had an average 10:45 minute/mile, so I’ve made a good start.

Project Stimey’s new aspect this year, however, is going to be a focus on my diet. Alex and I want to work on this together, which is great because we are each other’s worst food enemy.

We also have plans to spend less money, allow our kids to play fewer video games and go on hikes every weekend, but mostly that improving our diet thing.

So those are my Project Stimey goals this year: lots of miles, faster pace, better diet. I think that’s enough to keep me busy for the next 12 months, but even so, there is one other thing I want to keep at the front of my mind this year: I want to keep my eye on the joy in running and fitness.

I have fought for a long time to get where I am and I think it is important to make sure I look up and enjoy not just where I’ve gotten to, but the journey I am taking. In fact, that is why Project Stimey is back for a third year and why I chose a photo of me grinning to represent it. Because at the heart, that’s what Project Stimey is all about: joy—joy in being the person I want to be and joy in doing the things that make me that person.

*****

Per usual, you are welcome to follow along by checking out my race calendar and my mileage log. Not only that, but I want to support you and find out what is going to bring you joy and growth this year. Let me know in the comments so I can cheer you on.

Stimey’s 2015 Mileage Log

Image of me running. I am smiling. Text on the image says "Project Stimey: Part III; Mileage Log"2015 goal = 720 miles

Date Distance Time Pace
JANUARY
Th 1/1/15 3.1 miles 33:20 10:45 min/mi
Su 1/4/15 2.38 miles 28:49 12:08 min/mi
M 1/5/15 2.40 miles 31:12 13:00 min/mi
Tu 1/6/15 5.03 miles 1:01:00
Th 1/8/15 3.34 miles 40:07
Th 1/15/15 3+ miles 40ish min
Sa 1/17/15 2 miles 20+ min
Su 1/18/15 5.61 miles 1:05:21 11:39 min/mi
M 1/19/15 4 miles 47:55
Tu 1/20/15 3.46 miles 42:18
Th 1/22/15 3.28 miles 39:19 11:58 min/mi
Sa 1/24/15 5.42 miles 1:02:32 11:32 min/mi
Su 1/25/15 5.91 miles 1:08:29 11:35 min/mi
Tu 1/27/15 2.54 miles 30:56
W 1/28/15 5.37 miles 1:07:28 12:34 min/mi
F 1/30/15 3.87 miles 46:16
January Totals 60.71 miles 12:05:02
 FEBRUARY
Su 2/1/15 3.1 miles 34:57 11:16 min/mi
F 2/13/15 3.57 miles 48:18
M 2/16/15 3.42 miles 40:50
Tu 2/24/15 3.71 miles 45:11
Th 2/26/15 2.24 miles 26:41
Sa 2/28/15 7.76 miles 1:43:47 13:23 min/mi
February Totals 23.80 miles 4:59:44
TOTALS: 87.61 miles 17:04:46

Run Notes:

February 28: I know how slow this run was. I have a 15K coming up in two weeks and I had to know if I am still capable of running more than five miles. Turns out I am, thank god, but it also turns out that all the sidewalks in the world are buried under ice, forcing runners to walk part of their runs. Also, I haven’t run very much recently, so I’m pretty slow. Dammit.

February 26: My treadmill is dying. This is really bad for me. Please direct your thoughts toward efforts to get the snow to melt so I can run outside.

February 24: In terms of running, February has not gone well. I gotta get my shit together.

February 1: This was the Penguin Pace. I ran it about 3-1/2 minutes faster than I did last year. Yay, me.

January 30: I hit my monthly goal today, but it looks like I’m not going to hit my stretch goal of 70 miles a month. Some people run more than this many miles in a WEEK. I can’t even fathom how they do that. I mean, I guess they’re probably substantially faster than I am, but still.

January 28: Super slow run today because my path was icy. Also I fell at mile 3.5. And then I had to roll off of the ice sheet so I wouldn’t break through to the icy puddle below if I sat up or tried to stand where I fell. All pretty standard, really.

January 25: I paused my Garmin at a streetlight and forgot to turn it back on for a good chunk of time. Maybe a half mile?

January 18: This run felt so great! I haven’t run more than 3ish miles for such a long time that it felt great to know that I actually could still run a longer distance. I did get bitten by a dog, but it only ripped my pants and didn’t actually get to the leg itself, so it could have gone worse.

January 15 & 17: My Garmin was glitchy these days, so I don’t have exact info for these runs.