Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I took part in the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K. I have been training for months, building up from walking, to some running and mostly walking, to mostly running and some walking, to all running. It's all in preparation for the half-marathon I'm planning to run in October. The race took place at 8am in the morning and much like the days leading up to it, it was hot and muggy. Despite this, I felt confident.

There was one thing that made me nervous. Over the past month or so, I have noticed an increasing ache in my left ankle. I thought it was either a normal pain associated with beginning runners or that my precariously tiny ankles weren't up to the force of the impact. Either way, I felt that soldiering through was the way to go and I kept going at a harder and harder pace. I didn't worry that I couldn't finish the race, but I did worry that my ankle might not so I decided to take it a little easy last week, trying to give my ankle some time to recover and become strong again.

When the race day dawned, I was feeling rested and my ankle was in as good of shape as it has been in a while.

For the first mile, I felt pretty good.

It was somewhere around the halfway point that it started to ache. And then hurt. And then it was lightening bolts of pain. So I slowed to a walk, not that I was breaking any speed records anyway, and hobbled along.

But I hadn't sweated and suffered and pushed myself for the last three months to walk across the finish line, so after a half mile, I picked up the pace and I ran the last mile and change. I was huffing and puffing and my ankle was killing me, but I finished it. And I finished it running.

I finally broke down and went to the doctor today and he thinks it might be a stress fracture. That'll teach me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This past Thursday, I attended a fete hosted by my good bloggy friends, Kristin and Chris Ann of LoveFeast Table. They called it BlogLove and an education in coffee by the good folks at Zeke's Coffee was on the agenda and tasty treats like homemade biscotti and crepes made by Sweet Mary were on the menu.

We were given the opportunity to taste our way through a variety of espressos, assessing the unique flavors of each. While I confess I am not much of a coffee person, it was definitely interesting to learn about the different varieties.

And even more interesting was our introduction to Kopi Luwak coffee. While we were not given a sample (it sells for upwards of $100 a cup!), we were told the unusual tale of this coffee. It begins like most coffee beans, but when the coffee berries ripen, they are eaten by Civets, a catlike mammal in Asia. The berries pass through the digestive system of the civet and after a day or so are pooped out. The coffee beans, which are basically the pits of the berry and so are not broken down by the digestive enzymes, are gathered, cleaned, dried and then roasted. Sometimes called Cat Scat Coffee, it is arguably the most expensive coffee in the world. Supposedly, because of its unusual path from bush to cup, it has a very mild flavor. They are currently featuring Kopi Luwak at Zeke's, so we were able to see and smell the beans. I can verify that it does not in fact smell like poo, but you'll have to visit Zeke's to taste it for yourself.

All in all, it was a really cool evening. I loved chatting with the other ladies in attendance: Jennifer of Hip As I Wanna Be, Mary of Sweet Mary,  Dara of Dining Dish and the Baltimore Dining Examiner, Beth of 990 Square, and Liz of Strawberries in Paris. And major bonus, we walked out with a fun little swag bag that included a beauty of a necklace from The Vintage Pearl. Great big thanks to Kristin and Chris Ann for putting the evening together!

*Clearly I've been doing some playing with Photoshop and my new Hipstamatic app on Lucille. Love me through it. 

**Top two photos courtesy of Jennifer of Hip As I Wanna B.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Common Plight?

It seems to be a common condition. Particularly for stay at home moms. We have dedicated our lives to our children. Which isn't to say that we don't have outside interests, but they almost all take a distant second to our children.


Moms feel guilty when they do anything that takes them away from the job of raising their children.

But not me. I don't feel guilty when I leave my daughter. Not for a couple of hours with her father or a trusted family member. And not for a long weekend away.

My time away from my daughter is regenerative for me. I NEED those hours and sometimes days to rediscover my love for being a stay at home mom. Do I miss her? Absolutely. But guilt? No way.

There is no other profession that doesn't allow for vacation days*. And I see myself as a professional mommy. I don't just want that time for myself, I DESERVE it. There is no expectation of a full three week vacation each year. I'm not even expecting a whole week, but I do expect some time for myself.

With Blogher '10 rapidly approaching, I'm preparing to spend a long weekend in New York City. Time with friends and fellow bloggers. Time when I can focus pretty much exclusively on MY wants. I can't tell you how excited I am for those days on my own. It doesn't mean I don't love my life and my family. It doesn't mean I'm a bad mom. It means that I love ME too.

What about you? Do you feel guilty leaving your child(ren)?

*Yes, I know there are plenty of jobs that don't offer paid vacation, but they at least allow for unpaid time off.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Sophie has been sick the last few days. While I hate to see her so miserable, I have taken no small amount of joy from all of the extra hugs and cuddles. Having my baby fall asleep in my arms, on my chest, is a familiar and missed sensation.

She hasn't eaten much since she's been sick, and that worries me more than I want to talk about. We've never had any serious illnesses here. We've been very lucky. Of course, there have been colds and ear infections, but if I'm being honest, even the worst of those wasn't all that bad. I have a healthy child. I mostly attribute her strong immune system to the large quantity of unidentified foodlike items she eats off of the ground.

At the dinner table, after little more than a few nibbles, she laid her head down on her arms and closed her eyes. Alarm bells go off. While she could hardly be called a good eater, she generally at least eats some of whats on her plate. It is a rare day that she sits still for more than a few minutes and rarer still are the days when she is falling asleep before her head hits the pillow. Just one more reminder that not all is right here.

We carry her, half asleep, up to her room, and after a halfhearted attempt at brushing her teeth and a quick change into her new Dora sleepers, we put her to bed. With a kiss on her forehead, we leave her curled up in her bed asleep.

Twenty minutes later, Neil and I are down in the basement TV room when we hear a thumping noise. We look at each other but dismiss it as one of the cats or a noise from outside. After a few minutes, we hear the noise again. This time, it is definitely from inside and both of the cats are with us. My mind immediately goes to intruders, but Neil, the more rational of us, says that Sophie must be on a walkabout. A peek at the video monitor reveals an empty bed.

I lose at rock/paper/scissors and I set out for upstairs. As I hit the first floor, I call out to Sophie and I hear rapid footsteps on the second floor, a door closing and a couple more footsteps before it goes quiet. I look up the stairs and see her door is closed. When I open it, I find her curled up as though asleep. I say, chuckling, "you little faker." And she raises her head with a smile.

On the surface, this is a nothing experience. Except that it isn't. This is the first time she has shown a capacity for deception. Everything has changed.

A slice of innocence gone. My baby is growing up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to Bawlmer, Hon!

In Baltimore, a Hon is not just a charming endearment but a way of life. Anyone who's seen a John Waters movie (Hairspray 1988 is the best) has some idea of what a Hon is about. They're hard working, high living, Natty Boh drinking, animal print wearing, big hair having, loud laughing, bright makeup kind of women. They're no nonsense and down to earth. Don't think you can get anything by one of these gals, but once you've found a place in their heart, you're there forever.

Each year the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore hosts an event to honor these ladies called Hon Fest. Among the many treats that await visitors to the festival are the Hon Beauty Contest (the bigger the hair, the better), the Little Miss Hon contest, great music, progressive art (lots of flamingos and velvet Elvises...Elvii?) and lots of food.

Don't worry if you didn't get your Hon on before you got to the festival, there's a special salon right in the middle of all the action where you can get out of the heat and find your inner Hon.

Come prepared to laugh. A lot. It's campy and crazy and tons of fun.

Between the people watching, the dynamite food, and the fresh squeezed lemonade, it is impossible not to have a good time!

For more, and far better pictures, check out my good friend John Waire's website. He was the official photographer of the Honfest and he did a fantastic job capturing the essence of this unusual festival.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Field Trip Fridays: Travel Peeves

Never let it be said I wasted an opportunity to complain. Traveling brings out the worst in some, and sometimes me. A few things that especially peeve me:

1. Family Pre-boarding. Before I had a kid, I used to watch the families with their strollers and wee ones smugly boarding the plane ahead of all of us no-young'uns types. Now, I didn't have children with the express desire to get preferred seating, but I did look forward to the day when I could look out at an empty plane and take whatever seat I wanted. Wouldn't you know that when I finally did have a kid, my favorite airline changed their policy and now families "pre"-board at the beginning of group B. That's 30-60 people before us. Great. Hey, thanks for the special consideration. Not.

2. Packing. I always pack twice as much as I need and yet it seems like no matter what I pack, it isn't right. What seemed totally appropriate at home somehow is totally wrong when we get there. I suspect there are luggage gremlins that secretly switch out my clothes and accessories while it is stowed away in the belly of the plane. They probably look like that thing from the Twilight Zone movie.

3.Never having pictures of the whole family. We have THOUSANDS of picture of our daughter and approaching that many of my husband. But precious few of all three of us. We need to bring along a designated photographer. Too much?

4. Extra charges. From airlines to rental cars to special excursions to hotels, you sign up for the GREAT rate and then you get the bill and there are extra fees and taxes that sometimes double the original amount. I understand why they do it, of course, but it still bugs the hell out of me.

5. Slow people in the fast lane. It's called THE FAST LANE for a reason. If you are going five miles under the speed limit, you are not fast. Get your slow moving vehicle back over into the right lane. And use a dagblasted turn signal when you do it. Harrumph.

What are your biggest travel pet peeves?

This post is part of Field Trip Fridays over at BlogTrotting!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


My daughter is not burdened with one single ounce of doubt. She sees a ladder and doesn't think "I wonder if I can climb that?" She thinks "I can't wait to get to the top!" Similarly, there are no strangers in her world, only friends whose names she doesn't know yet. She is bold and fearless.

I would give anything to be like her. To jump into any situation with absolute confidence. As much as her stunts sometimes scare me, and ohmygod do they, I pray this is something she doesn't outgrow.

Keep climbing, my sweet.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Best Cure For Insomnia Is A Monday Morning

Waking up after a second night of taking Melatonin.

Backing up just a couple of steps. I've been having trouble sleeping. Which isn't exactly true, I sleep just fine. I can sleep for hours and hours. No, I've been having trouble falling asleep. I will read a book or play on my iPhone for awhile, but I generally turn out my light at a not ridiculous hour. And then I lay there. Sometimes for hours.

I've worked the lifestyle angle. I avoid caffeine in the evening. I work out. No good. I've tried taking the over the counter stuff, Tylenol PM, Simply Sleep, etc, and it helps, but it leaves me so groggy in the morning. I have to be there for my daughter in the morning. And there means that I can't be only barely functional.

I've thought about going to my doctor and asking for a prescription, but I am reluctant to admit defeat. I can conquer this. Somehow I feel like admitting I am having trouble with something like this means there is something bigger wrong with me and I definitely don't want to admit that.* So no doctor.

So I turned to my favorite source for alternative medicine: Twitter. And Twitter's advice? Melatonin.

This morning I awoke from my second night of melatonin aided sleep. And I feel good. I feel rested. I feel awake. I'm not saying its for everyone, and it has only been two nights, so hardly definitive proof, but so far it seems to be working for me.

Gosh, now what will I write about?

*Of course, here I am admitting it to you and everyone. Irony, I know.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thumbs Up!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Complaining. Just Stop Reading Now If You're Looking For Upbeat, Funny Stories.

This was going to be the triumphant "Yay, I didn't yell at my daughter all day yesterday!" post. And that is totally true. But.There's always a but, isn't there?

First the success. Yesterday. Yesterday, Neil went in to work late and he let me sleep in. That's the first and probably most important thing. I got an extra hour of sleep. Which still only brought me up to about 6 hours for the night, but that's better than 5, right? So my outlook on the day was a lot better than most other days. Sophie was mostly agreeable all day. We had one or two minor squabbles, but generally good times. I made a conscious effort to be in the moment, aware of my actions and in control. And it worked. I didn't yell at her once. Okay, once I barked out NO when she wouldn't stop digging in the freshly potted baby basil plant after repeated instructions and attempts at engaging her in other activities, but other than that teensy transgression, we did great. And I'll tell you what, I felt pretty good about it all. So good that when Neil had to work until 8, I wasn't even really phased by it.

But then there is today.

Awakened at 5:45am, which is WAY earlier than I can stand, after another shit night of sleep, punctured by a strange nightmare where I was on board a haunted Titanic while ghosts hurled flatware at me. That sounds funny now but it had me awake and shaking at 4am. But I still wasn't going to let it ruin a good thing. Sophie gave me some fight changing her diaper, but I took Lou's advice and made her laugh with some thigh gooses and belly raspberries and that helped.

We came downstairs and had breakfast, which was not without its challenges, but I kept my cool. Afterward, we went down to the tv/play room, got our play on for a bit, then I turned on the idiot box with the hopes that I could catch a couple of zzz's while Sophie enjoyed a viewing of Cars. This lasted just long enough for me to doze off in the recliner. Then she climbed up on me and kicked me in the face. That's right. She kicked me. IN THE FACE. And the screaming commenced. So much for calm, cool and collected.

Maybe I should take up yoga.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mom Deaf

We had one of those days yesterday. Actually we've been having them a lot, but yesterday was particularly bad. Bad enough that when Neil came into the kitchen on his way out the door in the morning, I was already so frustrated that I hurled a whole stack of defenseless Gladware at the wall when it had the nerve to topple out of my overcrowded cabinet.*

Sophie and I butted heads all day. I yelled at her several times before we even finished breakfast. And I can't count the number of times I yelled at her before the morning was out. And not just yelling, but YELLING. The kind that drowns out all other sound and leaves a metallic taste in my mouth. The kind that has me full of remorse before the sound has even exhausted. 

I don't like yelling at my child. Not that anyone does. But I feel like such a failure when I yell. I'm the adult. I'm the one that is supposed to keep my cool when my daughter can't. She's only two and a half, for crying out loud. Yet, I do it more often than I care to say. Its like her ears can only hear me at certain decibels. And my voice can only reach those decibels when I hit the screeching stage of yelling.

I am capable of restraining myself from screaming like this at her in public, so why can't I hold back within the confines of our home?

This stage is tough. In some ways, she is so much fun and has made strides in minding me. I feel like some of the measures I am using have finally made an impact. We can now go to the grocery store again without me feeling like I want to hit the liquor store on the way home. But there are some days where she simply will not do a thing I ask without a fight. And the fighting erodes me. Especially when I haven't had enough sleep, which is the norm these days.

I just don't know what else to do. I don't know how not to yell at my kid.

*No Gladware were harmed.