Walking and Blogging

In one week, my husband and I will be walking 39 miles over 2 days during the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. I took a training walk yesterday and dictated this blog post into my phone as I was walking. The phone got some words wrong, as you’ll read below! My corrections and additions are in italics.

Today I have a three-fold purpose for my walking. First, I’m testing out my raspberry pink shorts to see how they hold up for a long-distance hike. Will the elastic band to stay up or will it drip (drop) down during a long walk? Secondly, I’m breaking in my new shoes. They seem to make the toes on my right foot curl up for some unknown reason. Finally, today’s temperatures are supposed to rise into the 80s, so I’m testing my feet and joints. (No, that wasn’t right, even though it kind of makes sense!)

As I walk I’m dictating my words into my phone. The words I just spoke with heat and urine. (Still not right!) No, endurance. Yes, my phone finally heard the correct word. (I wanted to test my endurance to heat on this warm day!)

The bike path I’m walking on is not well-traveled. It’s just me and the birds and some airplanes overhead. There are a couple other joggers and bikers on this week day but for the most part nobody can see me talking into my phone. No one can see my huge fanny pack which holds all my supplies and water bottle. And passing cars can’t look at my red and sweaty face and wonder if I’m okay. My fair skin turns beet red when I exercise and seriously, I’m okay.

My turn around spot

Sometimes my fanny pack makes weird noises: water sloshing, straps rubbing and swinging, and I get paranoid and turn around to see if a biker or runner is coming up behind me. Usually I’m alone. This trail also goes by factories and I often see workers taking a break or taking things out to the dumpster, and I suppose I could always just pretend I’m talking on the phone instead of dictating a blog post. I would much rather dictate a blog post, however, than talk to someone on the phone. I’m not much of a phone person plus, I’m out of breath. I suppose blogging while you’re walking does that!

A thought just occurred to me. I’ve been watching Star Trek Enterprise during my lunch hour and a lot of times, the captain is dictating his personal log to the computer while pacing in his quarters. That’s just what I’m doing now. I think I just wrote more now then I usually do in the same amount of time when I sit down at the computer and type. When I was the secretary, (my job during college) I would have to listen 2 letters on a dictation machine. Attorneys would dictate letters into their recorders and then I would have to listen and type out their letters. It was a huge pain in the butt. There was no talk to text like I’m doing now. I wonder, do attorneys use talk to text now or do they still dictate letters for their secretaries?

pedestrian bridge
The pedestrian bridge above Palatine Road


I’m nearing the end of my walk. How did I do? The path has become busier during the lunch hour. I decided to turn around at noon to make my way home. The raspberry shorts held up well. The shoes are still iffy. As for walking in the heat, it’s hot and humid but I feel good. I think I did about 8 my miles but mapping software will help. I briefly wondered how I could make my walk longer, but I’ve been out for over 2 hours are ready and I have things to do. I’m a mom after all.

(I walked about 7 and a half miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Not bad! And then I did a load of laundry.)






My First Ten Blog Posts {Tuesday Ten}

I started blogging almost 7 years ago, and I had no idea what I was doing! At the time, I read a blog on Baby Center called “Blogging Baby.” The blog featured several writers who posted short paragraph-long blogs 3 to 4 times a day about anything they thought was interesting on the internet. It was a great little blog for a stay-at-home mom like me who needed something short to read during the day. I later found out that the bloggers involved nicknamed it “Slogging Baby” because it was very demanding to keep up with the pace of writing relevant blog posts so frequently!

After blogging for a while, I migrated my blog from Blogspot to WordPress. My earliest posts didn’t make it in the transfer, but I can still access them in my Blogger dashboard. I wrote a lot about my babies! Here are my first posts, unearthed from my old blog for your enjoyment.

First Ten Posts

1. May 13, 2008 My first born rarely got sick in her first two years of life, and I always attributed that to staying home with her. When we started attending more and more park district classes and storytelling hours, she caught more colds. Now my second catches everything my first born contracts. This week, the baby has a bad cold, and all the mucus draining from her sinuses makes her gag reflex kick into full gear. Last night, she gagged up all the cereal I had just fed her. On me. “Oh, she spit up,” I said. Ed said, “NO, she booted all over you!” as he handed me a wet rag. I suggested we call it spit up until I could go change. At least she can still breastfeed with no problems, I thought. That way, I don’t need to worry that she’s not getting enough to eat. Have you ever breastfed a snotty baby? EW!

2. May 13, 2008 When my daughter turned two and we started the dreaded potty training, I would grit my teeth every time I heard, “Oh, my daughter practically potty-trained herself!” Now that she’s three, she does great, but it was a lot of hard work and we made plenty of mistakes. We finally realized that if we asked her if she needed to go, the answer would ALWAYS be “NO!” She wanted control. So now, we generally wait for her to tell us that she needs to go potty. Along the way, with every flush she started saying, “Goodbye, I’ll see you later my friend!” I have to say it, too, or she gets very irate. She also always wants company when she goes, which is usually fine unless I’m in the middle of doing something, like changing her baby sister’s poopy diaper. Today I was showering, and she decided she had to go. “Hurray!” I thought. She’s finally becoming independent! When she finished, she yelled “MOM! SAY GOODBYE I’LL SEE YOU LATER MY FRIEND!”

3. May 13, 2008 Lily is really into Richard Scarry’s Storybook Dictionary. We read a letter at a time; a “short letter” at bedtime! J is a good, short letter. W is surprisingly long letter! This book was mine when I was little, so it has quite a bit of tape keeping it together. Tonight we also read Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton. Who doesn’t love hippos? Another one of Boynton’s books we love is But Not the Hippopotamus.

I just finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. The various freedoms of women changes drastically in the book, depending on the government of Afghanistan. It was a fascinating look at a totally different culture. I’d like to read The Kite Runner next.

4. May 14, 2008 The kitchen is usually a disaster by the time I have dinner in the oven. It takes me three times the prep time that the recipe states. Last night I had out the measuring tape, to measure my pans (it turns out I do not own a 10 x 10 pan), I ripped open a frozen bag of broccoli before I realized it had a ziploc seal, and a bandage fell off my index finger (fortunately into a bowl I was done using). I was making Tater Tot Casserole, one of my favorites. I added chopped green pepper to the beef, used broccoli for my veggie, and used frozen hash browns for the topping. That’s one of the reasons I love casseroles: you can customize them! Did you know they sell chopped onions and green peppers in the frozen veggie section? How did I not know this sooner? Sure, I could chop my own and even freeze them, but that’s hard to do while holding a baby. Part of this post was typed one-handed!

5. May 15, 2008 Two wonderful things happened overnight. Lily woke up with a dry pull-up, and Emmy slept for seven hours straight! Those seven hours were nothing but miraculous; she threw up on me before bedtime from coughing so much, and then she woke up around nine with a coughing fit.

SO, for seven hours straight, I slept on my right side. Jumped up at 5 a.m. to make sure Emmy was still breathing. And realized my shoulder was incredibly sore.

Five hours later, Tylenol, ice packs, and a hot shower have not worked. While I was washing my hair, I had a memory of washing my hair with only one hand, which is harder than it sounds! When was that? Oh, yeah, it was after my mastectomy. I had completely forgotten that after my surgery the mobility in my left arm was affected due to the removal of lypmh nodes under my arm. I had to exercise that arm and work to be able to lift my arm up over my head again. I could only wear button down shirts for a couple of weeks, and brushing my hair was difficult, too. I should have been grateful, as all my hair fell out only a couple of months later!

I had completely forgotten about that immobility. Isn’t it strange how the mind works? A couple of nights ago I saw Diane Sawyer interviewing a woman who remembers everything. She doesn’t just have a good memory, she remembers EVERYTHING. And it has made her pretty miserable. See her story here. Let’s just say there are certain things I’m glad I don’t remember!

6. May 16, 2008 I just came downstairs from nursing Emmy to sleep. Even though I complained in my post on Tuesday about nursing a baby with a cold, I love nursing. I love how her sweaty little head nestles in the crook of my arm, I love cuddling her as she’s ready for bed in her sleep sack, and I love how her little dimpled hand clutches at my shirt. Babyhood is so lovely.

This week I commented to Ed that I probably shouldn’t call Lily a toddler anymore. She’s technically not a preschooler until September, but she turned three last November and is definitely not a baby anymore. She gets taller and leaner every day, it seems, and those dimpled hands are long gone. She hasn’t taken an afternoon nap regularly for months now, and to be honest, I prefer that she doesn’t nap! Once or twice a week, she will fall asleep in the afternoon, but then she stays awake later at night. We are up by six every morning, so we can wave goodbye to Daddy as he leaves for work, so my perfect night is when the girls are in bed and asleep by 7:00, 7:15 tops! I need my adult time, I crave my adult time, and I’m not giving it up! Lily is in bed by 7:00 (O.K., 7:30 at the latest), nap or no nap! I think this will be harder to enforce once the weather gets warmer and the evenings are lighter.

This week, there have been times at the end of the afternoon where Lily is just stir crazy and attention hungry. As I scurry around, trying to figure out what’s for dinner, she gets whiny and hungry (literally) and is underfoot. I think, if I were a good mother, I’d have a fun activity ready for her to do. Before Emmy was born, I would have a fun art project for Lily to do while I was preparing dinner, such as painting or gluing shapes. But now? I’m trying to chop carrots or defrost the chicken in between picking up a fussy baby. I’m not organized enough to get out the art supplies and then clean up in time to set the table. I’ve also thought I should have activities for her while I’m nursing Emmy during the day. However, I don’t think I could be as creative as Lily is on her own. This week, her bed became her house with books, shoes, Dora dolls, and yes, even a box of tissues pilfered from the bathroom. The rocking horse was her car, and the alphabet cards were her pancakes. A pillow served as a stove; and she was as happy as a clam! Tomorrow I’m going to try to remember that Lily is being creative when she is running around the house singing songs about making cakes at the top of her lungs when I’m trying to get Emmy to sleep!

7. May 17, 2008 I have become, as one of my cousins predicted when I was pregnant with Lily, as mean as a snake. When Lily was about 18 months old, we were visiting college friends who were in town. They were staying with their parents, and so there was an air mattress on the bedroom floor for the grandkids to sleep on. I walked into the bedroom and saw Lily jumping on said air mattress. “Lily!” I barked, “Get off that air mattress!” The father of one of the grandkids was in the bedroom, too, with his son, just a few months younger than Lily. In a calm voice, he said, “What could we do on the air mattress instead? Sit on it? Lie down on it?” And with the correct, calming tones praised his son and my daughter for sitting on the air mattress. Leaving me thinking “puh-lease” and yet slightly guilty.

I’m not always mean. Lily can almost always persuade me to go to the park, especially if it’s sunny outside. I usually put aside the paper to read a book to her (but not always). But this morning, I left her in tears on the stairs. Why? Because we were going to Home Depot. Now, this is fairly predictable behavior for a preschooler, wouldn’t you say? She cried on and off for about fifteen minutes as I went about the house ignoring her. When Ed got out the shower and asked why she was crying, she said in the most mournful of voices, “Because I want you to read me a book!” Now, we didn’t tempt fate. Had she just forgotten that she didn’t want to go to Home Depot, or was she using the opportunity to get Daddy to read a book to her? He did read, in the car on our five minute drive.

Where do I get this streak of meanness? My parents. Yes, they were mean. One summer vacation, they wouldn’t let me swim in the lake with my cousins because it was too cold. Too cold! I sulked all day over that one. Mom had the nickname “Dragon Lady.” It was actually not for being mean to her kids, but for yelling at the neighborhood boys. You see, our house was next to a large park with several baseball diamonds, and instead of traipsing all the way to the far side of the park to use the public outhouse, little leaguers decided to use our bushes on the side of the house. Mom scared their pants off when she yelled out the window!

I could always use my parents as scapegoats. In high school, if my friends asked me to do something I didn’t want to, I blamed Mom and Dad. “My parents won’t let me,” I would say in an exasperated voice.

This post really doesn’t make me sound as mean as I sometimes feel. Are you the meanest parent on the block? What have you done that is super mean, and yet you don’t feel at all guilty about?

8. May 20, 2008 Did you know, aunts are mean, too? When I was about 5, my aunt was babysitting. This was before she had children of her own, and she must have been practicing. She made me sit at the table until I had eaten all my peas. All of them. Not just two more bites, or three more bites, every single pea. Oh, lonely peas!

P.S. Did I mention, I may have put a little salt on those peas? Just a tiny bit, to make them taste better. OK, it was practically the whole salt shaker.

9. May 20, 2008 When I started this blog a week ago, I wanted to spend about 15 minutes a day writing. I’ve done a lot more on some days, and a lot less on others! I just read about a writer who is also a mom, and she gets up at 4 in the morning, just to write! That’s amazing.

10. May 21, 2008 There is a peony bush stranded under the magnolia tree on the east side of our house. It never grows very much, so I would like to transplant it to a better place. I love peonies. They remind me of growing up in a small, rural town in the 70’s. The buds are so nice and plump, and I remember little ants crawling all over them. The peonies would always be in bloom on Memorial Day, and my sister and I would go to the neighbor’s yard to cut the full, red blooms, wrap wet paper towels around the stems, and surround the paper towel with a plastic baggie. Then, my family would get in the car and drive out to the cemetery in the country. It was a beautiful cemetery, green and surrounded by trees. We would put the flowers and maybe a small flag on the graves of soldiers. People gathered around for a Memorial Day service. Veterans wore their uniforms. I can still hear the gun salute echoing among the gravestones, as we remembered those who gave their life for our country.

I wonder if there will be a gathering at the cemetery outside of town on Monday. My family moved to the suburbs in the early 80’s, so I doubt my little brother and sister remember how we used to commemorate Memorial Day. Even with high gas prices, we will be visiting my parents this weekend. It will be a good time to ask my parents about this holiday when I was growing up, and add to the details of my childhood memory. My children are too young to understand what Memorial Day means, but maybe on Monday we’ll find a peony bush and a cemetery anyway.

The Golden Spoons

FAST FORWARD to February 24, 2015: Most of the blogging friends I started out with and read constantly have stopped blogging, but I have also “met” many new blogging friends over the years! Blogging has definitely been a wonderful creative outlet for me, and I hope to keep writing for years to come!