Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Friday, April 30, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Another Race Paid For. Hospital Hill 10k


Through the power of Facebook feeds I haven't blocked (sorry Aunt J!), Hope House reminded me that tomorrow was the last day to sign up for the Hospital Hill run under their team.

I had been on the fence about it, but Hope House is an organization I can get behind, so getting off the fence was an easy choice.

Then came the hard choice.




I love running a 5k. It's quick, it's relatively easy, and they are always fun... even if you walk them (hint: sign up for one TODAY with a friend, try Couch to 5k program. I swear it works.). The problem with one of the most popular 5ks in town? The crowds.

A half marathon seemed daunting with pending sprint triathlons on the schedule.

So, to avoid (some of) the crowds and also not to put too much on my (already full) training plate.... the 10k was the obvious choice! Figured it would be good for the triathlon training (right?) anyway.

So, another race I'm officially signed up for AND I get to raise money for Hope House.

Despite feeling overwhelmed and behind., the summer is off to a good start. Garden started, shed built, Bonnaroo less than 40 days away, school is almost out, and races on the credit card.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Overwhelmed and spinning plates.



It's a word that has such depth, but is seemingly simple.

I know we (I) bring a lot of it on ourselves. So much to accomplish, so little time.

There's so much I've been trying this year (much to the detriment of my triathlon training) to make our lives simpler and more organic. What I didn't plan for in all my planning for our garden and hiking and other activities is what I was going to remove from my life to accommodate all these changes.

Planned workouts seemed to fall by the wayside the easiest, but I haven't let them go. Meaning, everyday my planned workout is on my list, and every day for the last 3 weeks (except 4 days), it's gotten bumped for other things.

Tomorrow's yoga? Bumped by having a 2 week late birthday dinner with a friend on my night where bebe is at her dads.

Today's lunch workout? Bumped by the fact I need to go to Lowe's to buy fencing supplies for the workers that will be there tomorrow.

Last night?  Stay up late working on project for Bebe's school program this Saturday.  

and on and on it goes. I thought I was working closer to balance, not throwing myself off more.

“Unless I accept my virtues, I most certainly will be overwhelmed by my faults.”
Thursday, April 22, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Triathlon Musings : Arm Sleeves

a Repost from :


Arm sleeves are a great invention. Thinner ones warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer. They stop sunburn and bright ones can help you be seen in traffic.  They are a fast way to do all of the above because they go on and off in seconds, even while you ride.

And don't call them arm warmers.  The thin material actually keeps you cooler once you start to sweat. Compounded with the prevention of sun exposure, you'll finish a hot ride in better shape than if you went without them.  Just make sure you wear lighter colored ones in the hotter months and you'll be fine.

Now, since my only tri-goals this year include sprint triathlons, I'm rarely on my bike long enough to get sunburned, but this post by Zentriathlon has me thinking about my sun exposure and riding time.

Time to check out his links....
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Urban Homesteading Musings : Backyard Beekeeping


A twitter feed today caused my ADD to itch.  Combine that with industry mags I get at work telling the woes of how the bee populations in our country are slowly dying and you have my google time suck of the day:

Backyard Beekeeping

I don't like bees.  In fact, I have a strange suspicion based on a sting reaction when I was 11 that I am allergic to them.  Did I let those two facts stop me from researching the possibilities of bees in my backyard?

Nope.  That would just be silly!

Didn't I warn you about my projects that start with the words, "How hard can this be?"

I now am following:




and have a few google books boomarked (here's ONE for tonight's reading) and will report back on the feasibility of this project.

Want to know what groups and association of backyard keepers exist in your area?  Try going to this site:  State Honey and Beekeeping Associations.

 Organic bees in my backyard?  This strangely appeals to me. 


PostHeaderIcon Peeling Off Your Labels

Sometimes I come across an article or blog post that will stop me in my tracks.  This is one of them.  I haven't quite figured out what to do with it yet, but I can't get it off my mind today.  I hope you enjoy as well. 

Peeling Off Your Labels

A few years ago I did this crazy thing and walked a few hundred miles across the Indian countryside, looking for the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. And I found them. At the time, I had plastered myself with the following labels (and many more):

"chef, farmer, organic, local, healthy, vegan, pure, conscientious, clean, dedicated, serious, relaxed"

Labels, like everything else, are exactly what they are: nothing more and nothing less. They're not good, they're not bad, they're just labels.

The funny thing was that with all the penniless walking (the no money was part of the experiment, the contract with the universe) and 100 degree temperatures, the labels started to peel off. And the harder I tried to stick them back, the more of that gritty stuff got between my skin and the glue, and eventually I just had to give up.

Like with the chai. Indian tea, chai, was exactly what I didn't drink. It's made from low-quality over-boiled black tea, assuaged with full-fat (7%) buffalo milk, mountain ranges of refined white sugar, and a few tasty spices. In terms of labour and environmental politics, the tea and sugar are a cocktail of misery and oppression. And it's a far cry from vegan. And it's what I had every day, maybe many times a day, because I was a penniless pilgrim walking through the wilds of countryside and compassion, and the chai was my ticket into people's hearts.

The next step was the cookies. These damn ubiquitous wafers branded "Parle-G" and pronounced not in the French way at all, but rather, "parlee-gee". Refined wheat and refined sugar. Nothing whole or healthy about and yet, it's what the "common man" swears by in India, from villagers to urbanites to wandering holy men, all bow down to the temple of the "Parle-G". So, as you can probably guess, I could literally watch myself, get more comfortable with the little atrocities, relax into enjoying their sweetness and crunch, begin to savor their texture after dipping them in my chai. It's a matter of relaxation, of relinquishing control, and understanding "This is where I am, and at every moment, I must start where I am".

So maybe that's relevant to you. Maybe you're not thrilled about what you normally have for breakfast, or the roles you're playing or the scene you're building. That's fine. But what I've seen is that your ticket Out of There is not through resistance or hatred or pressure but through acceptance. It's where we are. Once we stop thrashing ourselves about it, we can see clearly, and start to deal.

written by Ankur Shah, author, chef, farmer and Spiritual Care Jedi.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Board Game Challenge.


We used to have a habit in our house that somehow we slid away from.  It wasn't that we just stopped cold one day, but you know how it is.  Let's skip this tonight, there's too much homework.  Or there's laundry to do.

or Mama is mentally exhausted, so I make up a lame excuse and let her watch iCarly

You know how these things go. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you're out of the habit.  I'm not talking about my gym habit (although that could apply), but our board game tradition.

It used to be every night after dinner, we'd play a game.  Or a puzzle.  But it was something, just the two of us, no tv, no music, just us on the floor playing a game with no mercy.

hint to parents of young children.  try Candyland. it's really random who will win and you don't have to "let" them win .

This week is both Turn off the TV week (aka Digital Detox week) and Earth Week.

As I was thinking how I actually miss this tradition in our home, it also has applications to the themes of this week.

No only are Board Games an alternative to sitting around the tv, but it's greener too. And it's frugal.  Instead of heading out the door, driving somewhere and spending money, you have that time at home using things you already possess.

Maybe taking things back to a simple entertainment where it's about laughs and interactions, rather than zoning out is the next step on our 2010 goal of simplifying and detoxing our household.

can anyone share how to save up the mental energy to match hers at 730pm?

And maybe we can't do it everynight, but if nothing else, we can designate one night a week for this and start from there.  Why not schedule in this time the same way we do yoga, girl scouts, and swimming?

It starts today. What about you? Can you give up the TV one night for a family board game?

Monday, April 19, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Like Seventh Generation goods? A green deal at Ecobunga!

Drugstore.com is offering savings up to 40% off on a variety of Seventh Generation's earth-friendly household cleaning products and paper products. The best deals are on their bathroom tissue, facial tissue, and paper towels. Free shipping on orders over $25 for first-time Drugstore.com shoppers.
End: 04/23/10

PostHeaderIcon Thoughts on Turn off the TV Week (aka Digital Detox Week).


Turn off the tv?  No problem.  I probably only watch an hour a night, and Bebe is only allowed 30 min a night during the school week, IF she has all her homework and household duties done.  So, I sat here for a moment thinking how well we are doing.

But you know what they say about pride.....

Then it hit me.  My vice isn't TV.  I could care less about the media-created "American Idol" (don't get me started on so-called reality TV) or who did it on CSI.  I.don't.care.  I think Reality TV represents the worst of our culture and also the decline of society in general.  Just my opinion.

My vice?  The laptop.  Hands Down.

but don't I deserve a little me/down time?  right?

Too often I will log on in the evening knowing there are clothes to iron, and dishes in the sink, and yet will log onto the laptop for "just 5 min" to check email.  I should know better.  Before I know it, it's not 9:05, but 11:05 and *sigh* yet again, I wasted another evening.

I really, really, meant to organize the garage / pantry / linen closet,  I really did....


So, instead of "Turn off the TV" week, in our home it will be the Digital Detox Week.  After all, I spend 8-9 hours a day in this chair staring at this monitor.  Do I really need another 2-3 hours a night staring at a monitor at home?

that was purely rhetorical and I'm trying to motivate myself, stay with me here....

Digital Detox Week.

What can be accomplished?  Let's find out........

this better go smoother than the week I tried to give up caffeine and sugar in some crazy detox attempt.....

Monday, April 12, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Food for thought: The Lie Many Parents Believe


I was recently turned onto the site, Simple Mom.  Love it.

The following article, The Lie Many Parents Believe, made me stop.  Literally.  Push back from the laptop a bit and think. 

From the article.
We are much more responsible TO our children than we are FOR them. Our children have been granted the same power of choice as us.

Interesting food for thought.  Read the article and let me know what you think, whether you're a mom, dad, or just interested in this type of thing.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Constance McMillen's "Fake Prom" (Mississippi Goddamn indeed)


In  1963 Nina Simone  wrote a song called "Mississippi Goddamn".  Even today, it's an in-your-face political and social statement on the sad, pathetic state of affairs in the South.  Racism.

She was tired of it, and let you know.  The (partial) lyrics below do not even begin to describe the depth and strength of her song.  In my opinion, it is well worth your time to catch it on YouTube It's powerful and you can't help but feel her pain.  Go watch it, then come back here and finish this post ;)

Unfortunately, the racial divide remains in the South.  Ignorance and hate is still alive and well.  This time though, the focus is on a High School Senior, Constance McMillen.  

Constance wanted to take another female to the prom.   The school canceled the prom, and a group of parents put on a private prom.  Supposedly, Constance was sent an invite, but when she showed up, there were less than 10 kids there.  They had sent her to a fake prom. Here are pictures from the actual prom.  No Constance.

What is the Itawamba County School District and the parents of the Seniors trying to teach their kids?

What do they have to fear from this couple attending?

What is there to gain by ostracizing these girls?

How will these kids feel in 10 years for their part in Hate Prom 2010?



   It makes me sick.  This has NOTHING to do with a left or right agenda, or trying to shove anyone's beliefs down their throats.  It is simply about equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation. 

Like Nina said, "You don't have to live next to me/Just give me my equality."

Mississippi Goddamn indeed.

Lryics of Mississippi Goddamn by Nina Simone (1963).

The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it

Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Can't you see it
Can't you feel it
It's all in the air
I can't stand the pressure much longer
Somebody say a prayer

Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

This is a show tune
But the show hasn't been written for it, yet

Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think every day's gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don't belong here
I don't belong there
I've even stopped believing in prayer

Don't tell me
I tell you
Me and my people just about due
I've been there so I know
They keep on saying "Go slow!"

But that's just the trouble
"do it slow"
Washing the windows
"do it slow"
Picking the cotton
"do it slow"
You're just plain rotten
"do it slow"
You're too damn lazy
"do it slow"
The thinking's crazy
"do it slow"
Where am I going
What am I doing
I don't know
I don't know

Just try to do your very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest
For everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

I made you thought I was kiddin' didn't we

Picket lines
School boycotts
They try to say it's a communist plot
All I want is equality
for my sister my brother my people and me

Yes you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you'd stop calling me Sister Sadie

Oh but this whole country is full of lies
You're all gonna die and die like flies
I don't trust you any more
You keep on saying "Go slow!"
"Go slow!"

But that's just the trouble
"do it slow"
"do it slow"
Mass participation
"do it slow"
"do it slow"
Do things gradually
"do it slow"
But bring more tragedy
"do it slow"
Why don't you see it
Why don't you feel it
I don't know
I don't know

You don't have to live next to me
Just give me my equality

Everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

PostHeaderIcon Another Step Towards Bonnaroo 2010 (and adding a plan B)


4 nights of camping with Bebe.  Seems a little daunting, so for the sake of argument went out to find a hotel. (see my first Bonnaroo 2010 post HERE).

I knew it's be somewhat booked up, but I was surprised by what I found.

1 hotel.

Ok  cool, we can deal with whatever

Super 8.

Not a hotel snob and it's part of the experience.

I'm cool with that, I just want clean sheets, a place to sleep, and a shower.  Anyone want to guess what that Super 8 was going to charge during Bonnaroo week?


Still not sure why I'm surprised by that.  It's, capitalism at it's best.  But it is a 1.5 star hotel according to travelocity.

Forget that.  

Honestly, I had another 2 letter phrase in mind that starts with an 'F'..

So, in what may be a moment of genius (or epic failure, we shall see) I looked for a bed and breakfast, thinking  maybe something outside the norm might work.  And if I'm going to pay that much per night, I don't want a stupid day-old continental breakfast with fruit loops from a dispenser.

Thanks to the miracle of google maps and a zip code, I booked a bed and breakfast for 2 of the 4 nights.  Sweeeeeeet!

Anyone want to guess how much it is (with tax)?

$112.00 per night.

Jen 1.  Greedy Capitalist.  0.

actually if I owned a motel in that area during that week, i'd probably do the same.  I can't front.

The plan is this.  We could camp the first 2 nights, and then when Bebe becomes tired and in the need of real rest, I'll take her there.  Then we'll spend the second 2 nights there.  Or maybe, we'll camp all 4.  But I'm really liking how my plan B is shaping up.  If we decide not to camp, I'm not out much on the deposit.

There was another plan B to help make our first Roo experience a little easier.  Rent a tent at Bonnaroo Tent City .  Somehow though, I still think we'd run into the same problems, so that is now our plan C.




Here we come!
(can you tell how excited I am?)

Monday, April 05, 2010

PostHeaderIcon House Projects 101 - You'll always underestimate time and cost. Always.


It's true.  Every time.

Whatever you estimate for time and money on a house project, you'll underestimate.  I always say figure in 20% more money and 30% more time.

Today though, it turns out 50% more money and lord only knows how much more time.

I have 2 fence projects.  The first is extending to the front of the house what is now our back yard fence.

The second is fencing in the second lot behind us, so we can use it.  The dog and Bebe would probably appreciate that.  After all, we've been there 3 years and rarely use that extra green space. It's also one of the few sunny areas on my 2 lots that it makes the most sense to put our raised garden beds.

It's a shame.

On fence project #2, the lots on each side of it are not fenced.  After a couple phone calls with the city, I have determined that a survey needs to be done.  Keep in mind, my neighborhood is relatively old.  We don't have nice equally spaced lots on nicely laid out streets.  The neighborhood was built around existing tree areas, creeks, and estates/farms that were still in existence when being developed.

So, I found a guy that would install the fence and help me purchase the right amount of materals for fence project 2.  Unfortunately, because of the survey and needing the property to be staked, I'm looking at an additional $750.  It turns what should have been a quick and reasonably priced project into something drawn out and quite a bit more expensive.

So, in addition to the rule of never starting a home project with the words, "How hard can it be?" *cough*raised garden beds*cough*, always know you will underestimate the project in time and money.

Before and after pictures soon to follow.......

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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)


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