Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stupid Product: The Hawaii Chair

Ever since I made the switch from working a regular job to working in a home office, I've been looking around for something to help me stay in shape while working long hours at my desk. I was considering one of those oversized exercise balls...until I saw THIS:

Where has the Hawaii chair been all my life?  Here I sit, completely stationary in my normal desk chair, my fingers typing on the keyboard without even the least bit of effort to stay in place.  There's a cat beneath my feet who isn't getting kicked by my flailing legs, and the contents of my stomach are not splattered across my computer screen!  WHAT was I thinking?

I've got to hand it to the makers of the Hawaii chair.  It really takes toned abs (and probably a good amount of double sided tape) for a person to manage doing anything in this chair without falling off.  How do I know?  Take a look.

After watching Ellen's experience with the chair, I've realized I don't need a Hawaii chair to stay in shape in my home office.  I just need to watch this video between every assignment.  My abs are screaming from all the laughter, and it's a heckovalot cheaper than $300.

Newfangled technology, dagnabit!


Mom, today I learned how to use my calculator...only three months into a 4 month semester!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 62

Well, I didn't run at 1:00 pm.  A parent-teacher conference and an early out day for my kids moved my run time to later this evening.  I didn't hit the road until after dark, but I got out there and did it.  I still don't have a timer, so I used a trick I taught myself in high school.  In my head, I sang the words to a particularly rousing song I used to sing in church choirs as a teen.  It's about 3 minutes long, so it served the purpose of distracting me for just the right amount of time.

"Let the mountains shout for joy! Let the valleys sing, let the valleys sing, and the hills rejoice! Let them all break forth into song! Let them shout and sing and be glad before the Lord!" And later: "For the wilderness has blossomed, blossomed like a rose.  And the barren desert is a fruitful field. Joy and gladness now are found therein. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody."

It's catchy, no?

There were moments when I wondered if I had really resorted to the song again.  Did I really want to sing about joyful shouts while running?  I did not feel joyful.  I had no desire to break forth into songs of any kind.  Well...maybe, "Nobody knows the troubled I've seen..."

This was a tough run for me.  During my training call yesterday with Michelle from Phazes Fitness, I mentioned that my knees were feeling a bit sore.  I thought it might be related to the fact that I hadn't run in a week.  As the day progressed, they felt worse and worse, as did my shoulders, elbows, and ankles.  By bedtime, I was hurting all over, my muscles refusing to relax, my joints screaming in pain.  A strong pain pill leftover from last year's knee surgery got me through the night.

Today, the pain in most of my body has lessened considerably, but the soreness in my knees persists.  I hope to be back to 100% by tomorrow.

Seems dramatic...Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disorder that killed my thyroid in 2005, is my nemesis.  Medication usually keeps things running smoothly, but every now and then, I suddenly feel like I'm back in 2005, struggling to get through each day.  Those days were sometimes excruciating and anxiety ridden.  I felt my body grow weaker and my muscles become more and more unpredictable.  Sometimes, they'd seize up and spasm.  Other times, they'd go numb.  When I couldn't walk from my car to the front door without severe hip and leg pain, I finally dragged myself to the doctor.  Blood tests revealed the worst case of hypothyroidism she'd ever seen.  I sang hallelujah that it wasn't in my head, and happily agreed to a lifetime of thyroid pills in order to feel better. 

When symptoms return, stress and water retention are usually the culprits.  I've not been able to manage my fluid levels, with or without Synthroid, since all of this started.  Michelle mentioned that some people worry about the way their weight fluctuates by a pound a day.  Mine can fluctuate between 5 and 10.  (Interesting side note: One of the reasons I enjoyed drinking Coke was the way its diuretic effects helped regulate my fluid levels.)

So there's my sob story...or my pain story.  I ran anyway.  I didn't make it through the whole run, because my legs started to feel numb after my third run cycle.  My left knee locked up shortly after that.  I started to wonder if this isn't a really dumb run in spite of this.

And then it hit me.  I run in spite of a lot of things.  I live my life in spite of even more.

What's Hashimoto's disease except one more obstacle in my path?  So, you're an obstacle. Big deal.  I have lots of those.  Hashimoto's, meet my schedule.  Let me introduce you to my rebuilt ACL.  Have you met my fears?  If they haven't stopped me, what makes you think you will?

Running is so much a reflection of my life.  I do so many things that sensible people would never attempt.  I take on challenges that make the average person say, "I can't."  I do this because if I don't, if I live in my can'ts, I'll lose something of who I am...that part of me that's special, the part of me that's destined for greatness.

And then I think of you.  Yes, you.  You're sitting there, hedged in by your can'ts, afraid to step toward those obstacles and do the things you've always wanted to do, and why?  Because sensible people wouldn't do that?  Because you might fail?  Because you think you don't deserve it?

It's all a lie.  I'm no more destined for greatness than any of you.  I'm no more special than anyone.  I just choose not to live in can't.  Sometimes, that means facing things that are hard, but I'm always better for that.  Always.

The words of the song come back to my mind.  "For the wilderness has blossomed, blossomed like a rose. And the barren desert is a fruitful field.  Joy and gladness now are found therein. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody."

When you throw away the lie of "I can't" and start doing things sensible people wouldn't do, you blossom like a rose.  There was not joy and gladness in my heart while I was running tonight, but there is joy and gladness in it now, as I consider the ways in which I've been blessed by this crazy, unconquerable spirit I choose to carry with me every day.


These are the feet of a woman who was deathly afraid of heights for most of her life.  I'm not afraid of heights anymore, because I faced that obstacle and climbed that rock anyway.


This is the face of a woman who had never hiked more than 8 miles, but who took on 19 grueling miles of Half Dome in one day and came back confident, aware, and inspired.


This is a woman who thought she would never be able to love freely again.

If you're living in can'ts, please, consider my life. There's so much I shouldn't be able to accomplish. There are so many people who are willing to tell me what I can't do. There are so many reasons for me to believe them. I do it anyway, and my life is rich and deep and happy because of it.

Whatever it is you think you can't do, know that you can. You absolutely can. If I can climb rocks and run and love and write and believe, you can do what it is you've always wanted to.

Stop holding yourself back. Stop letting others hold you back. Look those obstacles and fears in the face and say, "Big deal." Let them become your mountains to climb and then climb them.

And then let your mountains shout for joy.

Handy for those family room picnics


Mom, today I learned that the kids liking syrup on their eggs is okay by me.

I've been acquainted with the Mean Kitty Song for a couple of years now. Every so often, the kids request it during one of our YouTube fests (they're what people who don't watch TV do when they miss it.)  It wasn't until this weekend that I realized little Sparta has his own channel with regular updates and funny short films.  We spent the good part of Sunday evening catching up with our furry friend (and his new furry friend, Loki).

I highly recommend the Mean Kitty videos for anyone who loves cats and for people who just like funny stuff.  To whet your Mean Kitty appetite, I give you the film that started it all (at least, for us).

Monday, March 29, 2010

More specifically, Erykah Badu gets naked in front of children.  At the JFK assassination site.  To make a "statement" against groupthink.

Ah, groupthink: the potent weapon of the oppressors that keeps America clothed in front of children.  Death to groupthink! Nudity for all!

The actions of Ms. Badu, a mother of three children herself, have caused controversy (whaaaa?).  People at the site shouted at her to put her clothes back on and that she ought to be ashamed of herself. (Groupthinkers...all of them!)  She, of course, edited their words out of her music video.  Apparently, she's the only one allowed to make a statement.

While she isn't commenting to the press, Badu is keeping her loyal Twitter following abreast of her feelings. Strangely enough, she admits to praying that the children who saw her weren't traumatized.  She then goes on to state that she was liberated by the experience.  Well, as long as you were liberated, Erykah.  God will look after the kids.


Mom, today I learned that when it comes to Twilight merchandizing, no topic is too deep for a 13-year-old's lunch.  Keep an eye out for the Bella companion lunchbox: "Because I'm a codependent masochist."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 60 and Week 9 Review

I went back to the couch this week.  It was Spring Break (excuse) and I chose not to run.  Call it a relapse.  Call it falling off the wagon.  I prefer to call it falling off the horse, because I plan to get right back on it this week.

How do I feel?

I'm nervous about how you all will feel.  Are you disappointed in me?  Are you understanding?  Do you want to kick my butt?  Do you want to give up on me because you think I'm giving up on me?

I'm nervous to talk to Michelle today.  Nervous that she'll really give it to me.  Nervous that she won't.

I'm hopeful, too.  I've learned a few things this week, and I plan to use those to get me back on track.  I learned that I've been leaning too much on Richard.  When he's too tired to go out with me, I don't run.  I'm going to have to find the motivation within myself or this will never work.

I learned that there's no way to do everything I need to do every day (wife, mom, student, coder, copyeditor, blogger, freelance writer, erstwhile runner) without a schedule.  I made a schedule for my weeks this morning.  It's incredibly tight, but it's doable. 

I learned that I still want to run.  Even having taken a week off, I still want to run.  The fact is, I missed it.  Crazy, huh?  I like how proud of myself I feel when I finish a run.  I didn't get to feel that this week.

Don't get me wrong. I did a lot this week.  I didn't spend my break relaxing and doing nothing.  I worked hard on writing and household project.  I'm proud of that, too.

So, there you go.  I'll go out tomorrow at 1:00 pm, just me and the road, and I'll see what I can do.  I'll shoot for 5 minute runs, but I'll be happy to move as much as I can.  I have just over a month until the big race, which I realize is still plenty of time to get from the pace I've done so far to the pace I need to do to be ready.

I plan to be ready.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Mom, today I learned that my nephew, William, rocks the griddle.


I learned that my friend, Debbie, can make Mickey Mouse pancakes without a frame.


And that the teenage boys at church can make a guitar.  (They were shooting for dinosaur, but guitars are good too.)


And I learned that there's absolutely nothing better than a good breakfast I don't have to cook.  Also, Michael's got a sausage Hitler thing going on today.  I'll be addressing that...

Friday, March 26, 2010

You win, Mr. Freud. You win.

Mom, today I learned that if you're a Republican, size does matter. 

(Thanks to Jennifer B. for letting me use her hilarious picture.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Before you begin reading this product review, you should know that I plan to shamelessly beg for the product in question throughout this post.  I don't say this to apologize for my behavior (note the word "shamelessly" above) but to prepare your minds for truth your hearts already know: that you want to buy me this product.

The Wilton Chocolate Pro Melting Pot is a product I know well, not because I've ever owned one, but because I've given two away as gifts.  The people who've received this product as a gift from me have said things like, "This is PERFECT!"  "It's great for the whole family! We had so much fun using it! We've already used it twice!"  "I'm so glad you got this for us, because it's something I would never buy for myself, but would always want."  "Sarah, you're the most awesome gift giver ever and people who read your blog should buy this same gift for YOU!"

(That last statement was inferred, of course.  Still...)

Whatever the people at Wilton are paying for marketing, I can guarantee you it's too much.  This is the epitome of the product that sells itself.  If they felt the need to spend something on advertizing, all the ad would really have to say is, "It melts chocolate so you can dip stuff in it.  Ta-daaaaaaaaaa!" 

So, I think someone on here has been longing to give me a gift and has been wondering what to get me.  You know I already have two Perfect Brownie Pans, the result of the review I wrote about them, and you've likely been worrying yourself sick over what could ever compare.  Worry no more!  The only thing I like just as much as baked chocolate is melted chocolate!

In case you need to justify the expense to your significant other, I submit for your approval "Reasons I deserve a Wilton Chocolate Pro Melting Pot."

Reason #1.  I've made my bed every day for the last two weeks. (True story!)


Reason #2:  I have cute cats. (Yes, there are two in this picture.)


Reason #3: I love "Moonstruck."  (People who love "Moonstruck" know why this is a very important qualifier.  Ma, I love it awful.)


Reason #4: Because I only drank one.  (Sorry, Michelle...)


I can't wait to start melting chocolate!  Thanks, guys!

That really bugs...

Mom, today I learned that objects in the driver side window may appear larger than they are.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mom, today I learned a new definition for the word redundant.

Stupid Product: Hug E Gram

Ladies, what did you get for Valentine's Day this year?  Did your sweetheart indulge you with a trip to the spa for a mani/pedi?  Did he shower you with roses and chocolates?  Or did he go off the deep end and send you this:

The first time I watched this commercial, I thought, "This can't be real.  This is a joke."  So, I called the number.  I got a recording that told me I had reached Customer Care and that my call was very important to them.  It also told me my call would be recorded for quality assurance purposes.  I figured since all the recordings they've made so far haven't helped them produce a quality product, nothing I could say would, so I ended the call shortly into the hold music.  Would there have been an actual person waiting at the other end of that music to excitedly take my order?  I don't think I want to know that.

For the record, I got flowers on Valentine's Day, and I was very happy with them.  I don't know if Richard ever considered getting me a Hug E Gram.  I'm thinking not, since I had a lengthy text message convo with him about how flowers are the way to my heart, how he could never go wrong with flowers, how I don't care at all what kind of flowers they are or how expensive they are as long as they're colorful and alive.  (Ladies, if you don't tell them what you want, it's your own fault if you get a Hug E Gram.)

I'm trying to imagine how I would have reacted if a delivery person had come to my door with this.

Option A: "Richard? Are you mad?  Do we need to talk?  I'll stop making you listen to Snow Patrol in the car, okay?  Just...don't be mad at me."

Option B: "Sweet, I know I mentioned that with all the running I've been doing, my pants are getting too loose to wear, but this...this isn't really a solution.""

Option C: "WHY, GOD!? WHY!?

Option D: "You spent $30 on THIS?  Did they include these cheap, wooden flowers so I can beat you over the head?"

Can someone explain the wooden flowers to me?  The actress in the commercial seems dismayed at getting a beautiful, expensive bouquet of flowers, yet the makers of the Hug E Gram think her heart will go all melty at the prospect of a sad little array of free, wooden rosebuds.  And $25?  Really, Hug E Gram?  You expect us to believe those things are worth $25?  Is there money inside them?

There are only a handful of people on this earth that I think would appreciate the gift of the Hug E Gram.

1. My mom, because she would appreciate the excuse to cry, and her cats could use it as a scratching post.

2. Lady Gaga, because she's always on the hunt for new ways to look ridiculous.

3. God, because he's forgiving.

(Thanks to Jenn P. for the Stupid Product idea.  Thanks to Richard C. for having the sense to never, ever consider buying this.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I am a confirmed Trekker, and that almost two years ago, this Trekker married a Jedi.  While this hasn't caused too much distress in our marriage, except for that day Richard made me watch Clone Wars with him, I still scratch my head sometimes over the fact that I entered into such a "star crossed" relationship.

Once the head scratching is over, I remember that no matter how in love with George Lucas he may be, Richard is my best friend and the best thing that ever happened to me.  Also, that there is plenty of time to initiate him into the ways of Star Fleet.  (Come away from the dark side, Richard.  Step into the light of the Federation.)

In honor of my Star Wars crazed husband, I bring you today's video.  It was brought to us by my brother-in-law, Eldon, whom I suspect also has Star Wars sympathies.  I love it, not because it references those silly movies, but because I get to hear some of my favorite John Williams music.  (The fact that Corey Vidal is cute doesn't hurt either...)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Did you know Hugh Hefner is turning 84 this year?  Of course you didn't, because you don't care.

Did you know Hugh Hefner is more commonly known as "The Hef?" Of course you didn't, because that's ridiculous.

Did you know that Hugh Hefner has absolutely no plans to become celibate just because he's turning 84?  Of course you didn't, because that kind of information is something normal people keep private.  Or because you did know and chose to break out the do-it-yourself lobotomy kit so you could gouge the knowledge of it from your brain.

(Interesting side note: You can google the word lobotomy and find pictures of the picks through the eye sockets and everything.  Those are still not as disgusting as this news story.)

Okay, I'm not one of those people who think the elderly stop being intimate with their partners just because they're elderly.  For all I know, my grandparents got frisky on a regular basis right up to the day my Grandpa Jones passed away.  I don't think there's anything inherently icky about that.  I'm just saying I appreciate the fact that they never told me about it.

I also appreciate the fact that both of my grandparents were old at the time. According to the news story on Hefner, he'll be spending his birthday with his newest girlfriend, Crystal Harris, a woman young enough to be his great granddaughter.

You know, if he were that creepy guy down the street who lives in his pajamas, says inappropriate things, and preys on young women, you'd call him a dirty old man.  Because he's a creepy celebrity who lives in his pajamas, says inappropriate things, and preys on young women, he makes the news.

Mr. Hefner, The Hef, Creepy McCreepster, I have just two things to say to you:  Ew and shhhh.

Now, where did I leave that ice pick...


Mom, today I learned that if you don't realize there's a cat curled up behind your computer, all the neighbors will the moment he stands up.

Couch to 5K: Day 54

Saturday was another challenging day in running land, BUT I achieved three minutes.  I have one more run, which I'll do on Today, to master that time before I bump up to five minute runs.  I can't even imagine five minutes at this point.  I keep trying to remind myself that I used to have a hard time running thirty seconds.  Those days seem so long ago.

I didn't buy the beeping kitchen timer I want to buy.  Who has time to go to the store?  Instead, I held my cell phone and watched for the time to change, then did my two minute walks and three minute runs based on that clock. 

You don't know desperation until you're silently begging a cell phone to make time move faster.

I should say that Saturday was an emotional one for me, made even more emotional by the fact that I didn't know which emotions to feel.  Limbo...such a fun party game...such a crazy-making emotional state.

Signs of pregnancy had me wondering if I was one of the lucky one percent who manage to conceive after a tubal ligation.  With my fertile history, it's certainly not impossible.  I've found myself torn between hope and fear all week.  While a new baby wouldn't be unwelcome, I had the procedure to end my childbearing days for a reason.  My body gave its all to my five, and complications with my youngest told me it was time to be done.  Add to that the fact that I had an endometrial ablation along with the tubal, and you're looking at a pregnancy that is almost sure to end in miscarriage, or continue with major, possibly life threatening complications.

So yeah...running wasn't the only thing on the brain, but I did it.  I only managed 15 minutes of my workout before telling Richard I was done and then wiping away frustrated tears from my eyes.  It was all just too much.  He put his arm around me and reminded me he loved me, and we walked home together, hoping for some kind of answer soon.  (See my Sunday What I Learned Today post for an update.)

My weight loss is up to 10 pounds now.  While this isn't the reason I'm running, I have to admit that it gives me a boost and makes me want to keep at it.  I've also started changing the way I eat.  They're just subtle changes here and there, but they're effective ones.  Thinking I might be pregnant caused me to start eating like a pregnant woman, just in case.  I lost weight with each of my pregnancies (substantial weight) because I started eating small meals throughout the day to ward off any morning sickness.  I've decided to keep that going, and I think I'll see great results.

I'm actually looking forward to today's run. How weird is that?  I think I'm happy to only have to run three minutes.  My last hoorah before the five minute craziness.  Good times. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

99% of the time, it works every time.


Mom, today I learned that my tubal ligation is still working, and I am not a one percenter.  Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ah, the memories...


Mom, today I learned someone made a bumper sticker of my senior year of high school.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

So, last week I profiled a news story about a woman shaving her nether regions while driving and reviewed Booty Pop Panties.  And here I am today, lampooning Rear Gear Butt Covers.  I took a test on Freud's theory of psychosexual development today, and now I'm wondering if I'm fixated.  Gosh, I hope not.

All I can say is that when loyal Mother Load reader, Tamlynn C., excitedly sent me the link to this Stupid Product, I knew I had to blog it.  HAD TO. 

Someone has to speak for the dogs.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and perceived necessity where no real necessity exists is the mother of the Stupid Products feature on The Mother Load.  This is definitely one of the latter situations.  Rear Gear Butt Covers are adorable little...paper?...cloth?...decorations meant to cover the "brown eye" of a pet's backside, lest the pet in question feel embarrassed and exposed.

I'm not a dog owner so maybe I'm ignorant in the ways of doggy emotions, but I just don't think many canines are feeling "left in the dirt" because of their "unsightly" bottoms.  In case the maker of this product hasn't noticed...dogs don't care.  Dogs put their noses into the the unsightly bottoms of other dogs on a regular basis.  They seem very happy to do this...eager, even.  Poll 100 dogs, and you won't find a single one saying, "If only there were some way to cover my bum."  (My guess is they'd all say, "Woof," but I can't be sure.)

I understand that people like to anthropomorphize their pets and imbue them with all sorts of human emotions and attachments.  I truly believe my cats love the very thought of me.  Does this mean I'm going to start projecting my own neurotic thoughts onto them and buying products they'll never need?  No.

Also, it goes without saying (but I'm saying it anyway) that things that Rear Gear covers will cover Rear Gear if a Rear Gear loving dog owner isn't watchful.  At $5 a pop, that's a pretty expensive and useless diaper...

Some readers have probably noticed (because my readers are smart) that I haven't talked about Rear Gear's purported cat users.  This is because no cat in its right mind would ever consent to wear this product.  I contend that this is because cats have more sense than dogs.  Dog owners, I'm sorry, but it's true.  Please don't send hate mail.  I'll just publish it on the blog.

(Thanks to Tamlynn C. for the heads up on today's Stupid Product!  And for being so excited about finding me a Stupid Product!  I'm excited that you're excited!  Let's all be excited!)

The man my man smells like...


Mom, today I learned that no matter how much Richard loves the Old Spice Body Wash commercial, he's still going to keep buying lady scented body washes. (Aw, I'll take him in any scent.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 51

Last night's run was harder than I'm used to.  Perhaps it was a combination of things.  I only ran once last week, and it seems my body is all too happy to revert back to schlub status.  I was up until 2 am the night before last, and that's added to the mind numbing stupidity of Daylight Savings.  I might also have been carrying around a little of last week's discouragement over my run times, too.

I didn't make it three minutes, and I got angry at myself over it.  I had Richard time me, and I only ran just over 2 minutes during my best run cycles.  I ended my run feeling spent and frustrated.  I've decided I'll buy a small kitchen timer so I can easily keep track of my time from now on.  (And because it would be hard to run with my oven on my back.)

My training call with Michelle gave me a little bit of hope.  She told me the 3 minute point is where most people struggle.  I wonder if a lot of people give up.  It was nice hearing that what I felt last night is normal and that future time increases should be a little easier.

I'm putting this challenge into perspective today.  I think I'm the kind of person who needs a regular challenge in her life.  For awhile, it was natural childbirth.  Once I determined that I was done, it became long distance, endurance hiking.  Today, it's the Couch to 5K.

What I'm trying to remind myself is that during every labor and birth and during each tough hike, I've always gotten to this point.  There is always that moment when I feel frustrated and angry and don't think I can do it anymore.  When I was apprenticing to become a midwife, I saw the same thing happen with most of the mothers we assisted.  At some point, you stop fighting and surrender to the experience, no matter how hard or painful or scary, and that's when peace steps in and things really start to work.

I don't know if I'm ready to stop fighting it, but I'm aware of what's going on.  That's enough for now.


Mom, today I learned that I'm torn about this situation.  On the one hand, this person was not smart enough to put his trash in the actual trash container.  On the other, by putting his trash in the ash tray, he's at least teaching smokers where to throw their butts.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Readers, I give you Amy Walker, a woman who is sure to become a household name very soon. The first clip is a pretty amazing little bit in which she very quickly demonstrates 21 different accents. I think I've watched it about 800 times trying to learn them all. I'm still working on my Scottish accent.

The second clip is a short parody of "All I Ask of You," and it's laugh out loud funny. I've also watched this one about 800 times, not because I want to learn anything, but because I like to laugh out loud. It scares the cats, and that's always fun.


Batter up!


Mom, today I learned that this is an adequate substitute for an oven mitt.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Do you know how to tell if you have an unhealthy relationship with cheese? If you're willing to do this to get some:

Yes, that's a person being taken away on a stretcher after a trip down that hill.  He got no cheese.

I heard about this story on the radio today.  The Gloucestershire cheese-rolling event is a tradition in which marginally sane individuals hurl themselves down a crazy steep hill in hopes of winning a wheel of cheese that has been hurled down the hill ahead of them.  Only one person gets the cheese.  The rest just get concussions.  (Bonus if the cheese winner gets the cheese AND a concussion.)

Sadly, the event has become so popular (Hey guys! We're loonies!  We like cheese!  Let's go to England and break our necks!) that this year's cheese rolling has been cancelled by the authorities who fear the increasing numbers of cheese chasers will cause safety problems.  They just don't have enough ambulances to go around, and even if they did, they can't get the ambulances to the hospital with all those bodies strewn everywhere.

Aw, man!  They always get rid of stuff the year I was going to do it!

You've got to hand it to the British.  They happily participate in 300 years of people throwing themselves off a cliff for a wheel of cheese, and just when the rest of the world realizes how fun it really is to snap half the bones in their bodies, they up and cancel it.

All is not lost (unless you're that guy on the stretcher).  The powers that be who oppose the anti-cheese-rolling powers that be are working on a solution that will allow the event to happen despite the safety concerns.  They're kind of hush-hush in the article, but they do say they're planning to call a meeting.  That's right.  I said meeting.  Aw, snap!

You know...if they made their opponents race to the bottom of that hill in order to speak at the meeting, they wouldn't have any problem getting their cheese-rolling back.


Mom, today I learned that getting a teenager to make his trademark surly face for a camera is not as easy as it would seem.  (Needed a picture to go with my first article.)





Aaaaaaaaaaah...there we go!

(Yes, I know I need a better camera.  Anyone wanna sell me one?  I can pay exactly nada.  I have a coupon and everything!)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 49 and Week 7 Review

I ran once this week.  Once.  I'm full of excuses for it.  I'm also choosing to be kind to myself and be reasonable about the kind of week I've had.  I started 3 new jobs this week: coding for a data analysis firm, writing for, and copyediting for a publisher.  All of these jobs are part time.  None of them will take as much time as they did this week.  Starting meant training and reading and learning much of what I need to know to do them.  It was not a normal week.

Of course, I did that in addition to the writing I'm doing for and my blogs, continuing my full time studies at the University of Utah, and spending significantly more time with my family (which I won't trade for anything.)

Is that an excuse?  Maybe.  I'll tell Michelle to let me have it during our training call today if she feels so inclined.  I hope she does and I hope she doesn't.

I'm considering a new mantra.  I thought about it during my one and only run this week when Richard mentioned I've increased my speed so much that my counting is again off; only this time, I'm finishing my run cycles too early instead of running too long.  I had a moment of discouragement, picked myself back up, and ran again.

In the end, I decided it's not that big a deal what the timer says.  Well, it is and it isn't.  I do need to pick up the pace and lengthen my runs each week, and I will use my running plan from Phazes as my guide.  However, I'm borrowing a phrase from Alcoholics Anonymous as I do this: Progress, not perfection.

If I strive for all perfect weeks, I'm doomed to fail at this endeavor.  If I take it one day at a time, I will succeed.  I'm running longer than I was when I started.  That's progress.  I'm running faster than I did when I started.  That's progress.  I haven't admitted defeat and gone back to my sedentary life despite how much I don't like to run.  THAT'S PROGRESS!

So, there you go.  I won't promise to be perfect this week, but I will make progress.  My goal is to run the full three times, and I'll repeat the 3 minutes I was supposed to do last week.  It will take an extreme amount of time management on my part, but I'm willing to do that.

Oh...and I've lost 8 pounds.  *wink*

Friday, March 12, 2010

25 years ago, back when my siblings and I were busy being children of the 80s, we got caught up in a nationwide 50s fashion craze.  My girlfriends who had mothers who doted on their every clothing need (as opposed to my mom, who was frugal and practical and knew the trend would be over in roughly 12 minutes) suddenly began arriving at school in poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

Shortly thereafter, we all headed into 60s territory and donned tie dyed shirts and peace signs.  We still owned and loved our outrageous 80s fashions, but we had a lot of fun going retro.  Parents and teachers rolled their eyes and sighed at us, and we thought they were lame for shaking their heads at our newest craze.

You know, in the 80s, it didn't occur to me that the 60s had only happened 20 years previously.  I would laugh at my mother's consternation over one of her generation's songs making it onto the oldies station and wonder why she didn't realize how old she was.  Then I'd flash her a peace sign just to see her roll her eyes and sigh again.

Fast forward to 2010 and it's 80s, 80s everywhere.  I sat in my math class this morning and wondered if I'd been transported back in time when I saw this cute coed studying for the test.  She was kind enough to let me take her picture afterwards.

That's the unsure smile of someone who's just been accosted by an old person who told her she used to wear clothes like that when she was a kid.

Confession:  I loved 80s fashion.  LOVED it.  I've been waiting for it to come back for, well, for 25 years.  I loved the bright colors, the sophisticated styles, even the shoulder pads (because my broad and beefy shoulders didn't stand out so much).  I adored absolutely everything Alyssa Milano wore on "Who's the Boss" and secretly dreamed of the day I'd be an adult and the styles would come back and I'd actually have the money to go out and buy every pair of leggings and every oversized sweater I could ever want.

The only problem?  If I start dressing like the teens and the young adults, I'll look like one of those women who doesn't know when to stop dressing like teens and young adults.  I'll look like I'm trying too hard.

Everybody shout it out with me: "UNFAIR!"

Those were MY fashions.  That was MY style!  I wore it FIRST!  And now all the young folk are bringing it back, and I can't wear it unless I want to look ridiculous.  Oh, I know you're saying, "Just wear what you want, Sarah."  It's not as simple as that, and you know it.  You're not exactly sporting the parachute pants and the hypercolor t-shirt now, are you?

My mom didn't put on a poodle skirt when that fad came back around.  She didn't don the tie dye or pull her hippie shawl out of storage.  (Oh, she had one.  Believe you me, she had one.)  She just rolled her eyes and sighed.  I wonder if she was feeling everything I'm feeling now.  Maybe she looked at us in our silly clothes and wanted to cry foul too.  Maybe she wore her hippie shawl late at night when no one was around to see it and dreamed of days gone by.  These moments of motherly clarity always make me want to go and do something nice for my mom. 

I'll think I'll go buy her some saddle shoes.

Nice guy...kinda small for a giant.


Mom, today I learned the identity of the giant I've been looking for since this blog began! Which is to say...I learned what he looks like.  So amazed was I to have found him that I forgot to ask his name. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Mom, today I learned that there's still some chocolate in my Christmas stocking.  Of course I'm going to eat it.  Don't act like you wouldn't!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So, it's happened again.  I've been given a product idea and I just can't decide if it's a Stupid Product or an Awesome Product.  The first time this happened, I was reviewing the P-Mate, a paper urinal for women.  Today, the product that defies my usual sound judgment is the Booty Pop Panty. Surprisingly, they're panties that make your booty pop. (Who knew?)

Maybe you've seen the booty popping commercial.

Do you remember when I reviewed the Kush, that strange little plastic cylinder meant to separate a woman's breasts for sleeping?  Remember how I said I didn't have a large enough chest to ever need a product like that?  Well the reverse is true of Booty Pop Panties.  I still don't need them, but not because God deprived me of anything in the booty area.  I've been so amply blessed down there that if I wore a pair of Booty Pop Panties, they'd have to call them Booty Explosion.

Here's what I think qualifies this as a Stupid Product: 
- The name.  The more I say it, the more awkward I feel.  I know it makes things pretty self explanatory, but I can't get the image of a flashy dancer popping her rear like she's having a grand mal seizure out of my head.  I thought about posting a video of what I'm talking about, but even looking at the pictures on youtube makes me a little queasy.  Ladies! Tuck you butts back in.  No one needs to see that.  Thanks.
- The fact that women think they need this.  It's nice that butts are in again, but really...can't we all just be happy the way we are?
- The assumption that all women want a booty like that.  Maybe there are hordes of women out there who are perfectly happy with their flat butts, thankyouverymuch!

And here's what I think qualifies this as an Awesome Product:
- Whether or not I agree with it, many women aren't happy with their bodies.  The makers of this product were alarmed by rising plastic surgery rates and created an alternative.  I can get behind that.  (You would have gone for the cheap joke too.  Don't try to deny it.)
- As much as I like to pontificate about the need to be happy as we are, I do wear a padded bra--not because I want attention, but because I want my clothes to fit!  I can see that someone could buy Booty Pop Panties for the same reason.
- As a people watcher, knowing this product is on the market gives me one more thing to watch for.  I've seen pictures of women trying to wear these panties in a tight dress, and ladies, it's not pretty.  I will be watching for crazy obvious Booty Popped booties from now on, and that, my friends, is all kinds of awesome.

(Thanks to Jenn P. for the Stupid Awesome Product idea.  Jenn, I think your booty is just fine the way it is...not that I've been looking or anything...)


Mom, today I learned where last year's car registration notice went.  Also? I found the head of a decapitated bird under my bed.  That explains the feathers...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The hubster and I stayed up way too late last night watching clips from classic episodes of Sesame Street.  Today, there's nothing else I could imagine sharing with my readers.

The following clip is from a time when Sesame Street was pure and wonderful. A time before a certain screechy voiced, red (alleged) Muppet took over the show completely and rendered it almost totally unwatchable.  A time before my beloved Cookie Monster had his name changed by politically correct crazy people.  We will not speak any more of that.

Cookie is alive and well (and hungry!) in this clip, and my favorite Muppet, Grover, is along to bring a smile to my face and tear to my eye.  Enjoy!

(Mother Load reader Tami C. pointed out to me that the rumors I had heard about Cookie Monster's name change are false. RELIEF!  Here's a link to the Cookie Monster story on Snopes.  I would like to point out that while the people at Snopes say Sesame Street fans should know that "it would not make sense for Sesame Street to replace a beloved and extremely marketable character," it is my contention that Sesame Street has done just that by relegating Grover to mere seconds of screen time per show and allowing the Red Menace to dominate each episode.)

Move over, strawberries!


Mom, today I learned there's a fruit called a "yumberry."  And all this time I've been eating yuckberries and neutralberries.  Silly me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I concur!


Mom, today I learned that truer words have ne'er been spoken. read that right.  A woman was shaving her nether regions WHILE DRIVING.  In her defense, she had her ex-husband take the wheel so that someone would be driving.  In her non-defense, I think he might have been a wee bit distracted by the show.  However, in her further defense, she had a really important reason for needing to shave right then.  She was on her way to her boyfriend's house and wanted to "get ready for the visit." 

Oh my...oh my...oh my.

I'm not going to really discuss the idiocy of shaving your bikini area while driving.  People do stupid things in cars every day.  I'm not going to harp on the fact that she'd just been convicted on a DUI charge the day before and wasn't even supposed to be driving at all.  I won't even point out the fact that she tried to cover things up (TOO LATE! HA!) by switching seats with her ex.

I just want to know what kind of ex-husband is happy to tag along while his ex-wife takes a drive to her boyfriend's house?  What kind of ex-wife has no problem dropping trou and "freshening up" for a date while her ex sits right next to her?  What was going through his mind, do you think?  I would like to put forth some possibilities.

- "My ex is so classy.  How did I ever let her get away?"

- "Ah, how well I remember our wedding day when she did this in front of the priest, her mom, and my entire side of the family."

- "Should I tell her about that truck or the razor burn?  Truck? Razor burn? Tough call!"


I'm hoping her ex-husband has learned a valuable lesson or two in all of this.  I focus on him because I don't think the woman in question is capable of learning anything.  Next time, buddy, you do the shaving and let her drive!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 42 and Week 6 Review

I don't run without Richard anymore.  I was talking to Michelle from Phazes Fitness for my training call this week and realized it's about love.  I don't love running.  I love Richard.  So, when I run with Richard, it's like I love running, because there is running and love at the same time.  I wonder if that would work for other things... (My brain immediately goes to math and I think, nope...doesn't work at all.)

Tonight's run was a good one.  I'm getting used to that it freedom?  I'm running faster, too.  I can tell by how much farther away I get from Richard during my run cycles than I used to.  I'm not making this about speed, but it's nice to know I'm improving and progressing.
Michelle's been asking me if I'd be willing to take some pictures of myself in a tank top and sweats or shorts to show the way running is reshaping my body.  I'm taking deep breaths and considering it.  Before and after shots are motivating to the runner and to the people the runner inspires.  They're also scary.  I haven't mentioned weight or size or inches on this blog because it's not the reason I'm running.  I won't run for those reasons.  They would never be enough.

This is enough.

That said, I can also see where Michelle is coming from.  Phazes is an awesome sponsor of this blog, and most of the people who use their service are thinking about weight and size and inches.  They want to see results before they put in the effort.  I certainly don't blame them.

I think what I fear most is looking at before pictures and wondering how I could have loved myself at this weight.  Self love has been hard won for me.  Just read about it on my other blog.  I don't want to see someone I don't love in a picture and realize it was me.

Perhaps I could think about it differently.  Maybe it's about the outer me catching up with the inner me.  Maybe that's worth a few snapshots.  I'm giving it thought.  What are your thoughts? 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Baptism Day!

Mom, today I didn't really learn anything. I just want to honor my sweet daughter, Evelyn. Congratulations, LynniePooh.

(I'll replace this with an actual baptism photo once I get them back.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

He's gonna be a blogger...

Mom, today I learned that Michael is just as serious about my computer as I am.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We're having spaghetti sandwiches Saturday night (thus sayeth my son), and if there's one thing spaghetti sandwiches need, it's the right blend of herbs.  And if there's one thing I know about the grocery store, it's that good, fresh herbs are hard to find and even harder to afford.

For some, the answer to this problem is to plant an herb garden.  For me, the answer to that answer is that I don't have time for gardening.  Aha! Enter today's Awesome Product: the AeroGarden Indoor Herb Garden.  It's a fully automatic, hydroponic, lazy gardener's dream!

Take a look.

I was introduced to this product by friends of my sister's who graciously allowed us to crash at their Las Vegas home the night before we flew out to North Carolina for our other sister's wedding back in 2008.  I don't know for sure, but I'm assuming that traditional gardening in Las Vegas is not really something people do because it would require being outside in 500 degree weather for longer than 10 seconds at a time.

For these folks, the AeroGarden was their answer to that little problem.  Really, when you refuse to leave Las Vegas (doesn't anyone listen to Sheryl Crow?), you have to do what you can.

The AeroGarden comes with everything you need to grow wonderfully tasty herbs without stepping foot outside.  A search of youtube tells me you can also grow marijuana in it, but I know none of MY readers would ever do that.  I'm sure a search of google would tell me this product could save a family from starvation in the event of a nuclear holocaust too.

Whatever way you want to use it is fine by me.  Just bring some herbs over to my house for the spaghetti sandwiches!

(Spaghetti sandwiches are a Liger family favorite and are made with meaty spaghetti sauce, two slices of toasted garlic bread with herbs, a bit of mozzarella cheese, and the sandwich grill I got for Richard for Christmas.  Mmmmmm-mmmm!)

Mom, today I learned that my eyes may permanently roll back in my head from the amount of eye-rolling I do over stuff like this.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do you remember the movie "Bambi?"  Of course you do.  Remember how the forest animals pranced around while choirs sang and then Bambi's mother was shot and all your childhood dreams died?  Today's Stupid Product is like the dreams of millions of children dying a horrible, horrible death only the music makes things worse.

Buck the Singing Deer Head comes to us from Brands on Sale, the same folks implicated in my review of their sexy Halloween costumes for kids.  Oh, Brands on Sale.  Must you?

A quick and nauseating perusal of youtube tells me more people than I ever want to think about have bought this product.  People hurt me.

Here's a video from an outfit called I want one of They sell "stuff you don't need...but you really, really want." I'd like that website to know that I really, really don't want Buck. No, really.

The makers of Buck the Singing Deer say he's been constructed meticulously to look as lifelike as possible.  You case the the thought of a dead animal's head on your wall doesn't freak you out enough.  They've included a handy motion sensor so unsuspecting guests can scream and wet their pants when Buck starts talking to them.  I know I never like to leave a party dry.  How 'bout you?

With a $399.99 price tag, Buck the Singing Deer is the most expensive Stupid Product I've reviewed yet.  It seems a little counterintuitive to make something that appeals mainly to a poor, redneck crowd and price it for the more urbane, don't you think?  Never you fear.  I saw youtube videos of this thing on the shelf at Wal Mart for a mere $79.99. 

Bust out the moon pies, honey, we got ourselves a singing deer!

$125 for a parking permit...

Mom, today I learned that it doesn't matter one bit what you're trying to sell.  If you make it harder for me to park for class, I will never, ever buy it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mom, today I learned that all my little girls are old enough for earrings now.  Waaaaaaaaaaah!

I was introduced to Flight of the Conchords back in 2007 at a pre-Thanksgiving get together at the home of my friends, Michelle and Bill Ennis. I've been hooked ever since. These guys are my best bad day medicine.

If you haven't ever seen the duo of Flight of the Conchords in action before, you may want to empty your bladder before you push play. If you have breathing problems due to disorders like asthma or emphysema, have some oxygen handy.

Couch to 5K: Day 37

I'm overwhelmed.  I got an email from Michelle at Phazes Fitness a few minutes ago in which she mentioned that one of her clients is starting a Couch to 5K program because she's been following my progress here.  Are these tears in my eyes?  What's up with THAT?

Okay, I'll admit that I'm premenstrual, so I'd probably cry over a brown banana, but still.  I'm overwhelmed with feelings of pride and excitement for this person and for myself.  My running helped someone make the decision to run, and my immediate reaction is not to console her but to celebrate with her.  To quote a silly movie we saw at the dollar theater last night: "The times...they are a-diff-er-ent!"

I haven't run yet today, but I'm very ready to take on the pavement and own the road.  I'm going to be repeating my 2 minute runs since I did so poorly last week.  It's great to have grace weeks like these.  I'm doing an 8 week program, but I've had 13+ weeks to do it.  I don't know if that was excellent planning or dumb luck.  I'm leaning toward luck.

Race for the Cure Salt Lake is getting closer, so it's time to start thinking about raising money.  I've got a few ideas knocking around inside my head.  It's also time to really start assembling my team.  I have a few people pledging to run with me up here, and it looks like a good Southern Utah group is forming to travel up and run.  I'm looking at my backyard and imagining the BEST BARBECUE EVER happening there after the race.

For those of you not able to run in Utah, find a race near you and run with Team Mother Load.  I've decided (can't remember if I've mentioned it here) that I'll keep running after the Salt Lake race and prepare for one at another location in October.  Maybe it will be your race!  (Seriously...can I stay at your house?)  Charlotte, NC and Wichita Falls, TX look appealing, since I have family nearby, but I'm really open to anything. 

Are you on Team Mother Load yet?  If you are, let me know!  If you aren't, why not?  If I can do it, and I'm SO DOING IT, you can too!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Today's Outrageous News story was published in the Salt Lake Tribune today, but was originally reported in January.  It's a cautionary tale for all would be hypnotists.  If you practice your mad skillz in front of a mirror, you may end up like Helmut Kichmeier, who hypnotized himself into an hours-long trance from which his wife could not release him.

The non-hypnotist wife came home to find her husband staring off into space in front of his mirror.  When he didn't respond to repeated questions from her, she got scared.  Apparently, he's the kind of husband who doesn't zone out when his wife talks anyway, so this was unusual behavior for him.

Luckily for Helmut, his wife thought quickly and called his trainer who spoke with an authoritative voice through the phone and snapped poor Helmut out of his daze.  He reports that he doesn't remember anything from the hours that he was hypnotized and has no idea why there is mayonaise all over the walls and $20 million hidden under the bed.  (That last part may or may not have come from my imagination...)

Helmut's wife is now equipped with a key word that will snap Helmut out of any trance should this situation occur again.  For obvious reasons, the news story doesn't reveal the word or phrase, but I'm betting it's, "Stop practicing in front of a mirror, you stupid moron."  Or maybe it's, "Oprah."  Who can tell?