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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Like everyone in this country, I am struggling to understand the events in CT. Like the rest of the country (perhaps the world) I am angry at the senseless loss of life, at the randomness of it. At least with Columbine, I could understand the motive - bullied teens with anger directed at their peers. But this I simply do not get.

Like the rest of the world, I read media reports (which are mostly useless) and try to comprehend what happened. Along with anger and sadness there are some really bizarre ones (like Mike Huckabee), but hey, at least he is a consistent nut job.

The tragedy really opened the flood gates to talk about things like mental illness and of course gun control. While guns and the right to bear arms has always been a hot topic, the mental illness is something people normally don't discuss. It's a red-headed stepchild of uncomfortable topics, but the lack of structure and support for parents of mentally ill children needs to be discussed and addressed.

My mother had a perspective on the shooting which I didn't think about: "at least he killed his mother first, so she wouldn't have to deal the aftermath of his actions". Along these lines, in my travels on the Interwebs I came across this very honest and painful blog entry. Read it - really puts in perspective what it is like to have no one to turn to, and no way to improve a really frightening situation. But, along with support for speaking out (which, IMHO, should have been unanimous) there are some really nasty responses to this. I applaud this lady's honesty.

My heart really goes out to the parents, the teachers, the students. All these poor, poor little babies. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

"Oh Castle!! Yes, that's what I meant, Castle!!"

It's been a while. I stopped writing here because it didn't feel fun anymore. And I needed a breaka after all kinds of changes with routines, babysitters, etc. I simply didn't feel like writing or thinking. So I took a break. And now I'm back.

One main sucky change in zaiki's schedule is the commute. Before, we walked home from the sitter, she was literally a block away. Now I sit in traffic with them for forty minutes each night on the way home from their new preschool. Which brings me to today's main topic: swearing in front of very bright, curious children with excellent memory.

I was driving them home last night in the aforementioned traffic, when some twat strong, no doubt highly intelligent woman changed lanes right into me. I have very low tolerance for bad drivers, especially bad women drivers, as last year I was in a pretty bad car accident caused by a member of this category. So this time, with babies in the car, I swerved onto the shoulder before she could crash into me. Bags were flying, babies were crying, and I.., well, I was cursing: "YOU F-ING A-HOLE!" and followed that with the New Jersey salut. Forgetting about the curious minds in the back seat. Fortunately, distracted by flying objects in the car, honking and music, they thought I said "Flipping Castle"...Yes, yes, my girls, that's exactly what I said. Giggle.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Post-vacation blues

This is my favorite time of the year: golden, sunny Indian summer. I love everything about this time of year: the fresh crispness of air, the pumpkinness of assorted beverages, the apple cider, the hay rides. Halloween, of course! We usually go on a little vacation in September, and I love that as well. What I don't love is coming back from the said vacation and finding out that we have no more childcare.

Yep, our beloved babysitter/nanny quit on us. Granted, there is a very good reason and that's why there's almost no cursing in this post, but still. I'm a "little frantic". We were given a one-week notice. ONE WEEK!!!! WHAATTT???One week isn't even long enough to find a reliable landscaper, forget about someone to watch your children. So I'm very very very very upset, hurt and a feel a wee bit betrayed. Had we known this was coming, we most likely would not have gone away. But we didn't, and this is what we did during our blissfully stress-free week:

We went to Virginia Beach and stayed in a really nice place with two heated pools and hot tubs, dubbed "japuzzies" by zaiki. We learned to swim (a little bit) and to put our heads under water. We learned that Maya is terrified of the ocean and that Sonya is virtually fearless. We learned that clams are super yummy and that fighter jets flying over your head every 10 minutes for a week is difficult to get used to.
 
The place we stayed was super nice, clean and accommodating. One crucial mistake we made was to get a one-bedroom condo. We decided that the kids will sleep in the bedroom and we will take a pull-out bed in the living room to have access to the balcony/kitchen/TV/adult stuff.  We should have known that "pull-out bed" is a hotelier slang term for "muahaha-your-back-will-be-ruined-bed", or maybe for "Chinese torture instrument bed". After a few nights we gave up, realized that, if we keep sleeping on it, no "adult stuff" will happen in the foreseeable future due to pinched nerves in the back, and decided to share the king size bed with zaiki, who look deceptively snugly and sweet when they are asleep. That was another fatal mistake. Have you ever been repeatedly kicked by a very young, robust and stubborn donkey? No? I think that after two nights sleeping next to Maya I can approximate what that feels like. The child is like a hot, hard little lump of sharp edges. To add to that, Sonya kept having night terrors, which meant she'd periodically start screaming "my cookies" and trying to crawl away somewhere, punching and kicking. And she peed the bed the last night we were there. Bonus! So between all that we haven't slept the whole week.

We enjoyed the pool, "japuzzi", fresh seafood. We biked down the boardwalk, played in the sand. It was fun. On one rainy day we went up to Williamsburg, and I fell in love with that area. We drove over the Cheesapeke Bay Bridge and I kept trying to imagine what awe the first settlers must have felt when they first saw the vastness of the land in front of them after months at sea.

Kevin's sister came up for a couple of days and got to sleep on the sofa bed (muahahaha). Kevin and I went out for a nice meal alone and had oysters.

Drive back home was interesting, the highlight being feeding zaiki yogurt in the parking lot of the FoodLion grocery store with a fork, because the grocery store didn't have plastic spoons and we didn't think to pack any. That night we got caught in the downpour  that followed us all the way from Delaware to Jersey. After we arrived, Husband remarked that he would like to have a beer, provided we can pry his hands from the steering wheel.

Coming home was really the best part. Sleeping in our nice, big and zaiki-free bed was like heaven. I haven't slept like that in weeks. So we were really happy settling back into our routines until I got the call from the babysitter. Now we are starting from square one. But in every challenge, there is an opportunity. We'll work it out, we'll be fine. I have to remind myself about that, because today I've been vacillating between tears and panic.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What have you been up to?

All right, I've been slacking and not keeping up with my blog. I'll try to be better at it. That's what we've been up to recently:

- Finally sleeping without pull-ups, therefore, completely and officially are BIG GIRLS
- Learned that one has to poop in the big potty, not into a little portable one (makes Mama cranky)
- Played soccer
- Tried to ride bikes and decided that it's not as much fun as sitting in the bike trailer while Papa pulls you
- Developed a sense of humor (no, really, making up song words and everything!)
- Got fancy "babysuits" (bathing suits in zaiki-speak)
- Grew tremedously
- Learned that baking cookies=cookie dough=yummy
-Turned three!!!!! A big milestone for zaiki-sized people, something that truly separates babies from big girls

As for me, I finished summer with a nice fancy trip to the emergency room on the account of low blood pressure. I'm fine now, thanks to a bag of fluids and hot food pumped into me, and off to my first teaching internship, which I am super excited about.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

I am a high-strung and weather-affected person, and the latest heat wave did nothing to improve my motivation and moods. And, apparently, my daughers had inhereted my heat intolerance: both had been just finicky, touchy and exessively whiny lately.

Sonya's new favorite words are " Don't talk to me!" and Maya says (while having her big blue eyes fill with tears) "Nobody loves me" if you say "no" to any of her demands. They also began exhibiting marsupial-like need for Papa's affections, having to hug, touch or otherwise be in constant contact with his (often exhausted from working at all hours) persona. This week brought no relief from hot weather or zaiki shenanigans.

Last night, Maya showed her displeasure in Papa not reading her bedtime stories by punching him in the groin. An immediate and swift time-out followed. Then Sonya, Papa and I had a discussion about nice girls who don't punch their fathers that was sweetly accompanied by pitiful wails of the offender.

But Sonya is not always an obedient and compliant child she appears to be: earlier in the evening, she staged an exhaustingly long screaming performance, prompted by me "laughing in her face". There was a certain amount of truth to her accusations. After a successful potty trip, she refused to get off the toilet, and, while screaming and shaking with rage, she fell off. I felt bad, but the sight of royally pissed-off herub-like toddler who is trying to retain her dignity while stuck with her naked butt up in the air was pretty funny.

Papa, despite being in zaiki-favor at the moment, is not immune from their displeasure. He is often accused of standing too close, being too warm and laughing at them. 

I've often heard of toddler years referred to as "first adolescence", as in a preview to what your child will be as a teenager. Looks like we'll be in for a rocky ride. :)

To compensate for feeling as an acute parental failure I decided to give myself an ego boost and opened an art shop at etsy.com. For those who are not familiar with etsy - it's a wonderful space for creative folks who are computer challenged and cannot create their own websites. So, go check out
LittleDivasArtShop at Etsy and buy/order a painting to boost my morale help pay for my therapy sessions.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More about NJ leadership

Just another fat, obnoxious politician making excuses for his own failure
If he can't fix his own problems because "it's too hard", than how could we trust him to be the governor? If you are sloppy, sweaty and impatient in your personal life, than what kind of leader does it make you? Politician's persona and demeanor is a direct reflection of their behavior in the office. Hmm....And the recent rant at his press conference? So people are "mean to him" on twitter because of his weight, but it's ok to insult press for asking a question about NJ legislature changes? Really? Was it too hot for Fatty McGoo that day or did he have a bellyache for eating too many twinkies?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kids are people too

Both Husband and I try to give zaiki autonomy: they get to choose between two outfits (only two!), they get to pick shoes to wear and they don't have to clean their plates at every meal. I understand that, when you need help to wipe your own hiney or put on clothes, having control over some decisions in your life is important, even empowering. This article is exactly how I feel. You know when you meet a distant and somewhat creepy relative and just don't want to touch them? As an adult, we have an option of a handshake or a wave, but we generally think it's acceptable to make our children give hugs to all the relatives. "Oh, how cute!" we say as our child is gripped in the clutches of a distant uncle they don't know or a great-aunt with halitosis. But I 100% agree with the author: kids should own their bodies, and if they don't feel like hugging, they don't have to. They are people too, and they should have a choice in how they express themselves. Having a choice lets them know that they are respected and their feelings are taken into account. So kudos to the article author for eloquently expressing thoughts that lazily hung in my own head. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zaiki turn 3, or how did we get here?

I was going to write a post about life, changes, children growing up and other sappy stuff, but I am too tired and don't feel nostalgic/romantic/sensitive enough. Instead, I present you with a photo gallery that can only be titled
 "How did we get from this":



 To this:

 To this:



 To finally, this:



Monday, June 11, 2012

Out of mouths of babes

So Papa was working this past weekend, and I was left to entertain zaiki on my very lonesome both Saturday and Sunday. Not an easy task, I have to say, but some amusing moments make up for the back-breaking labor that is zaiki-care.

For instance, this past weekend we decided to change things up and feed goats/deer/geese at a local park's zoo. Basically, it's a bunch of cages in a park with very sad-looking animals. I actually feel bad for poor creatures, but zaiki find it facinating. After scaring baby goats with delightful squealing, shooing off an overly enthusiastic rooster and washing deer slobber off zaiki's hands, we went over to the playground. There was a very cute Russian boy, maybe about a year younger then my girls, with long blonde hair down to his shoulders. Sonya inspected him up and down, turned to me and asked: "Mama, is it a girl?" I said no, that is a boy. "No Mama, it's a girl". I reassured that no, it is, in fact, a little boy. "Mama, but he has girl hair". Solid logic, can't argue with that. Some time later, a very obese girl about their age appeared, Sonya inquired: "Mama, is that a baby?"...I just sighed, scooped her up and moved her over to another slide.

Later, on the drive home, the following exchange took place in the back seat (backstory to it is that zaiki's Papa is a policeman, or "peaceman" in zaiki-speak and that last week Maya broke sunglasses he takes to work with him):
Sonya: "Maya, I'm really MAD at you"
Maya: "Why sissy?"
Sonya: "YOU BROKE MY POLICE GLASSES AND NOW I CAN'T DO MY POLICE WORK ANYMORE!!!!" 
Maya: "Humf, I AM MEAN ON YOU TOO!!!!"
Both: "MAMA-SHE-IS-TEASING-ME-WAWAWA"

Yep, terrible threes are looking stormy...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy 12th anniversary to me

Wow, time flies! It's been over a month since I've written anything in here. I guess I'd make a shitty Carrie Bradshaw. :) Anyway, I have a good reason to revive my blog today. Besides being a wonderful cool Friday night in June and the fact that my zaiki are in bed, and I'm sitting in the living room enjoying a nice cold Blue Moon, it is also a 12th anniversary of my coming to the United States. Epic!

 It's a date that usually falls off my radar, especially since we've had kids and most days I'm lucky if I remember to set my alarm clock, but tonight it hit me: June 8th, 2000 is the day I landed in New York City.

I came to the US to work in a summer camp and was scheduled to go back in August same year. I never did. The funny thing is that, a week before I left Russia, my girlfriend and I were joking about me falling for a square-jaw-baseball-playing-gum-chewing-American, getting married and staying there. In the end, my American husband does not play baseball or chew gum (thank you Jesus!) but he is square-jawed and handsome non the less. :)

I was very naive, young (like not able to buy liquor young) and full of hopes. Watching soapy American touchey-feeley movies where all the right doors open and everything is wonderful also played into my delusions that life will be easy for me once I get to the States. And things did work out, but it was pretty rough for the first few years. Like am I going to make it or am I going to disappear in the underbelly of Russian/Ukranian Massachusetts underworld rough. The craziest part of it all was deciding to stay in the States and leaving behind all the life I knew. I still can't talk about things that I lived through. I just can't. Words just don't string together. The first year in the US was truly the darkest, the most difficult time in my life.

I believe that there are many paths in life to choose from and our choices make us who we are (yes, it is a cliche, thank you!). One day I will tell my zaiki about the choices I had to make, and the happiness and heartbreak that came with them. How those choices made me tougher, but also made me almost lose hope, and taught me patience and humility (not really, still working on it!). How there are good people willing to help you, but there are also those who are looking to take advantage of your helplessness, and how to tell the difference. How difficult it is to live as an undocumented immigrant, to put your dreams on hold and to see precious time and opportunities slip by. How it is so hard not to see your mom for years, or miss your younger brother grow up. How without me making these choices they would not exist.

But tonight, I simply raise my beer to the day when my life changed irrevocably and forever and enjoy my quiet Friday night. Cheers!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Musing of an imperfect mama

To breasfeed or not, to co-sleep or not, to potty-train at 2 or not. Guilt and uncertainty are the two heaviest parenting burdens. "Am I doing it right? I cannot possibly screw this up, I have to be PERFECT!!!!" These thoughts constantly went through my head the first year of being a mama. It felt like a tremendous weight on my shoulders - the constant guilt and second guessing, beating myself up for a smallest misstep. I did not breastfeed for very long - I just couldn't. Between postpartum depression, full-time work, selling our house, and shock of caring for two babies at once I just wasn't able to focus and do it. We "formula-ed" the girls, and it took a lot of stress off.

I do wish I breastfed them more. I think breastfeeding is such an awesome, wonderful bonding time and it's really amazing that a human body can do that. All new moms are superheroes: able to give life and nourish it. It needs to be celebrated!

This cover and articles about it have been all over the news, generating buzz and criticism of the "crazy" attachment parenting. Who cares? It's that mom's choice, and it's fine. The boy will be just fine. Honestly, how breastfeeding your child for a long (ok, really long-long-long time) is worse than feeding him McDonald's for dinner? Or leaving him in front of television for hours? Or taking him to a tanning salon?

Americans are uptight, really uptight, if this picture is able to generate negative/critical response. It is a challenge to social norms, and I'm sure TIME chose it for the shock value: picking a young, blonde, very attractive mother, airbrushing and somewhat sexualizing her (gee, I wonder why they didn't go with a 200 lb older woman!) and slapping the photo on the interwebs.

I don't care what the parenting approach is. Attachment parenting is great, if you are a stay-at-home mama of one baby. It didn't work for me. I vacillated somewhere in the middle: sleep trained a little bit, cuddled a little bit, co-slept a little bit and breastfed a little bit. I am not perfect (slightly damaged too): I yell at the girls sometimes, I micromanage them sometimes, I won't let them drink water out of the hose in the yard (uhm, Husband!), but I do let them pee outside in the grass if pressed to find a bathroom. My imperfections are good for them, pushing them to grow and develop independently from me. Imperfect is fine, as long as our kids know they are loved and allowed to be imperfect in their own way in return.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April is a sllooowwww month

Slow month for me - some strange lethargy overcame my brain and it actually hurts to think. I believe that is due to high pollen count this month. But there have been some interesting revelations however:

- I am capable of running 8-10 miles at a time and my knee caps don't burst and shatter to pieces as expected
- Big dogs suck: after being scared by a big undisciplined Rottweiler, Maya keeps having nightmares about wolves in her room
- As mentioned elsewhere previously, my graduate studies have begun to interfere with my wine-drinking time and I don't like it
- Judging by the intensity of recent tantrums, terrible threes promise to be far more terrible than terrible twos
- I have to get up even earlier on Saturday mornings to have some resemblance of sanity and inner peace for the weekend (it gives me alone time)
- I love doing nails with my girls on rainy Sunday afternoon
- Maya thinks that Sonya came out of her belly, to which Sonya laughed and said that it's silly since Maya's belly is small
- I get dizzy and nauseous spinning at zaiki-speed on the tire swing (Husband thinks it's funny)
- Sonya likes playing "bird soccer" at the park
- April showers, apparently, bring not only May flowers but a ridiculous allergy attacks

I believe that is all for now :) Mulling a post about Romney vs Rosen but it's old news by now. LAZY!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

More on dogs and dog owners

I'm a pretty chill (albeit sarcastic) person with almost no violent tendencies (unless someone cuts me off in traffic), but this weekend I found myself fantasizing about using a hammer to bash in the head of a living, breathing thing:

The weather was gorgeous. Friday afternoon Husband and I decided to walk over to pick up zaiki from the babysitter, since it's only 5 minutes away. Zaiki love walking home instead of driving, (a rarity among American children, I'm beginning to realize), so I try to foster that love for bypedal-izm by walking with them as much as I can. It's a nice little walk except that the most direct route takes us by the house with a huge and mean Rottweiler that barks and snarls at you when you walk by, not even close to the fence. Just being in the line of sight of that thing is all it takes to send it into a drool-filled snarl fit. Barking and snarling is all well and good, that's what dogs do, but the problem is the the fence in the yard is pretty flimsy, short, with gaps under it and the dog is usually left unattended. Zaiki are afraid of it (justifiably) and so am I. It was a matter of time when it got out.

So this Friday the dog wasn't there on the way to pick the kids up and we thought it was safe to walk back the same way. Unfortunately, it was there. Sonya and I were meandering a few feet behind and saw the dog duck under the fence and lunge at Kevin and the little Maya. I picked Sonya up and ran. Kevin was fighting off the creature with his knife, Maya was screaming when the owner came out and grabbed the snarling, growling beast.

It was horrible. The only weapon I had were my bare hands and they were holding Sonya. What could I do? I comforted Maya and carried her all the way home. Now for the past three days she's been saying she is afraid of "big wolves", won't leave my side and fell asleep curled up on my chest, shaking and crying.

I had contemplated taking my .38, going over and blasting that dog to hell. Only:
1. I may miss
2. I'll go to jail and, as a consequence,
3. My children will be left motherless
So we did the next best thing and called animal control. Twice as of today, but I'll keep at it.

The best (worst, really) part was the dog owner's reaction. If my dog attacked a small child on the street, I would not limit my involvement by shrugging shoulders, saying "sorry, it got out" and walking away. I would at least check to see how that child was doing and my apologies would be more sincere. What an asshole.
My suspicions from before that only uncouth ugly filth would own such a vicious and mean creature (and would let it run loose) were confirmed.

I am very angry at the injustice. We teach our children that all actions have consequences, that bad deeds always go punished, but in this case, there are no repercussions for the owners. I know life is full of disappointments, that zaiki will have their share of tears and fears, but I still feel that, as their mother, I have an obligation to protect them as much as I can, because they still can't fight their battles. They are so little...It's my job to make sure that justice is restored. In this case, I can't. And it makes me feel sad, helpless and angry. Have I mentioned I'm angry? And next time I'm walking past that house I'm carrying a hammer.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

zaiki and co.: Training time!!!

zaiki and co.: Training time!!!: I'm mulling an idea in my head to sign up for another race - half-marathon this time, something to soothe my bruised ego after doing worse t...

Training time!!!

I'm mulling an idea in my head to sign up for another race - half-marathon this time, something to soothe my bruised ego after doing worse then hoped for in a St.Patty's Day 5K. Also to lose some weight before the summer.

Recent trip to the doctor forced me to face my nemesis - the scale, and of course showed some unwanted poundage. Not much, but enough to send me into the spiral of self-hatitude. Too many damn super-tasty oatmeal cookies over the winter. I guess it's obvious that if you eat half of the cookie dough BEFORE you bake it, some of the butter-brown sugar-chocolate chip-oatmeal goodness will inevitably end up on your hips and butt. DUH!

So I've begun my training. It's hard this time, I don't bounce back as quickly as I did. But I'm doing ok so far. Keeping it nice and slow, but consistent, doing some hill work, doing some long runs. :)

I like long runs - it's great thinking time, and with Gogol Bordello in my iPod, I can run forever. I love their music. My iPod has an eclectic mix of Queen, Beatles, Dropkick Murphies, Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello with occasional cropping of Adele, Mika, and other rather obscure pop stars. Oh, and LMFAO (oh however you spell it).

But Eugene Hutz is my man. I LOVE LOVE him. If Kevin and I never met I'd marry Hutz. Seriously. Of course there's a small creepy fact that he looks a lot like my brother, but we won't go there. :) I've logged so many miles with him whispering (well, screaming really) in my ear, seen him in concert and think he is a wonderful creative being, abet self-destructive. Zaiki like his music too. How can you not?





Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More food stuff, but this is important

Asking for your participation. This is what the petition below is about:
Beef slaughterers on the industrial scale Beef producers, in an effort to save money and find a way to use all of the cow and not waste any deliciousness, have been grinding up all the yummy meat left over after butchering, dousing it in ammonia to sterilize it, freezing and packaging it, and then adding it to a wonderful burger you can purchase in such fine dining establishments as McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc. Sounds disgusting to you, I hope. So disgusting, in fact, that the said dining establishments stopped using it in their so called burgers after the public outcry.

Oh, did I mention that USDA approved this "pink slime", as it's called, as safe? Of course, what could be harmful about ammonia-treated cow entrails? Yum.

Now, that the major fast food corps are not using it, what would you think is the best possible placement for the horrible ammonia-treated pseudomeat? 

The "pink slime" is coming to a school cafeteria near you!!! Yes, US school lunch programs just bought this filler to feed our children at schools across the country.

I object. So do the other 200 K plus people, who CARE about what their children are given to eat and who are asking USDA Secretary to stop feeding "pink slime" to our children. Please, sign the petition.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

zaiki and co.: Running and aging, or don't shoot the old(er) hors...

zaiki and co.: Running and aging, or don't shoot the old(er) hors...: Spring is in the air. Kinda. And it could only mean one thing - let the season of races begin. This past weekend I participated in the obl...

Running and aging, or don't shoot the old(er) horse

Spring is in the air. Kinda. And it could only mean one thing - let the season of races begin.

This past weekend I participated in the obligatory, hilly, and vomit-inducing St. Patty's Day 5K. Obligatory - because my friends and I run it every year and I feel guilty if I don't sign up (I missed last one due to post-surgery recovery), hilly - there is a big freaking hill smack middle of it to squash any hopes of PR for me, and vomit-inducing - well, it's because I run it much faster than my normal pace and inevitably end up dry heaving after.

This year, the run went pretty painfully - that hill nearly killed me and the muscles in my legs are still complaining pretty loudly two days later (I think going line-dancing that night didn't particularly help matters). The race was PACKED. I don't remember it being that crowded. 1358 people!! Wow. The course is really not designed for this number and the beginning was a huge clusterfuck (yes, it's my blog and I can curse if I choose to!): the road was so packed you couldn't even pass people, let along get up to speed quickly. Add wind and cold weather to that, and I was fucked. The crowd dispersed eventually and I was able to fall into my stride without risking tripping on someone and going ass over teakettle.

Every time I race, the first 5 minutes are spent silently asking myself "why?", as my body groans and moans. Once I get going it's all good, but the starting point is usually rough. This year was not an exception, and my shin was hurting pretty bad too. I didn't have as much momentum as I hoped for, but I beat my first post-baby 5K time by about a minute. So we are improving, but  in 2008, I ran the same race and finished with 7.5 minute mile pace. Four years added about 40 seconds to that.

This year's ego boost was me  beating a 13-year old boy to the finish line. Yes, yes, I did. And it made me happy. Because, you know, nothing says "I'm soo-o cool" more than passing teenage boys in a family-friendly race...Hey, at least I didn't elbow him.

As I get older, I'm noticing a definite shift toward slower pace, but my endurance is much-much higher than 4 years ago. 5Ks are the domain of younger people, in my opinion. I'll stick to 10Ks and half-marathons. This year, my goal is to finish 13.1 miles in May under 2 hours. Last year I finished in 2 hours 2 minutes, so I think shaving off about 2 minutes off of my time is doable. :)

The day was finished by watching a parade, cooking and then going out zaiki-free to line dance to Colorado Cafe, where I indulged myself by drinking club soda with lime and imagining I was a cowboy while trying not to trip on my own feet. Yee-ha. There's another sign of aging: I did not ride the mechanical bull at the joint unlike 4 years ago, when I'd be first in line. :)







Tuesday, February 28, 2012

zaiki and co.: Where is my rainbow flag?

zaiki and co.: Where is my rainbow flag?: As predicted here , Christie vetoed the bill . Disgusted but not surprised and wondering (yet again) how that man won the election. Was it h...

Where is my rainbow flag?

As predicted here, Christie vetoed the bill. Disgusted but not surprised and wondering (yet again) how that man won the election. Was it his finesse and charm? Was it his respect for his opponents? Or maybe the eloquent manner in which he expresses himself? Or maybe respect for the fallen soldiers? *Insert sarcasm anywhere* Bleh.

zaiki and co.: Daddy's Love and Mean Puppies

zaiki and co.: Daddy's Love and Mean Puppies: My girls have the most wonderful Papa ever. Papa who paints smiley faces on their bellies, shows them how to throw rocks in the river, reads...

Daddy's Love and Mean Puppies

My girls have the most wonderful Papa ever. Papa who paints smiley faces on their bellies, shows them how to throw rocks in the river, reads stories and sings songs and makes sure soap doesn't get in their eyes when he washes their hair. Papa whose chest is so comfortable to sleep on during the lazy-tired Saturday afternoon, and whose furry arms are just perfect for cheek rubbing, and who tells them it's ok to be mad at the whole entire world while he rocks them in his arms.

He really goes out of his way for them. One morning, Maya needed to eat a prune (btw, highly recommend for toddler poop issues) but it was too cold. So Papa stuck it in the microwave (which got a raised eyebrow from me). Then he determined it was too hot so he went outside (at 7 am!!) and started to wave it up and down to cool it off. Now that's love. And, I found out, he does the same thing with zaiki's pickles. Yes,yes, they like to have their pickles slightly warm. His objective, as explained to my, by that point, two raised eyebrows, is simple: to get them to eat the stuff that's good for them by whatever means necessary. I wish I had that kind of dad. :)

But don't feel bad for me - I get quiet a share of zaiki-love when they need comfort. We were walking in a park on a beautiful Monday afternoon to see a local waterfall so we could squeal and throw rocks in the water narrowly missing each other's noggins.

Nice weather = dog walkers. Lots of them. Zaiki like dogs, most dogs are nice, docile creatures who patiently wait while zaiki pet their fur. But no matter how nice the owner thinks their dog is, they are animals. With teeth. After saying hi to a particularly nice Peruvian Mastif, who could probably swallow them whole if he wanted to but licked their faces silly instead, we skippity-hopped down the path, and saw a man walking his little, fluffy and innocent-looking Corgi. The man just started  talking about how gentle his dog is, blah blah, when the "gentle" thing snarled and bit Sonya on the arm. Actually dropped her onto the ground. Thank God for the down jacket. It tore the jacket and got Sonya muddy. No blood, no bruises. And I got to carry screaming Sonya for about half a mile. She wanted Mama and the comfort that Mama provides. It was sweet. No more strange dog petting though.

And the week got finished with Sonya (the kid is a walking accident, I swear!) falling down face first onto a concrete patio from a slide. I'm not even counting bruises, nicks and cuts on their legs. Bring on the warm weather - can't wait to see what kinds of accidents we get to have this year.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

zaiki and co.: The one where I whine

zaiki and co.: The one where I whine: Whining alert! Whining alert! I've been on a self-pity train for the past week. But whatever. I don't like my job. I feel stuck, and I hate...

The one where I whine

Whining alert! Whining alert!
I've been on a self-pity train for the past week. But whatever. I don't like my job. I feel stuck, and I hate feeling stuck. A monkey (well-trained and literate, mind you!) can do my job. I don't use my brain cells, I don't use my writing abilities, I don't use my education. All was a waste. I'm panicking - I don't want to spend the next 20 years here. I am looking, applying, and nothing is coming up. Nothing. And the more time goes by, the more desperate I feel. I am cursed, with a horrible job-settling curse. I'm a good writer, I'm good at strategizing (is that even a word?), I am creative and learn quickly. I am mothering two children while getting my masters and working, and if that doesn't it show I'm awesome in multi-tasking, then I just don't know... THEN WHY CAN'T I find a job that would appreciate my abilities and put them to good use? And pay me somewhat respectable money?
I am seriously depressed today. Close to tears, actually. I need a hug.

Monday, February 13, 2012

zaiki and co.: And Valentine's day for all...

zaiki and co.: And Valentine's day for all...: Ah, Valentine's Day! I guess nothing promotes the spirit of romantic love more than celebrating a horrible death of a priest who married int...

And Valentine's day for all...

Ah, Valentine's Day! I guess nothing promotes the spirit of romantic love more than celebrating a horrible death of a priest who married inter-faith couples despite Catholic Church's disapproval. This all-encompassing acceptance brings me to the current issue getting steam in the news today: equal rights for all. New Jersey legislators are granting gay people a right that EVERYONE should have. Aren't they just modern day St. Valentines helping the oppressed? I'm actually a little bit ashamed...

Tonight I had a conversation with my Valentine about gay rights. I honestly do not understand why it is such a big deal. Gay/straight/who cares. What we should worry about is our dependance on foreign oil. Or rising taxes. Or disappearing middle class. Or global warming. Do people who oppose the gay marriage honestly think that sexual orientation will matter when the Earth finally gives up and gets rid of us in a fiery ball of death? Oh wait! Actually, they probably do, since it's far Christian right that is indignantly waiving the Bible as their argument against gay marriage. Holla Governor Christie.

Marriage is a piece of paper. But the State made it a powerful one: it gives you rights to keep your property, share insurance coverage, raise your children together, even get foreign citizenship and have the say in each other's medical decisions. So what the anti-gay legislators are saying is that you, as a gay man or a woman, are not fit to have this power. We are not granting it to you because you are different from us (white Christian portly men in suits), and we don't understand you and fear you. Hence we'll withhold one right that will give us equal footing.

Another popular argument raised against equal marriage right is "how would I explain it to my children"? To quote one comedian - it is your problem that you can't talk to your child. And children, mind you, are the most accepting and open-minded part of human population. That is, if we let them to be.  

I know that the issue is far more complex: there are civil unions, domestic partnerships, blah blah. What really does bother me about this the thinking that lies behind the ban, the mere fact this country has to carve out a special niche for some of its citizens, that we can't move past 18th century definition of marriage, that we can't just accept that ALL PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL. And should be judged on their own merit, not who they live with.

I know what will unfortunately happen with NJ's bill: Christie will veto it, his supports will cheerfully howl, clap their leathery wings and clank their hoofs, and we'll be back right where we started.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!