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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cupcakes: the New Coffee

Bad cupcake

I've decided I'm tired of going to coffee. I still like coffee, don't get me wrong, but I'm just tired of "going" to coffee. So I think I'll start "going for cupcakes." All of my business meetings will be conducted over cupcakes now.

Cupcakes aren't just for birthdays any more. Cupcakes are growing up. They are more sophisticated. They're getting a bit snooty; they're almost like tea, really.

From a sugar prospective, I know I'll have to be careful about the constant cupcakes, since I'm not sure I want to run 50 miles a week to burn them off, but I don't think I always have to eat them, even if I "go for" them. Sometimes I "go to coffee" and don't actually get coffee, so I don't think I have to eat a cupcake every time.

I just like the idea of going for a cupcake. I like to say the word cupcake, and I like to look at cupcakes. They're so cheerful.

So now, if I want to pitch something about corporate event strategy to a potential client, I'll just say "can I take you out for a cupcake to tell you a little more about how we can help you?"

Cupcakes are my new sales strategy.

Seriously, how could anyone say no to that? And my boss won't mind seeing all the cupcakes come through on the expense sheet, as long as I explain to her what I'm doing. She can have the accountant just make a cupcake tab in Quick Books, I think. At tax time, she'll just run a report that shows how many cupcakes it took to earn new business. The math people at the IRS can figure it out, I'm sure.

The truth is, I've been "going out for coffee" for about 25 years. I'm tired of it. I need a change.

It all started in high school, when my church youth leader, who was fun and hip, introduced a few of us to cappuccino. This was back in 1983 when I was 17. Starbucks was still new, and the trend was moving south from Seattle. Eugene was just starting to see a few espresso machines popping up around the U of O campus, near our church.

I had to start off with mochas, since the only coffee I usually drank was church coffee on Sunday mornings, and if you've ever had church coffee, you know how horrible it is, even with Coffee Mate and a half a cup of sugar.

But once I got some good coffee, and my tonuge understood what was going on, I graduated to cappuccinos, then to lattes, and finally to my beloved 12 oz Americano with room for cream, since it's cheaper, but still good.

The whole "New Coffee" thing all seemed so cool and hip back then in 1983, and I liked being at the beginning of a trend. I know cupcakes aren't new, and we're smack dab in the middle of the cupcake trend (they made a real come back a few years ago in LA,) but they're still pretty new to Bend, Oregon. New in the "let's go out for a cupcake," way, that is. Many a mom has been baking them at home since the 1940s, as far as a I know.

I like to think of myself as an early adopter, whenever I can. And since I'm not quite smart enough to understand the hottest open source code of the week, I'll just stick to the trends I do understand.

Who wants to go for a cupcake? I can help you.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Embracing the Run

Well, whaddya know, I actually went running today. No more snow, no more "can't find my shoes," or "I'm out of town," or "work just got in the way today," excuses.

I found my orange shoes, my iPod, some clean running clothes, and a job bra that actually fits. I found my orange hat with the blue flower.

Finally, zip! Out the door, and up the first hill. And then...wait for it...

Ugg. I'm so out of shape, after taking 10 days off, that I scared myself. The air was cold, my breathing was heavy. In the middle of the first hill, a lady in a car had to stop and wait for me to pass her before she could turn into her driveway. It took me so long to run past her, that I swear she started making calls and checking her email.

She's was probably Twittering: "Stuck on hill in front of house. Chubby Runner taking eternity to get past my driveway. Might need to call 911."

So, that six weeks of work to build up my tolerance to the three-mile hill loop? Zapped within the first 1/4 mile.

That proud feeling of making it up almost every hill five days a week? Gone.

Wondering if I should start an actual running club to train for a half marathon? Forget it.

Thinking I might make a good Oprah before and after story? Sorry, no.

The realization that for the past 26 years I've had to talk myself into exercising and that I probably always will because I really don't like to exercise? Accepted.

Seeing my finger sink deeply into the rolls of chub above the waistband of my stretchy pants? Acknowledged.

But knowing that I can still put on my cheery orange shoes whenever I want, walk out my front door, breath clean air, and make my legs run up a hill, even if it's just halfway? Priceless.

Embracing the chub, and still running for my life? Yes.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Super Orange Salad Spinner

I was all ready to write about this cool new toy I bought at Safeway. It's an orange salad spinner. What I mean is, it spins your salad for you, and it's orange. It doesn't spin oranges, although I suppose it could.
I was going to tell you how it much fun it is to pull the handle and watch the water fly off the lettuce, through the holes in the basket, and into the bottom of the bowl.

I was going to tell you about the cool button on the top that you merely touch with a light, delicate motion to make it stop-short on a dime, and my heavens how did they do that?

I was also going to mention that even though it was expensive, I rationalized spending $19.99 on this thing because I figured it would more than pay for itself in the long run, since now I can buy loose lettuce and wash it and spin it dry, instead of buying the expensive bags just for the convenience of instant, dry salad.

So, I was all ready to write a lovely, poetic ode to my new salad spinner, but then my husband popped his head into my office and said "your dog just threw up."

And apparently, we had a deal, when I begged for the dog 7 years ago, in the middle of three little children and a chaotic life, that I would take care of her. Apparently I promised. Sort of like I supposedly promised that we'd never buy a mini-van. Which we haven't.

You know, one of those promises you make when you're young, figuring it won't matter in the long run, because eventually it's all water under the bridge and no one will remember you actually said that kind of stuff that doesn't matter anyway.

Well, my husband remembered. I tried to harrumph and sigh heavily, but then I walked into the living room, and the poor dog walked up to me with her head hung low and submissive and apologetic, 'cause she probably has a tummy ache, after all, and needs her mom.

So of course I cleaned it up, patted her head, and told her not to worry. And of course I said kind words to her and let her follow me around for the next hour, squeezing her large body in between me and whatever table or chair I was next to. I'm not sure why that comforts her, but it does.

I mean, really what else am I supposed to do? I'm certainly not in the mood for salad any more.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Art Geeks at the Atelier

Ron, Copper Etching Geek

I went to another art party at the A6, Bend's printmaking Atelier yesterday. A bunch of painters were there.

We were showing them the presses, the inks, the plates, the tools, the gadgets, the thousands of little tiny letters of type the bookmakers use, all the different kinds of prints and how every thing works. It's fun to see artists geek out on art stuff.

Some of these people are very talented painters in their 50's and 60's who are true career artists. They're the type that show work in galleries and teach at well known universities. They know what the heck they're doing.

Some of these people are younger, and equally talented, but have never even seen traditional printing presses, let alone an etched copper plate. They don't realize that all the greats, like Picasso, were print makers. It seems sad that a whole generation or two of artists have missed out on this printmaking thing. But thank goodness, the almost lost art of hand-pulled prints is making a serious comeback.

I hear that the students at Parsons School of Design started a little revolt when they heard the school's plans to tear down the printmaking studio to make way for a Starbucks. Seems not many people were using the studio any more. Didn't matter, the kids said, we can't let it die a Starbucks death. I sure hope they signed up for some printmaking classes.

So I'm excited to see what the painters will do in Bend's grand printmaking studio, truly one of the best facilities in the Northwest. We will see ancient art methods of printing presses and letter presses meeting modern art sophistication and ideas.

Since I'm interested in technology, I'm always trying to match up art and tech. I think the artists are just like the geeks, always innovating, always pushing the envelope. And most of the geeks I know are quite artistically inclined. They notice things, like the artists do, and document them, like the artists do, just using a different method.

This new printmaking studio is a very cool thing for Bend, for Central Oregon, and for the Northwest. This amazing facility will bring people in from all over the country to teach, to learn, and to deal prints. We are lucky.

I'd like to see some tech geeks get in there and get their hands dirty and create something they can frame and hang on a wall. I bet we'd be amazed to see what these JavaSrcipt guys could create with old fashioned letter-pressed script type and ink.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Left Foot: Cartwheels and Dominance

I'm right handed.

I eat with my right hand (unless I'm eating ethnic food with people from African countries who are offended by right handed eaters.) I write with my right hand. I wave with my right hand. I shake hands with my right hand. All in all, I'd say my right hand dominates.

Which is why I'm surprised at my left foot. It often likes to be first. It's been this way since I was a child. I can't explain it, and I can't change it.

These are the things that I'm best at when I put my left foot first:
  1. Cartwheels - I'm not sure why, but I always start my cartwheels with my left hand and left foot. If I try a right handed one now, at 42, I'm afraid I'll break something, so I don't even try.
  2. The splits - I can't really do them all the way any more, although I'm sure with some dedicated practice, I could manage. But my left-legged splits are by far the best looking splits I have.
  3. Galloping with my pretend horse - I did this yesterday, when we went for a hike in the woods with the kids. I was wearing my Dansko clogs, and they make a nice cloppity-clop sound on the path, although not quite as good as the Monty Python pretend horse gallopers (but they had servants with coconuts, right? I sure wish I did...) I even tried a right-footed gallop yesterday, but it didn't work. It just felt all wrong.

But, I kick balls with my right foot, so I guess I'm not as exclusive with my left foot as I like to think.

I have a few surprising left-handed quirks too, now that I think about it:

  1. I hold the phone with my left hand. It doesn't even sound right in my right ear. Sometimes, if I talk so long that my left elbow aches and my left ear hurts, I try to switch, but I can't. I have to hang up, instead. It's sad, especially when I still have more to say.
  2. I do puzzles with my left hand. Now this is a weird one. I pick up the puzzle pieces and start putting them in place automatically with my left hand. After a few minutes, I realize what I'm doing, and switch to my right hand. But then I can't do the puzzle as fast, so I try to switch back again. But then my brain starts thinking about the switch, and wonders why I always do that, and things get muddled, and I just stop. This is why I don't like puzzles much.

But, I throw balls and pillows with my right hand, I bowl with my right hand, and I pick my nose with my right hand. So there's no real consistency here, no real pattern I can find.

Can any of you super smart people out there make sense out of this strange cartwheel/puzzle/nose picking hand dominance issue of mine?

Is there a doctor of a hypnotist in the house? The answer could hold important clues.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shopping on Easter

Yesterday was Easter. We had a very lazy day, because I was too tired and lazy to clean the house on Saturday in order to invite people over for Easter. Plus, we were invited to an Easter egg party on Saturday, so that seemed festive enough.

So, after the baskets and egg hunt, we went shopping on Easter. Is that bad? Do you think that kind of thing hurts Jesus' feelings?

Here's what happened: Duncan of Pegasus Bookstore is a complete Twitter freak now, and he figured out how to Twitter on his blog. He Twittered that his store was open on Sunday. So we packed up the children and drove over there for a family outing, to get us away from the candy in the Easter baskets.

We were thinking we might go to "brunch" since that word sounds so Easter-ish, but we were still full from candy.

At the bookstore, we wandered the stacks, laughed at funny John Lennon action figures and R2D2 waste baskets, and bought some Pokemon cards and a used book by Alan Alda called "Don't Have Your Dog Stuffed."

Then, we went across the street to the antique store, since it was open, and showed the kids what old telephones and typewriters looked like. It's like a museum over there, I tell you. A museum where you can buy stuff. But we didn't. But maybe we will some day.

We picked out things we all want to get "when we're rich." The kids say, "I know we aren't going to buy anything today, but if we get rich, I really want that Mickey Mouse alarm clock for my birthday." This is the way we train them to drop hints without begging.

It was kind of fun being downtown on Easter Sunday. It was quiet, but a few people were walking around. Some families like us wandered around carrying coffee cups from Cafe Terrazino, some were still dressed in church clothes. I noticed the Patagonia store was open. I guess people who need performance gear need it when they need it, major Christian holidays be damned. Oops, sorry Jesus, I'll try to refrain from cussing.

So then we came home, made some BBQ chicken and pretended we weren't complete sugar addicts and can stop eating jelly beans whenever we want. The kids played with their cards, I read Alan Alda, we watched Disney's "Spirit" movie and fell asleep.

Best holiday I've had in a long time, for sure.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blue Glass Lady Jar Head and Altoids Gum Art

So I have this thing I bought in 1989 at a junk store in Portland. It is a lady's head made out of blue glass. You can store stuff in it.

Right now, for some reason, I'm storing a plastic silver Christmas tree ornament, and three empty tins of Altoids gum.

Did you know Altoids makes gum? Well they do, and I chew a lot of it. I like to have a tin in the car, in my purse, and in whatever bag I may be using for whatever job I may have. So, I tend to have lots of gum.

And I never want to throw away an empty Altoids gum tin after I've chewed the gum. I sort of collect them.

I started storing them in the door pockets of the car. Those filled up, so I used the pockets in the front of the seats. Then, I think my system includes eventually bringing the tins into the house and putting them somewhere, but I can't really remember where they all end up, except for these two in the blue head.

I probably have about 50 of these empty little gum tins, somewhere inside, and another 20 in the car. Sometimes I think of creative things to do with them like "I know, I could spray paint them all orange and put party favors in them!" But what would I put in them? Gum?

Then I get super creative and my Installation Art Girl persona starts thinking about how 200 Altoids Gum tins would look all lined up on a wall at MOMA. Hey, that'd be cool, in a Warhol way. Especially if they were they were open, the lids dangling and moving in the breeze, showing off the lovely, shiny silver inside.

If MOMA knew the kinds of things I think about, they'd be inviting me into their Installation Art Room all the time, I think. There is something rather deep and human about my gum tins, because I would only use tins I bought and chewed all the gum out of. It wouldn't be the same to just buy a bunch at once and give away the gum, or call the manufacturer to see if I could buy empty ones (which they won't do because of threat of tin-tainting, a real word, I'm sure.) That would be cheating, and would cheapen the art, don't you think?

So you can see why I can't bear to throw these neat little tins away, and how they sometimes end up in random places like inside a funky blue glass lady jar head. When she fills up, I'm not sure what I will do. I don't know if I can find more of these heads, but they must be out there on eBay, or in junk shops waiting for me.

Wow. Wouldn't it look cool to have 100 of these blue glass lady jar heads filled with empty Altoids tins hanging from the ceiling at MOMA?

These ladies would want to be filled with curiously strong gum tins, I think. Who wouldn't?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Twitter Geeks, Walkie Talkies and Wigs - I am guilty

I accidentally fell into another bad time wasting Internet habit, and its name is Twitter.

Check out, and enter my code name, juliejulie. See if you can find me.

Beware. Twitter is a little bit addicting.

It's like public IM, I guess, in a way. Or like "short blogging." Honestly, anything that forces me to be brief is good and bad. Good because more people are able to get a word in edge-wise, which they like, but bad because I just keep coming back for more, all day long.

So I'm trying to make Twitter part of my job, which is corporate event strategy, so that I'll have a valid excuse to be a professional Twitter Goof-Off. I've got some ideas. I think Twitter has some big potential at big parties.

Geeks love to party, and geeks like party games, as long as they think they're creating them on the fly. So I'm gonna try to figure out some big, big Twitter party ideas.

I'm also very interested in Walkie Talkies. I had some as a kid, although they weren't very good ones, and it was hard to hear the neighbor boy when we were roaming in the woods playing army. He always made me be the Germans, so I just pretended all the static was a foreign language I couldn't quite understand.

I think all this new cell phone and web technology is being created by kids who either miss their old Walkie Talkies, wanted better Walkie Talkies, or who are too young to know what a Walkie Talkie is, so they've created their own kick-ass version of a Walkie Talkie, which is called an iPhone

Oh, and while I'm on the topic of revising old trends, here's one more thing, that I think should come back full force for the new generation: wigs.

Britney Spears tried to re-start the wig trend, but she went about it all wrong.

My husband loves it when I get extra wigs at Halloween and just randomly put one on in the morning every six months or so. The kids crack up, but the dog HATES it. For a creature who experiences 90% of life through her nose, you'd think she'd know it's still me, even though my hair is suddenly long and blond, but she freaks out.

If I could just get the dog to Twitter, or use a Walkie Talkie, I think her life would be much easier.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Stapled Pants - Lazy Mom's Guide to Fashion

I forgot to wash my black pants, so I'm going to wear my brown pants tomorrow for my business trip. But my brown pants are too long. Way too long. I usually wear them with high heels, and a few strategically placed, well hidden staples, to keep them from dragging on the ground.

But now I have some cool red shoes, which are way more comfortable, and much better for walking around rainy Seattle than high heels. So I tried to hem my pants the old fashioned way.

I'm not really a hemmer though, I don't even know how to hem. I just remember seeing my mom and my aunt hem things about 30 years ago. I never paid much attention. I hate getting my fingers stuck with needles, so I gave up on sewing at an early age. I didn't know how to cuss then. I'd probably be a better seamstress now, that I cuss.

Back when I was 12, my mom stopped sewing everything but curtains. Curtains are easy to sew, and teenagers don't complain about curtains the way they complain about hems that aren't quite right. Curtains are happy and cheerful and useful, in that Sound of Music and Scarlet O'Hara way.

But I can't wear curtains to my meetings in Seattle. I have to wear these brown pants, since my black ones are dirty.

Plus, I've spent an hour trying to figure out how to hem these brown pants, and how to coordinate red and brown fashion accessories.

But I'm sitting here with a big mess on my hands. And it's 9:00 p.m. and I have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the 6:30 flight to Seattle.

So I'm eyeing the stapler. Maybe if I role the cuff twice, and staple through the first layer? Will hot glue make the pants too stiff at the bottom?

If I put the black pants in the washing machine now, will they wash and dry before 4:30 a.m.?

This whole delimma's got me in a quandry. Maybe I'll just wear a skirt.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Man Needs a Maid

The lyrics of this Neil Young song are ringing in my ears today. I'm feeling like a man lately, what with bringing home the bacon, and frying it up in a pan (yum, bacon), so the two-day house cleaning and grocery shopping frenzy that needs to be done on the weekends is wearing me out. I'd rather go to the movies, or go out to lunch, or both. So, I think I need a maid.

Are there Man Maids? Hey, wait, wasn't that a movie that was filmed here about a year ago? Not the Jennifer Ainiston one, another one. A movie about a man who is a hotel maid. They shot the movie in Redmond or Madras. It was an independent movie. I met the directors mom and dad, they were in town. Nice folks.

Anyway, I wouldn't mind having a Man Maid, but I bet my husband would prefer a Woman Maid. I was a maid once, actually. I worked at Jackson Lake Lodge in the Tetons, as a hotel maid.

Hardest job I've had, except that bad summer of waitressing at Deb's Drive-In Diner on 7th Street in Eugene. That summer convinced me to save money, finish college, and not buy a hot Chevy Nova with a suped up stereo system that forced you to work 10 hours a day with crabby people and still live at home with your mom for six years in order to pay your car payment. That was the other waitress who worked there.

Being a resort maid while you're in college has it's perks. Lots of hiking, swimming in waterfalls, flirting with "House Boys" at the employee bar on Saturday nights. I even dated the manager of the gas station. Those were good times, for sure. Except I really did have to work 9 hours a day scrubbing toilets and changing sheets and being nice to people who treated me like a maid

But thank goodness, all that maid stuff ended when I got my college degree, and moved onto my first "real" job in the mail room of an engineering firm. I was the mail room clerk. It wasn't so glamorous, in real life, despite what you might think, but I didn't have to wear rubber gloves.

I figured I was done being a maid forever, and I'd never have to scrub toilets again. Then I got married and had three kids, and then, unbelievably, 15 years later, I accidentally rented a house that has five toilets, which is where I live now. So now I find myself in this horrible situation of having to spend my weekends cleaning.

We can pretend I'm a maid at home, but I'm really not. I'm more of an all or nothing type; I let things go for a few days, then have a nervous breakdown on Saturday afternoon because the house is so messy that I can't invite anyone over. I love to invite people over.

You know people like me, I'm sure.

We call you at the last minute and say things like "gosh, I'm so sorry we have to cancel, we've come down with a sudden flu. Yeah, I know, you really don't want to come over here, it's a nasty bugger. You need to protect your children from this thing."

And then we say things like ", that wasn't me and the kids you saw at the movie an hour ago, we're sick. But, it's weird, someone else said that last weekend, too. I think we have a twin family, they look just like us. Yes, it's unbelievable. But anyway, I have to go, I'm so wiped I can barely hold the phone, and I think I have to take at least one kid to urgent care now, so, maybe next weekend?"

And then we have to say, "Oh, no, no, it's not that, I know you don't care if my house is a mess, don't be silly. The house is actually clean now. Yep. Super clean. No, all that cleaning didn't make me sick, we, uh, hired maids. Uh, huh. Two maids. An upstairs maid and a downstairs maid. A couple, actually, a man and a woman. And you know what's weird, they kind of look like us, too."

Friday, March 14, 2008

The "Beep Beep Lady"

So, you might not know this, but it's true: there is a lady who talks to you on your phone if you try to leave a message that's just way...too...long. I call her the Beep Beep lady. I know her well.

Here's the thing: I think these new-fangled cell phones have created a wave of issues that we all have to deal with now. The biggest issue is that there is only so much time in a day, and apparently, not everyone you leave a message for wants to hear you prattle on and on and on forever, so they've figured out a way to cut you off.

And she is a robot, I think.

I don't remember this Beep Beep Lady being an issue for me back in 1988 when I was leaving long, drawn-out messages on people's tape recorder answering machines. Life was so simple back then. My friends would just call me back with exasperation in their voices saying things like "You used up half my tape! Just get to the point already!"

So, obviously, I'm not the only one who has this problem, because someone went to the trouble of creating a computerized system that cuts people off with a couple of beeps, and a nice lady's voice.

"They" have created the "Beep Beep Lady." After what seems like only 10 seconds (but is probably more like 60) she pipes in with "To replay to this message, press 1. To send this message now, press 2. To amend this message, press 3." Etc., etc., etc. She kind of goes on and on and on, actually.

What she really means is (say it in that computer lady voice with un-natural pauses, indicated by the commas) "Please, shut, up. Your message has exceeded the proper, and polite, time frame. The person you are calling, does not want to hear this long-winded message. Please, hang up, and try again, when you can consolidate your thoughts into, the proper, time frame. "

What she wishes she could say is (say it in the computer lady voice with un-natural pauses) "What, on earth, is the matter, with you? Don't you know, that voicemail systems, are meant to be used, for relaying quick, and easy-to-understand, messages. Not, for practicing, how your life-story, will sound, out loud."

I wish she were more friendly. Sometimes when she cuts me off in the middle of a good story, it almost makes me cry.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

International Chubby Fan Club

According to my SiteMeter, the last 40 people who read my blog yesterday were from these places:
Bend, Oregon (not me, I swear, I don't count myself!)
Korea, Republic of (wow, I'm so thrilled, now I can raise a toast to Korea with my leftover Soju!)
Fort Rucker, Alabama (I sure hope one of the Blind Boys of Alabama were reading, love them!)
Bend, Oregon (not my husband, he hardly ever reads this blog, which is why I talk about him)
Bend, Oregon
Dallas, Texas (it's a big state, who knows who this was?)
Marrero, Louisiana (I'm not even sure where this is, but thanks for passing it to Hammond.)
Hammond, Louisiana (see above, and repeat or reverse as needed)
Wareham, Massachusetts (Where Ham was invented? I'm not sure...)
Westerville, Ohio (Must be nice folks, my husband's family is from Ohio)
Scotts Mills, Oregon (I don't know where this is! I'll have to Google Map it...)
Portland, Oregon (probably my cousin, Hi Amy!)
United States (?) Wow, this must have been a mystery guest...
Portland, Oregon (I'm sure hoping it was someone at Nike)
Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
Lafayette, Colorado (how's the weather out there these days, are you spring skiing?)
Sacramento, California (Probably the Ah-nold, trying to figure out how to cure chubby)
Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon

Wilmington, North Carolina (I've been to this place! I had some good biscuits in Wilmington)
Redmond, Oregon
Tualatin, Oregon (I don't know anyone there, which is exciting - hello new friend!)
Bend, Oregon
Lincoln, Nebraska (Go Corn Huskers! Please pass my blog on to Warren B. in Omaha, please.)
Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
United Kingdom
Ormskirk, Lancashire (wow, how did I make it across the pond?)
United Kingdom
Wallasey, Wirral (See above. Where is this? Do they speak English there? American?)
Seattle, Washington
Oblong, Illinois (this wins for best name of a town, I think.)
Santa Cruz, California (surf's up dude, thanks for reading!)
Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Ar Riyad (Chubby Mommies unite all over the world, thanks for checking in from Saudi) 34
Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon (thanks!)
Baldwinsville, New York (I should visit here, I think, maybe do some shopping)
Athens, Attiki (I should take a vacation here)
United States
Cherry Hill, New Jersey (Sounds like a lovely, lovely little town, but I don't know a soul there)

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It's fun to know that people all over the world are reading chubby mommy running club!

Thanks, dear loyal readers, here's to you, and keep passing Chubby love to your friends all over the world.

Chiva the Adventure Dog

So I met this guy. His name is David. He's got a dog named Chiva, and they're going on a cross-country bike and hike trip. What a trip, man. That's what I say.

Chiva doesn't have to ride a bike though, she gets to sit in a bike trailer and watch David ride. I think she's going to wear a camera on her head, too, so she can record her views of the world passing by. Then we can watch her dog's-eye videos on the blog.

For heaven's sake...Tech Dogs. What's next?

David will blog about the whole thing, since Chiva can't type, and together they will raise money for good causes along the way (Sierra Club and Humane Society.) So, for all you people who want to follow along on this fun journey, they start tomorrow from Seattle, and here's the blog:

I don't think my dog and I can join at this time, unfortunately. Mostly because I can only ride a couple of miles on my old clunky mountain bike without stopping, and I'm not so into riding up hills. I mean, running up them is bad enough. Biking up them with a dog behind me? That seems like a lot of work.

David and Chiva will ride through Bend, so I hope the Bend Bloggers can treat them to a beer somewhere, since we are good at beer parties, it seems. Except I don't think Chiva is allowed to drink. It's in her contract. I guess the sponsors don't want her turning into a Paris or Britney. Can a dog get a DUI if she's riding in the back of a bike trailer? Would that be a RUI? And it'd be a bad thing if she shaved her head. I think it's best that she remains sober at all times.

Good luck David and Chiva!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Captain Kirk

Yum. Cheesecake.

Money for Running

I found a quarter yesterday when I was running. It was just there, on the street, shiny and hopeful. I ran past it before I realized it was money, but then quickly turned around to take a closer look. I pivoted, I think. Just like a basketball player.


This kind of thing encourages me to keep running. I'm wondering if I should drop some random quarters around for other people to find, too. I mean, if 100 people dropped quarters along running trails and popular side streets, wouldn't that be fun?

I think it's all very Hansel and Gretel, in a way. And I'm like the birds.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

6 for 5, Vegetable Bribes

We started a new game at our house yesterday. It is called "6 for 5." It's a rewards based game, to get us all to eat more fruits and vegetables. In a nutshell, we're bribing ourselves with mini chocolate candy in an effort to get ourselves to eat better.

I know this sounds counter productive, but let me explain. We don't usually have chocolate lying around the house, except at holidays. We bake stuff like apple pie and banana bread a couple times a month when we want sweets, and sometimes we buy ice cream, but we don't drink pop or buy packaged snacks very often. My kids are quite thin (like their dad) and healthy, so I don't mind if they have treats, but their Chubby Mommy can't turn down a granola bar (which is really a candy bar with oats in it), so it's best not to have anything like that around.

But yesterday, when I took the 11 year old to Costco with me, we saw a bag of "Hershey's Minis" chocolates that looked mighty tempting. Little tiny Reese's (yum), little Hersey bars, Kisses, and baby Kit-Kats wrapped in Easter-ish foil. Five pieces of candy = one serving and 190 calories, it says on the back.

So my girl mentioned that her brother put candy on the shopping list, as if maybe that would help me say yes to the Minis. She had put "blueberries, strawberries, good bread and a butler named Huston," on the list. She's been wanting a butler for years, but we haven't been able to afford one, or find one, especially one named Huston. Everyone likes to put a little wish on the grocery list, though.

Mom buying candy on a random Sunday is almost as wishful as mom hiring a butler for the girl.

"Well, we don't need candy," I said. Of course not. No one needs candy, or red wine for that matter. Then I had a sudden brainstorm. "But maybe if we all eat more fruits and veggies, we could treat ourselves with candy?" Oh yes, she thought that was a grand idea.

Here's the thing about everyone who lives at my house: we all like fruits and vegetables. We really do. The kids eat broccoli, spinach, beans, salad, apples, grapefruit, pretty much anything, really. Except for asparagus, which is weird, but, but that just means more for mom and dad.

Even the dog loves fruit. She sits behind the kids while they're at the breakfast bar, randomly "giving paw," just in case someone looks back and wants to slip her a berry or a piece of banana. You never know, if you're a dog. It's good to try, sometimes it works.

So if we like all that healthy stuff, and it's not a big fight to get the kids to eat fruits and veggies, why don't we eat more of them without resorting to bribery games?

I'll tell you why: laziness. If something's in the fridge and needs to be remembered and washed and maybe cut, and sometimes cooked? The kids will just grab a string cheese or some bread if they're in a snacky mood instead of making a salad. Except for our 14 year old vegetarian. She eats about 5 tomatoes a day (we think someone should do a study on her to see how she turns out at age 50.)

But anyway, back to the game. Here are the rules, if you want to try this at home:

  1. Keep a piece of paper in the kitchen with your name on it. Write down the three fruits and three veggies you eat during each day. If you eat 6 fruits and veggies, you get 5 mini candies. You can eat more than 6 fruits and veggies, but only 5 candies total.
  2. You're on your honor. Mommy is not in charge of your food, and you'll feel bad if you cheat (my kids are old enough to know guilt.)
  3. You can eat the chocolate whenever you want, but if you pace yourself, you won't be stuck with 6 servings of fiber at dinner. So you should probably eat some of your 6 at breakfast, and at lunch and for after school snack. Then you'll just have a few to eat at dinner.
  4. A serving is as big as your hand. This isn't exact, and some of these people have small hands, but this keeps everything easy, and I didn't want to get into "why do I have to eat more than him?" arguments. Obviously, an orange or apple or tomato can just be a serving.
  5. If you're full, you don't have to force down the fruit or veggies, but don't throw a bunch of food away, it's a waste of money and sort of like cheating. You can mark down "halfs" and you can leave raw fruits and veggies on your plate for a few hours and come back to them. Berries and broccoli don't care if they sit on your plate. They'll be waiting for you when you get back. Also, half eaten brown apples aren't rotten, they've just been sitting there waiting for you. Help them. Eat them.

So, it's been a full day since we started the game. And guess what happened? It's working. It's 3:30, and my 11 year old just announced she's eaten her full 6 already, so now she's going for some of her candy. She's going to save the rest of her candy for after dinner. And they're having fun with it, since it's a game.

But they won't let mom and dad cheat, even though we tried to. They were appalled when they caught us sneaking mini Kit-Kats last night at bed time. "if you don't want us to cheat, you can't cheat!" they exclaimed. And of course they're right. We should clean our room more, too, since they have to, in theory; we don't have Huston yet, after all.

Damn. I think I've boxed myself into something here that I can't get out of. I found myself ready to sneak a mini-Reese's (yum) but went for the apple instead, since I needed to mark it on my list.

However, I did tell my husband that I was going to count my dinner wine as a fruit.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Famous in Bend, Oregon

Hey look! Bend bloggers, including Chubby Mommy, made it to the front page of the Bend Bulletin today. Slow news day, or are we really this cool?

Click here to read the article... I'll wait to continue 'til you get back.

I thought the reporter did a nice job of weaving real life and blog life into one story, and Shannon had some great quotes, too.

Plus I like Jake's shirt, and his attempt at humbleness with his quote: "I'm amazed that my blog is as popular as it is, as I really didn't start it to get popular..."

Uh huh. I'm totally with you on that one Jake.

And I'm hopping at least 300 people will buy a $3 used book from Duncan today. Maybe even Sally can afford to shop at Pegasus, if her aunt will give her a few days off to come back to "Marvelous Bend."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Run Mantra

Here's my foot avoiding the last of the snow on Overturf Butte in NW Bend. I had to wear my old shoes since its still quite muddy out there and I didn't want to ruin my fabulous orange Asics for no good reason.

I'm so happy that Spring is popping out and the snow is finally melting. This will help my running career blossom, I think. Nice weather and working from home again make it easier to get outside.

Yesterday, I emailed a friend who runs with me sometimes to tell her I was going running and I'd be back in an hour. She couldn't join me, so she emailed back "You ain't gotta tell me in the future, but if you are trying to help me get my fat a** moving, thanks." We encourage each other, in our own special way.

I've got a new mantra for getting in shape: "Try, Not Cry!"

I'm hoping this will help me with my PMS angst, during those few days when I know I'll feel better if I get out, but just the thought of running those big hills makes me feel weepy. Of course, on those days, all thoughts make me weepy. I call those my "Cry Days." I can't watch most commercials or Little House on the Prarie re-runs on those days. It's just too hard on my family.

Maybe I'll put my "Try, Not Cry!" mantra on the back of the new Chubby Mommy Running Club t-shirts, as an encouraging statement to anyone who's watching me from behind as I chug up those hills.

Hmm...if they're watching my rear when I'm running up the hills, they'll definitely need something encouraging to focus on and read, for their own peace of mind. They might need some counseling or maybe some medication, too.

Maybe I should get a "Big Pharma" to sponsor my blog? They should run their PMS commercials during Little House on the Prarie. Do you think Ma needed a mantra?

Best Name Tag

Chubby Mommy Gets a Logo

There have been several requests for Chubby Mommy T-Shirts, so I asked my friend Dan to make a logo, and my friend Chris to put it on some shirts, and my friend Jen to put it up on my blog for me.

Thank goodness for friends.

So, watch carefully. One of these days, the logo will magically appear and the look and feel of Chubby Mommy will change. Ahem. I'm talking about the blog, of course.

And let me know if you want a shirt. I have no idea how much they'll cost yet, but I know they won't be free. Even friends have bills to pay.

I do know that Chubby Mommy Running Club T-Shirts will be this season's must have item for non- runners, real runners, pretend runners, mommies and daddies, and maybe even for MR. ANON.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Clever Tricks for Working Moms

My friend in France is going back to work after staying home with three kids for the past 8 years. She asked me from some practical mommy advice to help her through the transition, so here are my top ten clever tricks for working moms:

  1. Just say no to mommy guilt and anxiety attacks. For me, exercise is actually an excuse to "run away, run away!" and it does help counteract work and family stress.
  2. God invented cleaning ladies for a reason. If you don't have one, it's not your fault the house is a mess, it's the non-existent cleaning lady's fault.
  3. You’re doing the best you can for your kids, and you might actually like doing grown up things away from them, and it is okay. God invented day care for a reason.
  4. Your children are luckier than most, and it won’t harm them to watch t.v. or play video games in the evening so you can catch a break or take a hot bath.
  5. Take long baths every night. The running water drowns out the kid’s and husband’s whining, and you can say “I can’t hear you, I'm taking a bath, you’ll have to wait until I’m done!” Sing while the water’s running. This improves your mood and makes it clear to everyone around you that you’re busy and can’t hear them.
  6. You’re not crazy if you talk to yourself all the time. It’s actually quite normal, and helps you figure out how to deal with work stress before it eats you alive. Also, the dog actually enjoys listening to you talk to yourself, it makes her feel useful.
  7. Cheezy paperbacks were written for a reason: “escape.” Spending a Saturday reading in the living room is a clever trick; the kids can jump around you and still feel like you’re with them, but your brain can take a break. You can smile and nod when forced to watch them jump off the back of the couch 100 times in a row, while you’re still thinking about the character in your book, who is doing something engaging, like getting ready to have sex or catching a thief. Don’t read “Important” or “Useful” books on Saturdays or this tactic won’t work. I recommend Janet Evonovich’s “Stephanie Plum” series, they are like little soap operas, and you can read them in a few hours. Stephanie’s an accidental bounty hunter from New Jersey. Enough said.
  8. Despite what French women say, there is nothing wrong with cooking frozen pizza for dinner. It’s actually quite normal, and if your kids will eat it with green peppers or spinach on top, voila, veggies! Also, orange juice counts as a fruit, and the kids can drink it at dinner with their pizza so you can feel smug about giving them fruits and veggies at dinner.
  9. Drink wine within a half an hour of walking in the house at night, and definitely while cooking dinner. You may even feel like playing a game with the kids after dinner, if you drink enough wine. Careful, though, if you drink too much, even the little ones will beat you at checkers, so pace yourself. Of course, you can tell yourself that the four year old is just above average to notice that triple jump, it does not have anything to do with her drunk mommy not paying attention. Also, if you drink too much, you’ll fall asleep, miss your bath, and your husband will get crabby because he knows he won't be getting any sex.
  10. Try to have sex regularly, even if you’re tired, because you’re husband will be much less crabby, and so will you, actually. Also, and this is really important: God invented vibrators for a reason. Just don't use one in the bathtub.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Portola Valley - New Job

Sitting on the porch of a cute cottage in the hills, enjoying the views from here to San Francisco, listening to Erin and Mark on CNBC, wondering who can beat McCain.

We did go running up in the hills the other day, and my orange shoes seem to like it up here in winding roads surrounded by the green, green oak trees.

It's just so unfortunate that the houses cost $2 million each. Maybe Bend isn't so bad after all...

More later, as soon as my difficult work week allows.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Apple Pie, or Running?

The good news: I "drove" my run in the car to see how many miles I'm actually running. My round trip route is 3.0 miles! I'm so happy. I thought it was about 3 miles, but I wasn't sure.

The other good news: we found the best apple pie recipe online, and man, oh man, is it good.

The bad news: no time to run today or tomorrow, since husband is out of town and I'm going off to California for my new job on Sunday. Single mommyhood is harder than it looks. I'm so used to the man being at my beck and call, and basically here 24/7 to hang out with the kids whenever I want to go anywhere.

So, even though a 3 mile run would go a long way towards counter-acting the pie, I'll just have to let those calories sit and wait. They are good at that, they're used to it.

News: oh, right, I forgot to tell you, I'm no longer at Ruff Wear, I quit a couple weeks ago, and have already performed another "New Job!" dance. It was a quiet dance this time, in the kitchen, with my husband and the dog. The kids were at school, so I didn't have to embarrass them.

I'm going to try to post some pictures of the finished pie up here later. Don't hold your breath, since I'm learning all about my new camera, on my own, what with my tech helper taking the weekend off, and all.

Yum. Pie. I can smell it already! I invited two little old ladies over to help us eat it.