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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

8 lbs of Pure Athlete

This is Pierre the Papillon. He is small but mighty. We take him on a 3 mile walk every day. 3 miles over the hills, through the woods and often to grandma's house. He also floats the Deshutes River on an inflatable raft, and watches birds from a boat in the middle of high desert mountain lakes. Soon, he will start Agility training, since it turns out Papillons live for obstacle courses.

Pierre doesn't really look like an athlete, but then neither do I. In order to get my heart rate up to my fat burning zone, when I'm walking with Pierre instead of jogging on my own, I now have to carry 25 pounds of weights up the hills and through the woods. That's like carrying three Pierres.

I'd like to get a nifty hi-tech weighted vest, like the over-achiever athletes tend to use. You know, those people who train for Ironman and Ultra Marathons? For now, I just put my hand weights in a backpack.

I'm built for comfort, Pierre is built for speed. Together we navigate the winding roads to good health and fitness.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Portrait of the Artist as a Middle Aged Woman

"Okay," said the famous painter and color theorist during one of her famous artist's workshops. "Now, based on what you've just learned with your color wheel, create a self portrait."

Easy, I thought. I've been doodling the same big-lipped, big-eyed face for 36 years.

I took a deep breath and tried to put my color wheel failure behind me. Color wheels are harder than they look. It doesn't work to just copy the good artists, sitting beside you. You can't really cheat on a color wheel. If you don't pay attention, you put the violet in the wrong place, then you have to cut and paste, and then of course the gradients are all wrong, and you bite you lip and try not to cry when the stress of failing at an art project starts seeping into the corners of your eyes.

Exhale. Art is harder than it looks.

Self portraits, on the other hand, are easy. I did one for my Painting 101 final in college, but I got a B instead of an A because I skipped the last day to play the end-of-the-year Faculty/Student intramural softball game. So I quickly pasted silver-foil ribbon in the middle of the canvas where my face should have been, thinking I could get away with something symbolic.

Dumb idea, of course, since faces are easy (right?) and the professor could see I wasn't really trying. Plus he threw me out at first base in the softball game, so he knew I wasn't at the Art House finishing my self portrait.

"You have 20 minutes," she said. "Don't worry too much, just have fun."

Ah, I sighed happily. Now this is more like it. I felt a bit of my creative joy starting to flow again, as I snipped and ripped through piles of magazines to find the shapes and colors that would make up me. This was the easy part of art. This was why I was here.

"Oh," she said, as she walked by to check on me. "You're making a face. I didn't mean a literal self-portrait," I glanced at my friend's work next to me, which was quickly turning into a sophisticated page of exceptional color theory miraculously cut from the pages of Bend Living Magazine.

But then the famous painter, who is also a fantastic teacher, saw my smile and my easy laugh for what it was, a cover-up for the disappointment of failing again. "Of course, it's fine! No problem, it will be great!" she gushed diplomatically. She has a 10-year old child at home, she knows when to pass out gratuitous praise at the right time.

Curses, I thought. Foiled again.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Action Jeans!

Chuck Norris is a show off.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Running Hills with Kate Bush

Sometimes you have to give your own self a gold star for trying, not crying.

I made it up Pilot Butte, and was rewarded with this lovely view.

Sometimes, when I'm lucky, I run up a hill at the exact same time Kate Bush's "Running Up The Hill" song arrives on my iPod Shuffle.

Here's is a condensed version:

"If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.
It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?
And if I only could, I'd make a deal with god, and I'd get him to swap our places.
Be running up that road, be running up that hill,
be running up that building...
be running up that hill, with no problems..."

You can watch the YouTube video of this song here. Very modern dancy, not so Chubby Mommy sweaty. I'd like to think I look like the lady with the flow-y skirt in the video.

I wonder if God runs. If so, I'm sure he looks very flow-y. I'll give him a gold star, just in case.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

TweetUp Tonight!

Hey Bendites,

We're having a TweetUp to welcome Julio Fernandez to town! A TweetUp is a term that all the wacky people from Twitter throw out when they want to get together for a party. Sort of like a Rave for geeks. Minus the Ecstasy, of course. Or maybe like the "progressive dinners" we enjoyed in high school youth group. Or the PubCrawls we joined in college.

So basically, it's a party, and everyone is welcome.

Please join us at the Blacksmith restaurant, for a no-host Happy Hour from 5:00-7:00. We may wander over to a pub afterwards for a burger, so follow us @juliejulie, @fiveforefun, @SocialJulio) on Twitter, or check the Twitter stream here, on my blog (look to your right!)

Tweet Tweet,

Miss juliejulie

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lisa Simpson Navigates her Social Network

I'm not sure what this means. My friend Patricia Freeman Martin sent it to me. Perhaps it is social commentary. Perhaps it is poetry. Perhaps it is a picture of her kid's toys all lined up near the window. Maybe it is all those things snapped into one picture.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bewitched and Bedazzled by my Mop

This has nothing to do with running (oops, forgot to go again, my goodness, look at the time!) or technology, or art, or dogs, or my brilliant career, or anything else that I usually write about, in my random way.

But then, you're used to that, right?

This is a HOUSE WIFE post! My little boy was home sick, so I decided to actually step away from my computer, make him tea with honey, cook a few things from scratch, mop the floor and some laundry today. This is newsworthy, I swear, for me.

Here's my Samantha Stevens moment #173: today I re-discovered Mop and Glow for my hard wood floors, and the nifty Swiffer-type flat mop that comes with it. The mop pad sticks on the bottom in a Velcro-like way, and you can just wash it when you're all done.

This little system does provide effective cleaning, I must admit, and I feel better about my "Green Cleaning" attempt, since I'm not throwing away all those disposable Swiffer pads, which always makes me feel al bit guilty. Which I so do not need, since I already have guilt about NOT cleaning enough.

Double negative guilt about housework is bad, bad, bad. Don't get me started on not starting...

If only I could twitch my nose like Samantha and clean by magic, I could skip all the hard work of actually mopping. Too bad I can't get in shape with a nose twitch too, and skip the actual running part.
Now that would be a trick.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cheval Grec and the Martini

I got lucky last year. I picked up this amazing hand-pulled lithograph by Francois Gilot at a fundraising auction for our local Arts Central.

It was donated by my dear friend Patricia Clark, who's a friend of Gilot's, and who taught with her and has shown her work along side Gilot's over the years.

Gilot, 87, one of the world's premier contemporary artists, was a life partner and muse of Picasso's and is the mother of two of his children, Paloma and Claude Picasso. Part of her fascinating life story is chronicled in her book

I have not met Francois, but I like having Cheval Grec live at our house now, watching over our cocktail parties. Our proud blue horse connects us to the recent past and the world of ink-stained hands, ancient ateliers, cafes and Salons filled with poets and artists smoking unfiltered cigarettes and debating politics. They were the innovators, thinking up new ideas and changing the world.

I often wonder what stories Cheval Grec would tell about his creator and her contemporaries, and the cocktail parties they must have shared. Did Matisse drink a dirty martini, or a good Cognac, or did he prefer a lovely French Bordeaux?

Our online world of social networking with Twitter and Facebook seems less glamorous than the real life meetings of Gilot, Picasso, Matisse and later on her husband Jonas Salk and their fascinating group of friends, who changed the world through art and scientific discovery. We are using our current new mediums to do our thing. Plus, we don't have to smoke, which is nice.

I also wonder what Mr. Cheval Grec will see my children and their children accomplish in the years to come, as he watches over them, a horse on the wall who listens and learns.

As I mentioned before, Bob Dylan once said, "Art stops time"
I say, "Art watches time." And he happens to be a big blue horse on my wall.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chubby Mommy Business: Cupcake Kisses

Cupcake "Kiss"

I thought a few of the Bend Local CMRC wanted to get together to meet our new member, Lori and walk the Butte, but it turns out we needed cupcakes instead. There were many WoTech (Women in Tech) members present, so we did some official networking to justify the time off from work (for those of us who actually work - see my previous post!)

These are the delightful minis at Allyson's Kitchen in the Old Mill. I have not analyzed them scientifically, but it seems to me that each one could be used up by 50 minutes of walking or running in my target heart range. At least, I'd like to think so.

If you're a loyal reader and would like to be on an offical cupcake meeting mailing list, please email me. And, of course, if you'd like to walk or run off that cupcake, check out our schedule, above, and contact me if you plan to join us. We may add a regular noon walk, too.

Any ideas about where we can walk inside during bad winter weather? Maybe we'll all have to join a Bootcamp together, or something. Ick. I'd rather do Cupcake Camp instead.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm a Swooper: Defining My Brilliant Career

Despite my recent "Stay at Home Mom" status, I keep ending up at business networking events. I went to PubTalk Thursday, and listened to Judy Shasek's great pitch for Footgaming, and a run down on Integra Telecom's move into the Central Oregon market.

On Friday, I got a last minute ticket (thanks to Cassondra at TBD Advertising!) to hear Scott Bedbury speak at AdFed. I'm doing some work for a non-profit Scott's involved with, and it was nice to meet him in person, and chat with other creative marketing types.

So, of course, people ask me what I do and who I'm with. That's a hard question for me to answer. I'm sort of with everyone. Or, maybe I'm just a roving networker.

I'm still networking for ELS with a focus on corporate event strategy, but their sweet spot is usually larger tech companies. And I'm still involved in several tech groups in town, and Twitter groups and blogger groups and cupcake groups and artists social scope seems to be all over the map.

I think I'm niche-less.

It seems that I drive around town looking for random lectures and presentations and sneak in the back and I'm not sure why. I like to talk to engineers, CIOs, CEOs, artists, marketing gurus, programmers, cupcake bakery owners, geeks, writers, runners, walkers, Chopper manufacturers, social workers, Pilates instructors, moms, dads, teachers ultra Adventure Racers, bankers, lawyers, inventors, reporters, actors, movie makers, and dog trainers. And my neighbors.

They fascinate me. All of them.

I guess I'm a professional dabbler. I like to work with and "juggle" several companies and non-profits at once, and dip my toes into many ponds and streams, just to get a feel for them.

As soon as I get my feet wet, I figure out where the little streams can connect to the ponds. Then I take a stick and draw the lines that connect the streams and ponds. Then I grab a shovel, and move the earth until all the water flows together and eventually ends up at the ocean.

Last year I finally realized that what I like most about this kind of work is the beginning part, and maybe I should just be a swooper. That's my name for someone who swoops in, fires things up, figures out big pictures, then hands it over to plodders for the long haul.

The plodders are methodical. The Plodders use phrases like "slow down, what's the rush?" Plodders sometimes drive me nuts, and I know I can exasperate a good plodder in an instant, but good companies need Swoopers and Plodders. I appreciate plodders, and the good ones appreciate me. I'm married to a plodder, actually.

I also know that I'm an all-or-nothing type and I have to be careful not to say yes to every shiny thing I spot from the air, or all the balls I'm juggling will drop and land in the mud, create a dam, and interrupt the flow to the ocean. Being in charge of the kids again forces me to choose my balls carefully. Full time mommy-hood forces me to do some plodding.

My business friends are trying subtle tactics to get me to start swooping for them again. They say "What are you doing these days? How things are with the kids? The puppy? You must be bored stiff with not working. You're way too extroverted to be a stay at home mom for long."

Of course some of them don't have children and don't understand how exhausting the full time mom thing gets and how I just switched some of my professional energy to volunteering instead. As a volunteer, I can do bits and pieces of fun things that tug at my heart.
Being with the kids full time is just as exhausting, emotionally, as Swooping for a pay check. It's not the actual packing lunches and driving kids to swim team and keeping track of homework and being an emotional anchor for other young people's heartache and angst. It's all this plus the juggling, and the plodding that gets to me.

Kids need Swoopers and Plodders to help them through the turbulence of their youthful angst, I think. Spending more time in their worlds and focusing on them seems to be helping me pay attention to everyone's long term visions, and helps me figure out which streams I'm most interested in.

Here's to Swooping and Plodding, finding shiny things, and flowing towards deep blue oceans.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Proxense Squash

Here's Matt Davio's shoe. Matt is a partner at Proxense. He says Harrow is the best court shoe, for the record.

Proxense® LLCA Developer of “True” Proximity-Based Technologies and ProductsProxense’s cutting-edge proximity technology, TruProx®, is the engine behind the company’s revolutionary products targeting the Healthcare & eCommerce markets.

So, they will "Squash" their competition?

Thanks Matt, and good luck to Proxense. We'll keep our eye on you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gold Star for Deb!

She did it, she did it! She actually did it 4 and 1/2 times

One of my loyal readers, Deb, over at Weight for Deb set a goal for herself to do a real, full on, un-aided pull up. She did four and a half! And she posted a video to prove it.

Congratulations, Deb. You deserve this star, but more importantly, you deserve our respect. I can't even do a half pull up. Yet. Maybe I should work toward it.

Anyone want to join me in a pull up quest? Any hints Deb?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beware the Insomnia Dogs

They wake you up at 2:00 a.m. with urgent potty needs. "How old are you? Aren't we done with this stage?" you ask in exasperation.

They suddenly need to throw up at 2:36 a.m.. So they do. "What's up with this?" you demand sharply as you jump out of bed, before you realize you have a Charlie Horse to beat all Charlie Horses, and jump around yelling "Ow! Ow! Ow!"

Sometimes they just need to stretch their legs, spin in circles, and dig a little nest in the blankets at 2:48 a.m. to calm themselves down. "Fine," you grunt, as you give up and get out of bed. "I'm up. What's your plan?"

They find each other, curl up into dog balls and fall asleep. It's 3:00 a.m., after all, and they're exhausted.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who's Your Hero of the Day?

Remember when I told you I wrote a guest post on someone else's blog about Frances Kaszubski, a pioneer in women's fitness back in the 1950's? I said Frances was my Mommy Fitness Hero. Well, I wasn't sure if anyone actually read that post.

Turns out, at least one person did, and that was her son, Mr. Walter Kase. He said: "After reading your article on Frances Kaszubski, I wanted to let you know she is the person I refer to as 'Mom'. I am the 'healthy baby boy' referred to in your article. At 92+, she still has oomph, and she is still kickin’. Thank you for the honors."

This warms my heart. Thank you, Mr. Kase, for making my day.

Sometimes, I write and write and write and feel silly that only a few people read my words. And then, I'm reminded that telling little stories is worth the trouble, especially when you find a gem like Frances Kaszubski hidden inside Wikipedia and Google and can highlight her story for a day.

Everyone deserves a highlight. It's good to be remembered.

Who's story will you share today?

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Truth About Me and Gorp

I love Trail Mix. I've always loved it. Especially the M&M kind. Sweet, chewy, crunchy, colorful trail mix.

Just a glimpse of a Ziploc bag of trail mix cheers me, and conjures images of growing up in Eugene, where we called it Gorp and you bought it in bulk at the health food store and wondered why the chocolate tasted so weird, until your sister told you it was actually carob. Thank god someone got smart and put M&Ms in there and started selling it at Walmart instead.

Trail Mix has been with me during hikes up Half Dome in Yosemite, chair lift rides up mountain passes, while backpacking through Europe, and staying up all night writing papers in college. And of course, there have been years and years of picking out the chocolate during during "certain times of the month" when nothing else will do. Trail Mix and I have a long history together.

But Trail Mix has a deep, dark, secret: it is addicting. I can gorge on Gorp, I tell you. In fact, my name is Julie A., and I'm a Gorp Addict.

"Here's a trick," said Cathy, my sports nutritionist/Gladiator. "When you're on the go, carry emergency snacks, like Trail Mix, lean jerky and pretzels so you have a good balance of carbs, protein and fat to keep you from eating junk when you get hungry. Never miss a meal, never."

This is why I like Cathy so much. 'Trail mix' and 'don't get too hungry' aren't just music to my ears, they are Mozart Arias.

So I bought trail mix, against my better judgement. I know better. I should have worked a 12 Step Program against the bag, when it stared at me sweetly from the shelf at Costco. I should have lit a candle and chanted a mantra and done some zen breathing right then and there. But I didn't. I bought it.

Here's what happens when I give in and buy Trail Mix: I start out with the two tablespoons, like Cathy suggests. Have you actually measured out trail mix, to know how much you're eating? Maybe you shouldn't. It's just too sad to see what a real serving is. Two tablespoons? I doubt that would sustain Hansel or Gretel for more than 20 minutes. Even the birds need more than that.

So I eat the two tablespoons, all mixed together, and enjoy the lovely combination of textures and flavors mingling around in my mouth. Then I say "I love being a Gladiator! I've lost 6.5 pounds of fat and gained lean muscle. I'll be running a 10k by spring for sure, and I'll take Trail Mix with me!"

But then the trouble quickly starts. I finish my ration, then I pick out a few more M&Ms. Just a couple, mind you. Then just one M&M and two peanuts. Peanuts and chocolate? Duh. They're made for each other. Then, another little baby-sized handful of everything, so the raisins don't feel left out. Because you don't want a pile of raisins sitting there all alone at the end, right? Before long, the two tablespoons has turned into 1/2 a cup. Then 3/4, and so on, and so on.

It's a slippery slope and pretty soon I think I should be calling my sponsor. Does anyone out there know of a Gorp Addict 12 Step sponsor? G.A., Gorp Anonymous. I'm happy to start a GA group. I think I can find a church basement for us. Maybe we can meet there between a Jazzercise class and Mom's Group, so we can get more people to join. And we can pass a plate and collect $1 from everyone to chip in for snacks. But no Trail Mix allowed.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Send in the Clowns, Knock Down the Pins

Weird Bowling Shoes

There has been much bowling in Bend lately. We've seen evidence of secret family bowling events on Flickr and elsewhere. We pay good money to rent shoes such as these. We're not sure why.

There is talk of a Chubby Mommy Bowling Club being formed. We are hoping there will be trophies involved. Please let us know if you'd like to join us, or at least show up and take more pictures of lovely ladies in lovely shoes.

Maybe we can smuggle in some cupcakes?

When Dogs Brush Teeth

You can see the evidence, near the wall. There was a toothbrush involved. I don't know about the toothpaste, I haven't seen it, but someone's got something stuck on his tongue, it seems.
The old dog has stopped trying to fight it. Things like this are just going to happen when you bring an annoying puppy into the house, she reminds us, through exhausted eyes. It was not her idea.