Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Birth in America

My poem about my water birth with Zoodle received this comment from Kristen:

"You know--I never thought you for a 'waterbirth type'. That's awesome though!"

Actually, I had two very different birth experiences. I was induced at 40 weeks with Chickie. When the combination of pitocin and artifical rupture of membranes resulted in sudden, very painful contractions, I had an epidural. It worked well, and I had a joyful birth without much pain.

With Zoodle, my prenatal care and the birth were at a midwife-staffed out-of-hospital birthing center. I took Bradley childbirth courses. Zoodle was born in the warm water of a birthing tub, and there was a lot of pain--but less than there would have been if I hadn't had a skilled doula and that soothing water. It was an amazing, joyful, satisfying experience.

Both labors were short--just under 5 hours for my induced labor with Chickie, and just over 5 hours for my labor with Zoodle. Both births were beautiful and meaningful. Both babies were wonderfully healthy. My recovery was okay with both.

So I don't think that medicated, hospital births are evil. I was, however, deeply affected by my unmedicated experience, and by the environment in which I gave birth that second time. Here are some of my thoughts about birth in 21st-century America, based on my experiences.

I don't think that women who choose medicated births, or women who need C-Sections, should be made to feel that they are somehow less worthy than those who go the medicated route. One of the reasons I thought I could get through an unmedicated birth was because I knew my labor had been so short the first time and probably would be the second time too. Who's to say how I would have reacted to a long, extra-hard labor? Every birth is different, and every mother is different too. All I truly know is my experience.

We shouldn't do away with obstetricians and hospital maternity wards. There are plenty of instances in which C-Sections save the lives of women and babies. Also, with my first pregnancy, knowing I had pain relief available helped me get past my fear of childbirth. But women who have low-risk pregnancies should have safe, out-of-hospital options available.

I wish that our society treated birth as a more natural process, as something that doesn't need to be feared. We'd need fewer medical interventions if that was the case. And we could rest easy, knowing that when the interventions were truly necessary, they'd be readily available, either at the hospital where the birth takes place, or nearby for mothers who labor at home or at a birthing center.

I think women should be treated more as mothers and less as patients after giving birth, as long as Mommy and Baby are both healthy. One of the most meaningful parts of my experience two years ago was the environment created by the birthing center staff. We stayed there about seven hours after the birth. The midwife and assistant did all the important medical stuff (taking vitals, weighing Zoodle, helping with breastfeeding, etc.), but I got the feeling that their top priority was to help me, The Engineer, and Zoodle to bond. We were encouraged to all lay in bed together to rest. It was quiet, serene, and peaceful. It was entirely different than a hospital environment, and those hours were a priceless time at the beginning of my relationship with my son. How I wish more hospitals could create that type of environment for families that have just added a tiny new member!

Whether there's an epidural or not, whether the baby is pushed out by the mom or pulled out through an incision, every birth is beautiful and life-changing. When mothers believe that, fear can start to fall by the wayside. When care providers remember that, they can help create an experience that feels truly miraculous.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Proof that I am waaaay less cool than a teenager

Little Sis and I went out of town last weekend to celebrate her 16th birthday. We drove to a city a few hours away, and for most of the trip there and back, we had the radio set to a hip hop/R & B station. Here was one conversation we had:

Little Sis: I love this song.

Me: Yeah, it's a good song. But I don't like that girl's voice. It's annoying. (Pause.) I like this girl's voice though.

Little Sis: That's a guy.

I'm not even going to try to get caught up with the music she likes right now. By the time I accomplished that, I'd be hopelessly out of date again.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zoodle, you're 2! (Here's a poem about you.)

Two years ago today, I woke up at 2:30 in the morning to pain...quickly followed by excitement.

Just over five hours later, we'd grown into a family of four.

Zoodle's birth was an unmedicated water birth at a freestanding birthing center. To say it was an amazing experience is to trivialize it. Recently I wanted to write a poem about that life-changing day and what it meant to me. The poem is below. (This poem is structured as a villanelle, with its specific scheme of rhymes and repeating lines.)

Birth day
by C. Beth

From water to water, from womb to breast
Indignant young cries join jubilant tears
God’s newest creation, held to my chest

You journeyed on waves of pain, every crest
Nudged you closer—pain brings joy, it appears,
From water to water, from womb to breast

“I did it!” I cry. “I passed the test!”
I kiss my reward for conquering fears—
God’s newest creation, held to my chest

“This labor,” they say, “made you tired. Now rest.”
But my soul dances to the song that it hears!
From water to water, from womb to breast!

The hours pass quickly; the sun travels west
But I’ll grasp this day to my heart, all my years—
God’s newest creation, held to my chest

Sweet son, let’s go home, settle into our nest
Where I’ll whisper joy in your perfect new ears.
From water to water, from womb to breast,
God’s newest creation, held to my chest

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.



Happy birthday, Zoodle. You bring me joy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's splendiferous blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

Googled "How to tie a sarong."

Little Sis and I are on our first overnight, out-of-town trip together. We've been matched for over six years, so it's about time! Tomorrow we're headed to the beach, and I have this great sarong I got a few years back as a gift...but I'm somewhat clueless on how to tie it. Google's provided me with plenty of links, though, so never fear--I plan to have a very cutely-tied sarong tomorrow!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Your strength, my weakness

There's an ongoing theme on mommy blogs about how tempting it is to compare ourselves with each hard it is to remember that what we see on each others' blogs just represents a small slice of life. This comparison can lead to guilt, jealousy, or self-loathing. Ick.

I love this quote I came across, from the article "Redeeming Guilt" by Tricia Goyer, in the March/April 2010 issue of Thriving Family:

"One of the best ways to slam the door on guilt [or, I'd add, jealousy or self-loathing] is to realize we compare our weaknesses with someone else's strengths."

WOW. Does that hit anyone else like it does me? It's certainly a quote I want to remember.

And by the way, if this is something you struggle with, you just might enjoy this post from Eternal Lizdom as much as I did.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lovely leftovers

Sometimes I blog about cooking. And I think people may get the impression that nearly every day I'm in my kitchen, making some gorgeous, amazing meal. Um, not quite.

Honestly, I usually only do "real cooking"--and by this I mean, get down to business making a main dish from my meal plan (usually with a recipe)--a couple of times a week, if that. In between, we sometimes have hastily-thrown together meals like burritos or canned soup or chicken nuggets...and we very, very often have...


I am a passionate fan of leftovers. Yes, we often even have the exact same main dish two days in a row. (If it's extra good and made a lot, occasionally even THREE days in a row...though that's pushing it!)

Sunday I made Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa. Yep, a "real meal." It looked better than it tasted, but overall it was decent. I purposefully made twice as much chicken as we'd eat in one meal. I will admit I may end up tossing the leftover salsa--a waste, but it was rather bland.

Monday I chopped up some of the extra chicken and made Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup, which is a recipe I come back to over and over (easy, cheap, and super duper delicious.) I hadn't put it on my menu plan; I just happened to have enough ingredients for half a recipe (which still makes a lot), and so I made it. (By the way, I add corn to it, and this time I topped it with avocado, cheese, low fat sour cream, tortilla chips & shredded cabbage.) Quick, easy, and a hit with The Engineer.

Tuesday we had leftover soup. It was still fantastic the second time, though we'd run out of tortilla chips to top it with. The kids preferred to eat canned soup. Because they're crazy.

Wednesday, I used the rest of the chicken in a pasta salad, which we'll have tonight too.

So, one meal with "real cooking" where I actually cooked meat and made a recipe I'd specifically shopped for...and four meals using leftover chicken. I'll admit, it's very rare for me to stretch a "real cooking" meal this far! But it's nice that it's working out that way, this week.

I have a hard time having patience with the concept of "not liking leftovers." It just seems like such a waste--not just a waste of food, but a waste of time--to make a whole new meal every night! As for the "boring" side of eating the same meal twice in a row, let's be honest--this is a consumer mentality that is worth examining. In many countries, they eat the same foods every day. If you were in Asia living on $1 per day, would you be sighing, saying, "Oh no, not rice again!!!"? And most meals are still good a few days days after you make them, so you can even stagger leftovers if you want to.

If it works for your family to make new meals daily, that's fine. But if you don't like having to think so hard, every day, about what's for might be worth having a good, honest household discussion about the merits of leftovers...lovely leftovers!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Interesting choice of words, Chickie

Chickie was taking a bath yesterday. She has a set of foam letters and numbers that float, or can be stuck to the side of the tub. She took a small toy dog and set it on the "O." It was light enough to float nicely.

"Mommy!" Chickie said excitedly, "This doggie is waterboarding!"

I suggested perhaps "surfing" would be a better term, but she insisted it wasn't surfing. It was waterboarding.

Let's be careful who we talk to about your new waterboarding hobby, okay, Chickie?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lollipop winner!

Hop on over to my giveaway blog to see who won the lollipops....

Magic bins

Surface clutter (on countertops, tables, etc.) stresses me out.

Coincidentally, I tend to build up a lot of surface clutter.

In other words, I'm frequently stressed out!

So last Friday, I decided it was time to declutter in my kitchen and dining room. The countertops, kitchen bar, table, and sidebar had gotten really cluttered. But it had been a busy week, and I knew I probably didn't have time to really sort through everything with the time I had available Friday afternoon.

Enter...the magic bins.

I grabbed a big ol' Rubbermaid storage bin from the garage and filled it up.


When it was full, I started on another.


I set them in the dining room. I barely started sorting all the stuff on Friday, and I finished yesterday afernoon.

The cool thing about my magic bins is that they themselves aren't very stressful to me. So this weekend I was able to relax, with the bar between my kitchen and living room beautifully clear of junk. I even put the flowers Chickie picked me (thanks to the ridiculous number of weeds this year) into a vase.


Thanks, magic bins, for making an onerous task feel doable.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Micro: How tall are you?

One of the interesting things about online social networking and blogging is that often, due to photos, we know what our virtual friends' faces look like...but we don't know how tall they are.

So, satisfy my curiosity, if you're so inclined. Click the Comment button, and tell me--

How tall are you?

(I'm 5'2".)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's spunky blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

Moms who work and blog? Amazing.

I occasionally still represent real estate clients, and I worked quite a bit with a buyer this week. A couple of productive days renewed my appreciation for the energy required to be a working mom. And those of you who blog too? You ladies are incredible!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Streeeeeetched out. Oh, and a shaved head.

I guess the straps of this sports bra got caught around the agitator in the washer or something.


I'm gonna have to get some BIG shoulder pads to keep wearing that thing!


Also, remember me blogging about Kristen, a fellow blogger who is going to shave her head to raise money for children's cancer research? Well, she's raised $260, and she really wants to get that total up to $300. Her big head-shaving event is tomorrow! Do you think you could spare $5 or $10 to help her--and to help cancer research? If so, click here. She'll definitely appreciate it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Please read this post while imagining angels singing in the background

I am sitting at Starbucks right now.

By myself.

I mean, I'm surrounded by people, but none of them are my kids.

I have a laptop. It's connected to wireless Internet. (For free, since I registered my Starbucks card.)

I just finished a cinnamon-y breakfast bun, and I'm drinking a decaf Americano with lots of half and half.

The appointment I was supposed to have was canceled as I was arriving here, and I have another appointment right afterward, so it wasn't worth driving back to pick up my kids from my friend who watches them. This fact, of course, deeply disappointed me. But somehow I'm getting over it.

With the help of my coffee, pastry, and Internet access.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Parent's Serenity Prayer

You may have heard the "Serenity Prayer":
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

I've got my own version, for parents:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept my kids' natural temperaments,
The courage to lovingly discipline their bad attitudes,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I want to respect my kids' natural temperaments. Yet I also want to be able to lovingly correct them when they are disrespectful. When they grow up and have careers, I want them to be free to be creative, yet kind enough to work well with others.

Yesterday Chickie wanted gum, and when I told her no, but that I might give her some later, she threw a fit. I told her because of her attitude, she couldn't have gum the rest of the morning. (That definitely didn't immediately change her attitude, but it did get the message across.)

Later she was getting dressed--and getting frustrated. She didn't want help but couldn't figure out how to get her shirt on right. She got pretty upset, crying angrily. I didn't offer any correction or discipline for that; I kept offering to help when she wanted help, and empathizing with her frustration. Finally she was ready to let me help her.

In the second situation, I respected her temperament--her independence and desire to figure things out, which leads to frustration when she has difficulty. (I can't expect her to perfectly handle frustration, especially at this age!) But in the first situation, her independence turned to sass--and that wasn't respectful. It called for a bit of rational discipline.

Those situations weren't too tough to deal with--but I know that being able to tell the difference between temperament and bad attitude is not always that easy. And as the kids get older, I bet it will get even harder.

So, God, please grant me serenity. Grant me courage. And grant me wisdom. I need it--every day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Giveaway: Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops

Hey, readers, head on over to my giveaway/review blog for a super-tasty giveaway from Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops!

Enter easily by clicking here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Micro: Vroom!

Watching a little boy grow up is so much fun. The other night during dinner I heard car sounds coming from his chair.


Apple slices had become cars (VW Beetles, perhaps?), driven around by creative little hands.

I love my Zoodle!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's all about perspective.

Friday night just after 10, I was almost ready to go to bed. Then I realized Zoodle was fussy in his crib. I went to check on him--he'd had a hard time going to bed too, and he seemed to need me. So I picked him up...

...and was promptly christened with pink vomit. (We'd had smoothies for dinner.) Ew, ew, ew. (Oh, and also...ew.) Over an hour later, the carpet was clean (thanks to three treatments of OxyClean followed by the steam cleaner), Zoodle was in bed with a change of clothes, and I was freshly-scrubbed after a much-needed shower.

Saturday morning I made waffles (which even Zoodle ate--thank goodness the upset tummy ended as quickly as it began.) I overfilled the waffle maker by a bit, and a couple of minutes later realized it had overflowed, and I was confronted with a puddle of waffle batter on the tile floor. I groaned inwardly.

Then I had a thought. Well, it sure beats cleaning pink vomit off carpet!

With a quick paper towel swipe, the tile was reasonably clean, and I was enjoying my newfound perspective. I mean, when you've had a horrible clean-up job like I had Tuesday, not much compares.

I knew I was sweaty after my run Friday morning. But to put it in perspective, I told myself, "Well, I sure smell better than when I had dried vomit in my hair!"

Ah, the perspective brought by puke. Thanks, Zoodle!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's cool blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

A Facebook page AND a button!

I've been busy this week! I created a Facebook page for C. Beth Blog (where you can get links to my blog posts and other things I find interesting.)
All the cool people are fans of it.
Well, some of the cool people.
Well, a few, anyway.
Want to join them?

I also finally created a nifty little button for my blog, so if you're one who likes to put other blogs' buttons on your site, feel free to snag it.

Wow, a Facebook page and a button? So many opportunities for socially acceptable stalking! Next thing you know I'll have a Twitter page!

Oh, wait...I do!

Thanks to Siah Design for the cute Twitter graphic.

Friday, March 12, 2010


When you've got a 4-year-old who has a mind of her own, likes to make messes, and is independent one second and insistently dependent the next (in other words, a normal 4-year-old), sometimes it's easy to forget just how far that kid has come.

So I'm pleased to review with myself (and you) some of the not-so-pleasant activities or phases Chickie has left behind. (Click the links to read old blog posts with Chickie stories in them.)
I suppose I could put a list here of all the unpleasant things she's doing right now, but I'd prefer not to. Instead, I'll focus on the fantastic 4-year-old she is. She loves to learn. She makes her brother laugh. And whenever she can, she picks flowers for me.


I love my girl, through the easy phases and the hard ones!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thank you for listening, and acting

We don't have family in town. Some of you who have lots of stressful in-town family relationships may be thinking, "Lucky you!" And when I hear of people having to spend all day on Christmas visiting 17 different sets of parents, in-laws, step-in-laws, cousins, and step-neighbors-in-law, I realize that sometimes being separated from family makes things simpler!

But in general, it's really a bummer. I can't tell you how much I wish I could call up my mom and say, "I need a date night with The Engineer. Want to watch the kids?" (Or, "My kids are driving me nuts; can they come over so I can have an afternoon alone?") We are incredibly blessed to have various friends that are willing to watch our kids for us, but we don't want to take advantage of them by asking them all the time.

I'm doing a Bible study at church on Wednesday mornings, and as part of our discussion yesterday, I mentioned how easy it is to be discontent, not having family nearby. Later in the afternoon, I got an email from another of the women.

M. is pretty new to our city, and she and her family moved here to be close to relatives. But she shared with me that, for years, they'd lived far from family, and it was so hard for her. Then after she'd been kind enough to share her experience with me, she took it a step further. She wrote, "If you need a break, or need to run an errand, or you just need to say from one mom to another mom 'its a rough day...can you pray'...I'm here. Plus, I'm home during the day because of homeschooling so you are always more then welcome to drop Chickie or Zoodle off. Or even if you and The Engineer need to just take a break and grab something to eat so you can talk...I'd love to be that help."


With tears in my eyes, I wrote her back, thanking her, and assuring her I'll take her up on her offer.

Her gesture touched me deeply, because she didn't just listen to what I was saying. She didn't just empathize. She listened, empathized, and acted. A listening ear and comforting words are fantastic, but practical help adds unmistakable genuineness to someone's words!

Thank you, M. Since we moved to this city over nine years ago, so many people have acted as surrogate family members to us. I'm happy to be welcomed into your surrogate family too. And I hope next time I hear someone sharing a need, I can remember you, and put actions with my words too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My body

I think I'm more fit than I've been in 32 years.

Which is to say more fit than I've ever been.

Exercising (consistently and effectively) for the last 4 1/2 months has changed me. I am more confident, and exercise is wonderful for my energy levels and moods.

But let's talk on a more superficial level. Exercising has changed my body. And I really am enjoying having a toned body! I didn't realize my "mommy trouble areas" (tummy and bottom!) could look like this after having two kids.

Let me be clear: I don't have a perfect body. Not at all. I'll point out to you some of the imperfections--not to whine about them, but just to assure you this blog post isn't being written by someone with a model's figure. I will always have some extra skin on my lower belly, because it's been stretched out through two pregnancies. I have memories of what it's like to have cleavage, but only because I've breastfed two kids. That cleavage wasn't here for long, and now it's gone for good! I've got discolored, blotchy skin on my upper thigh--left over from pregnancy, I think. And I'm 5'2" so even if I didn't have my "mommy body issues," you wouldn't be catching me on any runways!

But I genuinely like how my imperfect body looks these days, and part of the reason I like it is because I've worked for it! I look at my tummy and I know that it's flatter because of those miles I've run, and those sit-ups I've done. I touch my thighs, and I feel the firm muscles, and I'm proud that I've worked so hard to turn my squishy legs into toned legs.

Why in the world am I writing this blog post? Well, it's not to make any readers feel bad. It's not to say, "Look at me, I'm so cool!" I'm definitely not interested in getting involved in any blogger beauty contests!

I'm writing this because I was inspired by my blogger friend Sasha to start running. And now I've found out that I've been part of the inspiration for others (including another wonderful blogger, Liz) who are starting the same Couch-to-5K program that I did. I just absolutely love this inspirational side of online social networking and blogging.

And while I think that being healthy is an awesome, worthwhile goal, sometimes we need the simple motivation of wanting to look good. So I want to encourage those of you who are just starting to work out, or haven't even started yet: It feels great to look in the mirror and see a fit body!

And I don't mean it only feels great to see a tiny body. I mean, it feels great when your body, with its unique shape and inevitable flaws, is fit. If you are naturally curvy, think how amazing your curves will look when they are supported by strong muscles! Enjoy those curves--for those of us who don't have them! (Did you see Queen Latifah at the Oscars? She will never have an ultra-skinny body...but these days her newly-healthy figure looks awesome. There's a great article on how she's gotten healthy, here.)

And if you're telling yourself you're "just not athletic," stop. I told myself that for way too long. You know what? I'm not someone with much natural muscle tone. Coordination is definitely not my strength. But I don't have to be a fast runner to be an in-shape runner. I may look silly in an exercise class, trying to do some of the exercises with my two left feet, but the exercises still work. You don't have to be naturally athletic to get fit--trust me.

If you think you don't have time, let me tell you how I've done it.

1. Running: I run in the mornings, three times a week--two weekdays (before The Engineer goes to work) and one weekend day. I stretch after I run. As I prepare for my 10K I'm going to add one more running workout, but that's not necessary for fitness. (By the way, I've worked out in the past, but the convenience and reward of running have given me a combination of consistency and effectiveness I've never had before.)

2. I found a free weekly workout class (a "Boot Camp" that focuses on toning), offered through a church, with free childcare. Score. Monday was the last day, but we may find a way to continue it. If not, I can exercise with my Wii (EA Sports Active or Fit) once a week for toning, or I may just find exercises online. If you work, could you give up one lunch hour a week for a class near your office, or for your own exercise session in a seldom-used conference room?

3. We usually watch TV at night. These days while I watch TV, this is what I do most nights: I use my foam roller (which doesn't hurt much any more) to loosen my muscles. I do some sit-ups and a lower-ab exercise. I do some leg raises. And I get in a good stretching session. My "TV exercises" don't get my heart rate up much, and they are a relaxing way to end the day.

Does it seem overwhelming to introduce all that at once? Do what I did--start small. At first, I was only running. A little over two months ago, I started the workout class, and I've gradually built up my "TV exercise routine" since that time.

That's it. Working out has not taken over my life! I don't want it to; I have too many other hobbies! But by finding ways to fit workouts into my schedule, my life has changed. I love my new body! Wouldn't it be great to find out that you can love yours too?

P.S. I have a new C. Beth Blog page on Facebook. Want to be a fan? Click the button below.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My sister is on JEOPARDY today!

My twin sister Becki is great at trivia. You wouldn't want to sit down and play Trivial Pursuit against her! So we were all really excited when she found out she was going to fulfill a decades-long dream: She qualified for, and was asked to be on, the game show JEOPARDY!

You can "meet" Becki in a brief video at this link. (Scroll down and click on the Becki Norris video.) And be sure to watch her today! JEOPARDY is syndicated, so it's on different networks at different times, depending where you live. To find out when you can see it, click here.

Becki filmed a couple of months ago, but I'm sure you'll join me in wishing her lots of (retroactive) luck!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Two racing girls

My first 5K race was yesterday, and Chickie had her first race too! It was a "Kid K," probably about 1/3 mile.

Before the race she wasn't too happy about the chilly (low 50s) weather....


But once the race started, she began running, with gusto!


And we were so proud--with Daddy alongside, Chickie ran the whole way!


She was proud of the medal she got (given to all the kids.)


Then it was Mommy's turn. The race went well--I was even able to smile with about a quarter mile left!

running a 5K

I did do just a little walking; I think that my breathing suffered with the excitement of the race, and I got some side cramps--ouch. Hopefully next time I'll pace myself a little better. But as I neared the finish line, I got a fantastic burst of energy and sprinted the rest of the way. That was a great feeling! A finish line is more fun than my front door, where my runs usually end!

running a 5K

My time (31:36) was a little slower than I'd hoped for, but overall I think it was a great race, and next time I'll know more of what to expect and will do even better. There were 181 women, and I was #91. That puts me exactly in the middle of the pack, and as a beginner I am happy with that! I was a little below the middle in my age/gender group. (By the way, the top female ran in 18:13...and she was in the 7 to 11 age group! Amazing!)

I enjoyed the race so much that I decided to sign up for a 10K (6.2 miles) four weeks! I probably will do part walking/part running, but just finishing will be a victory for me--someone who wasn't even a runner until I started the Couch-to-5K program a little over four months ago on October 28!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's witty blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

Tomorrow is my first official 5K!

(Does making "5K" into one word constitute cheating?)

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Internet, friendships, and grief

I heard something on a recent podcast (maybe NPR's Science Friday?) about how online social networks allow us to have far more relationships than we can realistically have in person.

There are some fun aspects to this. Need people to support you while you get fit? You can find dozens of online communities ready to do that! Want to connect with parents who have kids your age? Groups are already formed, with plenty of moms and dads ready to give you advice about everything from circumcision to schooling.

But along with all the positive connections, come all the heartbreaking stories. I wrote in January about losing Anna, an online mommy friend. I was surprised just how hard that was--someone I hadn't met in person and who I wasn't that close to online. In a project I did for her family, I found both healing...and difficulty. It taxed my emotions.

Yesterday another mom, from the same little online mom's group where I met Anna, lost her 21-month-old baby girl. I know this mom through our group and Facebook, but we don't know each other well.

My reaction has been interesting. Some of it hasn't been surprising. Of course I prayed while the little girl was sick, and am praying for her family. Of course my heart aches--as a mom, the thought of another mom losing her little child is horrifying and heartbreaking.

But I also feel a certain caution inside me--something saying, "Be careful, Beth. Don't let this get you too down." That might sound callous--a mother and father lost their child. It's unspeakably tragic.

But I'm realizing--with the dozens of purely-online relationships I have, it wouldn't be healthy to take on every tragedy as my own. Sometimes I can honor someone by grieving deeply with them. And sometimes I need to honor them by praying, by enjoying my own children, by being grateful for the gifts in my life...but not by being overwhelmed with grief.

I would really love to hear your thoughts on this, and your experiences. Thank you for reading...and thank you for the conversation that happens in that Comments section below. I appreciate you!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rest in peace, Joshua Fish

Well, our betta fish lasted almost two months. That's not too bad, right?

Joshua Fish was acting pretty piqued Tuesday, and when I got up Wednesday he was, well, unresponsive. He wasn't floating upside down, but when we shook the bowl gently, he didn't swim; he just sort of...bobbed. And his lovely red color was pretty darn faded.

"Oh, yeah," The Engineer assured me. "He's dead."

While I didn't exactly have a deep emotional closeness to Joshua, I have to say I was disappointed. It didn't help that I think I may have inadvertently killed him, or at least sped up his demise (as he may have already been sick), when I switched out his water. Too many water conditioning drops? Too much time sitting in a tiny little cup of old water while the new water got to the right temperature? Or was it just his time?

And then there was just the "ew" factor--I really didn't want to deal with a dead fish. So The Engineer agreed to conduct the burial (well, the flushing.)

When Chickie got up, I knelt next to her. "Chickie," I said gently, "Joshua fish is dead."

She asked questions, which I answered, and then I asked her, "Are you sad?"

"No," she answered in a cheerful, matter-of fact voice.

All righty, then. I'm glad she wasn't upset. And while it didn't ruin my day (or even my morning), I gotta say--I kind of miss the little guy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do I really want that?

"I'd like to publish a book some day."

How many times have I said that during the last two decades or so?

And is it true?

Here's the thing--while theoretically I think it would be super cool to publish a book, I have done absolutely nothing to make that happen. I don't have an outline, a topic, or a plan.

And I've realized, I must not really want it that badly. Chances are, a publisher isn't going to come across my blog and say, "Here's a book deal." If I want to make it happen, I'll have to work hard at it. But right now, it's just not a priority to me. I'm not saying that to beat up on myself. It's perfectly okay for me to be a person who doesn't badly want to publish a book. I just want to be willing to admit that.

I think it's good to examine our "I'd like to..." statements and determine if we really want those things or not. Do you really want to ______ (fill in the blank with "start cooking more," "keep my house more clean," "lose weight," "learn to knit," "stop smoking," "change careers," "make a good friend," "plant a garden," et cetera)?

If you say you'd like to do it and it's not happening, you've got two choices, either of which could be right for your situation.
  • Admit it's not really that important to you, and let it go (at least for now.) Or...
  • Make a plan and start really trying.
You do have a third choice, which is...
  • Keep saying you want it, and don't do anything about it.
But let's be honest--that's a recipe for frustration.

Maybe you don't really want what you say you want. At this point in my life, publishing a book isn't that important.

Maybe you do really want it, and you just need to sit down and figure out how to make it happen. For me, running a 5K at an average of 10 minutes a mile is important, so I'm doing both distance and interval training so that hopefully I'll meet that goal.

What do you say you want? And do you really want it?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Booyah! I won!

Okay, so I've blogged about this Seven Days Seven Answers blog that I love. Call Me Cate posts daily writing cues, which for some reason I like to respond to in limerick form. Each day she names a daily winner.

And guess what? I'm the first all-around winner! That means I've gotten wins on all seven days of the week! Cate wrote a nice (and, as always, funny) post about it here.

So in honor of this momentous occasion, I'll share a few of my winning responses.

From November 14:

Source: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Collection 12002-39 (DLC) 93845501
Write a caption.

My response:

"C'mon, better get your cute nosey
Out of that book. Time to mosey
Back to your station.
For the sake of our nation,
Get back to your riveting, Rosie."

From December 17:
Write your Christmas letter to Santa.

My response:
Dear Santa,

Earth's warming; I could ask you to fix her.
Or I could beg for a long-life elixir.
But would it be worth
Living long on this earth
Without a black Cuisinart mixer?

From December 27:

"If you do not change direction..."
Finish this quote from Lao-Tzu.

My response:
If you don't change direction from here to there,
Or change all the things for which you care,
And then if you find
That you don't change your mind,
Change just this one thing every day--underwear


So, there ya go. Somehow a mixer, Rosie the Riveter, and underwear advice won me this highly coveted (at least by me) prize. You should totally try Seven Days Seven Answers. It's a blast!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Micro: That's Delicious!

I use the Internet to find most of my recipes, and I save them on the bookmarking site Delicious. I'd love for you to visit my Delicious page!

Recently I spent hours putting descriptive tags on my bookmarks, so if you're in the mood for Mexican food and you've got some chicken thawed, just click "Mexican" (on the right side of the page) and then click "+chicken" and you'll see which of my recipes are filed in both of those categories. Or click "desserts" then "+chocolate" then "+frozen" and you'll be presented with three very tempting possibilities.

I also often add comments to bookmarks after I try the recipes. So you can read my input on how the recipe turned out...or check out some of my new bookmarks and experiment with them before I do!

Click here to visit my Delicious page.