I guess I run now

or I’m trying to anyway.


A mouse story for Periwinkle

So I was completely creeped out by Periwinkle’s dead mouse story…one of the reasons I don’t have cats, even though I adore them!

But clearly the universe didn’t think I was creeped out enough, so it sent another mouse last night…a live one, a baby one, swimming about desperately in the dog’s water bowl (one of those deep mixer-bowl varieties). He must’ve gotten in when hubby was fixing the screen door & the dog must’ve scared him off the wall or something when we went downstairs for a drink (good doggie!). I didn’t hear the plop, but I did hear a squeek & notice the dog staring very curiously at his water bowl. Still, I expected to see a moth or something, not a little gray mouse doing laps.

So I did what any reasonable person would do, I screamed bloody murder & called for hubby to come help. Except hubby hates mice, really hates them & hubby has no hubby he can call for for help in these situations (very unfair). I hate mice too, of course, but I hate the thought of drowning a baby one even more & that’s what hubby proposed we do…wait it out. So I gathered some courage, grabbed the bowl & walked very carefully outside & into the back yard where I tossed baby & bowl water out at the same time. The little guy was stunned for a few seconds, collected his wits, caught his breath, & then scampered back into the woods.

Went upstairs & promptly found a daddy long legs crawling around on the shower curtain. Hubby took care if it…he’s very good at spider wrangling & I can’t stand the things.

Long story now short (so you should’ve jumped to the end): this house is CREEPING ME OUT!

Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 29, 2008
At 9:42 am
Comments : 8

So very okay with procrastination at this point…

It’s been lovely, really. I’ve gotten a lot of work done & hubby’s done some much-needed stuff around the house (like putting in a new screen door & staining the woodwork that’s been off the walls since we drywalled over a year ago). He wants to put off packing since he’s going to stay here for another couple of weeks & that sounds very okay with me.

I’ll pack up his school office tomorrow (can’t touch his home office since it’s all the stuff he needs to write), make sure the house is clean, garden weeded, laundry done & on Wednesday I’ll head back home for my meeting . Then I’ll come back up before he has to be out of here & we’ll get serious about packing & cleaning.

Meantime, it’s our anniversary, so this is probably the ideal arrangement. It’s been a very fun & relaxing week with walks on the beach, a hike up to Hungarian Falls, a few dinners with friends, and tomorrow we’ll put up the newly stained woodwork & have a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant up here, and take a walk on the beach where we had our wedding.

Have been reading about the steps diet on hotrodmama‘s site & thinking about trying it out. It’s not that different from what I’ve been doing, but I think I need a program of some kind to focus on to get myself back on track. She lost 7 pounds in the first month & I’m at the stage where I’d kill for that kind of weight loss. Of course, I know how to lose weight: exercise, portion control, good nutrition. But I’m having trouble getting that particular trifecta this month.

Anyway, time to catch up on what ya’ll are up to (or down to as the case usually is). 🙂

Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 28, 2008
At 7:50 pm
Comments : 3

Nice run, procrastination, and ravioli

Nice run around noon today. The trail was populated by some event of some kind, so I used my last (forgot I had it) day pass for the rec center. Walked .1 mile, ran 1 mile, walked .15, ran .25, walked .25, ran .25 etc (an homage to getupnow’s approach). Ended up at 2.75 miles, 1.85 of that running. I would’ve run longer, but then I remembered the ravioli…

So we’re in procrastination overdrive here & I’ve decided to just go with the flow. Today’s procrastination task was preparing dinner for 4-6 friends. Not a big deal, except the dinner is a kind of send-off for one friend who leaves for a job in New York state on Monday. Not a big deal, except when hubby asked this friend what her favorite meal was, she mentioned the cheese and raisin ravioli’s at a local restaurant.

So I’m running & enjoying my new playlist (salt n’ pepper, run dmc, grand master flash, all good stuff) when it hits me…RAVIOLI! I get home &, sure enough, the pasta maker is out & hubby’s cranking out pasta for raviolis. 4 1/2 hours later & we have enough cheese and golden raisin ravioli for everyone to have a few & a lasagna I made, salad, garlic bread. I’m inclined to be angry about this stuff cause while he cranked out pasta, I cleaned, shopped, and made the rest of the meal. But crimeny, how adorable is my husband to spend all day making this special kind of pasta just cause his friend said she loved it…and I’ll bet money she didn’t expect him to try making it!

So…off the diet for tonight, although so far I’ve had only cereal & blueberries and one ravioli.

Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 25, 2008
At 3:16 pm
Comments : 3

Boxes of Plans and Procrastinations!

Decided to suck it up & head for hubby’s after my meeting yesterday, rather than wait for today. I have a meeting next Thursday, which will cut my trip up here short anyway, so I figured it was worth rolling in around midnight last night not to lose another day. There’s packing to do, don’tchaknow!

Only I forgot, as I so often do, that hubby is a bit of a procrastinator. I love him dearly & he’s the best man I’ve ever known, but he comes from this long line of frustrating procrastinators: his ancestors almost decided to accompany Columbus before the boats left the dock; they nearly got their RSVP’s back in time to attend the signing of the Declaration of Independence; they spent a little too long not thinking about attending the launch of the Apollo 11 and by the time they got around to thinking about it, it was already gone. This little issue of his is exacerbated by the fact that I come from a long, long line of planners and worriers. His “laissez faire” attitude and my “laissez get our sh*# together now” attitude…well, you see where I’m going with this.

So the problem is that I’m here to help hubby pack, but I don’t know what I can/cannot pack because he hasn’t decided if he’s leaving next Friday, the week after that, or the week after that (he’s teaching for 3 more weeks, but could shift the final classes online & move south early). So…am I packing up all his clothes, books, papers, cookware, etc because he’s out of here or am I packing up only the stuff he won’t necessarily need for the next three weeks?

So here I sit. He’s off teaching & I’m ready to get packing. Now he has made some major moves to get out of here: he fixed the furnace, cut back tree limbs that were overhanging the house, and stripped the woodwork we took down last year when we put up the new drywall. So he’s moving in that direction, and there are plenty of boxes waiting for me on the porch, but I think the packing thing is going to be rough going at first…

So it’s a good time to get caught up on what everyone’s doing &, well, first things first: it’s ERYN‘S BIRTHDAY! Have a great day! & while I’m at it, Welcome back from vacation Ms. tylerdurden! & Welcome back to blogging soclose! We missed you!

Oh, everyone’s doing a lot more than I in terms of weight loss, food watching, and exercise. Periwinkle has a quote that hits home for me…I’m waiting for conditions to be perfect & really, why am I doing that? I need to get moving now! So I guess hubby & I should take a nice long walk before we tackle the packing question & I should take advantage of the pool at the rec center while I’m here. Although getupnow’s talk of her run on that country road sounds pretty good too!

Feather’s latest post hit home for me too…my inner 3 year old has been making my life hell lately & it’s time to make her behave! Tiny2b’s 3 year old may have also escaped & helped herself to half a bag of chips…now how is it that this happens? & I ask cause this is me all over…one day you’re biking & picking berries & the next day…Doritos? That’s my life in a nutshell!

& brseay is bouncing back from news that she can’t run for a month because of plantar fascitis, but she’s already putting plan B into action!

I need to get some of that kind of resolve. This move happened & I didn’t even think about a plan B…I just abandoned the plans I’d made. Maybe I’ve got more procrastination genes in me than I think, but I need to call on my inner-planner: okay, walk today, run tomorrow! That’s good enough for now, I think!

Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 24, 2008
At 10:26 am
Comments : 5

Oh Bridget!

There’s this great line in Bridget Jones’ Diary where she admits that she honestly believes that if she could just stop eating permanently, she’d finally be healthy. I think about that sentiment a lot cause, frankly, there are days when my mind travels in the same absurd directions.

Anyway, I was thinking about dear old Bridget last night as I started reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the book tiny2b has proposed for her new virtual book club. It’s an interesting read for the ways it seeks to explain Americans’ weird relationships with food & a potentially squirmy read because it engages with the history of our food production, traces where the food that hits our plates comes from, and examines the politics and ethics of food production/consumption. We had a nice thunderstorm last night, so I ignored the boxes for a bit & curled up on the couch with the dog & this book. Really made for a lovely evening.

Now I’m off for a run…first one in weeks. I’ve been dreaming about running, though. All night long. & I wonder if, like the dog, my legs move in my sleep…the two of us, dog and bigprof, chasing rabbits all night in our dreams. 🙂 Anyway, wish me luck!

Update: that felt dern good! My goal (and I honestly thought I’d not make it) was to run a full mile without stopping…it’s been about 2 weeks since I laced up my runners for an actual run, so I figured this would be a good test to see how far I’ve fallen. So I walked for 2 mins & then started running. First mile in 13:30…not bad at all for my stumpy legs. Then I walked 2 mins, ran, walked 2 more mins, ran, and walked the last minute. Ended up doing 2.5 miles & decided to call it a day. But then I got home & this little bird, this quick little bird, started chirping in my ear & she said, “you know, if you took a bike ride, you’d keep your muscles loose.” Crazy little bird!

So, fine. I pumped up the tires & took a quick 2-mile ride just to remind myself of what it felt like to ride a bike. I think I’ll try to work that into my running days when I’m back from packing up hubby’s house next week…will mark out some 3 & 4 mile rides for starters…I’m not ready for 11 miles!

Lunch was courtesy of the GREAT STATE OF MICHIGAN! Fresh egg atop a salad of romaine & tomato, beets, and green beans. The OJ wasn’t from around these parts (gee, ya think?), but everything else was raised within 50 miles of home & delicious!

Remember the doggie running in his sleep? Poor thing hasn’t had much fun with this move either, so when lunch was over, I took him to the dog park, stopping briefly on the way at a road-side stand to pick up corn, sweet cherries, and a cucumber. I wanted a tomato, but they only had Tenn. tomatoes. Peaches were amazing (the guy was passing out samples all over the place), but from Georgia…our peaches are a couple of weeks away from ripe, I think. & why buy peaches when the cherries are out? So now I’m going to try to freeze a batch of cherries & on the way back from hubby’s next week, I’ll pick up some more for freezing & drying (these are awesome on salads, with spinach & pinenuts, in chicken salad, but expensive to buy in the winter). I’ve frozen off 10 pounds of blueberries with 5 pounds left to do (Mich. blueberries were on sale at Kroger for a shocking $7.99 for 5 pound boxes…there may be only a very thin line between eating local & hoarding food, I think :)).

Okay, time to catch up on my reading…I’m so glad to see that getupnow is back to posting! But where’s soclose?

Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 22, 2008
At 7:46 am
Comments : 5

Okay, it’s been tough & I haven’t exactly been tougher…

Thanks for all the encouraging posts. I’ve been letting this whole house moving thing become my excuse to fall back into bad habits…gee, like you didn’t already guess that given the minimal posting from me these past two weeks. So let’s catalog the nightmare! Confession being good for the soul & one way for me to STOP feeding this nightmare!

Okay, I was going to have to pay the movers (who came on Thursday) by the hour, so I foolishly decided to move as much stuff as I possibly could myself first. Hey, less money for the movers translates into more money for trips to Ikea for us, right? I think I overdid it, though. Everyday for about 8 days, I’d pack up boxes, load the car, unload at the new house, unpack the boxes, bring the boxes back to the apartment, & on and on. On the upside, they estimated I’d need 3 big men for 5 hours to do the move & I cut that time down to just 3 hours. On the downside, the last two days before the movers came, the only thing that kept me going was diet soda in the fridge at the new house & a pack of those pre-sliced & ready to bake chocolate chip cookies. I’d run boxes all day, reward myself with the soda, & for the last run of the night, bake myself off 4-5 cookies while I unloaded the car. I reasoned that the thought of those cookies was what kept me going all day, but I’m good at this type of destructive reasoning.

Oh, and there was a bag of lower fat (but who are we kidding here?) Cape Cod potato chips in there. & take out chicken curry and a Panera sandwich & soup and takeout chicken korma. After the movers left, I made up a batch of rotel dip (oh, this stuff is great for you, it’s just processed cheese food product mixed with rotel tomatoes) and ate it with a bag of tortilla chips & more diet soda. I’m not going to call the last 10 days or so a food fest cause it’s been too damn hot to eat in a big way & most days I’d forget to eat until I was starved & ready to eat my own foot. But it wasn’t me, it wasn’t by the rules, and it didn’t make me feel good about myself the way I have these past few months. I LET myself do this. Gave myself permission. Fine, I can forgive all that because if I don’t, I’ll just have to accept the failure I’m feeling, keep on down this destructive road & never look back.

So…today, like eryn, I’m starting again. I don’t have time to pick veggies today…still have to clean my apartment before the power is cut off on Tuesday, move all my work clothes into the new house, & unpack my office here so I can get caught up for a meeting on Monday (see how I am with the excuses?)…but I do have time to stop at the farmer’s market & get some good food. The soda is history, the remaining tortilla chips (half the bag) and the rotel dip hit the garbage can last night, the cookies are no more (read: I ate all 24 in the package, so no more temptation there), and I’m back to eating 3 good meals a day, not one crappy one.

Also, until I feel like this house is in order, I can’t bring myself to workout, so I’m going to count unpacking & cleaning as working out. Last week I averaged only about 8,000 steps a day, but they were hard-earned steps, usually with a giant box of something in my hands. This week I need to average 10,000 a day cause there’s less box shifting…although still a lot of that going on. So, I’m going to give myself some emotional or psychological credit for the work I’m doing this week & get back on track with my eating. Next week, I’ll hit the pavement & pay the price for all this time off, but it’ll be good to pay that price to get back to running.

I see I’m not the only one who has gone missing for a bit. But that’s bound to happen from time to time. I hope everyone else jumps back on track too!

Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 19, 2008
At 8:53 am
Comments : 7

My best laid plans…

have abandoned me for a more organized person.

I feel like I’m failing on the one hand…not really even balancing work & packing/moving & not even thinking about working out. On the other hand, I keep telling myself to keep my head down & plow forward & this nightmare will be over by Friday.

But for now, the movers come on Thursday & there’s still tons for me to pack & move & ready before they get here.


Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 15, 2008
At 8:57 am
Comments : 4

Sus-SANE-ability, part 2

& I really need some sanity right now with the move, so thinking about this stuff has been a nice distraction.

When I was in grad school, tres righteous profs in my department would occasionally go on these diatribes against Walm*** and other big box stores. Sure, sure, I get it, we all get it: Walm*** bad. But what these profs missed as they lectured us against shopping at Walm*** was that we HAD to shop at Walm*** because the university paid graduate students a below-living wage to teach. You want to kill Walm***, you don’t do it through appeals to people’s better natures: you do it by making sure people are paid what they’re worth so that they can actually afford to shop elsewhere (Walm*** dies when the US turns the minimum wage into a living wage, I think). & that’s a battle I wish the Walm*** naysayers like these profs would devote their time to instead of making the rest of us (the majority of us, really) feel bad about where we shop. Sorry…political diatribe coming from me now.

But no one really likes to shop at Walm*** or chooses to shop there, I think. Hell, even the commercials for Walm*** shy away from showing people in the actual stores (they’re on vacation cause they saved so much, they’re grilling in the back yard, they’re in their kitchens making cookies for their kids’ football team). Even Walm*** knows that given the choice, most people would prefer to shop at their much smaller & more convenient local super markets. But hubby & I have to do the majority of our shopping there cause we, well, we HAVE to; still, I think we can do so stuff on our own to supplement the food we get there with healthier, better tasting, more environmentally-friendly, more local stuff.

So I’m going to give it a try & thanks to everyone who responded to my last obsessive post on this subject. I’ll let you know how my first attempts at putting your ideas into action go. & keep the good ideas coming…

One “free” way I found to get fresh produce into the house (to eat, can, freeze, or dry) is by helping out at an organic farm one of the profs in my dept has (they grow thousands of pounds of veggies just so they can give it all to the local food bank–nice people–but they need free hands to harvest the stuff every Saturday morning). All I have to do is volunteer to pull veggies for about 3 hours every week until October & everyone who helps with the harvest gets to pick armloads of veggies to take home. We didn’t get to try it this weekend cause of all the stuff we had to get done while hubby was in town, but I’m going to go next Saturday to check it out.

We had a job candidate on campus for an interview last year (a really sincere, money-where-your-mouth-is academic who broke my heart when she didn’t accept our job offer and) who was doing her dissertation on the rhetoric of organic farming. She’s the one who first told me about this deal with organic farmers needing extra hands to bring in the harvest. Another nice person: it wasn’t enough for her to write about the rhetoric surrounding organic farming & the rhetoric against migrant workers; she worked with the farmers & tutored the migrant workers in her spare time. Anyway, apparently it’s common for these farmers to strike deals where they pay volunteers with fresh produce.

Okay, on another front, I bought my first local eggs this week (and Feathers, they were delicious & we ate them all by day two), tried out a strawberry jam recipe (small batch that was tasty, although hubby wanted more sugar in it), looked up recipes for freezing corn & tomatoes (and drying tomatoes), and bought one of those vacuum-seal machines (on sale at Linens & Things since, apparently, they’re going out of business). I still need some canning equipment, but once I’m settled (and my latest home brew has been bottled…a bit of a hassle, that), I’m going to get started stocking away things for the winter. Hubby & I looked at stand-alone freezers this weekend too, although that’s an investment for next summer if the stuff I freeze this summer works out & my commitment to eating local produce doesn’t go the way of my commitment to things like knitting, learning to play the ukelele, beading, etc. 🙂 This feels different, though.

Anyway, it’s back to running, back to really watching what I eat, and back to counting steps tomorrow. The scale tells me I’ve gained 1 1/2 pounds in the last 3 weeks & that doesn’t make me very happy. So I’ll be back with usual blogging stuff tomorrow (or tonight). I’ll title my sus-sane-ability rants like the title above so if these rants are boring, I hope you’ll skip right over them to the diet stuff. The rants are off topic & (clearly) a little political, but I think I want or need to catalog what I’m doing with this eating local obsession as much as I need to be a regular contributor to our lovely blog community.


Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 13, 2008
At 2:35 pm
Comments : 3

Quick update

Hi ya’ll! Gee, I miss posting/reading here. I’m back to it today or tonight, though. & back to running after a week or more off tomorrow!

We closed on the house on Friday & started moving in the boxes hubby brought down & the ones I packed that night. Yesterday was pretty much filled with trips to the hardware store & moving my stuff into the new house. The movers come on Thursday, but I’m paying them by the hour, so I’m going to try to move anything I can move on my own first.

The house is great! & has a cherry & an apple tree in the back yard…which is big enough for a little vegetable garden as well. But more on my quest to eat local later.

Hubby leaves today…in a matter of minutes really, so I’ll talk to ya’ll soon!


Filed under : General
By bigprof
At 8:36 am
Comments :1

Food on the brain…

but not how you might think, maybe.

I drove back from the UP yesterday & the most I have to report is…I didn’t, repeat didn’t, stop at McDonalds. At all! For me, that’s a success story. But my restraint actually had nothing to do with my diet…I didn’t eat there cause…well, it was easy, really, but let me ease into this discussion.

I did stop for a sub in Gaylord, but I otherwise I munched a PB&J from home, blueberries, nuts, & local strawberries.

On the trip home I had this amazing convergence of ideas about food. I get these weird plans when driving a standard 9 1/2 hour drive turned 11 hour drive because of stupid holiday traffic. But this plan I like…a lot.

So I stopped for the strawberries (which were sold on these card tables all along the road in Chassel & beyond). I’ve never been a big fan of the strawberry before, never really saw the point, or understood what all the fuss was about until about 3 years ago when hubby & I passed some kids selling strawberries along the road in Hancock. We were walking back from campus, it was terribly hot, the poor kids looked miserable sitting out on the sidewalk, and hubby wanted some of the little berries. What the hell, we bought an oversized pint for about $4.

That’s when I discovered that the things I’d been eating for maybe 30 years were not strawberries at all. Let’s call what I’d been eating all those years ago “strawberry-like food product.” Sure,  they looked like strawberries, but they tasted like nothing, and they tasted nothing like the fresh, local strawberries these kids were selling at the side of the road.

Then as I munched my strawberries yesterday, Barbara Kingsolver was no the radio talking about her latest book, a work of non-fiction about her family’s year-long experiment with sustainable living…eating off their own land & buying only what’s available locally.. Nice idea, but not a realistic plan for me.

And lately I’ve been thinking about what I eat & how it arrives at my local grocery & wondering if I couldn’t do something similar to what Kingsolver & her family did, only on a much smaller scale. But my cheese is Danish or French or Wisconsin…and my wine (well, my favorites are from Michigan, but some of it) is from California, France, Italy, or Australia. Today as I was shopping (no farmers’ market til Saturday), I found my tomatoes are from Florida, asparagus is from California, blueberries are from New Jersey, (they were even selling strawberries from California), and on and on and on.

So I get my pick of any food I could ever want any time I ever want it. But my food travels more than I do: bad for the environment, bad for the local economy (and gawd knows Mich’s economy can’t take any more hits), and bad for me.

So I need to tap the collective food wisdom of this group. Soclose, how did you freeze the strawberries (cut or whole? any special warnings I need to know about)? What things do ya’ll save or freeze? What old recipes do ya’ll have for stuff like butter or herb teas or fruit wines or pickles or jams or whathaveyou? I’m looking around my kitchen & thinking, “no, I won’t give up coffee or olive oil,” but I can find ways to preserve what’s locally available in the summer so I don’t have to eat tomatoes flown into Detriot from Brazil in the winter…right?

Anyway, I’ve gotten amazing recipes, snack ideas, and inspiration from this group. Now I’m looking for ways to help me make more environmentally & nutritionally sound food choices.

Update: oaky, I’ve created a separate page for your Sus-SANE-ability ideas and recipes. I hope this works out! Please post a comment with a recipe or idea there or post a link to a recipe or idea on your own blog & I’ll link to it. I’ve posted a few “recipes” of my own there, but I’m looking for stuff I don’t know how to do or don’t know about.

Filed under : General
By bigprof
On July 7, 2008
At 12:40 pm
Comments : 4