Monday, September 13, 2010

An age reality

A few weeks ago I had a very odd realization. It was odd because it's not something I should've just 'realized', it's something that I should've already known.

But for some reason, I didn't. Or, at least, I hadn't really thought about it.

Ready for it? In less than four months, I'm going to be 35.

There, I said it. 35.

This statement is odd, because I know I'm 34; I even remember that, for the first time in years, I went out to celebrate my birthday last year with a night at the bar with a few close friends. So you would think that if I clearly remember celebrating my 34th birthday that, by default, I would know that my next birthday would be 35.

But somehow, it hadn't occurred to me.

For some reason, I'm having trouble with this one. 35. That's a really big number. I didn't have an issue with 30 -- which probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was eight months pregnant and had a lot more to think about (like the fact that I was about to become a new mom) than turning 30.

I don't really remember turning 25 (which means I probably drank too much) and 20 was, well, a really long time ago.

But 35 is a big number. It just feels so much older than 34. It means that when I respond to surveys, I can no longer check the 18-34 box. It means I'm halfway to...gulp...40.

What I need to do is just suck it up and accept it. Because, really, there's not a damn thing I can do about it. And it's just another number, right? The 18-34 bracket was a pretty interesting ride, so the start of the next age bracket is bound to be even better.

Who knows...I was writing about running the other day, maybe turning 35 will be motivation to run a half marathon before I turn 40.

Monday, September 06, 2010

T-40 days until I run again

Last year, I signed up for a 10K run to give myself a challenge; to prove to myself that I could do it and really, just for the sense of accomplishment.

And it felt awesome when I finished the run. I didn't care that I wasn't that fast -- I finished it and not long after (like later that night) I started thinking about when the next one will be.

It's in 40 days.

Back in June, I signed up for the same 10K run again. I had wanted to do one sooner, but with the whole sprained ankle and crutches episode from last winter, it wasn't really a feasible (or sensible) option. But I started running a little bit in March and then a little bit more in April and May. So by early June, I signed up for the 10K Zoo Run on Oct. 16.

Then I barely had a time to run this summer -- managing just once a week some weeks and no runs at all other weeks. Last week, I suddenly realized that race day is quickly approaching and if I want to actually be able to run 10K, I have to train for it.

So, in the last 11 days, I've been out five times with no run being shorter than 5K. Like last year, it's a struggle again and I can't manage even close to 10K yet (I'm about 4K short of that distance -- which is a long way when you're using foot-power to get there). But I have 6 weeks left to train and dammit, I'm going to do it. At one point, I wanted to run faster than last year, but now, I don't care. I just want to cross that finish line again.

I know I can do it. And Ryan's very supportive of this goal (and a real slave driver when I say I don't feel like going running right now!) And the kids even shout 'go, mommy, go' for me almost every time I head out the door.

After the Oct. 16 run, we'll see where running takes me -- whether I consistently keep training and aim for a spring run or even consider kicking it up a notch to a longer run. Ryan thinks I can do it, but I'm not so sure right now. Training for a 10K run takes enough of a time commitment out of my busy life -- quite frankly, I don't know if I can devote even more time to running every week.

Regardless of what I do in the future, think of me around 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 16 -- and hope that the weather is a little bit warmer this year.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

By the way...

...we ended up going to Chicago. Really, even thinking about not going was a crazy notion.

We got away for four whole nights and remembered again what it was like to be adults and not just parents. We slept until when we wanted without worry and planned our days how we wanted and not around nap schedules and snack schedules. So really, a much-deserved time to be a little bit selfish.

If you care, I wrote about our trip over on the family blog.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Canning, canning and more canning

I think I'm a little obssessed this time around. Last summer was my first foray into canning my own food. With a new vegetable garden in the back, it was the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Last summer, from my backyard vegetables, I made one batch of relish and two batches of salsa (and one batch of tomato sauce, but I froze that). And although at first, I was rather apprehensive by the whole process, I discovered that I really enjoyed it.

For me, the process -- when done during the evening after the kids go to bed -- is a relaxing way to spend my time. And, of course, makes for many tasty meals and condiments over the course of the year.

So, this year, I started early by making strawberry jam with fresh picked strawberries at the end of June. I even let the kids help and we made it an afternoon activity. One kid washed the strawberries, then I cut them up and then the other kid would take the cut pieces and put them in the pot. In the end, I made a really tasty jam -- even if it turned out more like strawberry syrup than jam. (Vanilla ice cream anyone?)

As the summer's worn on, I've made a batch of relish and a batch of salsa (from my garden vegetables), two batches of tomato sauce (one from my garden tomatoes one from a basket at the market) and yesterday, the kids and I made peach jam.

Again, we made a very tasty jam but again, it didn't quite set. I don't know what I'm doing wrong as both times I've followed the recipe exactly. And both times, I've ended up with runny jam (although this time it's not quite as syrupy). Any jam makers out there have any suggestions for me? As I'm thinking of making another batch of peach jam next week.

Also on the menu for this fall is another batch of salsa (maybe even two more batches), possibly another batch of relish (mainly because my cucumber plant is suddenly producing a ton of cukes again), a batch of pickles and another batch of tomato sauce.

One thing's for sure, I may soon need to find a new place to store all my jars. And watch out, some of you may end up with a jar or two from me under your Christmas tree this year.