Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve







What it is not is sometimes better than what it could have been...

Just a quick note concerning Elliettes MRI for her nose bump: the doctor was NOT able to tell us exactly what it is, but he was able to tell us what is is not. It is not a nasal dermoid cyst, and there is no intracranial connection, which means no worry of brain tissue involved. All we really got out of the whole ordeal was that it is just skin and blood vessels and that removal won't be a problem. We're still waiting to hear from the ENT office to schedule a consult on whether we should go ahead with having it removed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It begins...

When I initially started this blog, one of the main focus points was to be my running, but since my injury there really hasn't  been much to report. Now that I have the OK from my orthopedist to start running again, its going to be a long road to regain the fitness I lost, and shed the weight I gained.

A brief history of my past year in running:
Starting last winter, I had been training for two races: The Hartford Marathon, and Bimblers Bluff 50K. I've always felt drawn towards longer distance races, but had never raced anything over a 6K. I thought since both races were only two weeks apart, and a 50K is only 5ish miles longer than a marathon (26.2) I could easily train for them at the same time. The marathon was actually scheduled to be on the day of one of my long runs anyway. Now, when I get into training, I REALLY get into training. It's the obsessive/compulsive side of me I suppose. I would religiously track every single yard I ran in my log and pore over the numbers, trying to see how hard I could push myself without getting hurt. I bought a Garmin 405 Forerunner from REI, which was the best purchase I made all year, without a doubt.  After that, I had every ounce of data I could have wanted right there on my wrist. Speed, mileage, heart rate...even a virtual training partner to race. I never missed a single run, which of course I had planned out months in advance and planned my life around them. Everything was going extremely well, and there was no doubt in my mind that if race day went as well as my training was going that I could easily slay a sub-3:20:00 marathon. My weekly long runs had gotten up to 18 miles, and I was recovering from them without a hitch. I learned so much training for those that I get bad cramps if my sodium levels are low, I don't really need to eat a ton out on long runs to keep my energy up, and a PB&J was as good as a power bar for me. Also to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I now have a small collection of hydration-compatible backpacks and waist packs that all serve a different purpose, depending on what sort of run I expect to be doing.
Then WHAM, seemingly out of nowhere, I started experiencing a sharp pain in my left knee while on vacation in the White Mountains with my family last July. What was so odd about it was that I had decided to take the week off from running to recover and spend the entire trip with my kids, and it happened at the end of said week so I'm pretty sure it wasn't running related. Bummer. Big time. I got over that, still managing to run as much as possible with my knee wrapped, then iced afterward. I also learned what a helpful tool drug Aleve can be.
Then in September, I had my epic fall caused by a foot-eating baby gate, breaking a small (but not insignificant, oh no!) bone in my left foot. And that was that. Training over, no races were going to be ran in any foreseeable future. Depressed and unable to even walk without pain, my house fell into a state of terrible clutter, I could feel myself getting weaker, and I put on about 10lbs. I bought a treadmill, but even an easy walk was unbearable. I decided to stay off it completely until I could see an orthopedist.
Finally, after an agonizing two months (!!!) of no running, my ortho said it was OK to start training lightly, as long as my pain level was tolerable. I even got a prescription for this nifty patch of something called lidoderm, and it has been helping a great deal with the soreness. The pain is nothing serious like it was a few months it is something more like a bruise that only hurts if pressed or bumped on something.
SO. I've begun preliminary training for the Ragnar Relay that takes place in May 2010. We almost have the whole team of twelve on board, needing only more more confirmed runner to round it out. Some of the best parts are that I don't have to concentrate on any crazy distances, just running more than once a day to get my muscles used to running while fatigued, which makes training though a recovering injury a lot easier. Also, Nancy has recently taken up running and wants to run in the race. I can't even imagine how much easier it is going to be getting myself out the door to run if she's prodding me, or even (gasp!) joining me.
For now, the hardest part is trying not to jump right back into crazy OCD running man mode, but to rather ease my way back into it. For the first couple weeks I didn't even track my runs, I just ran when I felt up to it, if I didn' be it. For now, I'm just concentrating on length of time spent running, not mileage. I feel it is far more important to train my mind and muscles for the task ahead (a full and healthy recovery) and not race a clock when there is no tape at the end of the road. I'm up to an hour a day, covering about 5.5 miles. Nothing like the mileage I was ticking off 6 months ago, but after being layed up for so long, even a very slow jog is better than riding the couch.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Can I get an Amen?!

“Anarchism, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government.”

                                                    Emma Goldman




Every thing in its right place.

A confession: I am a neat freak*. My wife, Nancy, is not. When she was the house parent and I worked full time, coming home from work at 9:30PM to our bombed out disaster area of an apartment was almost enough to send me into a catatonic depression. It was a serious (but not the only) strain on our relationship, but we got past those hard years and don't look back. When I became a full time stay at home Dad almost three years ago, I made some serious changes, believe me! I made vast, dizzying sweeps of our condo and purged it of everything that was broken, not used, or clothing we didn't wear. For some reason, I find myself purging unworn clothing twice yearly, even though I don't purchase more than 3 or 4 items a year. (NOTE: this does not including shoes and boots. Those are necessities for a person with an active lifestyle) Once that first mega-purge was done, I had a written schedule of which rooms got cleaned on which days, and keeping the place in  good order was easy-cheesy and freed me up butt loads of time to run, bike, explore new places, and still be home in time to get Kole off the school bus. After Elliette was born 15 months ago, obviously I had a bit of a harder time keeping up with it all. Having to take a baby into every room with you while you work isn't ideal, or sometimes not even practical. My laundry room is in desperate need of a nice hard purging, but it's very cold and there is no place to let her play while I work my magic. On top of having to lug the baby around with me, I broke a bone in my foot in September, temporarily disabling me and leaving me (for all intents and purposes) couch bound and allowing WEEKS of house work to fall to the wayside. The place is a MESS. It has been VERY stressful. (I have an appt with my doctor to talk about anxiety meds, but that's a topic for another day)
 Having an emptier house works for me in two ways:
1: It's very calming to live in a minimalist house. There is just something about not being overwhelmed with clutter and knick-knacky crap that puts the soul at ease. When I see a big mess, I need to see it go away. It's like a sneeze. I CAN ignore it alone and go on with my day, but it is very unpleasant, and as it goes on longer it gets uncomfortable, then painful. If I can nip all that in the bud by cleaning, or just NOT making a mess, so be it. Case closed.

2: It's less cleaning. Which means less work. I HATE work. I want to play all day. But this isn't very realistic. So, when my house is "very" clean, I can get away with about an hour or two of straightening up everyday just to maintain.

Over the past week, I've made significant headway into getting the place back to ship-shape, and getting my head to shut up and not scream every time I walk into a room. I even had a sit down meeting with Koletrane and Nancy and discussed things we can all do to make life a little neater. Kole is doing well with the general rule of simply "NOT making a mess!!!" Well, as long as I'm there to remind him. Nancy, not so much. She thinks that since shes going to come home from work and put on her sweatpants right away, that it is perfectly OK to leave them on the couch all day. But she is making an effort to change the trash when it needs it, and not just pile trash up next to the sink. I'll take what I can get for now. Small victories, no matter how small, are still victories.

*I am not a germophobe, down on all fours scrubbing out corners at 3AM like an ODC poster child. I don't very often use chemical cleaners, often opting for warm water with vinegar. I simply abhor mess, and clutter.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in Connecticut

Considering the unholy times I hear that other parents get up on xmas morning, I'll consider myself blessed to have slept until 7:45am. Nancy's family arrived promptly at 8:00am to see the kids open their gifts, and to share a holiday breakfast. Kept it pretty low key throughout the day, went to my grandparents house for a wonderful brunch prepared by my womderful Grandma Helen, then home for a little "spiked" hot chocolate and some much needed downtime. These are the highlights:





Kole has been practicing his guitar a lot more as of late, he has even taken to writing out simple melodies and playing them to me. I think I'll use this as much as he will!

Found the pickle!

All the girls...

Elliette showing her new teeth to Papa...

...then checking out his old ones!

Grandma Helen and I.




My crazy uncle Doug found this widow maker hanging off the roof.

Currently taking up prime real estate in my living room...

A very nice, thoughtful gift from our friend and neighbor, Lisa.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Experimenting with new(ish) camera

I bought my first digital camera a few months ago, an Olympus Stylus "Tough 8000". Nancy and I are going to be going on our honeymoon in April (almost in time for our 3rd anniversary, and just after our 9 year "being together" anniversary) and thought a real camera might be a wise investment. I'd read a ton of reviews for pocket-sized point and shoot units, and this one seemed to fill every requirement we had and then some. Waterproof? Yup, down to 33ft. Shockproof? Ayuh, drop it from 6ft onto concrete and it'll still work. And 12 mega pixels isn't anything to shake a stick at, especially since it only costs about $320. But aside from dropping it a few times, I haven't really put it to the test yet. So today while giving Elliette her bath I decided to give it a whirl in the water. Unfortunatly, I didn't have the foresight to take the bar of soap out of the tub before filling it with it was too murky to get a clear shot while submerged. Otherwise, it did pretty well in the water. I mean, it still works, and I consider that a win. I'm not really up to writing a full on review, so I'll just let the pictures do the talking. Most of these were edited, but nothing crazy, just to get the light right and crop out any baby pee-pee parts.








Monday, December 21, 2009

Young Punks

Well, flu season is officially upon us. Elliette came down with a light fever yesterday, and this morning when I was busy trying to get Koletrane's bag packed for school, she barfed all over herself and her playpen. Man, if I had stuff in my belly that smelled that bad I would ralph too. It looked like curdled milk, and smelled about 100X worse. We usually drive Kole out to the bus stop in the winter since our driveway is VERY long and icy (its about 1/8 mile from our door to the bus stop), but this morning I had to send him out alone. There are other kids who wait out there, so I wasn't worried about leaving him alone on the street. Anyway, once I cleaned Elliette up and got some Motrin in her, we shared some saltine crackers and her mood improved a great deal. She still hasn't had much of an appetite to speak of, but she's been getting plenty of fluids and isn't acting very sick.

The boy has been crawling up my butt to start putting studs in his leather jacket ever since he got it. For some reason, people (including me, I'm ashamed to admit) told him that it may not be appropriate to go ahead with doing it since he wears it to school, and the administration might find it "inappropriate".  But the more I thought about it, it just seemed incredibly hypocritical to not let him modify his clothes and dress the way he wants to. Especially since I have a denim jacket covered in patches and studs. It just seemed to me like we were sending a message of  "don't stand out, keep your head down and don't do anything that would draw attention to yourself". That is NOT the way I want to raise my children. Haters be damned, he's a good kid, and he should be able to do and wear whatever he feels is "cool" as long as it's not endangering anyone else. THATS the message I feel is most important for kids to grow up with.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Winter New England!

We're all looking forward to being snowed in tomorrow...the Sorcerer  weatherman tells us to expect 10-18" of snow, which means sledding all day on our little front yard hill. The above picture was taken about an hour into what is predicted to be a 12 hour snow storm. I LOVE New England.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


At about eight months old, Elliette started to develop a small red spot on the bottom of her left nostril, and slowly grew into a medium sized bump. We've seen a handful of doctors, and have gotten a handful of diagnoses. First, we saw a plastic surgeon who said that it was a hemangioma, and that it would go away on its own as she got older. The only reason he could think of to have it removed was if it grew large enough to interfere with breathing through her nose. The second diagnosis we got was from her pediatrician, who said he thought it was a pyogenic granuloma. That one made the most sense to us, since we found a few pictures that looked a lot like what she had going on. But, a few weeks ago, it started breaking open and bleeding, so we went to an ear, nose and throat Dr. who said it was a nasal dermoid cyst. Those can have an intracranial connection, possibly containing brain tissue, making removal very difficult and risky. Needless to say, we DID NOT like that diagnosis at all. So yesterday we took her to the childrens hospital in Hartford for an MRI to rule out the intracranial connection.


Since she wouldn't be able to keep still during the procedure, she had to go under anesthesia. She did remarkably well, and came out of it in very high spirits. We should hear from the ENT by Friday to discuss what he sees.





This is my brother Daniel's new puppy, Angel. She's a Pit bull mix, but he's unsure what the other breed/breeds are. You can't really see the Pit characteristics in the pictures, but in person it really shows.