Archive for January, 2010

Let me see your thingaling

As anticipated, my friend K came to school yesterday and guest lectured in my class.  It went wonderfully!  She talked about the lab in the book and how it compared to her lab (with pictures.  Yay, K!) and she also started a dialogue with the students over whether it is possible to make animals smarter as they do in the book.

We were about to watch a video about cuttlefish and how they can be taught using conditional learning (if there’s seaweed in the maze, they go out a solid colored door.  If there’s a brick, they go out a striped door).  To introduce them to one class, K was talking about how amazing these animals are, how they are masters of camouflage and how even in the wild they show high intelligence.  She went on to talk about how during mating season, some small males disguise themselves as females by making their tentacles appear shorter so they can avoid fighting the bigger males to mate with the females.

The class ended without the kids getting a chance to ask their questions so today, I started class off by fielding questions from the group.  One student (who is just overall a very awkward, but very sweet boy) raised his hand and looked incredibly perplexed.  I called on him and he said “You know how Mrs. K was talking about “cross-dressing” fish yesterday?”

“You mean cuttlefish?  Yes.”

“Well, I was thinking about it and I was wondering, how do they hide their thingalings when they sneak in to the lady fishies?”

(class erupts in laughter and chatter, he turns bright purple)

“I mean, wouldn’t the other guys know what that looks like?”

So, it was not entirely without incident but I think I responded fairly well.

“I’m sorry, did you notice any “thingalings” when we were watching the video?  And when was the last time you looked in a fish tank and saw a bunch of “thingalings?”  For more answers you’ll have to research it yourself.  Moving on.”

“So they don’t have them?”

“MOVING ON!”

Oh, 6th graders.

Update: He came in today and proclaimed “Don’t worry, Mrs. Cookie!  I promise not to mention jahooliewoozies AT ALL today!”  Where does he find these terms?

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What the Bloody… Crap?

“Tell me a story,” I asked him as we jogged through mile 11 toward the finish of our run.

“What about?” he gamely asked.

“Oh, anything.  Just keep me preoccupied through this last mile so I don’t get down and tired.”  So, he did.  He told me about his Granddad and all the adventures they used to have.  He told me about the time his sister got banned for life from the golf course when she was 10 because she drove the cart into a water hazard.  We finished my longest run together.  He, ever the good running partner, silently cheering me on.

I may not have run it at the end of a grueling 20 miles.  I may not be a true marathoner.  I doubt I will ever run the Boston Marathon.  But today, I (along with Mr. Cookie) ran Heartbreak Hill and the hills of Newton.  Today was my longest run to date.  It was also the steepest.

12.2 miles

1,737 feet ascended

11:18 pace (shut up, that’s good for me for this distance)

But the biggest part?  It felt damn good.  It didn’t hurt that I had Mr. C to keep my mind off that last mile.

Annnnnnnnd, cut to two hours later.  In the ER.  The doctor is telling me that the reason I had such… bathroom issues… after the run is because I have something called “marathon runners ischemic colitis.”  Not highly dangerous, not life threatening, mostly just uncomfortable and something to try to avoid.

Somehow, it was validating.  Call me gross, call me ridiculous, but it was a physical manifestation of all the hard work.  I still get to run the half marathon and while the doctor told me to take it easier for the next couple weeks, I was planning on doing that anyway because HELLO, I’M TAPERING NOW!  Have I mentioned I get to taper now?

Diet of bread and Gatorade aside, I feel like I’m on top of the world today.  This must be what a runner’s high feels like.

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Brand Whores

It happened by accident, I swear.  Mr. Cookie found an outfit (sans shorts- I swear he plans to get some at some point), I found an outfit, and…. wouldn’t you know, it’s all Nike.  Oops.  Nike, you can send us the check for the free publicity anytime.  Just ignore my Brooks running shoes.  My old Nike sneaks are what caused the crater, so you’ll understand.

For the record, this does not take care of the fear of failing OR the intense cravings for chicken fried steak.  But, without further ado:

His

Hers

I know.  I copped out and got capri pants.  Still, you haven’t SEEN my thighs.  They’re even scarier than the picture I posted of my foot.

And finally, just to REALLY be sure there is NO chafing

Because that’s how I roll.

Also, I’d like to point out that Mr. Cookie failed at finding orange running shoes.

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Choke

Three weeks.

Judgment Day is nigh!  The Austin Half is only 3 weeks away.  Have I trained enough?  Will I be able to finish the furthest distance I’ve ever aspired to?  HOW BAD WILL THE THIGH CHAFING BE???

Tomorrow is 12 miles, then I start to taper.  The crater in my foot is healing nicely.  Today, Mr. Cookie and I invest in some sweet new race outfits.   Something seems so wrong  about buying shorts for running in winter.  I’ve grown so accustomed to my cold weather gear (read- ten l layers of wicking technical fabrics) that it seems scary and makes me feel mildly cold (oh, who am I kidding?  I’m always cold) to think about buying gear for a warmer clime.

Part of me is saying I can’t do it.  10 miles was really really hard.  11 miles wasn’t as bad because unlike 10 miles, sleet and wind were pleasantly absent.  On the other hand, HOLY CRAP that last mile sucked.  And now, 12.  The scary part is, it’s the highest I’m going to get up to before the race.  All the research says tapering is good, but I’m starting to panic a little bit.  What if my body isn’t capable of doing 13.1?  What if they find me in the fetal position on the side of the road?  I’ll wake up with all those Texans standing around me, nudging me with the toes of their cowboy boots while they ask “what do ya’ll think we ought to do?”  Maybe their wives will have Brown Betty for me and will call me “honey” while they nurse me back to health.  I’ll forget to tell them I’m vegetarian and will feel bad turning down their perfectly cooked chicken fried steak with fries and country gravy.

Then we’ll go out for Tex-Mex and I’ll cry into a plate of perfectly cooked refried beans and Spanish rice.  And Mr. Cookie will forever tease me about the time I couldn’t finish a measly half marathon.

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Ain’t no Hermes

Runners seem to wear feet maladies as war badges.  We compare them.  We count blisters after a particularly long race (I’m looking at YOU, Mr. Cookie- post marathon #1).  We talk about the dread “black toenail.”  It wasn’t until recently that I was able to count myself among those with significant foot problems.  Since Sunday, I’ve already logged in at 15 miles this week.  And yesterday, while sitting in “the soup” (also known as the hot tub at Healthworks), I noticed that my right foot seems to have developed a particularly gruesome bit of topography.

Observe:

Yes, I just posted a picture of my foot.  Yes, I promise you that gagging sensation will go away momentarily.  If not, you might want to see a doctor.  At any rate, you will notice that the blister has rings.  RINGS, I tell you!  It’s like the freaking Grand Canyon with its layers of rock and shit.  It started as one blister (duh).  Then, that blister deflated and I picked away the skin to reveal… another blister!  And so forth.  Three or four times.  And, because what girl doesn’t like red tinted skin, I now sport a stylish red spot which I an only identify as a blood blister.  Do yourself a favor and don’t google that because believe me, there are MUCH MUCH worse looking ones out there on this wild and crazy internet.  Seriously.

Anyway, the half is only 30 days away and I have two more weeks of building up mileage before I start tapering.  Woo!!  I’m feeling pretty good about this race.  Who would have ever thought I’d say that?

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MBTA Anthropologist

The young couple who I also watched at the bus stop lean in to each other.  His lips don’t leave her cheek as he whispers things that make her smile.  They engage in a long kiss and return to whispering.  I remember being that young, when love was all consuming and the world melted away around me. We were the only ones who existed.

There is also the young woman with a toddler in a Maclaren stroller.  She carries a Coach bag and looks tired.  Is it a real Coach bag?  I used to work with a guy who could tell all the fakes.  He taught me how to spot a fake Louis Vitton (it was Chicago and they were EVERYWHERE) but I’m lost with Coach.  It doesn’t matter though.  I am tempted to start a conversation but don’t.

A man wears a decidedly khaki colored coat with “Platinum Fubu” embroidered on the right shoulder.  He exchanges conversation with a little girl sitting across the aisle from him and then they swap outdated clamshell cell phones.  “It’s mom,” says the little girl as she hands him her phone and he hands her his.  I see a blurry picture of the girl on her phone’s screen with a small, enthusiastic looking puppy. She wears a lot of bright pink and it mirrors her cheerful personality.

As a man with patchy facial hair glances at me, I quickly look down at the edge of my jacket where it has been pilling for months.  It’s not polite to stare, you know.  Didn’t your mother teach you that?  What are you looking at?  The purse my husband agonized over buying for a Christmas present?  My coat that needs a good cleaning and de-pilling?  This was my second choice, you know.  I wanted the other 3/4 length black wool coat.  It had that luxurious hood that Mr. Cookie said looked silly and I thought was wonderful.  I didn’t get it though, because my vegetarian conscience could not justify the fur lining on that same hood and around the cuffs.  What was it?  Mink?  It was delicious.  But then I started thinking about dead animals and settled on the coat I’m wearing now.  Perhaps you’re staring at my silly, oversized headphones.  I hate earbuds, you know.  They refuse to stay in my ears and hurt when I get frustrated and just try to cram them in there (as I inevitably do).  Maybe you think I’m a snob because I’m refusing to return your eye contact.

But it’s really not polite to stare, you know.

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The Jeoparfamily

This is a shout out to my friend Andrea who kicked butt on Jeopardy tonight.  This now makes the Jeoparfamily whole.  First, her husband Dan Pawson kicked ass, then her daughter Becca waited to be born until she deemed appropriate- during a Final Jeopardy under the title of “Baby Names.” Also, who gives birth with Jeopardy in the background??  Seriously, only a Jeoparfamily.

Way to go, lady friend.  Way to go.  Even if the uber-nerds think your wagering sucked.

And to everyone else, watch her second game tomorrow.  Or, if you live somewhere lame like Boston where they’re booting Jeopardy for a football game pre-show, then watch it on Saturday.  AND NO PEEKING BEFORE THEN!!  Or if you do, don’t ruin it for me.

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