October Sky

Great movie.

Okay, I don’t usually post in a family-journal kind of way.  For me, blogging is just a random, silly outlet that I use to blow off steam when I’m in the mood.  (As you can tell by my sporadic postings, I’m a very moody blogger.)  But we just had such a nice October weekend, I’d like to stray from my norm and actually write about what we did.  I apologize in advance that you have to read about someone else’s kids doing cute things, but I will be mocking my husband (as usual) so bear with me.

Friday night:  Three-hour Primary Program practice in the chapel.  The only good thing about this is that afterward, the weekend had nowhere to go but up.

Saturday morning:  10-mile run with my good friend and running/life mentor, Stephanie.  Am I bragging about the 10 miles?  You bet. But before you’re too impressed, think of an elephant rumbling down the grasslands of Africa.  That’s about how good I looked and felt doing it.  Imagine how much better I felt when Stephanie offhandedly informed me that she’d already ran seven miles before I showed up, and then spent the last three miles of our route texting her kids–while running.  She was that bored.

Saturday morning:  Ethan’s final “flag football” game (term used loosely) and trophy ceremony/pizza party.  Ethan was more excited about the trophy than anything that transpired on the field all season.  I am proud to say that my son loves to chase and tackle the other players, just never when or where he’s supposed to.  During this last game, I think he finally began to understand that you are supposed to be somewhere in the general vicinity of the football.  I consider that a successful season for a four-year old.

Thank you Coach Martin–there’s a special place in heaven
for people who voluntarily coach four-year olds.

Saturday afternoon:  Partook of neighborhood “pumpkin patch.”  This is truly hilarious.  Our HOA scatters a bunch of pumpkins in an empty house lot around the corner, then takes families over on a “tractor”–a golf cart with a bale of hay strapped to the back–to select pumpkins.  Afterward we go back to the Welcome Center for lunch, treats and pumpkin painting.  My kids absolutely love it, and it saves me a trip to the real pumpkin patch, which I’ve been to nineteen times for school field trips.

Have you ever seen such a lush autumnal landscape?  
Mom and Dad are all smiles at the efficiency of the 
“Pumpkin Patch.”  See the bale of hay?  Authentic, I tell you.

Saturday afternoon.  Took a rare and much-needed nap w/hubby, then woke before him and read in bed for over an hour–during the day!  Can I tell you what a treat this was on a Saturday afternoon, when I usually clean my house or run not-fun errands?  Thank you, DVR, for the quality child care that afforded me this blissful opportunity.

Read it now.  That’s all I will say.

Saturday evening:  Cleaned up house, got stuff ready for Sunday, dropped the kids at Grandma’s (thank you, Cindy!) then used free movie tix to see yet another Really, Really Bad Movie.  Yes, we actually spent two hours viewing All About Steve with Sandra Bullock (it was the only non-animated, non-R-rated option.)  It could not have been lamer, so I will not admit that I sortakinda enjoyed it in a way.  There’s just something about Sandra.  I know she’s not an Oscar winner, I know her movies are bubble gum, but I still feel like I’m watching an old friend with the big white smile on the screen.  And I do think she’s funny.  I dare you to rent this, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.  And don’t tell anyone you want to impress that you kind of liked it, which I know you kind of will.

Sunday morning:  The Big Show.  My kids thought they were debuting on Broadway (not that we like to make things all about us.)  The planning/practicing/kid-herding for this annual event has loomed over my (and many others’) head(s) for some time, and through what can only be described as divine intervention, it went off without a hitch.  I’d even say it was beautiful, especially when my little ladies performed.  Rachael played lovely prelude music on the piano, and Megan played a lovely solo (Teach Me to Walk) on her violin.  Even Ethan knew all the words to the songs and sang them with…let’s just call it gusto.  Suffice it to say that nobody in the congregation could miss Ethan Smith’s performance up on the stand.  As an ironic bonus, he was seated next to the Bishop for the entire meeting.  Sometimes I wish video cameras were allowed in church.

Sunday afternoon:  Wonderful home teachers visit with a nice message, save one hiccup:  they brought a large, clear jar of colorful m&ms; and set it on the coffee table before us.

 We all stared longingly while pretending to listen to said message.  Afterward, we were ready to dive in when our usually kind home teacher informed us that we could only have one m&m; every time we did an act of service.  He’d even written “Service Jar” on the glass with permanent marker.  Was he kidding?  As soon as he left, we started backlogging everything we’d done in the last few weeks that could qualify as service:  housework, churchwork, homework, ab-work.  We rewarded ourselves amply.

Sunday evening:  Looking forward to
a primaryprogramless week and lots of fun Halloween activities.  Any ideas on a couples’ costume that my husband will actually be seen in?  Am I the only one who thinks his face lends itself to a vampire disguise?  (The jaw, the abnormal frowning ability…somehow it just works.)

A Poser’s Dream Comes True

St. George Marathon
October 3, 2009
Final Time: 4:10:17

I’ve never considered myself a Real Runner. Real Runners wear overpriced Nike gear, drink “goo,” and run marathons. Well, last weekend I did all three and though I still won’t put myself in the Real Runner category, I’ll certainly stake my claim as a very excited wannabe. I ran my first marathon, and what an experience! I could write pages (as you surely know), but I will restrain myself and give you the highlights:

No injuries: My knee miraculously healed, and I ran like a dream. I felt fantastic the whole way, except for the last two miles when my body decided it was done. I pushed through it, though, and finished with a smile. I was so excited!

Perfect weather and unparalleled scenery. Anyone who’s been to Southern Utah knows that the world turns pink when the sun comes up, which is when we started our run. We had front row seats to the desert’s best. Breathtaking.

Accomodating staff: Maybe I was just a doe-eyed newbie, but boy, did it feel like we were in good hands. The runners were provided with water, gatorade, fruit, power bars, muscle cream, vaseline, and even goo along the way (although that was more of a punishment–imagine having your throat injected with a cup of rotten caramel while you’re panting for air). We were met at the finish line with misters, medals, flowers (if your husband’s as sweet as mine), and a parkful of free goodies. Who said Real Runners were healthy eaters? Everyone went straight for the free soda and ice cream. That’s when I knew I was among friends.

Good–no, great–company: In addition to the thrill of running the race, I got to do it with my good friend, Wendy Sunderlage, whom I haven’t seen in years, and her sister Kerry and good friend April. What a fun and encouraging group of gals to sweat with! We talked and laughed and almost cried together. Wendy’s sister provided us a huge, lovely home to stay the weekend in with enough beds for everyone–the most important thing pre-race! Her parents were also in town and were so generous, cooking for us and helping us get ready. After the race we showered and layed around for awhile, then went to “Five Guys” burger joint for dinner. Either it was the post-race appetite or that was about the tastiest hamburger I’ve ever had. Wendy’s husband, Rob, is a good friend of ours, too, and does alot of climbing with Derrick. Laughing and hanging out with these generous, funny friends was as meaningful as finishing the race. I’m so glad we’ve kept it touch over the years.

I was scared silly about this whole thing but, as everyone who’s ever run a marathon promised me I would, I now just feel giddy. And grateful. I feel thankful, thankful, blessed and lucky and thankful: for health and strength and dear friends and red rock and no blisters and misters and free ice cream and hot showers. But mostly for my husband, who’s listened to me obsess over this for weeks and has not only endured it, but has treated me like royalty through the entire experience.

And, yes, I’m also thankful that it’s over. Now you don’t have to hear about it anymore, and I can go back to blogging about the things I do best: watching bad movies and forgetting important stuff. No posing there!

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Does anyone remember this touching duo circa 1984? We watched this movie with the kids on tv the other night, and I gotta say…it’s fantastic. No, really. Funny, touching, relevant (well, except for the whole karate theme…) and very family-friendly. The kids enjoyed it about one-tenth as much as Derrick and I did. It’s a valentine to the eighties, and I’m tellin’ ya, those were the days. Derrick still has the hots for Elizabeth Shue, and I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince him that I had her exact hairdo in highschool, except mine was twice as big. (I grew up in a small town, okay? Spiral perms were the rage.)
As so often happens in life, this seemingly unimportant piece of fiction took on a profound meaning in the days to follow. As my three faithful readers know, I’ve spent the last six months training for the St. George Marathon coming up in October. I’ve trained hard, stayed injury free (you may recall my unfortunate foot incident from last year) and have gotten incredibly excited about this fateful day which is now less than three weeks away. We’ve booked plane tickets and hotel rooms and I’ve had my jitters and the whole nine yards. So, the other night I’m out running, feeling great, and out of nowhere–whoosh!–a sharp, searing pain shoots up my left knee. I try to run on it–nope. I stop and walk for a while then try again. Nope. I walk the rest of the way home, ice it for awhile, it feels better, and I go to bed, not daring to think I may be truly injured.
Woke up the next day–sore. Ouch. Didn’t run, iced it, ibuprofined-up. Have stayed off it for two days. Am not even considering the possibility that it won’t heal immediately. But what I am wondering lately is this: Where is my Mr. Miyagi? If you want to know how I feel, what I need, just take a look at this:

Daniel-san’s pleading to be healed, and oh, how he’s healed. Mr. Miyagi simply claps his hands together high in the air, rubs them for awhile (remember the cymbals?) and magically heals Daniel-san’s poor, victimized knee. Daniel-san then stands up and strides out to become the champion of the All-Valley Karate tournament, besting his enemies, winning his true love, and proving himself to the world.

I don’t ask much. And I’ve quite a bit in common with Daniel-san: I dress five years behind, am kinda broke, and rely way too much on my mother. So, again, I’m asking the reader and the fates alike: Where is my Mr. Miyagi? What gives? I need his warm guidance, quiet strength, and pearls of wisdom. But mostly, I need that cymbal-crashing, hand-rubbing, far-eastern magic to fix me up real nice for this marathon. I need it bad.

In the unlikely event that Pat Morita* does not read this and show up on my doorstep, does anyone have any other ideas? I’m a hurtin’.

*and I just read that Pat Morita has died. which kinda ruins the story. sorry. to Pat’s family. and about the story.