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Eclectic Thoughts from a Homeschool Mom » 2008 » January

Can I run 1000 miles in 2008?

January 30th, 2008

Out of curiosity, I added up how many miles I had run in 2007. That would be 339 miles. For some reason, it seemed like more than that. My heart was in it, but my hip was not.

During a 16 mile training run, I pulled my hip last January. I was unable to run the AT&T Marathon (that I had trained 5 months for), and had to take off 4 months to rest. Besides that, I had the flu for a good part of September. There goes the mileage!

As I feel stronger and more fit, I thought I would challenge myself for 2008. I challenge myself to run 1000 miles. That sounds like a HUGE amount to me. I realize that to professional runners, that is a drop in the proverbial bucket. For me, it sounds like a miracle.

As I am finishing up with January 2008, I have racked up 104.2 miles. That is the most I have ever run in a single month. Not bad for an overweight, middle-aged, wanna-be runner chick. I am hoping that my body (and schedule) cooperate with me this year so I can reach my goal. I am not racking up those miles for anyone else, but ME. There is something to be said for challenging yourself to do something. Whether it be weight loss, organization, debt consolidation, attitude adjustment, etc. When you give yourself a personal goal, it gives you something to reach for.

As for me, I just ordered some more New Balance 891 shoes. I can’t wait to break them in before the AT&T Half Marathon in a few weeks. I plan on running through several pair this year (no pun intended). With each new pair I get, I am 300-400 miles closer to my goal. Come on Shan, rack up those miles!

…and I thought 100 miles was good! WRONG!

January 29th, 2008

I have mentioned here before that I run with my iPod Nano with the Nike+ add thingymajig (it keeps track of calories burned, distance, pace, etc.). I LOVE this set up. It helps keep me running even when I want to stop and walk.

Anyways, I am on a few challenge groups on the Nike+ site. Just a bunch of ladies trying to lose weight by eating right and running. After my 5 mile run this morning, I plugged my iPod into my USB port and pulled up the Nike+ site. I am just shy of 100 for January. For me, that’s good. Something to be proud of. That is over 12,000 calories I have burned this month. Woohoo! I am also currently in the lead for my challenges as the most miles logged for the month. Again, wooohoo!

Out of curiosity, I went looking on the Nike+ site for other challenges. There are tons and tons of them on there. Challenges for countries, occupations, men vs. women, etc. There were also many having mile goals for the year: “Run 1000 miles in 2008”, etc. I joined one of those thinking: “I might be able to do that. Wow! What an accomplishment THAT would be!”

I join the challenge and it kicks me to the LEADER BOARD. I swear, I did a cartoon “bug eyed” look at my computer monitor. The leader of the board must run in his sleep. This man, in 29 days has run 462 miles!!!! That averages to just shy of 16 miles A DAY!?! Funny thing is, he wasn’t the only insomniac runner. The guys right behind him were in the high 400 miles too.

Let’s just think about this…the average runner is supposed to get a new pair of shoes every 300-400 miles. That would mean that these runners are getting a new pair of shoes every 3 weeks?!!! I sure hope they have secured endorsements (or are trust-fund babies).

Do these people have jobs? Maybe they are professional runners. I would think with those insane miles that they would have to be. Either that, or they are “running messengers” in large cities. “This package has to be delivered 10 blocks away. Do you think you can do it?” Who needs a bike messenger when you can send a fast marathon runner?

So, I realized that my 100 miles wasn’t that impressive. Well, to me it is a start. I don’t really think I will be in the same league as those other runners – ever. Not because I can’t do it, mind you. It is just that I can’t afford new shoes every 3 weeks!

Teaching Children about Life is NOT Easy

January 29th, 2008

Have you ever thought: “If I had only known what I know now as a kid.”? Why is it that when we are children, we don’t pay attention? Our parents, grandparents, older relatives, family friends, etc. try to give us advice. We hear things like:

  1. “Study hard and it will pay off one day.”
  2. “Get in the habit of saving. It will help you when you are older.”
  3. “Learn to recognize good character in others. Stay away from those that take advantage of you.”
  4. “Be careful with whom you call friend.”
  5. “Learn to have a strong work ethic. It will make you stand out to future employers.”
  6. “Take care of your body and keep it healthy. You will miss having good knees and a fast metabolism when you are older.”
  7. “Be kind to others and treat them with respect. It will come back to you later on.”

Why didn’t we listen to that advice? What is it about being young that makes us think we know everything?

As we are approaching the teen years in our home, I am seeing more and more rebellion and “I know everything” in the eyes of my child. You would think that my child would take advice from some of my past experiences. That sharing some of the mistakes that my husband and I have made would be a warning to my offspring. Nope. In one ear and out the other. I have apparently reached the point of being completely useless as a mentor. Seemingly overnight I have become someone that “knows absolutely nothing”.

People talk about “the terrible twos”. That time in a child’s life might be a minuscule phase compared to the teen years. Defining who they are, what to believe, who their friends are, where they are going in life…those are the “terrible” years.

Even though I have reached the point of being a complete parental moron, I will continue to give advice and guidance. Sure, I could be talking to a wall. That is okay. It is my job to be annoying to the younger generation. With a lot of prayer (and some luck), my offspring will come back to me in a decade or so and thank me. “Thanks Mom for trying to teach me about the world. I know you meant the best. However, I needed to learn for myself.” Ahhh…the joys of being a parent.

2008 3M Half Marathon is in the Record Books

January 27th, 2008

Well, one half marathon down…one to go. I am thrilled that I ran my 3M half marathon today. I do wish that I had run it a bit faster. I think part of my problem was that I didn’t sleep well the night before. I wasn’t as energetic for the race as I would’ve liked.

I ran the 13.1 miles in 2:09:51 (9.92 min/mile). That is 4 minutes slower than my time the year before. I really wanted to beat that time. I guess there is something to be said for getting enough rest.

For today’s race, the weather was cool at 45 degrees. I met up with fellow Sparkpeople pal and her lovely daughter before the race. It was great to have a chat before all the commotion started. Our chat actually helped relax my nerves a bit.

I am also thankful that I remembered to take my Ibuprofen before the race. My hip barely hurt during the entire race. I wore my Camelbak Hydrobak and drank my Powerade throughout the race without needing to stop for water breaks. There were lots of cheers on the sidelines throughout the race. Each mile had either musicians (bag-pipes, rock band, guitarist, etc.), jugglers, or spectators with goodies for the runners (I saw a bowl of bananas, chocolate, donuts, and small cups of coffee). There were also Austin’s finest, off-duty police officers pausing traffic all along the way. The race was well organized.

All in all, it was a great race and beautiful day. I am taking tomorrow off to rest and getting back to training on Tuesday. I will be running the AT&T half marathon next month. That race, is a real bear. The AT&T is known to be a killer race because of the hills. Personally, I think the race collaborators get a great sense of joy by incorporating EVERY HILL in Austin. Brutal man….brutal.

The AT&T is less than a month away. I am hoping to get in many more miles before then and improve my time. In January, it looks like I will have just about 110 miles run. Not great, but not bad. Yup, I think I am addicted. Or, as my husband says, I should be committed. Aren’t they the same? *grin*

From Panhandling to Obscene? Shame on YOU!

January 25th, 2008

There is a lady that we see on a regular basis in our area of town. She has been panhandling at the light of a popular intersection for about 6 years now. She is about 40 yrs. old, wears sweats, and is about 170lbs. We see her probably 2-3 times a week in all types of weather. She has a sign saying: “Need some money. What would Jesus do?”

When you first see this woman, it pulls at your heart. You think: “One day, that could be me.” I can tell you that this woman has been panhandling for approximately 6 yrs. In all that time, I have seen her on a regular basis. Could this woman get a job in the last 6 yrs.? I certainly think so. Did she want a job? What do you think? Maybe panhandling is more lucrative than the boring ‘ol 9 to 5?

I have seen this woman (and many others like her) with signs on the side of the road. My son and I saw a man last year with a sign stating: “Lame and need a few bucks. God Bless.” He dramatically hobbled past the cars during a red light. Once the light turned green, he easily strolled back to the corner. What a miracle a green light can be. It can heal the lame!

Panhandler Being a mother, I want to encourage my child to care for those that are less fortunate. We have worked at a food bank and with church groups to help the hungry. We have worked in a soup kitchen and fed food to those that truly lived on the streets. We have donated our coats to those that would go cold during the winter. THOSE people were truly needy. It is EXTREMELY difficult to teach your child to be giving, but don’t be stupid/naive.

I believe my point was driven home this afternoon when I saw our familiar panhandling lady at a red light. She had up her sign and gave the cars that were stopped her best: “Help me or this could be you one day” looks. When she realized that those at the light weren’t going to give her money, she yelled: “You can all kiss my *ss!”, and flipped the bird for all to see. She then walked against the light under the underpass and squated down to urinate. This was in plain sight. My son said: “Mom! That lady is peeing!” I could not believe what I saw or heard.

A few years ago, a liberal homeschooling mom was telling me a story about how she gave money constantly to panhandlers. That was until her husband “opened her eyes”. On an early Saturday morning, her family was out for a drive downtown. They came to a red light and there was a panhandler asking for money at their car window. She reached into her purse to get out a $10 bill for him. Her husband stopped her and asked what she was doing. When she said that he looked like he needed some money, her husband said he needed to show her something and drove off without donating the $10. Her husband took her to an overpass downtown where there were vans and people dressed in shabby clothing. Parked next to the vans were nice cars (i.e. nice sedans – not junky or beat up). The people getting into the vans were panhandlers. The vehicles in the parking lot were THEIR cars. These folks had been “trained” to become panhandlers and made a LIVING on our sympathy. Needless to say, this mom only donates to charities where she knows where her dollars are going.

Recently, there was a man that was caught harrassing a woman for money on a Houston Metro bus. The woman refused to give him money, and an undercover officer stepped in and questioned the panhandler. The man had no identification on him, but he did have $3,426.78 in cash in his pockets. He also had a citation in his pocket for “aggressive panhandling” from the month prior. How long does it take the average 9-5 employee to make that kind of money?

How do we know when someone is genuinely in need or when they are just “preying on your sympathy”? How do you differentiate between destitute and deceitful? How do we keep our hearts open to those in distress, but know when to turn from a swindler?

I will remember our local panhandling lady until the day I die. She educated me today in when to trust and when to drive on. I think I will keep donating coats and buying canned goods for those that truly are poverty-stricken. For those that ask for money on corners and line their pockets with the money of the naive, I say: “Shame on you. You won’t be pulling at my heart strings any longer. If you need help, there are churches and community organizations that are there to help you. They can cloth, feed, house, and help you get a job. Have pride in yourself and earn a living by WORKING. It is how the rest of us put food on our table and can afford to drive our “nice” cars.”

Happiness can’t be found in fame, fortune, or the bottom of a pill bottle

January 23rd, 2008

Oh Heath Ledger, what were you thinking? How is it that famous, wealthy, beautiful people such as yourself are never happy? How is it that your problems could be so bad that you turn to a bottle of pills?

So many of us grow up thinking: “When I am rich…When I am famous….When I have a big house and my own jet….When I have a gorgeous guy/girl on my arm…..THEN I will be happy!” With people like you, Paris, Britney, Luke….it makes the “common individual” wonder if happiness really is about money, fame, or power. Has it really made people that had those things happy in the past?

You aren’t the only ones to fall prey to the trap of money/fame/power. You have the company of:

Elvis, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith, James Dean, Jim Morrison, Sigmund Freud, Chris Farley, W.C. Fields, Tommy Dorsey, Mama Cass Eliot, River Phoenix, Billie Holiday, Bela Lugosi, Natalie Wood, Jim Belushi, Hemingway, Andy Gibb, and on and on. Throughout history, famous people have found that their problems have been too much. That dealing with debt, betrayal, taxes, loneliness, loss, and love have been too much to bear.

I am sorry, but I feel that these people were selfish. We ALL deal with these burdens throughout life. That IS what life is all about. Dealing with what comes your way, dusting yourself off, and becoming a better person for it. The majority of us do just that. We may not be beautiful, have a huge house or bank account, or have top billing at the local movie theater. We grit our teeth a “deal with it”.

Heath, I believe that the world will miss you. My husband and I felt you were talented and had a long, successful road ahead of you. It is a shame that you decided to throw away the precious gift of your life when you were just beginning to live. Such a waste.

My scary running moment today (I can laugh now..)

January 17th, 2008

Well, I have had my share of “close calls” when running in the past. You know, the folks that honk at you and try to run you off the road. The stranger that seems to follow you at every turn, etc. However, today has got to be my scariest running moment thus far.

I was just finishing up a 10K. I was feeling great and was running faster than normal. I was running on a busy street that has metal barriers/fencing to protect the houses in case there is a car accident. These barriers run parellel to the sidewalk. I was running on the sidewalk when I hear a very angry bark. I noticed that the wooden fence just up ahead had a small hole torn out of the boards. As I approached the area, I see a large boxer push his head…and then shoulders…and then the rest of him out of the fence RIGHT AFTER ME!

Ok, here is the funny thing. I am not a tiny lady. I may run, but I still am not a light little lady. If only someone had a video camera at the moment! I must’ve looked like Spiderman or something because I hurled myself over that barrier in lightning speed. I was TERRIFIED that this dog was going to chew me up and have me for snack. Granted, I LOVE dogs, but this guy was really mad at me and wanted a piece of me.

I got brave over the barrier and yelled: “GO AWAY! GO! GO!” to the dog. He, of course, just barked and bared his teeth at me. Moments later, I see a college-aged guy run around the corner with a leash. He looks at me and says: “I am so sorry!”, and grabs his dog. Whew!!! Crisis over! A very angry boxer

I think I said: “I’m okay”, and started to run again. I had to stop about 1/4 of a mile up the road just to stop my heart from leaping out of my chest.

I can laugh about it now, but I wasn’t laughing then. Ah…the joys of being a runner. I thought shin splints were something to worry about. LOL

English as the Official Language? Not if Politicians can help it!

January 17th, 2008


33 Senators Voted Against English as America’s Official Language on June
6, 2007.

On Wed. 6 June 2007 23:35:23 – 0500 Colonel Harry Riley, USA, Ret. wrote:


Your vote against an amendment to the immigration Bill 1348……to make
English America’s official language is astounding.

On D-Day, no less, when we honor those that sacrificed in order to secure
the bedrock, character and principles of America, I can only surmise your
vote reflects a loyalty to illegal aliens.

I don’t much care where you come from. What your religion is. Whether
you’re black, white, or some other color…male or female……Democrat,
Republican or Independent……. But I do care when you are a United
States Senator representing Citizens of America….and Vote against
English as the official language of the United States.

Your vote reflects Betrayal. Political Surrender. Violates Your Pledge of
Allegiance. Dishonors historical principle. Rejects Patriotism. Borders
on traitorous action and, in my opinion, makes you unfit to serve as a
United States Senator…impeachment… Recall……..Or other appropriate
action is warranted or worse.

Four of you voting against English as America’s Official Language are
Presidential Candidates: Senator Biden, Senator Clinton, Senator Dodd
and Senator Obama.

Four Senators vying to lead America, but won’t or don’t have the courage
to cast a vote in favor of “English” as America’s Official Language when
91% of American Citizens want English officially designated as our

This is the second time in the last several months this list of Senators
have disgraced themselves as “policital hacks”…… Unworthy as Senators and certainly unqualified to serve as President of the United States.

If America is as angry as I am, you will realize a backlash so stunning it
will literally “rock you out of your panties”……… And preferably
totally out of the United States Senate.

The entire immigration bill is a farce… Your action only confirms this
really isn’t about America…..it is about self-serving
politics……despicable at best. It has been said:

“Never Argue with an Idiot….They’ll drag you down to their level!”

The following Senators voted against making English the official language
of America:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE) (Wants to be President)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Clinton (D-NY) (Wants to be President)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D- MN) wants to be president
Domenici (R-NM) coward. Protecting his senate seat.
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-win) – not unusual for him
Feinstein (D-ca)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-hi)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy – (D-ma)
Kerry (D-ma) (tried to be president)
Kohl (D-WI))
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (I-CT) Disappointment here…..
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL) (Wants to be President)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV) Senate Majority Leader
As Lazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-M)

“Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale
and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or

Teaching Honesty in a Dishonest World

January 17th, 2008

Our family tries very hard to be honest. We are the kind of folks that finds a football in a deserted park and leaves it there because it isn’t ours (our son learned this at an early age). We are the kind of family that finds a wallet full of cash and turns it into the nearest store. We don’t cheat on our taxes or lie to save our own skins. We believe that being dishonest is not how to live life. It just isn’t right, and we don’t want to be around those that are dishonest. “What goes around, comes around” is one of my favorite mottos.

As my husband has been traveling on business, we have been lax in removing all of our holiday yard ornaments. We haven’t had the lights on, but we haven’t taken them down yet. We have been swamped with a family wedding and lots of activities. Taking down
the ornaments has been on my “to do list” for about 2 weeks now.

This morning, my son and I woke up to find that someone during the night had stolen 2 of our white, spiral trees and our BEVO (Texas Longhorn ornament) from our front lawn. The BEVO was given to us by my mother-in-law a few years ago, and has been a joy to put up each Christmas. Now, someone else has it. Someone felt it would be funny to take something that wasn’t theirs.

At first, I was very angry. Why on earth would someone do that? Now, I realize that I need to forgive and move on. My son and I will say a prayer for those that felt stealing was fun. We will also make a few signs and post them in our yard:


Bevo lawn decoration


I firmly believe in the 80/20 rule. 80% of the population is good and honest. It is that other 20% that you have to worry about. Our family will work very hard to remain in the 80%. For the 20%, you have my prayers.

Thumb movies? Weird, but funny.

January 16th, 2008

Steve Oedekerk is weird. He is the warped brain behind the “thumb” movies. These are a series of silly short films that use “thumbs” (seriously, like hand digits) as the heads of characters/actors. He digitally adds human eyes & mouths to make these “thumbs” come alive to act out the film. The process is hard to explain, but they are so stupid…they are funny.Thumb Wars

Our family found out about these movies through our local library (gotta love library movies). We own Steve’s martial arts comedy Kung Pow (a second one is in production). Now, we know that Steve has continued with his cinematic insanity through the “thumb” movies. If you have an afternoon free and want to watch something so totally stupid that it makes you laugh, check out:

Bat Thumb, Thumbtanic, Frankenthumb, Blair Thumb, Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle, Godthumb.

From what I have read, Steve is also working on a Matrix parody entitled: Thumbatrix

Yup, so stupid they are funny. I am sure that I burn brain cells every time we watch them.

Other works by Steve Oedekerk are: Ripley’s Believe it or Not (in production), Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective and Patch Adams, and Jimmy Neutron

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