Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dear William (34 months)

Dear William,

Today you were 34 months old!

You started off last month with a bang.  You had your very first night-time babysitter.  Your daddy and I went out together for the first time since you were born, and Mommy's friend Ali came to watch you.  You had a blast.  You did some crafts and sang some songs, and then you announced to her that you'd like to take a bath, so you did that.  (I had already given you a bath before she came over, but I guess you wanted another one).  Then you told her you were tired and you read some stories and went to bed.

Why don't you ever do it that easily for us, William??!!


This is where mommy and daddy were while you were doing crafts with Ali

The next morning you missed your babysitter, and you came downstairs all forlornly and looked in the kitchen cupboards and under the couch.  "OH NO, WHERE ALI GO?" You asked.

A few nights later you and mommy and daddy all went out to a movie together-- the new Chimpanzee documentary.  It was the first movie you had ever seen in a theater.  You were so excited.  You got to eat popcorn too.  You loved it.  Every time you saw a chimpanzee on the screen, you said out loud, "LOOK, A CHIMPANZEE."  And every time you saw a tree, you said, "LOOK, A TREE."  Luckily, there were only about 4 other people in the theater, and I don't think they noticed your nearly constant observations.  Then abruptly around 1 hour into the film, you got up out of your seat and said, "I GO HOME NOW."  We somehow got you to sit through the last 20 minutes of it.  Ever since then, you have been asking us to take you back to the movies.

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We also went strawberry picking at Eckert Orchard this month. You loved it, and you were a natural.

Strawberry picking

Train ride

Train ride

William, an amazing thing happened this month. On the morning of May 31st, you woke up and announced that you were done with diapers and you would be wearing underpants to daycare that day.

I could foresee that this would not end well, but much to my surprise, you stayed dry all day long and used the toilet every single time that you had to go.

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There have been a few accidents since then, but overall you are doing pretty well.

You are still love trains. The other day you asked me to draw you a train. I did, and it was the worst train I had ever seen. I started to apologize for how awful the train was (assuming you wouldn't even recognize it as a train), and you said, "OH, THAT VERY GOOD, MOMMY!"

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Then you drew an interesting thing beside it. I thought it was a paramecium, but you told me it was a spaceship.

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You played hairdresser at daycare with your favorite teacher, Mr. D. He gave you ponytails. You have insisted on ponytails ever since then:

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It wasn't all fun and games this month, you did throw a few fits:

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We're finishing out the month in San Francisco, where your daddy is attending the WWDC. We took 2 trains, 2 planes, and another train to get here.

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Our luggage got lost, but we found it again, and we have a tiny room with a tiny bed where only 1.5 of us can sleep at a time. We're taking turns sleeping on the floor. Look out, William, tonight it is your turn.

We've only been here a couple of days, but we've already visited the ocean:

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You created a very clever "breakfast nook" in our Tiny Room:

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We went to Chinatown, and you found a playground with a train, and also you made a new little friend who spoke to you in Chinese:

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Potty training has taken a halt. I hope we can get back on track soon, William.

Looking forward to our many more adventures to come!



Your momma


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am awesome at meeting famous people.

I may have mentioned Amy Ray on this blog before.

As in, I gave birth listening to Amy Ray.*

Or, Last weekend I ran anothermarathon listening to Amy Ray.

I always considered myself an Indigo Girls fan, at least from the moment when my freshman year roommate put in Rites of Passage and said "Hey, Mel, listen to this" (it was their cover of "Romeo and Juliet").  But when Amy Ray came out with her first solo album in 2001, that was life changing.  I don't know.  I just really, really, really liked it.

The culmination of many years of being a fan reached its peak last month, when Amy Ray came to St. Louis and did a show at the Old Rock House.

It was amazing.  Oh dear god, it was amazing.




I love how happy she looks in this picture


The Old Rock House is a pretty small venue (not that I actually know that much about venues), and after the show, Rob and me and my friend who had come with us were hanging around for a while.  Then all of a sudden, Amy Ray walked back into the room.  She just started hanging out too-- talking to fans, signing autographs, etc.  The thing is, nobody seemed particularly concerned or excited.  It was all really laid back.  Except for me--  I reacted like one of those girls from the 1960's who was seeing the Beatles for the first time.


Image from http://oysters4breakfast.blogspot.com/2010/12/birds-of-day-girls-of-beatlemania.html

In the midst of all the hyperventilating and fainting I was doing, Rob was all, "You should go up to her and talk to her."

And I was like, Talk?!  How can I just go up and talk to Amy Ray?

One thing about Rob is that even though he is often quiet in most other life situations, he is really, really good at talking to rock stars.

So Rob and my friend each took one of my arms and marched me over to Amy Ray.

She smiled at us and said, "Hey, I'm Amy."

Rob turned on his rock star super speaking ability and said something to the effect of, "Hi, this is Melissa and she's a really big fan.  Your music has gotten her through a lot.  She gave birth and runs marathons listening to your music."

And then Amy Ray shook my hand.  She was like, "Whoa.  You run marathons?  That's cool."

And I was all Oh my god, you're Amy Ray.  My teeth were chattering and I had no control over the limbs of my body.

Also, I think she may have been weirded out by the giving birth statement.

(I don't blame her, that is actually kind of weird).

Even so, she put her arm around me, and Rob took a picture.

Melissa with her idol


It has been almost a whole month, and I am *still* recovering from this moment.

How do you even recover from meeting Amy Ray??

Well, you don't I guess.

But one way you can try is to go out and meet Gloria Steinem in the same week.

It was graduation on campus, and Gloria Steinem was set to receive an honorary degree.  She was giving a commencement address, and also, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department was hosting a special, invitation only, meet and greet with her the day before graduation.

I was in the office on the morning of Gloria Steinem's arrival on campus, talking with some coworkers about how I really admired her and how I thought it would be really cool to hear her speak.  One of the faculty members, who happens to have a joint appointment in the WGS department was also talking to us, and she was like, "We'll see what I can do."

Well, she came down to my office later in the day and asked me if I would be interested in going to the Gloria Steinem Meet and Greet that afternoon as her +1.

I was in!!!!!

The only problem was, I didn't think I was dressed for the occasion.

I was wearing a teal sleeveless shirt that my mom gave me for my 26th birthday (in 2005) and a pair of black pants that I have had since before graduating college.  This just didn't seem fancy enough.  The invitation to the event was very fancy.  Wine and cheese was to be served.  I thought everyone would be dressed in formal wear.

I almost called Rob and asked him to bring me my new black dress (that I got at the Scholar Shop for $12), but then I was like, wait, Gloria Steinem is a feminist.  I shouldn't wear a dress.  I should ask him to bring me my black blazer.

I didn't end up asking him to bring any of these things, because my date told me that she thought I was dressed appropriately, and besides that, Gloria Steinem wouldn't care what I was wearing.

She was right.  My outfit was actually perfect for the occasion, and Gloria Steinem's talk was fantastic!

She is so inspirational!  And brilliant.  Everything she said was just about the smartest thing I've ever heard.

The talk was unstructured; it was mainly an opportunity for students to ask her questions.  Many of them asked her questions relating to "What would you advise us to do after graduation?"  Her response was something to the effect of, "You know what I think you should do?  I think you should find that one thing that you are so passionate about, that you love so deeply, that you'll do it and forget to eat and sleep because you love it so much.  I think you should do that, and do it well."

There's my problem in life.

I either haven't found the thing I am that passionate about, or, I don't do it well enough that I could live off of it.  (Writing).


Me with my pal, Gloria Steinem.  My date to the event was sitting on my other side and is not pictured.


I think what I'd like to do is get a book deal.  Writing Amy Ray's biography.  I bet I would be good at that.  But I'll have to get better at talking rock stars, otherwise, Rob will have to ask all the questions.

Thanks for reading.




*N.B.: Will arrived early to this world and I was unprepared to give birth (I did not have an iPod handy for some reason), so what I actually listened to was Rob singing "Dairy Queen" and "Driver Education" (which I guess are both technically Indigo Girls songs, but were written by Amy Ray).  While this didn't make it into my "official" birth story, I am pretty sure that it did happen.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Rob's parents visited over Memorial Day weekend, which freed me up to run the University City 10K while they watched Will.

It's been a really long time since I've run a 10K, even though that is one of my favorite racing distances.  The most recent one I did was probably back in 2004.  I was training for some marathon (Madison? Green Bay?), and I was scheduled to do a 20 mile training run on the day of the Christie Clinic 10K in Champaign-Urbana.  My plan was to run over to the race start from my house (approximately 6 miles), then run the 10K, and then run back home.  When I arrived at the race I happened to catch up with a guy I knew from the running club, and we ran the whole thing together.  He was wearing 11 year old racing flats that he'd run thousands of miles in, and I thought that was awesome (note, this was before barefoot running and minimalism were "in").  We talked and joked for about 4 miles, and then for the last two we shut up gave it all we had.  I ended up with my 10K PR that day.  I can't remember my finishing time and can't find it anywhere online now, but I'd guess it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 47 minutes.  I ate some Great Harvest Bread Co. bread and then ran back home-- pleased with the knowledge that my 10K PR had come as the "middle leg" of a 20 mile run.

I was an animal back then.

God, I miss those days.

At any rate, as I recently toed the line of the University City Memorial Day 10K,  a "fast" time was not my goal-- I just wanted to have some fun.

There were so many people doing the 5K and 10K that day that it was hard to line up at the starting line.  I ended up behind several women who had on mascara and were wearing long pants (it was at least 85 degrees out).

Sidenote: Something I have never understood about St. Louis is that I always see people wearing in winter running gear in the summer.  Even when it is close to a hundred degrees, there will be a couple of people out at Forest Park wearing tights and long sleeves.  I just don't get it.

Anyway, once the "gun" went off, I ran. It felt so good.  It had been such a long time since I ran fast.  I was streaming past people (in their long pants) and it felt completely effortless.

And then my shoe came untied!

I've been running for 18 years, and I don't think my shoe has ever, ever, ever come untied before!

I bailed off to the side and tied it as quickly as possible, then I hurled myself back into the pack to try to make up lost time.  I had no idea what my pace was going to be.  I was afraid that it just felt like I was going really fast, but once I got to the first mile, it would turn out that I was running 10 minute pace or something.  So I was very, pleasantly, extremely pleased to hit mile 1 at 7:53.  I don't' know if I've run a sub-8 mile since giving birth 3 years ago.  And this was with a 10 second pause to tie my shoe.  And I still felt great.  I took this as a good sign.

I told myself to keep this pace for the next several miles, and so I did.

There were hills, lots of them, but they didn't phase me.

My plan was to vamp it up once I hit mile 4.  I made a feeble attempt to do this, but quickly realized I couldn't.  It was almost 90 degrees and I'd been running hard for over a half an hour.  I suddenly felt terrible-- jelly legs and nausea--but mentally, I found this hilarious.  I only had two miles left!  This was so unlike running a marathon, when on several occasions I've ended up running something like 18 miles while feeling just as terrible.

I gutted it out and finished in 49:00.  Even.

Not setting any world records here, but I was beyond ecstatic that I was able to run a reasonable 10K without even training for it, and the most important thing was that I felt so great!

The next important thing was that I had fairly even splits:

  • Mile 1 - 7:53 (had to stop and tie shoe)
  • Mile 2 - 7:43
  • Mile 3 - 7:49
  • Mile 4 - 7:51
  • Mile 5 - 7:52 (Oh hey! Feeling really bad, but kept with it).
  • Mile 6 - 8:00 (Ohhhh hey!  Feeling really, really bad, but still clinging to 8 min pace by the skin of my teeth!)
  • Mile 0.2 - 1:48 (There's the finish line of my first 10K in 7 years and I did it in under 50 minutes!)

Hoping I get a chance to run another 10K sometime before, say, William goes to college.

Thanks for reading.