Monday, November 28, 2011


I've done all of 4 or 5 5ks runs in my life, starting with my first last November in the middle of a snowstorm. Remember that one?

Good times. No really, it was actually a lot of fun.

I'd like to say I've gotten faster since then, but not really. I spend most of my workout effort inline skating. After all, I really don't like running and it doesn't like me. If I'm ever out running and I see someone out skating I get envious that they're skating while I'm running. Well duh, get your skates on then, Jenny!

But skating is definitely a seasonal sport, and I have to find something to keep myself in shape when I can't skate, so I'm going to try to keep running over the winter.

And now, I've got competition.

Lindsey ran her first ever 5k the day after Thanksgiving. It was a run organized by someone in Wayne's running group to benefit an after-school program for low-income kids called A.C.E.S. They had an award for the fastest youth runner, and Lindsey won it.

She completed a 5k in 30 minutes and 22 seconds, or an average pace of 9:40.

She couldn't wait to get home to show me her 1st prize award, a small cowbell from a Ragnar run. And now she's writing an essay for school about how her first 5k time is 5 minutes faster than her mom's.

I think I have some training to do.

Lindsey on a "training run" with Dax on Thanksgiving Day.

Zombie Dog

After reporting several months ago that our beloved dog Dax has a serious eye condition, he is still here with us, with a new nickname: Zombie Dog.

His eye which has a floating lens in it goes from looking normal to being milky white in color. Usually after a few days it goes back to normal.

He definitely isn't seeing much out of that eye. It's easy to surprise him if you come up on his right. To let him back in the house after letting him out I slowly open the door until it hits him in the shoulder, because he doesn't see that it's opening until he feels the door on him.

He is snuggly and tolerant as ever to our girls, to whom his advancing age means nothing.

What a sweetie.

Thanksgiving Memories

For the second year, our family spent Thanksgiving just the four of us before heading to Wayne's hometown to celebrate with his family. In years past Thanksgiving at the Horsman's was overwhelming; grandkids playing and running around, a living room full of toys, a family room filled with bodies watching some holiday special on TV.

This year, it was just us, Wayne's parents and Wayne's sister, Sherrie. All the grandkids are grown and gone with the exception of our two, with their own families in all four corners of the country. A new great grandbaby was added to the family just last week, so one family was gathered in Colorado to welcome her to the world. Another grandchild was recovering from major brain surgery, and her family was gathered by her side in Rochester, MN, to celebrate and help out. Others gathered at their in-law's, and that left just us.

It was quiet; well, at least to us it was quiet. We bring our own noise with us wherever we go, named Lindsey and Marissa. We are so accustomed to their play that we do not realize how loud it can be to those who don't spend as much time with kids their age. Wayne's parents have 10 grandchildren and, with the latest addition, 8 great-grandchildren! It's funny to think that our two girls are closer in age to their cousins' children than to their cousins.

It was a wonderful holiday. I made the full traditional Thanksgiving dinner at our house on Thursday, for just the four of us. Lindsey piled mashed potatoes so high on her plate I couldn't imagine that one little girl could eat them all -- she couldn't. Marissa dug in to the cranberry jelly like it was candy (okay, so it kind of is). Marissa wore her pajamas all day, including for the dinner. That's what holidays are for!

Friday we headed down to Tracy and had a spaghetti dinner that evening which I had made ahead of time to bring down. Saturday the girls got to spend the morning with Aunt Sherrie, making Christmas cookies and eating donuts from the Tracy bakery. That afternoon we had another Thanksgiving meal, this one was of chicken casserole with salad and pie. (Thanksgiving is about who you're with, not what you eat.)

We spent the afternoon playing Quiddler, chatting and snoozing. A perfect time together with family.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Star Student

The week before Thanksgiving Marissa was selected to be star student in her class. Each child has an opportunity to be star student throughout the year, usually the week of his or her birthday. Apparently there were no birthdays that week, so Marissa's teacher selected her to be the star student, since she's got a summer birthday. The star student has to complete a poster about him or herself, and then gets special privileges all week like being the line leader and being the teacher's special helper.

Marissa was so happy to be selected! She brought home the poster and pulled it out to work on right away. What's her favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite vacation? She couldn't wait to share with her classmates. We looked through all of our pictures, carefully selecting which three would have the honor of being printed and taped to the poster.

Once it was complete she practiced presenting it with each of us several times a day. This is all over one weekend, mind you. This is the most Marissa has been excited about doing schoolwork -- ever. She was most excited about the end of the presentation, when she gets to say, "Any questions?"

Finally, it was Monday. The girl practically leaped out of bed, so excited to go to school and do her star student poster presentation.

She wore a special outfit with brand new sparkly tights that we'd purchased over the weekend.

I couldn't wait to pick her up that evening to ask how it went.

It went well, she reported. The favorite part that she told me about was when she said, "Any questions?" One little girl raised her hand and said how she also had gone to DisneyWorld.

Marissa's reply was, "That's not a question, that's a comment."

Nice teaching, Ms. Perez!

We're very proud of our star student.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's been a while since I've written -- a little too much time taken up by Plants vs. Zombies, perhaps?

For all the silly little side stories and catching up I need to do, I just have one word for today: thankful.

I am thankful for things both big and small in my life. I do not know how I got to be so lucky.

A very blessed Thanksgiving Day to you all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

An Open Letter to Somebody Bigger Than Me

Hey You,

I just wanted to say "thanks" for making me strong and healthy. I appreciate that you think I'm such a strong person that you gave me all these burdens, but I am writing to tell you this: it's a bit much.

Thank you for making me a caring person. But I care too much sometimes, and I think have taken on more than I can handle.

My friend's 6-year-old daughter is having a bone marrow transplant today. My dad is in the final stages of treatment for cancer which by all accounts seems to have been eradicated. Thanks, by the way, for giving us human beings the smarts to be able to figure out how to treat this awful disease. If it weren't for the decades of research and work that had been done up to this point we wouldn't know how to diagnose or treat these two people who mean so much to me. I think of my uncle who is dealing with life after losing his wife to a 6-year battle with this disease, and wonder if he is lonely and how he is adjusting. At the same time, I found out that a neighbor of a friend of mine was just diagnosed with cancer, this just months after bringing home a baby she adopted from Africa. She is wondering who will take care of her child if she isn't here to do it.

My friend lost her baby at birth to a terrible disorder, and I think of her daily as she is home on her maternity leave, grappling with her grief.

Another friend of mine is miraculously rejoining life after a traumatic brain injury this summer.

Two people who are close to me have had depression enter their lives, and I think of them and wish I could help them when they feel hopeless, and worry that they will take the ultimate step of ending that depression.

I am thankful for all the good that has come of some of these situations, and am saddened yet and burdened by others.

So I'm going to unsaddle.

I'm going to hand these burdens over to you. I appreciate that you think I can handle them, but I can't. I can't fix them, I can't help them, I can only sit on the sidelines and watch what's going on. I feel helpless. So I'm going to give this over to you and ask you to help if you can.

Thanks so much.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tooth Fairy Debunked

Marissa finally has her first loose tooth, at age 6 1/2. She is excited to be wiggling it and takes her tooth box to school every day in case it goes from just a bit wiggly to falling out of her mouth.

But I am sad to report that she let me know that she knows that I'm the tooth fairy! She hasn't even lost her first tooth yet! She said that Daddy told her this. I have not yet confirmed this with him, but I suspect her friends who have already lost 4 or 6 teeth have figured out that their parents are and have shared this with her.

Regardless, whenever the day comes, she will have a note under her pillow and a dollar from the tooth fairy. And she'll probably have a big smudge of a kiss on her face, because that tooth fairy loves to snuggle up kids while they're sleeping. I can't blame her.