To me and her dad:

“Did you know about burritos?”

What she will do if her friend pulls her hair again:
“I’m going to punch him dead in the nose.”

When eating pancakes:
“I cut them out of an old blanket.”

(That is from a Peanuts strip. It’s what Violet says when Charlie Brown asks if she made the pancakes she served him).

When listening to “She Loves You”

“She does not! She doesn’t love you.”

While giving her dad a pat on the head:
“Dixie Donuts is closed. But it will be open tomorrow.”

On someone being from Wales:
“I’m from Sharks.”


our snowman.

I completed my first half marathon last weekend, which sounds a lot better to me than “I’m going to run a half marathon.” Although I got a good start on training for it, because of a leg injury, a cold, and the Affordable Care Act website, I wasn’t able to train as well as I should have. Seven miles was my previous longest run before setting out on 13.1 miles. I was nervous going in, and after hitting the 10k mark on the run, I really wanted to stop, and I walked/ran the second half. I finished in 2 hours and 34 minutes, which is pretty good considering I walked so much of it toward the end. I thought to myself “I hate this. I am never doing this again” around mile 7, but around mile 11 I thought “I should probably do this again so I can do better.”

Some tips from me to you:

Get shoes that fit

Part of my leg issues are probably due to picking out shoes on my own.  My previous running shoes were purchased at a running store with help from an expert. But they were ugly and I wanted cute shoes. So I picked cute(r) shoes and immediately I started having leg pain, and I dismissed it as just something else and definitely not the most obvious thing. Stretching, pilates, and running on the road and not the sidewalk all helped ease the leg pain.  I ran through it for almost all year until my shoes got holes in the toes. It was too late to get new shoes before the run, so I went back to my old running shoes, but it took a while for the leg pain to stop when I ran. I also stopped running as much on the road since the route I usually go has uneven pavement. I’ve been running on a soft dirt track, and that’s also better on the old stems.

Do not put “Thriller” on your playlist

I run throughout the week with Bunk, and when we set out in the am it’s usually dark, and we run by the place where the “Thriller” video was filmed (or some creepy place just like it) and just thinking about “Thriller” scares me, and not being comfortable with running in the dark anyway kept me from running a couple of times.

I made a good playlist to run to (I only listen to something when not with my dog) but I get bored with it, and prefer podcasts to keep my mind off thinking about how much I don’t want to be running. And if you read this blog with any regularity, you know that all I want to do is talk about and recommend podcasts. Like Analyze Phish. So funny.

But if you prefer music, I suggest Bombay Bicycle Club’s “Shuffle” on repeat, with Passion Pit’s “Carried Away” to break it up. I did listen to music for the last two miles of the run and MGMT’s “Kids” and U.N.K.L.E.’s “Nursery Rhyme” did bring me to the finish line feeling a little more badass than a Marc Maron interview would have.

Do not eat all the time

When I first started training I doubled the number of miles I ran a week in a few weeks, and because I didn’t want to lose weight I couldn’t keep off because I wouldn’t run as much post-race, I started to eat a lot of Peanut M&Ms during the day. So don’t do that. I should actually be pretty fit right now, but I’m not.

Don’t make fun of the musicians

I don’t know what the application process is to be a cover band that plays on the street during the big races around town, but I’m assuming there is no screening. I was immediately irritated with the first band I ran by and whatever dumb, baby boomer song they played. Then I ran by a high school kid and his guitar and it seemed to me that only high school bands should play things like this because otherwise there’s no excuse to be so terrible. But also, if you’re not there to play loud, fast songs then why bother? After coming up with a list of good jokes against the musicians who volunteered, I realized that I hadn’t even run a mile yet and I thought about how much I was running / did not want to run for the next 13 miles.  Then I felt bad for thinking poorly about those who take the time to support people who run for no reason outside of themselves. While the half marathon is not a spectator or band-heavy route, it was still nice to see the supporters who were there handing out drinks and making noise. Even if the noise is the crappy music, which only motivates people to run faster to get that mess out of earshot. Thanks, though.

Wear your medal

This run (which has an 8k, half, and full marathon) gives medals to the participants. I accidentally got the marathon medal, and by the time I realized it I was too far away to go replace it. I haven’t worn it since I got it, but I now feel like every chance I don’t take to wear my huge medal in public is a wasted moment. To  people who only did the 8k and keep brushing it off because an 8k doesn’t sound like a big deal: it is a big deal. I’m trying to pump myself up to get out of bed early and walk/run two miles with Bunk in the morning. It can be a challenge to get going, so any miles done are good ones.

Good job runners, and thanks to Richmonders for putting up with all the road closures and Saturday errand-ruining so we can do things like this.


  • On my morning runs I saw a fox, many deer, a raccoon, bunnies, and a couple fighting in the street.
  • I love running across the Boulevard Bridge. It’s beautiful.
  • I got this the night before the half marathon and it was a life-saver. I would have worn a jacket and that would have been miserable (it’s a magnetic pouch that fits over pants to carry small items).
  • Big hooray for my dad and father-in-law for also running. So  many grandpas up in our house this weekend!
  • The bananas in the post-race food tents are the best bananas on earth.

My daughter has gone from having no Thomas and Friends things to only Thomas and Friends things so quickly that I think I must have passed out and missed the last few weeks because I’m not entirely sure how that happened.

My associate and I have tried to keep her away from the Disney Princess thing not because I don’t like Disney movies with Princesses in them, but I hate the marketing of it and the merchandise is really boring and uninspired.  We were so busy being anti-princess stuff that we were sort of blindsided by Thomas.

I didn’t want any branded stuff for my child at first but that was before she actually liked things. The $3 bottle of bubble bath with Thomas on it made her so happy, so it was hard not to then but the $1 cup at Target or the $5 tiny train. She loves watching the shows, and Thomas and Friends is something that her school chums like a lot, too. For her birthday we thought we were only selectively mentioning Thomas to people, but she is now decked out in Thomas gear (wall decals, blankets, neck tattoo, books).

I don’t really like to watch any of the shows she likes unless it’s Nick Jr (I think Wonder Pets is super delightful), and I think Thomas is not great. He messes up in every story, and the lesson is either you can get away with anything OR that you can make mistakes and your friends will still love you. But my daughter loves the mess out of Thomas (and Percy and Henry and Mavis)(but she thinks Diesel is scary). She even learned a joke from the show (What do you call a train that has a cold? Achoo-choo train!) and cannot make it any more known how funny it is to her that a line in the Thomas book is “with a peep and a poop.”

She also said “Thomas is making his ‘Kelly face’” at this picture:


The ‘Kelly,’ everyone.

I hope more than anything that my nephew loves Thomas eventually because he has about 8 boxes of this junk coming his way. Toot toot!

What my Camera Roll looks like now that I let my child use my phone unsupervised.


I’ve only had my new phone for a month, and she knows how to use it about as well as I do. I love those one-second forehead videos.

The title sounds like the name of a Modcloth accessory.

My raised bed, which I built with my own hands and feet, did well this summer. I got a few dinner’s worth of green beans, a lot of potatoes (I already had the potato patch and that usually does well), and couple of zucchinis and cucumbers. The zucchinis ended up rotting at the root, and I think that was due to not enough soil/a lot of rain, so I pulled them (no big loss as I’ve decided that other than this recipe I don’t care for zucchini). And I’ve started planting for the fall (more beans , broccoli, swiss chard, and later more of all plus kale and brussel sprouts).

A bunny showed up in the squash plants, and I thought it would eat everything and sort of wanted Bunk to kill it but I think it was just hiding. We enjoyed watching it run around in the mornings, and it ran under the fence when Bunk spotted it. After I pulled out the zucchini plants it was hiding somewhere else and Bunk found it and killed it. I attempted to stop it, but it happened very quickly (rabbits scream, by the way). So that was kind of sad, but the rabbit knew that Bunk was there and still hung around instead of in dogless yards. Nature is complicated.

Oh well.


Bunk (L) and garden (R)

It took me years post-school to shake that August anxiety/excitement about school starting up, and even though kindergarten is a few years away for our kid,* I’m already starting to get that feeling again. But since we don’t have a school schedule, we have summer as long as we have summer weather, so I can’t fret yet that it’s almost over. Some things of note for family fun:

♣ We live about 1 mile from the river and until last year I hadn’t bother to visit it in years (I will save all those reasons for the book on Richmond I am not writing), but this year we’ve pumped up our river visits. While I still imagine that our not-yet-swimming toddler will get swept up in a rapid or bitten by a snake or get a beer can chucked at her, it’s been more pleasant than not. Plus it’s beautiful and free, and the river is never closed (except when it is. Because of flooding).

I have been taking walks to the river on my lunch break and that’s been great, and I found the entrance to the flood wall and finally walked on a small part of it.  We saw a million herons and other birds. So pretty.  Keep it up, James River. Don’t let the catfish with PCP keep you down.

♣ Also to keep cool, we’ve gone to the water play area at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. And since I ruined her baby pool by making it a rock box/mosquito hatchery, I just spray my daughter down with the hose and that’s also just as fun to her as anything.

♣ We took a short trip to Pittsburgh to visit best pal Nichole, my favorite place/person to visit. Even getting lost is a fun way to pass time because it’s a great looking city. We went to a Pirates game, and because I spend 80% of time kid-wrangling and concession-getting, I only caught about two plays (but a home run!) and a pierogi race between innings. We also went to an aviary, which was cool (though things like that are always a little depressing). Our kid loved a person-sized penguin/collection bank and for the first time in her life asked to have her photo taken, and kept posing with it with her arm around the penguin. Later she threw up on a sidewalk while we ate pierogis. Vacation!

♣ The major league game was her second baseball game. We went to see the Flying Squirrels earlier, and that was fun, too, but she wasn’t that interested in anything but eating hot dogs and sitting under the seats playing with stuff.  She saw and immediately fell in love with Nutzy, and although both of her parents are terrified of everything including giant fake animals (ugh, Shoney’s bear), her dad chased Nutzy down so she could get a photo. Nutzy is her friend.

So, between all that and working and grocery shopping, that’s been our summer.


Searching for river monsters.


*I almost wrote LO for “little one,” as found in parenting-related comment sections. I had to look up what LO means, and I still don’t know what DO means in Internet shorthand, but I like to think it means “dumb one” (“My little one and dumb one both love zucchini fritters!!!!”)

I have been writing the family events column for rvanews, and during my research to come up with five family-friendly, affordable, and interesting things for you and yours to do during the week I have noticed that everything has food trucks tacked on somehow.  If you’re in Richmond you know that food trucks are precious to us, and you can find a food truck court almost every day of the week and at all special events.  Art walk: food trucks; Fireworks display: food trucks; Grand opening of a new bakery in Church Hill: food trucks; Elementary school carnival: food trucks; Special exhibit opening at the Holocaust museum?  Yes, food trucks (but the somber ones).  It’s almost easier to advertise when you will not have a food truck at your event.

Food trucks are a great way to supplement my taco consumption when I’m not eating tacos at home (which is basically every day), but it’s exhausting how many options there are and they’re only growing.  By summer’s end the Richmond-resident-to-food-truck ratio will be 1:1.  Will we get tired of them?  I don’t know.  But I am afraid that I’ll open my door one morning and I’ll see a dude with a pressed sandwich cart waiting to follow me for the entire day and I will have to let the dog loose on him.


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