Second Ever "Lawsons did Dallas!" Dog Naming Competition

October 27, 2010

If Jared J. Lawson ever doubts my love and devotion, I certainly won't need to say anything in my own defense. I'll just point to this guy:

It's true.

He's five months old, he's a German Shorthaired Pointer, and in a very strange moment of longing to fill the dog-shaped hole in my husband's life, I bought him a bird hunting dog. You know, something to match the shotgun I impulse-bought for him back in 2008.

I pulled up in front of Jared's office with the puppy perched in Maggie's car seat, and you should have seen Jared's face--it was a mix between 'Oh my word, as soon as I get a pick-up truck, all of my wildest dreams will be true!' and 'I just whizzed in my britches!'  Because he did--he took an involuntary leak right there in his work pants.

The puppy's still nameless. James and I settled on Heeza Trigger Von Lawson Doodle (Trigger for short), but apparently that name's not fancy enough for Jared's super refined taste--you know, flannel and blaze orange and whatnot.

Trigger's still not off the table completely, but Jake's up there, too. And so is Coach, and Moxie, and Doc, and Baxter.

And now, I'm officially opening the floor for suggestions with the Second Ever "Lawsons did Dallas!" Dog Naming Contest.

(Remember this guy? I wonder how he's doing...I actually think about him a lot.)

(You can see the first contest here. It's so vintage. If you remember it, you're totally a super fan.)

I Haven't Aged a Bit

October 23, 2010

Check out what popped up on Facebook last night:
Obviously, I was Run DMC. Obviously.

That was 2002 but it feels more like yesterday. I had been married for three months and Jared was working late at a fancy restaurant. I swung by WalMart on my way home from work, purchased that fine sweatsuit straight off the rack, rocked it at my friend's 21st birthday party, and returned it the next day. Totally on the up and up.

The Run DMC picture prompted me to click through all the pictures I've been tagged in. This was also 2002, two or three weeks after I got married:
I'm the third from the left, which is obvious, because eight years and two kids later, I still look exactly the same. Seriously, the texture of my butt cheeks hasn't changed at all.

I haven't changed much since this picture either:
I don't need to tell you which one is me.

 Here I am with my cousin Kelly, looking sharp for the holidays:
When I saw this picture I immediately started complaining to Jared about the Santa socks my mom forced me to wear, and how they didn't match the outfit. He was like, Yeah, those socks are totally the problem here--not the bow tie, or the collar, or the hammer pants--definitely the socks." See mom?

And this is eight grade. I'm the third from the left in the back row. And that sexy pants sitting next to me with the glasses? He was my first love:
According to his Facebook profile, he has an MBA from Yale and makes approximately one gazillion dollars annually. He wrote,

Dear Amy,
I sincerely hope I marry you someday.
I love you.

on the back of my Eighth Grade yearbook. To which I say,

Dear Craig,
It's not too late to work something out.
I'm sure I can learn to love you.

What kind of pictures are you tagged in on Facebook? I hope you make a blog post and put a link in the comments. I'd love to make fun of you!

How Many Time Can I Use the Word "Idiot" in a Single Post?

October 18, 2010

If it's not a matter of life, death, or health I usually don't get upset about things. But yesterday's marathon has my heart feeling pretty broken.

I made a huge, immensely stupid mistake in that race, and it turned out horribly. You guys, I'm an outright idiot. This mistake is somewhere along the lines of running through an aid station and voluntarily grabbing a cup of hot lava and a turkey dinner instead of some water and an energy gel.

Really, what an idiot.

If you're not a runner, this will probably be insanely boring/technical/eye-roll-inducing to you, but I feel the need to write it all out anyway, so here goes...

If you run, you probably know that barefoot running is a ridiculously huge craze right now. From the book Born to Run to those crazy looking Vibram Five Finger shoes, the trend is showing up everywhere. The idea is that your foot is a perfectly engineered running device and overly cushioned shoes only screw things up by causing injury.

No, I didn't run the marathon barefoot.

An offshoot of this barefoot movement is the minimalistic shoe. From the Nike Free to the Newton, lots of companies make them. These shoes are less cushioned, have almost no arch support, and leave you running on your forefoot and midfoot, not striking with your heel.

Generally speaking, the heel cushioning of a traditional shoe is 21ish millimeters tall, and the toe portion is 10 millimeters--that's an 11mm heel toe drop. By drastically reducing the heel toe drop, minimalistic shoes keep you on the front of your foot. It's almost like your heel can't reach the pavement anymore.

In early September, I ordered a pair of these shoes--the Saucony Kinvara. They're 8mm in the heel and 4 in the toe--a minuscule heel toe drop.

When I first put them on, I felt twinges where I've never felt twinges before. In my knees, my IT band, my hips. But there's an adjustment period for shoes like these--the body needs to build up the muscles to be able to run on the forefoot/midfoot. Seriously, my butt and hammies and calves have never looked so good.

Before yesterday's marathon, the longest run I'd done in my Kinvaras was a ten miler, and it was a really awesome ten miler. An epically awesome ten miler. How could I not wear those shoes for my BQ attempt, right?

Well, a marathon is almost three times longer than that ten miler, and my legs were completely not ready for the switch. In the barefoot/minimalistic world they call it TMTS, of Too Much Too Soon.

I TMTSed my race.

Miles 1 through 16 were beyond awesome. I needed to keep an 8:24 pace to qualify for Boston (3:40 total), and as the miles passed I was consistently putting up split times of 8:05, 8:13, 8:10. I crossed the halfway point at 1:47 and by mile 16, I had banked over 4 minutes toward my BQ. In other words, I could average an 8:44 pace for the rest of the race and still qualify.

Around mile 17, I looked at my watch and my average pace was in the high 9 minute range. I couldn't figure out what was happening, but I had plenty of time in the bank, I just had to pull myself together.

By 17.5, my legs said, "No more running, we're completely fatigued." Actually, they were more like, "You're a #$%^&% idiot for wearing those shoes and we're done."

By mile 18 I was walking.

By mile18.5 I was getting passed by the 3:40 pace group.

My legs were shredded, like nothing I'd ever felt. I could muster half walking half running, but that was it. My average pace was down in the 11:15 range.

By mile 21 I was getting passed by the 3:50 pace group.

At mile 22 I almost accidentally stepped on a roadkill turtle. I took that as an omen.

At mile 24 someone handed me a peanut butter cup. That didn't hurt anything.

After an 8.2 mile death march, I hobbled to the finish line at 4:06.12. If you do that math, you'll see that I was 26.2 minutes off of my BQ time. Cute, huh? The finish was around the warning track of a baseball stadium and I almost had to stop and walk, I was that done.

I had that BQ. I've never trained so hard and so fast for a race in my adult life. Somehow, with two kids, a job, a nursing baby, and a daily early-morning religion class at my house I still managed to put up the miles.

And then I went all TMTS with the shoes and flushed it down the crapper.

I'm mad at myself today.

Last night I came home and was insanely close to registering for another marathon in two weeks--I don't want to waste this training and my current fitness level. Jared was supportive of whatever I decided to do, but encouraged me to talk to my friend Seth about it.

Seth had a few great points:

1. He said, "How many times did you call yourself an effing idiot? Because it probably wasn't enough."

2. Three marathons in three months is probably too much.

3. My baby just turned 1 last week. (This time last year I weighed 185 pounds and couldn't sit down because of the stitches).

4. Not a lot of nursing moms are BQing.

5. Winter's a great time to build strength and speed. Maybe I could have some fun winning for 5Ks and 10Ks in the spring.

He's right. Jared agrees. I jumped into the long distances right after having Maggie, and I'm lacking something for it. You can see it in my gait. You can see it in how hard I have to work to propel my body forward. There's not a lot of grace in my running, but there is a lot of grit. I look like I'm working 100 times harder than the girls around me. I look like I shouldn't be able to keep up.

So there.

Maggie will be weaned any day now, and after that, I'm getting my strength, glide, and explotivity back. The winter is a perfect time to do it and hopefully, my endurance and the fact that I'm at the highest fitness level of my adult life won't be wasted for it. I'll be a more efficient runner come spring and maybe then I'll take on another marathon.

Or maybe I'll just hang up the shoes and get fat. I haven't completely decided yet. But either way, I have a broken heart to tend to.

See you all in Boston. I'll be cheering at mile 25.


The Story of the Clam Hat

October 15, 2010

First things first, I'm running the Baystate Marathon on Sunday, and seriously, I'm gonna qualify for Boston. Good vibes, positive thoughts, and so on and so forth would be totally appreciated between the hours of 8 and 11:40am on the 17th.

And moving on...

When it come to mothering, I tend to operate in the extremes--hyper attentive or hideously neglectful, there's really not much of an in between. For example, last Saturday James's soccer coach gave the kids a two minute water break. As soon as he blew his whistle, the players dispersed like an army of ants to their moms and dads who all seemed to be holding BPA free water bottles chilled to just the right temperature.

Then there was me. I was like, "Here, take a few swigs of this organic goat milk from your baby sister's sippy. Water's for sissies, real soccer stars drink this sweet nectar....from a princess cup."

Can you see the extremes in that situation? In one corner, I kid you not, we have local/organic/raw goat milk for the baby. And in the other corner, we have a mother who can't remember that her other kid miiiiight get a smidge thirsty after he runs around kicking a ball for two straight hours.

Earlier this week, James came home with the folder that was supposed to carry his school pictures, and it was--you guessed it--empty. From the outfit, to the sweet hair-do, to the check for $17.99, I forgot all about picture day--and Lifetouch had to send home an empty envelope just to knock the you'reasuckymother ball right out of the park. Next year, maybe they'll start scrawling DOUCHE BAG across the outside of the package, too.

So there you have it, my extreme crappy mothering. But thanks be to all that's good and holy, today I had the chance to redeem myself--it's crazy hat day. And I'm happy to say that a few minutes before nine o'clock, I actually remembered this most joyous event. According to the kindergarten calendar, it's also black and white day, so I decided I'd smoosh the two together--like Christmukah, only better.

I had some white fleece in the basement, so I pulled it out, got to work, and three minutes later we had a hat that transformed my son into something eerily close to a klansman. Never good. Never ever. "James," I said, "you look like you're int the klan, we need to change this up."

"But mom," he said, "I want to be a clam! I really really reallyreallyreally want to be a clam! Puh-lease can I be a clam?"

How could I say no to that?

So I got to work, and an hour or so later, we had this beauty planted on his over sized head. Behold the clam hat:

I don't want to be all self-inflated or anything, but I'm ridiculously proud of this one. Totally made up for the school picture thing:

When I was halfway through the project, I was pre-thinking how I'd attach the eyes. I took a break from sewing and did a Google search to see if anyone else on the planet had ever put eyes on a clam hat.

Let's just say I was shocked with what the Urban Dictionary had to say about my creation.

After my discovery I really didn't know whether or not I could send James to school wearing a clam hat, so I called everyone in my fave five and asked, "What doe the phrase clam hate mean to you?"

They were all like, "Uhhhhhhh......nothing?"

So I sent him to school wearing the clam hat, and all day long, I just can't help but wonder if the principal reads the Urban Dictionary.

The Not Very Great Outdoors

October 13, 2010

If it weren't for his giant head and stellar personality, I'd question whether or not James was switched at birth. The kid does all kinds of things I'd never expect someone with my DNA to do--and I know he's not getting it from his father either.

For example, James reads almost fluently--he still gets hung up on the words with 'ght' all in a row. And I'm sure I don't have to convince you that there's never been a hint of a flashcard in this house. PBS Kids? Yes. Hooked on Phonics? Yeah, Hooked on Phonics can kiss my lazy istillhavetosoundthingsoutsometimes ass.

But it's not just the reading that's got me all freaked out, it's what my child likes to read--namely, the Children's Encyclopedia. I crap you not, this kid just read me two excerpts, one was about a painting called The Great Greyness and the other one was some complete boringness about an Asian (pronounced 'agent') teacup. I tried so hard to act captivated by the teacup, I really did, but there's no mincing words here, Asian teacups suck.

I wouldn't say that we're a non-reading family, but we're not a bunch of bookworms either. Jared's been reading the same book since last Thanksgiving, and as an adult, my reading is strictly limited to food blogs, status updates, and library books with hot pink covers (oh my word, I always skip the sex scenes...and sometimes I lie).

In high school I literally, literally, read one required reading book out of approximately five hundred. It was Night by Eli Wiesel and I only read it because it was skinny. That was back in the day before internet book summaries, so I passed my classes on nothing but natural intellect, a pleasant witt, and a casual deal with the valedictorian. I can't say I ever cheated in college (honestly, never not once), but I will say that by the time my third year rolled around I was spending my text book money--all if it--at The Gap.

Me and books? Not so much.

Me and The Hills? Yes, yes, yes.

I guess you can say I'm not sure what to do with this kid. I tell him to go play outside and he acts likes it's an enormous and painful punishment. I tell him to go sit in his room and read a book and he starts jumping up and down and swinging his socks around like he's about to rope a cow.

Yesterday we finally compromised, and James agreed to work on his puzzle books outside. Let me tell you, both times he got up to take a whiz on the tree in the sideyard I was like, "Thank goodness. I wonder if that counts as exercise."

So here's my question for today. Does anyone else have a kid who hears the phrase, "It's time to go outside and cut your own leg off," when you're actually saying, "It's time to go outside and play"?

The average age on our street is seventy, his sibling can't even walk yet, and a trampoline is way out of the budget this year. What do I do?

Reason Numer 1,436 Why I Shouldn't be Teaching High School Kids

October 7, 2010

For all of you who've been living in a storage unit since late summer, I'll let you in on the crazy-butt thing that I'm doing in the name of church right now. I'm teaching a class called 'Seminary.' Just in case you're not fluent in Mormon, 'seminary' means that I have ten or twelve teenagers come to my house every single school morning from 6:05 until 6:55, during which time, I attempt to teach them the ins and outs of our religion.

One of the biggest components of Seminary is called 'Scripture Mastery,' and it's exactly what you'd guess it is--memorizing verses. Right now we're working on Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3, and it goes like this:

2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.

It's a really nice verse, but we all know that memorization is dry and boring, so I try to find a way to spice it up every week. This week, I called on the old white board, and wrote out the first letter of every word to kind of nudge the kids along. Like this:
Y B I W T I Y M A I Y H, B T H G, W S C U Y A W S D I Y H. N, B, T I T S O R; B T I T S B W M B T C O I T T R S O D G.
So, class started, and I picked a kid to be in charge of teaching scripture mastery for the day. He went up to the front of the room, set up the white board, and this is what immediately jumped out at me:
Y B I W T I Y M A I Y H, B T H G, W S C U Y A W S D I Y H. N, B,
T I T S O R; B T I T S B W M B T C O I T T R S O D G.
I'm telling you, I 100% had the fight the urge to lean over to the sophomore sitting next to me and says, "Oh my word! Is says tits!!!! TWICE!!!" And by 'fight the urge' I mean I was giggling, rocking back and forth, and forcibly covering my mouth with my own two hands.
So the kids recited the verse a few times through and I was hanging on by a thread. Seriously, I was working so hard to maintain composure that my bladder was one fluid ounce away from letting go all over the church-issued chair.
Finally, after the their third recitation of the verses (FINALLY!) the two girls to my left started to giggle. Without a second's pause, I physically whipped my head into the middle of their snickerfest and said, "I know! It says tits! I was waiting for someone to notice!"
More silence.
Then it progressed to an awkward silence.
Finally, the freshman male of the group looked me bang in the eye and said, "Did you really just say that? Sister Lawson, that's really childish."
Then his brother piped up and said, "Yeah, you three need to grow up."
I tried to pull it together and apologize, I really did. But you guys, the board said T I T S, and it was way more than I could handle.

Deepest Thoughts on Career Choice

October 6, 2010

These days, at least three times a week, someone will come up to me at random places like work, the grocery store, the bowling alley, and ask a question somewhere along the lines of:

"Does Jared have an opening at one o'clock tomorrow?"


"Can I swing by Jared's office to fix his computer at noon today?"


"My ribs are killing me. What do you think Jared would tell me to do?"

This morning, I decided once and for all that I'll start responding to these questions.



"You probably need surgery."

Now don't get me wrong here, I absolutely love the fact that Jared's office keeps getting busier, but the truth is, I have zero clue as to what my husband's schedule looks like (and I'm just a teensy bit rusty on my differential diagnosis skills, too). It's a miraculous day when I don't over schedule myself to the point of
sh!tting m'britches for lack of bathroom time--micromanaging my husband is plain old out of the question.

Honestly, here's what I know about Jared's schedule: 60% of the time he's too busy to pick up his cell phone, 30% of the time he's doing some unneccessary bulk shopping at Sam's Club, and 10% of the time he's playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. And I'm 100% sure that he'd be some pissed if I scheduled the tech guy to come during his Bejewled time--it's utmostly precious.

My workday split looks completely different than my husband's. I'd have to say that 30% of my time is spent resolving conflict, 40% of the time I'm busy dumbing things down so we can make a little bit of progress, and the other 30% of the time is spent scheduling meetings, rescheduling meetings, or holding meetings where we decid that the only logical step is to have another meeting.

My job is kind of like death by frustration. Jared's is more like death by bulk candy purchases. In the end, they sound equally painful--his is just a little more fun in the meantime. But really, I'd rather do my job than his job any day of the week.

I have my own office, so most of the time, I sit around and fart up a sweet storm. Jared completely lacks that privilege in his line of work. If Jared needs to lay one down, it's absolutely necessary for him to make up an excuse. Just so you know, if you're ever face down on his adjusting table and he says something like, "Hold on a sec. Let me just run into the supply closet to get a new sticker for your file," what he really means is, "MY GOODNESS I'M ABOUT TO RELEASE A TOOT AT THE EXACT LEVEL OF YOUR FACE AND I ABSOLUTELY CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN."

And it's not just that. Jared has to deal with people in pain all day long. Have you ever thrown your back out? Do you have any idea how much it hurts to laugh at the chiropractor who just farted when you have a slipped disc? See, so when he does accidentally let out a little poof here or there, he doesn't even get a giggle from the witness. So freaking embarrassing.

The only thing I can't do while I'm at my job is flush while I'm on a conference call. And who am I kidding? I do that all the time. Just today, while I was on the phone about--wait for it--a meeting, I meant to hang up and then flush. But because I'm me, I accidentally switched it around. I really hope I brightened that guy's day.

I'm also pretty lucky because I don't have to deal with insurance companies. Poor Jared spends too much time on the phone saying things like, "Hi Insurance Company. I billed you $50, but you only paid me $3. How come?" And they're like, "Because we can." Then they hang up.

But you want to know the very worst part?

I call Jared approximately twenty times a day with the same question: How's your day so far?

When what I really mean is: How many patients have you seen so far?

But I didn't ask what I meant, so he says something like: It's good.

And I go: Busy?

And he says: Yeah, pretty busy.

Then I pry: With paper work?

And he knows I'm prying and says something non-binding like: With office related things.


That's probably the hardest part of his job. That's the reason I'd never trade.

Grouse is Grrrrrrrreat!

October 4, 2010

I was off the grid for a day or four and oh my word, I'm completely happy to be back. As nice as it was to be away for a while, I appreciate water that runs clear, and carbon monoxide detectors that don't go off in the middle of the night, and poultry that comes from the store--you know, as opposed to the kind that's still covered in feathers when it hits the counter.

That's right, my husband shot a grouse--it's kind of like a wild chicken who hangs around in the wilderness.

I bet your mouth is watering.

[I wish I could post a picture right here, but Google says I'm over capacity so you'll have to use your imaginations. Count your blessings, guys.]

See, my husband likes to think he's a hunter. Not for anything big like deer or moose, but for little animals like birds and hamsters and whatnot--you know, the teeny ones that lack the brain capacity think their way out of a life threatening situation. The ones that run under your tires and smack into the grill of your Lincoln Town Car on purpose--those are his prey of choice.

But there's a catch. Up until last weekend, Jared hadn't technically shot any of these little defenseless birds or butterflies, he only talked about it constantly. And dreamed about it. And made me go look at hunting dogs.
This weekend however, Jared's life took a sharp change of direction when he finally lost his grouse virginity.

I don't know the details of how it all went down, and I'll go to my grave not needing to know. All I saw was a limp feathery bird, a chicken breast looking thing slide out of that bird without so much as a knife, and the chicken breast looking thing get tossed into a pan of hot butter.

Barf, barf, and barf again.

Before Jared actually shot a bird, I totally thought I'd be able to eat a grouse. I now stand officially corrected. Turns out I can get a raging case of the runs at the mere thought of a dead wild chicken thing....that about sums it up.

After Jared sauteed his grouse in butter, I could tell he was getting nervous about actually ingesting the bird. He held a piece up on his fork, tentatively put it up to his lips, took the littlest nibble your mind can fathom (watch the first three seconds of this for the full effect), channeled his inner Tony the Tiger, and over-triumphantly declared, "THIS IS GRRRRRREAT!"

Then he took approximately four-million more nibbles until he cleaned his plate like a good little hunter.

In all seriousness, I'm super proud of Jared. And since I just put it in writing, I don't think I ever need to eat a grouse to prove it.