Saturday, June 15

A poem today.

Entropy: A Physics Lesson From my Family

I climbed to the treehouse
To fix the clothesline.
It had come off the wheel.

Up the rickety ladder
It was a quick job
While a blanket lay damp on the porch.

Before I climbed down I checked.
Inside the door was a bushel
At least
Of pine needles
Collected in a winter of neglect
The clever window board
Left propped open
As if last August
Had never ended.

Bits of sap have collected on the deck
Just enough to remind me
The tree’s wood is still alive
And the house is a guest
In its branches.

At the top of the ladder
I looked down at the yard
My little dog
The one I bundled in my jacket
Said I’d “find him a good home”
Two years ago: a family joke.
He sleeps between us in our bed
And protects us from home invasion
By our closest friends.

My little dog was rolling in the grass
A sunny spot where cut blades were mulching
Trying to take along
Some special smell
I could never comprehend.

Bugs churn in sunbeams
The green has exploded
This one sunny day
In a rainy June.

I’ve worked hard for this house
This tree
This family
The kids who are safe
Enough to be bored
On a blue-sky Saturday.

But the laundry sits.
A comforter still damp on the back porch
Waits for me to make use
Of the fleeting dry air.

I’m still drying
Or drying again
The one from last week
That I never brought in.

Things fall apart.
This we know.
A rainy June
Gives days of beauty
Sometimes when you can use them.
Even if it’s only to dry laundry.

Out on the line.

Monday, May 27

Boston's Run to Remember 2013: Race Report

Here's the abbreviated race report:

My official time was 2:31:28. My stretch goal was 2:30 and I think I ran a smart race and put everything I had into the last 5K, so it was a great success in all of those ways. My last PR was last fall at 2:44, so this is a pretty big win and shows that all that training is paying off!  Ran most of the race with Kathy and her friend Judy, who were awesome race companions.  My mom took 20 minutes off her time from her first half at Nike last month, and good times were had all 'round.  Now if I could just stand up without wincing...

Kathy and Cate RtR

Oh, you want the whole story? Glad to oblige. Get a drink, friends. It has been a while since I did something blog-like and you know how I get. Ready?

It was a dark and stormy night.

No, seriously, it was. Memorial Day weekend in Boston. You know, low 40s, 20 mph wind with gusts up to 40, driving rain? Yay, race day! It least it's not 90 and humid. That was earlier this week. Love New England.

My mom jumped into this race too, and Catie was willing to babysit during the race (after having just PR'd the heck out of the Brooklyn Half last week), so I brought Ellie along too. We got a hotel right at the start line (Best. Thing. Ever.), hit the expo Saturday and then had a nice dinner. Met up with Kathy from Fitterknitters and her friend Judy at the expo and bored the heck out of Ellie by having a long chat, but they had to get home.


 Holding my bib upside down. Yeah, I'm cool. (Photo by random stranger.)

My mom and I spent a lot of time obsessing about the rain and what to wear. I packed thinking it would be a repeat of Smuttynose, mid fifties and rainy, so shorts and armwarmers. The night before the forecast switched to low forties and rainy and windy. Luckily, my mom brought ALL THE RUNNING CLOTHES and was willing to loan me a pair of compression pants.  (She would come to regret this decision.)  After plenty of obsessing about clothes and what to carry and blah blah blah we finally went to bed around 9:30. My monkey mind of course kept me up until about 11.

At 5 am we were up, drinking coffee, me eating my sandwich and granola and a banana (I've learned that I need a lunch-sized breakfast before a half), getting dressed. Kathy texted from the parking lot, and she and Judy came up to our room for a more luxurious location to putter and pee than a cold starting corral. The weather turned out better than expected. High 40s, and the rain blowing out to sea. Not exactly the memorial day weekend weather we might have expected, but better than feared.

Ellie woke up, and was excited to see us off. I had arranged for her to get room service, and when we left her she was in bed waiting for them to bring her belgian waffles, and for Catie to come take her to the finish line in an hour or so. She told me afterwards that she was able to watch the race start from the hotel window. WIN!

 Downstairs we had to go around the block to enter through security, which was not as draconian as advertised in the pre-race emails.  We got up close and personal with 10,000 or so other runners, had a moment of silence for the officers killed in the line of duty in whose honor we were running, including Sean Collier whose bib many people were wearing (unfortunately my mom and I didn't get a bib for him, but I thought about Sean a lot during the race). National anthem, and we're off.

  Martha and Cate RtRKathy and Cate RtR Pre Start 2
Photos by Judy. (Garbage bags. We're all about the style.)

 I had promised my mom during the Nike Half that I would go on ahead at RtR, which is the only reason she let me stay with her at Nike. This spring I ran three half marathons, but this is the only one I raced.  The others were the princess, which was basically a 13.1 mile sparkle party on sneakers, and Nike, which was my mom's first half and which she paced.

So I hugged her goodbye and took off right from the start. At Smuttynose last fall I spent the whole race with Kathy in my sights, as she became more and more distant ahead of me. I figured I'd use her as a rabbit for this race too, and stick with them as long as I could.

There were some nice vistas in the first mile as we crossed the Seaport Street bridge and turned into the financial district. I should have realized the GPS was arsed up when the first mile marker was at 1.2 by my watch. I just figured I'd started the watch too early. I saw the 7:00 pace group sign ahead of where I'd noticed the timing mat, and thought maybe I hadn't noticed a second mat, and maybe the first one was for the finish.

There were a couple of crowd-related slowdowns in the first mile, and it felt pretty easy, but the first mile of a long race always feels easy. That's why you run it too fast, right? I was managing to keep up with Kathy and Judy, and they didn't seem too upset to have me crashing their party, so we were all good. Past Government Center and over the Longfellow Bridge into Cambridge and still feeling good.

  Cambridge St RtR Mile 2
(Cambridge St., photo by Judy)

The Cambridge stretch is a long out and back on a nearly perfectly flat riverfront highway. It's a longer take on the route for the Tufts 10K, and it's just as nice as it sounds. Partway through was a long line of officers giving high fives to the runners. There must have been 100 of them. Judy took a photo of them too.
  RtR Officers High Five
(Another Judy original.)

Along here Kathy started getting smart, and questioning whether the pace was reasonable for 13.1. She decided to walk a bit and hang back, and Judy and I kept running, not knowing whether we might see her pass us later on. At mile 8 I started coughing, kind of out of the blue. A puff of albuterol (works best when not left at home!) and a little self-talk and I managed to catch up with Judy. I was getting a little bleary at this point but Judy was conscious enough to initiate a fist bump at every mile from then on, which was awesome. That woman can run--she set the pace on all the up-slopes (bridges and underpasses), and kept me moving.

My watch had me at an 11:25 pace, which I thought put me on track to run under 2:30. (Spoiler: it was lying.) Back over the Longfellow and it was the 10 mile mark and we were back in Boston. Coach Caleb said run the last 5K like a 5K race after a moderate 10 miles. I spent most that bridge psyching myself up to step on the gas at 10 miles.

Down Charles St. and we were passing people. Coach said to see how many people I could pass, but I lost count, partly because we passed a lot of people, and partly because when I tried to count I found I was unable to get past two, cognitively, at that point.  It was pretty much "green shirt, you're going, I'm kind of achy...did I count that guy?...clompclompclomp...pancakes.  Yeah, pancakes."  Didn't take much to move on from that whole distracting and difficult counting thing on to a mental narrative of "uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," for the next three miles.

Next round the Common, a little turn down Comm Ave. Weirdly, Gu at mile 11, which I skipped--there was a sign saying "Gu Ahead" at mile 8, which would have made more sense, but no Gu to be seen then. I skipped the mile 11 Gu, I'd had my own nutrition throughout the race (learned my lesson on previous races: I'm not an empty stomach runner), and I wasn't in any mood to ingest anything but oxygen at that point. 

The next two miles are a blur. I remember thinking about Sean Collier and the manhunt and pulling strength from the public safety officers who handled that day. I remember crazy potholes, people standing in front of a homeless shelter waiting to get in, and a woman standing in the middle of a tangent to prevent people from falling into a giant puddle/pothole (Mental process: "What the hell is her problem get off the course I don't have time to go around you...oh, um, thanks.") I pulled ahead of Judy and then she pulled ahead of me and then she was gone.

Shortly thereafter I had to pee. In theory I totally could have held it, but at this point my heart rate has been above 90% of max for two miles and I'm running what was likely my fastest mile ever at the end of my fastest 5K ever, except it was at the end of a half marathon. A little came out and then the next thing I know I'm still running while peeing on my shoes. THANKS MOM FOR THE LOAN OF THE PANTS!

Back over the Seaport bridge and toward the flags flapping in the wind and the finish. At this point the sun had actually emerged. As I ran I searched the crowd for Catie and Ellie, since the pre-race instructions had been very clear that there would be NO spectators allowed at the finish line. I figured I missed them, but as I finally got to the timing mat, there they were, cheering up a storm. I crossed the finish line, using my last ounce of energy to raise my arms in triumph. At this point my garmin had passed mile 14 so I had no idea what was going on. The clock time said 2:34 and I was hopeful, but not sure.

I leaned against the fence separating the spectators from the runners and tried not to die. Ellie asked if I was okay, and Catie, smart runner that she is, looked at my watch and told her my heart rate was coming down so I'd be fine. I was able to speak English surprisingly quickly after that and got to see Kathy finish just a couple minutes later and then my mom at 2:49 for a 2:46:54 finish, 20 minutes faster than her first half just a month before. I ran back and crossed the finish line with her.


Ellie had never been to see me at the finish line before, and it was so great to see her and Catie there, and to anticipate them being there as I ran the last mile. Catie has given me the honor of calling me one of her "DailyMile moms" so I took this "sisters" photo of the two of them. Uncanny, right?


After getting our bling, eating bananas and chips and drinking water, my mom and I headed back upstairs. We didn't manage to reconnect with Kathy and Judy who had reunited with their families, but congratulatory text messages were flying. A quick swim in the hotel pool, showers all round, and we packed up to check out, stashed my bag in the car, and headed out to dim sum in Chinatown.

Of course we walked. Two miles. While pulling my mom's rolling bag (she was taking the train back to NYC). Good for the muscles, right? Dim sum was the real deal with carts and all but not very vegan-friendly for my mom. She wound up eating a bit of shrimp by mistake, but we managed to get enough veggie mei fun into her to keep her from passing out.

Ellie and I saw her on to Amtrak and walked back to the hotel to get the car. I had promised Ellie a shopping trip and off we went to the Natick Mall. Home at 10 pm and passed out. While we were at Dim Sum I saw Catie's post of this video that she made for us.


It is so wonderful I can't even believe it. I told Catie she was my favorite daughter. Ellie was not overly pleased with this and a flurry of text messages ensued between Catie and Ellie, including Ellie claiming to be an angel but mistakenly typing angle. She's okay, I was just being obtuse.  Har.

Today I'm sore and a little chagrined at the garmin, thinking different information earlier might have helped me pace the first half a little faster and gotten me under 2:30. Looking at the map, the Cambridge portion is fine, but the Boston section has me running through buildings, jiggering back, and cutting off-course through the Common.

Both my phone and garmin maps have these crazy problems (phone only had me at 13.8 by the end of the race, hah) and my mom's and Kathy's devices had similar problems. I guess it was a bad morning for GPS. Coach Caleb says to run races without a watch, and maybe this is just the universe telling me to listen to my coach.


So, all in all a wonderful day, enormous progress toward what for me is a challenging goal, good friends, happy family, and sore hamstrings.  What more could I ask of a holiday weekend?  Today I barbecued a pork roast from our meat CSA and did a lot of laundry.  And wrote this.  And drank a lot of water.  And sat down a lot.  I enjoy sitting.

Anybody know the best way to get pee out of running shoes?

Wednesday, January 12

Okay, I give up (for the moment)

I give up on trying to get my domain working. You can email me there, mama (at) , but I can't get the mapping working and I have dueling tech support people (it's yahoo's fault! it's typepad's fault! and so on) so basically I'm at an impasse. I have a few ideas and I haven't batted the lastest lob over to typepad's court yet, but right now I just don't have the available brain space to deal with it.

Anyway, long (too long!) way of saying that for the moment at least, you should come see me over at typepad.

Click here for mamacate's new home

See ya there!

PS: Don't forget to resubscribe with bloglines too--there's a handy-dandy button over there. ;)

Friday, December 10


Oh lordy, of course I have to make this complicated. Don't update anything yet--I've just registered, but it's going to take a little while to get everything set up and the typepad site linked there. I'm doing this because after wrestling with typepad, I can tell I don't want to get locked into that system forever (sheesh, anytime you want to do anything YOURSELF, you have to upgrade!). So if I just register a domain, then I can move things around with minimal disruption to you, gentle blog reader.

So, who can tell me how to add my bloglines blogroll to my typepad sidebar. Anyone?

If anyone is still reading me by the time I finish messing things up, it will be a small miracle, I think.

I No Heart Blogger

I'm glad y'all are commenting, because if I had to rely on my own perception alone, I would say that my blog had disappeared. Happily, I received two comments via email today, and they didn't say "what the heck is wrong with your blog, girl?," and even referred to actual blog content, so I'm thinking that maybe you're seeing something I'm not.

So, why is my blog a big mess? It's because...

I'm movin' on up!

To typepad.

Just as soon as I figure out how to correct the feed, and maybe even put an automatic redirect thingy on here, I'll do it.

Why am I moving? I want categories. I want 'em bad. I want to be able to respond to the kind souls who comment here without having to divine their email addresses from the ether. I want to escape from the shame of a standard blogger blog on a standard blogger template (okay, so now I have a standard typepad template, hey, I didn't say I was moving that far up). I wanna be a cool kid.

So come on over. If you have me on your blogroll (and I know about it) I'll be emailing you with my new address. And slowly, but surely, I'll be putting up curtains and cleaning the carpets over there. Don't hold your breath though. I think I lived in my current house for 3 years before I put up curtains.

Does anyone have a Queer Eye for the Lesbian's blog link?

Thursday, December 9

Tell us about those "moral values," will ya?

We're back to more red-state cognitive dissonance, but this time it's me who can't seem to parse the difference between what they say and what they do.

It started when I heard from a friend of a friend that an old mutual acquaintance whom I knew had voted for Bush, is a "swinger," along with his wife. The have three kids and live in the suburbs. In a red state, of course.

At first I said, "oh, wow, they're poly!" But upon hearing more from my friend, no, they're not poly. They're swingers. They go to sex parties and hook up.

That's cool, whatever. I mean, they've been doing this for long enough that it doesn't seem to have affected their relationship. According to my friend, they are happy, and that's great. I'm happy for them. Everyone is consenting, they're all adults, and they're enjoying themselves. Bravo, I say. Have fun.

But then, to vote for someone who opposes gay marriage, I mean, what the fuck? In a way, the two have nothing to do with each other from my perspective. If we weren't the same sex, we would be the most boring, run-of-the-mill couple you'd ever meet. We have been monogamous for over 12 years. Our lives revolve around our kids, our jobs, our home, and our community. We do exciting things like knit and scrapbook. Sex parties are not even on our radar screen. Just. Can't. Imagine.

But it seems that the red states think that I am a threat to the moral fabric of our nation. Not exactly sure what that's all about--I guess I figured they thought we were having kinky sex all over the place (let us pause for a moment to laugh cynically--um, ever lived in a house with twin toddlers?). But shit, apparently they're having kinky sex all over the place in those red states, and here I am trying to figure out how to get dinner on the table and worrying about transitioning to preschool, this is where my brain just loses traction and starts to spin out, you know? And it's not just my old acquaintance who is doing this. There's a whole club he belongs to in his red state suburb. How many of them do you think voted for Bush? And, um, uh, what the fuck, huh?

So you know, I'm not coming out against swingers. Like I said, have fun, consensual adults, safe sex, all that. No problemo. But uh, could you please not vote for people who have pledged to take basic civil rights away from homosexual Ward & June Cleaver?

So dude, if I'm going to be maligned and vilified for my "lifestyle" (because it is very, very, stylish--in an Erma Bombeck kind of a way), I think I really need to make my lifestyle a little more interesting. Being an upstanding, responsible, tax-paying, faithful, monogamous, church-going (ok, UU, but it still counts!), community-minded citizen hasn't done shit for my image. I'm pretty much a pervert, as far as red America goes. And I though that they just had a really low threshold for perversion, and while I thought they were very wrong and didn't understand, it turns out that they've got "lifestyles" of their own and are busy doing stuff that I don't think is perverted, but hey, you can't deny that it's a little kinky. But what exactly does a girl do with that kind of information? And this may be really sad to say, but I don't WANT to start a suburban sex club here in my blue state. I'd rather go to knitting night. I am telling the gods' honest truth. How sad is that?

In a much more depressing piece of red-state hypocrisy, see what Republic of T just posted about a little more red-state morality:

Sigh. If someone can explain this to me, I'd be grateful. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 7

Knitting Presents

I am now wearing a wrist brace. Too. Much. Knitting. As if there was such a thing. It's mostly a matter of prevention, but things were getting a little wonky there, and I know wrist injury is not something I want to mess with.

The multidirectional diagonal scarf is *almost* done. I think I will abandon the plan to do a mitered square hat, at least on a deadline basis. I may be struck with insanity, give the scarf for birthday (Sat.) and then make the hat an Xmas deal. Yeah, that's crazy. I'll probably do it.

I am also making THREE scarves with miserable novelty yarn for my kids' 3 daycare teachers. I think they'll like them but oh lordy, give me wool!

The Lopi sweater is coming along around the edges, but I'm procrastinating it to the last minute because I know I can work on it in the car up to NH where we're celebrating Xmas, and I don't think I'll see the recipient until Xmas night or even the day after. So I have TONS of time on that, and the scarves are going to be gifted the week before so back to the nylon ladder nightmare I go. Hey, the colors are pretty, at least.

Meanwhile, the voice of reason sounds from across the pond.

How to avoid a designer tea cosy

Props to Mary-Helen for the link.

Friday, December 3

Memo to the Nearly-Three-Year-Olds

I know you are getting bigger, and that like any normal children of your age, now is the time for you to become more focused and deliberate about your boundary testing. A year ago, you careened from one activity to another, pausing occasionally to see if I was paying attention and would tell you not to do some dangerous thing, but mostly you were simply bent on destruction exploration, and your limit-testing was more incidental—a by-product of your curiosity and exuberance.

But now, you are studying. Carefully probing the places where you sense any sign of weakness, whether it be the rare (yeah, right, I try, okay) inconsistent response, or the thing that makes me growl "NO" through gritted teeth. In short, you are checking out how best to piss me off.

I thought maybe we could all save ourselves some time. I will provide you with a list of things that piss me off. That way, you won’t have to check Every. Fucking. Day. to see if they still piss me off. In future, you can refer to this memo. I promise that if one of these things ceases to piss me off, I will update the memo to reflect my new attitude. I’m not expecting to do a lot of editing.

So here we go.

1. Putting your feet on my body, face, arms, etc. while nursing. What IS this???? And you BOTH do this bizarre behavior incessantly, even though you know that after 3 warnings the milky session is OVER. We’ve talked about touching with hands. We’ve talked about respecting mama’s body. But somehow, the feeling of feet (bare, socks, shoes, even rainboots, it doesn’t matter) against my body is just too appealing. It annoys the hell out of me. Sssssstop. K? Glad we’re clear.

2. Asking me for a cup of juice at dinner time, then climbing up on the table when I leave the room to get it. You know, I know you’re doing it when I hear the hysterical giggling. And you know that if you do it you are required to take a break from being in the dining room. You are allowed to leave the table whenever you are finished. No bonus for getting kicked out. So, well, this is pretty straightforward. I promise to be pissed about this every time you do it. As I think I have alluded to on more than one occasion in the past, it’s not safe, and it’s rude. So we can just stop with that little drama, because it’s not gonna change. Nope. I will remain this mean FOREVER. Just wait till I have car privileges to take away.

3. Demanding one single exact clothing ensemble, regardless of whether it is clean or not, and then whipping it off 5 minutes later and demanding another one, treading, of course, on the initial outfit in the process. Seriously. I already, surprisingly enough, have a fair amount of laundry to do. Not really necessary to create more by wearing a different outfit every time you walk into a different room in the house. And I'll tell ya right now, being completely naked is not always my favorite alternative, especially when I have EXPLICITLY told you that we are leaving in five minutes and when you are in the other room disrobing while I am putting your brother’s shoes on. Duct tape? Is that the only answer? And no, it’s not okay to go to the library naked. I don’t really have time to explain the many reasons WHY right now, but trust me, they are the same as the last 25 times we have had that conversation, okay?

I think that will do for now. There's more, oh there's more, but if we can start there things will run a lot more smoothly around here.

PMS? Moi? Shut up, it has NOTHING to do with that. Nor is it related to the fact that I have been home solo with the kids for the past week, and for 3 weeks in the last 6 (or something, it’s all a blur now; that’s a conservative estimate), and one of the weeks DP was home involved dinner for 10 and houseguests. And the freelance project and the 9:30 phone meeting with a fucking COMMITTEE (I love phone meetings on Saturday mornings with COMMITTEES reviewing my work--LURVE IT!). That makes me extra perky.

Over at Naked Ovary, one of Karen’s trolls used her cursing as evidence she that she is not ready to be a parent. In that case, three years into it, I am DOOMED.

I had to edit to add this from the comments:

Stephanie has a great #4:

4. I know that you like to nurse standing up and that it seems like a real time saver to you. Despite how this makes me feel less like a loving, nurturing mother and more like a SNACK BAR I am willing to do it if you will simply NOT JUMP AROUND with my nipple in your mouth.

(also, if you could stop stuffing the leftovers from your snack down the side of the couch I would like that.)

Um, yeah, that one too. Technically, the drive-through closed shortly after the take-out and delivery service went offline (pumping, that is) at 18 months. I think around 2, I insisted that all milky sessions be sit-down meals. We did have one session on some days where the rules were off and they got to stand up and SHARE (the other fun twin nursing excitement. You haven't lived until you've had your kids execute an entire wrestling session WHILE latched on). That one session has been spot weaned because I was going to start breaking china if I had to do it again. It was mostly the wiggling, but also the casual way they would turn, holding the breast in one hand, to see what was going on behind them. Sit-down diner from now on.

Thanks, Stephanie, and congrats on the book.

Cool Web Thingamabob #642

Check out TypoGenerator, a cool thingy for creating random text-based graphics, found over at The Other Mother.

What does your vanity plate look like?