Friday, October 30, 2009

Things we hope to see in NYC this weekend

Next to Normal

God of Carnage

Bye Bye Birdie
or Hair (there are people from my home town in both shows!)

Or any of at least 10 other shows we'll be glad to get last-minute tickets to

The marathon

Some random NYC friends I emailed today with last-minute notice that we'll be there tomorrow and Sunday

Jessie Pavelka (but only because I hope to see him everywhere I go)

Ten things about my dad

1. Like most dads, he really, really wanted a prototypical athlete of a son … and he signed me up for every little league sport known to man and patiently tried to explain to my little could-not-be-less-interested self the rules of all the games. I have a distinct memory of him trying to illustrate the football line of scrimmage to me by drawing Xs and Os and lines in the redwood planks of our backyard picnic table when I was a kid. And when it eventually became clear that I was completely sucky at and completely not interested in team sports but pretty good and really interested in musical theater, he abruptly changed his expectations and started coming to cheer me on in every show and concert I ever did. No questions asked.

2. His colloquialisms and insults rival those of any you’d hear on a well-written sitcom. And I steal his material with reckless abandon to this day (though apparently it’s way better live than in a blog post). I remember laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe the first time he told my little sister—who was not the neatest or most linear of children—that she could screw up a one-woman parade. I can still make the domestic partner giggle by telling him someone is so cheap they wouldn’t pay a nickel to watch Jesus ride a bike. And I’ve even spread the jocular wisecrackery to none other than Dan Savage, who stopped mid-conversation and reached for a pen and paper when I described a fussy woman I know by saying she wouldn’t say shit if she had a mouth full of it.

3. Dad officially hates cats. My mom and the rest of our family officially love cats. So of course Mom and Dad’s cat wants nothing to do with anyone but Dad. And whenever he sits down, he patiently lets her (the cat, not Mom) climb to her favorite position on his chest with her hind paws on his tummy and her head and upper paws on his shoulder as though she were a hideous, cat-butt-shaped broach.

4. He likes to let people think he’s a gruff old curmudgeon, but he’s really little more than a giant bowl of warm Play-Doh in the hands of my niece and nephew. Like the cat, they easily manipulate him to do their bidding, and watching him happily interact with them is the most heartwarming thing you will ever see.

5. I had a 4:00 am paper route from December of 6th grade to December of my senior year in high school. (And I still haven’t caught up on my sleep.) Dad got up with me almost every morning, at the very least making sure I was awake and more often than not to take a chunk of papers and doing the west loop of my route for me.

6. Throughout my entire childhood, either late at night or right before the paper route, Dad and I would snack on milk and those rock-hard store-brand iced oatmeal cookies. To this day, every time I walk by a package of them in a grocery store I have strong and very happy flashbacks to our cookie time together.

7. He instilled in me a lifelong love of peanut butter. And, following his example, I always keep a wide selection of jelly flavors in my refrigerator.

8. His handwriting is an interesting blend of casual scrawl and indifferent masculinity … and it’s not the easiest thing to read. And by the time I’d gotten out of college I discovered my handwriting had become almost exactly like his.

9. On the day he turned 45, I remember sitting in school thinking Holy shit, my dad is 45. That means he’s going to die soon.

10. But he somehow managed to survive 45. And today he turns 70. And though he’s stoically enduring the indignities of macular degeneration and a host of lesser advancing-age infirmities, he’s still an active, happy, loving part of all our lives. And I’m so thrilled that he’s around to cheer on his grandson—who clearly understands what a line of scrimmage is—in his football games and have cookies with his granddaughter and spoil his Mom’s cat … and still sit in the audience of his sensitive, artistic son’s concerts every once in a while.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Three-Year Itch

Or, technically, the Three-Year Corporate Oral Hygiene Review

I just had my three-year anniversary at my job (thank you all for the gifts and the flowers) and, as one typically does at this career juncture, I checked the expiration date stamped into the crimpy end of the tube of office toothpaste I bought for myself on my very first lunch hour.

Since I usually have my gym bag Dopp kit with me, I tend to use my gym toothpaste when I brush my teeth at work. Which is why this tube of toothpaste lasted me a full three years. And while it had always left a gross taste in my mouth, I’d noticed the taste had actually gotten worse in the last few months. But buying a new tube of toothpaste involved all kinds of inconveniences, like walking into a drugstore. Then I noticed that the current tube had expired over a year ago, so I was forced to break down and get a new tube.

But, suddenly realizing I had all the ingredients for a high-traffic blog post (as you can probably tell, I’m always on the lookout for ways to entertain and inform you people in a Pulitzer-worthy fashion … and to pump up my hit count with the tougher, more relevant topics that the kids are buzzing about), before I threw the old tube away I took a side-by-side picture with my camera phone.

And then I wrote bulleted captions. Because that’s what separates the dumb, pointless blog posts from the truly poetic and universally meaningful (and full of kid buzz) ones.
Top tube:
• Astringent-y and painful to use
• Leaves mouth tasting like kitten butt and regret
• Requires frequent applications of breath spray to kill post-brushing funk
• Expired in JN08, whenever that was

Bottom tube:
• Fresh and new, right out of the box
• Label printed crooked but who cares?
• Leaves a fresh, minty aftertaste that really does last
• Totally matches the shirt I’m wearing today

My morning U.N. meeting

Working out at 7 am involves a comforting set of rituals: Packing my lunch and my workout clothes and my work clothes the night before. Setting my alarm for 5:45 and hitting the snooze button only once so I can be up and stuffed full of eggs and toast and out the door by 6:10 in time to catch the bus. And hanging out at my silent United Nations meeting, which convenes every morning at my bus stop with the following cast of international representatives:

The white guy. That’s me. I’m wearing my gym clothes with my stuffed-to-bursting gym bag over my shoulders. And even though it’s pretty dark I’m usually reading something.

The blue-collar black woman. She wears a uniform that says she probably works in a hotel or at a restaurant. And she always looks tired.

The yuppie white girl. She’s always in a suit of some sort with her hair just so and her tennis shoes on and her bag that usually goes with her coat.

The Hispanic woman who’s always in a hurry. She runs—runs!—from the cross-town bus that drops her off right across the street from us and arrives breathless at our bus stop. Even though our bus never arrives until well after she’s joined us and gotten her heart rate back to normal.

The Middle Eastern woman who won’t stand anywhere near us. She wears the head covering that hides her hair and neck and the long flowing outfit that shows only her hands and her shoes. And she stands a good 15 paces away from the rest of us with her head down the whole time. She stands so far away, in fact, that she almost misses the bus some mornings waiting for us to get on before she ventures near the door.

The bus driver. He thinks he’s a gruff old man and he tries to stare forward when we board, but I make a point to say good morning when I get on and to thank him when I get off and I think I’ve finally broken him to the point that he realizes he’s never going to escape from my preternatural morning perkiness.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Who's Bad?

That was the theme of my sister’s Halloween party on Saturday night. In Iowa. Where Iowa Hawkeye worship is a beverage and black and gold are condiments.

We road-tripped to Iowa this weekend for the party with the domestic partner’s cousin and his new wife. And we really struggled to think of a “Who’s Bad?” group costume that would work for one woman and three men. We struggled enough that two days before the party we still hadn’t thought of anything fun.


My sister emailed us to say that the undefeated (which is a sports term that means “having three Tony awards and a female lead who knows all the words and doesn’t sing flat like Madonna”) Iowa Hawkeyes would be playing the Michigan State Spartans during the party. Which means nobody would be badder than a group of Spartans fans that night. Nobody.

Now, this is funny on three levels: 1) It would be to-the-second timely, unlike the week-old joke of a balloon boy costume; 2) The four of us are sports fans in the way Rush Limbaugh is a sexy hunk of human relevance; and 3) I tend to look wan and pasty in jewel tones like Spartan green.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to find Spartans gear in Chicago two days before a Halloween party. Because apparently the entire city is working the same costume idea for the Spartans-Cubs game this Saturday. Perhaps.


I found Spartans green T-shirts on sale ($1.97 each! I must be some kind of god!) at Old Navy. And I printed some Spartans logos from the Internets. And we got some giant green fingers and some face paint and some cheesy football hats at a party store. And I personally own every color of electrical tape known to man. Plus I own green tennis shoes. In three different shades.

So for less than $10 each, the four of us went from too-cool-for-sports artsy kids to hardcore sports fans for one night. And we were a hit! And we were allowed to live through the night because the Hawkeyes beat the Spartans in a last-second upset (which is a sports term that means “you’re going out there a youngster, but you’re coming back a star!”). So it was a very fun party. Even though I totally looked wan:

Friday, October 23, 2009

ChicagoRound: Essanay Studios

Most people—heck, most Chicagoans—don’t realize it, but Chicago was an important player in the development of America’s motion picture industry. And the Chicago studio that was once home to early film legends like Gloria Swanson, G.M. “Bronco Billy” Anderson and Charlie Chaplin—along with screenwriter-turned-Hollywood-gossip-columnist Louella Parsons—still stands in Chicago’s storied Uptown neighborhood:

Essanay Studios—founded in 1907 as the Peerless Film Manufacturing Company but eventually renamed Essanay after the initials (S and A) of its founders, George K. Spoor and Gilbert M. Anderson—turned out about 2,000 shorts and features between 1907 and 1917.

Its first film, An Awful Skate, or The Hobo on Rollers, was produced in and around its first studio location at 946 Wells Street (now 1300 N. Wells after Chicago changed its street numbering system in 1908). It starred Ben Turpin, who was then the studio janitor, and it cost just a couple hundred dollars to make. But it grossed perhaps as much as $10,000—close to $216,000 in modern dollars—when it was released. Suddenly flush with money and success, Essanay Studios moved to its giant new location—and into its golden age—at 1333-45 W. Argyle St. in 1908.

Chicago’s weather—and it’s always about Chicago’s weather—along with the growing popularity of westerns, also prompted Essanay to open what they called the Essanay-West Studio in Niles, California in 1913.

The Chicago studio produced many of Essanay’s most famous movies, including:
• The first A Christmas Carol (1908)
• The first Jesse James movie, The James Boys of Missouri (1908)
• The first American Sherlock Holmes (1916)
• And some of the world’s first cartoons, including a popular character called Dreamy Dud

Aside from Anderson, Chaplin, Parsons and Swanson, other notable (to some, but I had to look them up) Essanay alumni include Edward Arnold, Wallace Beery, Francis X. Bushman, Lester Cuneo, Helen Dunbar, Ann Little, Tom Mix, George Periolat, Rod La Rocque, Ben Turpin, Virginia Valli and director Allan Dwan.

Chaplin actually lived in Chicago for less than a month and filmed only one notable movie here: His New Job. But his is the most famous name associated with the studio, and it lives on in the Charlie Chaplin Auditorium of St. Augustine College, which occupies the site today.

Esssanay Studios dissolved in 1918, but the building still stands on a leafy residential street. It was designated a Chicago Landmark with this plaque on March 26, 1996:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My sixth marathon!

First of all, this year's Chicago Marathon logo was once again ... weird. This time it was built around the theme of shoe prints, which is neither original nor particularly attractive, and it had the unfortunate sub-theme of being built around images of unattractive runners covered in shoe prints as though they had fallen in the race and the other runners had trampled them into a state of gradient-colored flatness. And you couldn't escape these ugly, trampled, gradient-colored runners anywhere you went in Chicago for a couple weeks before the marathon:

Thankfully, the images did not make it onto the marathon shirts, which, true to tradition, were another kind of ugly altogether. But more on that later.

Because we must respect the chronology of marathon events. So here is part of our crew at the packet pickup the day before the marathon: Peter and I, who committed to run the marathon and actually did it, and Matthew and Taz, who are big quitters. Except Matthew ran me in from miles 21 to 26 so I officially am not making fun of him. And Taz got up early to volunteer at a water station, so she's a marathon saint as well. The event alert system we're standing in front of was set at moderate because the weather was so cold. Which is better than the moderate-to-severe alerts we got last year because of the heat.

The packet pickup is essentially a massive trade show with billions of booths selling everything from running gear and shoes and headphone holder-in-placers to souvenir posters and shirts to registrations for other marathons. And there are tons of cool signs and things you can use as photo ops:

This year there was also a photo-op sign that wasn't quite as marathon-related as one would expect, but I'm never one to not follow directions:

The marathon was cold. So cold, in fact, that our triathlon friends Simon and Russ lent me their running tights the night before. Which was awesome, but in hindsight I probably should have chosen a different pair of shorts to wear over them because my baggy gray-and-red shorts, though built with nicely deep zippered pockets that can hold all the running gels a fella could need for a marathon, look like they're part of a bar mitzvah clown outfit when worn over black leggings:

Then again, this is me we're talking about here: the vanguard of running fashion. And before the marathon was over, cheap knockoffs of my outfit were spotted on runways (ahem) all over Chicago:
(Yes, that big orange PROOF indicates I stole these images from the Marathon photo site. But I intend to buy most of them so it's more like I'm using them through a borrow-to-own program. In any case, I stole them for you people so please don't call the cops. Because you've already looked at the pictures, which is exactly like wearing a dress to a party and then returning it to the store the next day, so you're just as guilty as I am.)

I have no decent photos of me in miles 0 through 17, which were thankfully really easy and enjoyable to run. Especially because I had disposable layers of clothing I threw away or handed to random domestic partners I encountered along the race route as my body got warmer. So you'll have to imagine this picture is me at mile 2 or so, with a white hoodie, a white throw-away jacket, black gloves and a black hat:

Here I am at mile 5, after I've thrown away the disposable jacket and the hat but I still have on the hoodie and the gloves that I have not told you you can stop imagining yet:

Here I'm going to ask you to imagine that this lifesize cutout of me is actually me. Which will be easy to do because it looks exactly like a lifesize cutout of me. It's wearing the hoodie I managed to hand off to some random domestic partner at mile 7 as he and Matthew and Craig and James met us on their intrepid journey to cheer Pete and me to victory. That's the official marathon shirt that the imaginary me is wearing, by the way. I don't mind the logo on the front, but the color is the kind of turquoise that even a Native American would have reservations (ahem) about wearing:

OK. You can stop imagining now. Here I am around mile 18 (for real!), when the pain started to set in. Ironically, it wasn't the foot pain that had threatened to keep me out of the marathon altogether a week before the race. It was just the all-over, why-am-I-doing-this pain that usually hits me right around mile 18. Plus my head cold had clearly taken up residence in my lungs by this point and I'd begun worrying that if I started to cough I may never be able to stop:

So this is what I look like running in pain. Fashion pain:
Thankfully, Matthew the marathon dropper-outer met me at mile 21 and ran me through the pain all the way to mile 26:

From the Department of Really Not That Interesting Two-Camera Perspectives: Matthew (who brought his camera with him so I could have stand-in pictures for miles 0 through 21) took this picture of me running under a bridge covered with marathon photographers:

Here's what my fellow runners and I looked like from the photographers' perspective:

Neat, huh?

I don't know where this picture was taken, but since official marathon photos are more expensive than a child-molestation payout and priest-relocation fees combined, I most certainly didn't stick my tongue out at a marathon photographer on purpose. It was so cold at the beginning of the run that our Gatorade felt syrupy on our lips and our running gels had taken on the consistency of week-old Play-Doh, so I imagine I'm sticking my tongue out here trying to get the sticky Gatorade/gel goo off my lips:

In any case, neither cold nor foot injury nor fashion humiliation nor sticky lips nor lungs full of snot could stop me from finishing the marathon. And I even managed to stay under my new, revised, slow-old-guy 5:00 finishing time goal, but just by seconds:
(For those of you unfamiliar with the way giant races are timed, my 7:40:14 start time tells you how long it took me to get across the start line in the crowd of runners. I have no idea why they do time splits in 5K increments since exactly nobody knows (without cheating) how many miles equals, say, a 35K, but you can see I was sticking pretty well to 31-32-minute 5Ks until I hit my wall o' pain somewhere around the 30K mark. And I love knowing that exactly 25,201 people crossed the finish line faster than I did.)

So once you cross the finish line and get your medal and get your timing chip sawed off your shoe, you can stop for all the free bananas and water and cookies and bagles and beer (!) you want in the finisher's area ... plus you can pose for one final official photo:

And once you hobble your way out of the finishers' area, if you're lucky your fabulous domestic partner will be waiting for you right at the exit. And even though you feel like death and smell like week-old death, he will give you a big wonderful hug that will make you feel even more proud of the things you've accomplished in your life:

I also took a final victory pose with Matthew, who had left me at mile 26 so I could run the final .2 miles all by myself to the finish line:

And I finally met my ugly-shirted doppelgänger in person and felt obligated to pose with him since he'd spent the day cheering me on all along the marathon route:

At the finisher's party, where my body suddenly realized holy shit I'm not running anymore so I should probably stop pretending it's not freezing outside I put my white hoodie back on and posed with Pete and our fabulous signs that Matthew made for us:

And then all the boys from our running group who actually ran the marathon posed for one last photo op, discreetly keeping our eyes from the fashion freak show going on under my shorts:

And then! The day after the marathon—after a very lengthy soak in our Jacuzzi tub—I commenced enjoying my sweet, sweet marathon reward. In alphabetical order:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy now, Maggie?

And Rush? And Glenn? And Bill? And Michele? And Ann? And Dubya? And Pat? And Carrie? And Newt? And Sarah? And John? And Sally? And Mike? And Mitt? And Rick? And Tom? And David? And "God"?

YOU and your words and your actions told these bastards that it was OK to hate gay people. YOU are responsible for planting the idea in their heads that gay people are punching bags. THIS is what your campaign to "defend" marriage and "protect" families and "fight" a "war" on morality has caused. YOU chose assault imagery to fire the passions of the easily manipulated in your unholy campaign to teach the world to hate gay people. YOU declared us an "enemy" that needed to be stopped at all costs.

And look! You did it! You spread your hatred so thoroughly and so malignantly that now we're being beaten into comas in the street.

There is NO defense for your words and the actions like these that they inspire. So SHUT THE FUCK UP before you open your mouths and try to vomit up some sort of rationale that tries to separate you from what you've wrought. You're all vile and hateful and beneath contempt.

And you'd be wise to keep your distance. Because your work has also taught us to see you as punching bags.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I peed under a bridge today

Oh, and I also ran a marathon. And while releasing myself from the self-imposed pressure of trying to beat 4:00 was incredibly freeing, I still secretly hoped to stay under 5:00. Which I did ... by mere seconds!

I don't have the official numbers or any pictures yet. And I feel like crap. Finishing today was easily the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. So I'm gonna take some NyQuil and knock myself unconscious for a few hours.

But here are some basic updates for those of you keeping score at home:

The foot injury didn't give me a lick of trouble, though the rest of my foot did.

The head cold has traveled so deep into my lungs that I'm afraid to cough out of fear I'll never be able to stop.

The freezing cold was alternately horrible and manageable. Our triathlete friends Simon and Russ lent me some running tights at the last minute, and that completely changed the outcome of the run for me. Triathlete friends rock.

The mohawk didn't happen. Mostly because of the freezing cold. I figured I didn't need frostbite on my scalp in the middle of all my other concerns today. Plus I wore a hat for the first third of the marathon anyway. Sorry to get anyone's hopes up.

Oh, and I forgot to post this pic before I took off this morning. I was going to say something pseudo-clever with it like If you can see this picture, I'm probably still running the marathon:

More pix and details to come. Once I get them. And if I manage to wake up from my NyQuil coma. Thanks for all your good wishes!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Shoe-tying secrets REVEALED!

Of the many forms of running-injury therapy I've received this week—topical anti-inflammatories, icings, ultrasound treatments, push-right-where-it-hurts-most massages, electro-shock somethingorothers—the most intriguing is also the most affordable: tying my shoes in a secret new way that helps relieve pressure on my owie place, which is on the top of my foot right before it creases up to become my shin.

Here's how it works, in poetry and song. Or just in explanatory prose and cell-phone pictures.

I didn't want to take 73 pictures of this process so I condensed the first 70 steps into one photo. You start by unlacing to the spot below the owie place and then lacing straight up the sides to the top of the shoe, leaving loops after you lace the last hole:

In steps 71 and 72, you cross the laces and poke them through the loops and then pull them tight as you tie your shoes like normal:

I step 73, which doesn't photograph in a way that shows you anything useful, you have a shoe that stays on your foot without sagging or rubbing or losing support OR putting pressure on your owie place. It's surprisingly effective, and I'm excited to try it in the marathon.

The owie place, by the way, is healed enough that I feel pain only when I stretch or rub it. So I'm actually pretty confident it won't slow me down on Sunday. Unfortunately, my cold doesn't seem to be responding to NyQuil, Vicks VapoRub, orange juice, vitamins, green tea, warm meals, lots of sleep or Zicam. But it's still just a head full of snot, so it's not like a chest cold or a cough or the flu. So I'm still gonna run with it.

And! Sunday's weather forecast, which had until about noon today included various types of cold, wet precipitation, is currently only about sun and colder-than-ideal temperatures. Which is way better than hotter-than-ideal temperatures for certain 41-year-old gay guys who don't produce a lot of sweat:

All of which means I'm back to entertaining thoughts of running the marathon on Sunday instead of just surviving it. And that's a whole different way to tie your shoes, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I’m having Good Insurance Haver Guilt

The marathon is three days away and I’ve had a whopping ten people work on my foot injury this week.

My job works me 50+ hours a week—usually in fast-deadline-full-panic mode—but it rewards us handsomely with some pretty spectacular insurance. So this week alone I’ve met twice with a sports-medicine podiatrist and twice with a sports-medicine physical therapist, which technically adds up to only two health-care workers but they both brought along an unexpected retinue of sports medicine experts in various stages of residency and assistanceship so the size of my medical posse is artificially (though still uncomfortably) high.

If all that attention didn’t make me feel guilty enough, consider the fact that it’s all for a completely preventable injury (don’t run marathons and you won’t get painful Wookie tendons in your feet) sustained in the pursuit of a ridiculously harmful sport that’s almost as much about vanity and bragging rights as it is about physical accomplishment. And yet my insurance and all these doctors and therapists swooped right in to take care of me the moment I indicated I’d hurt myself.

Compare my situation to Thomas’. For those of you just joining us, Thomas is the pseudonym for my domestic partner’s developmentally disabled brother. We’ve been taking care of him since he moved in with us two years ago. And since nether of our company’s benefits plans could be extended to him as a dependent adult, I asked around to get some medical insurance quotes as soon as we found out he’d never been insured. I assumed we’d be paying freakishly high premiums to cover him, but it seemed like an important investment in his medical and our financial futures.

Imagine my shock, then, when we found out we couldn’t get insurance for Thomas. Not because his coverage would be prohibitively expensive. Not because we’re not his legal guardians. No! We couldn’t get insurance for him because nobody would insure him.


So in our current system, a grown man who through no fault or action of his own was born or became clinically retarded cannot get medical insurance. But I, a reckless daredevil who injures himself in an effort to look young and hot and have bragging rights in a bar and another medal to hang on his wall, has the kind of coverage that allows ten medical practitioners to take care of his inflamed foot tendon so he can keep running and keep putting himself at risk.

Which puts me in a quandary when I encounter the morons who insist affordable medical care is best left to the free market that determined Thomas is not worthy of affordable medical care. My quandary is this: I don’t think these morons deserve medical insurance since they don’t want everyone to have access to it. But they may need it if they ever try to defend their vile opinions to me.


So I have declined any more pre-marathon foot care. My foot’s as healed as everyone thinks it will be, and I intend to slog my way through the marathon on Sunday as best as I can. My podiatrist says I should be OK, but my physical therapist still has reservations. Ironically, they both told me I should skip the marathon altogether because of my cold. As if. I’ll run it with my good friends Zicam and Vicks VapoRub if I have to. But I’ve gotten way too much essentially free medical care to just drop out at this point. And I have any trouble pushing myself through 26.2 miles of what’s threatening to be a cold, snowy Sunday, my innate sense of guilt is the most powerful motivator I have.

Monday, October 05, 2009


That's the diagnosis for my foot injury. Well, one of the diagnoses. But it's the one that's easiest to understand in a google search: the inflammation of the fluid-filled sheath (if you know what I mean) that surrounds a tendon.

The sheath is called a synovium, and in my case, my inflamed synovium is connected to my Extensor digitorum longus, the muscle on the top of my right foot right where it bends up and becomes my shin. I think. Or else it's just an excuse to say "inflamed" and "longus" in the same sentence.

But if that weren't bad enough, I was also diagnosed with a congenital Cavovarus deformity, which google shows me is a cartoonish-looking club foot with a high arch and a big ball (I totally just said I had a big ball!) and a distinct victim-of-foot-binding appearance. The Cavovarus pictures I found on google look nothing like my manly, never-been-attached-to-a-10th-century-Chinese-princess-in-tiny-tiny-shoes feet, so I think this last diagnosis was just a typo and the doctor meant to enter the code for "sexy foot model."


After my foot doctor (who is ironically named Chin) and three people doing rotations from physical therapy clinics looked at my foot, I was given the green light to run the marathon this weekend. Woot!

The good doctors also prescribed four things:

1. A topical anti-inflammatory gel that I have to rub on my Extensor digitorum longus area three times a day. If you know what I mean.

2. Physical therapy twice this week. But the therapist I was referred to is booked until after the marathon. Which means I picked a bad week to have an inflamed sheath. Ahem.

3. A complicated new way to lace up my running shoes that takes pressure off my inflamed sheath (that never stops being funny!) while still holding my shoes in place in a secure, not-gonna-injure-me kind of way.

4. Repeated icing. And not, I was disappointed to discover, the delicious, usually-found-on-a-cake kind of icing. Instead, I have to do this six to eight times a day:

But after just half a day of icing and vigorous gel-rubbing, my foot feels noticeably better, my limp is gone (these jokes just write themselves!) and I've lost the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I've spent a whole summer training only to have to sit by and watch other people run my marathon.

I had asked the doctors if my foot was still hurting on Sunday and I stupidly ran on it anyway would I be looking at a few months of recovery or a lifetime of being crippled. The doctors assured me I'd have at the most a few months of recovery. Followed by a lifetime of being a 10th century Chinese princess in tiny, tiny shoes. Which seems like a fair trade-off.

And which also means I'm back to trying to decide whether or not to get my marathon mohawk.

The cost of baking hubris

I’ve been using my long-dead grandmother’s cookie sheets to do all my cookie-sheet-required baking for probably as long as she used them. They’re scarred and scratched and burn-stained with more than a generation of home-baked-with-love-just-like-in-the-Norman-Rockwell-paintings goodness. But they’re also gross-looking and this-can’t-be-hygienically sticky in a few places.

So in a gross floutation of my dear grandmother’s home-baked-with-love-just-like-in-the-Norman-Rockwell-paintings memory, I went out and bought some brand-new, high-tech, non-stick, nothing-like-you’d-ever-see-in-a-Norman-Rockwell-painting-which-makes-me-a-wasteful-and-ungrateful-capitalist-commie cookie sheets to replace hers, which I planed on unceremoniously leaving in our building’s Dumpster, thereby completing the break-Grandma’s-heart cycle that I started in grade school when I told her I didn’t want to take piano lessons anymore.

But one look at this side-by-side juxtaposition of old vs. new should tell you that I’m making the right decision, especially because the new cookie sheets match the toaster so well:

A second look at this side-by-side juxtaposition, though, should also tell you that the new cookie sheets—which I’ve already taken out of their packaging and washed and thereby rendered them unreturnable—are significantly wider than Grandma’s cookie sheets. Which also makes them taller when they’re stored on their side in our little baking-utensil cupboard. Which is not called a “little baking-utensil cupboard” for nothing. Because the new cookie sheets don’t fit. Which I don’t have to tell you is the cosmic equivalent of my sweet grandmother spitefully cursing my wasteful, family-tradition-disrespecting, memory-spitting-on, why-do-you-hate-Norman-Rockwell-so-much hubris from the grave.

And all I can say is this: Grandma, I love you and I still miss you. And it’s too bad you’re never going to taste how awesome your Christmas cookies turn out on my fabulous new baking sheets. Which I’ll probably have to store under the bed or in the furnace room or in the trunk of my car.