April 2007

…but I love the benefits. When I start out for a run I am usually not very excited. As the run progresses, and I begin to tire, I’m really disliking the process of loping along. Usually I run pushing a jogging stroller, trying to maintain some sense of proper form as I pump my left arm and grasp the handlebar with my right. After the jog ends, my displeasure with the process begins to subside and a feeling of accomplishment sneaks up on me. My mood brightens, and the world looks just a little bit more inviting.

Other reasons I sometimes hate running:

Running with a kid is harder. The jogging stroller doesn’t way too much, and it’s got great bearings (don’t tell anyone, but sometimes when it’s flat, I give it a little push and run free for a few strides), but if you’ve got any sort of hill or breeze, you can feel the addition.

Running in Alaska means that you either keep the season short or find a treadmill for a few months. I restrict my season to mid-April through snow (usually October). So, I have about 5 months to shrug off winter, develop an aerobic base, and get to a happy running place where I don’t feel like dying each time I head out the door. Oh, and the 5 months may be shortened on either end due to having a newborn too small for the stroller, or pregnancy (yeah, I know they say you can jog during pregnancy, but that is not my cup of tea).

So, for now, I’ll keep heading out the door a few days a week, en route for pain-ville. I’ll keep it up (for a couple more months at least) because I know that it makes a big difference in my mental and physical health. I know that in a few more weeks I’ll have my aerobic base, and hitting the road won’t be such a struggle. Then I’ll have to start another post entitled, “I love running”. Until then, do me a favor and give me a wave next time you see me out on the road. That wave will keep me going for at least another mile 🙂


Poor Taurus

Early last Friday morning Kevin and I loaded up the Taurus and took off for Valdez, to visit my brother Brian. We had just qued up the iPod to U2 and were contemplating which coffee stand to visit when suddenly Kevin slammed on the brakes. We had just come down a small hill and at the bottom was a large… well… let’s call it a road anomaly. Basically a pot hole, but taking up the entire lane, and with a raised dirt center where previous drivers had made ruts in the hole. Even though Kevin made a valiant effort to avoid the hole, we were sucked in as if by some great force. Our airbags blew (which set off the horn), the windshield shattered, and the transmission was left trailing fluid. Ouch. The funny thing is, I don’t really remember feeling jerked around at all. I was simply playing with the ipod one second, and the next eating airbag. Yum. It really wasn’t a big deal for us, the passengers. Like I said, there wasn’t a big bump really. The car stayed on the road. Just strange.

Anyway, we’ve submitted the estimates in a claim to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (which, btw, had the week prior received a call about this hole). We’re not expecting to get anything out of it, but who knows. The same morning of our accident, a minivan also took damage from the same pot hole (according to a State Trooper).

I always hate it when people are complaining to the Borough about petty things, but for this issue we’re joining the ranks of the whiners. Only because of their prior warnings and months of this specific pot hole being a problem.

Whatever happened to the hole? As Kevin and I began our journey again at 11 am Friday, we passed a Borough crew at the site. They were putting up warning signs and attempting to repave the area. Apparently that didn’t work, as the problem is still there (albeit now with warning signs and cones).

This question is getting asked a lot lately. What’s the answer? First off, my disclaimer:

I am NOT a military strategist, I do not profess to know everything (or even a moderate amount) about this war in Iraq. I would advise against listening to anyone who says they DO know everything about this war. Like you, I would like to be more knowledgeable about this conflict, and so I do my research, and I present it to you. It’s likely that any analysis is partly incorrect. This is due to a lack of complete information on my part, and on the part of the my sources. I doubt that any person or entity even comes close to having complete information about this conflict. That’s why it’s so difficult to “win”, there are a million different variables to control for in order to bring about the desired result.

Back to my previous question, “Is the surge working?” It’s likely to early to tell. Petraeaus has said that it will be late summer before the effectiveness of the surge will begin to show. While we’re waiting for August to roll around, it would be helpful to determine which factors that will demonstrate the effectiveness of the surge. To do this, let’s look at the desired end result. What would a “win” in Iraq look like? For me, a win would be for Iraq to develop a strong infrastructure, with healthy institutions of education and government, and a developing economy. All of these factors are dependent on the ability of civilians to feel safe to move freely, and for Iraqis to believe that their private property is protected. Indicators of improvement in the above institutions would include increased rates of literacy and graduation, high voter turnout,  and decreased government corruption, among other statistics. So, I’ll be picking through news reports for this information over the coming months. These indicators, rather than decreased/increased loss of life (terrible as it is) will better reveal whether or not the surge will succeed.

Jimmy in a basket

Originally uploaded by maxwell_janeen.

I just spent waaay more time than I should have playing around on Flickr and uploading pics. What is Flickr? It’s basically just a place to store and share photos. The great thing about this site (versus others like shutterfly, etc.) is that there are tons of great add-ons that allow the program to integrate into my world of iPhoto and WordPress blogging. This is particularly useful since I have gotten worse about sending photos to family. So, check out the photos on the right of the page, and if you’d like, view more by clicking on the “view more” link. I’ll be working on getting it organized even better…

The pic above was taken in March. I was doing the laundry and Jimmy was playing beside me. I turned around to see him sitting in the laundry basket. He’s always reached for “toys” inside, but this was the first time he managed to climb in 🙂

Every Wednesday night at 10:00 at the Maxwell house an interesting thing happens: Kevin and I argue. Like clockwork, the TV is turned off, the empty popcorn bags are thrown away, and then the duel begins. Usually Kevin is the first to begin the deliberations. He’ll make a suggestion regarding the future, and I’ll disagree. Then I’ll attempt to tie past behaviors to current actions, and he’ll jump in with his “solution”. Why the argument, you ask? Is our marriage beginning to falter? Have the trials of parenthood taken their toll? No, we’re just trying to clear up the mysteries that have pervaded our once peaceful life. This confusion is brought into our home every Wednesday curtesy of ABC, in the form of the groundbreaking TV drama “Lost”. There has never been a show like this one, and possibly never will be again. Whenever I finish watching an episode, I feel like my brain has done a series of gymnastics, and has emerged from the ordeal energized. Kevin and I enjoy talking for hours (ok, minutes) about the behavior of the characters, and the twists and turns of the plot.

If you’re not already a Lost fanatic, consider jumping on this bandwagon. Just make sure that you start at the beginning (a very good place to start). This is an extremely complex drama, and it’s necessary to begin at season 1 in order to fully enjoy the plot.

Oh, and Dad, you are totally Sawyer 😉