What's up, November?


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Seems like just yesterday we were wondering where September went and now BAM...what happened to October??

Life's been busy, y'all! A few things I've been doing, reading, talking about or just generally enjoying...

* Hiking with my family and telling others how to make it easy and fun. (Hints: Never call it hiking and always bring treats.) Read more about it at The Queso, which incidentally has all kinds of awesomeness planned this month. Tune in!


* This week REI won my heart (again) when they announced their #OptOutside campaign, in which they will close their doors on Black Friday and encourage employees and the public to spend the day outside with family. Can I get an Amen?


* Even though the weather in Austin has been cool (ish) lately, my camera and I have been recreating the heat of summer with our friends at Fine & Folded. They sell delightful (and super practical!) hand fans that are a purse essential for 9 months out of the year in Texas. Check them out...You're going to want some of these.


* I was so excited to have one of my photos featured in the November issue of The Sun, a literary magazine that I have read and admired for decades. When my kids saw it they said, "Oh darn, it's on the last page, Mom..." I said, "YES! That's where everybody turns first!" The whole issue is dedicated to parenthood and family life. As always, it's full of thoughtful, humorous and unforgettable personal stories.


* My friend Kacie of MamaCasePrints, who is a rockstar T-shirt designer and mom of two, has the most amazing new member of her family: Emma the Labrador service dog. Two years ago Kacie's son Eddy (now almost 4 years old) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This year, thanks to special T-shirt sales and donations, Eddy has Emma by his side to detect dangerous dips in his blood sugar levels. She has been a game changer for their family and it's only just the beginning. Every single time I read a post about Emma I get chills. Follow them on Instagram and you'll fall in love with their story.

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* My new favorite gift is a custom poem from the talented crew at Typewriter Rodeo. This group of writers has been entertaining events for years by setting up a table and working their magic on the spot. Now they are also offering custom poems for birthdays and special holidays. Here's just one brilliant example of their work. Find them on Facebook for more! (Click image to enlarge and read poem.)

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Other that, I've been throwing together Halloween costumes, trying to track down a cookbook from the library that I lost before I even made it to the kitchen, and texting my friends inane things like this. What have YOU been up to?









On the mend

wrongturn Hi, my name is Liz and I haven’t run in 63 days. It’s been approximately 64 days since I’ve felt like myself.

I won’t bore you with the details...the short story is that a nagging foot injury turned ugly and left me first limping along, then strapped into an air-cast, then trying somethingANYTHING to trick my body and mind into thinking I wasn’t falling apart. Or going insane from the inactivity.

I’ve long said that nothing does it for me like running. But I’ve never had to test that declaration in such a brutal way before now. My doctors were very clear and very firm: no running, no yoga, no bare feet, no fun. Find yourself a suitable, no-impact alternative activity, and try to stop glaring at us.

Got it.

First alternative activity:  WALLOWING. I found a cozy spot on the couch and began systematically binge-eating tortilla chips, dark chocolate and red wine. Usually all at the same time. I trained hard at the lounging and put the refrigerator through its paces, but it turns out pity parties require even more stamina than marathons. I could only sing Sinead’s ode to running so many times before even I got sick of myself. Nooooothing Compares 2 U!

Eventually I sucked it up, joined a gym with a pool and dove into my very least-favorite exercise: SWIMMING. My biggest surprise was how pro everyone at the local YMCA looked. Exactly nobody else showed up goggle-less and carrying a Finding Nemo kickboard. Turns out, swimming is nothing like running. Maybe you’ve noticed before, but in the pool you can’t take a breath any old time you want. You need rhythm and timing just to keep yourself from drowning. You also need a PhD in Pool Protocol if you don’t want to look like an idiot splashing around in the wrong lane, incapable of doing a proper flip turn.

Because I’m such a lame swimmer, and because I figured things couldn’t get any more humiliating, I decided to try AQUA JOGGING, which is Running’s dorkiest cousin. If Aqua Jogging rode a bike, it would be a recumbent for sure. In fact, Aqua Jogging is so dorky it would ride a recumbent to Senior Prom. I know, I’ve heard the chorus of praises: “Aqua Jogging! It’s better for your back! No impact! So refreshing!”  It also requires a bright blue floatation belt and feels like you are mall-walking past a chlorinated J.C. Penney’s. That said, I must admit that I grew almost fond of this goofy exercise. Here I was, moving in an upright, runner-ish fashion and if I planned ahead I didn’t even have to get my hair wet. Who’s the dork now??

After 6 weeks in the pool, I got the greenlight to do low-impact activities like the ELLIPTICAL TRAINER. Turns out, the elliptical is very much like running, as long as you suspend everything you know about forward motion. If you overthink the elliptical and try to put “one foot in front of the other” you are doomed to topple off and fall at the feet of your neighboring gym rat. Or so I hear. Once I got comfortable on the elliptical, I couldn’t stop. I was so grateful to be sweating again. (Note: Please don’t remind me of that sentence come August.)

Around this time I also got the ok to go HIKING with my family. Fresh air! Hooray! In some of my happy places with my favorite people! Alas, one final spoiler alert...hiking with kids is also not running. Even my bossiest running friends don’t ask me to carry their snacks or give them piggie backs up the big hills. It’s the little things I miss, really.

So here we are...63 days out and my body is healing. It seems my foot did not sustain any permanent damage. Not sure I can say the same about my sanity.

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Visual proof that the road trip temporarily known as Hell on Wheels was well worth the effort once we arrived. All we had to do was give each kid his/her very own mountain. (Click collage to enlarge.)

Happy End of Summer, y'all!!