To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Elephant in the Room

hat·ed, hat·ing, noun
verb (used with object)
to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry.
to be unwilling; dislike: I hate to do it.
verb (used without object)
to feel intense dislike, or extreme aversion or hostility.
intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility.
the object of extreme aversion or hostility.

I remember once when I was a young girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old, my dad said I shouldn't say that I hate someone. He said it implies I wish they were dead. (At the time we were at a motel on the Oregon coast watching a James Bond movie and I said I hated the villain.) Well for the purposes of this post, nowhere in the dictionary definition of “hate” do I see anything about wanting someone dead.

So I can say it, because dammit, it’s MY blog and I can say whatever I want… I have feelings of hate in me for a couple people. I have a very intense dislike for people that I now consider the enemy.

Sometimes you (meaning I) just have to write to get it all out. So when this post seems just all “wtf”?? – that’s why!

A lovely woman was born back in the late 1950’s. She had two babies. The youngest one grew up and met a horrible person that wanted to alienate him from his family. The lovely woman tried to keep family ties strong. Instead of embracing everyone in his life, the son chose to be mean to his mom, handing over his balls to this new girl and changing into someone no one recognizes. The new couple, together, are a nasty pairing and people that don’t nobody wants to be around. This woman deliberately comes up with and executes plans just to be rude. There is no appeal.

This couple got so evil and true colors started coming out so much that the lovely woman couldn't take it anymore. On the last happy day I witnessed that happiness disappear for a while. I was there for the last straw. I had no idea that over the next two days the son would be so awful and push her beyond her limits. The horrible girl won the battle on that September morning when I lost that lovely woman in my life. Perhaps it has just gone unsaid since then, but flat out those of us that listened to the woman and saw the changes happening know the big reason WHY she is gone. And I will never forgive that reason why.

Last night that reason Why pushed the rest of us beyond our limits. The son that treated his mom so despicably since that girl appeared posted a facebook status. (Ah facebook – isn't it always involved in life’s drama these days?) His status indicated that he misses his mom and thinks of her every single day and that while he is off on his Walt Disney World honeymoon (Oh yeah, he’s marrying that cow that the entire family hates!!!), it won’t be the same without his mom. A friend posted a comment offering sympathy and support. And then you know what came next??? The cow posted “ha ha ha…. Babble babble babble.” Her words after “ha ha ha” don’t even matter. How dare you come into this family’s life, tear it apart, be vicious and nasty, be the final trigger to the lovely woman pulling a trigger, and now you say HA HA HA??? It’s funny that she is gone???

I had already done it, but this reassures my stance… family ties with that one son are severed. I need nothing to do with them. In a sense, although it ultimately was her decision, they took my aunt and Godmother away from me. All of my childhood memories, and frankly tons of my adult memories, too, are with her. So much laughter. She actually fell out of her seat on Star Tours in Disneyland! The seat belt stayed attached, but she was flailing around, laughing and snorting. OMG it was awesome! And that’s just one of so many memories. And now that’s all I have, memories. Is that new couple welcome in my life? No. Will they be told to leave if they dare arrive at my wedding reception? Oh heck, yes! Will I be going to their ridiculous ceremony? You can bet your life I won’t. I’m sure there is a race that day or something. I might have to wash my hair. Or watch a Housewives marathon on Bravo. But since you probably shouldn't have hate in your life then I wash my hands of them. These people are strangers to me. They want nothing to do with the family, so I will oblige and no longer know that young son. I will forever keep my memories of my dear aunt …. And frankly, I’m kind of a clone of her, according to the family, so she will live on through my sassy moments I suppose!

My aunt, my mom and myself.... "tanning" to prepare for another vacation together!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Inaugural Hop Hop Half Marathon

Ahh, some race redemption!! After the disaster known as the Shamrock 15K I was timid, yet excited for the Inaugural Hop Hop Half Marathon in Portland.

The day before the race MF and I went to Foot Traffic to pick up our bibs and shirts. It was in a cute little Portland suburb that I had never been to before, so I enjoyed it. Picking up shirts and bibs was a breeze, and we didn’t just get boring old shirts – these were cute Brooks tech shirts with special cuts for women! Yay! I saw a photo of my man Pre on the wall – back in his high school days – and told MF that this was going to be a good race. Any time you see Pre without trying, it is always a good race!

On race morning the alarms went off and it was hard to get up, but I did. Soon MF and I were out the door not exactly sure where we were going since the start line didn’t have an actual address. Interesting! Fortunately it was so early in the morning that we had no traffic to deal with and after making only one wrong turn we arrived. We were greeted by tons of volunteers helping to get everyone parked, then made a mad dash to an impressive row of potties – no lines at all!! It was so cold and I was in a thin shirt and skirt, so we went back to the car and sat for a half hour with the heater on. I just kept looking at the snowy mountains wondering what on earth I was getting into! Once we had only 10 minutes until the start we decided to get out and head to the corral. Um… freezing!!!! I made a spontaneous purchase at the Foot Traffic booth to buy a t-shirt to wear under my shirt. Instantly I felt better. After seeing familiar faces in the starting area we were off and running for 13.1 beautiful miles!

Sporting my new Goofy headband for good luck!
Washington is in the background.
The plan was to not stop running until MF’s sister in law passed us on the out and back. We actually ended up running much longer than planned until I was in too much pain. Sitting in a warm car, then heading out into the 30-something degree weather without any form of stretching? Not the best idea for these legs. I pulled over to stretch out my calves and then felt much better and continued on. For the rest of the race, since we’ve done zero training since Goofy, we stuck with a 4:1 run/walk ratio. Four-tenths of a mile goes by so much faster when you know you get a little reprieve soon!

MF - with the PDX runway and airport over his shoulders.
The majority of the race was on a path that ran right between the Columbia River (with Washington just on the other side looking nice and green!) and the Portland International Airport. Every time we saw a Southwest airplane we joked that they were heading to Vegas (we leave in less than 3 weeks on a SW plane to Vegas!!!). Around mile 3 MF needed a potty stop. I took that time to ditch* the cotton t-shirt I had purchased and then felt I was at the perfect temperature. (*MF carried it for me, I didn’t actually toss it!) After that little break we were on Fire!!! Perhaps it was the Easter theme, but I was turning everyone into my rabbit and picking them off one at a time. The only people we were passed by at this point were late starters that were flying down the path. It felt pretty awesome getting back in my zone! Once the lead runners returned and sharing the path with us heading back to the finish line I REALLY soaked up their energy and my legs took off. I was running paces I did last summer when I was training for 5Ks. Loved it!!

Sadly things took a turn. After making the turn around and heading back in for the last 5 miles I had a first. Coming up to mile 8.5 I saw a cluster of people on the ground. As we got closer I could see there was a person down. Once there I saw a woman possibly my age? It was tough to tell. They were trying to get her to respond and breathe. While I was in the area there was zero response. I saw them roll her on to her back, presumably to look for breathing signs, and it wasn’t pretty. The poor girl was stiff as a board, completely pale and clammy with no response in her eyes. Right as I passed someone got up about to start giving her chest compressions. I had to turn, look forward, and couldn’t help but start crying. Soon we were hearing sirens from all directions come rushing to her –thankfully we were by a water station where volunteers were able to rush down. I still don’t know what happened or the outcome, but it really did affect me.

From there my pace slowed and both MF and I had to admit we lost our mojo for the day. It was scary to see someone just like me down on the ground while doing something that we are out there doing for fun. I hope everything turned out okay!! The last 4 miles were still our ratio, but a bit slower. We instead spent more time looking at how beautiful of a place we were able to run in. For a while we stared at a huge bald eagle sitting out on a piling in the Columbia River. Nice, peaceful, sunny – we were all really lucky people that day!

With just over a mile to go we dropped down a small hill to a road crossing. The road was not flat at all and my leg just didn’t lift up enough. When my foot came back down it twisted a bit – and my knee felt it. That last mile was really painful. Walking happened more than running, but dammit I wasn’t going to walk through the finish line. We ran that sucker in, just the two of us with no other runners in sight, our names read loudly over the speakers. Loved it! I was given a gigantic, shiny Easter egg medal that I was proud to wear! In the finisher area we were given complimentary champagne flutes for Mimosas, although we chose to just have OJ in ours. Also we got super yummy croissants with scrambled eggs in them. That was the best post-race food ever!! People lingered about taking photos with the Easter bunny, dying eggs and just soaking up the atmosphere. We had smiles on our faces the whole entire day! This was just the event I needed to spark that running fire in me once again. Kudos to you, Foot Traffic and thanks for a great race!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shamrock 15K - Third and Done.

Third times a charm? No. More like “three strikes, you’re out!” That’s my review of the Shamrock 15K in Portland, Oregon this St. Patrick’s Day.

2011 was my first attempt. It was the first time I had run on anything with such crazy hills, and also the first time I had a mid-race Meniere’s attack. When I crossed the finish line I said what we all say at one time or another … never again! In 2012 I was back again, determined to improve my time – and I got myself a 10 minute PR. And again, I said “Never again!” By the time we were at breakfast after the race I told Cilley Girl that I was in for 2013. You can probably put the pieces together … this time I am serious “Never again!!

Going into this very tough race I had run only 13 miles since Goofy Weekend in Walt Disney World. Can we say un-prepared?? I had a goal of just finishing and enjoying myself. It’s been a constant Meniere’s struggle for me in 2013, so I knew that I wasn’t going to be on my game like last year, and I was fine with that. I bought myself a bright green shirt, pulled out a new skirt and was on my way north for a weekend of fun with my bridesmaid and future groom! First up we hit the expo. I scored with a first aid kit, some chips and a green Camelback water bottle with the race logo on it – I spent not even one penny! As per usual, we had Raccoon Lodge and tater tots (a key to any successful race!!). We spent the day very relaxed, watching the Hangover and its sequel…required viewing to be in the wedding of the ‘Zilllas! Early to bed we went, ready for a tough, wet morning.

Woke up on race day, turned myself pretty darn green, grabbed some water and a Power Crunch bar and called it good. We got to the race much later than my nerves can handle, which I think Cilley Girl relished in (meanie!). But I had plenty of time to hit the potty while MF dropped off our bag of clothes. Soon Cilley and I split up and MF and I jumped in and took off to start 9.3 difficult miles. But you know what we didn’t have?? Rain!! For the first time the entire race was dry! Go figure. MF says it is because HE was running, he claims he brings good weather.

The course now starts with a long out and back along the same stretch the Portland Marathon covers. I’m pretty over that section – especially the part that is filled with an overwhelming stench of urine. Once we turned and went back into the downtown streets I enjoyed the new scenery. Oh – so in that long out and back part everybody was moving together in a nice, big pack. From right behind me I hear a dude. “Whoa, look at all the thick runners. People in Oregon are probably 75 pounds heavier than in Indiana.” This didn't sit well with me, especially since he was right behind me at the time. After loudly repeating what he said so other Oregonians could hear I believe it went something like “Why don’t you and your beard go back to Indiana?” Ass hat.

Water. No medal, but we got water...
So back through town, I am very excited to report I ran over 2 entire miles with zero walking! I haven’t done that in ages due to things like, oh, character photo stops in a theme park! Grabbed water at the first top and continued on my way. I started breaking up small walk segments during the mini-incline just to save energy for the BIG one at mile 4. We dropped down into the major section of the race and I recognized we were almost at the base of the hill where there was a water stop. I had us each take a gel so we’d have that boost going into the climb. We get to the water stop … the tables are empty. “Are you kidding me? No water?” Everyone says they have more up the hill. This did NOT sit well with the runners that know that means TWO MILES AWAY. So after 35 years of putting on this race they can’t have plenty of water for the mid-pack runners? I was so pissed off that I stormed my way up a good chunk of the first hill, taking advantage of the adrenaline. MF and I continued moving, running on anything not steep, and quickly walking up the steep parts.

Cheap socks? Yes. But cute!
At the top I heard the bagpipes and knew water was close! I ran up the last segment and saw tables on their sides and put away. Again not sufficient water. I was able to get a small cup from a volunteer, at which point I channeled the disappointment of the whole production and used it to haul ass downhill. MF and I didn’t really talk anymore, instead focused on forward momentum and staying in the low 9’s on my Garmin. Nothing spectacular to report. Just running, a couple walk breaks to keep me from pushing and then fizzling since I haven't been training. We did see a spectator in his pajamas fixing bacon and serving it to runners! It was in the last mile that I told MF the whole Earth was moving around on me. I battled vertigo off and on the whole race and it was now really before me. I decided to just focus far ahead, try to not hit any runners with any drifting I may do and just push it. I signaled MF when I was about to turn on my final kick and then took off, flying through the finish line.

Hooray! I did it! And then it happened ... puking at the finish again. Just like the good ol' days - only this time I think it was due to sprinting through a Meniere's attack. A lot of factors were adding up against me. But I didn't care - I puke like a pro now! As my timing chip was being snipped off of my shoe we heard it... THE announcement that would infuriate tons of runners and cause me to just finally say No More. "Attention runners, we have just run out of medals." WHAT? Are you freaking kidding me? Less than 8 minutes from a PR, tons of runners behind me and you are out of medals for all of us that worked so hard??
Bonus of the race: 50% off at the Adidas store!
They say they are mailing them out to us, so hopefully it arrives when they say it will. But really, is a medal after the fact as exciting to get as it is at a finish line when you are celebrating another victory with your friends? The whole finish line turned to chaos with tons of upset and confused people. I didn't even stay for the after party because I was just annoyed. Running out of water AND medals? I learned later they ran out of the beer that we runners were also supposed to get a free cup of with our entry. Poor planning. Terrible organization. It was just really disappointing. *I learned at the Adidas campus that the head guy there ran, also missed out on water and a medal and was NOT pleased and wants to know who/what/why to all of these issues and does not want the Adidas name to be associated with something so dysfunctional.

At breakfast we continued to discuss the race. Turns out 5K and 8K runners were getting our medals. Volunteers were handing them to everyone and open boxes of them were left on the ground for anyone to take. Not. Cool. Facebook was filled with tons of comments about how this race did not live up to the past years and that they might not do it anymore. As far as running, I am really happy! I made a conscious effort to not slack even though I was undertrained and dizzy the whole time. I ran past a mural of Steve Prefontaine 2.2 miles into the race. I declared then that I was going to have a good personal performance ... and I really did! It was just the boost I needed to get me back!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Spray Tan Experiment

The day we bought my wedding dress my aunt was full of demands. "Demands" might sound harsh, but no, really, she was adamant about some things.... short dress means loooong veil, sparkles everywhere, huge tiara, sparkly high heels, short short and tight tight dress, fake nails, tan.  My shoes probably would be okay with her I think. She approved of my dress, but insisted we add sparkle. For her I'm adding ONE piece of sparkle, in honor of her and Grandma. Nails? No way! I hate fake nails. She got them for me for the first "party" and I learned that I never want them again. Even though she now only bosses me around from her little cloud in the sky, she is winning one thing.... the tan.

The towel and hair net.
I am a whole mess of tan lines, as I imagine a lot of you fellow runners are. V-necks, round necks, short sleeves, tanks, compression socks, shorts, Road ID, Garmin ... I'm a patchwork quilt! So yesterday I took one step to evening it out. I called the local tanning salon and made an appointment. Have you ever done these things? I didn't do the tanning bed, but rather opted for the 60 second Mystic Tan. Totally new to me!

After work I went for a run (yay!!!) then hopped in the shower to remove all perfume, makeup and sweat. I scrubbed down my entire body with that loofah just to be sure! I then threw on a running dress, NO deodorant, no makeup, brushed my hair and was out the door to the salon.  Once there I had to fill out this big card with all sorts of info and figure out my skin type number (3, if you're interesting). I decided to take advantage of the "buy 2 get the 3rd free" special and was taken back to a private room.  The girl taught me what to do, and I had already watched the video online, so that helped. She left me on my own (after getting photos for this post) to tan away!

Lotion and baby wipes -- and mood lighting?
First up, ditch ALL the clothes. Leave it to me to not even think of locking the door for a while. Um, yeah. First up I put on a hair net. So sexy!  Next up I had to use this lotion on my hands and feet, but not rub it in all the way. (I rubbed the lotion on my skin ....) <--that's my Buffalo Bill reference for the post. Time for the machine.

OMG I felt like I was in a car wash. On the floor are 4 footprints, each of them numbered. I got in the booth/machine thing and waved my hand in front of the sensor. Nothing. Are you kidding me? I'm naked, lotioned and in a hair net. I can't ask for help like this!! The recording tells me to put my hand in front of the sensor (not wave it like the girl told me). So I stick my hand out and hear my instructions.  With my feet on 1 and 4 I got in the post I saw on the video and took a deep breath. From my feet up to my head I was sprayed. It was kind of loud. And then I panicked and was sure I was going to die when my face was being sprayed. 

I did this 3 times, rotating a little bit each time. I got better (at not thinking I was dying) with each round. No, strike that. I freaked out each time. But at least I knew I was going to freak, so I guess it didn't seem AS bad. Once it was done I was standing in this booth and it's all foggy and smells like tanning spray. I needed out. I tried to push on the door and it didn't open. So then I pulled. Nothing. I tried looking to see, and I swore it looked like I had to pull. Pull, pull, pull ... nothing. Great. I'm stuck in this thing. So I try to push again. Finally after two tries and finally a BIG push it opened up.

Like I was told I used a paper towel to remove the hair net. Then I used the baby wipes on my hands. Stupidly I really want to town on the top of my left hand and realized I wasn't supposed to do that. Then I got delicate and finished off my palms.  I used a towel to lightly pat down my body, slipped on my dress and then was done! Really, it was a pretty simple process.. hopefully next time I will do it like a pro!

So this morning I woke up -- Holy New Pope! I was tan!!  The bottom of my feet? Brown. I forgot to wipe the bottom of them with the baby wipes. Oops. Oh well - nobody sees that part anyway. My left hand? Yeah, you can see where I went crazy wiping. . . and you can tell I then stopped. My poor thumb. It's like I had a transplant from an Oompa Loompa. I've been hiding it all day.  But other than that, I like how it came out. My back looks really good! I have an even skin color finally!!

It is supposed to last a week, so we'll see how looks after a few days! Next time I get it done it will be for the wedding. ... which is a month from today. Weeeeee!!!!!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

He Said What??

Oh this week has been a doozy! So entertaining to me, as far as work can be, that I had to document it.

Monday: Younger guy - maybe mid/late-20s. He asks if water ever goes down in cost the more you use it. I explain that it doesn't, that he just pays a flat rate per unit of water he uses. He says, "So if I'm watering a field I just have to pay up the ass?" Up. The. Ass. I died.

Tuesday: Mid-age guy, maybe 40s. He says, "Man, I'm so sore. I was riding horses yesterday. I feel like I was rode hard and put away wet." Again, I died.

Wednesday: Phone call, a male is on the other line. Long pause .... "Yeah, uh, I don't know what I want..... Well, I want... to make a report." "Okay?" "Not against a dog ...." (a dog?? Where is this going, I wonder?!?) .."but against a human.... taking... a crap.. on the sidewalk downtown."

I'm REALLY happy that some days I am easily amused. This whole week has had me laughing during the unending boredom!

P.S. I got new shoes!

Monday, March 11, 2013

It Was A Mission Statement. -Jerry Maguire

Sometimes it seems one moment in time can completely change the way you look at life. For me that one moment in time was that moment my aunt pulled the trigger on a gun aimed at herself. Losing my Godmother maybe 60 hours after we bought my wedding dress and had a celebratory dinner together has kind of turned my world upside down in ways. (Quite the intro, right?!?) I’m sure any regular reader of my blog can tell there’s been a major drop in my blogging since then. Running, I’ve run one mile in the last month. In this time that I’ve dropped off the planet I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Fine, thinking AND wedding planning (34 days!!). And with this thinking I’ve come to some realizations and made some big decisions.

The easy one first. Running. It makes me happy. I feel better about myself when I’m out there running. I had pretty much a month long Meniere’s attack and haven’t been able to do much of anything really. I even missed some days of work (which is when I had my biggest moments of clarity). I’m starting to feel better, so I hope to get back to my regular running again. I like NOT running, but at the same time I LOVE running. I choose love over like! This year I’m not aiming for greatness. No huge number of races, so long distances (i.e. no full marathons). I just want to run for fun and health. Disneyland will take me out of state, but that’s probably it as far as races go.

And then there is my bigger thought. My life in general. My aunt’s passing has shown me how you just never know when it’s all going to end. People always say it, but now I’m really seeing it… you only live once and in the scheme of the universe, life is pretty short. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – as the brilliant Ferris Bueller once said! When I am gone from the earth and floating on my little cloud with my animals would I be happy with how I lived life? Would I be proud of what I am doing at this moment in time? My answer is NO. If I die tomorrow I don’t want to have to my name that I accomplished nothing. Sure, I ran some big races, I worked in a pretty famous theme park, I performed karaoke for a lot of strangers a few times. Big deal. Overall is that much?

As I see it right now I am just wasting time. I went to a university. For three years I was a business major until I took Psych 101 as an elective. On that first day of class I knew I had to change majors. Psychology was my calling. I’m good at it. I enjoy it. I was in my zone. After four years at OSU I had a diploma in my hand. A BS in Liberal Arts! I crossed that football field in my cap and gown with total pride. As I shook the hand of the University president I had a beaming smile on my face. I was going places!

First place I went? Walt Disney World. For three years I felt a range of emotions, but mostly happy. Happy to be in a place where I could make others feel the Disney magic. Thousands of people a day were made happy by me when I sent them on their way to raft the Chakranadi River. I got paid basically nothing, which wasn’t part of the dream, but at least I felt like I had a bit of a purpose. I made people smile , while teaching them about animals and conservation at the same time. Even when I worked in the office I felt like I had a purpose. I was paying the Cast Members that were out there sweating to make our guests had memorable vacations. In a tiny way, while making less than seven dollars an hour, I still felt I was contributing. I was proud to say I worked in Walt Disney World. I am proud of what the Disney company stands for. Walt Disney had a vision and I was helping to carry that forward for the next generations. Being a part of that was truly my lifelong dream. When I left to move home and start a family and be closer to mine, to say I cried a little is an understatement!

And now here I am. It is 2013, eight and a half years after I moved back home and I no longer have a sense of pride. Just last week I was presented with an option. Basically I was told my job is cut to part time now (although it’s been full time for 30+ years) and I got to choose what to do the other half of the day. Go to one spot and be miserable doing something that makes me physically sick to my stomach OR do the job a robot could do and take a pay cut. The reasons behind it all – not pleasant, I don’t want to get into it, but I still stand firm that sticking up for myself was right and if I’m punished for it, then so be it! In thinking about do I want to do this or that I realized my answer. I don’t want to do any of it!

If my life ended next month do I want my lasting legacy to be “Oh yeah, Ronda. Remember her? She’s the girl that studied hard in school, got good grades, and then settled for just answering a telephone once in a while if it rang because she pissed off the wrong person once? Sad thing. She had so much potential.” Yeah, I don’t want that. I’m not proud of what they’ve pushed my job into. I want to have my family that I planned nine years ago. At this point in time I would be so embarrassed to have my child ask me what I do for work. I’m not proud of it and I wouldn’t feel like a good role model. Nobody should be proud of something like this. How could I encourage my child to study hard, and go to college – when right now all I have to show for myself is that I am good with customers and know how to transfer a call. Sure, yeah, it’s a paycheck. But sometimes money isn’t everything. I want to be a person my child could be asked about and not get laughed at when friends learn what a loser I am. Man Friend and I have done a lot of talking, a lot of weighing pros and cons. I’m now on my “one year plan” as I’ve optimistically dubbed it. We are pretty much in “let’s start a family” mode, and once we are able to increase our number from two to three (OMG, what if I have twins?? That would be 2 to 4! Eek!), well I’m making a BIG change! I feel like I’d be a better contribution to the world by just being a mom. Believe it or not I’m pretty darn smart. I come from a family of musically inclined people that have an athletic side (clearly I’m more of the music person, but still). I’d rather spend my days being the best mom I can be and pass on things that I’ve learned. Walks in the park? Yes! Trips to the Wildlife Safari to learn about animals? Yes! Wasting my life being treated like a little Chess piece at work? No thanks! I’m pretty darn excited to start living and not just be existing. When I was in high school and planning my future I never figured I’d even get married, let alone have children … I guess it takes a split second decision made by someone special to sometimes show you what you really want to do in life!

*MF says I’m not allowed to start shopping for cute diaper bags yet. Bummer.