Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today's Public Service Announcement

Dear Fellow Treadmillers at the Gym,

Cranking up the incline all the way and then hanging onto the handles for dear life completely defeats the purpose. I don't care if the inflated calorie burn reader makes you feel extra good about yourself. IT'S LYING TO YOU. I am only trying to help.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside (And Dark, and Did I Mention Cold?)

We had four new tires put on my car yesterday and if you thought I got excited about vacuum cleaners... We've had snow on the ground for about a week now here in Milwaukee and if I know anything about Midwest winters, it will probably continue to look like this for the next four months. (I have a hard time appreciating how pretty the snow is when I know it will still be here in April.) I think every year I curse the fact that I was born in this part of the country but on the other hand it's not like I would ever leave. When I'm up shoveling out the car at 5:30 in the morning in order to get the girls to school on time I try to think of it as a test of my character. Wisconsin winters are The Way of My People, eh? It probably doesn't help that I start to think about the sun setting once it gets past three-thirty and by seven o'clock I'm wondering when bedtime is since it been dark for about a day and a half.
I take comfort that at least this month I have so many things to plan for. In a couple of weeks we'll be taking the girls into downtown Chicago for the day which should be pretty exciting for them. All the lights on Michigan Avenue, riding in the horse-drawn carriages, the gigantic toy stores... Now if only I could get off my butt and put up the Christmas lights outside my own house. It's so warm and toasty in here!

Monday, November 24, 2008

On the Ride to School...

"Hey mom, did you know that I'm friends with two fifth graders?"

"No, that sounds pretty cool though."

"Yeah, and then there are these two other fifth graders- who are totally my arch nemesis."

I then realized that I'm only a year and a half away from being a mother to an actual fifth grader and I gave myself a heart attack and died. The end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God Bless Keith Olbermann. That is all.

Olbermann's special comment on the passing of Prop 8 in California. Very eloquent.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day, And I'm Feeling...Sick.

I generally tend to deny it when I'm sick and do something stupid like run 5 miles in the cold or paint the living room but today I'm on the couch in my slippers doing some online Christmas shopping. Yay! I may be married to to a Grinch but I love Christmas and you can't stop me. I've got a pile of new cookie recipes to try and maybe if I'm good then Santa will put a Kitchen Aid mixer in my stocking. Ava's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I've already got her party booked at the gymnastics gym and I'll be starting on her video shortly. Five. Years. Old. Not only do I not have babies anymore, but I don't even have toddlers. They are both gigantic. (Hopefully gigantic enough to enjoy a trip to Washington D.C. because we are headed there for all the inauguration festivities in January!) These past two weeks since the election have been interesting since I haven't spent hours a day immersed in political commentary and polling data. Welcome back to the regular world I guess- a grey, sunless world where night falls at 4:30. I'm still following some disputed Senate races (hello Minnesota, Alaska and Georgia!) and I'm pretty steamed about Prop 8 in California but I'm at leat trying to take a little break from politics and focus on more light-hearted things for the time being. Bring on the turkey! My new longer distance running regimen really makes me crave the carbs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All Voted Up.


(I actually voted early last week but here it is anyway.) GOTV people!

I woke up this morning and immediately started humming this song:

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Stole This Photo Off Steph's Blog Because I Love It.


Have I mentioned how restless I am today? I'm totally shirking all responsibilities and killing time on the internet. I'm not afraid to admit it either.

I. Can't. Wait.

I'm re-posting this video from the primary season just because it makes me feel all warm and tingly.

I posted this entry on July 28, 2004. What an amazing road it's been since then!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Interesting Trivia

Q: When was the last time the Republicans won the Presidency without a Bush or a Nixon on the ticket?

A: Herbert Hoover in 1928.

Sunday, October 19, 2008



My dad is voting for Barack Obama. My. Dad. The man who used to swear by Fox News and Bill O'Reilly is voting for Barack Obama. Somebody please pinch me.

(And yes, I'm having an awesome Sunday thanks to Mr. Colin Powell and Mr. Kyle Orton.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

School Pictures 2008

Ok, those cupcakes are starting to scare me. Here's something much cuter!

Ava's first school photo:


Juliana the third grader:


Funny thing: I checked the box for a red background but Juliana argued for a blue one "to match her eyes." Look what color came back. Hmmm.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Who Said I Wasn't Crafty?

My Palin cupcakes turned out great for the debate:


Warning: If you love Sarah Palin, then you probably won't like the photo gallery. (Or maybe you'll find it to be a cute little homage. Who knows?)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Did It!


I did it AND I exceeded my fundraising goal! Thank you, thank you to everyone who gave money. As promised, I ran the whole way- I think I could have run another 5K if you asked me to. Maybe next time? I really underestimated what I thought I could do. I actually had signed up for the untimed race because I didn't want the pressure of making a certain time. When I got there though I lined up with the timed runners in the 10+ minute mile group and guess what? They were waaaay too slow! I spent the first 4 or 5 minutes of the race trying to weave in and out of everyone to get further ahead in the pack. It must have been the adrenaline. I really think I could have done the whole race in under 30 minutes if I would have been able to run at my preferred pace the entire time. I guess I'll have to tuck that information away for the next race I do. Regardless, I 'm ecstatic at how well it went and I hope to do many, many more in the future.

Plus, I got to load up on carbs at Comet afterwards. Yay!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

This Is What I Get For Trying To Teach Them About the Electoral Process

This afternoon Michelle Obama was in West Allis, WIsconsin- just about 5 miles down the road from my house. I picked up the girls from school and headed out with a bevy of snacks in tow, a huge bottle of water, and a backpack filled with toys, crayons, notebooks, and two ipods. We waited in a big crowd of excited, friendly people for about two hours and ended up in a spot right in front of the podium. Yeah! Then, right when Michelle was being introduced and walked out to speak I heard the words I had been dreading to hear:

"MOM-MEE, I have to go POTTY!"

Gah. No photo. Nothing. I tried frantically to get one as Ava yelled at me but couldn't get my camera to focus. I probably could have figured it out if I didn't have a four-year-old grabbing her behind and crying. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Here's Michelle. So close, yet so far away.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Vote For Tina Fey

Best line: "I can see Russia from my house!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

God Bless Jon Stewart

Nothing beats the Daily Show's election coverage.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This. Is. Wrong.

This showed up on my inbox today forwarded from a friend of a friend. (Yes this is from a real person- it's not one of "those" forwarded emails.) Make of it what you will:

On Monday, the 17-year-old son of our friends Mandy and Melissa had
gone to the Twin Cities for the day with his pastor and a group of
teens to peacefully protest the war at the RNC. While there, he was
brutally beaten by five police officers and detained without being
Mirandized and without a phone call, despite his repeated requests to
call his parents - a violation of Minnesota law. He was ultimately
released without his wallet, phone or shirt and wandered the streets
until he met a stranger who let him borrow their cell phone to call
his mom.

It may sound far-fetched to believe that Keith didn't provoke the riot
police, but in this beautiful age of technology we live in, the truth
is contained in numerous YouTube videos and news photos showing Keith,
a practicing Buddhist, actively not behaving provacatively. Michelle
Tucker blogs for VITAL Source under the heading of The Free Speech
Zone.. She picked up the story and started gathering more information.
She has posted about it extensively today and will continue to do so.
Please go to her blog to see for
yourself. And then, please, please share the URL with anyone who might
be interested. More good information is available from the Minnesota
Independent (, with sites and
blogs now picking up this important story.

If you want to know even more about the protests at the RNC, do not
rely on your favorite major news organization. Go to YouTube and
search for RNC Protesters. Or dig deeper on the internet to find news
from independent sources. Corporate news companies are still toeing
the party line on this story - Anarchists got out of line, the police
heroically stepped in to save the RNC and the people of the Twin
Cities from the dangers of rioters. But this is only about 10% of what
happened yesterday. It is important to see it for yourself and make up
your own mind.

Scary. Here I was laughing at the people carrying marijuana signs behind Chris Matthews' head on MSNBC but I had no idea stuff like this was happening.

And the Veneer of the First Day Already Begins to Wear

Day two of school began this morning with me finding Juliana's backpack with cat pee all over it. Inside was the mountain of school paperwork I had spent yesterday afternoon completing. Yeah.

Things are back to normal!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

No More Babies.

k401.jpg 3rdgrade02.jpg



(Click on any of the photos for the whole gallery.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Your Daily Dose of Narcissism

I guess you can say I've been in sort of an Olympics bubble this past week. Staying up past midnight is very unlike me but I've been on a shifted schedule for a while now taking in every lap of the pool and flip on the balance beam. Jason is nice to put with me and my sometimes way too in-depth knowledge of gymnastics (Nastia was robbed at the bars final! ) and I will miss Bela Karolyi when he disappears from my television for four years again in a few days.

So when this morning I read a blurb on MSNBC about Jennifer Lopez complaining that Michael Phelps is getting more attention than her I about lost my oatmeal all over my keyboard. Here's a highlight:

Lopez, who appeared on "Good Morning America" Aug. 18 to discuss her preparations for the Malibu Triathlon, was overheard saying after the segment that she "couldn't understand why everyone is talking about that swimmer," according to a GMA source. "She couldn't come up with (eight-time gold-medal winner Michael) Phelps' name, and then she yammered on about how she was the one training for a triathlon just six months after giving birth, and how that was the big story right now, not 'the swimmer.' "

Uh. Sometimes I will hear something that I think can't possibly be real because it's just so retarded. This is one of those times. It's like I can't believe somebody would actually be that stupid and I have to remind myself that we're talking about a grown woman who calls herself J-Lo. (I could call her "that actress" but it would be using the term very loosely.)

You know it's all fine and good that she's training for a triathlon but before she starts wanting the world to be so impressed with her post-baby athleticism maybe she should consider that Paula Radcliffe won the New York City Marathon a mere ten months after giving birth. Not to mention she finished the Olympic marathon this week on basically one leg.

So congratulations, J-Lo. You are now dead to me. (That is if I ever actually cared that much in the first place, which remains in question.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

So Long!

Don't let the door hit you on the way out!


Go Bears.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

It's On.

I signed up for the Milwaukee Race for the Cure!

It's not until the end of September but color me hyped.
(And expect emails from me about donating.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ready. Set. Go.

My knee injury is a thing of the past! I'm so happy. It's been touch and go for some time but this past week I've started running 2-3 miles outside again with no pain (except for the sweltering heat.) Let me say it again: I AM SO HAPPY! I can sign up for the Komen Race for the Cure now without any anxiety. Not to mention I can work out the way I want to again and hopefully slowly raise my mileage so the same injury doesn't happen again. I'm inspired by the upcoming Olympics and really want to get into top form in the coming weeks. It's been almost a year since I started my last full-body overhaul and though I'm a bit disappointed that I couldn't keep off the second ten pounds of the twenty I lost last fall I'm trying to be happy that I could at least keep off ten for this long. (Plus, I will be re-tackling the second ten pounds with a slightly less mountain to climb so yahoo!) Of course, I need to keep reminding myself that Olympic athletes have no other obligations other than to train all day so tranforming myself into 41-year old Olympic swimmer- and overall pillar of awesomeness- Dara Torres is kind of unrealistic.

So... I'm hyped to be a running machine again (if only a puttering slow one) and after nearly a week in to my new regimen I'm feeling fantastic.

Now I just have to figure out a way to stay healthy on our vacation next week where I will visit THREE 5-star restaurants in three days. I have spectacular timing don't I.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm Dying To See Some Hipster Sport These Around Milwaukee This Summer

RUBBER leggings! You can thank Urban Outfitters for these babies.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Except you didn't ask and you will receive anyway.

Vacation Photos! Click on any of them to see the whole gallery.




Sunday, July 13, 2008

Somebody Pinch Me

My kitchen is waaay too awesome.

(Click the photo for the whole gallery!)

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Gessners at the Golden Gate Bridge

Billy took this photo of us on vacation in San Francisco. (Click on it to see a larger version of the shot.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The girls and I got back from San Francisco last night (Jason will be back on Friday.) I'm still decompressing from the trip, catching up on laundry and plant watering, spending time with the kitty kats and such. Hopefully I'll get a few photos up here in the next few days and the whole set on Flickr this weekend. Until then!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


For me, one of the highlights of election nights.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Up Up Up!

I'm finally able to run two miles again with no pain! (19:38- not too shabby for being off my game.) And that's even after my 30 minute slog on the elliptical so considering that, I'd say things are finally getting back on track. I think I'll try 2.5 miles tomorrow and slowly work my way back to where I was before the crankiness with my knee.

So, there's that bit of good news, summer vacation starts on Friday, we've got a family trip to San Francisco planned for next week and a road trip for me and Jason to Minneapolis next month. Everything's coming up Millhouse!*

*This joke will never get old for me. Just like jokes about South Park and the movie Billy Madison. Because I am secretly twelve years old.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Current Soundtrack

If I were a 23-year-old Welsh pop singer I would be Aimee Duffy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's Back!

Originally uploaded by Tracey Gessner

After not blooming at all last year, we nursed our crabapple tree back again. I wish it would stay like this all summer.

Makes Me All Warm and Fuzzy Inside


Barack and 75,000 people in Portland, Oregon yesterday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


My knee hurts. Thanks to my penchant for obsessive compulsive training and addiction to the Runners High. My internet research leads me to believe that it is my ilio-tibial band (or IT band) that is the culprit and this past week I've been trying to "rest" it so-to-speak, spending quality time with a frozen bag of peas and upping my intake of anti-inflammitory medication (good old ibuprofen.) At the gym it makes me sad to only work on the elliptical and weights while shunning the treadmill because frankly it's just not the same! Wah. It's the strangest thing to be running along with no fatigue in the body at all but suddenly have to stop because of a small sharp pain on the side of the knee. I'm trying to be smart about it and not make things worse- and actually after my jog this morning it's feeling a lot better than last week- but I'm like a train that can't be stopped sometimes. It makes my body depressed not to get exercise and I feel all dumpy and cranky and basically like a sad panda all around.

Plus I have to be in top shape to run the Milwaukee Race for the Cure in September! Steph and I did the walk seven years ago in Madison in the rain and finished in 59 minutes. Don't laugh! At least it was under an hour right? I should be able to blow 3 miles away in 30 minutes easily if I'm not all gimpy in the knee. Before I became all hobbled I could blast through 5+ miles no problem so 3 should be a piece of cake. Don't worry, I'll be hitting you all up for money once the date gets closer.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I love these New Balance running ads.

I especially like this one because I'm always jealous when I'm in the car and I drive by people running along the lake:

I swear I must have an addictive personality. I guess it's fortunate that I'm not addicted to bad things.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Be A Mind Sticker!

The funniest thing I've seen all week:

Can you believe that people actually used made commercials like these with a straight face?

Monday, April 7, 2008


Oh my lord I thought this day would never come. This past weekend (after having a snowstorm on April 1st) it reached almost 60 degrees here in Milwaukee! It's like people have hatched from their little Wisconsin winter pods and are out walking dogs, riding bikes and running by the lake. Heaven. We took the girls to a local bike shop and bought them both new bikes. A two-wheeler for Juli, and Ava's first real bike with training wheels. I've got my eye on a sweet bike there myself that we may pick up in the next couple of weeks. I haven't had a bike since around middle school, but since I also once thought I would never be the type of person to run multiple miles for enjoyment, i think it's about time I reconsider the bike thing and give it a try.

Speaking of running multiple miles for fun, I don't really want this to be strictly a running blog, but I ran outside for the first time since last October (back when I was really pitiful at running outdoors) and I can't believe that I jogged around the park/neighborhood for a FULL HOUR. I didn't have a watch on me but I decided to run at a slightly slower pace than i do on the treadmill and to just keep going until I absolutely had to stop. Well, that point never happened and when I got to the end of my playlist on my ipod and I really could not believe it. I'm starting to think that the five pounds I've put back on since the middle of December may actually be muscle. (Yeah yeah, excuses, excuses....) Still, with the weather finally turning around I'm looking forward to may afternoons and evenings like the one I had last night.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Snoopy Dance

I've kind of been a maniac lately. I'm finally back on track as far as healthy eating goes (with a few small exceptions) and I feel like I'm in my comfortable zone again. Like, so comfortable that i've been running my 5K (3.1 miles) in just under 30 minutes now. Really! It's nuts. Usually I like to run it in about 32-33 minutes but in the past couple of weeks I've cut out any walking and just jog through straight for the whole 3.1 miles and I barely squeak in at about 29:54. This is, of course, on a treadmill in a climate controlled gym with no changes in the incline so take it with a small grain of salt, but still! Accomplishment! I've been logging about 5 miles, 5 times a week plus some weight training and a bit of the elliptical. Plus, I had another fantastic massage yesterday on my day "off". Oh, the gluttony.

Juliana is away this weekend for her first Girl Scouts camping trip. (Indoor at a lodge because it's still freaking snowing on and off here in Wisconsin.) With only one child in the house it looks like we're in for a laid back weekend. I almost don't even care that I still have boxes of kitchen cabinets taking up my entire dining room- taunting me because I have no idea when they will be installed.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Words of Wisdom

I've been sick the past couple of days. Again. While we are getting ready for school in the morning Juliana says to me:

"Hey Mom, maybe you'd feel better if instead of drinking diet Dr. Pepper in the morning, you drank water."

I've hit that point in my life where my kids are starting to be smarter than me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Finally! Geez, sometimes it seems like I should already be this old but I'm just now getting here.

(I've posted this photos a couple of times before but I just love it so much. That, and chocolate cake.)

Now where were we... It goes without saying that Vegas was awesome. No freebie penthouse suite this time around but I somehow won 300 bucks playing craps (I know! Really!) and fed myself lots of five star food and wine. Mmmm. The company I was with didn't hurt either. On the personal assessment front, I will reveal that I lost twenty pounds this year between Juli's birthday and Christmas. Yay! Unfortunately since then five have creeped back up so my target for the next two months is to get that back off plus a couple more for insurance (which is what I had intended to do last fall but once Christmas hit I was frankly distracted again by all that chocolate.) I finished my 365 Days Flickr photo project although I still have to upload the final week or so.

Since I (surprisingly) have reached my goal for the past year of getting into fabulous shape I suppose I need to pick a new goal for the coming year. Basically-but in a very vague way- I want to take this new decade I'm living in as an opportunity to try new things. I'm not sure entirely what that will mean yet but I'm just putting the idea out there as I haven't quite figured it out for myself yet. With this birthday I'm entering into a new phase, Ava's getting ready for kindergarten in the fall, times they are a-changin'.

As far as this website goes, I can't seem to put it away even if I go for long periods with not much to say. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll be combining this site with the Gessner Girls page again so look for that to change.

I also have an awesome photo of Jason and I on a gondola ride at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Coming soon, folks. Oh yeah, and I have my first massage EVER scheduled for tomorrow morning. Life continues to be good.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Needed More Than You Can Know

Forecast for Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend: 75 degrees and sunny!


Baby Jonas!


Me and my new nephew.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Way to Go Wisconsin!

I am not an island. I am not alone.
I am my intentions trapped here in this flesh and bone.

-Melissa Etheridge

It's been a good day folks.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another Point of View

Ok, that was kind of snarky but sometimes I can't help myself.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Current Mood: Inspired

The moment that sealed the deal for me nearly four years ago:

I'm feeling tentative about caring so much about this but I can't help myself.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thoughts on the Hannah Montana 3-D Movie Experience

Dear Hannah/Miley: I know that you're trying to establish your identity as being separate from the character you play on tv but when you took off your blonde wig and transformed halfway through the movie for us to "Meet Miley Cyrus" my four-year-old was very disturbed. I hate to break it to you and I know the wig makes you look like a knock-off Lindsey Lohan but face it- you've got to give the kids what they want. My girl wants the Disney manufactured Hannah Robot and not the real you (despite your positive message of Girl Power and Always Be True to Yourself and Yadda Yadda.) Funny how that works out isn't it?

Dear Jonas Brothers: Your hair is too long and your pants are too tight. End of story. (When did skinny jeans become hip for boys anyway? I'm old.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Death of a Blog (?)

Well, lets face it. I'm not much of a blogger as of late. In fact, as my girls get older and my life gets busier I find it's almost another chore to carve out time to post updates. Furthermore, the bulk of my posts are basically photos which could just be posted on Flickr and left at that. So....I'm not fully committing to saying I'm done per se, but the truth is I'm most likely going to phase my online presence to being strictly on my Flickr account (which can be seen here!) I'm toying with the idea of combining this blog with the Gessner Girls blog so I at least don't have two websites that are woefully neglected, but for the time being both sites will be on hiatus until further notice when I can figure out exactly what I want to do with them. Fear not, I'm hoping to increase my activity on Flickr because I don't intend to stop posting photographs anytime soon.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Greetings from Florida!


Yes, you are looking at the Gulf of Mexico- NOT Lake Michigan. It's easy to confuse the two seeing that in this photo I think it was about 54 degrees with 20 mph winds. Good times! My one sweater I brought sure got broken in.

We're back from vacay! Photos to come soon! I have quite a backlog of 365 pics to upload too.