Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A meeting with destiny

Well. Here it is. The inevitable.
I received this email this morning:

"This is to notify you that your entry into the 111th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2007 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.

You can verify your acceptance into the field by searching the 111th Boston Marathon "Entrants" database on the B.A.A. web site,
www.baa.org/2007/cf/Public/EntryLists.cfm. Additionally, an "Acceptance Card" will be mailed to you via US Postal Service mail.

In early April 2007, an official Number Pick-up Card and extensive information regarding the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and related race week activities will be mailed to you via US Postal Service first class mail. If you do not receive your Number Pick-up Card (required to claim number) and brochure by April 7, please contact our Registration Office at 508-435-6905 for further instructions. All registration related inquiries may be directed to the same telephone number. All other inquires should be sent to

Note that bib numbers will not be distributed on Race Day. Your travel arrangements should take into account picking up your number at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on Friday, April 13 from noon to 6:00 p.m., or Saturday, April 14 or Sunday, April 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you in April!

Boston Athletic Association "

Monday, January 29, 2007

Double Standards

At the bottom of the web page for the Windsor Manor Sheraton, it states:
"Kindly Note :
* Tariff and Package subject to change without prior notice.
* Indian Rupee Rates are valid for Indian Nationals Only.
* US$ Rates would apply for Foreign Nationals Only"

And that, ladies and gentlemen, sums up the part and parcel of this country.

Foreigners are charged anywhere from triple to quadruple, sometimes 100 times, the price. The price of coconut water for a local is 1 or 2 rupees. For a foreigner, 10-20 rupees. For one coconut. Hotel packages are no different. $125 for Indians easily translates into more than $350 for foreign nationals. For in-country travel, you have to know someone inside who can make the reservations for you. Of course, once they see you're not Indian, they will change the price. But it could be worth a shot.

On another level, it reflects a country where they are no rules, and yet unspoken ones abound. There are no signs on the street but for the number of cars, accidents are rare. If you leave something in your office, it's fair game; when you return in the morning, it will be gone. In America, we call that theft. In India, you just shrug and say, "oh well" and learn that your office is not really yours.

India Time: 11:11pm, Monday, 1.29.2007

Lunch Addendum

I forgot to mention a new hotel we went to for lunch.
Windsor Manor was recently acquired by the Sheraton and now they are called "Windsor Manor Sheraton."
We ate in the Wellington Room where they had a wonderful buffet.
This trip we are doing something different. When we can, at lunch and dinner, we are taking high achieving staff members to dinner. It's so expensive that people do not eat out. And the fact that they are selected to attend lunch with the managers from the USA is a highly prized event.

Since the new company location is across town from the old company location, we may be able to try some new restaurants. The issue is that there aren't that many restaurants in hotels around the new company location... it's on the outskirts of town.

I hope we get to that Thai restaurant on MG Road at some point later this week.

Indian time: 11:05pm, Monday, 1.29.2007

First day in the office

And all is well...

The routine for the week is starting to pan out:
  • get up and run
  • breakfast at 8am with W and L (the two people I am traveling with)
  • Anil the driver picks us up at 9:30
  • Arrive at the airport around 10:10am
  • Get set up
  • start meetings
  • butler arrives with two cups of Indian tea at 11
  • more meetings
  • lunch from 12:30 to 2pm, if we have time
  • lunch from 12:30-1:30pm, brought in from a local hotel, in the executive dining room
  • more meetings
  • Anil the driver takes us back to the hotel around 6:00
  • arrive at the hotel around 7:00-7:15
  • Dinner at 7:30 if we are eating in the hotel or..
  • Anil the driver takes us to wherever to eat - arrive around 8pm
  • have dinner
  • Anil the driver takes us back to the hotel (usually around 9:30-10pm)
We spend a lot of time in the car.
This is the second location in Bangalore for us.
We ran out of the first location so half the team got moved to this new location and they are already full. My Company has bought 150 acres to build a huge campus that is typical of our other campuses - Indian style, of course.
Anyway, this location is closer to the new hotel than the old hotel - it would take an hour in the morning and about an hour and a half in the evening.

Tonight, L and I ate at Blue Ginger, the hotel's famous Thai restaurant. It's huge with a menu that is "huger." W wanted to stay in his room to sleep. Oh brother. Anyway, 10 minutes later, here comes my boss, my boss's boss, and two guys I work with. They were ordering cocktails... I looked over at L and said, "we're ordering a bottle of wine." 2002 Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir. Very good wine went well with the very good food!

And tomorrow, we start this all over again...

Indian time: 10:48pm, Monday, 1/29, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Shopping Indian Style

I have completed all my Christmas shopping for the year.
With the exception of Joe's b-i-l, a couple of teen agers and my brother's family.
I finished it on Saturday, the first shopping outing of the trip.

Sunday, I went shopping with my boss and my boss's boss.
Kids gifts (for the boys), shirts for them, and rugs.
Rugs rugs rugs.
It was different shopping with them than with the two people who report to me.
Anyway, the rug buying experience was interesting.
In the end after all the show-stuff and the rug displays with the big "thwap and roll" and making all sorts of decisions, came bargaining time.

First, the prices were in USD's.
The total was still a lot less than in the USA for the quality, color, weave, materials used in the rugs. If you can even find it.

The first discount was 15%.
That won't do. We're from This Company.
"Oh! Well... then a 30% discount. The best I can do."
Uh... no.... you gave someone a 40% discount once. We heard it from the person.
"No! Cannot go further."
How about $5000 even?
"No, sir. I cannot sustain that."
Okay, no sale...

And on and on and on.

In the end, a 37% discount.
Total $5050 for about $15,000 to $20,000 worth of rugs, shipped to your doorstep, fully insured for no charge. And if you have never seen handmade, silk rugs made in India, then you ain't seen nuthin'. Nuthin'!

I made the manager of the place (who was doing the selling) sign his business so I can call on him the next time I need a rug and he will give me the same discount. My boss wanted one too! I cannot wait for this house to be done!

And the furniture. Incredibly cheap. Hand-made and solid wood for about $150USD for a coffee table with inlaid ivory. Unbelievable.

I also bought myself a couple of Indian outfits.
It's the tunics with the embroidery with the wide-legged pants and matching scarf.
Got one in a dark blue and another one in black.
$35USD each.
I might go back and get a brightly colored casual one.

And of course, the men waited patiently while I tried them on - they have wives...
My boss's boss wondered why I didn't come out and model it for them.
Uh.... right. Not.

My boss ended up with a deep amethyst pendant set in silver, about 8.3 carats, for $150. He started at $230. They would be willing to give us a 30% discount since we are with Our Company. And in the end, A 34.5% discount.

One person traveling with me got an emerald - priced at $2150 for $1200. And worth about $7,500.

I think I might need some jewelry in the future.
When the house is done, of course.

India time: 6:56am, Monday, 1/29, 2007

Weekly Recap

Considering the travel, it hasn't been a bad week.

Monday - Run 1.94 miles

Tuesday - Bike 7.84 miles, weights, abs, stretch

Wednesday - Run 2.54 miles

Thursday - Rest day (got so busy I couldn't barely finish packin. Left for India in the afternoon.)

Friday - Rest day (travel day. I had a layover in Frankfurt. Ended up there at midnight which meant it was 6am Frankfurt time. I left Frankfurt at 11:30 am local time, 5:30am Boston time).

Saturday - Run 2 miles in the hotel treadmill. I think it will be hot tomorrow for my 10-miler. (travel day. I arrived in India at 2:50am local time. I am not officially 9.5 hours ahead in the future. Totally messes up my workout accounting method.)

Sunday - ran 9.02 miles instead of the required 10 miles. I knew I was in trouble at around mile 7 (wild guess since my brain wasn't functioning well enough at the time to convert from kilometers to miles), when I felt something run down my leg only to look down and realize that it's sweat! When I got back to the room, the tops of my feet had a heat rash on them (there goes the run tomorrow...), and I could wring out my shorts (about a cup of sweat - my shorts NEVER get that wet), and I could wring out my jog bra (about two cups - and that is more than I 've ever experienced). I was totally exhausted. Glad I brought along a canister of Pringles. I ccan save the other canister for next weekend when I have 8 miles on Sunday.

Next week's schedule:

Monday - Run 20 minutes (I won't be doing this due to the heat rash)
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - Run 45 minutes
Thursday - rest
Friday - Run 30 minutes
Saturday - Run 2 miles
Sunday - Run 8 miles

It's a step-back week.
Thank goodness.

India time: 10:48pm, Sunday, 1/28, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Never leave the house without...

...your camera...

Here I am in India.
And this time, I left my camera at home.
And wouldn't you know...
The new hotel I am staying in is totally different than the hotel I stayed in before.

And it's in a different section of town.
I thought, "How many pictures of India can you possibly take?"
Apparently, a lot.

India time: 6:57 am, Saturday 1/27, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Note to self: pack

...for India...

It's Wednesday.
I am leaving on Thursday.
I haven't packed.

I wonder how cold it is....

It's like EIGHTY WHOLE DEGREES in Bangalore!
GAK! I'll be going into a 70-degree temperature change.

Time to dig out the summer clothes.
Just have to find out which box they're in.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A good Scotch to start with

Ryan asked about this.
And the answer is...

It depends.

What are you looking for?
What flavors do you like?

I prefer single-malts.
Some people are misguided (in my opinion) and like blends.
And others need to get out more and give it a try...

If you want something light and non-threatening, Glenmorangie is fine. It's better than the ubiquitous Glenlivet or Glenfiddich that you find most everywhere.
How about an Oban? It's also non-threatening and has a crisp finish.
If you want something smoky (sort of like hickory smoked BBQ), you can try The Lagavulin, Talisker, Laphroaig and in the same range, very nice and smooth with a less smoky feel is Caol Ila.

You can also try the ubiquitous Glenlivet or Glenfiddich as they are widely available.
If you like it fine.

If you don't try one of the others I mentioned and hopefully you will never look back.

Try it neat. No water.
Add a sprinkle of distilled or spring water. And I mean a sprinkle. As in an eye-dropped full (or half full).
Try it again. Which do you like?
Different flavors.
The right way to drink it is whichever way you like it.
But never with ice.

Cleansing Report

I am on Day 12 and all is well.
Strangely, I have gained weight.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Breakdown on the Mass Pike

Actually, it was right before you get on the Mass Pike, at the Mass Pike on-ramp off of I-128.

We had to do some heavy shopping (Costco) and Elizabeth the Niece tagged along because she needed some water. We had gone to Home Depot first. Then to Costco.

On the way home, fully loaded with purchases, Elizabeth the Niece and I were gabbing away, and Joe takes the exit to the Pike. Nothing unusual. I asked him if were going to Linens and Things next (as planned) and he said, "the car just died."

uhhh.... huh???

He said, "the car just died so I am trying to get off the highway."
uh... on the Mass Pike? That's getting off the highway?
He said, "all the lights on the dash came on and then the engine died."
Huh? I have suddenly lost all cognitive abilities...
The steering becomes more difficult. Try steering a BMW X5 without power steering. How about without power anything??
The car becomes really quiet and Elizabeth the Niece and I watch Joseph steer the car.
We are on the ramp that is on a DEcline and I am thinking that we will smash into the toll booth.
Instead, we come to a grinding halt in a small parking spot of three spaces.
And I am thinking to myself... uh-oh... we have no food...

Joseph calls BMW Roadside assistance.
They can't help us because the Mass Pike and all ramps leading to the Mass Pike are in the state jurisdiction so they give us a number.
We call.
It's the State Police.
They will send someone right away.

I am thinking to myself:
"I hope I don't have to pee."
"I am getting hungry."
"What if we freeze."
"Are they here yet?"
"I am getting hungry."
"How long will it take for them to get here?"
"I should have packed food."
"Uh... is that a "having to go" feeling coming on?"
"When are they coming?"
"It's lunchtime and we have no food."

That was the general theme.
I scrounged around and managed to find a grape tootsie roll pop.
I ate it.
And no, I did not share.

I end up going into the little toll booth office building and there is bathroom right inside the door. And it's warm.
I come out. Joe has the window rolled down to ask me something.
I get in the car.

I look over and the window is still down.
"Roll up the window."
"I can't."
"It's stuck."
"Why'd you roll it down in the first place?"
"To ask you a question."
You roll down the window when it's power windows and we don't have any power in the car??
Evidently, we had just enough power to roll down the window and the pooped out afterwards.
He manages to bully it back up.
Now it's cold in the car and I wish I had a first aid emergency death trauma kit, complete with warm blankets, spare matches, hibachi, food, beer, and anything I am missing at that time.

Moments pass.
Joseph goes insides.
Joesph comes out.

"The guy called for us."
"What did he say?"
"He said, 'No... #14"... pause ... "no no no... #14, in the 3-spot..."
"The 3-spot?"
"Yeah. Three parking spots."

The tow truck was in the wrong place. I knew that was going to happen.
20 minutes later, it arrives.
ARG!!! It's a TOW-truck, not a flat bed. We have all-wheel drive.
They drive away. Another 20 minutes and here comes the flatbed.
They guys puts the car up on the bed, and says Joseph can't fit in cab.
Joseph goes insides the little building to keep warm.
Elizabeth the Niece and I discuss.
I give the driver a sad face.
He says, "The stick. I won't be able to use the stick..."
Elizabeth the Niece and I discuss once more.
I go back to the driver and tell him we will squish and we aren't big people.
He gives me The Look.
So, we wait in the cab.

The driver comes around to his side, looks at us looking sad.
Elizabeth the niece says, "Look, if I move my legs like this, it won't be in your way."
The driver gives us another look. "Ok. We'll give it a try."
And of course, we all fit, and we end up at the BMW Dealership right around the corner from our house (which is where we bought the thing.)

We show up and WUMP.
6 BMW people dressed in blue descend upon us.
They couldn't get us out of there fast enough.
The driver comes around and I ask "what's going on?"
He says, "They want me out of here. Fast."
It was a business day of course and a big ole flat bed with a BMW X5 rolling into service cannot be good for sales - especially if you are pitching safety and reliability...

They moved all the purchases into another BMW and drove us home.
All told.. 3 hours from beginning to end. There goes my stupid workout! ARG!

I know it's the alternator.
What else could it be?
It better be under warranty, that's all I have to say.

And I've learned my lesson. Next time, I will pack food and water for any journey greater than 15 minutes long.

Weekly Recap

Well, it's been "so far so good" on the training plan.
And I admit that I am thinking about going ahead and filling out that Boston Marathon application. $200 bucks. Do I take the chance that I will actually end up running it? Or will some calamity hit during the training season?

This week was a good week.
I went to the gym, ran on schedule and generally felt really healthy.
To recap:

Monday - rest day, We got stuck on the ramp of the Mass Pike at #14 and ended up in the 3-spot. (Long story)
Tuesday - Bike 21 minutes
Wednesday - rest day, had an ear ache to so I worked from home and didn't go out. It's SO COLD out there! Turns out it's the dry air (I have someone who works for me that used to be an RN and he said that dry air (low humidity) can cause havoc on the ears due to the fluid drying out and things just get stuck. So I went to get some saline nose spray as recommended. And it's worked well.)
Thursday - Run for 30 minutes, weights, abs, stretching
Friday - rest day
Saturday - run 2.02 miles, weights, abs, stretching
Sunday - run 10 miles, abs, stretch. I ran at the gym on the treadmill because it was too cold outside. Let me just say that I will run outside next time (after I get back from India, of course, beause you can't run outside in India....Well... you can... if you want to die.)

I enjoyed lifting weights.
I brought back the old memories of spending 2-3 hours at the gym, being a regular gym-rat, lifting heavy weights and feeling really good about myself. I started to get a few twinges of that old feeling and I want it back. For good.

Buttery rum 'n raisin fudge

Alas and alack.
Tonight I finished off the last of my bottle of 73.12a from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. This was my first bottle from them, part of a gift of membership to the Society from my Hunny Bunny. It is so good that I've been saving it for more than 2 years.

It's from the Aultmore distillery in Speyside from the cask number 12a and it had more character than I could stand. In fact, it had many personalities, which would slowly unfold depending upon how much water you added, what you ate with it, your mood, and underlying it all was a deep amber color reminding me of a fine sherry or a tawny port.

Well, cask 12a is no more.
Onto cask 116 from distillery 1...40 years young and still kicking...

Change in perception

So, this morning I picked up my invitational entry into the Boston Marathon. For the first time in my life, I won't have to raise money for charity to have the privilege of running this race. And of course, I didn't qualify for it either.

And I am strangely unimpressed. Maybe indifferent is a better word? Maybe, it's more wariness. I saw a movie once where a guy was getting a letter from some school or company (cannot remember). He waited his whole life for that letter. And when it finally arrived, he threw it on the chair. Then he moved it to the kitchen table where it stayed for a while. Then he moved it to the living room and walked around it, being very careful to ignore it. It stayed there for a couple of days before he opened it. Maybe it's more like that for me.

I've been waiting my whole life to run Boston, without raising thousands of dollars for Charity, never really thinking I'd ever qualify, and now that it's here...well...I really don't know what to think.

First the whole Charity thing. I felt for a while that not raising money for a cause was a waste of this opportunity. But with my schedule at work and the house and my usual life in general, I really don't have a lot of time to fund-raise.

Then there's the speed thing. Or rather, the un-speed thing. It costs you three seconds per mile per pound of weight gain. And given what I weighed this morning, this morning's 10-mile pace was right on target.

I figure it's good that they allow 6 hours to finish. It's really too bad that given this "free" opportunity (which will actually cost me $200 in entry fee), I can't be better prepared. And I never thought I'd ever see the day that I thought finishing in 6 hours would be "quite all right."

Man. Times have seriously changed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

ARG!!! Tagged again!!!!

Can I use the same thing if I am tagged twice for the same thing????

Thanks, Chris. Not.

Here it is... nearest book....
Uh-oh... it looks too skinny...
Wait... tiny letters...
Page 123... yup, it has one...
Skip the first five...
Read the next three...

From "Beginner's Chinese with 2 Audio CD's" by Yong Ho:
Nimen nar dongtian you meiyou xue? Xue da bu da?
Ni xihuan huen leng tian haishi re tian? Wei shenme?
Ni qiutian xihuan zuo shenme?

So, there ya go.
You asked.
Of course, there are not tonal marks so I would not walk around to random Chinese and say this. First of all, they'd have to be Mandarin. And second of all... if they were, you're liable to insult them and all their generations before them. Would not be good.

I guess I should tag someone.
I don't know that many people.

Here are three people:
  1. Debbie
  2. Abby (should be easy since she used to belong to a book club)
  3. Peg (not that she has time for this type of thing...)
I hope everyone is pleased with themselves!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

I've been tagged


I've been tagged by Cher. I've managed to escape this group participation thing for a while now so I supposed it was inevitable.

Nearest book...
Page 123...
Read the first 5 sentences.... Blast. I'm not even there yet!
Next three sentences...
Here they are from "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis:
"The senior class was planning a skit. Three of the girls planned to perform a song-and-dance routine, and they were looking for a striking-looking male lead singer. They'd asked Michael to play the part and he'd shocked everyone by agreeing to do it."

Well, that sounds totally disjointed and not worth picking reading about, doesn't it.
Never judge a book by it's 6th, 7th, and 8th sentence on page 123...

Book Review

So, with the longer commute and all, I've actually been able to start and finish a whole book instead of taking a whole year because the 5 minute (old commute) ride only gave me enough time to read one paragraph at a time. And that basically sucked for continuity. Anyway, this book is about 470 pages, and I say, "470 pages" because I'm not sure if all the front pages are included and I'm not about to go back and count.

Anyway, "Saving Fish from Drowning" is by Amy Tan, one of my favorite authors. I was disapppointed. Sigh... What can I say? The only character that was developed, in my humble opinion, was the narrator. And she's dead. And she talked so damn much that I felt an incessant buzzing in my ear. I didn't get her "voice" as I usually do with her other characters. Being Asian, I definitely "know" those voices! And each character usually has a different voice that I can separate in my head so clearly..

But this book was different. I only heard the "voice" toward the end of the book. And the other characters were pains in the ass. So much so that I hoped they were lost in the jungle forever.

So, if you're an Amy Tan fan and don't want to break your reading streak, it won't kill you. Otherwise, I'd skip this one. Too bad.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Turns out that Olathe is in Kansas.
Well, I need a
marathon in Kansas, anyway.
Well, there ya go...

What's in a name?

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, January 12, 2007


Long week.
Did a lot this week in terms of trying to figure out the commute, figuring out the gym situation, etc. I have also learned that working from home is a blessing! More than ever, it saves me so much time going to and come from work!

Another .6 pounds lost, leaving 16 pounds to go.
And another gusher of a nosebleed, this time during lunch.
I hadn't even gone out into the cold - haven't been out in two days!
I guess I don't plan on going out at all today - I was going to go to the gym but I am not going to chance the bleed on the way there and when I arrive. It's a nightmare when it happens in public!

Last night I put down two coats of Pale Smoke paint on the lower half of the office walls. Not a lot of gray there. There rest of the walls and the interior of the closet will be painted with Old Country. I hope to finish that tomorrow and start moving things into the office.

I feel the long road ahead of me and there is no end in sight...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Muscle atrophy

...from sitting on the couch all day since my 6:30am phone call with India...

That's what I told my boss when he sent me an email asking about a file I needed to send him and I had just stepped out of the shower at around 6:30 pm.

I did get to stop work at 5:30 and get in a 20 minute bike ride.

One of the good things about working from home is not only that can work 11-12 hours without batting an eye, but also it's two flights up to the bike, two rooms over to the kitchen, and we can have dinner together like a civilized people. At home. I'd be spending that time commuting otherwise.

Time to rest.
And send that file to my boss.


No. Not Olaf.
It's in Missouri.
Never heard of suchaplace until my friend Paul sent me this link.

Hmmm... I need to get myself to Missouri one of these days.
2007 is a might early. But 2008? Could be.

I have to create a sidebar with links to keep track of places I need to go.

I think I'll do that now...

Cleaning out for the New Year

I have started a cleanse.
It's a colon cleanse.
30-90 days.
Of course, I opt to get a 90-day supply since it's recommended by the people who are selling you the product.
I used to do this every year - once or twice - back when I was thinner and more energetic and working out regularly. And I felt great!
I am hoping to recapture all of that by going back to what worked for me in the past.

This morning, I was down another .6 pounds since yesterday. 16.6 pounds to go. Yahoo. Of course, this was where I was last Friday before the Pre-Construction Brunch happened with a torrent of food left behind. Slowly eating my way through the pile seems to be working as long as I use moderation. Not that I am a huge craver of bagels - no matter if it has veggie cream cheese on it...

I am working from home today and tomorrow. The week of commuting and getting into a routine and trying to get to the gym, etc., has taken a toll on me mentally and on my workload - those 4 extra hours of work and personal time lost will need to be gotten used to. Besides, it's really cold out and I am not in the mood for winter to finally arrive.

Nothing going on with the house right now. Tomorrow we are meeting with Scotty the Contractor to discuss what can and cannot be done.

We are also looking at joining Direct Buy. I saw magazine ads and infomercials and apparently they've advertised in the Wall Street Journal - of course that lends an air of legitimacy... Anyway, we are thinking of visiting their warehouse in Rockland this weekend to check it out and see how it works. Is it a bad sign that you can't seem to find out how much a membership costs?? I wonder if anyone I know has ever joined this and gotten benefit out of it. Anyone?

That's about it for now. 6:30 meeting this morning with India. Zombie.

I think I will go on Craigslist or Freecycle and see if someone wants to get rid of a workout/weight bench.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First lesson at the gym is...

Don't use the treadmill if you're not training for a 90 degree marathon.

Second lesson at the gym. If you are training for a 90 degree marathon at the gym, get there earlier than 6pm or you'll be waiting for the first available and it's guaranteed that it won't be one with the little fans on them.

At least I got to the gym in the first place.
Left the office at around 5:50 pm. Got there at 6:00. Beautiful. Changed and hit the floor mintues later, only waited a few minutes for my Death Valley run, and got so hot, I had to walk most of the scheduled 20 minutes. At least it was only 20 minutes.

Not to mention that I am toast at the end of the day...
Not to mention the chafing on the inside of both legs that turned into eczema a few days ago...

But I'm not complaining. I'm ecstatic that I made it to the gym relatively hassle-free with a short 3 minute walk to the red line afterwards and am now sitting on the C train. I am SITTING. Yes. All the way from Park Street Station to Coolidge Corner

I suppose I'll try to get out and run outside no matter the temperature until I get my treadmill from storage.

Or maybe I should sign up for a 90 degree marathon.

Pictures from the Pre-Construction Brunch...

...can be found here...

Out to Lunch

One of the senior vp's here took me to lunch at Les Zygomates.
I had the pan-seared trout special. It came on a small mound of mashed potatoes and julienne vegetables. YUM.

Workout Solution - One Step Closer

Last night, on my walk home from the train, my wonderful Hunny Bunny and the Dingle Doggie met me on the street! Happy happy! We got home, put my things away, and since I was obviously stressed from making such gargantuan efforts at abiding by my training schedule, Joseph said he didn't think I needed to stress so much.

So, we went to the Corrib Pub for dinner instead. Happy happy. Wonderful Hunny Bunny.
The food was good and the total bill was around $35, with a beer each. It was not crowded and noisy like The Coolidge Corner Clubhouse (which we had ducked into and left due to the noise and the lack of tables), and unlike it's sister pub in West Roxbury, it didn't smell distantly of stale beer. (Hmmm... maybe that's a different place I am remembering smelled of stale beer...) We will definitely go back! Our waitress was appropriately Irish complete with accent.

And this morning, my weight is down another .4 pounds.
Goal loss: 17.8
To go: 17.2
Now, we're going in the right direction.

This morning, I had an easy commute after leaving the house at 7:30am. I didn't get a seat but I have a feeling that I have to stop equating an easy commute with being able to get a seat for the ride in. No gushing nosebleed, either. I stopped in at the BSC at South Station to see about switching my home gym from Copley Square. The manager had to do it and he wasn't in until 9. So I went to the office, called back at 9:15, said I had to come in person to make the change, walked over there, arrived at 9:21, the manager needed 10 minutes since he was tied up, walked around and took a look, manager came up, made the change, $39 change fee, the monthly fee is reduced from $72.20 to $69.95, signed up for a locker at $15 a month... no more lugging shoes and stuff around. And it's only a 5 minute walk from the office and a 5 minute walk to and from the red line. There is also a very nice 5 or 6 lane pool and the pool room was warm, clean, and no one was in it when I was there! I must remember to tell Joseph about it.

Tonight I will be working out at this new location. Can't wait. 20 minutes on the treadmill.

I have to figure out what to put into my new locker.

Happy happy happy!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Can it get any harder than this...

...to get in a workout???

I can't believe what I went through tonight. The plan was simple. Leave the office at 4:30. Take the commuter rail one stop to Back Bay. Walk up three blocks to the gym. Do the workout. Walk up one block to the Green Line. Hop on the C-line for a nice easy ride home.

If Murphy was alive, he couldn't have exacted his laws any more exactingly. And yes, he dead because his law is what killed him and, no, he was not a she because women would never so brazenly make things so hard... We're TOO BUSY to do that!!

So I packed up at 4:30 and headed out. Beforehand, I checked the commuter rail schedule and noticed what I had suspected I my subway pass won't get me on the commuter rail for even a single stop. They don't typically check but since the new Charlie system went into place with it's confusing rules and self-ticketing kiosks, it's been mayhem, people are confused, overpaying and underpaying which all means they would have checked. So do I take a chance getting caught and having to pay the $2 extra they charge during peak (rush) hour or do I do the right thing? Well, given I'd have to do it eventually, I go to the commuter rail ticket counter and I have the wrong ticket. I have a C+ instead of a 1A which would get me on the commuter rail, the subway and the bus. Same price but you get the commuter rail. And no, they can't chajnge it there, I have to go down to the subway station and have them exchange it.

Dang. I had gotten this ticket without help and just guesswork and I had had a sneaking suspicion that I had donje something wrong. So I go downstairs and some official finally frees up to say, no, I have to go one stop to Downtown Crossing to get it exchanged.

Dang. So I go down stairs to the red line, take it one stop to Downtown Station, find the ticket counter and luckily, the line wasn't too long. Well, that went alright.

I thej head to the orange line. Except at some point, I end up on the red line going to Ashmont. Ugh... WRONG DIRECTION!!!

Dang. So I get off the train, back track and get on the right train and I head to Back Bay. I didget a seat. Two stops. Big deal.

I work out on the special Xpressline. They tout 8 stations in 22 minutes. They were close but the whole ordeal leading up to it hardly seemed worth it.

After the work out, I walk up one block and hop on the Green Line. I find a seat. It's the wrong train! ARG!!! Next stop, I am off the train

There isn't a C-train to be had! The one I was on was a D-train. Then B-traijn. Then a D-train. B. D. B. BAH!!!!!!! Finally. A C-train. And it's another Sardine-train!!!

Now I am on the train and headed home. It's been two hour since I left the office. And I still have 3 more stop. And a 10 minute walk. Then 20 minutes on the bike.

By the time I'm done, 3.5 hours would have passed for a mere 40 minuter workout. Hardly seems worth it. And it wouldn't have been if my arms hadn't been trembling from my workout qas I hung onto the railing for support as I STOOD with the MASSES on the Sardine line going home.

I'm either going to have to change my gym "home" location, not work out any more, or quit working altogether.

I don't know how people do it. This commuting for a living sucks. And I'm really really bad at it.

Nosebleed section

or Blood on the Train...

I get nosebleed in winter.
The combination of dry air and the cold weather is bad enough but add a little stress and you have a river of blood.

It started in the kitchen this morning.
I managed to get it to stanched.
Then it happened on the trainride into work.
Blood on my scarf, the fur of my coat, my hands and a couple of pages in my book that probably look like a Rorschach test - not pretty.
Good thing I packed extra hankies and a paper towel before I left.
Why is it that blood always looks worse against white?
For about 10 minutes, I was glad that I had a seat and the train ride was as long as it is.

It was a good commuting day.
I've concluded that I have to leave the house by 7:15 at the latest for a relatively easy commute.
Commuting between 7:15 and 8:30 is pushing things and I have no one to blame but myself if I end up on a sardine train. I am also going to try out commuting between 8:30 and 9:15. I don't like to get into work later than 10am. That might also be lighter traffic.

As for working out, a picture is slowly unveiling. Yesterday, I came home and ran in the dark. I hate doing that but it was only a 20 minute run and I was glad I did it. Today, I have a 20 minute bike ride. So, I came to work early, I'll go to the gym after work and then hop on the bike when I get home. The biggest pain is the bag. I feel like a pack mule. Once I get the routine down, I will rent a locker for most of my gear. I know eventually, I will need to run in the mornings when my hill workouts start in about a month.

Weight is down by .2 pounds this morning. I have 17.8 to lose. Yes. That is the same weight I started with this year. I am working on it!

I need to research vitamins for these nosebleeds.
There has to be some pill I can take to prevent them.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Third Floor Progress Note

This weekend, in the middle of the mayhem and the pre-construction party, I managed to get in a little painting. All the trim is completely painted, as is the ceiling of the room, the alcove and the closet.

Next step is to paint the wall (Pale Smoke on the lower half of two walls and Old Country everywhere else.

After that, I have to paint the built-in six-drawer unit. I am thinking of painting it the same color as the trim (Mountain Peak White) and painting the drawer faces a different color. At first I thought of Corinthian White so I got a quart of that in semi-gloss over the weekend. But now that I have painted the ceilings that same color, I am afraid that if I paint something lower the same color as the ceiling, It will pull the ceiling down. So I will have to go back and get Pale Smoke or Old Country. Dang. What do I do with the Corinthian White in semi-gloss?

I hope to have it all done by the weekend. And that means, all moved in with the furniture, with a trip to either IKEA or The Container Store, and with everything filed appropriately. Then Joseph can put in the light and I can put the covers on all the outlets and fixtures and we are done done done. Of course, I can look for a small carpet at my leisure and make it a homey little office away from office.

Joseph spent yesterday organizing the front room of the second floor. Yeah! Now I have a whole half wall against which my clear plastic bins are lined up! This morning, I went in there to look for my rain coat and sure enough... I found it very quickly! Yahoo! Things are looking good for temporary living!

Last Week & This Week

Where to start?

On Saturday we had a preconstruction party. Around 25 people came through, which was pretty good since the party was real short notice. Shelton took lots of pictures, which will be posted at some point in the near future.

In the afternoon, Harriet and I went out for a 2 mile run. It was the first outdoor run for me since Big Sur last April and I wasn't in a mood to get anywhere that fast, so I let Harriet take the lead and she, of course, turned right instead of left at Harvard Street, taking us by a harder route. But it let us stop off at the BSC in Allston which is less than half a mile from the house. They will let me drop by during peak hours to try the club out. To use any club in the network, you have to pay a premium (which I do not) or you have to use the clubs in the network that is not your "home club" during off peak - which is usually after 8:30 in the morning and before 11am and between 2 and 4 in the afternoon.

Sunday, I went for a 8 mile run. I didn't know if I could do it. This was the longest run since Big Sur. I hadn't run in two weeks and I only had a 1.7 mile run on Wednesday and a 2 mile run on Saturday. But I did it. It was a half mile to the 23.9 mile point of the Boston Marathon. I ran for 4 miles backwards on the course and then back h0me using that same route. It was a really good run. Very slow but who cares? I am only looking to get back into shape to FINISH the marathon in April. I figure if they are giving me six hours, by golly I am gonna take the whole six hours. Why waste that time they give you?

Eating didn't go so well over the weekend. This morning, I weighed in at another 2 above where I started this stupid thing. So now, I am at +18 pounds over goal. ARG!!! It's another week. I have a little notebook that I am starting to write down everything I eat.

To recap last week:
  • Monday - Rest (done)
  • Tuesday - Bike 15 minutes (done - it was slow - 3.57 miles)
  • Wednesday - Run 20 minutes (done - a very slow 1.7 miles on the treadmill at the gym - did situps afterwards and my abs hurt for the rest of the week!)
  • Thursday - Bike 15 minutes (done - 3.77 miles)
  • Friday - Rest Day (done)
  • Saturday - Run 2 miles (done - ran with Harriet - a very slow 2.07 miles outdoors)
  • Sunday - Run 8 miles (done - had a great run - a bit slow but that's okay. Stretched and did abs before bed)
This week's schedule:
  • MON- RUN 20 minutes
  • TUE- BIKE 20 minutes
  • WED- RUN 20 minutes
  • THU- BIKE 20 minutes
  • SAT - RUN 2 miles
  • SUN - RUN 8 miles

Friday, January 05, 2007

Day 4 of the New Plan

Weight Note: ARG! Up .4 from yesterday. Which means I am still down 1.4 from the beginning of the year. Dang. Maybe I need to eat more. Yesterday I was hungry when I got home so I cooked a pound of food and put it all in the fridge. Having food ready is the best thing for me. If I get hungry, and there is nothing ready and healthy to eat, then I eat anything that's around or I got out and get a big take out meal. Not the wisest thing to do.

In the newspaper this morning, there is an article about this guy who wrote a book on calories. He has 7,500 foods listed. The difference is that it also lists the amount of running, biking, etc., you need to do burn off the food you eat. Anyway, he says the worst food in the whole book is P.F.Change Banana Spring Rolls at a whopping 1875 calories or something like that! YIKES! What's in those things??? It's one of my favorite desserts. I guess I won't be eating those anymore.

Food Note: Started out okay. But H&S are visiting this weekend and well, tonight we went to the local Korean eatery. And well, as usual, I became a bug-eyed, raving, lunatic, food-inhaling creature from another world. Needless to say, not so good today. And tomorrow, we are having a pre-construction brunch. 'Nuff said.

Workout Note: As planned. Rest Day. Happy happy! Which is just as well because I had a massage appointment and an eye checkup today - too much packed in a single day...

Morning Commute Note: No morning commute since I worked from home today. But I did have to go to a massage appointment in the old neighborhood in the morning and an eye doctor appointment in the afternoon. So, I drove to the massage appointment and had to park in an out of order meter spot - which is 1 hour instead of the 2 hour time slot. MIraculously, I didn't get a ticket. In the afternoon, I took the Green Line to the eye doctor. Worked out okay. The long commute thing is for the birds. What a waste of time!

Note to self: must tack on another 15 minutes drive time to all appointments reached by car.

New House Note:
Phase I - Roof: The regular roof is done. They are working on the flat roofs - the balconies, over the porch, etc. I wonder how they will take off the back balcony/porch to do the roof underneath. Should be interesting.
Phase II - First Floor Demo: The kitchen demo is pretty much complete. They are working on the front entry way now. They've taken down on section of the wall that covers the stairs to the second floor.

2007 Goals

I suppose the lesson to be learned from last year is:

  • don't be too ambitious. A long list doesn't mean you will be able to do more. It could mean that you do less.
  • life happens and things change.
  • keep it simple
  • focus on doing fewer with higher quality

So, without further delay...

  1. Finish the third floor of the house
  2. Prepare for and finish the Boston Marathon in April
  3. Run Boston well enough that I can then prepare for and finish the Vermont City Marathon at the end of May - which will also give me a new state
  4. Average weight loss of 1 pound a month - this is highly doable in my opinion but translates to a whopping 12 pounds this year
  5. When traveling, but sure to workout at least 50% of the time
  6. Call my brother at least once a month
  7. Call my friend Harriet at least every two months - even when I don't need medical advice
  8. Don't take more than 1 week off after a major event - eg., running a marathon or half marathon
  9. Ride my bike twice a week - unless traveling because a bike is hard to take with me usually and more trouble than it's worth most definitely
  10. Read more - with the longer commute, this should be no problem-o
  11. Get the First Floor finished and ready for a Christmas Party
  12. Have a Christmas Party

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Day 3 of the New Plan

Weight Note: Down 1.6 pounds from yesterday. Whatsupwidat?? Okay. Water. I was really bloated last night and this morning... poof! all gone. Unfortunately, that still means I have 16.2 pounds to lose, which is down from an all time high of 17.8 pounds.

Food Note: As planned. I am starting to take these chewable fiber tablets just to make sure that I am getting the recommended daily allowance with is around 22-25 grams of soluable fiber. I have heard from many nutritionists that high fiber is a major aid in the weight loss battle. And it's working. They have 16 calories per 2 tablets and I am not hungry when I take them. Nice. I am not supposed to have more than 6 per day. Whatever.

Workout Note: As planned. Biked for 15 minutes on the trainer. I love having the setup at the house! So convenient. It's interesting that my thighs always burn when I bike. And when I try to walk down the stairs right after, I have to hold tight to the railing!

Morning Commute Note:
I started out around 7:14 this morning. As I was approaching the corner where the train platform is, I saw it whizzing by. Dang. Another one showed up in about 3 minutes, so no worries. It wasn't that crowded by I just missed getting a seat. I have to learn where to place myself so that the door is right in front of me when the train stops. The Red Line showed up within a minute of me stepping onto the platform and in two stops, I was at South Station. I made it into the office in around 45 minutes - give or take. That is not too bad. Early morning might be the way to go.

Evening Commute Note: I left work at 6:05pm. Went from the office to the Red Line to the Green Line to home. Total time = 45 minutes. I don't think it's going to get much better than this unless I run home. This time, I got on the first car and this one didn't have as many seats but I managed to snag one. It was a good night for a commute.

New House Note:
Phase I - Roof: still working on the roof. Chimney has been repointed. The main roof is done. Now they are working on the flat roofs. I think we have three of them. Can't remember.
Phase II - First Floor Demo: The kitchen has been 80% demo'd down to the studs. Debris has been shoveled out or put into bags ready for removal. The stove and fridge have been moved to the other side of the room to get ready to take the other half of the room down to studs. I wonder when they will be moving the fridge down to the basement?

Miscellaneous Note: We have hot water. The temporary water heater is in!

I came home tonight to more dust in the kitchen. I think it's because of the demo going on right underneath. Strangely, there is no dust in the other parts of the house. Well, there is but not demo dust. Anyway... I hope dust doesn't move around with each room we work on. If so, the bedroom and the living room are going to be an issue.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Day 2 of New Plan

So far so good.

Food Note: As planned. I got so hungry around 5pm that I ate my dinner before I left work. It worked out pretty well.

Workout Note: As planned. Ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill at the gym. I did abs and stretched afterward.

Evening Commute Note: I left work at 5:50pm. Went from the office to the Red Line to the Green Line to home. Total time = 50 minutes. Not good but not as bad as yesterday. I am learning that I need to get into the first car toward the very front or it will take 5 minutes to make my way through the people as I get off the train at Coolidge Corner.

New House Note:
Phase I - Roof: still working on the roof. Chimney has been repointed.
Phase II - First Floor Demo: The kitchen has been 80% demo'd down to the studs. Debris is piled up in the middle of the room. The good news is that Scotty the Contractor things that the electric stove can be brought up for me to use in our temporary space. And the full size refrigerator is ready to be moved down to the basement. Of course I have to clean it out. I forgot to do that after the tenants moved out. As if I had time, anyway.

Miscellaneous Note:
I got home and Joseph said the water heater went. The workers heard it and shut the water off. Thank goodness! No flood in the basement! Scotty the Contractor will put in a temporary water heater for us tomorrow. That means we have no hot water tonight or tomorrow morning. It's winter. And cold water is much colder in winter. Which also means no shower tomorrow. Dang. I have 15 minutes on the bike so I can do that after work.

We are having a pre-construction brunch this weekend. Yup. Nothing like a party to take your mind off the fact that your house is a wreck, you are broker than ever, your temporary living quarters are covered with dust, and you have no time do any work on the third floor. Yup yup yup.

Tonight I came home to find the Dingle Kitty in our bathroom pantry SITTING on the first shelf BURIED in the nice clean linens. And when I try to shoo her off, she wouldn't leave. And when I tried to pick her up, I had to pry her heavy self off the linens and she tried to grab a hold and hang on! ARG!!! Stubborn grrrr-animal! Now I have all this cat hair on clean linens. I wonder if Joseph took care of it.... pondering....

Oh, good news is that I might be coming back from India a few days earlier.
Hmmm... did I mentioned I am going to India at the end of the month?
Yup. Yup yup yup.

Never a dull moment.

Reviewing 2006 goals

Okay. I didn't want to do this. But, let's see how I did on last year's goals. Get ready to laugh.

  1. Read 12 books (read 8 books. Who has time to read a book a month?)
  2. Get a Library Card and use it at least once (Got the library card. Never used it. Now I am living in a new city and won't be going anywhere near the library in Boston.)
  3. Lose 5 more pounds and maintain (HAHAHAHAHA! I GAINED 6.8 pounds. But I did maintain that.)
  4. Run 1000 miles in 2006 (nowhere near this. I ran Big Sur at the end of April and just basically STOPPED running.)
  5. Take a photography class (Uh. Not. Who the hell has time to take a photography class?)
  6. Take a yoga class (Uh. See note above.)
  7. Focus on Strength and Flexibility - Stretching, Lifting, etc. (Does stretching once a week count as focus? Hmm. Didn't think so.)
  8. Eat a piece of fruit at least five days a week (Are you KIDDING ME? Do you know how much fruit that is??? And who the hell has time to go looking for fresh fruit every week? Not I.)
  9. Take pictures every week and post at least one every week to my blog (LOLOLOLOLOL. Right. I barely had time to blog. Hmmm... I am sensing a theme here.)
  10. Maintain a good skincare regimen and follow weekly schedule (This was cheating. I always do this. It was a gimme in case I couldn't accomplish any of the other goals.)
  11. Try a new recipe once every two weeks and reuse a new recipe every other week in between (This was easy to but after April, we traveled alot and this sort of fell by the wayside. Now that we are doing renovations and don't have a fully functional kitchen, this will have to be done after Phase 6 of the New House Renovation.)
  12. Take all medications and supplements on schedule with missing a single one (99% compliant on this one. Of course, I cut down on the supplements so I didn't have to remember as much.)

    Stretch Goal: Do at least one humanitarian act - some sort of vounteerism (Does giving money count? Didn't think so.)
    Stretch Goal: Learn to quilt (I did buy the quilt materials. It's in a box somewhere.)

Unaccomplished goals from last year (2005):

  1. visit 1 more baseball park (ARG! NO TIME!)
  2. go to NYC at least two times- go to the Cloisters- go to a Broadway show (we went to NYC once and didn't do any of these things. Instead, I watched Joe take swim lessons from his triathlon coach)
  3. Play golf 6 times (No comment. But I did get an awesome pair of golf shoes. And this weekend, Amanda showed me a website with some great fashionable golfing gear! I might have to get out some this summer.)
  4. Go on a camping trip (Get a tent and MAKE THE TIME) (We did get the tent. We camped in the living room of the New House before we moved it. And I happen to know it counted toward camping because I slept in my coat and still froze my butt off! And woke up various times in the night due to sleeping on an uncomfortable aerobed. And it was in a sleeping bag!)
  5. Compete in Sports, again.
  • run a marathon in 2 new states or more (Oh good. One goal I actually did!)
  • run a half marathon in a new state (I was too busy training for those two marathons and then not running for the rest of the year!)
  • compete in a duathlon (bike and run) (are you kidding me?)
  • ride in a half-century (See note above)
  • ride in a century (See note above)
  • run an ultra (Across the Years) (okay. This is getting ridiculous. See note above and remember that I basically STOPPED RUNNING AFTER APRIL!)

I am thinking that my next goal is to give up on goals.

I have to think about this some more.

New routines and new diet for life...

Nothing like starting off a new year with a new house, a new commute, a new workout routine, a new diet... let's see what else I can add.

This morning, Joseph and I went to the gym.
We drove to the gym. Which meant, afterwards, he drove me to work. Happiness.
Not sardine commute this morning. Yes!

I had my first run of the new schedule in preparation for Boston in April.
20 minutes on the treadmill. Yes. That's it. Nothing like taking things easy at the beginning. I did ab exercises afterwards - something new (what else...) and stretched (felt so good!).

This isn't a routine yet. To me, a routine is something you do over and over again, is predictable, and you can do it without thinking about it. Right now, I am just trying to figure out when to get my workouts in and where to do it. I hope it turns into a routine eventually because thinking about it all the time will surely overload my brain and my efforts will implode and I will sit on my butt and not run Boston in April. We'll see.

I also started eating more healthily. Last night, we have bibimbop. This is a Korean dish which is essentially a big bowl of assorted veggies (some raw, some cooked, some spicy), with a dollop of hot rice, and a smidge of meat or tofu or fish or chicken (you can omit this part if you're a vegetarian). Then you add some spicy hot sauce paste and you take a big spoon and you mix it all up. Yum. Last night, we had shredded Romain lettuce, rice, the hot sauce paste, and some turkey meatballs in the spicy sauce (we had to chop it up). It was wonderful and not too filling. Of course, I got up HUNGRY this morning. And no wine. None. At. All.

I've decided that I can't get rid of rice in my diet. I have to just curb it. So I wrote out a menu of what I love to eat.

Breakfast consists of either a banana and oatmeal OR soup (miso or homemade seaweed soup, etc) and 1 C. rice.

Mid-morning snack is a choice of a handful of nuts, piece of fruit, or a slimfast snack bar.

Lunch is 1 C of rice, Korean Veggies (you can have about a pound of these and only have eaten 100 calories), and some sort of meat or fish or tofu (about 3-4 ounces - I don't eat much meat, really).

Mid-day snack is the same as the mid-morning snack.

Dinner is the same as lunch.

It might sound dull but I used to eat this way.
And the Korean veggies and the meat/fish/tofu can be mixed together or stirfried.

I always find the snacks hard because I don't like to snack - I don't like to eat sweet things - no sweet tooth at all. Like last night, Joseph offered me some ice cream nibs and I started to reach for one (26 nibs make up a serving so you get an idea of small these things are), and my mouth started twitching in resistance because it didn't want to chew on anything sweet. So I said, "nahhhh... don't feel like 'sweet' right now."

The total daily caloric intake is about 1400-1950 depending on quantities, etc.
I was concerned about this diet and if it had enough calories to support my long runs, etc., and Joseph pointed out that the guy who did Kona and lost 200 pounds in training, did so on a strict 1450 calories per day diet. Ah. Something to think about and it did give me pause. And I am much smaller than he is. I will be taking GU's and sports drinks during trainig that will help. I am not going to count those - I figure that the calories are negated by all the running I will be doing.

Joseph said that I need to do what I need to do and not worry about him. He will just piggy packon what I do or do his own thing. And I can also eat dinner at work if the commute brings me home to late which means eating too late which means I feel lousy and get cranky. So, today I packed breakfast, lunch and dinner (just in case). I love my Hunny Bunny. Happiness.

This should work. I should be able to lose 1/2 pound a week on this regimen. That means 6-8 pounds lost before the marathon.

I think I can I think I can I think I can...

Commuting on the Green Line - update

Last night, I left work at 5:30pm.

From the office to the Red Line, it took about 6 minutes.
I got lucky with the Red Line. It showed up within 2 minutes of me reaching the platform.
I took it two stops to Park Street and changed to the Green Line (C-line train).

Well. Let me tell you. It was CROWDED. Not simply crowded. It was PACKED-er than it was in the morning. In fact, there were these people on the steps right inside the doors of the train and I could see there was a bit of space. I took one step up and no one moved, so I shoved them into the train. (It was nice to know that I hadn't lost my Subway Etiquette over the years of taking the Commuter Rail instead.) The guy in front stepped up, and another guy who was standing in the middle of the second step moved over the right, and looked at me and then at his buddy.

He said, "I got this lady here shoving me over."
I said, "you gotta shove in."
He said, "where do you want me to go?"
I said, "just shove in - there's room."
[Obviously, there was room. I mean, I made it in. If there hadn't been any room, I wouldn't have been able to get into the car. Sheesh.]

After a couple of back and forths, he quit being mad and started having a really funny conversation with his buddy who was on the step in front of me.

The whole ride to Coolidge Corner took about 20 minutes.
All told, it was about 30-35 minutes.
With the 10 minute walk home, it would have taken 40-45 minutes.
Other than the sardine-like environment, not too bad.

I headed to Trader Joe's which is to the left of the platform and called Joseph. Turns out he was headed toward home in the other direction. We had been on the same train, which I had wondered about. He did a U-turn and met me at Trader Joe's where they were out of almost everything in the refrigerators due to technical difficulties - such as they couldn't get the temperature stable - obviously the refrigerators were not working. Oh well.

Joseph said he asked someone he ran into on the train if this PACKED-ness is a normal thing and she said, "no. It's never like this..."

We will see what we will see...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Training for the week

Okay. Since I am on a roll and not doing any work today, I thought I would take a moment to jot down my training plan for the week.

Monday - Rest (thank goodness because that is what I did yesterday)
Tuesday - Bike 15 minutes (funny how this fit into my scheduled, too)
Wednesday - Run 20 minutes
Thursday - Bike 15 minutes
Friday - Rest Day
Saturday - Run 2 miles
Sunday - Run 8 miles (we'll see if my legs don't fall off between now and then. It might during this run, though.)

I hope to get some stretching in and I have a massage with the wonderful Katrina on Friday. Yahoo.

I think that is plenty ambitious for this week.
As Amanda would say, "everybody polka!"

Small Surprise...

...from a colleague and friend at work...
Let's call him Hank. That's a good name.
So, I shared with him a bottle of the Michel Couvreur which is a cult favorite of some single malt drinkers. This was middle of last year, I think.
Anyway, I just got a package from Amazon.
I didn't think I ordered anything but I am apt to do so and then forget.
So it sat on my desk for an hour and I finally opened it thinking it was a backordered book about business process or design or marketing or some other work-related topic and it's the latest editiong of a
book about SCOTCH!
Thank you, Hank!
And he didn't need to do it.
I love sharing my love of Scotch with anyone who is tired enough to sit down for a minute. LOL!
That's reward enough.

What a nice surprise.

Correction to prior posting

I have been informed that I have a 2 mile run on Saturday, not a 2 hour run.

Don't hold back on the excitement, now...

It might just kill you.

And wouldn't you know... I spoke with Joseph and his commute only took 35 minutes.
That's about 25 minutes longer than mine. 25. Minutes. Do you know how much time that is?

And then, to add insult to injury, do you know that he actually sent me a training plan for the Boston? And he didn't stop there. He extended it right along to VCM. Remember? That marathon I signed up for a few weeks ago because I needed a stoopid GOAL to get my ass out the door? Right. The one that is over Memorial Day weekend? The one I was going to take 5 months to train for my next marathon? Yes. That one.

And do you know that he has me running 2 hours on Saturday and 8 miles on Sunday? THIS WEEKEND?? Yes. Two Hours followed by eight miles. On the same weekend? And that is after two weeks of NO ACTIVITY. And a week of 2 days biking for 15 minutes and one day of running for 20 minutes.


Be careful what you wish for.

BTW: This weekend I think we will have a preconstruction brunch this weekend. Oh, of course, I have that 2 hour run on Saturday. Ugh. I guess I'll be getting up EARLY. GAH!!! This brunch might be the last fun think I do for the next four months....

And could it get any worse???

I knew about it last night when Joseph read to me aloud from the Club email. And he laughed! But this morning, reality hit when I got this in my inbox from the president of our running club:
"Recipients and alternates in the PRC Marathon Lottery,
January, 1, 2007

You are invited to run the 2007 Boston Marathon with a PRC number.

By participating in our lottery you have agreed to comply with all PRC and BAA constraints on your use of the PRC invitational numbers. Please review the three related JPEGs, attached documents.

Your cooperation and consideration in matters related to the PRC marathon Lottery is extremely important.

It is of paramount importance that the PRC preserves it’s good relationship with the BAA.

Once you submit the entry form to the BAA the PRC can NOT transfer it to one of our alternates. The deadline for these entry form applications is February 15, 2007.

If for any reason (prior to submission) you believe that you will be unwilling or unable to participate in the 2007 Boston Marathon please inform me as soon as possible. We will ensure that the next alternate will have the opportunity to accept the invitational number.

I look forward to joining you in our training runs and the 2007 Boston Marathon. Wishing you all a great experience.
Mike "


Every year, the BAA reserves a certain number of "free numbers" to the running clubs in return for their help in their events the number of Free Numbers is dependent on the membership count, who you know, blah blah blah. I belong to two running clubs. The first one in Southie, who shall remain nameless, get about 10 number. They hoard these numbers, doling them out to the operating committee members and their friends, those they themselves deem worthy of a number. And it's all pretty secret. The second club, PRC (Parkway Running), gives all of their members an opportunity to get one of these numbers by throwing your name into a hat and drawing 5 names (for the 5 free numbers we get). The number of times your name gets put into the hat is determined by the number of meetings you come to and the number of times you volunteer. You can get your name in the hat a maximum of 7 times (I think). This year, my name was put in only twice - once for being a member and once for volunteering for one race. And wouldn't ya know??? My name gets drawn!! ARG!!! Who would have expected this? I certainly didn't.

I have until Feb 15th to decide. Once I decide, they can't reassign my number (after Feb 15th). If I decide before Feb 15th to forego the number, they will go to one of the 5 alternates (one alternate for each number).

I gotta get serious about my running and losing weight. I have exactly ONE MONTH to figure out if I can do this. If I can get my training in gear and I can lose about 4 pounds, I am going to go for it. Otherwise, I'll give someone else the chance. I've run it four times already, raising money for Charity. And now, I am in the worst shape of my life. I wonder if I can lose 10 pounds and be ready by then.

This could be God's way of telling me to get my ass out the door.

A new word for the New Commute (NC)

Actually, two words.
"It sucked."

It took me about an hour, door to door.
The walk to the T-stop took about 9 minutes. Not bad.
The wait was crowded and took about 10 minutes. Not great but could be worse. I can't imagine what it will be like in rain, wind, snow, sideways-blowing-anything (I'll probably step outside, turn right around and work from home. The only issue will be if it's unplanned, then my paperwork will be at work. Which now means that I will have to schlep everything around with me like some sort of pack mule. But that's okay. With all the weight I gained in 2006, I am starting to look like one...)
The train was shoulder to shoulder. Packed. Sardine-like. Not the open, airy, grab-an-empty-seat-and-relax commute from the Old House. I had to stand!!! At least, the people were polite. But still... Totally sucked.

The train ride itself wasn't too bad - it too about 20 minutes from Harvard Street to Park Street. Of course, if there is a train delay or some sort of breakdown, you can just fuggedaboutit. Not great and not good. But not complaining, considering.

Then I switched to the Red Line. Lucky for me, the train showed up within 5 minutes. Two stops later and I am at South Station with a short 3 minute walk to the office. This was the best part of the ride.

This was during rush hour. I left the house at 8:09 am. I'll give it a go at 7:00, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:00 to see when the best time to leave it. Of course, it might be 6:30 am for all I know. Then I'll give it a shot using the combination of the Green Line and the Commuter Rail.

Tonight, I will be trying out the commute home. The last time, it took me about 45-50 minutes at around 5:00pm. The difference is that I used the commuter rail to ride to my usual Back Bay stop. From there, I walked the 5 minutes to the Copley Green Line station and took the C-line the rest of the way in. This will probably be okay given that the commuter rail is a 3-minute walk outside of my building. I can time it pretty well. Coming into work is another story. If the Green line is off by 5 minutes, then I will miss the train in. If I decide to go this route, then I will have to set the time I leave the house to arrive at Back Bay between 7:30am and 8:45 am.

It'll take me a month to experiment with all the combinations and times. And in both directions. I am starting to think that driving isn't all that bad. We still have the sticker to the South End. We could drive there, park the car, then take the commuter rail in...

Hmmm... I might have to buy another car...

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Years in New Hampshire

I wasn't sure if we would make it.
It was right down to the wire.
Even when we picked up the lobsters - six 1 1/2 pounders - at Wulfs Fish Market.
And then we unpacked and unpacked until we realized we could be unpacking for a month! And so, the decision was made... we would once again go to New Hampshire to spend New Years with Amanda and Gina.

And it was wonderful, relaxing, restful.
And I definitely needed it.
I've been so wrapped up in moving and packing and so much unfinished work, I didn't realize how much I needed the downtime.

I parked myself in their wonderful massage chair, opened up my laptop, loaded up pictures, and generally just vegged out until it was time for dinner. Of course, Gina kept us all fed and happy up until them. And this year, Gusty and Charlie (friends of A&G) came to dinner, too.