Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another great run and a wedding

This morning, I went out for a long run and ended up running much longer than I had thought I would. But my legs felt good and it was the perfect kind of scenario for me - long quiet paved roads, with only the occassional car, lots of shade, mailboxes signaling that people in houses lurked behind the trees with only the occassional house in plain sight. And most importantly, no dogs. Ugh. I hate dogs on my running routes. Not only do they bark, they unnerve me. Stupid animals when it comes to the chase.

After the run we did a little more shopping and bought a LOT of mustards, rubs, and hot sauces at the Saucy Contessa. I am more than a little excited to be grilling when we get home! The good news is that the Saucy Contessa does mail over via the internet. Yahoo!

Then before long, it was time for the wedding. I wore one of the dresses from The House of Logan. It looked really good, if I do say so myself.

And that is about it. Too tired to think.



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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Running and Shopping in Boothbay Harbor

What a beautiful day it was today! Clear blue skies, cripy morning quickly turning to warm with a cooling breeze when it was breeze. We had breakfast at the Inn. I had some of the BEST granola ever. I wonder if they buy it or if it is homemade. I had it with yogurt and a fresh fruit salad. Then they made us a very respectable single serving size of a cinnamon wheat waffle along with two sausage links. And the maple syrup was on the side in a little single-serving ounce size ramekin. I was so happy that breakfast was so healthy!

It was also a terrific day for a run today. After I let breakfast digest for an hour, I managed about 6 miles in an hour ten. Yes it was slow but I felt so good. I ran according to my HR and I could have run much longer. Tomorrow, I plan on running long so I decided to be conservative today. The only downside was that I chose a route that was on a main road and there were lots of cars whizzing by. But the drivers here seem to be used to runners and they did a careful job of slowing down and giving me some space.

After the run, we sat and relaxed and then went shopping. Let me just say that it was a good day for shopping in Boothbay Harbor! We visited a few stores and got hungry so we went to the Lobster Dock on the other side of the Damariscotta River. Which mean that we had to walk the narrow wooden footbridge of the aforementioned river. Which meant that I was none too happy about it. Managed to make it across and ended up at the Lobster Dock and had a hot lobster roll. Wow. A new way to eat lobster. Fresh lobster with a drizzle of butter and served in a totated hot dog bun. It was delicious! We also got some onion rings which turned out to be battered and so-so. But the fries were deceptively dull looking and were really good! We also ran into our friend Derek - the groom of the wedding party - and his entire family. So we sat with them until they had to go. It was beautiful. I took a lot of pictures so I will post them when I get a chance.

Then it was back over that stoopid footbridge. I couldn't get over it fast enough. Then it was back to shopping mode. We ended up going from store to store and picked up some postcards, a few cards (which I collect as I see ones that I like because you can never have enough cards), a couple of gifts for some friend's children, a pair of shoes, etc.

Then we ended up at The House of Logan. Yah. Sounds a bit hokey. I thought it would be a good place for Joseph who always manages to patiently follow me from store to store, keeping his good humor, cracking jokes, etc. And it was. We ended up with a sweater and a nice silk tie with donuts and coffee print on it. Then we hit the women's section and JACKPOT!! I met a woman named Candice and she was awesome. She brought me outfit after outfit and made me try them on. I swear, I think she was living vicariously through me.

Anyway, while I was in the dressing room, Joseph got tired of seeing me in flip flops and ran across the street to Slicks, where I had bought a pair of shoes earlier and brought a pair of blacks shoes back that I had tried on but didn't buy. And they were the right size! He's just too wonderful for words!!!

And I tried on dress after dress and they looked good with the shoes! I ended up with some nice pieces for more dressy occasions and a couple of dresses I can wear to black tie or other formal events. I was soooo happy! I will wear one of the dresses to the wedding instead of my less than desirable ones that I brought with me from home.

Then it was back to the Inn and we went over to the Welch House where the entire wedding party is staying for a cocktail reception. The best part is that this B&B is right next to where we are staying. We basically dropped our stuff off, changed out of our t-shirts into something clean and more presentable, and just sort of uh... walked over. Took 5 minutes. How happy happy were we?? Yah. VERY Happy Happy!

After the party, we went to dinner at Kaler's with our friend Doug and his family. You have to see this family. It is probably one of the best looking families. Not to mention that Doug looks like Mitt Romney the venture capitalist millionaire! So funny.

Tomorrow, we will do something of the same only a longer run and a wedding in the afternoon.

Fun fun fun!

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Boothbay, Maine

We are in Boothbay, Maine for a nice long weekend. We are here to attend a wedding but decided to extend the trip. I have heard about it over the years but have never been here. My first impression of Boothbay Harbor is that it's small and quaint.

We are staying at the Topside Inn run by Brian and Ed. They seem nice. We are in one of the out-buildings a short 20 ft walk from the main house. The room is just fine with a little fridge and the view is really nice!

On the way up we stopped in Freeport, Maine to take a look around and have lunch. We stopped in at the Freeport Lobster Company which is next to The Gap and LLBean and above Ben and Jerry's and had our first lobster of the trip. YUMMY! We also stopped at Crabtree and Evelyn to pick up a few gifts from their sidewalk sale. Bargains! We are going to come back on Monday for the last of the Labor Day Sales. On the way home we are going to stop in Kittery at the outlets!

After Freeport, we continued onto Boothbay. So far so good. For dinner we went to McSeagulls, which has something for everyone. The menu is large and expansive and has items for non-seafood eaters. Everything was really delicious.

We did some walking around and decided to do some shopping tomorrow after our morning run. The best part is that we have nothing much else to do other than run, eat, walk around, and shop.

Oh. I do have one small work thing looming over my head. But I should be able to find time on one day to do this. Actually it's a big thing so I will be spending my running time thinking things through.

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What a cluster!

McCain picked some woman from Alaska (the governor) for his running mate. What??? Who the hell is she?? Good grief! What is going on? First we have a young black man who picks an older white man who has a reputation for speaking his mind. Then we get and old white man who picks a young white woman with 5 kids and also known for speaking her mind as his running mate.

Ok. So if Obama dies we get Joe Biden. We could do worse. And I would like a president who doesn't give a crap and says what he thinks. And if McCain dies, we get a woman whose been governor for 2 years and was mayor of a town of 6000.

Hmmmmm....

The pundits are mixed about all this. On the one hand, McCain basically did his best to slap Shrillary in the face. And supposedly he is appealing to the disenfranchised Hillary supports.

McCain doesn't get it. The ones who liked Shrillary don't like other women in general. They want Shrillary. No one but the The Shrill will do.

And The Shrill supports do not get it. Who are they gonna vote for? McCain??? If so, then it was never about ideology or the platform; it was about having a woman in high office.

I too would like to see a woman in the white house. But I want to see the RIGHT woman, not any ole woman.

The good news is that for a black man and a woman, we will get their best either way. They are going to have to work harder, be nicer, have better judgment, communicate better than anyone else that preceded them. They are creating a standard for generations to come. And all others will be judged by their behvaiours and accomplishments. If they mess things up, then they will set things back for others of their ilk for many years to come with the naysayers ready to rise up and say "I told you so."

So, it's a horserace.

Things are starting to get really interesting.

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Terrific Run and Scary Trainer Workout Day 2

I had a terrific run to today. I did the usual loop of around 6 miles. I was worried about how my legs would feel after Scary Trainer last night. After some indecision as to whether to take the easy route or the hillier route, I decided to take it easy and do a recovery run on the hillier route. When I got started I felt really good so I was pleased. I managed to keep my average HR in the recovery zone.

Speaking of Scary Trainer, the routine was heavy but not nearly as hard as Monday's. It was mostly upper body and I think he did this because I said I would be doing more cardio on my own. Which means I now have to go out and do it. Anyway, the second workout looks like this:
Jump and banded chin ups - 3 jumps, rest, 5 thin band, rest, 7 thick band, rest, 9 thick and thin bands. I couldn't do the thin band so we moved to the thick band and a set of 7 and a set of 9.
Squats - 4 sets of 12 reps using around 80 lbs.

Bench press - 4 sets of 12 using 35 lbs dumbbells.

Incline bench rows - 4 sets of 12 rows using 25 lbs dumbbells

Then alternating the below twice:
1) Good morning - 12 reps using a 50 lb bar
2) Rotator cuff exerises using 5 lb dumbbell.
The above is heavy on upper body which tells me that for the next month I can run longer on Fridays or the day after Scary Trainer Day 2.

Happy happy!

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Obama's Pick for VP

Well. Obama got it right with Joe Biden as pick for VP. Joe Biden was the one I was hoping for.

He's strong on foreign policy and is a self-made man who didn't marry into a family with a fortune. His definition of success seems to be the kind where you give to society, live quietly, work hard, raise your children, devote yourself to civil service and always put family first. All admirable qualities that more of us should aspire to.

As for his "mouth," and his so-called tendency to put his foot in his mouth or flub his lines, so what? I don't care. He can make as many faux pas, flubs, mistakes, or whatever, as he wants. I don't mind having someone in government who says what he thinks, without eupehemism or apology, calling a spade a spade and just putting it out there whether it's good news or bad. Get to the damn point! Too much time is wasted trying to appease the sensibilities of every overly sensitive person or interst group. Who cares?? Just get to the damn point so that we can move past it and get the hell on with it!!!

Ya know?

Joe Biden. I like hime. Always have. His mis-speaks with keep us all amused for four years as long as no one takes themselves so seriously. To them, I say get a freakin' life.

Why, he is so blunt that I sometimes he could be Korean!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Independent or Indecisive?

For the first time in almost as long as I can remember, I have absolutely no idea who I will vote for in November. In the past, I knew right away. This time, I just give a big shrug.

My candidate of choice was Ron Paul. I know that all those people who didn't vote for him would have had they known what he represented. But they didn't know better. They didn't know they had a true choice between Democrat, Republican, AND Libertarian. And most of them have no idea what a Libertarian is. I know I know I know... Ron Paul was on the Republican ticket. Whatever.

This time around I am presented with a candidate who continues to piss me off by calling me his "friend" and another candidate who makes vague references to some kind of change and hope, which I think translates into a buncha social services and more taxes at the expense of the people who already contribute a large chunk of their hard earned dollars in the form of taxes to take care of the rest of the country.

I would like lower taxes, smaller better government, freedom of choice and speech, health care for the children and one that emphasizes and rewards preventative and health maintenance care, a good educational system for all people regardless of where you live. A government that emphasizes personal and corporate accountability with the proper rewards if you are, and severe consequences if you don't. I would like less dependence on oil and a comprehensive program to bring pragmatic energy choices to the public, using existing research from the largest and best technology institutions and labs.

I would like a government that doesn't want to think for you, speak for you, tell you how to think and talk and live your life - one that will insist that you think for yourself and that says you have accountability for your life and how you live it. I ask for a government that protects us but doesn't go on crusades for whatever reason disguised as a call to democracy. I would like a government that not only supports us and protects us but one that is willing to be pragmatic while thinking out of the box, one that is not afraid to ask "why not?" I want decision-making based on fair objective measures, setting new precedents for doing with is right, based on facts, knowing that not every solution is perfect but that we can make small steps to making the future better, together.

I want a government that reminds us that ALL people are responsible to and for each other. That good will cannot be legislated. That common sense and pragmatism is not out of practice from disuse.

This is such an incomplete list. But these are the things that I will use to measure the two candidates that are left to choose from. Is it too much to ask for? Probably. But I continue to dream and hope for the government of old, when ordinary men became extraordinary to serve the common good. They were true statesmen, true governers.

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Funny sign

Saw it on the news. A red circle with a slash through the word "McSame."

LOL. Totally cracked me up.

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Living history

Today is a historic moment that will go down in the history books for all generations to come. It is Jackie Robinson all over again. But instead of a baseball diamond, the playing field is politics.

On this day, Barack Obama officially accepts the Democratic Party nomination to run as their candidate, the first black American ever to be nominated.

I have a lot of thoughts spinning around in my head and I'll get to writing them down eventually. But one of the largest things I am feeling is worry. However momentus this is, a small piece of my gut tightens when I think about it.

Obama is being likened to MLK.
And he will giving his acceptance speech on the 50 yard line of Invesco Field in Denver.
JFK gave his acceptance outdoors.
Now Barack.

No matter how you feel about the man, you hope that the parallels aren't too obvious, and the the fates are looking the other way. You hope that we have evolved as a people since those earlier days and that we have grown beyond expressing our opinions with a gun.

We hope.

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Inspiration

Inspiration is hard to fine these days. We are pummeled daily with things that would have been considered impossible or just plain miraculous in another day and age only to take it all for granted.

So I find myself looking around, slowing myself down, and reaching out for inspiration in the small day to day things and that people that surround me day in and day out.

I met my Friend Debbie about, gosh, ten years ago. Jeez. Has it been that long??? She lived in NYC, was a kindred spirit in the caustic and the sarcastic, and had the same jaded view of the world. She would regale me and our friends with tales of the LIRR, the ultimate study of the vagaries of humanity.

In the last three years, she started a new job, moved to New Hampshire, and got her life back from all the craziness of living in NYC. Okay. The downside is that we have no more stories of the LIRR. But the good news is so much better. I have seen her evolve, working on herself - sort of an unstoppable, one-woman self-improvement workshop. She is doing everything that I have been wanting to do but all in short order. She has been losing some serious weight. She then added exercise. Then she added more exercise. And now, she is exercising more than I am. She is like the Energizer Bunny and is seemginly unstoppable.

I think about my Friend Debbie every single day. Every morning when I wake up and "just don't feel like it" I think about her. And instead of "forgoetting about it" she reminds me of where I used to be - even if was only for a week or a month at a time. And she makes me aspire to being that driven person again. She also keeps things fresh for me and reminds me of the possibilities. She shows me that it's not just about the running and the biking, and the times and the mileage. She reminds me that just MOVING YOUR BODY is something to applaud, and that it's doesn't matter what it is you do as long as you DO IT.

So, I just have to say, "You go, girl! You're doing great!"
And for me, I have a new mantra - "Must. Be. Debbie."

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shillary and the self-serving "Right Thing"

There was a roll call of states at the Democratic convention. The Shrillary supporters were demanding their voices be heard. Supposedly, The Shrill and Obama have been negotiation for the better part of a week on the roll call, how it would be handled, etc. One of the big items is that The Shrill would get some votes. And they agreed that when the roll call got to New York, The Shrill would put on the angelic mantle and stop the roll call. And sure enough, she moved to nominate Obama by acclamation.

To the outside observer who does not know any better, it would have been interesting that how Nancy Pelosi called for all "ayes" with a long pause and then called for the "nays" and didn't leave a second for anyone to respond, unless you knew that it had all be planned and engineered ahead of time.

The Shrill could be viewed as having done the "right thing" but did she really have a choice? Uh... nope.

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Joe Biden

Today Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination as running mate & VP. I have always liked Joe Biden.

Obama and Joe Biden.
Very interesting.

I am going to have to think about this.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Workout Pain

Last night was a new week of routines from Scary Trainer. Can we just say "PAIN?"

We did the five following exercises

5 sets of singles with 1 minute rest in between - cleans. You basically have a bar, bring it down right below the knee and then bring it up under your chin real fast, and then catch it from under in a squat and stand up. At that point Scary Trainer walks over and takes the weight from me. It's hard to explain. Went up to 70 pounds or something but failed on the 2nd and 3rd tries so had to take it back down to 65.

Then squat to press. 4 sets of 8. Squat a little and then you rise up quick and as you do that you put your hands straight up into the air. I used 25 pounds and then 30 pounds and then back down to 25 lb dumbbells.

Then I did Bavarian squats. I HATE these. You have a box you stand in front of. Then you take one leg and put it behind you on the box. Then you squat down on the one leg in front of you. KILLER!!! I did 4 sets of 8 on each leg with a minute rest between sets.  I started out with 1 sets with 20 pound dumbbells and then moved down to 15 pounds in each hand.

Then it was good mornings. You basically have barbell behind your neck. But your body is positioned so that you are bend over at the waist and your back is horizontal and parallel to the floor. You're legs are bent and your butt sticks out almost like a squat but you are more "folding" than squatting. Then you bring your back up and stand while doing that. You are "unfolding" yourself. I am not sure how many pounds I did but my butt hurts like a mutha this morning. I did 4 sets of 5 with a 1 minute rest in between.

Then 2 sets of 25 reverse crunches.

On Thursday I get my second workout of the week. I has got to be easier than yesterday's workout! My whole legs hurt from my glutes right down to the right above the knees. I hope I can recover by Thursday!

This morning, I got on the bike and did a recovery spin for 30 minutes.

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Friends for Dinner

I should mention that Amanda and Abby came for dinner on Saturday night. Amanda came and stayed over and Abby just came for dinner since she lives about 20 minutes away. Although she could have stayed and we could have had a big slumber party. Uh... maybe not.

Anyway, it was a momentous occasion for a couple of reasons. First, we never ever see Amanda. We are not only busy, but so is Amanda - full time job and something like a full time student. Or something like that. I know it sounds crazy but it's Amanda. And New Hampshire. And it's what it is.

Then there is Abby, who lives only 2 minutes away but is busier than we are. She is booked almost every single weekend.

Amanda brought her friend Jenn who we found to be very nice. She is quiet and thoughtful and as a very calm demeanor. Which is important because Amanda is also quiet and thoughtful but can bounce off walls. Jenn is a good tether from Amanda to the ground. Ahem.

Abby brought a cake. A deep dark chocolate, light fluffy, not too sweet, delicious, addictive chocolate cake. With a light fluffy stark white puffy marshmallowy icing. ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN HER!!!! I managed to give more than half the remaining cake to Amanda and Jenn but a third remains on my counter top and I am continually picking at it which is wreaking havoc on my daily caloric intake. GAH!!!! I am not happy. I must ponder what to do with the cake. Sigh...

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Favorite Things #13: Watermelon

I could eat a whole one all by myself.
A large, whole one.
In one sitting.
Unless my belly explodes from all the juice.
Unless it's got seeds.
Then I don't mind sharing a little.
Not a lot.
Just a little.
More like a tad than a little.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Week 34 Training Recap

What a week. WHAT A WEEK!!! GAH!!!!! I did NOTHING! The big fat GOOSE EGG!!! And I felt like CRAP!

Monday: Rest Day. All day offsite at work that starts at 8am. GAH! What a day. 8am start. No time to do anything. Afterwards, we went to Maggianno's Little Italy, they of the giant portions with everything FATTENING thrown in. I had about a tablespoon of almost everything, not all. And when I looked down at my plate, I saw that it was piled high! I don't get it.
Tuesday: Rest in the morning. Scary Trainer in the evening. Feel okay from the dinner before. Scary Trainer had a lecture for me because I felt compelled to eat. Sigh...
Wednesday: Rest Day. Offsite #2, Day 1. Starts at 7:30 am and goes into the wee hours due to a group even. Sigh... I have noticed that by far the most pervasive thing on the breakfast, snack and lunch tables are CARBOHYDRATES!!! I am starting to feel like crap. My stomach is bloated.
Thursday: Rest Day. Offsite #2, Day 2. I am resigned to slug-ness.Another day, another pound or ten. I am afraid to get on the scale. Nothing. No exericse. At. All. Lots of CARBOHYDRATES, though!
Friday: Nothing in the morning. I will be recovering from my Slug-fest. Scary Trainer in the evening where he will lecture me about consisitency. ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.That The Good Lord that it's OVER OVER OVER!!! I feel like CRAP!!!! Scary Trainer in the evening.
Saturday: Bike or run in the morning.
Sunday: Bike or run in the morning.

Total Running Miles: 0 miles (record: 26.9 miles)
Total Biking Miles: 13.8 miles (record: 67.8)
Total Swimming Yards: 0 yards (record: 3300)
Total Strength Training Days: 2 times
Total Workout Hours: 1:00:13


Monday: Rest Day. All day offsite at work that starts at 8am. GAH!
Tuesday: Rest in the morning. Scary Trainer in the evening.
Wednesday: Rest Day. Offsite #2, Day 1. Starts at 7:30 am and goes into the wee hours due to a group even. Sigh...
Thursday: Rest Day. Offsite #2, Day 2. I am resigned to slug-ness.
Friday: Nothing in the morning. I will be recovering from my Slug-fest. Scary Trainer in the evening where he will lecture me about consisitency. ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Saturday: Bike or run in the morning.
Sunday: Bike or run in the morning.


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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Korean Breakfast

Ok. I soooo do not want to work out today. I just polished off a Korean breakfast after spending time with my neighbor who is setting up a yard sale. It starts at 10am and I've spied a few things I might move from her house to mine. So, if I do work out it will be after the shopping spree.

What's a Korean breakfast? First, let me just say never ever try to fry up spam in a pan that doesn't have a non-stick coating. The insides of the spam separates from the browned outside the minute you go to turn it. And the crispy crackly brown parts stick to the pan and you have to use an industrial stainless spatula to PRY it off the pan. And you are left with a buncha crinkled, piled, scraped-off crispy crackly brown spam coating that sits apart from the spam insides. Got that?? What was I thinking??

A Korean breakfast has rice. Lots of rice. And kimchee. Lots of kimchee. Usually accompanied by some sort of meat. I was thinking about some canned mackeral or salmon doused with a half bottle of hot sauce when I reached for the lite turkey spam. And you can also throw in a few other side dishes. I was looking at the pickled pepper perilla leaves (say that 10 times really really fast and you get a prize) but settled on some pickled peppered garlic shoots instead. All of this is washed down the some barley tea. The only thing missing was the hot brothy soup, lots of noise around the table (the dingle doggie sat with me but didn't make a sound), and the passing of 3 hours....

Ugh. Maybe I should get my butt on the bike. Running is out of the question after that breakfast. First... off to the yard sale! I wonder if they will open the doors a little early for me.


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Figuring it out all over again

Just when I thought I had it down to a science, I hit a plateau. I think I have to now go to a different plan. A few conversations happened in the past week or so to make me come to this final juncture.

Scary Trainer said I needed to get down to 1500 calories. I resisted. I think he's right.

Scary Trainer said that the calories counts are estimates at best and the more complicated we make food, the more variance we get in accuracy. Okay...

And then Joseph said that I made eating too complicating. Not the eating really. More the cooking. So after an especially arduous night of cooking and cleaning, he asked why we didn't just grill more. Hmmm... Don't know....

And so, it has come full circle. I need a new plan that includes simplifying my eating life. And I need to have some consistency and predictability.

And so... my renewed commitment to grilling and salads. But also to a set small menu of foods that I can eat. I don't do well with a lot of variables. So, I am going to shut the curtains, close the door, dim the lights and become intimate with Bobby Flay the Chillin' and Grillin' Man.

My new mantra is simplify simplify simplify.
My new motto is Grillin' and Salads.
My single focused goal is to break the next weight barrier.
I can definitely get there from here!

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Crap in, crap out

After a week of eating every bit of crap in sight... I feel like crap! And tonight, after a week of eating crap, I continued to eat crap. So...any wonder why I feel like crap? I am full of crap.

Sigh...

Tomorrow is my cheat day.
And I really don't feel like it.
The only thing I am looking forward to is my Friend Lilly's wontons. Homemade. I am going to make spicy wontons. It's delicious. Boiled, then a bit of broth with a soy ginger scallion sauce, and a healthy dose of bean sprouts.

And Amanda Panda is coming tomorrow. So we are going to have a ribfest at home. I will make my famous potatoes gratin and a big salad. Maybe we will get some sweet corn, too.

Can't wait to get back on my crap-free diet.
Who knew that eating can be such a damn chore??
I really miss restrictive eating.
It's all home cooking.
And not just crap.

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Random Thought: mosquitoes

Brookline is strangely devoid of mosquitoes.

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Scary Trainer looks good

Ok. I am at the gym and Scary Trainer is with someone else. His t-shirt is not as baggy as usual. And I have to say that, uh... he is looking pretty good. Lots o' muscles. Wow.


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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hell Week Part Two

Okay. It's over. Not really but for the most part.
Actually... I take that back. It's not over. ARG!!!

Two days of offsites for my Boss's Boss.
We have random seat assignments and guess who I am sitting with?
Yup. Don't think it was all that random either.

Two days from 7:30 am until the end of the day. And that is defind by, well, when it ends. Ya know??

Last night after the day ended at 5:30, we went to Felt. It's a pool hall/bar/catering food place. The theme was Italian and a pool tournament. Another Italian night after Monday. Don't you people know that I do not like Italian food???

Okay. It's not that I don't like it. It's that I can take it or leave it. Everything is floating in oil and cheese and emulsified tomato stuff. And we have a pool tournament?? Don't you people know that I do not like to participate??? ARG!!!

Okay. Not exactly participate. But I hate not having a choice. Having to commit to something. And it's worse when you have a partner you are assigned. Like a POOL TOURNAMENT PARTNER!!! And no, it doesn't matter that I know the person and that I like him. WHATEVER!

So, I feasted on the marinated antipasto platter. I should have had the stupid eggplant parm and the noodles!!! This morning I looked things up and found out that it's all the same calories!!! GAH!

Did not get home last night until late. This morning, the same thing. 7:30 am start. We ended early and my wonderful Hunny Bunny drove me back home. I feel like I've been let out of prison. I feel so free I just don't know what to do with myself.

Maybe I'll give myself a big hug.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Friend Lilly

She is in China.
She buried her brother and is taking care of her mother.
I am sure she is just sick and tired.

I miss her.


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tales from the gym

Okay. What can I say about that? Scary Trainer wasn't too happy with me when I told him that I had Hell Week. We were talking about my diet again (what else) and he wasn't all that happy. Well... I am not happhy either! Ya know???

So, I said to him that I had Hell Week, explained what it was and he said, "you are going to have to pack your food.":
Me: Uh... pack my food? [blink blink blink]
ST: Yeah. So you can stick to your plan.
Me: It's not that simple.
ST: Why not? Of course it is.
Me: [slight pause] I can't go to a dinner with a bunchawork people and then sit there and drink water and eat lettuce.
ST: [blink blink blink]
Me: In the corporate world, there are battles you fight and attention you decide to draw to yourself. Having to do with weird food issues is not one that will get you far.
ST: [long pause] That's too bad.
Me: Well, it is what it is and I can't explain it you. That's all.
ST: [...]

So... that was about that for conversation for the night.
Ahem.
Made for a pleasant evening.
Yup.
Yup yup yup.


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Hell Week and Gargantuan Portions

Yesterday was the beginning of Hell Week. I will be subjects to a barrage of verbal stimuli, held captive by authority figures, from morning til night, nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. Yes. I have three management offsites this week. Three.

Yesterday was the first one. This one was my boss's offsite. We were holed up on the 3rd floor of our building, breakfast and lunch brought in along with snacks and beverages. My boss, 6 of my peers and myself. From 8am until 5:15pm. Fun.

Then if was off to Maggianno's Little Italy. The land of the Gargantuan portions. I knew hell week was going to be hell on my diet but good grief! This is what Men's Health had to say about it:
'Maggiano's Little Italy doesn't want you to know just how many calories and carbs you're consuming in those massive pasta portions. (As the menu puts it, "Family-style service or individual entrees are available ... Whichever you choose, you'll have plenty to share or take home.") In Italy, a standard pasta serving means 4 ounces of noodles with a few tablespoons of sauce. At Maggiano's, a large order of pasta translates into 2 pounds of noodles piled high on a hubcap-size dinner plate (15-1/2 inches in diameter). A Maggiano's PR rep responded to our request for nutritional information a week later: "Sorry for the delay, I had to wait for corporate's approval. Unfortunately, they have declined to participate."'
All I have to say is that I literally took a spoonful of all but one of the dishes and when I looked down, my plate was piled high. And this was DINNER. I am not even mentioning the appetizer! After the dinner, they brought out the doggie bags. Each dish was in it's own SUPERSIZED doggie bag! They were the size of those aluminum baking pans, or chafing dishes that caterers use. Everyone was grabbing one of the bags to take home.

I couldn't get out of there fast enough!

I have one day to "catch up" from yesterday before I am out for another two days of offsite meetings. This time, my boss's boss. Fun fun fun...

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Week 33 Training Recap

Last week was bit of a wash. It started out with good intentions and then as the week went on, it was increasingly difficult to stick to The Plan since the world and the gods and the fates and all of the planets missed aligned to be against me. The workouts kinda sucked and the diet was derailed due to the start of about 2 weeks of dietary and nutrition HELL from which I hope to recover in due time. So the week looked like this.
Monday: Rest in the morning, Scary Trainer in the evening. Glad I put in a rest morning. I don't want to be burnt out from doing too much after two days of hard effort on Sat and Sun. Scary Trainer in the evening: done.
Tuesday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening. 30 minutes on the bike trainer spinning my legs was all I could manage. I am totally tired!!
Wednesday: 60 minutes hard effort in the morning, nothing in the evening. OMG. Too. Tired.
Thursday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, ST in the evening.Rested in the morning. Another tired day. So decided to wait until ST in the evening. The week isn't going too well at this point. I am just so tired!!
Friday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening.30 minutes of recovery spinning on the bike in the morning. That is about all I could manage.
Saturday: Bike at least 40 miles in the morning, rest in the afternoon. Nothing. I had a massage in the morning, and then two cookouts in the afternoon. Why? because one is not enough, you see.
Sunday: Run 11 miles in the morning, rest in the afternoon Nothing. Joseph got really sick in the morning. I ached for him, watching slowly dehydrate himself, unable to keep anything down. It's what happens when you stand in front of a 600* grill for about 4 hours. Dehydration, nausea, heat stroke.... I was so worried I had to call Harriet.

Total Running Miles: 0 miles (record: 26.9 miles)
Total Biking Miles: 13.8 miles (record: 67.8)
Total Swimming Yards: 0 yards (record: 3300)
Total Strength Training Days: 2 times
Total Workout Hours: 1:00:13
Next week is worse. It is telling based on the week's schedule how NO ONE IN THE WORLD (it seems) worries about calories or exercise. It's a national of unfit people. That's what! Pfffft!
Monday: Rest Day. All day offsite at work that starts at 8am. GAH!
Tuesday: Rest in the morning. Scary Trainer in the evening.
Wednesday: Rest Day. Offsite #2, Day 1. Starts at 7:30 am and goes into the wee hours due to a group even. Sigh...
Thursday: Rest Day. Offsite #2, Day 2. I am resigned to slug-ness.
Friday: Nothing in the morning. I will be recovering from my Slug-fest. Scary Trainer in the evening where he will lecture me about consisitency. ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Saturday: Bike or run in the morning.
Sunday: Bike or run in the morning.


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Friday, August 15, 2008

Sleepy

OMG. I am sooooo sleepy. I just got back from lunch. Took 8 people out - two from the RI office and the rest are visiting from India. It's the quarterly visitor site lunch.

Anyway, I was so sleepy I drank a cup of coffee. And it's not helping. It's not like I ate a lot at lunch. I had no appetizer, no wine, a small taste of someone's crab cake, broiled salmon on salad. And I gave more than half the salmon to the guy next to me! And no desert. It was so good, it was sickening! And I can't understand why I am so sleepy!

Maybe it's not lunch. Maybe it's because I haven't had enough sleep in the last 2 or 3 days. I might have to go get another cup of coffee.. Sigh...


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random Thought: Fishing Boat

I've been thinking about getting a boat to go fishing in the ocean. One that has a big engine to fight the waves and that can hold a cooler of beer and that has a chair for me to sit in while I am drinking the beer from the aforementioned cooler, while waiting for the Blues and Stripers to bite. And it must be trailerable because I am not going to be paying my good hard-earned dollars to moor it.

I gotta do some research on the size and type of boat. Hmmm. I wonder if our town allows boats in driveways. No matter. I can just hide in the back yard then.

And there is nothing comparable to the taste of fresh fish, just fresh caught in the ocean and just cleaned, gutted and fileted by yours truly.

Of course,I supposed I could go to the docks and wait for the fishing boats to come in. But that's so much trouble.


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ARG! My life is not my own!!!

So far, I have two parties on Saturday, a friend coming over on Sunday. Last night we met a friend from Tampa for drinks and dinner after work. Tonight, Joe is running with a bunchatrimaniacs and we are meeting for drinks after their workout.

Friday night was free but now we are invited to some birthday party bash at some bar on Landsdowne Street in the Fenway before a Red Sox game on Friday night. I am assuming of course that we do not have to go to the game.

I have something every single night or day this week through Sunday, if you count my training session with Scary Trainer on Thursday.

Next week isn't much better. On Monday I have a management offsite and dinner after. Tuesday night is Scary Trainer Night. Wednesday and Thursday, I have a different management offsite with dinner on Wednesday night after a day full of meetings. Friday, I have Scary Trainer because I had to postpone his session from Thursday since I have day two of the second offsite. On Saturday, our good friend Amanda Panda is coming down from New Hampshire for the day. I think Sunday is a day that I can have free if I hoard the hours very carefully.

The last week, which is the following week, isn't too bad until I hit Friday. We are going to Boothbay, Maine for a weddding and coming back the Wednesday after Labor day. A whole five days. Granted it's for fun and vacation but still...

Now that we are talking about September, let's take a look. Now the schedule isn't too bad, YET. The second week, there is the Reach the Beach - Thursday night catering maybe with people staying over... followed by two days on the road in a van, driving from relay point to relay point as the runners run for 24 hours over 200+miles in the hills of New Hampshire!!

Then during the week of the 22nd I plan on having some of my managers and other lead technical people over to the house for a cookout. And maybe take them out another night for a group dinner. And this is after that stupid century bike ride I signed up for on the 21st!

Then you have Applefest the first weekend of October when my good griend Cher is coming back (I am missing my high school reunion which is that same weekend), and then the Philadelphia marathon/half marathon the weekend before Thanksgiving that I will be signing up for because Joe is running two of his tri maniac buddies to a Boston Qualifier and since I will be there, why just stand around when I can run the half (right?). We come home and turn right around to go to South Carolina to visit my brother and the Wonderful Helen and their two daughters, along with my sisters from North Carolina, who will also be visiting him.

Oh, let's throw in a visit to Ireland and a Dallas and Salt Lake City business trip that must be squeezed in sometime between now and the end of the year.


And don't forget that every week, I have TWO sessions with Scary Trainer, and a 1 1/2 hour Chinese class that I not only have to study for but need to do homework for!

Thank GOODNESS I decided not to go to Toronto for work at the beginning of September. THANK GOODNESS.

I also have to find time to buy a dress and shoes for that wedding in Boothbay (Smart Martha's Vineyard Casual - think Ralph Lauren at the beach with nice dress and bare feet). Not to mention buy some clothes because I have nothing that fits me anymore!!! And SHOPPING TAKES AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TIME!!! GAH!!!!
And I also imagine at some point, the family nag-o-meter will start rising for us to come out to the Berkshires for a visit. Where there is no connectivity, no internet, no familiar places to run or ride, without my food scale, without familiar foods, etc.... the stress-o-meter will hit a new high, I can tell you that. And where if I do not conform, I am considered to be RUDE!!

So, basically, if it ain't local, I ain't doing it. For the rest of the year, I will not do anything this is not already on my schedule if it takes more than a day. Meaning, if I have to travel more than 90 minutes in one direction, you can just forget about it. Just to be CLEAR!

And that's my story and I'm sticking to do. So if you don't wanna get pissed off at my answer, do not even ask.


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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

American views of the Chinese

The Olympics have been interesting this year. In my view, it's not so much the sports and the athletes per se but the American view of the Chinese, or what is being reported by the media.

I guess one could say that the Media represents the dark heart of America. They cater to the voyeur in all of us, more than ever before since we can get straight up news from so many outlets that in order to survive, the Media has become primetime tabloids in many ways.

There were two things that was reported recently that I feel really highlights not only the surface differences but also the depth of how different Asians and Americans are. First, there is a lot of discussion about underage children who has their ages masked in order to be able to compete. There have been articles about how 12 and 14 year olds are being represented as 16 to be able to make the competition. The people I know who have read and seen pictures often comment on how they look so young, almost pre-adolescent, and exclaim out loud about how there is NO WAY they are 16.

So, let's look at this a bit deeper. True, there is probably some lying and cheating going on. It's happened before by other countries not of Asian descent. Why is this such big news? Also in Asia, at least in Korea, when you are born you are considered to be 1 year old. And then when your first birthday hits, you are 2. Sometimes, during the new year, you are also celebrating another NEW YEAR of life. So in some circles your years of life, your age, and your year of birth are all different. When I first moved to this country, I never knew what age to give people. When I was 6 by American standards, I was 7, 8, or 9 (rarely but sometimes), give the time of year. Did the IOC write into the contract what they means by AGE??

The other thing that we must remember is that Asian are often much younger looking than they really are. I am not talking about a mere 4 or 5 years younger. I am talking about 10 or 15 years younger in some cases. When I was around 24 or 25, Americans would think I was in high school, often being asked if I was 16. When I hit 32, I was asked if I was 18 and what college I was going to. Now, I know that I am an anomoly. Even Koreans thought that I was young looking but they gave me a couple of years. So when I was 32, they thought I was 20 years old. A good marriageable age as opposed to a 34 year old spinster. HAH!

Then there is the more recent controversy about the young girl who sang at the opening ceremonies. It has been revealed that she was lip-synching. The real girl who was doing the actual singing behind the scenes is not considered to be pretty in Asian terms. I have seen her picture and I must admid that she isn't that cute. Not as cute and sassy as the girl who was in the limelight. And most noticeably, she had very bad teeth. Regardless, by American standards she is probably cute since most Americans think all Asian children are cute. And believe me, they are not. Most of them are, but not all.

So, there seems to be some outcry about this judgement and discrimination of one who is so young. But I have a news flash for everyone. The rest of the world discriminates. It is what it is. And for us to sit here with our heads buried or sit open-mouth gasping at the indignity of it all need to get a grip. Discrimination is not always insidious. In the Asian world there is sense of destiny (both good and bad), and a sense of our role in the world (both good and bad), and that you can have equal importance regardless of whether you are in the limelight or in the background. You need both parts to make things work. To have harmony. Grief and joy. Light and Dark. Happiness and sadness. Etc. And from a culture steeped in Confucianism and Buddhism, both are vital to making the whole complete. So in a ways, both are required to produce a harmonious environment.

And as to people saying that China is only putting on a show for appearances, so what? Wouldn't the USA do the same thing? Thing of all the orchestras and the choirs - only the best of the best. Think of the athletes. The best of the best. Even though we say that everyone is a winner (Ugh. Whatever.) we DO discriminate. And it's not all bad.

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Jelly Legs

I had another tough workout with Scary Trainer last night. We did heavy weights - almost max but not quite. Max weight is next week. And let me tell you, a piece of me is looking forward to it while the rest of me is totally dreading it. It basically means that I will be lifting the most weight that I can lift without breaking just once. Except I will have to to it 5 times, just once.

But last night was an almost-max session which means that I did the following. First, 8 sets of 2 reps on the dead lift - 140 lbs.We switched off with 8 sets of 2 reps of jumping chin ups. Only he wanted me to barely jump. That is a hard thing to do. He is bound and determined that I will do an unassisted chin up even if it kills me. And it just might.

Then we did 8 sets of 2 reps of clean squat to press. We started out with 60 lbs. Then we dropped to 55 after the first 4 sets. That was followed by 2 sets of 14 reps of back extensions. The first set was with a 10 lb weight. The second set was with a 5 lb. weight. And THAT was alternated with the palloff presses which suck - totally stresses your obliques from the back all the way around to the front. But suffice it to say that I am starting to get a waist.

So last night, I thought that I would go bombing away on a run outdoors. No way. all I could manage was sitting on the bike trainer and spinning my legs for 30 minutes.

Tomorrow I am planning on a nice 60 minute run outdoors. I am looking forward to it.

On the diet note, I am up from the weekend by 2 pounds due to muscle edema and my cheat day. It takes about 2-3 days for that weight to come down and any additional loss will be seen on the 4th or 5th day - usually Thursday or Friday. Scary Trainer asked if my weight had gone up. And when I explained the above to him, he looked a little skeptical. He is waiting until the end of August when he can tell me "I told you so" and impose a 1500 calorie limit. GAH! I have to lose this weight. As it is, if I do lose the weight, I might have to go ahead and go down to 1500 anyway since I will be lighter - it means I will have to eat less anyway. But there is no denying that regardless of the weight, I am building muscle, which means that I am losing fat. Other wise I would have gained weight.

We shall see what we shall see.



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Sunday on my Flying Machine

First. Note to self. Do not go out for a long bike ride the day after you do a long run. You might fall over or you may not be able to make it back home due to tired legs. Or both.

On Saturday, I managed to run around 9 miles in the heat and sun. I finished BEFORE the cloiuds came in and the rains started. Just my luck. The whole time I was running, I kept thinking about the sun rays and feeling my skin wrinkling as I am running along. It was hot so I welcomed the headwind. Yes. Head WIND. I welcomed it. Amazing.

On Sunday, I took my Wonderful Flying Machine out for a spin. Joseph went out with me. I felt kind of bad because he had to slow down and wait for me. Yes. He is fast. I am slow. Whatever. Anyway, I think my sitz bones are getting used to the hard saddle because this morning, they didn't feel bruised. Although, they were a still a bit tender. It was really great to ride up and down the hills, and shift and shift and know that the chain won't come off or that the gearing wouldn't get stuck, or that the shifting mechanism wouldn't refuse to work. And that I can actually make it up the hills faster than I would on the Purple Dinosaur.

All in all, around 34 miles in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. At one point, I was crusing along at 25-26 mph. I was so happy!

Happy happy!

I hope the weather cooperates so that I can keep getting my rides in outdoors. I signed up to do a century towards the end of September. Egads!


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Monday, August 11, 2008

Week 32 Training Recap

This was a good week for working out. My weight found a new low even though it popped back up due to post workout edema and my cheat day of eating. But I am not unhappy. It is giving me newfound motivation to keep plugging away and to really stick to the eating plan. Scary Trainer agreed that in light of the new low, we should continue for another week with my old plan instead of dropping by 100 calories. On another note, I need to get back into the pool.

Monday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, Scary Trainer in the evening. 45 minute run, ST in the evening. Medium intensity workout this time.
Tuesday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening. 44 minutes on the bike spinning. I am so glad that I did it on the trainer and not outside. I am not a morning person and I tend to run into walls and doors and ddrop things in the morning. I decided that it might be wise to stay in and ride on the trainer. I am so glad I did. My legs are BEAT from ST last night!
Wednesday: 60 minutes hard effort in the morning, nothing in the evening. 66 minutes on my favorite loop. Legs felt good.
Thursday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, ST in the evening.Nothing in the morning. I was so tired that I decided it was time for a rest morning. Scary Trainer in the evening. I went up in all weights again. Yippee!
Friday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening.40 minutes recovery on the bike. Good thing, too. Legs were heavy from the workout with Scary Trainer last night.
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes in the morning, rest in the afternoon. I had to go to Costco in the morning so decided to run afterwards instead of riding. Traffic on Saturdays pafter 10am freaks me out. I'll ride tomorrow. Anyway, ran 8.8 miles. It might be 9.2 miles depending on how wrong my Polar distance pod is. I'll just log it as 8.8 Who cares... I also dropped about 1.2 pounds from yesterday. Lowest weight since I embarked on this program.
Sunday: Run 90 minutes - do two loops around the reservoir, rest in the afternoon. 34 Miles on the bike. Took about an hour and 20 minutes to do this. Slower than I like, average pace given the many lights we have to stop and start for and the hills. Not bad for my third time out this year.

Total Running Miles: 18.1 miles (record: 26.9 miles)
Total Biking Miles: 54.2 miles (record: 67.8)
Total Swimming Yards: 0 yards (record: 3300)
Total Strength Training Days: 2 times
Total Workout Hours: 7:19:35
I am hoping that this coming week is as good as last week. The plan is to remain consistent.
Monday: Rest in the morning, Scary Trainer in the evening.
Tuesday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening.
Wednesday: 60 minutes hard effort in the morning, nothing in the evening.
Thursday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, ST in the evening.
Friday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening.
Saturday: Bike at least 40 miles in the morning, rest in the afternoon.
Sunday: Run 11 miles in the morning, rest in the afternoon


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Friday, August 08, 2008

A sudden decrease in weight

That's what happened this morning. After struggling for so long - up and down up and down - it went down by 2.4 pounds. ARG!!! So, I am not 1.4 pounds closer to my milestone. This new weight is not my lowest since starting this new health regimen in January. In fact, I am +.4 above it. Sigh... But it's a start and I am not complaining.

I talked to Scary Trainer last night about how frustrating it is. I agreed to try the 1500 calorie thing during the week. I still get a cheat day and during my longer runs, I can take in protein and carbs DURING my workout which means I will go over but is required to fuel my activity. That was a pretty good compromise. And now with the new low this morning in a long time, I am pretty motivated to stick to it. Good thing that today is only one day from a cheat day! HAH!

Tomorrow, I plan on biking for an hour or two.

And on another note, I think that the Olympics have been bringing bad luck to China for a very long time. There. I said it. It's been on my mind for about a year and I just have to say it for the record. Monsoons, earthquakes, displaced people, etc. Untold misery for what? I don't really know.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Sister

She's a bit quirky, very artistic, exceptionally brilliant, and one of the nicest people on earth. She has the patience of a saint, but when she blows, she blows, and everything in her way is flattened. Takes seconds but you never recover. I guess with all the wonderfulness, something's gotta give, right?

I got a present from her today. It was a really cool glass picture frame that holds a wallet sized photo. Inside was a picture of the two of us. OMG! It was so old. We both had LONG HAIR, down to our butts. And I had bangs. And we both had those big glasses when they were the hot in-fashion style so many years ago. Good grief! I think it's about 15 or 20 years old! Not sure.

And I looked thin. And we both looked... well... pretty!
But the most noticeable thing is that other than the glasses and the hair, we haven't changed. We look the same. I guess we have our parents to thank for our incredible wrinkle-less genes.

It took me back. And made me smile and squeal with glee. I really did. It took me wayyy wayyy back. And I can't thank her enough. This was one of the BEST presents ever.

Thanks, Mia.
I love you and I miss you, too.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

2 more pounds and blood test results

On Monday, ST told me that I have until the end of the month to break the next milestone, or we will go back to HIS diet. Ugh. That means I will have 1500-1600 calories a day until my body is FORCED off this damn plateau. Not a pleasant thought.

My blood test results came back. I used to have them every 3-4 months. Now I have them every 6 months. It was amazing. Since starting this program, my blood glucose and triglyceride levels have gotton normal again. I am no longer insulin resistent or pre-diabetic. And my cholesterol levels are exceptional. Also my CRP which shows inflammation in the body is in the lowest quartile. There is one more lower level and the dr wants me there.

I credit all this to weight loss, exercise, building muscle and lowering body fat. Based on this alone, I know that I am on the right track. My friend Cher told me that no matter what, I look good. That was a total boost, especially knowing that she wouldn't have said it unless it was true.

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My Friends

I just want to say for the record how blessed I am. Without even knowing it, without even trying, and just by being myself, I have made some of the best friends ever. Who would have thunk it?

There are three people who are the closest of the closest to me. I don't even think they really realize the full extent of it. I can bare my deepest and darkest thoughts and emotions without fear of ... well... anything!

First, My Hunny Bunny is on a list all his own. He is my best friend, true. But this is an ode to my girlfriends.

My friend Cher and her husband Milt, two of the best people I know, came all the way from Ohio. I should mention that they drove all the way from Ohio. Of course, she of little patience was kept more entertained than usual with her new Blackberry. Okay. So I thought it was to celebrate Jake's birthday but leave it to Cher to manage to find a way to do two things at once. She is very efficient that way. She was in on the secret from the beginning. And they arrived on Thursday and made this one of the most, if not THE MOST, memorable birthdays I have ever had in my life. Not just a birthday. But a whole almost-five-days of birthday! It's better than a long weekend or a holiday! And that is the truth of the truth. The Total Truth.

Then there is Debbie. Gosh. How long have I known her? As it did with most of my best friends, things just evolved. And she inspires me every day with her perseverance and will.

And MJ. Dear Sweet MJ. She who can't keep up with a blog to save her life! She couldn't be at the party but she told everyone that I was turning 5-0 instead of Minus One. She told her kids and husband and all her sisters. So her entire family flooded my inbox with Happy 5-0 messages. Okay. HOW ANNOYING IS THAT?? But MJ makes me laugh. Even when she is all the way up in Maine! And they all sent me a bouquet of roses - yellowish-orangish ones because they knew orange was my favorite color.

These are my special of my most special friends. I have a few others on my long-time special of special friends list. But these are the ones that I talk to daily, the ones I scream at because I can't get off this stupid plateau, the ones I disagree with only to agree with them in the end, and where there are differences, I just move on because nothing is quite as important as my friends - not even winning an argument (even when I KNOW THAT I AM RIGHT!!! LOLOLOL!!! Just kidding...).

So, on the Eve Year of my half century of life, I would like to thank them for making me a better person, kicking my ass when I need it, and picking me up when I can't do it myself. They are the ones I think about every single day.

Okay. This is about as sappy as I get.


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New Furniture

On Monday, we went to Gardner to all of the furniture outlets. We took the Little Red Bean and had the top down for most of the way. When the clouds looked threatening, I made Joseph pull over to put the top up. His hair eyeball went away when it turned out I was right within five minutes of getting back on the road and the skies opened up and it started raining pretty hard.

We decided to go to Winchendon first. On the way, we stopped at Little Anthony's for lunch. OMG! It was soooo good! We had the French Onion Soup. I was counting the croutons so that I could log it into the food journal later. And I ended up with a combo platter of fried sea scallops and fried whole clams with cole slaw and freshly fried onion rings! Joseph had the fried shrimp dinner. Everything was delicious. And it was easy to see why there seemed to be so much local traffic, most of them older people - who demand good service, good food, and reasonable prices. We decided that we could go there again!

Anyway... each of the outlets were different. We started in Winchendon and soon discovered that these places are not well marked. Some signs are about the size of an envelope. Other had no signs on the street tell you where they were. And half were tucked away in a place you'd never know about unless you were looking while rest were in the middle of a busy street without any kind of indication!

Each one had different furnitures with various quantities, etc. All of what I saw were QUALITY! Solid wood. Joseph tried to lift one of the dressers and couldn't. No particle board was to be found!

We ended up at Rome Furniture outlet after viewing everything. And decided on a round table for the foyer. It was perfect. A pretty but subtle design on top with drawers for our keys and mail and other important sculch. And we also decided on a book shelf for the dining room. It was painting with a floral design and was really a sideboard but it had shelves and was a perfect fit for our dining room. We will be putting out cookbooks in it. We also decided to get a bench for the foyer so that people can sit down and put on or take off their shoes. It has an upholstered seat that Joseph wasn't too crazy about but it was $250 off for the discontinued fabric so neither one of us were complaining. Besides, how hard would it be to redo that cushion on my own one day?? We were looking at a pie cupboard for the wall opposite where the bench was going to go but it was about 4 inches too wide. Blast! It was perfect to be used as a shoe cabinet. Oh well.. the search continues for that.

When it came time to write it all up, the sales guy (also interior designer) said that he would be willing to run it through in two weeks when we have the state tax free day! Wow! THANK YOU!!! And best of all, delivery to Boston/Brookline area is only $99. How happy am I??

When it call comes in, I will take pictures and post them for all to see.

So, all in all, Monday turned out to be a good birthday. I do know one thing... when it's time to to furnish room by room, I am going back to the outlets!

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Week 31 Training Recap

This last week was pretty good considering all of the activity during the week, and on the weekend, starting with Thursday. Weight has not budged. It goes down and then up. I know that I pushed the boundaries on the food this week so I have no right to whine and lament. Sigh... So last week wasn't too bad but it wasn't all that good either.
Monday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, nothing in the evening. 30 minute easy walking on the treadmill in the morning. Red Sox game at night with a couple of Red Sox fans. Most important - did a great job of moderate eating at dinner before the game. And I didn't eat during the at all.
Tuesday: Rest in the morning, Scary Trainer in the evening. Done.
Wednesday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, nothing in the evening.
Thursday: REST in the morning STT in the evening.
Friday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, nothing in the evening, rest in the evening.
Saturday: Bike 60 minutes in the morning, rest in the afternoon. Jeez. Nothing today. We got home LATE last night and I am exhausted.
Sunday: Run 90-120 minutes - do two loops around the reservoir, rest in the afternoon. So much for the long run. Everyone left and it was the afternoon before I could get my workout in. Managed an hour on the bike and 22 minutes on the treadmill. Boring boring boring...

Total Running Miles: 9.0 miles (record: 26.9 miles)
Total Biking Miles: 25.3 miles (record: 67.8)
Total Swimming Yards: 0 yards (record: 3300)
Total Strength Training Days: 2 times
Total Workout Hours: 3:44:39
Next week is relatively quiet. I am going to start my two-a-days on the days that I have ST. See how it goes. Weight has not budged. Sigh...
Monday: 30-40 Bike or Run Recovery, Scary Trainer in the evening.
Tuesday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening.
Wednesday: 60 minutes hard effort in the morning, nothing in the evening.
Thursday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, ST in the evening.
Friday: 30-40 minutes recovery in the morning, nothing in the evening.
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes in the morning, rest in the afternoon.
Sunday: Run 90 minutes - do two loops around the reservoir, rest in the afternoon.



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Monday, August 04, 2008

The SHOCKER of a lifetime

Just so we're clear... I hate surprises. I read books from the back so I can get the suspense over with and relax and enjoy the book when I start from the beginning. Spoilers? For me, there's no such thing. I like to know how a movie or a show turns out because if it's not the way I want it to end, then I don't have to watch it. No frustrations!

And so, with all that in mind, I told Joseph, If you give me a surprise party when I turn, gulp, the big 5-0, I will never talk to you again.

So, what does he do? He gives me a minue-1 party - 50 minus 1 year! Yah. WHO WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT?!?!?!?!?!

So, during the spa treatments on Saturday, Cher is on the phone. All I know is that they are asking when we will be home for dinner. Oh. It's pouring out. We could hang out at the spa. Hmmm... they got the sweet corn. Oh good...

So, we turn onto our street.

Debbie: Oh. Look at all the cars.
Me: Hmm. Someone must be having a party or something.
Debbie: Hmmm.
Cher: {complete silence in the back - I should have been suspicious)

I notice a red Volvo and immediately think of Daniel who has a very old red Volvo. But then that is nothing unusual. I always think of Daniel when I see old red Volvos and there are a lot of them around. So, nothing unusual.

I park the car and Debbie and Cher run to the porch. I run after them screaming, "WET T-SHIRT CONTEST!!!" Debbie and Cher say nothing. They open the door and I am right behind them. The Dingle Doggie comes up with her stinky skunky breath - because she was sprayed in the mouth by a skunk on Friday. Anyway... long story for another day. I bend over and pet her and scream, "HI SKUNKY BREATH!!!"

And then I stand up. There was a huge crowd. Wall to wall people. Complete silence. They are looking at me and I am looking at them. Then...

Everyone: SURPRISE!!!
Me: Why is everybody here?
Joseph: Happy Birthday! (He hands me a glass of very expensive champagne). It's for your birthday
Me: But my birthday isn't until Monday!!

I can't really remember what happened. People yelling "SURPRISE" and cameras flashing. I was basically mortified. And shocked. And surprised. A bit non-plussed. And most of all I was truly amazed at the people. There were over 50 people who had come from as far away as Connecticut and New York. Some stayed overnight with us. I couldn't believe it!

We had a southern style bbq cookout catered by Blue Ribbon BBQ complete with Pecan Pie, cole slaw, and collard greens and SWEET CORN brought by Mike who came from western Mass for the festivities.

LOTS OF PEOPLE! Runners, triathletes, work people (some of who run, too), Joseph's parents and older sister Annie and her four kids, and even some people from my work who were strangely busy last week when I asked them over to a cookout I was having in honor of my Good Friend Cher from Ohio who was bringing her Nephew Bob (aka Jake) to Boston for a Red Sox Game. And they were all there!! Hmmm. Lots of cute little Asian babies were there, too. HAPPY HAPPY!

Oh, and even though people weren't supposed to bring presents, I received lots of wine! One of the gifts was a wine set that had three Red Sox featured one each on three bottles! What a hoot. I don't want to open them but I am curious as to how they taste! I even received a bottle of very expensive Scotch. Ahem. I wonder what my reputation is unbeknownst to me... Also, flowers, and a scarf. And one of the people gave me a training session with Ian, the Scary Trainer.

Joseph got me a set of luggage. REALLY REALLY NICE luggage. The expensive kind. I have never had nice or expensive luggage. Ever. I have always bought them at a luggage outlet on sale. The Luggage is BRIC's and is made of PVC piping material. Virtually indestructible. But it looks and feels like suede leather! Wow. And the carry on and the luggage match! I will be a real fashionista on my next trip. Although I am a little afraid of using them. What happens if gets ruined? Stolen? ARG!!!

After all the events of Saturday, Sunday was a bit of a dud. And today? No idea how that is going to turn out. I mean, my birthday is today but I had it on Saturday! Ya know??? Today we are supposed to go to Gardner to look for furniture. It's much better than clothes shopping, which has a tendency to make me want to poke my eyes out.

It will a nice quiet birthday. 49. GAH!!!!

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

One thing worth mentioning...

I forgot to mention this. I was waiting to post it in a singular post of auspicious nature but that Red Sox game sitution put me over the edge.

So, without further ado, I'd like to mention that my good friend Cher from OH and her husband (who is also a good friend) and her nephew Jake, short for Jacob, who we all like to call Bob, is in town. They arrived on Thursday just in time for Cher to go to the gym with me. Hehehe... And she did work out for a whole hour! Anyway...

It's Bob's birthday week and Cher gave him tickets to the Sox game. I wish I had been there to see his face. He saw the tickets and asked how he was going to get to Boston! They left on Wednesday, stopped in Cooperstown and then drove here.

Yesterday before the Sox game, they went on the Freedom Trail. I kept getting emails from Cher telling me how bored she was! LOL! Until they started eating cannoli's in the North End!

Joseph and I put in a half day of work and met them for lunch at Tia's on the Wharf.

Then Joseph and I dropped them off at the Life is Good Store while we went to Chinese class - not rest for the weary - Must not miss Chinese Class...or Teacher might get mad at us... Ended up with a handful of fresh bok choy from her garden before we left though. Cool!

I do know one thing... I won't be walking the Freedom Trail anytime soon. I'll just go directly to the North End for those canolis.


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How to go to the ballpark and miss the whole game.

First, you sit in the bleachers. Not a bad proposition but it's dicey sitting in the bleachers sometimes.

Then you sit next to a guy who starts a conversation within the first 60 seconds of sitting down. I found out that he went to school locally, works in Connecticut as a Statie and the "easiest job in the world, making 90 grand a year," is married to the most beautiful woman in the world, who just got a job selling scientific equipment with a starting salary of about 170 grand a year, they recently miscarried twins, and his father works as a scientist at Electric Boat. Oh, and in High School, he dated a Korean girl. Hmmm that last part? Yah. Full of shit. Whatever.

Then you meet his friend, the guy who is covered in cheese from the nachos, and wet from beer spillage. Everytime he went to get food, he was a little more covered.

And you meet his other friend who keeps buying the beer and seems to have an endless stash beneath his chair. Dave. Later to be known as Uncle Dave. Whose father has a pipe fitting company and super filthy rich and is low bidder on every state contract so he gets a lot of business and sits back and counts the dough. Uncle Dave is one class or final exam short of his degree. Turns out the night before the final, they were out late and a friend bet him $30 that he wouldn't get up in time and to make sure he won the bet, proceeded to unplug the alarm clock. So, it's been a few years, and he is one final exam short of a business degree.

And Cheese Guy and Uncle Dave went into business together as pipefitters and they make a lot of money.

Then come the women, all in a row, in the row in front. 3 mothers who looked surprisingly similar with their equally surprisingly similar-looking children. All 7 of them. Yah. Turns out that they have been doing this for the past 7 years. Two are from the South and one is local but they all have that blond sorority girl look and southern accents. Great. They are chatty, too. Chatty with Chatty Statie next to me.

Now that we have the set up, you are getting the picture, I'm sure. There is constant chatting and talking throughout. Children changing seats, talking, drink colas with SUGAR, eating COTTON candy with SUGAR, and general resulting chaos and mayhem which is noisy. And next to me sits Chatty Statie. Sigh...

The Sox score a run and I barely see it.

Then the A's score and it's tied. Huh? When did this happen??

We're going into the ninth inning and I have not seen anything more than about ... oh... 30 minutes of the game because of the kids and Chatty Statie and the Cheese guy and Uncle Dave who are now ENGAGED WITH THE CHILDREN!!! Which then forces the mothers to turn around and talk, too! And now almost every child is sitting either side ways or backwards and the mothers are equally sideways with one eye on Uncle Dave, chatting with Chatty Statie, and the other eye on the children. And the game? Well, they have eyes in the back of their heads so it's ok I suppose.

At that point, I am out of there. We are tired, bottom of the 10th and I haven't seen the game! ARG!!!! I am no baseball fanatic of any kind but I want to see this game. It's Jason Bay's debut and so far he has scored a run and the A's have tied and I have a stupid kid in front of me crying and laughing alternately, covered in red cotton candy and drinking large cokes!

So, I got down to concessions, look on the TV monitors for a while, and then find a seat below. Then I have to move because the people are back from wherever they were. Then another seat, and another... and finally, quiet... a good view... no children, although there were Betty Boo and Betty Bop Beautiful People behind me talking about inconsequential airhead stuff instead of watching the game... but at least they weren't covered in cotton candy and crying for their coke.

Joseph emailed me and after a few exchanges he, Cher, Milt, and Jacob came down to meet me. We sat and watched in relative peace until Jason Bay made the winning run into home plate.

We got home REALLY late last night and now I am thinking that I need a rest day. Sigh...

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Nothing like Spa Activities

Today, courtesy of Joseph, Cher, Debbie and I are going to Christine's Day Spa for Spa Activities. I LOVE Spa Activities. Monday is my birthday and since Cher is visiting, and Debbie is planning to join us, he thought it would be nice for us to enjoy something together.

He is so sweet.
And I am happy happy happy!!


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Friday, August 01, 2008

I don't get it... Neil Diamond??

Everytime we go to a Sox game, they have a recording of Neil Diamond singing "Sweet Caroline." Everyone sings and when they get to the "Uh Uh Oh" part everyone shouts it. And then there's the "so good, so good, so good" part.

I don't get it.

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Random Thought: Cotton Candy

We're at Fenway watching the Sox play the A's. It is Jason Bay's debut. There are a row of kids in front of us. One of them is eating cotton candy.

Never, ever buy cotton candy for a child under the age of ten.
Especially if you're responsible for them until after they are cleaned up.

It's a sticky, gooey, all over everywhere mess!

Ugh. I can't imagine cleaning him up!

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