The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My New Hero

Yesterday the bike club had a tailgate party. There were 4 or 5 different level rides all starting from the same location. We all brought something to share, and when we all returned from our assorted rides, we had a lunch party. My ride went to Manor Park in Larchmont, which is on Long Island Sound. Its a lovely spot and I was talking to Lady B, who lives in Larchmont. She and her husband are long-time club members and are both probably in their mid-60s. She commented that she loves ocean swimming. I told her she should do a triathlon and she started to tell me that she has a whole shelf of triathlon trophies at home but she hasn't competed in about 10 years. She grew up in Far Rockaway and would swim long distances in the open water. She started bike riding as an adult, so when triathlons came into existence, she was 2/3 of the way there. Swimming was her strongest event, so she was usually among the first out of the water. She often acted as a therapists for other swimmers who would start to freak out in the open water (lots of novice traithletes have difficulty making the transition to open water after training in a pool), helping them calm down and get pointed in the right direction. Sometimes she was the only woman competing in her age group, so as long as she finished, she took first place! When someone would comment on how difficult it is to compete in a triathlon, she would tell them, "when you're swimming, you're lying down, when you're riding, you're sitting down, and if the running is tough, you can walk!"

Lady B is my new hero. Even though she is no longer competing, she is still riding and swimming and sailing. She competed in triathlons not to win, but to challenge herself and because it was fun and athletic. She just happened to pick up a whole bunch of trophies along the way. And anyone who looks at triathlons as 1 part lying down, 1 part sitting down and 1 part optional running, well, you gotta love their spirit! Anything that keeps you going and gets you to the finish line. And hats off to Mr. B, who gladly served as cheerleader, equipment manager, and photographer at all those events.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Walking Talking Mommies

On Friday I went to the HS track to run. As usual, there was a handful of walking talking mommies there. These women are my age, maybe even a little younger. They may or may not need to lose some weight. But none of them are fit. Now I realize that something is better than nothing, and some people can't run because of physical injuries. And some people can walk faster than I run! But these ladies were walking at the pace of a supermarket stroll, and I know that they think they are "exercising." For some reason, I found this extremely annoying. I wanted to scream at them to shut the f%$#(k up and move their asses until they sweat! But of course I didn't because I don't yell at people I barely know (I don't often yell at people I do know either). So instead I decided to show them what they are supposed to be doing, you know, lead by example. So I plugged into the iPod, cranked up the volume, and everytime I passed them I made sure I kept my head high and arms pumping. I wanted them to feel like unmotivated sloth-like walking talking track potatoes when they felt the wind as i wizzed by. And don't you dare suggest that 12 minute miles is hardly wizzing and does not generate a wind, because I was definitely wizzing and there was a hurricane on that HS track! The walking talking mommies may not have noticed, but behind the smile and the polite "hello," I was gloating. What a great way to spend an hour on a beautiful Friday evening of a 3-day weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2007


I had a bizarre dream last night. I went out for a run in a familiar location, around a lake. In reality, this is about a 5 mile run, but it was getting longer and longer in my dream. I was getting really tired, and I told myself "get to the top of this hill and you'll be fine," but I wasn't fine so I started crawling DOWNHILL. Then I realized that I had probably run about 7 miles and remembered I have this knee problem and I'm only supposed to be running 2 or 3 miles max. I was trying to figure out how I could have forgotten this and I woke up.

I haven't run in over a week, maybe there's a little spot in my brain that feels deprived of serotonin or whatever chemical your brain oozes when you get happy from running.

If I get done at work today at a decent time, I will run/crawl a couple of miles at the track, no hills.

Tomorrow morning I am leading a D ride for the bike club and even though I have ridden this route before, I decided to drive it to make sure 1) I know where I am going and 2) there are no surprises like closed roads. I got so freakin lost it wasn't funny. I ended up driving in circles for about 40 miles for a 23 mile ride!! It's a good thing I did this-- getting lost and tacking extra miles onto a D ride can get ugly, especially on a ride as hilly as this one. But it is going to be a beautiful day tomorrow and I'm psyched!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


1. Son #1 had all 4 wisdom teeth extracted today. He already had an offer from a classmate to buy his Vicodin.

2. Son #2 brought home "Ready or Not Tot" today. It's a doll that simulates what it is like to take care of a baby. The "baby" cries at irregular intervals and you have to feed the baby, burp the baby, change the diaper or amuse the baby. These tasks are accomplished by inserting keys into a slot in the doll's back. He has to take care of the baby for 24 hours, including overnight. I wouldn't be surprised if the baby is wearing a Yankees T-shirt to school tomorrow.
3. My brother bought my mom a Presto mailbox for Mother's Day. Basically it's a printer with a modem that can receive and print out emails and photos. You cannot send email, only receive. To set it up, you have to unhook the phone line from the phone, plug it into the Presto, then hook up a 2nd line from the Presto back into the phone. This is too complicated for my mother. My nieces are going to visit her next week, hopefully they can accomplish this task in under 60 seconds (including taking it out of the box).

4. I work at a small college. Every year the students have an auction to raise money for their student activities (yearbook, graduation, etc.). They ask faculty for donations. I donated homemade lunch for 2 for 5 days. Two students bought it and saved it for finals week. I think they were expecting turkey sandwiches, but I am really trying to make their lunches extra special and extra big. Mostly I've just made sure there are plenty of leftovers to pack for them. They've had meatloaf, corn and black bean salad, and build-your-own-burritos with grilled chicken and beef. The other night I made a big pot of turkey soup with wild rice and grilled portobello sandwiches with chipotle mayo. It's been extra work, but I am enjoying it.

5. DH has registered for a triathlon on June 10 in Harriman State Park. Swim 1/2, ride 16, run 3. He's been training hard and I think he will do well. His last triathlon was about 17 years ago.

6. On Sunday I went for a club bike ride. It was dreary and drizzly as I was driving to the start location and I almost turned around and went home, but I figured the weather was going to get better. Only 3 other people showed up, so it was me and the boys and the big hill. We decided to push it since it was just the 4 of us and it turned out to be a great ride. And I made it up the big hill.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Veggie Recipe

These leftoversare in my lunchbag today, along with some hummus and some fresh fruit.
I cooked the vegetables less than 45 minutes because they were on the verge of burning. Next time I think I will turn the oven down to 400. I happened to have fresh oregano and rosemary from another recipe, so I used fresh herbs. The recipe is from Vegetarian Times.

Italian-Style Roasted Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6

Many Moosewood patrons love the restaurant’s very versatile roasted vegetables, served with several variations. This version is dressed with Italian seasonings. Select at least four different vegetables, or follow the combination below. To speed preparation, parboil the harder, longer-cooking vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and potatoes, before roasting them.

Roasted Vegetables
2 potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks or cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semicircles
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks or sliced as above
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks or cut on diagonal
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks or cut on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks

Italian Dressing
4 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
1 tsp. salt

  1. To make Roasted Vegetables: Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Parboil potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots in boiling water to cover for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain well. In large bowl, combine parboiled vegetables with onions, zucchini and bell peppers.
  3. To make Italian Dressing: Place ingredients in bowl, and whisk together or purée in blender.
  4. Toss vegetables with dressing, and place in single layer on large unoiled baking tray.
  5. Bake vegetables, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender, about 45 minutes.
180 Calories
4g Protein
3g Total Fat
35g Carbohydrates
410mg Sodium
4g Fiber
11g Sugars

Can We Talk?

I"m 51 years old and this "change of life" thing is happening. I'm not having major problems with symptoms, at least not yet, but they have gotten more noticeable over the last month or two. The biggest problem I'm having right now is sleeping poorly. Sometimes its night sweats, but even without that happening I wake up several times during the night and I'm feeling tired during the day. Every website that talks about menopause mentions "regular exercise" and "eating healthy" to combat the symptoms. I really believe that this is one reason that I am not having more difficulty (either that or I am delusional; the worst is yet to come), but I know I can do better, especially with the food. Over the last month I have found myself caught in a vicious cycle. I'm tired so I don't spend the necessary time on food prep, I eat more processed foods and I feel tired. I know I have to break this cycle to get my energy back and have an easier time "changing." I just can't afford to "donate" any part of my caloric intake to junk. More than ever, I need to eat clean. Whole grains. Plant food. No bar codes. No white food. Instead of thinking about all the foods I can't have ( ziti....), I will focus on all the wonderful foods I can enjoy, especially as we come into the summer season. I do owe son #2 an ice cream treat and if I'm going there, well I'm having ice cream too. So it's not about being perfect, but I Gotta Step It Up (GSIU).

Monday, May 07, 2007

GSIU Week #18

It's been a looooong time since I did one of these. So, to recap, you Gotta Step it Up (GSIU). What did you do this week to step it up?
This past week I worked out 5 days out of 7. Yesterday was Cinco de Velo, the bike club's annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. There were bike rides for all levels of riders, all leaving from the same location. After the rides, there was a huge Mexican fiesta! I volunteered to lead the D ride, which was only 12 miles. At one point we had the option to re-loop, which added 6 miles to the ride. These additional miles had the 2 nastiest hills. Most of my group opted out, but I took a few of the stronger riders on the longer ride. And the hills were easier the second time. Gotta step it up! Besides, the more hills you climb, the more Mexican food you can eat.

Roger Clemens is a Yankee once again, gotta love that!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

DIY Boot Camp (or the ADHD Workout)

Today was too nice a day to be in the gym. I contemplated going out for a bike ride, but I wasn't in the mood for a solo ride. I ran 2.5 miles yesterday and I didn't want to put too much additional mileage on my knee (I'm not supposed to run on consecutive days). So I decided to go to the track and do whatever. I rummaged around and I found a teeny tiny soccer ball, a jump rope, an elastic band and a nerf Vortex (see photo). Add in a heart rate monitor, an iPod, a bottle of water and I was ready to rock!
I was pretty much the only person using the track for the hour that I was there. That was good because I didn't feel goofy. I kinda made things up and when something got too hard or just wasn't working or wasn't fun, I did something else. I dribbled the teeny tiny soccer ball down the football field first with my right foot then with my left. I did the same thing with the Vortex-- I threw it as far as I could, ran to retrieve it and then threw it down the field again until I scored a "touchdown." First I threw it with my right arm then I did it with my left (that was a sorry sight, glad no one was watching). I did dips and push ups off the bench and did some arm/shoulder exercises with the band. I tied the band around my ankles and did sidewinders down the track, then I took it off and did sideways jumpy/leapy things going the other way. I did one lap jumping rope and another running backwards. It may not have been the most efficient workout, I didn't work on upper body or lower body, I didn't even get in a real cardio thing, but it was fun! I'm sure if I really thought about it I could put together a really tough workout that would kick my butt.

Assassin- the Game continues. Both of my kids went on a stake-out with their waterguns, binoculars and walkie talkies. There are alliances, setups, and much covert activity. I'm staying out of it, that's for sure.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I called the assassin last night, the one that got the ticket. He wasn't home, but I had a conversation with his mom. She wasn't at all angry about the whole deal, although her son was very upset when he came home. She made sure to tell me that she made it very clear to him that there was to be no "payback," which I was relieved to hear. She thanked me for calling and agreed to pass on my apology to her son. I got the feeling she didn't want me to speak with him directly. I have also decided that i am going to mail him a check to reimburse him for the ticket.
Son #1 thinks I'm crazy, son #2 thinks I'm doing a good thing. So perhaps the life lesson has not been totally lost. And I certainly feel better.

Yesterday I ran 1.75 miles, still pain-free. I felt it a little when I got off the treadmill, but that subsided and my knee is not at all stiff today. I have been icing it after I run, and I think that is key.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Eat Me Eat Me

When I got off the train today, the Girl Scouts had a table set up to sell Girl Scout Cookies. They cost $3.50/box. Three girls, one of whom was wearing a cookie costume, greeted commuters with this catchy little jingle-- "Eat me, Eat me, I'm Just $3.50."
Their mothers tried to get them to change their marketing strategy, but were not successful. How do you explain to 7 and 8 year old girls that "eat me" goes way beyond cookies. I chuckled and then I bought one box of Thin Mints from the Eat Me Girl Scout Chorus.