The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

September Challenge Is On

I have organized a Monthly Mileage Challenge at work. So far I have enrolled 13 people and I'm hoping to enroll a few more today and tomorrow (this is a tough week to get this going because so many people are on vacation). Here's how it works:
All cardio activities will be converted to mileage. Running, walking, elliptical are all straight miles. Biking is 4:1 (bike 4 miles to get "credit" for 1 mile), swimming is 1:4 (swim 1 mile and get credited 4 miles). Stairmaster is 1:2, cardio classes are 4 miles per hour, etc. These conversions may not be perfect, but the idea is to "level the playing field" so anyone can get involved and log some miles with almost any activity. This concept seems to be working because the participants include a few folks who need a little motivation to get started as well as marathoners. Everybody keeps their own log and reports their mileage to me weekly. I will send a weekly update (using aliases) so everyone can see how they are doing (if they are in it to win it). The entry fee is $10. The winner takes 50 percent, 30 percent buys a healthy lunch for participants, and 20 percent is donated to a charity. So if I can get 15 participants, the winner gets $75. Not a bad chunk of change! I'm psyched. I am definitely in it to win it! Especially since I am looking at new road bikes, every little bit helps.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bike Shopping!

I love the Black Trek but ..... I've started shopping for a new bike. I'm not sure if it's easier or more difficult because of my size. There is certainly less available in my size with a full-sized (700) wheel but getting the proper fit is more difficult. Yesterday DH & I went t the LBS and mostly talked. He only has 1 possible bike in stockin a 44 frame--A Bianchi Eros Donna. I'm going to take it out for a test ride on Tue. Then I will probably wait a week or two for some of the 2007s to come in. I'm not in a rush. I can ride the rest of the season on the Trek, but the idea of a new bike makes me salivate and dream of breaking thru the 13 mph wall.

On Sat DH & I rode with friends A& H. They are riding in a big 3 day charity ride in a few weeks and needed a long ride. We rode 42 miles and they took turns dropping back to ride with me. I don't think they minded, and DH liked it because he felt like he was doing intervals. But it does make me a little self-conscious about my slow pace. It also motivates me to keep working at it. At the same time, I have to tell myself not to get too obsessed about comparing myself to other women. If I want to do that, then how many women my age do I know that can ride 40 miles or something equivalent. So I know I need to stick to doing what's right for me and work toward my own goals. I can be realistic and still have plenty of room to grow.

I haven't ridden in 2 weeks and I really felt it especially in my quads. You don't really get a break riding on my part of the planet. Seems like there is ALWAYS another hill. But that's what riding is all about. It's the hills that make you tough and strong, mentally as well as physically. Sunday was supposed to be a hiking day but it was a wash-out. I used the day to get lots done around the house. I t was another mother’s triathlon—cooking, laundry and (my worst event) ironing.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Monthly Mileage Motivation

I am still struggling to find the motivation to get back to healthy habits with some consistency.  I need to rethink goals.  Having a number as a goal (pounds, percent body fat) is not getting the job done.  I know that if I do the right thing consistently, the pounds and the body fat will take care of themselves.  I need a performance goal.  At the beginning of the summer, it was to run a 10K, but that was shelved due to toe and knee issues.  I am planning on riding 50 miles in a bike tour next month, but I already rode 50 miles last month.  With the summer winding down, performance goals have to be more creative.  These goals need to be short term, or they kinda slip away.  

So, I'm thinking about starting a friendly fitness competition for the month of September in my office.  It would be based on total mileage, but since the idea is to encourage cardio activities of all types, every activity would be converted to mileage.  As an example, walking, running, hiking, elliptical, stair master would all be straight mileage.  Bicycle miles would count 4:1, cardio classes would count 4 miles per hour, etc.  I'm sure conversions could be determined for just about anything (strength training does not qualify).  Indoors or outdoors.  Participants keep track of their own mileage, but have to keep some sort of log and provide weekly updates.  Entry fee $10.  Winner takes 50 PERCENT, 30 PERCENT used to bring in a healthy lunch at the end of the month, 20 PERCENT goes to 1 person chosen at random ( cannot be the winner).  Loser has to buy 2nd place a Jamba Juice?

Anybody have any suggestions? Should this be "ladies only?"  Should the number of entries be limited? How can we "level the playing field" so anyone can participate?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The 2006 Boston Massacre

A couple of months ago, we bought 4 tickets to see the Yanks play at Fenway.  It was very exciting to be there, to be part of the 2006 Boston Massacre. There were plenty of Yankee fans everywhere, so we felt “safe.”  My son did send one Red Sox fan over the edge with his “enthusiasm,” but when the ARSF (asshole Red Sox fan) told my son to “sit the F%&k down,” he exercised sound judgement and complied with the request.  

From the Boston Globe:
The truth is that this has been a very good year to be a Yankee fan. They lost Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui within two weeks in the spring, they also lost the scary-good Robinson Cano for about six weeks, and they had concurrent problems with their starting pitching. They had to wait out a Red Sox surge, knowing there was plenty of time in a long, long season to pull themselves together. In its present form, it is a thoroughly likeable and rootable team.

From the NYTimes:
More than 35,000 sad souls had shuffled out of Fenway Park by 5 p.m. on Monday. There were sea gulls circling the center-field bleachers then, but they might as well have been buzzards. In 75 punishing hours, the Yankees had pounded their rivals into little more than a carcass.

This 3 day trip to Boston included a visit to the Museum of Science to see the Body Worlds exhibit.  I had already seen it in Chicago, but it was just as fascinating and enlightening the second time through.  DH was similarly impressed, son #1 was totally grossed out, and son #2 was underwhelmed.  At least we tried.  We also hopped onboard the Duck Tours and visited Emack and Bolios on Newberry Street.  On the way out of town, we had brunch with some old and dear friends of mine.  That made the weekend a complete success.  

Monday, August 14, 2006

Uterus Is Right

I am so ready for menopause. Bring it on. A couple of months ago I was 2 weeks late. I thought I was done. Yeah, I wish it was that simple. This month I was 2 days late and I was having conversations with my uterus. Don't do this. I will still respect you. I'll compromise, we can adjust the schedule. Everybody else understands that I'm not having anymore babies. Why can't you. Uterus did not listen. In fact, Uterus punished me by getting started at a most inconvenient time and requiring a trip to Walmart to purchase shorts, panties and feminine hygiene products in order to continue road trip to PA. Uterus' final words were You're old enough to know better than to venture forth totally unprepared. Uterus is right. I am in deep denial that I still do this monthly cycle thing.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Boys are Back in Town

Son #1 came home yesterday and Son #2 came home today. It is wonderful to have them home, but already life is much more structured and filled with obligations. Laundry, dinner, appointments, whys and why nots. Son #1 came home with a letter from the camp director praising his wonderful qualities as a counselor and inviting him back for many summers to come. That made me proud. Son #2 received similar praise for a speech he gave at the banquet as the captain of color war's losing team. That also made me proud.

This weekend was perfect for spending time outdoors, with blue skies, low humidity and temps up to about 80. Yesterday I went for a club ride, 23 miles. Today I got off the bike and went hiking. I emerged from the woods 6 miles and 4 hours later feeling pleasantly tired and yet recharged. The smells and sights of the flora and fauna were wonderful and so vibrant after spending so much time on my bike. It was a nice change.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Chihuly at the Botanical Gardens

This exhibit is extraordinary! Dale Chihuly is an artist known for his glass sculptures. This exhibit was designed specifically for the Botanical Garden's collections and landscapes. Most of the art is displayed in the Haupt Conservatory -- the glasshouse -- but other pieces are placed in outdoor settings. Imagine turquoise ice cubes floating in a green slime covered pond with bullfrogs calling! Some of these sculptures are bound to elicit different responses at different times of the year. It is on display through late October and I might go back in the fall, just to see it against the splendor and colors of that season. Well, here are some images, but a camera (at least one with me as the photographer) does not do this exhibit justice.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Atomic Banana and Scrambled Tofu

Son #1 was home for a doctor’s appt.  His broken ankle is healing very nicely, so the doctor took off his cast. Yahoo!  Now he is wearing an aircast, and he can begin to put a teeny tiny amount of weight on it.  So that’s progress!  I took him back to camp where the entire staff is involved in a game they call Atomic Banana.  Everybody has the name of another person that they are trying to get “out” by pointing a banana at him/her.  If you get that person out, then your next target is the person that your original target was targeting.  Certain locations are “safe,” such as the dining hall or when you are working.  It’s walking between locations and less structured periods of time when you are most at risk! At least half of the staff gets taken out in the first 2 days, then the remaining people get more and more paranoid as they try to run between buildings and locations without getting nuked by a banana.  So yes, every staff person runs around with a banana in their pocket.  Son #1 was very excited that despite his handicap of being on crutches, he survived the first day and then he went home for a day!  I wonder if he is still in the game or if he got taken down.

I cooked this last night, and it was super delicious.  I made the rancheros version, adding 1 cup of salsa at the end.  Served it up as a wrap with cucumber cilantro salad.  And, I had leftovers, so I get to eat it again for lunch today!      

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Theatre on the Hudson

Last night I went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream at Boscobel. We picniced before the show on the grounds overlooking Constitution Marsh and the Hudson River. The heat wave had finally broken and it was a perfect night for spending some quality time with a few friends, sitting under the theatre tent and laughing!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Laying Low

Combine the need to recover from an 85 mile bicycle weekend with this f*%$ing heat wave (being outdoors for any length of time--even nanoseconds--is not an option) and you discover new ways to entertain yourself. So, I have been immersing myself in various forms of media-- tunes, books and TV.

This Friday evening I am going to see a local theatre company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I never read the play, so I am reading it. I think it might have been really confusing if I didn't already know the storyline, with everyone falling in and out of love with everyone else! Those fairies are quite mischievous. I put aside another book for a day or two to read the play--The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. So far I am not thrilled but I don't hate it either. I will reserve final judgement until I have finished it. I do most of my reading on my train ride into NYC, which is 50 minutes. I would rather read a book than the newspaper, even though I sometimes think I should be educating myself more by reading the paper.

At home, I have been TIVOing my new addiction-- Project Runway. I did not watch the first 2 seasons, and I'm not sure what made we watch the first episode this season, but I love watching these very creative people whip up these incredible designs. The personalities of the designers are now beginning to "explode" as one designer is eliminated each week. I'm not sure its a good idea to give them all sharp scissors. Maybe they should be using the ones like we had in kindergarten that had blunted, rounded ends.

I finalized my playlist for the Summer CD Swap. I still have to burn copies to mail out to all the swappers. Here is the playlist-- the theme is Food and Drink. I am naming this CD No Jimmy Buffet because I avoided the obvious Cheeseburger in Paradise and Margaritaville.

All You Can Eat--Ben Folds
Beans And Corn Bread--Louis Jordan
Busting Up a Starbucks--Mike Doughty
Chicken Man--Indigo Girls
Dirty Martini--Joe Jackson
Elderberry Wine--Elton John
Hospital Food--David Gray
I Saw Elvis ( In A Burger King )--Bob Martinson
Orange crush--REM
Peanut--Squad 51
Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating--Ben Harper
Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)--Squeeze
Red Beans--Marcia Ball
Rhubarb Pie--John Fogerty
Tea in the Sahara--The Police
The Diner Song--The Contes
Tom's Diner--Suzanne Vega & D.N.A.

New Ride

My new wheels, 4 of them. Subaru Outback. Mine is blue.