The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wonderful but not the Giants

The 4 day weekend brought many wonderful moments. We spent Thanksgiving with some friends and had a lovely time. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t spend the day with my brother’s family, but thankfully we live close enough that we can get together for dinner and some quality family time without too much difficulty. And thankfully we look forward to making it happen. On Saturday DH and I went to a 50th birthday party for a friend that I have known since we were 12 or 13 years old. I saw some old friends that I haven’t seen in many years. We had some good laughs when he was “roasted” by his brother and various friends. He recently became engaged to a really wonderful woman, so the entire event was filled with laughter, love, and memories. On Sunday morning I went for a 20 mile leisurely ride with 2 other club ladies. It was perfect. The temp was in the 50s. The landscape is so different at this time of year, and although the explosion of colors that is October is gone, the muted palette of November is still beautiful against a bright blue sky. Then there was Chinese take-out for lunch and the first half of the Giants game. That’s when the wonderfulness ended. The Giants game became a debacle and a stunning loss and a great cloud descended upon the household. There was nothing left to do at that point but clean up the kitchen, finish the laundry, and make some obligatory phone calls. Sunday evenings are not my favorite part of the week, and certainly coming off a 4 day weekend added to the general feeling of malaise. But witnessing the implosion of the Giants made me crave the Acoustic Night of Depression to lift my spirits!

Today marks the beginning of my “busy season.” It’s not the “holidays,” in fact I do my best to ignore them as much as possible. It’s work. I teach a course during the winter quarter which starts today. That’s 7 hours per week of classroom time. Plus prep time. I just have to be much more efficient and occasionally put in some extra hours to get the job done. I also have less flexibility in my schedule because the only day I’m not scheduled is Thursday. But it’s the part of my job that I enjoy the most. I am still committed to the Winter PreSeason and the Winter Indoor Season. The last 5 days were excellent, featuring a spin class, a bike ride, a body sculpting class, some strength training, a run, and some more miles on assorted indoor fitness equipment. In general, life is good.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Starting at the bottom and moving up......
Toes: my right toe feels much better with the orthotics. I'm not sure why, but something about the physics of the way my foot moves and rolls when running has had a positive effect. This is the main reason I invested in the orthotics, so I'm happy about this!
Knees: my right knee is a bit better, but the basic (and at this point not totally understood) problem still exists. My knee gets stiff after running. The orthotics may have reduced the extent of the problem, but it's still a problem. I was hoping the orthotics would do more for the cranky knee, but I knew going into this that it was questionable.
Shoulders: my shoulders are looking good! As a matter of fact, sometimes I can't believe my arms and shoulders are mine when I look in the mirror. I have been told that shoulders are the first part of your body where you can see discernable changes when you start a weight lifting program. I believe it!
Head: improving. I've known what I need to do for a long time, and I'm getting closer to doing it. I don't have the consistency that I need but I am working out fairly regularly and my food habits are coming along. My head is in the game and aiming straight ahead.

I had 2 pieces of pie at dessert yesterday. And I'm not punishing myself or feeling like a glutton or feeling any guilt or regret. Thanksgiving is ONE MEAL. It is not a lifestyle. Actually, I have one regret. I should have had 2 pieces of blueberry pie instead of 1 piece blueberry and 1 piece ice cream cake.

Monday, November 20, 2006


On Saturday night, DH and I went to the local historical theatre, to see the movie The US vs. John Lennon. We didn't know it, but it was also acoustic night, which featured several local musicians performing original music and covers of John Lennon songs. Acoustic night ended with all 4 musicians singing Imagine, which as you can imagine, was the perfect tribute to John Lennon as well as a reflection on current world events. But before we got to the rendition of Imagine, we had to suffer through the most depressing set of songs I've ever had the occasion to sit through. It seemed like each artist was intending to perform the biggest bummer of a song. Sisters on the verge of suicide, children dying in Irag, being alone with my loneliness or living with the black tornado inside me. It was bizarre. I know these musicians did not intend for it to be Acoustic Night of Depression, but I was glad when they finally sang Imagine and thenwe had a 10 minute break so we could buy candy. The movie was quite good but it wasn't easy to watch film from the Vietnam War, the beatings at the Democratic Convention or the killings at Kent State. Or knowing that the movie would basically end with those gunshots. When I think about the volume of music that man created in a relatively short time, well just imagine if had lived a longer life.... The man was a genius. Which brings me to Bob Dylan. He, too is a modern day songwriting genius. DH and son #1 went to see him last week and they enjoyed it. I can't stomach the guy. I have total respect for his genius, but I can't listen to him sing. I can tolerate a few songs, but could never sit through his concert. I imagine it would feel like sitting through Acoustic Night of Depression.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Is He Serious

I went for a 25 mile bike ride this morning with a few other hearty club members. It was actually very pleasant. The temp was in the mid to high 40s, and I wasn't at all cold. We stopped at a not Starbucks and I had steamed cider. Yummmms. I had a conversation with a man who I have seen before on club rides. He told me how he used to ride all the time when he was younger and now he is getting back to it, especially since he is getting divorced and is trying to do things that he enjoys (and possibly meet a few women along the way). He then put in a plug for himself, suggesting that if I get to know him better, perhaps I could fix him up with some nice women. I asked him if he had met Lady X, who I had ridden with almost every weekend during the "high season." He asked me how old she is, because he is 54 and he wants to meet women in their 30s who don't want to have children because he already has 2 fabulous children and that's enough. I almost dropped my bike, which I was putting into the back of my car. This man does not have drop dead good looks (not even close) and my first (and second) impression is that he is nerdly. I'm sure he is pleasant enough and he seems eager to meet and interact with interesting people. BUT I can't see women 20 years younger than him lining up for a chance to go for a ride with him in his Toyota Camry. I don't believe I know any single women under 35, but even if I did...... and Lady X (who happens to be 50) is safe!

Yesterday I got to the gym and tried one of the brand new ellipticals that replaced some older ellipticals and I really liked it. Not sure if its any different than the old ones, maybe it was just that I haven't used the elliptical trainer in a long time. Then I got on the treadmill. I used one of the programs that had me going uphill, getting progressively steeper. I walked it and even going uphill just wasn't really getting my heart rate up where I wanted it, so I decided to run the next one. I ran real slow and by the time I got to the steepest part, I was working very hard! The good news is that my knee felt pretty good. I still haven't decided if I need to go back to the podiatrist to have the orthotics adjusted. They feel pretty good when I'm running, but I don't think I would be real comfortable just walking around in them. I should probably call him and tell him that and see what he says.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Commuting with Electronics

I commute with a backpack and although people might think I am carrying a small tonnage of important documents (does anyone carry paper documents anymore?), the reality is that I carry a small tonnage of electronics and food. Today I took my DVD player to watch Unforgiven, the Clint Eastwood movie. Then there's the cell phone, the Palm Pilot and sometimes the iPod (although not if I have the DVD player). And my Jeff Gordon lunchbag, discarded by son #2 at least 5 years ago, filled with little plastic containers of assorted good for you food.

When visiting the campus of University of Pennsylvania with my son about a month ago, I realized that every student had a cell phone and an iPod. Apple needs to work on integrating the iPod and the cell phone because nobody wants to give up the quality of the iPod to have crappy music capabilities on a cell phone. Clearly Generation D would rather carry both than give up the iPod. I am waiting for a cell phone/iPod/Palm Pilot/good quality camera in a small package. That would be a killer device. My back would be forever grateful. I'd be able to commute with the device clipped on my waist and my lunchbag. This may be a fantasy today, but a year from now.......

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Making the Move to Beta

I don't know if this is a good move or not, but I made the move to Blogger in Beta. Everything seems to have come across intact, and I can begin to explore some new features like labels. The main reason I upgraded was because I wanted to add an image with a link to my sidebar and I don't know enough html to code it by myself. I still wasn't able to do this in beta-- I can add an image and I can add a link, but I can't seem to add an image with a link. Well, I'll keep poking around and see if I can figure this out.

I did not post yesterday for NaBloPoMo. Oh well. I was very busy all day, worked late, got home late, and just didn't feel like going online at that point. So I suppose I can stop the blathering and babbling. I was kinda enjoying the challenge of trying to come up with something to post without getting into politics or other subjects of great import. After all, this blog is supposed to illuminate the ins and outs of an ordinary life. Clearly there is no room for anything resembling extraordinary here.

My dryer died. Howz that for ordinary. DH is going to buy a new one this morning. I will be instituting a policy of laundry conservation for all persons living in my household until further notice (until I can get the new dryer delivered). Of course it died with a full load of wet clothes.

Working late on Mondays means no gym. I won't get to the gym thie evening, either, due to a reception I will be attending with DH. I don't like 2 days off because of the inertia that then must be overcome. But life happens. Ordinary stuff.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Weird Sightings at the Gym

I saw some weird people at the gym today. First, there were 2 men running on treadmills in their streetclothes. Jeans, long-sleeve button down shirts. OK, its not that weird, but most people wear sweats or shorts and T-shirts. I suppose they may have forgooten their gym bags and decided to work-out anyway. The, when I was in the locker room, a woman came in, all sweaty, wearing heavy sweats. Her pants were soaked in sweat and it looked like she had wet her pants! She took off the sweats and she was wearing a plastic trash bag. Now I know the theory, wrapping yourself in plastic makes you sweat more (that part of the theory was supported by her very sweaty clothes) but do people really think this will help you lose more weight? Perhaps I have missed some recent scientific study in exercise physiology and the garbage bag is going to become an essential fitness accessory. They will be sold in assorted colors, patterns and sizes (8, 13, and 23 gallons) and of course their cost will increase exponentially as demand outpaces supply. Maybe I will start a new business, selling fashionable trashbag bodywear. A name for this product....... The Ultimate Sweat Bag. What do ya think? I'm gonna be rich, right? And all because I saw a lady wearing a garbage bag.

Anyway, back to reality. I got to the gym and did some low intensity cardio for an hour and then did a damn good LBWO. The hour on the bike and the treadmill allowed me to listen to a good chunk of music. I enjoyed that. When I got home, I made a big pot of vegetable soup. That will give me a good start for the work week. Now I'm watching the Giants v. Bears. I'll probably fold some laundry and my Sunday will be complete.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Great Recovery

I had a good day on Friday. I got to work early, put my game face on, dug in, and didn't quit until I got done what needed to get done. It took a while, but I did get to the gym. I used a new playlist I had designed to run 3 minute x 2 minute intervals for 30 minutes. Then I did a rockin' UBWO. Today I judged public forum at the debate tournament all day, from the first round all the way through the final round. That meant that I spent a good deal of time hanging around the judge's lounge which featured large quantities of crappy food. Tomorrow I would like to go hiking, weather permitting. If it rains, it will be an indoor day at the gym. Either way, tomorrow will feature fitness and good food.

Friday, November 10, 2006

An Unproductive Week

My week has been filled with false starts, lost opportunities and lack of focus. Although I had the time, I did not get done what needed to get done, at home or at work. As a result, I have backed myself into a corner. I will need to spend more time getting these things done, which will leave less time for effective Winter Preseason implementation. The reason I'm so angry with myself is I had the time to do everything, but just burned the time doing nothing. I am entiled to some down time, but not at the cost of productivity. I realize I can't get back the time lost, so I will move on, try to focus more on my priorities, and get done what needs to get done. So for starters, I am on an early train, give myself an extra half hour at my desk. Athough I usually only work a half day on Friday, I will not leave until I have completed one task in particular, one that I have been avoiding. If I can focus on that and get it done in a reasonable amount of time, then I can get to the gym. If it takes longer than I think, then there will be no gym today. Time to suck it up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wishy Washy Vegetarian

I am a vegetarian.... most of the time. I eat milk and eggs, so I am not a vegan. I am an ovo-lacto-vegetarian. Once in a while, especially when I go out to dinner, I will eat fish. Fish is meat. True vegetarians do not eat fish. OK, so I'm an ovo-lacto-occasionally fish eating-vegetarian. If the choice is eat meat or don't eat, I will eat meat, usually chicken. This is starting to sound like a silly children's song: ovo-lacto-occasionally fish eating-rarely chicken eating-vegetarian. And when I walk into that good kosher deli that we sometimes visit, I become a carnivore-for-a-meal. I cannot be denied that pastrami on rye. I am coming clean here, I am admitting that I am a wishy washy vegetarian. Yeah, well, it works for me.

Have you thought about becoming a vegetarian? Need that extra little motivation to really try to adopt this lifestyle? For me, that last push came from reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thank You Malcolm Bump

This weekend is the Malcolm Bump Debate Tournament. This is a premiere event in HS debate and the primary fund-raiser for the school's forsensics teams (debate and speech). Parents are essential to the operations of the tournament. We take care of feeding the kids and the judges as well as arranging for housing the students with families in the district on Friday night. We will bring home 5 or 6 HS debaters, throw them in the basement, allow them to play video games all night if they want, and feed them milk and donuts in the morning before returning them to the HS on Saturday morning. DH and I are also going to be judging Public Forum (one of 3 debate events at the tournament).

When my son joined the debate team, I didn’t realize what I was getting into. In addition to the typical parental duties (driving here and there to drop off and pick up, donations of food and money to team activities), debate mommies and daddies have to judge at tournaments. If a team is sending X number of debaters to a tournament, then they have to provide X/3 number of judges. If your kid wants to go to lots of tournaments, then you have to go to lots of tournaments too. My son has learned more from being a member of the debate team than he has from sitting in HS classes for 3+ years. And I have learned a great deal, too. Most of my education has had math and science at its foundation. There was very little thinking involved. There was an occasional English class with a few required papers, but most of the time I was required to memorize large quantities of facts for a short period of time. Shovel in, spit out, repeat. Now, as a judge, I listen to these incredibly bright students debate topics as diverse as foreign policy, the death penalty, and domestic violence. Certainly my analytical skills have been of value, but I have no doubt that judging has forced me to sharpen my critical thinking skills. Now I look for opportunities to enhance these skills and to engage my son in lively conversations. I find myself actually reading and pondering the Op-Ed page and looking for opinion pieces online to read on the train. I listen to NPR’s podcast of On the Media. I have discovered the right side of my brain! So thank you Malcolm Bump.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Not on Page One

The only thing on page one is the election. Here's a smapling of what you might be missing.

HOUSTON-- Likening themselves to prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, a dozen inmates on death row in Texas have staged hunger strikes over the last month to protest what they call abusive conditions, including 23 hours a day of isolation in their cells.

LAGUNA BEACH -- Instead of being known for lovely mountain views and salt-kissed breezes, the city becomes associated with the facts that Tessa is sad that her boyfriend would not talk to her at a barbecue and that Cami racked up a $4,000 shopping bill.

Three years after MTV set up shop here to chronicle the lives and travails of wealthy Laguna Beach High School seniors, whose concerns appear to center chiefly on sexual encounters and fashion accessories, some residents are saying enough is enough.

MANHATTAN -- A federal judge refused yesterday to bar Christie’s in New York from auctioning a painting by Picasso that a German banker’s heir says was sold under duress in Nazi Germany. The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of United States District Court in Manhattan, dismissed a lawsuit by Julius H. Schoeps, an heir of the painting’s original owner who claimed that he was the rightful owner and that the auction should not take place.

The painting, “The Absinthe Drinker,” also known as “Portrait of Angel Fernández de Soto,” is scheduled to be sold today at Christie’s fall auction of Modern and Impressionist art, and Christie’s has estimated that it will sell for $40 million to $60 million.

MISSISSIPPI -- Samuel H. Bowers Jr., the imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan faction who was found guilty in 1998 in the firebombing murder of a Mississippi shopkeeper 32 years earlier, died yesterday in a prison hospital in Parchman, Miss.

In my own little corner of the universe, my DH had a colonoscopy today. That's what you get when you turn 50. I had a session with my personal trainer. I am anticipating that I won't be able to lift a pencil tomorrow. I also took an awesome endurance spinning class. And I made black bean soup. Lunch is packed for tomorrow. None of this was on the first page either. You read it here first.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Headphones and Mental Health

I updated my iPod, stuck it in my backpack and set off on my day's adventures. When I got on the train, I could not find my headphones. I have 2 pair-- one for my backpack and one for my gym bag. They are essentially the same. I cannot imagine where my backpack headphones could have gone. Losing my headphones creates anxiety because I find it difficult to find a pair that fit and stay in my ears. Those ear bud thingies just don't work-- they fall out! Other headphones have proven to be uncomfortable after more than 5 minutes. The pair that I have been using have a band that goes over the top of your head, you know, the old-fashioned kind. This is slightly problematic in the cooler weather when I wear them over or under a hat. Not a big problem, but when I got off the train, I went to Best Buy and bought headphones that clip behind your ears. I am being very adventurous! Change does not come easy to me. It would have been much easier to buy the same old headphones and not have to worry about looking like a total dork when I try to secure them in my ears. I am embracing risk ($15 worth) by purchasing these headphones. If these work out they will become my gym bag headphones so I can wear them with a hat and my old fashioned over the head headphones will become my backpack headphones.
I warned you about the blathering and babbling. I considered writing something about tomorrow's election and the state of America, but there are so many people that can do that far better than I can. But how many people are out there blogging about the issues effecting our mental health on a daily basis? Now that I think about it, probably more than are blogging about tomorrow's election.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


It's Sunday, which usually means mega-multitasking. Watching football, cooking, blogging, laundry, talking on the telephone. I went out this morning, ran a couple of miles, stopped at the supermarket and now I'm ready to spend the afternoon getting stuff done. DH and son #2 are at the football game and son #1 is working. So it's just me.

I went down to the track and ran 2 miles with my orthotics. I was supposed to wait at least a week, but I'm feeling more comfortable with them and I know how they feel doing everything else except running, so I feel confident that I will be able to judge if they are helping or not. So far, so good! I felt good while I was running and I had virtually no pain in either my big toe or my knee. Now I will see if my knee gets stiff or not. I held it to 2 miles even though I would have liked to keep going. After all, today is the NYC marathon. It's a beautiful day (perfect for the marathon) and it felt good to be outdoors. I'm glad I avoided the convenience of running indoors.

Tomorrow I work late, so no gym. I need the day off, I am pretty sore from the last few days. Back at the gym on Tuesday. The Winter Preseason is going well.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Winter Preseason Week 1

Today I was out shopping with my son and we decided to have some "refreshments." That's an inside joke in our family-- it's secret code for a trip to Coldstone Creamery. We both had dark chocolate peppermint ice cream. I mixed in Oreos and he chose Heath Bars. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed every spoonful of it, but I have decided that Coldstone Creamery's ice cream is just not that good. The mix-ins are fun and definitely add to final ice cream experience, but if Coldstone had to sell their ice cream in the supermarket or just piled onto a cone without the mix-ins, I think they would go down in smoke.

A dish of ice cream is definitely not part of the Winter Preseason plan, so it won't be happening again anytime soon. It was a weak moment, but I did enjoy the opportunity to sit down with my son for a few minutes and chat. I went to the gym this morning. I took a 75 min body sculpting class that puts alot of emphasis on core, then I took a 45 min strength spin class. So I guess I will "break even." I don't plan on using exercise as justification for eating ice cream. That will only result in lack of progress and frustration. Getting back to the gym feels good and I'm a little bit sore in lots of places. That's probably because I've been mixing it up-- arc trainer, spinning, UBWO, LBWO, walking, stretching. So week 1 of the Winter Preseason has been fairly successful. Not perfect, but definitely a step in the right direction. I'm thinking about running tomorrow with my experimental orthotics. If its another beautiful day, then outdoors. Nice and slow, on the track.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I feel like I'm getting back my rhythm. The food is improving; still have room for improvement, but definitely better. Last night I went to the gym for a spin class. I haven't taken a spin class since a rainy day a couple of months ago. It felt great to get a good sweat going and watch my heart rate climb as I climbed. Today I work a half day so the gym bag is in my car. I'm not sure what activities I will pursue this weekend. There is a club D+ ride tomorrow morning and that's a possibility. I am assuming the ride will go regardless of the temperature, which will probably be mid 30s in the morning. I wouldn't mind a hike on Sunday, if I could interest anyone else. If all goes according to plan, I will have 4 consecutive days of fitness, and once those endorphins start circulating through my brain (and the crappy food stops circulating thru my gut), it's much easier to stay with the program. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. And so, my WPD is going well! There was a slice of pizza on Wed, but recovered with a good homecooked dinner. All the Halloween candy has been banished.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I finished reading Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie. I have actually learned enough about football to enjoy this book. I laughed at the appropriate times, I knew enough about the players and their positions to understand the trades, and I appreciated the strategy and knowledge necessary to play this "game" well. I don't think I'm about to quit my job so I have the time needed to win the fantasy football Superbowl. I don't even think I am going to draft a team in a fantasy football league. But I am proud that I read and enjoyed 2 books about football in the last month.

While we are on the topic of books, I have been spending lots of time at If you are not familiar with this website, it is a community of people who love to read and share books. You have to join, but it is free. Books are registered and given a unique ID number. Then they are sometimes "released in the wild," with the hope that someone will find it, read it, and log onto and make an entry about that book before giving it to someone else to read. And some books are advertised as available on the website, and then bookrings are set up, with the books traveling from one person to another over months or even years. Each person that reads the book makes an entry about the book, and you can follow these books on their journeys. So if you join a bookring, you have to be willing to spend a couple of dollars to mail the book on to the next person in the ring. I suppose you could just reserve the book at your local library and not pay postage, but then you don't get to follow the book from reader to reader. There's just something really inviting and enticing about finding a book in your mailbox that has been sent to you by someone who loves books as much as you do. Many of them arrive with postcards and bookmarks from all over the world. I have mailed a few books overseas, and they take so long to get there, that its a wonderful surprise when they do arrive because usually the person receiving it has forgotten that it is on its way. Over the last 2 years that I have been "hanging out" at bookcrossing, my bookshelves have become much more dynamic! Books come and go, not at an overwhelming pace, but enough that I have never felt that I have nothing interesting to read. And I have read some really wonderful books that I never would have picked up if not for Bookcrossing.

I have joined lots of bookrings. Here are a few books that I have finished and sent on to the next bookcrosser:
Galileo's Daughter by David Sobel
Flu by Gina Kolata
Possession by A S Byatt
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai

And here are some bookrings that I have joined and I'm waiting for my turn:
Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
Driving Mr. Albert by Michael Paterniti
A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
March by Geraldine Brooks
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Experimental Orthotics

I have not purchased experimental orthotics, rather I have purchased orthotics as part of an experimental treatment plan to see if my right foot is messing up my right knee. I picked them up yesterday evening and now I have to "break them in" by wearing them for an hour more each day. Although my right big toe was immediately singing happy songs, my arches were getting a little grumpy by the time I got home and took them off. I guess they are going to take some getting used to. I have been told not to run in them for another week or two, until I am comfortable just hanging out with them. I plan to take them grocery shopping tomorrow and to bookclub on Friday. Can't wait! As an added bonus, I was given the plaster casts of my feet to take home and love and cherish. There is a possibility that I will need them if I need to have another pair of orthotics made so I guess I have to keep them. There must be something creative I can do with them other than shove them in my closet. Maybe I will take them with me the next time I go shoe shopping, mess with the salespeople's heads. Make up some story about new prosthetic feet. Maybe I should just make a mobile with a wire hanger.

I took the subway to and from the doctor's office. That's subway as in NYC on Halloween going down to Greenwich Village for the big parade. It was very entertaining just being on the subway! I have never gone down to see the parade (aka freak show).

WPD3 was a good one. I did eat a little bag of peanut M&Ms and a little KitKat, but at least I'm eating the right things at mealtime. I am getting back on track.