The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Fav Photos

For a good part of 2009, my camera(s) and I were inseparable. But there were definitely some holes in my photographic year, when I just wasn't motivated to take pictures. For me, taking pictures is an activity, and although I try to combine it with other activities, I have difficulty doing that. I much prefer to have my camera because shooting photographs is what I am doing. Anyway, here are some of my favorites from 2009. I tried selecting one for each month. That worked fairly well except for November when I didn't take any photos. So I present 2 from October when DH and I were on vacation.

2009 began on New Years Day in Nassau, The Bahamas, at Junkanoo, the Caribbean equivalent of Carnivale. The streets exploded with energy, colors, music and photo ops!

There was so much live music in 2009, from the big stadium shows to the more intimate shows at the Paramount Theatre in Peekskill. I love going to the Paramount because usually I can get close enough to take some shots with my little Canon. I love this sax man, and the way he pops out of the blackness.

This is just plain ridiculous. I came upon this sign while hiking.

Once April came, it was all about cycling with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bike Shorts (and significant others). Eventually we traveled to the RI Century in September.
The spring also means baseball, and here is my son at the plate; his senior year, playing varsity.
Once summer came, there were more opportunities to love the outdoors and the Hudson Valley. This was taken from Boscobel on a beautiful evening when I went to see The Shakespearean Festival production of Much Ado About Nothing.

It was love at first sight. As soon as I walked into the "new" Yankee Stadium, I felt the magic. And indeed that magic culminated in a World Championship. I loved coming to the stadium and taking photos.

In August, I went to an outdoor concert at Lincoln Center, featuring Derk Trucks Band. But there were 2 performers before him, including this guy, Snehashish Mozumder, playing a double headed mandolin. The music was fascinating and powerful.

One of my photographic lapses was the RI Century in September. I guess I was investing so much energy in getting through it, that I just didn't think of photodocumenting our 100 mile journey. I certainly wish I had. Here is Sister Ellen, looking astonished at something, but I know not what.

October brought DH and I out west, to New Mexico and Colorado. One of my favorite places we visited was Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. I love the shadows in this photo, and the feeling of the solitude up on the dunes.

We were lucky enough to be in Albuquerque for Balloon Fiesta! Talk about photo ops, as the sun came up and the balloons were inflated.

Finally December brought my declaration that I am going to walk a half marathon and I began my quest for 13 Sixteens. This seems like a good photo to close out 2009 and march right into 2010!

Looking forward to a fantastic photographic 2010!

Scooter Lady

I had a conversation this morning with the Scooter Lady. She arrives at the train station via scooter, folds it up and slings it across her shoulder, and when she arrives at Grand Central Terminal, she unfolds it and scoots off to her office. Her office is at Columbus Circle, which is not that far from Grand Central, but requires 2 trains if you wanted to get there by subway. It takes at least 20 minutes to walk it. Scooter time: 8 minutes. Out of the north end of the terminal, across 47th St. to Eighth Avenue, and up to Columbus Circle via the bike lane. She said once she saddles up, she can be on a train in 9 minutes. She has a heavy duty scooter, with big wheels and a hand brake; kinda like your kid’s razor scooter on steroids. She used to live in the city and the scooter was her primary means of transportation. She would travel with her daughter on the scooter, too, getting her to and from birthday parties, ice skating and dance lessons. When she moved to the suburbs, she quickly realized that the scooter was still an essential piece of her new life as a commuter. Even on a day like today, when the temperature is probably 20ish and there is a wicked wind blowing, she scoots. Eight minutes on the scooter; its over before you have time to think about how cold it is, and I’m sure she warms up in about 2 minutes! I don’t know the source of her motivation to scoot, probably convenience more than anything. But what a great way to start your day. Get your blood moving and arrive at your office in a snap. If you can overcome even one hurdle that nyc throws at you on a daily basis, think of what you can accomplish in that office in the next 7 hours! Carpe Diem! Seize the day!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

These Boots Are Made for Walking

A couple of years ago, I bought myself a pair of low-rise hiking boots. I then never wore them. I just realized I felt more secure with my regular hiking boots. If a trail is at all rocky, I appreciated the support for my ankles. My hiking boots are very comfortable, so there is no reason NOT to wear them. Until now.... I have found the perfect terrain for my low-rise hikers.
The Rockefeller State Preserve (better known to us locals as The Rockies) in Sleepy Hollow is 1,200+ acres deeded to New York State by the Rockefellers. It features 20 miles of carriage trails. The trails are much easier on your feet than roads, and being off the roads means I can put on my iPod without worrying. You don't need hiking boots for these trails, sneakers are fine, but they do get wet and muddy, so trail shoes or light hikers are ideal. On weekends, there are always people around, so I feel safe, but the place is so huge that it never feels crowded. I'm starting to love this place!
Today was a gift.... a December Sunday with temps into the 50s and bright sunshine. I wanted to go for a bike ride, but I couldn't find anyone who wanted to ride with me, so instead of riding alone, I opted for 2 hours of trails at the Rockies. I didn't even need a hat! I didn't push the speed today, just trying to get my feet accustomed to some serious mileage. And when I was done, I got to go to a party and EAT!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Morning Hike

Today was the bike club's traditional Christmas morning hike. We tromped around in the snow and walked around in circles in this relatively small park. Although it wasn't very strenuous, it was nice to be in the woods (off the roads) with a bunch of very nice people. Even when we are stomping around in the woods on snow covered trails, somehow, the conversations eventually find their way to talking about cycling!
For today's adventure, I chose a navy blue fleece Yankees hat (see red jacket, white neck warmer in front row in photo above). The hat "give-away" was sponsored by Nathan's, so there is also a Nathan's emblem on the hat. I don't remember ever getting fleece winter hats at Yankee Stadium, so I assume they were acquired while dining at Nathan's. It's your basic fleece hat, and it did a perfectly adequate job of keeping my head and ears warm during the outdoor trek.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

5 Miles Wearing a Hat With a PomPom

Today was a beautiful winter day. I opted for the roads. I walked 5 miles through my suburban neighborhood. I walked fast. At times, I wanted to run, but I kept walking. It was harder than I thought! My ankles and my shins were talking to me. And my toe. And when I was done, the balls of my feet were burning. So this 13 Sixteens challenge is indeed going to be a challenge.
I bought a couple of pair of sweat pants and cobbled together a complete set of winter fitness walking performance clothing. Lots of fleece-- pullover, gloves, socks, jacket. The last essential item required before leaving the house was a hat. I had several hats from which to choose. Over the years, the hats have accumulated. Today I chose a Team USA knit hat with a pompom. My husband bought it in a gas station during the '88 winter Olympics, which took place in Calgary. The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver are not very far away so it seemed a good choice. The red white and blue knit matches my red outdoor fitness jacket. My iPod headphones were in place beneath my hat. I was rocking and walking and it was a great workout.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sixteens on the Hills With Toe Socks

My quest for 13 sixteens continues with miles mostly on the treadmill. Today I set the pace but let the treadmill go random, up and down some hills. I haven't decided yet if this is a good way to train, since my pace did not change with the incline. It probably makes more sense to vary the speed as the incline changes, and hopefully average sixteen minutes per mile. But that will come at a later point. Today's goal was to see if I could reduce the incidence of blisters on my toes by wearing...............

toe socks! I received some advice from a couple of runner type people that toe socks would help , so I invested $12 in these. As you can see, even my toes are short (I am contemplating hemming the toes). But I wore them for 3.5 miles of treadmilling and.......... no blisters! They did feel weird but I can handle that, especially if my short toes will be blisterless.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

21 Years

Son #1 is celebrating his 21st birthday today. Most of my thoughts have been about him, and the man that he has become. There is also that sense of time slipping away, how can it possibly be 21 years since he was born. Then DH called me and we talked about our memories of his birth and what it meant for us, to become a family of 3. Then he had to throw in, “you were in really bad shape for a few days.” Yes I was, physically, but from my perspective, that was such a minor detail in the grand scheme. I have never been one to whine or complain, I am definitely more of a warrior, so there was no way a C-section was going to keep me down. But I do remember The Chair.

The day after my C-section, the nurse came into my room and announced that I was going to sit up and get out of bed. But first they gave me 2 Percosets and waited an hour for them to “kick in.” Two nurses helped me sit up and then helped me move into a chair. It felt like every muscle in my body was connected to my abdomen, including my fingers, toes and eyelids. Any movement of any part of my body hurt. There was no way I was getting back into that bed until it was time to go to sleep because I wasn’t going to get out of that bed again. So I sat in The Chair for about 12 hours. It wasn’t a very comfortable chair, but I considered the options and stayed put. The nurses made several offers to help me get back into bed. No way. I sat in The Chair. I don’t remember what the next day was like, but I do remember everyday was much better than the day before...... until my Milk Came In. But let’s not go there. I remember DH and I standing over his crib and thinking, “he’s so tiny, he’ll never outgrow this crib.” And now he has pretty much outgrown our house, in addition to the crib. There have been so many moments of wonder and joy (and fear), and I know there are many more to come.


My New Year’s Resolutions are probably no different than they have been for years. I guess I’m on the Resolution Maintenance Program. They revolve around a healthy lifestyle and finding a way to balance work, family and fitness. Many times these pieces have a wonderful synergy; but at other times they pull in opposite directions. I know I can always do better but I try to keep things in perspective and not get obsessive. There will be good days and bad days. As long as the net sum is positive, I think I’m doing well. Having goals or resolutions helps me to Keep Moving Forward (KMF). I shall make that my “theme” for 2010. So here are my KMF Resolutions for 2010.

  • I will eat more vegetarian meals. They are good for me and good for the planet.
  • I will clean up my personal spaces and maintain them. This will probably include getting rid of stuff that I don’t need/don’t use/don’t like.
  • I will spend more time interacting with people LIVE instead of online.
  • I will do what it takes to get ready to walk the More Half Marathon on April 25, 2010.
  • I will help DH do what he needs to do but I will not nag him.
  • I will pack lunch often and plan food in order to go to the gym after work and avoid purchasing snacks in Grand Central Terminal. Black and White cookies, our relationship is ending.
  • I will continue to find ways to use fewer resources and reduce my carbon footprint.
  • I will use commuter train time to an advantage, to read and write.
  • I will mix and match Swim/Bike/Walk/Strength/Yoga.
  • I will blog about KMF even if no one is reading because it is more fun than keeping a pen & paper version.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I have been getting to know a 16 minute mile on the treadmill. The result: a blister on my little toe and shin splints! It's a good thing I have 4 months to get ready for this Big Walk.

Today I got on a treadmill and used a program with a targeted heart rates. But the heart rate monitor wasn't working real well, so when it read 67 bpm, the treadmill kept increasing the incline until it was practically vertical and it kept telling me to go faster! It should have been telling me to hang on! It was kind of funny.

I'm sitting around waiting for the snowstorm. I hope there's enough snow to get out on snowshoes tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Swim Bike Walk Strength Yoga

Back in 2008, when I registered for my first triathlon in 21 years, I started researching triathlon training programs. I checked books out of the library, and I was all over the web. That lasted a week or two. I decided I didn’t need to box myself into a training program. Training wasn’t going to make me much faster, especially in a sprint. My goal was to complete the race with greater ease and comfort. To achieve that goal, I just started swimming, biking and running. There were no magic formulas or mileage goals. I looked a the resources I had available, worked with those, and then filled in the missing pieces. I had workouts with the Masters Swim Team and club bike rides. I continued a strength program, working with a trainer once a week. What evolved is a 4 piece program – Swim/Bike/Run/Strength – but the 4 pieces are fluid and flexible. In 2008, the triathlon became my motivation for staying with it and to challenge myself to take it a little bit further. In 2009, my goal was to ride my first century. The 4 piece program stayed the same – Swim/Bike/Run/Strength – but the balance shifted toward more bike miles. And now in 2010, I have registered for a half marathon in late April and a sprint tri in early June. Run will morph into Walk, and I would like to add Yoga to the blend. Swim/Bike/Walk/Strength/Yoga. Once again, I have to find a way to balance all the pieces and not create a regimen. Boxing myself into something I can’t live with would be worse than a DNF. That’s the plan, put swim, bike, walk, strength and yoga in a mixing bowl, put in a little more of this and a little less of that, blend it all together and cook up a half marathon, a sprint tri and maybe another century ride.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Have I Gotten Myself Into!!

After some prodding and poking from some very athletic girlfriends, I registered for the More Half Marathon in Central Park on April 25, 2010. I am going to WALK 13.1 miles. There is a 3.5 hour cutoff, which translates to 16 minutes/mile. Now that may seem incredibly slow to some of you, but for those of us with short strides, maintaining that pace for 3.5 hours is a challenge. But challenge is good (at least for me). It motivates me and keeps me moving forward. I am a little concerned about my knees and toes. My knees definitely can't take the mileage required to train for and run a half marathon, that's why I have to walk it if I am going to do this. And my right big toe has a bone spur which means it doesn't bend real well and gets to hurtin'. But I am optimistic that I can find a way to do this. Advil, ice, and some common sense. So I think I am going to have to buy some sweatpants because it looks like I'm going to be spending alot of time outdoors this winter!! I'm also going to need some new high spirited playlists on the iPod!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Team Rock Stars

Several members of my Masters Swim Team competed in a regional Masters swim meet and totally kicked ass! In their age groups, Kirsten took 1st place in 100 Fly and 800 Free, and 3rd in 400 Free. Luke, at his first competitive swim event EVAR took 5th place in 50 Back. And Bey, our coach and former Olympian was 1st in 100 Fly and 100 IM. Congratulations! I am inspired to keep working on my swimming, so last night I got in the pool and swam hard. I worked hard enough that I actually felt like the pool was too warm (or maybe I was having a hot flash in the pool?!). 1900 yards later I got out and my arms were toast. I'm feeling the love this morning in my back and shoulders. Just enough to remind me that I worked hard and I need to do it again later today, this time on land.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


November was a good month and My Iron Miles Challenge is going well, except for the running miles. I was considering running after swimming today but when I got to the gym this morning for Masters Swim, I discovered that the coach wasn't there. So I decided to switch it up and do the "landsports" first (the staff is never happy when the triathletes jump on the bikes and treadmills after swimming and leave little puddles behind). I warmed up on the arc trainer, then I switched to the treadmill. I walked up a steep incline then I did some walk/run intervals. I clocked 4 miles and headed for the pool. I swam. No workout or drills or fins or pull buoys. I just got in the pool and swam laps, taking it slow and trying to be fishlike. I was thinking 1000 yards but I guess I found my groove because I swam 1500. I could have swam more, but for the last 500, all I could think about was food. I was really hungry! So I called it quits so I could get home to some really yummy leftovers. Not a bad morning.

Then I spent part of the afternoon refreshing my memory on how to use my sewing machine. I made a bag for my yoga mat, so I can leave it in my car. Even something as simple as this is a challenge for me (I won't be selling yoga mat bags on Etsy any time soon)). I did add a big zippered pocket on the outside so I can pack some yoga clothes and flip flops too. I figured I saved $20. It was fun to exercise my creative spirit! and making something instead of buying it saves resources, very crunchy.