Friday, January 23, 2009

Cheers and jeers

Cheers to:
- Barack Obama. In four days, he's signed orders to close Guantanamo, make presidential records accessible, end the ban on funding to groups that provide abortion services, and frozen pay increases for senior gov't staff. 

- Beyonce, who looked incredibly classy at the Neighborhood Ball, but also has become a fixture on my iPod with the song 'Single Ladies.'

- Fox's new show Lie to Me. I'm hoping that I'll pick up some tips for interviewing staff during investigations. I *know* they're lying, but I'm not sure how to prove it. Yet.

- Mount Holyoke's Alumnae Club of Delaware. It exists, I'm having lunch with some of the ladies tomorrow, and I'm excited.

Jeers to:
- the supervisor who gave an email I sent to her to one of her subordinates about whom the email was written, asking the supervisor to provide disciplinary feedback and questioning the veracity of the staff's call-out. Seriously? How did you think that would end but badly?

- American Idol for being mean to people who don't know that they're bad singers. Screen them OUT -- not in, for America to laugh at.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A beautiful day

Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America today. With tears in my eyes, I stood in the living room at the dorm, watching the inauguration and being surrounded by my kids and staff, all watching. 

It's uncommon for most of my kids to pay attention to much for very long, but it was absolutely amazing to see how the kids responded to both the emotional atmosphere created by the staff, but also to Obama himself -- several really aggressive kids were totally transfixed, intently watching and listening. I sort of wonder when the awestruck feeling will wear off -- but I hope it takes a good long while, because right now, I just feel hopeful.

True, Rick Warren is not who I would choose to speak for this new President, but if there's anything to be learned from Obama, it's the acceptance of those with different views; I just struggle to truly have a mind that is open enough to accept those whose minds seem so closed.

But -- back to the joyous feelings: a neat New Yorker profile about Barack & Michelle Obama; these people just seem too wonderful to be true.

And, in training news, a really great 5k tonight. My last mile was 2 minutes faster than the pace for my first two. Yay.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This week

First, a hearty congratulations to President Obama. Can't wait to watch the inauguration tomorrow. Actually rescheduled a meeting so that I could be sure to be watching.

Also, a well-written NYT article about the books that shaped Obama's thinking. Good stuff.

Oops -- forgot to post my training schedule yesterday ...

In case anyone's interested, this week's schedule is as follows

M -- rest (this is good, because Secret Life of the American Teenager is on, and I can't miss it)
T -- 2 easy miles
W -- rest
R -- 3 moderate miles
F -- 30 minutes easy cross-train
Sa -- 2 easy miles
Su -- 2 easy miles

Total of 9 miles this week. Piece of cake.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

By the numbers

Because I'm basically a nerd, here's a little summary of what getting ready for the 3-Day means, numbers-wise (well, and geographically & such ...).

1,035 = approximate number of miles of training
2,173,500 = approximate number of steps that equal those 1,035 miles
20,700 = approximate number of minutes that those 1,035 miles will take to walk
345 = approximate number of hours of walking
14.375 = approximate number of days of continuous walking
$569.25 = reimbursement for mileage if calculated at 2009 IRS rate
3 = pairs of shoes that I'll wear out
Des Moines, IA = about where I'd get to if I walked west
Sarasota, FL = about where I'd get to if I walked south
Halifax, Nova Scotia = about where I'd get to if I walked north (ooh, and then I could take the ferry to Prince Edward Island!)
Unfortunately, walking east isn't really an option from Delaware.

On the other hand ...

10 million = number of women around the world who could die of breast cancer in the next 25 years
$1.2 billion = dollars that have been invested in breast cancer research, education & early detection since 1982, thanks to the Susan G. Komen Foundation
1 in 2 = women that will develop bone or breast health issues in their lifetime

Reality check

So, it's impossible that this whole thing is going to go smoothly. I keep reminding myself of that unsavory fact. I'm going to injure something. I will definitely have some blisters. I will never want to walk anywhere ever again.

But so far, it's been totally enjoyable. Granted, the mileage is low, and the indoor temperature at the Y is quite pleasant; it's also been pleasant running into a couple folks from work while working out. Normally, that would be the sort of contact I'd eschew, but with this new goal, I feel like I have great purpose, and am, you know, *training.*

I did tear up a little during today's workout, but that was entirely related to the Obama Express' stop in Wilmington, and watching the crowd react to Obama & Biden, and listening to Obama's speech. We are truly a part of history, and that is pretty spectacular.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Walked my first (well, not ever -- but as part of this new adventure) 5K last night, and it was fabulous. After walking for just about 60 minutes, I was totally ready for another 60 minutes. 

We'll see if I'm still so perky after the first 15-miler.

For now, though, I'm feeling pretty awesome. Yay me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hot cocoa

So -- after my first outdoor training walk (man, it was cold -- only 34*!), I warmed up with some homemade hot cocoa this afternoon. Two thoughts on this.

First -- hot cocoa made with milk on the stovetop is one of life's small but great pleasures. Especially when you use a little salt and really good-quality vanilla. 

Second -- the new Hershey's (yes, I have Hershey's -- not something hoity-toity as some might predict) Special Dark cocoa powder makes delicious albeit unattractive cocoa. Dark chocolate flavor? Good. Muddy-gray cocoa? Less appealing. Try it for yourself and see what you think.

The training walk was good, though I can see that Hadley will not be a regular participant in them; the constant peeing (his, not mine) slows down the walking, and generally causes agitation (mine, not his). My pedometer seems to be a little off of the odometer in my car, and I would hazard that the car is probably more accurate. Good to know, though -- the pedometer registered about 1/4 mile less than the car did. 

This week's training schedule:

M: Rest
T: 2 easy miles
W: moderate cross train, 30 minutes
R: 3 moderate miles
F: easy cross train, 30 minutes
Sa: 2 easy miles
Su: 2 easy miles

Same as last week. All good.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Many good things over the course of the day, most of which probably don't rate commentary. (Like yay for me for getting an oil change, picking up my dry cleaning, and returning the mail that didn't belong to me. Compelling stuff.)

And a faboo (thank you, Jen Lancaster, yet again for enriching my vocabulary) new hair cut with new-and-improved highlights was definitely a highlight (couldn't resist). 

But -- more importantly, I had a free afternoon and took advantage of that time to go and visit my grandparents in New Jersey. They only live about an hour and a half from me, and I haven't made the time to see them as often as I should. My grandma is in early-to-mid stage Alzheimer's, and had a nasty bout of sarcoidosis over the summer (during which time I was visiting more regularly), and I will be very, very sad and angry with myself if I wake up one day having not spent more time with her, and she doesn't remember me. So -- spur of the moment, I called and told them I was going to be in the area (a fib, but they would've protested had I just said "I'm coming to visit you"), and did they mind if I dropped by? They were happy, it was good to see them, and it was something that made me feel good and was also good for someone else. Gotta love it when doing the 'right' thing also turns out to be enjoyable.

Told Grandma & Grandpa about the 3-day, and they were suitably impressed, which was nice, too. 

As if the day needed to be improved upon, now I'm home, having gotten to stop at the Cherry Hill Wegman's as my reward for such good deeds (that place is AWESOME! Run, don't walk, to your nearest Wegmans! It's a little bit like Disneyland for foodies ...), and am now baking a lobster-stuffed Portobello mushroom, and heating up some haricots verts with mustard glaze (those were from last night, though). It's snowing, I have a new disc of The Tudors to watch, and there is definitely hot chocolate (made the right way -- on the stove, with milk) in my future.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Is it bad that ...

I totally wanted to punch a woman in the face at work today? Clearly, as I'm still employed, I did not follow through on the impulse, but even almost 10 hours after the interaction that sparked said face-punching desire, I still want to a little. 

I get really frustrated by people who act any way they want to -- especially at work. I was completely shocked by the eye-rolling, head-shaking and disapproving sounds that she was making while my/her boss was speaking. Totally unacceptable.

My dad just mentioned a scene from a Paul Newman film called 'The Verdict' that takes place in the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel in New York; after some sort of confrontation with a female attorney, Paul Newman's character punches the woman in the face. As wrong as punching someone in the face is -- I would imagine that it's also *deeply* satisfying.

Clearly, this has nothing to do with walking 60 miles. It is, however, possibly symptomatic of being almost-30 -- that is, having less and less patience for unprofessional crap.

I did get to hold a coworker's new baby for a while this afternoon when she came to visit for another co-worker's baby shower; that made me almost forget about wanting to punch the stupid woman. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Interesting -- and a love-hate relationship

This is pretty cool -- new research is indicating that 5 or more hours of exercise per week can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Over time, exercise can help to lower estrogen levels, which means less stimulation of breast cell growth, which ultimately is associated with a lower risk of cancer. Essentially, getting ready for this awesome endeavor could help reduce the chances of actually having to deal with what we're trying to find a cure for. 

Neat. And -- it's actually something you can control. I like that.

And now, again, with the reality show critique portion of our evening ... (I feel like it should be "and now, a word from our sponsor. Ooh, maybe they'll want to sponsor my blog. I could be like Jen Lancaster. She rocks. Seriously. Read her stuff.)

I have a completely love-hate relationship with The Biggest Loser. It's addictive, and I'm sitting here thinking, "good for them." But on the other hand, I almost inevitably end up watching it while baking something for work, or worse -- eating dinner, which sucks. (Okay -- but back to the love it part: it was a pairs competition, and now they're sending half of each pair home. I'm totally tearing up. I need a life.)

Monday, January 5, 2009

A funny thing.

I bought a pedometer, thinking that it would be helpful in tracking distance when I'm not on a treadmill (since it's unlikely that the 60 miles in October will actually be on a treadmill ...) and when I can't drive the route ahead of time. 

It was definitely fun today -- apparently, without trying, I walked two miles. I'm thinkin' those don't count. :)

Complete tangent -- there's a new reality show called 'True Beauty' (I think that's what it's called) and it is totally vapid and disgusting. It's 10 people who think they're the most beautiful person on earth (none of whom I found to be incredibly attractive) and all of whom thus far appear to be wicked shallow. Great. At least it's on at 10 p.m., not 8 ... The worst part is that I've now watched about 10 minutes of it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week 40 and counting

This week's training schedule: 

M: rest
T: 2 easy miles
W: moderate cross train 30 minutes
R: 3 moderate miles
F: easy cross train 30 minutes
Sa: 2 easy miles
Su: 2 easy miles

Cake, right? Definitely. But this is week 40 ... counting down to week 1, and 70 miles total. 

A couple of the guys I work with are marathoners; it'll be interesting to talk about training with them, since their goal is similar, but radically different at the same time. 

In other news, ironically my dog-walker starts this week. Yes, in the midst of all of this walking talk, I'm going to start *paying someone else* to take Hadley on an extra walk a couple days a week. There are many reasons that this makes good sense, but putting it on 'paper' makes me sound a little crazy -- not that we should be entirely surprised by that revelation.

Off to the Y for a pre-walk-training workout. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Getting started ...

Too bad this won't read like Jennsylvania (see for a very, very funny and often inappropriate read on life by author Jen Lancaster). 

I was driving to work on Friday (yes, I worked the day after New Year's), and heard the radio promo for the 3-Day in October. I've known people who have done it in the past, and I've been impressed, but never really thought I could *do* it.

But -- I've had a few blind-siding moments in the last week or so, and in addition to making me feel like crap, they've also made me realize that I needed to do something in 2009 to reclaim my life and move past the sheer nonsense that was 2008. 

So -- in that spirit, I decided that not only *could* I walk 60 miles in 3 days, but that I would. I will. 

I registered. I'm in.

Now the training begins. Get ready. 2009 is going to kick my ass ... in a good way.