Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Resolution Update #2

I mentioned before that because I feel accountable for putting out there my resolution for the year, the truthful thing to do would be provide monthly updates. So I plan on giving bimonthly updates at the 15th and the end of the month on my training and progress to date. As a reminder, my NY resolution is complete 2 full pull ups (palms facing me) by the end of September.

Here goes...

I really wasn't sure what I should be doing or how I should be 'training' for this, but got some good advice from some good peeps out there and found some online as well. Since my first update I've been hitting the gym 3x a week for 45-60min. I'm fortunate enough to get there Tuesday and Thursday after class as well as Saturday or Sunday. The weekend workouts are more intensive as I have more time to get a good workout in. My biggest rule is this - no dilly-dally. I'm in the gym for a purpose and it ain't to socialize. I get in around 9pm and it closes at 9:50 (bar time), so I have no time to waste between sets. Fortunately, there's maybe only one other person there and they're too busy doing their own thing or posing shirtless, as the guy tonight was. Fine by me. Another thing I've been doing is push-ups. Granted, they're only girl push-ups, but I'm doing them. I started off by knocking out a couple sets of 5 in the AM and then again in the PM and have moved it up to sets of 7. I also vary the 'plain' I do them on. Sometimes I'll have my hands on a medicine ball or my legs up on a stability ball. At work while in my cube, I'll use my desk and do an incline pushup.. when no one is watching, of course. I vary the hand positioning from time to time, too.

Update.. drum roll please.....

...I still can't do a pull up.

Am I surprised? No. I have improved, though. I started off by doing the negatives and could barely hold myself up for 1 second before dropping to the ground. Now I can hold myself up (forearms perpendicular to the ground and biceps parallel to the ground) for 4 seconds. I'll do 5-7 reps of these to see how long I can hold myself up. One thing I try to focus on is not using just my shoulders and upper arms. I try to focus on my mid section and stabilize my core to avoid any unnecessary movement, which I consider wasted energy. It's like a distance runner that swings their arms too much. Minimize that movement and save the energy for the part of your body that needs it the most - legs.

I also see how close I am to doing a pull up by attempting one per my instructions in my first post, and I'm not close. I think I can move up a few inches, but that's it. One workout I found, and have been doing, is to do pull ups using the bar on the squat rack. This way I can simulate the pull up and use as much of my legs as I want to assist myself. It's as close to the assisted pull up machine as I'll get.

Another big thing I need to do is increase my cardio. Hitting the weights 3x a week and adding bulk isn't gonna help when what I need to do is shed weight and lighten the load. The weight training has increased my metabolism, so I sure I'll see some changes once I get on a better running routine.

I might have to cut back on the pushups as I've noticed some tenderness in my right elbow. When I finally start swimming more regularly, I don't want to have any shoulder or elbow problems. I'm not sure if this will hurt my progress, but I'd rather get healthy early on than have to cut back in July or August. I also want to start keeping a journal of what my workouts are so I can better track my progress instead of guessing week to week.

At this point, all I can be is optimistic. It's still very early in the game and I know I've made good progress. I can't become a 'resolutionist' and bag it this early on. If you know me, that's not me. I will not break.

25 ways to tell if you have FINALLY grown up!!

My uncle, the one that had a heart attack NYE, is obviously feeling better as he continues to email 'funny' stuff.

I will add my own commentary at the end to a select few that I can relate to..


1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.
2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
6. You watch the Weather Channel.
7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break up".
8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
10. You're the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next door won't turn down the stereo.
11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
14. You feed your dog/cat Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers.
15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
16. You take naps from noon to 6 PM
17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.[Dinner AND a Movie?? -- this is the anniversary date]
18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.
19. If you're a girl, you go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.
20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
22. "I just can't drink the way I used to..." replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again."
23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
24. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate her
instead of asking "Oh S*$#! What Happened!?!?!?!"
25. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that
doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your sorry old butt.


2. The size of the bed doesn't matter
3. It varies, but there is only one bottle of wine and 1 beer in the fridge now.
4. I went to bed at 7am on New Years Day
6. I check it in the morning.
7. They are a gittin' hitched!
8. I get 3 weeks of vacation now.. plus 9 'holidays'
9. It doesn't?
11. *Shudder* I don't even want to think about this.. and I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit.. *ugh*
12. I never did.. haven't eaten at one in probably 7 yrs.
13. No car, no worries.. woohoo!
14. My cat doesn't like Science Diet. He prefers Holistic Cat food from Trader Joe's and he likes to drink out of the humidifier.
15. I have slept MANY of nights on the sofa and LOVE it!
16. Naps rawk!
19. Dare I admit that I go to the drugstore for Desitin, Aquaphor, A&D Ointment, ibuprofen, and acne cream? You wouldn't believe me if I said I what used all of these products for, so I won't even go there.
20. $8 wine is good.
21. I still eat breakfast for dinner sometimes. Omelets and pancakes are good at anytime of day!
22. The last time I said "I'm never going to drink that much again," which was in May, my father asked me "Didn't you say that last year?" I seem to say that everytime I drink with my college buds.. coincidence??? I'm still in denial that "I just can't drink the way I used to..." but I will test that theory out this weekend. Refer to #7.
23. I think that number is closer to 70%
24. This is what makes me feel old and that I'm growing up.

I have a long way to go before I'm "finally" grown up, and it has more to do with stuff not on this list.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Batting 1.000

I'm hitting 3 for 3. In actuality, I'm 4 for 3, but that's not possible, so 3 for 3 it is. I finally made it to the pool today. Yep. But not only was I at the pool, I did a bit of swimming. Yep. A whole 40 minutes, too! I was in the pool twice in November (the last time being the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), I made an appearance in early December, and I finally made it back today.

I started off the morning with a nice 3 hour trail run. Started a little after 9am at mile 0 of the Potomac Heritage Trail near Roosevelt Island. Worked my way up to GW Parkway and 123, just past Fort Marcy, before heading back the same way. You can figure out the mileage. It started to rain about an hour into the run and continued to do so for an hour. I did this while toting a Rim Runner. In addition to a few liters of water in the reservoir and a couple waterbottles of Gatorade in the side pockets, I fit my swim stuff in it so I could go right to the pool afterwards.

No. Excuses.

Was also packin some clothes for afterwards cuz there was no way I was putting that stanky crap back on!

So why the layoff? Hell, where do I begin with the excuses! In all honesty, I don't have an excuse, I have a good reason - I just didn't want to go. That, and considering as inactive as I was this winter, I didn't want to be seen in a swimsuit.. plain and simple. After the Ironman in mid September and Marine Corps Marathon in late October, I needed some time off. Since 2002, I've done at least 2 stand alone marathons in the fall - Baltimore or Marine Corps in October, and Richmond or Philly in November. After training most of the year, my body is pretty worn by November. So this year I took a much needed break. I was practically forced to slow down after being diagnosed with a strained lower back and give prescription Motrin, Flexeril, and Oxycodine. I didn't want to keep hurting like that, so I finally listened to my body.

So I know I have a tri coming up in.. oh, a few months, and I figured I should swim at least once in the month of January. Before, I was a regular MWF at the pool and TR mornings out on the road biking. Now, I get in and out when I can. I don't want to put a schedule in stone, but I'm slowly getting into a routine. We'll see how it works with classes.. and sleep!

I did pull the trigger on Friday and signed up for a trail run scheduled for April 8th. Looking at a couple runs early March, but both on the same weekend - one Saturday, the other Sunday. That is making it a little more enticing considering the distance of both races.. of which I'll spare you the details.

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. I love being out on the trails, but the trails kicked my ass as my legs and butt were already pretty sore after hitting the lowerbody weights pretty hard Saturday afternoon. Need to get in some much needed stretching and yoga today between all the homework and reading I need to do... blah.

I took my camera with me and took some shots of the trail while on the go. I hope to have those posted here in a few days.

A Little More About Me..

Friday, January 27, 2006

Three Thoughts of the Day

#1 - If you EVER travel to DC, you're bound to use the Metro rail, aka metro, lesser known as the 'subway'. NYC has a subway, we have a 'metro'. Most of the stations in the District are underground, which means you have to take an escalator from street level down to the trains. Some of the escalators are long and steep and I'm sure some people have never seen such long escalators. If they're that cool, then by all means, take your pictures of said escalators. But for the love of God, STAND TO THE RIGHT! Some more escalator tips can be found here. Remember these four words - "walk left, stand right" - and commuters will be able to tolerate you. DC is a working town and not just a tourist attraction. And as an FYI, I'm in commuter mode 24/7, so don't stand in front of me on an escalator. Makes me sound like pretentious 'local', eh?

#2 - When I'm walking with my hat on, head down, and earphones on, I must have a sign on me that says "Ask ME for directions" and/or "Ask if I have spare change". I try to not be too rude when removing my earpiece and asking "whut?". At least this evening when I was asked if I had any change, "just a dollar or two," I fished through my pockets and pulled out what I had - two sets of keys, a broken IM Wisc keychain from 2002 (it's good luck), a lucky stone, two pennies, a padlock (honest), and Chinese candy - to prove I didn't have change. Luckily my train pulled up, so I put my hat back on, put my earphones on, lowered my head, and boarded the train.

**If you notice in the link in #1, panhandling is prohibited.

#3 - I am officially at 'nerd' status as I have joined the Cranium Club at Reiter's bookstore. If I want finger puppets of Van Gogh or Einstein or Freud, I'll know where to go; if I want a 'π a la mode' T shirt, I'll know where to go; and if I want a book of "50 Mathematical Puzzles and Problems, I'll know where to go.

"It's Free! It's a no-brainer!"

If I was at the bookstore tonight, then hopefully it's obvious that I finally got my last textbook.. finally. I actually got the call Wednesday and tried to get to the bookstore that night, but ridiculous delays on a number of trains and a power outtage near one of the stations thwarted my attempt. I spent $1.35 to go nowhere and back. But, a las, the self inflicted saga is finally over. I wish I could say I can now rest in piece, but I have a lot of reading to do.

I don my hat, put the earphones in, lower my head, and bury my nose in the pages.

An update PREVIEW

Not to spoil my pull-up update due out next week, but I am a *little* further along than Satchel here..

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Resolution Redux

Not gonna talk about my resolution(s) just yet. I wanted to mention a phenomenon going on in my office, and I'm sure in other offices around the globe! It's called the failed Resolutions. Like I said, we're not talking about me here.

When I came back from my holiday vacation in Michigan, one of the first things I noticed was the refrigerator at work. Instead of the usual slices of pizza wrapped in foil, last nights fried chicken, or doggie bags from local restaurants, it was stocked with cheese slices, baggies of carrots, tupperware containers of salads made at home, and Lean Cuisine meals in the freezer. I had to smile to myself; at the attempt to "get healthy", a resolution for many. Hell, I was just happy that after being away for so long, I still had my bottom left crisper drawer. I think they all know it's *mine* and not to mess with it.

The other change was the number of people out walking at lunch or using the fitness room after work and during lunch. Of course they kept it up for a week or so when we had mild temps in the mid-high 40s/low 50s.

It's about that time in the year for those that made, oftentimes, ridiculous goals for themselves, to start slipping or just throwing up their arms in defeat. Case in point. I had a meeting yeterday afternoon in our coffee bar. I just finished my lunch and brushed my teeth before going to meeting. (Yes, I brush my teeth at work and usually 2x. It's a good habit!). As soon as I get in the room, I notice a couple trays of whatnot on the counter. I examine them closer to find prepared deli sandwiches and cookies. Most of the people that pass through the coffee bar glance at the sandwiches before grabbing a cookie.

"Just one."

I receive a number of "you're so good!" comments about my ability to resist the temptation. Honestly, I wasn't tempted at all because I had just brushed my teeth and didn't want to muck up the nice, fresh feeling. (another good reason to brush often - it helps curb cravings)

So just as I'm getting ready to nuke my lunch today, an email is sent out to my group and the other group on the floor, that there's "food in the 5th floor kitchen."


It's like moths to a light. I wait a few minutes to let the herd move in/out before getting lunch. Someone must've had some clients in as it was stuff leftover from a catered lunch - leafy green salad, oriental pasta salad, bread, meat fixings, chocolate bites, and the ever tempting cookies! I huddled as close as I could to the microwave, sacrificing my body to the absorption of harmful microwave rays while trying to avoid getting in the way of the hungry troops.

"you're so good!"

I'll admit.. that cookie tray WAS tempting and I had a quick discussion with a little red guy over my left shoulder and a little white guy over my right shoulder. I tried to justify the snack.. and it would be a nice dessert for my lunch, mentioned the red guy. However, there is a container of Jell-O waiting for me in the fridge, the white guy reminded. I looked at my container of frozen veggies that I just overnuked.. sad.. and back at the chocolates. I made my decision. While my sweet and sour tempeh was heating up, I started digging into the salad. I grabbed bits of spinach to tear up and put in my container. From the pasta salad, I grabbed the red and yellow peppers along with the cherry tomatoes and zucchini slices. Voila!

I could've justified having a sweet because I'll be lifting tonight after class, but I tried on some pants this morning, and they didn't fit as I would've liked them to. Granted, I was wearing long johns underneath, but that was enough for me to resist. Besides, I have my own chocolate dessert waiting for me at home - cup of Jell-O pudding mixed with a scoop of chocolate protein powder and a tablespoon of peanut butter.. the nectar of Gods!

The fridge is back to normal.. leftovers from last night, cans of pop, leftovers from lunch, and a case of Corona.

Life is good.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

I've become too accustomed to showing up whenever I please. This bad habit has lead to another bad habit - chronic tardiness. If I'm not tardy, I'm usually rushed. I can only blame so much on the Metro, but I should allow enough time to shut down, change into commuter clothes, walk to the Metro, wait for the train, take the train to my desired stop, then walk to my final destination. Seems pretty easy, eh?

In my utter exuberance to get my books, which I received an email about earlier in the day to announce their arrival at the bookstore, I was hoping to get out at 5:30pm to get to the bookstore in PLENTY of time before it closed at 7pm. I called the bookstore and the automated guy confirmed the closing time of 7pm. By saying I'm leaving at 5:30, I should be getting ready to leave at 5pm and out the door at 5:30. I had set myself up for failure already. So by saying I'd be leaving at 5:30, It was a given I wouldn't be out of the building until 6:00. Tru dat.

I'm running late and now everything else is running late. There's a delay on my trains line, which has been cleared up, but there are residual delays. I'm checking the clock on my phone and luckily time is going slowly. Soon enough, it was 6:30pm, I had seven stops to go, and the "Rain Man-esque" rocking started. Of course I chose a window seat near the middle of the train, which was furthest from the quickest route off the train. As it gets close to my stop, more people get on and move down the aisle to make room at the door. I start putting my reading material away (complements of Sparky), and hope my benchmate gets the hint that I'm near my stop. He's too engrossed in his book to notice. We get there and I'm trying to squeeeeze my way through the aisle and out the door as others are boarding. It's 6:51. I exit the station and see everyone heading to the working 'up' escalator. "F it." With my 15lb backpack stuffed with notebooks, a binder, my laptop, a bike bottle and a Nalgene bottle full of water, and an umbrella among other things, I bound up the stationary escalator to the street with fury. I speed walk the 2.5 blocks to the bookstore. It would've only looked funnier if it were raining out or if I were using walking poles. It's 6:53. I see people walking toward me with recognizable bags from the bookstore. I leave my bag at the 'bag check' desk out front and walk in with my plastic bag of today's empty lunch containers in hand.

"Excuse me, miss. What's in the bag?"
"Ummm.. my dishes."
"You're going to have to put them over there."

So I toss my suspect bag, of which I was going to load up with mechanical pencils, memo pads, and index cards into the cubby and head down to the Information Desk. Hey, at least he called me 'miss'.. and I can get those supplies at work anyway.

"I received an email that the books I ordered are in."
"Last name?"
Given. And one book was handed to me.
"I ordered two."
"How many emails did you receive?"
"Umm.. just.. one.."
"You receive one email for each book you order"


Talk about dejected. I tossed my book on the counter, slapped down my $20, didn't bother to get a bag for it, received my change in pennies, and grabbed my dishes before heading out the door. I gave the bag check guy my laminated number and he about threw out his back lifting my bag to the desk.

"How in the world do you carry this??"

So I called my sister to vent. The store was open until 8pm; they only had the minor book of the two required for class; I have a frickin pocket full of pennies; I'm spending $40/week on metro; I'll have to haul my ass up there again sometime this week; I have a shitload of reading to do..

I sulked my way back to the Metro and rummaged through my pockets for enough change to get home. I seriously considered walking the four+ miles to save on fare, but I just wanted to be home. As I slipped my farecard and myself through the gate, there was a gentleman asking change from everyone coming up from the trains. Normally I don't give people asking for money the time of day.

"Eighty cents? Eighty cents for fare so I can get home? Eighty cents.."
I stopped and dug in my pocket full of pennies and pulled out what I had. Fishing through the useless coins, I salvaged three quarters and a dime.

"Here's eighty five for ya."

If I wasn't going to have a good day, the least I could do was help someone else out.

Time to hop on the bike and burn off some steam before hitting the books.

No more making fun of anyone named "Sparky"

Sparky is about as goofy a nickname as Corky.. I think Corky is worse, though. Nonetheless, it was a guy named Sparky in my Tuesday night class that is bailing out my ass. I still don't have my books for this class and we're supposed to read a couple chapters as well as do 2 assignments in the book. I emailed the prof to explain that the bookstore is out of books and if he knew of other places in the city they might be available at. No response. Luckily, Sparky is in my Thursday class and he recommended a place. I called there - no books, so I ordered them. I'm hoping to get them before this weekend from either the school bookstore or the one Sparky recommended.

So I ended up emailing him on Friday to see if I could get copies of the chapters to read. Luckily I had his email address, or at least AN email address of his, from last semesters class. He replied back this morning and ended up scanning the chapters and sending them to me in PDF files. Saved my f'in ass! Maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself since I haven't looked at the material yet, but I'm in a better position now to complete the assignment having the information than I would be if I didn't.

Lo and behold, it was Sparky to the rescue! Who knew a Republican could be so nice! ;)


EDIT at 3:30pm

Okay.. can I recant this post? I just got an email from the bookstore that my overly-priced books are in... yaaaa.. hooooraaayyy.. *sarcastic excitement*

I guess this means I can still make fun of people named Sparky, right??

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pictures from San Francisco

Flying over Colorado

I have a thing for pigeons


Birthday girls.. (I'm on the right)

In over my head?

Two days and 4.5 hours into my second semester and I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I wonder if there are enough hours in the day to do as much reading as required.

We spent the first 30 minutes of today's class going around the room introducing ourselves and in addition to providing our name, we had to say our degrees, where we work and what sort of work we do at said job. I was quick to learn that I am the only person that is not currently involved in survey design or research in any shape or form. I am one of the most under qualified and any other words with negative connotation to describe how inferior I feel in comparison to the rest of the class. I feel like I have such a long, hard uphill battle to just familiarize myself with terms and methods in both of my classes. I'm sure I'll have to bust out my old statistics books to relearn statistical formulas.

Up shit creek without a paddle.. or a boat.. or a lifejacket..wadersders!

I'm not big on participation and group discussions and we'll be doing a lot of it in my Thursday class. He wants to teach it seminar style, so each class we need to read a couple chapters in the 3 books that are required for the class ($150 total.. with one of those a used book), as well as online publications. Of these publications, there will be 2 or 3 for each class and we are to lead a discussion sometime during the semester. It's first come first serve of the 23 articles and there are 18 people in the class. Here's a sample of what we have to chose from..

"The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Advance Mailings in a Telephone Survey"
"To Mix or Not to Mix Data Collection Modes in Surveys"
"Results from Chinese Cognitive Interviews on the Census 2000 Long Form: Language, Literacy, and Cultural Issues"
"Changes in Telephone Survey Nonresponse over the Past Quarter Century"

I chose the last one because I figured it was the easiest. It's also on the schedule to be discussed Feb 2nd, so I'm one of the first to present. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. For one, I'll get it out of the way, and for two.. I don't know.. I can't seem to find any good in it.

Am I worried? Sure. But I know my grade depends on how much effort I put into the class and participation. The good thing is there are no tests, but we have to do a few exercises that we'll be graded on. And we won't have class on March 17th because of Spring Break.. wahoo! So that just leaves me with a free day for studying.. yaaa..

I hit the gym and lifted right after class, then came home and had chocolate for dinner. Decompressed in front of the boob tube for a bit and now I'm about to hit the sack.

A lot on the horizon, but it'll only clear up if I keep moving toward it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


It's been a difficult start to the year for my mom who found out Tuesday that her good friend and former boss now has uterine cancer. They found it by accident when she was having surgery on a polyp on an ovary. They just saw each other on Monday - MLK Day - at a dinner. This is a bit of a surprise since she's been in remission for breast cancer for at least 7 years now.

On New Years Eve, my mom got a call from her sister-in-law to find out that her younger brother was admitted to the hospital after having a heart attack. He was up at 2am that morning with chest pains that he thought was just indigestion. At dinner that night, he just wasn't feeling right and finally explained to his wife (my aunt) his symptoms. She rushed him to the hospital right then.. and had to come back later to pay the bill. My mom was able to call him on the phone beside and talk to him. She said, "If you die on me, I'm gonna have to come down there and kill you myself." This is the uncle I might've mentioned earlier who was in the Vietnam War, but doesn't talk about it at all.

My mom's family is a large bunch with a German background. One reason I try to workout as much as I do is because I've inherited the "Schmitz legs" - the propensity to gain weight in my upper thighs. I've inherited a good set of breeding hips as well. Lucky me. Needless to say, eating healthy wasn't high on their 'to do' list. Growing up, we always had an abundance of fruits and veggies around, but we also had an abundance of Little Debbie snacks (nutty bars and Swiss cake rolls.. mmmmmm). It was a fat test my junior year in college at the start of softball season that was the straw that broke the camels back regarding how I ate. It said my body fat was 31% - give or take 3%. At the time, I was at my leanest ever after a summer of living on rice, corn, and $0.25 granola bars and working out all the time. Sure, it was probably wrong, but I didn't see it that way. When I became a vegetarian almost 5 years ago, my mom thought it was because I didn't like her cooking - not the case. I had a picture of myself after my sophomore year in college at an end-of-the softball season party. I also had my joke gift from coach after my sophomore year that was a beanie turtle and a toy hamburger/sandwich on a stick. I was the turtle and the hamburger on a stick was the 'carrot' to get me to run. Funny, eh? I didn't think so. That was my motivation.. then came the fat test. I've been aware of my health and what I eat ever since. I still have that picture, turtle, and 'carrot'.

I'm hoping the recent health scares of friends and relatives are enough to make my mom really change her lifestyle and eating habits. I've tried to give her advice, but don't want to sound pushy, so I've stopped. Her doctor keeps saying she's a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery, which I'm 100% AGAINST, and I think she is, too. At almost 62 yrs old, it's never too late to start.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

My coworkers used to tease me about what I wore to work. I'm a very casual gal.. jeans and a T on the way in.. my 'commuter clothes'. I have my shelf of work clothes in the office that I change into when I get in, and rotate every week when it's laundry time. Doesn't matter the temperature because I'm always sweating by the time I get in.. and it's only a 10 minute walk.

Today was a little different than usual. Why? Because it was freakin' pouring out. No problem.. umbrella to the rescue. Umbrella.. my ass! Cheap Wal-Mart piece of crap. I was soaked. My jeans were soaked - from the knees down up front and from the ass down in back. Soaked through to the skin on my ass, too. How? Dunno.. I figured my backpack would be shielding my back and ass from the rain.. but no! To top it off, my shoelace came untied. I tried to bend over to tie it, but couldn't hold my umbrella and workout bag at the same time and kneel down without putting my knee on the wet cement. And then my umbrella flips inside out.. twice. I felt like Steve Martin in "The Jerk"

I also walked through a puddle that I thought was walkable through, but the water was ankle deep. And I also had cars driving through puddles along the curb spraying me. I swear they were aiming at me! Helluva way to start off my day.

And THAT is why I wear 'commuter clothes'.


So the grey skies passed and it's gorgeous out this afternoon. I mentioned the loud consultant lady that's inhabiting the cube behind me. Well, guess who happens to be in the office today? And guess who happens to go to her cube to find my jeans hanging over her chair DRYING! Ugh.. at least I was walking down the aisle behind her and offered to move them right away. I was apologetic as well as embarrassed. She didn't mind and said she was just stopping in and said I could use the cube for whatever reason since she's not in that much.

I wonder if she'll be that nice when she finds my bike in there in a few months!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The End of an Era

All good things must come to an end at some point, and that time is now. It's great that our company is growing when a number of companies in our business have been downsizing. We went through a bit of a firing session back in Oct/Nov, but after a short hiring freeze are now looking for fresh meat. With that comes warm bodies to fill the cubes around me. I like the piece and quite and will usually listen to VH1 online or some other form of music to drown out those around me. In a row of 5 cubes, I'm in the back near a window and have had the cube behind me and across the aisle empty for as long as we've been on the 5th floor - 15 months.

I used these cubes to store files that I'm not ready to part with just yet and as my personal drying rack. We have a shower/locker room here as well as a fitness room and a 1.2 mile loop outside that's good for running. During the summer I'll try to bike to work a couple times a week and store my baby across the aisle from me. I like to keep an eye on her and besides, nobody puts baby in the corner!.. or outside. I like to get long swim workouts done in the morning and will usually shower here at work instead of at the pool. It keeps me from having to schlep everything around and I have a separate drawer in my filing cabinet for my toiletries as well as an overhead shelf (closed) where I store clothes. The towels and swimsuit are hung up over the chair and are dry by the time I'm ready to go home.

Until today..

It looks like they're trying to keep pocket "teams" together that have been spread throughout the floor. Luckily, the annoying woman behind me is just a consultant and is in the office only a few times each month. The one next to me is pretty quiet, so I shouldn't have to worry about her too much. So I'll don the earphones and figure out where to store my baby when it comes time to start biking in again.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Whirlwind of a Weekend..

..and a long winded post to recapture it!

You ever just want to get up and go somewhere? Take a weekend trip and just drive out to the country, to the beach, or to the mountains.. maybe for something in particular or just for the helluvit. I did something similar this past weekend. It wasn't too spur-of-the-moment, but it was better than nuthing.

It's kinda sucky having a birthday so close to Christmas. I'm still enjoying my sugar and alcohol and family induced high, so it's hard to build up again so quickly to enjoy my birthday when I haven't even come down yet. Yes, you heard me correctly, this weekend was my birthday. So there was a reason behind going away for the weekend. In addition, my sister works for a hotel chain and gets a room free for 2 nights between November and the end of January. She called me up one day at work when I had just gotten back from Michigan and said, "Let's go somewhere for our birthday. Start looking for places." I checked out Orbitz and selected DCA (airport code here) and every freakin city I could think of. Boston, NYC and Vegas were first to come to mind. No hotels were available in Boston or NYC and Vegas flights were expensive. I wasn't in the mood for Florida, San Diego had no rooms, and I was a little iffy on the status of New Orleans. I've had a hankering for Vancouver, but weather forecast looked dreary, and I wanted to get away from the dreary weather in DC. I'm not a skier, so a winter getaway wasn't an option, either. Finally, we settled on San Francisco - flights were decently priced, we could get a room at a hotel near the airport, there was a free shuttle, and we were about a mile from the BART. I was able to take off Friday from work (cough, cough.. sick day.. cough, cough) as was my sister, I emailed a former coworker of mine that was living/working out there, and solicited a bunch of friends for "things to do" while out there.

It was amazing flying over the mountains! We arrived mid afternoon on Friday and checked out our maps before heading into the city. We walked the mile or so to the BART (subway) and took it into the city for dinner. I had found a place online called Golden Era (that I couldn't stop calling "Golden Age" for some reason). It was vegetarian, reasonably priced, and close to a BART stop. We got a bit lost getting out of the subway, but found our way to the restaurant after walking through some very sketchy areas. The food was great as was the atmosphere. It was late in the evening for much to be open, so we just wandered around downtown a bit before heading back.

We got a bit of a late start Saturday, but made it in town in time to meet my friend/coworker up at Aquatic Park for lunch at Greens Restaurant. We were sitting right there at that window and had a view of the boats and the Golden Gate Bridge. I found out then that the restaurant we were at the night before was located in the "Tenderloin District". Obviously not a name worthy of being included in the maps, but I should've figured that out when there were massage parlors on most blocks and we were approached by homeless people asking for money a number of times. It's not like I haven't seen it in DC, but a helluva way to be introduced to the city on my first night. It was a great lunch and nice to catch up with her and she was able to drive us over to the bridge before heading on her way. I hadn't seen her in almost 2 years, so it was a nice visit. We walked on the bridge a bit and took a lot of pictures of the bridge and of Alcatraz. I always thought it was longer than the two miles across, so it looked really short, but still just as majestic. On the way back towards Fisherman's Wharf, my mom called me at exactly 3:12pm. We try to keep the tradition of my parents calling us individually at the times we were born so we can celebrate our *own* special time. It also give me the chance to gloat for a whole 23 minutes before she "ages up". Along the way back to the wharf, I found a $20 bill on the ground and we stopped at a Sports Basement and spent waaaay too much time there, but not too much money. It was a bit overwhelming.. and to think, we flew all this way to go shopping! Discounted stuff.. can't really beat it. Besides, my sister got me a fleece jacket (similar to this minus the hood)to make up for mine that she left at a bar back in October or so. Still doesn't count as a birthday present. Speaking of presents, when we left the store, my sister found a $20 bill along the bike path to match the $20 I found earlier. We were making our way to Ghiradelli Square for dinner - a fudge brownie sundae.

It rained off and on most of the day, but didn't dampen our spirits. My sister wanted to see Lombard Street, so we hiked.. and I mean HIKED the 6 or so blocks UP to it. From up top, it was a great view of the city and of the wharf and looked more beautiful under the full moon. We then walked down to Fisherman's Wharf to walk around a bit and maybe find a bite to eat. And I really wanted to see the sea lions out on Pier 39. It was dark out, but worth it! Didn't find any place interesting to eat, so we headed up to Tandoori Mahal, an Indian restaurant we saw earlier that morning. It was a cool hole-in-the-way type place that you wonder how it stays in business with sooo many other restaurants around. Seriously, there were restaurants of every cuisine everywhere you looked along Columbus, which was on the eastern edge of Chinatown. But I'm a sucker for vegetable samosas and Aloo Gobhi, so it was a good choice. It's a good thing we had our dessert earlier, too, because I was full! I would've thought walking around so much would've built an appetite. The serving was somewhat proportional, so it's not like I stuffed myself. Nonetheless, it was good food and a good birthday dinner. Ironically enough, the $40 we found between the two of us paid for the sundae and for dinner. A nice present from the birthday God's above.

We walked back to the BART stop and rode back out of the city. It was a long day and we walked about 6 or 7 miles that day. We were tired and didn't want to walk another mile from the stop near our hotel, so instead we got off at the airport and took the free shuttle back to the hotel. It was more expensive getting off there, but we didn't care at that point. We were tuckered out old ladies! A somewhat early night as we were to fly out the next morning.

After a light breakfast, pictures, and watching airplanes land and take off (I'm a sucker for watching that!!), we were off to the airport and back to good ol' DC. We definitely didn't see as much as we'd liked to, but that's all the more reason to go back another time.

I hope to take more trips like this sometime.. maybe I'll just stick to the mountains.. something local and a different kind of fun. I hope to have pictures posted soon on Snapfish and/or posted here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Resolution Update #1

I figure if I'm going to be held accountable to accomplish my resolution of successfully completing 2 pull-ups, I should probably give updates of my progress. I'd like to get to the gym at least 1x a week to do a good 45-60min full body routine including my pull-up negatives and hangs. I'd like to get in another time if possible to do my pseudo pull-up routine.

So I hit the gym last night. A few resolutionists there just sitting around as well as the muscle heads posing. I did my workout but didn't rush through it even though I wanted to get home in time to watch a new episode of "Lost". Priorities. So I start with upper body and keep an eye on the cable crosser machine and pull-up station to wait for it to open up. I'm not big on people watching me workout, so I don the ipod and focus on the music to block out those around me.

So here's a mid-month review/summary - I have a looong way to go! I'm not sure if I'm in over my head or what. I really have no plan of attack and will start searching for some form of a training program, but for now I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Any tips are welcome. My usual routine includes negatives - hanging in the full pull-up position for as long as possible before slowly lowering myself down. Right now, that's barely 1 second (I told you I have a long way to go).

I'm also doing hangs. I'm not sure how effective they are, but it's a good stretch nonetheless. I just hang and go through the start of the pull-up motion. The necessary muscles are flexed and I make an attempt to pull myself up. So far, I can move upward a few inches, which is still a loooooong way to go *sigh*

Aside from weight training, I'm trying to increase my cardio. One of my biggest limiters is the junk in my trunk. I'm far from my racing weight and know dropping at least 5 LBs will help immensely. I hope to drop more, but that's a goal I'll keep to myself. Besides, I never weigh myself, so I will not know how much weight I lose - if any.

As discouraging as it was last night, I know I'm closer to my goal than I would be if I didn't try.

Baby steps

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How to please my mom

I know of two ways to do so and I accomplished one tonight - I got my voters registration card. She chastised me between clenched teeth in 2004 when I told her I wasn't registered and didn't vote in the Presidential election. My reasoning was that I didn't like either candidate, but she wasn't taking any of my bullshit. So when I was getting my new license last month, there was the opportunity to register to vote at the same time and I jumped at the chance. Whythehellnot.

Oh.. the other way to please my mom? Get married. However, after almost 13 years of being out of the closet, I think she's finally accepting the fact that 1.) this may never happen, and 2.) if.. and not just if, but a HUGE IF this ever happens it wouldn't be a man.

Can't please 'em all the time.

Day 4

January 11th.. any significance to today's date? Nothing comes to mind, eh?

HOWEVER.. I realized that it has been four days since I've had any alcohol. Surprised? Ditto. Doesn't sound like a big milestone, but considering I drank all but one day in November and walked through December in a haze of hops and barley, I think it's something to mention. Previously, the longest I went without drinking was 3 days in December when I was studying for my final early in the month. It was fair game once that test was over.

I've made my one resolution for the year and know I can't give up drinking, but I knew I had to cut back this year. It hit me earlier this month when I drank a case of Killian's on 12/30 and then went on a new years binge and drank quite the mix of beverages from 7pm to 7am. I didn't get sick and it wasn't until the morning of the 2nd that it hit me.. I drank A LOT. I wasn't a stumbling drunk, either, just one that thought it was a good time to engage in deep, meaningful conversations that started with "You remember 5 years ago when.. ". Seriously.. who remembers that shit at that hour and after that much alcohol? Apparently I thought I did and felt the need to bring it up. I don't think I embarrassed myself that badly.

I've also had the temptation of an open bottle of Dancing Bull on the counter. I was at a get together on Saturday and limited myself to two beers. Since then - zilch. Is it something to be proud of? Sure I guess. Will I have a glass of that zinfandel tonight? After talking about it.. quite possibly.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

2006 List of Banished Words

I look forward to reading this list at the beginning of each year.. as well as any Darwin Awards that might be floating around.

Check out the archives, too.

2006 List of Banished Words

I must admit that I am a bit offended by the inclusion of the word 3rd from the end. I was using it back in the day when it was cool and still use it today, but only with the appropriate people.

Monday, January 09, 2006

One more resolution..

I think it's fitting considering my post below about the Tshirt.. ;)

Feats of Strength.. Goin' for the Gold

So I've decided to make 1 resolution this year. I'm sure I mentioned before that I'm not big on NY resolutions; I prefer to make yearly 'to do' lists.. and start in February. I don't tend to verbalize my list, which later turn into goals, until the end of the year nears.

Nonetheless, I will now go out on a limb and voice my one resolution so whoeverthehellactuallyreadsthisthing can hold me to it.

I resolve to do 2 full chin-ups (palms facing me) before the end of September.

You heard it here first! Actually, my sister heard it first, but whatever..

So this is how it all started. On Friday I was having a discussion with a friend who is really hitting the gym and getting buff. She looks awesome and is on a great training and nutrition regime. She mentioned how last year she was working on doing chin-ups and can now finally do X many at a time. I told her how in middle school I could never get the Presidential Award for Physical Fitness because I couldn't do the required number of chin-ups... TWO!! When I was in college, we did some PE type training before starting fall ball, and were tested on a few things such as vertical leap, sit and reach, push ups, tricep dips, medicine ball toss, and pull ups. I might've eeked out a couple, but there was a lot of kicking involved and I jumped up, which assisted my first pull up.

What will make this hard is that I don't have immediate access to a bar, nor does my gym have an assisted pull-up machine, which would be nice to train on. It does have a bar atop the cable crossover machine, but I don't get to the gym that often. I will gradually work on a program that will enable me to do 2 full pull-ups.. or chin-ups.. whatever you want to call them.

-I'll be doing them with my palms facing in (since that works the biceps more and I want to get some nice lookin' guns. ;)
-My sister will be the judge
-The event will take place at our gym sometime between now and September 30th, 2006.
-I will follow steps 3-12 in the link above and will repeat.. hopefully a couple times.

I'm out to get this monkey off my back and earn the certificate that has alluded me my entire athletic career!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

FYI.. now taking orders

I threw the idea out there with a post back in late November. Lo and behold, I ran with it and had these made up..

I have 7M, 7L, 3XL, and 2XXL shirts left. $10 + shipping.. so like $12? I'm not making any $$ on them, either, and that was never the intent. I'm 5'9" with a decent rack and went with an XL for myself. There is some room in it and it doesn't look too much like a baby doll T.

Spread the word. Email if interested.

A cleansing.. baby steps..

So this weekend I've decided to start uncluttering my life. I admit that I'm a packrat and inherited my tendencies from parents. I've reached the first step and can admit my fault. Now I need to do something about it.

I let my junk mail pile up and just deal with the important stuff. I work in the junk (direct!) mail biz and occasionally talk with people that think their identity might've been stolen. I understand their concern, as I'm dealing with it after my lost/stolen wallet incident, and I don't throw away anything with my name/address on it without shredding it or tearing it up into confetti size pieces. There is a huge pile of mail and other stuff sitting next to the shredder.. just waiting. #1.

It all goes in the wash. I did laundry at my parents place, but I'm sure it picked up some funk from the suitcase as well as the other stuff packed with it. Because of that, it's all getting washed even if it passes the smell test. #2.

After being washed, I'm packing stuff up to donate to Goodwill. Out with the old, in with the new. Who knows how long it's been since I wore some of that stuff. Granted my closets will probably be bare.. at least I'm not in there.. HAHA! Hmm.. weak attempt at humor. So some lucky person will be getting a nice pair of Liz Claiborne pants. #3

God forbid I take a dust rag and vacuum to my room. #4.

I like to collect swim workouts, tips for biking hills, a new recipe, etc. I have loose papers everywhere.. it's a freakin fire hazard! Most will get trashed since I can print off more swim workouts. Others will go in a binder, which I started over the summer. A conceited effort to get organized. #5

Organize books and cds. I'm sure I'll get distracted while doing this and will start burning new CDs. Hell, at least I'll admit to doing it. #6

Clean out my rubbermaid bin of workout stuff. I know I have an old bike computer in there that's broken, old lube, cracked swim goggles, and who knows what else is in there.

I think it's best I do Spring Cleaning before Spring gets here. I know I'll be busy and then put off cleaning.. and put it off more. It's also cathartic. Start the year anew on the right foot.. a good note.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First day of school..

Not until the 17th, but I always equated the first day of school with wearing new clothes. I loved the first day of school and was one of those nerds that would lay their clothes out the night before. Yknow, from cool places like Ames or JCPenney's.

Then going back to school after the long holiday break was a close second to the first day of school. Seems that not much has changed since elementary school.. (okay, since high school since I still laid my clothes out for the first day of school). I wore a new top the past two days and I have a whole new ensemble on today. Apparently all three events warrant comments from coworker - PJ Gal and Slipper Manager. See my previous post to figure out who I'm referring to and why. I know I've mentioned before that I don't take complements well. And when someone points out that I'm actually wearing something "different for a change", it feels like they're making a huge deal about it. So I don't spend a lot of money on my wardrobe.. big whoopdedo! Tomorrow, I'm wearing the same old shit.

Mini-rant over.. I need to eat something I'm friggin starving..

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Getting Personal

We had a rule at work in my small subdivision-of-a-department-within-the-larger-department that we would only do Secret Santa/Hanukkah Harry presents amongst the seven of us. We exchanged gifts on the 14th of December and I figured that was that. At that time, I received the highlight CD from the movie version of "Rent" as well as the book "Swimming to Antarctica". I highly recommend both.

So it was a bit of a surprise to receive a belated Christmas present from a coworker today. She thought getting a gift for everyone in the group was no-no, but that getting something for our immediate group (3 of the 7 are in the MD office and the other 4 are in our Philly office) was okay. So she did it anyway, had fun shopping, and ended up buying the two of us (one of the 'us' being our manager) a pair of these with mine in this pattern

I love them and put them on right away before thinking it was a little odd.. odd for a coworker to buy me pajamas. First, my boss gave me shampoo and conditioner, then my manager gave me fleece socks/slippers, and now PJs. It almost feels a little too personal. Granted, I doubt many people will ask where I got the PJs, but I'd rather say "this ol' thing? Ahh.. my sweet gal got it for me. Wasn't that nice of her? Something I've ALWAYS wanted and she got it for me without ever knowing it has forever been on my wish list" than "oh, yeah.. a coworker got it for me. Kinda creepy, eh?".

It seems the thing to do when going on trips is to bring back gifts for coworkers. I have the fleece socks/slippers from Ely, MN, small blown glass turtles from Italy, a hotpad from St. Thomas Island, a purple necklace from Italy (that I don't wear), a pair of earrings and a small replica porcelain mask pin from France (I think), hot sauce from the Bahamas (that I haven't used), a bracelet of kukui nuts from Hawaii, and a beaded bracelet from Paris that I actually wear. It's great to receive these items, but I feel like I have to return the favor whenever I travel, which isn't much. Whenever I use a day of vacation, I'm usually off to do a triathlon somewhere. Anyone up for a sample of a Powergel or some Fig Newtons? I don't think so.

As odd as it may seem and as personal as the gift may be, I did thank her for them and said how much I like them, which I do.

I guess it could've been worse.. she could've gotten me a flannel nightgown.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back at it..

Is it possible to suffer jet lag when flying from the west side of the Eastern Time Zone to the east side? I think I am. Well, I made it back to DC after barely catching my flight out of GR this morning. Don't ask. I keep putting it off, but I guess I should head into the office. I did check my voicemail and only had TWO messages! However, I know I have over 100 emails waiting for me. That, I'm not looking forward to sorting through.

But alas..

Apologies to any readers for not keeping this up to date as much as possible over the past couple weeks. Hopefully I have more to say in the coming weeks. It's looking to be pretty busy with weekend parties over the next three weeks, so there might be some interesting stories there. I have, however, sort of promised myself to cut back on the booze a little bit, so the stories will be boring sober ones. I apologize in advance.

Off to the salt mines.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ringing in the New Year

I wish I had more to say, some big news or inspiring words to ring in the new year, but I don't. The past few months were very hard with work, school, and personal relationships. I couldn't look back and see a lot of positives to the year with such negatives fresh in my mind. However, being home has given me a sense of calm and vision. I see what I have with all the family and friends that I've been fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with; I look at my Christmas gifts and I'm fortunate to have a few toys and gadgets; I look at the new clothes I bought and I'm fortunate to have a job to pay for it; I look at my waistline and I'm fortunate to be able to put food in my belly; and I look at where I'm at and I know that I could be worse off.

I'm not big on making resolutions. I know each year I want to make it better than the year before - pay more attention to my 401k, do well with my races, live a healthy lifestyle, do well in school, be more productive at work,... This year will be no different. I had a great bash to start off the new year and I was fortunate to spend it with a great group of friends. I've been getting in some good runs and enjoying my vacation. As much as I don't want to leave, I'm ready to go back to DC to start the new year.

But will the new year lead to a new me? Stick around until next year to find out..