Friday, December 31, 2010
It’s that time of year again….the most wonderful time of the year…or so the saying goes. Time to wrap up all the end of the year stuff. Time to stop and reflect upon all the lessons you learned in the past year. Once again, for your end of the year entertainment:
The Top Ten Things Heather Learned in 2010
10) If I get stung by a bee, I will NOT die.
Actually, after my Jurassic leg incident last summer, I learned lots of things about bee stings: there are 5 types of venomous insects in New England. There are 3 types of reactions to bee stings. The hummingbird sized insect that stung me was most likely a yellow faced hornet, not a yellow jacket. Many vegans eschew honey. I never had any use for this type of information before. And really? I still don’t. But that whole not dying thing; that’s good.
9) In South Carolina, 1 inch of snow is like the apocalypse
Or at least enough to cancel a marathon. That you’ve spent months training for. And flew down to Myrtle Beach to run. Stupid southern states!
8) There is something worse than the California DMV…the Massachusetts IRS
Somehow, the state of Mass decided that in 2006 (the year I lived in California until August and in Mass for the remainder of the year) I should have had the foresight to pay taxes to Mass for the ENTIRE year. And it took no fewer than 6 separate pieces of correspondence to convince them otherwise. Not to be outdone, California followed suit once I THOUGHT everything was solved. Four pieces of correspondence and counting. Stupid blue states!
7) St. Mark’s Square in Venice floods
You know that place with the big gold basilica and the pigeons? I tried to go there and hang with the pigeons. I went down in my super-cute sundress (that will now be known forever as my “pigeon dress”). Turns out, I shoulda worn duck boots! There was, like, 2 ½ feet of water in the square. The entire foyer of the basilica was underwater! Don’t know why that bothers me so much.
6) I learned what a bulging disc feels like.
It’s HORRIBLE! Now I have a smidge more sympathy for my patients. But not a whole lot. ‘Cause I also learned that physical therapy works when you are compliant with that home exercise program!
5) Summer really is just spectacular!
This year, we had the warmest, most wonderful summer weather I can remember in years. It was great. I really love summer. Which leads me to the next logical conclusion: I hate cold.
4) I am not the lifestyle police
Wouldn’t it be awesome if I was? Everyone everywhere would be roaming around as rumpled, tangled, messes with 4 types of athletic shoes in their car at all times and plans to see every live music act in a 15 mile radius. Alas, as I creep into the fourth decade of life, I hear friends reporting news like “I was hospitalized overnight for chest pain twice this year” or “I had this numbness all along the left side of my body for 3 weeks before I went to the doctor and he said it was a mini-stroke”. Most often with a cigarette in one hand, a beer in the other, and a plate of fully loaded nachos in front of them. Don’t they know that they should be striving to be within one standard deviation of ME? Clearly not. And it really doesn’t go over too well to say so. Guess I’ll just have to lead by twirling, pigeon dressed example.
3) I’m becoming less organized as I get older
You’d think that by now, I’d have my Xmas letter written by Thanksgiving and mailed out by December 1st. Yeah, not so much. My friends will be getting Xmas letters around Jan 5th.
2) Children’s behavior is much more tolerable when you share a genetic link with them.
You know, except for you guys. YOUR kids are ADORABLE! It’s all the other ones out there I’m referring to!
1) I got a hug from the lead singer of Ozomatli!
OK, technically, that’s not something I learned, that’s something I did. At the Life is Good concert in September. I just thought it was exciting enough to share. Plus, after returning home and consulting Google, I learned that his name is not, in fact, “that scruffy trumpet player guy”, but Asdrubal Sierra. (I can’t pronounce that anyway, so even if I knew that beforehand, I still woulda called him “Dude”)
Happy Holidays, Everyone!
And learn lots in 2011.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Anyway, as I was driving home, I was thinking about how I moved back to a place where I am almost blown off the bridge while driving home in 15 degree weather and snow squalls. How I moved back here deliberately. And how I may have been a bit crazy to do so.
What's really interesting is that my musings closely resemble this week's question from
50 Questions to Free Your Mind:
To What Degree Have You Actually Controlled the Course Your Life Has Taken?
The simple answer is: more than most, but not as much as I would like to.
The more complex answer has been occupying my mind quite a bit lately, and not just when driving during a blizzard.
In general, I've done a pretty good job of living my life with intention. I didn't hang around, working the same job for years on end whether I liked it or not, and just SEE what would happen. I didn't sit on the sofa night after night, watching other people's stories march across the screen in front of me. I didn't TALK alot about all those giant life goals that everyone has-- run a marathon, go to Europe, climb a mountain, write a novel-- but do nothing about them except dream. I've traveled. I've lived and worked in 10 states. I've run marathons and triathlons, I've climbed mountains, I've traveled to Europe (I haven't written a novel, but hey, there's still time, eh?) I've set goals. I've prioritized them. I've tried to use my time productively.
But lately, it seems that I've been doing things halfway. I've been setting the goals, but not really working towards them. I've been starting projects, but letting them sit around, half finished. I've been firting ideas, but not really committing to them. And I'm not really happy with who I've become lately.
So, as the year comes to a close, and my horrible incapacitizing cold is coming to and end, I'm becoming a little more motivated. And, motivated by this gal, and this guy, and this chippy, and this chap, and this new firecracker I read about in a magazine, I'm taking back a little more control over the course my life shall take next year.
Running 3 miles without feeling like I was goind to throw up
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I ran one mile. ONE!
And I felt like I ran 18. My body feels like I just got run over by a truck.
Work Holiday party with a fun Yankee Swap.
Monday, December 20, 2010
But, since it's Monday, its also time for the 50 Questions to Free Your Mind:
If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
Well, if that were the case, I would have died last Wednesday! (But then again, I plan on living beyond the average life span anyway, so maybe not)
Looking back, I'd live a little more in my teens and early 20s. I was always the girl who did exactly as she was told. Got good grades, studied hard, came in on time, never did anything that would cause my parents grief. (and yet, I still was always in trouble. Go figure) You could say that I was preparing for a sensible life.
It wasn't until I was in my mid 20s that I figured out that I didn't want a sensible life! I wanted to drive across the country with the top down and my dreadocked, purple hair blowing in the wind. I wanted to climb mountains and swim with the dolphins and camp in the desert. I wanted the unconventional life, not the white picket fence and 2 children and dog. (Ok, I wanted a dog. I big, friendly, slobbery one)
I love reading memoirs; the good, sensible, girls who did everything they were told don't write memoirs. They'd be too boring. And yet, the wild crazy people -- the ones who did everything they shouldn't have and by all accounts should have been the failures -- have just as much chance of success and the sensible people. I didn't know that when I was younger. I wish I had.
The thing is, I know that now. So if I were to take this question to heart, I should be living my life as if it were on borrowed time. I've already outlived the hypothetical average life span. I should be taking as many chances as possible.
I think I'll start tomorrow.
the snow (I'll go back to this morning in my mind)
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Nothing can dampen that holiday spirit like being sick for the first 19 days of December. Yeah, I caught some kind of super-cold. Every time I started to feel better, I got slapped upside the head by its evil viral fists! Plus, my printer bit the dust this week.
I entered this weekend simultaneously grouchy-ginchlike and frantic with the thought of all I needed to accomplish: finish Xmas shopping, write the Christmas letter for the Christmas cards, get those all addressed and stamped...get stamps...get a yankee swap gift, make something for the work pot-luck. Argh! I just wanted to climb back in bed with the humidifier on high and and endless mug of tea.
I tried to put myself in the mood; I dressed in red and green. I put on Christmas Carols. I drank some wassail. But nothing worked. Finally, I stumbled across something that could reach me unlike Mariah Carey screeching her way through 'Oh Holy Night'....I put on the Turner Classic Movie network.
White Christmas was on. I love White Christmas. It always makes me smile. It also gives me a serious case of leg-envy. (I think my entire body would only come up to Vera-Ellen's mid thigh! But this email isn't about my inferiority complex....) I was addressing envelopes and humming along in complete contentment.
After White Christmas, came A Miracle on 34th Street. I know it seems impossible, but I'd never seen that movie. (of course, I didn't see Casablanca until I was 26 or It's a Wonderful Life until I was 30, so that's just par for the course in my little world) Well. Miracle is even better than A Christmas Story. I think they actually got the REAL Santa Claus on the cast! (Really. He spoke Dutch and everything. I saw it!) I mean, watching the real Santa for a couple hours puts the printer situation in perspective.
And then today. When I came home with the new printer and was waiting for the software to upload to the computer, I came across Auntie Mame. Another movie I had never seen. (Were people funnier in the 1950s? 'Cause that movie was hilarious!) And I think I have a new role model, now, too!
And there you have it. A mere 6 days before Christmas, the miracle has occurred! I'm off to dance around the Christmas tree in my reindeer sweater. Have a good week!
Monday, December 13, 2010
But I am back enough to ponder....50 Questions to free your mind.
Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you are doing?
You know, I can't help but think that this is a very all or nothing kind of question. Either you are doing what you believe in completely or you are settling. And while I get the purpose of the question: are you just doing something -- anything -- to pay the bills while ignoring your dreams or are you going after your dreams? In reality, I don't think things are as black and white.
For instance, I could say undoubtedly that I am doing something I believe in. I make a living helping people. I am working with people I really like, in a good environment, for a company I truly feel is a compassionate and forward thinking. I am making a difference.
On the other hand, there are things I'm not thrilled with. There are things I have to put up with that aggravate the crap out of me in order to continue to do what I do. There things that I have to settle for in this life. And there are dreams I'm still striving for that I have not reached yet and in all honesty may or may not work out in the end.
I think that's true with most things in life. In work, in love, when buying your "dream house", when going on vacation with friends. There are things you do that let you live out your dreams and things that you must settle for in order to do those things that let you live out your dreams.
That's where I am right now.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Until today. Today at 3:00 pm, exactly. I was in the middle of an evaluation when suddenly my head went pfffffffft and the congestion in my head felt...looser. And my head felt less echo-y. And it wasn't a strain to talk. So NOW...I can say....I'm on the mend!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
other person: Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?
Yes, I can hear you.
Are you on speaker phone? Cause I can hardly hear you.
No, no speaker phone. I'm sick.
What? I didn't get that. You must be in a spotty area. Are you in the car?
No, I'm home. I'm sick.
What was that?
I'm home. I'm sick.
You keep fading in and out. Are you holding the phone away from your head or something?
No, I'm sick. I have no voice.
SICK! I'M SICK!
Oh, wow! That's not the phone? That's your voice?
Ok, I'm hanging up. I'll text you.
I can actually sort of talk now. So it's good. I have a zillion things to do right now, most work related, but every time I sit down to do them, I get fuzzy headed and can't think straight. So next week is going to be busy.
Plus, that 30 workouts in 30 days thing? Not going so well. Either I'm doing a lot of doubles later in the month or its a lost cause.
But I AM still getting rid of stuff, which is going swimmingly. I was able to drag myself to the thrift shop today with two bags of stuff. Including:
another book, another shirt, a holiday tin that I had from last year that just isn't practical for using as gift wrap this year. A pair of running shoes went into the shoe recycling container at the running store. And I pulled out some craft materials to give to my oldest niece.
There just may be room in here for some new stuff come Xmas!
Saw the Harry Potter movie with my two best buds. It was good!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow I'll be able to talk.
Talking to my buddy, Nerd. I miss him.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Or my cranberry sauce recipe. It's delicious! It's adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, for crying out loud! And, yes, it can be made in a crock pot.
But try bringing homemade cranberry sauce to Thanksgiving dinner. You'll be met with blank stares and comments like "I thought cranberry sauce came in a can."
Fortunately for me, this sauce can be used on just about anything. So when I bring my sauce back home with me, I can eat it with turkey, spread it on toast, use it as a condiment on sandwiches, I even mixed some with olive oil and vinegar and made a sassy salad dressing!
(plus, the two adventurous souls who ate some on Thanksgiving loved it and asked for the recipe)
CROCKPOT CRANBERRY SAUCE
2 cups cranberries
2 cups chopped apples
1 medium orange, sectioned
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Pop fruit, juice, and sugar into crock pot on high. (Unlike many other crockpot recipes, you can't just leave and let things take their own course on this one. I mean, keep busy, do stuff around the house, but keep and eye on things) When fruit has softened until you can mash easily with fork, blend with immersion blender but leave some chunks. Turn to low and all spices. Let simmer until about 1/2 liquid is absorbed and the smell of the spices has permeated the air. (about 2 hours) Periodically stir to make sure liquid on bottom and sides doesn't burn.
You can adjust sugar amount to taste or add more water if you prefer thinner sauce.
Snuggling down into flannel sheets.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Anyway, it's officially winter in my book, even if solstice is 20 days away. And it's officially holiday season in everyone's book.....Happy Hanukkah everyone! I don't celebrate Hanukkah, myself, but I do enjoy lighting candles. So I'm gonna light candles every day this week...hell, every day in December! (Is it totally bad to say 'hell' when talking about a holiday?)
So in addition to lighting candles, losing my voice, and blowing my nose about every 5 minutes, December is about setting some wintry goals:
1) Wrap all holiday presents in recycled materials.
2) Training schedule all set up for 2011
3) Finish 5 books this month
4) Holiday Booty Buster (courtesy of this gal): Aiming for 30 workouts in 30 days. Of course, since I did not work out today, thanks to my cold, that means I'm gonna have to double it up sometime this month. That's ok. I like days like that!
5) Get stuff turned in for my advanced position (do you believe I gotta re-apply every year?)
6) Get apartment spectacularly decorated in Xmas cheer!
7) Organize a memorial for a friend (sad story)
8) Get rid of 30 more things.
9) Have a great birthday
10) And a great Xmas
And since December is the season of joy:
Today's Joyful Thing:
Wheelchair clinic at work. I just love my job when that's what I'm doing.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
1) Take a shower. I must admit, I could breathe better after the shower, but I still felt like crap.
2) Drink a cup of tea. My throat felt better and my voice was a bit better, but I still felt like crap.
3) Eat something. My headache was slightly better, but I still felt like crap.
And there you have it. If those three things still don't make me feel better, it's time to call in. That, and my forward thinking that tomorrow I absolutely cannot miss work. So given the choice of today or tomorrow I chose today to sleep, drink tea, and putter around working on all my projects and piles.
On the last day of November, its also time to look back at the goals:
1) Lose 5#: 1/2 credit. Lost 3
2) Get 2011 race schedule set: Pretty much done. Assuming I get that coveted Boston number, the biggies in 2011 will be: April = Boston Marathon
May = Run to Remember 1/2 Marathon
June = Patriot 1/2 Ironman
July = Old Colony Olympic Distance Tri
August = Sharon Sprint Distance Tri
September = Plymouth Rock Sprint Tri and Hyannis Sprint Tri
October = Ruckus (and maybe Newport 1/2 Marathon)
We'll see how my body holds out. But with the exception of yesterday and today, I've been turning up the heat in the off season training, so I'm optimistic.
3) Get apartment into winter configuration. Done. And I'm much warmer for it!
4) Finish work presentation: yep.
5) Do certification exam: finishing touches tonite and mailing it off tomorrow! (how's that for down to the wire?)
6) Get Xmas shopping 1/2 done: sure did! And didn't go NEAR a store on Black Friday. I'm not that crazy!
7) Finish 4 books. Done under the wire on that, too. Probably couldn't have done it without the sick day, today. (no...that's not WHY I stayed home. I'm miss mucous!) And I'm pretty proud of myself. One of the books was 1100 pages long. Stupid Stephen King!
8) Post every day this month: almost. 24 posts in 30 days.
9) Get started on photo book from trip: This I haven't started. And its totally not my fault! My two friends and I decided to share all our photos and then I was going to choose from all our 3 sets. I uploaded all my prints to snapfish and sent them to my buddies. I have yet to convince them that opening snapfish will not crash their computers or invite cyber preditors into their lives. (But storing every single photo you have ever taken on your hard drive will dramatically slow down your computer!) I may just have to do this solo!
10) Get rid of 30 things this month: success. This week, I got rid of a pair of slippers and two books. (into the donation bag)
Not bad for November! But before I move on to December, one last
Today I am grateful for:
2) ginger ale
5) crossing everything off the to-do list.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Week 6: If Happiness was the natural currency, what would you do that would make you rich?
I would travel. By foot. With a backpack on my back. There is nothing that makes me happier than being out in nature with nothing but me and a long stretch of road or trail in front of me. I have that kind of personality, too: that I could just drop out of society and wander around as a hippie-chick wanderer for a few years. I probably would have done it, too, if that wouldn't cause my mother to have a heart attack and pace relentlessly night after night, worried I was dead in a ditch somewhere. (She just doesn't get it man! She is just not hip to the bohemian vibe!) My dad would be cool with it, though.
Anyway, if happiness were the national currency, I surely wouldn't have to worry about things like repaying student loans (or people lamenting my wasted college education as I wandered around with my backpack). And what's totally cool is...you can pretty much backpack anywhere! The US, Canada, all through Europe, Costa Rica, Chile, Hawaii (I know that's part of the US, but really, it's its own little entity, isn't it?) Yeah, I know there may be a few planes, boats, and trains involved, but that's ok. The feet are the primary source of locomotion.
As it is, I'm filling my adventurous appetite with races right now. But I rest assured knowing that wanderlust and itchy feet can't be quelled without taking to the open road eventually. Happiness may not be the national currency, it's how we pay ourselves, no?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
While switching out the warm weather PJs for the cold weather PJs I filled the donation bag with:
1) flannel pants
2) flannel boxers
3) 2 T shirts
4) a pillowcase
then, I went through the bookcase and pulled 5) a book that I was never going to read and put that in the donation bag, too.
Pulled a couple more 6) magazines from the basket to bring to the gym.
And finally, on the bathroom shelf, I have a nice little 7) basket of lotions and candles. Its really nice, but I have so many lotions and scrubs and candles and such, I can't possibly use them all. Its fairly new and has never been opened. So...I'm re-gifting it as a Secret Santa thing for work. (making totally sure that this did not come from a co-worker!)
Feeling significantly lighter (despite all the food I ate on Thursday!)
So once again, I give to you, HEATHER'S LIST OF STRANGE THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR THIS THANKSGIVING:
1) I'm thankful for the state of California. No offense to the other 49 states. I just had a good time there this year.
2) I'm thankful for the Olympics. I just think there is no better sporting event to watch
3) I'm thankful for the Paralympics (and for the fact that they'll actually be televised in the US next time!)
4) I'm thankful for the excellent display of athleticism, sportsmanship, and all-around grooviness by my celebrity boyfriend, Apolo Ohno at the Olympics.
5) I'm thankful for the concept of celebrity boyfriends!
6) I'm thankful for pillows.
7) And pilates circles.
8) And yoga blocks.
9) And SI support belts.
10) I'm thankful for physical therapy. Not only because that's how I make my living, but because that shit works!
11) I'm thankful I can again run and bike without excruciating pain.
12) I'm thankful for the excellent display of slowness, humility, and all-around goofiness by ME during this year's tri-season.
13) I'm thankful I don't make my living by my athletic prowess. ('Cause I'd be broke and homeless!)
14) I'm thankful for the wonderful weather we had this summer.
15) And the beach. I love you, beach!
16) I'm thankful to the concept of the tankini
17) I'm thankful I don't make my living based on how flat my abs are. ('Cause I'm be broke, homeless, and possibly a heroin addict)
18) I'm thankful for ibuprofen (I may be a recovering ibuprofen addict)
20) I'm thankful for the continent of Europe. It sits there across the ocean and beacons me
21) I'm thankful for the opportunity to travel there this year
22) I'm thankful for indian summer
23) And the colorful leaves in the fall
24) And how warm fleece is.
25) I'm thankful I don't make my living based on how well I adapt to cold temperatures ('Cause I'd be broke, homeless, and frozen to death)
26) I'm thankful I'm not frozen to death
27) I'm thankful for the farmer's market
28) I'm thankful for live music. Anywhere and anytime. Of any kind.
29) I'm thankful for online shopping. It makes my life so much easier.
30) I"m thankful that I did not watch "Food Inc" before Thanksgiving dinner.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Oh, yeah, he's hot.
Who is he?
Who else is in there?
He's cute. He's cute. He's hot. Michael Bolton? Are they on crack?
Leonardo Di Caprio never did it for me.
He's a good actor though. He was good in Gilbert Grape.
Yeah, he was. And Johnny Depp was in that.
Is he in the magazine?
Of course! I think EVERYONE can agree that he's hot, hottie, hot.
I'm on the fence about Jake Gyllenhaal.
Oh, really? I think he's pretty cute.
He's in a new movie. With Anne Hathaway.
Yeah, I heard they are half naked throughout the whole movie.
at this point, the ONE male in the staff room perks up:
Ann Hathaway is naked in the movie?
Half naked. I said half naked. I don't think Anne Hathaway does completely nude scenes.
She did in Brokeback Mountain.....WITH Jake Gyllenhaal, actually!
Maybe she has it in her contract: will only do nude scenes with Jake Gyllenhaal!
Man. I really went into the wrong profession!
Today I am grateful for:
1) the gym
2) having the grocery store and liquor store across the street from the gym
3) the promise of a long weekend
4) my co-workers
5) getting to see my nieces tomorrow
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
One good thing about Mondays -- it's time again for 50 Questions to Free Your Mind, courtesy of City Girl.
Week 5: What is the one thing you would like to change most about this world?
I'd like to have a job where I can get paid to roll over and sleep in every day!
No, not really.
I'd love to have less intolerance in the world. It seems that so many of our other problems stem from the very problem of intolerance. Wars are fought over it. Lives are lost over it. And really? What's the point?
One of the great things about the world is all the diversity. I think its fantastic that there can be as many ways of looking at a situation as there are eyes doing the looking. We can learn alot from one another if we listened to other opinions. We may end up learning things we would never have thought of on our own.
Instead, it seems that we are so quick to condemn other opinions that are not the same as ours. We are so quick to point fingers at those behind the opinions. And we are so quick to demand retaliation on those behind the opinions for... what? Not being us?
It saddens me that the media just eats this behavior up, sensationalizes it, and encourages more of the same behavior in the future.
I once read a funny little book by Fannie Flagg. I don't remember the name of it. But in the book, a woman who made her living doing interviews died and got to go up to heaven and interview God (this may have actually been a dream. I don't remember) What I do remember is her final question to God "If you could go back and do anything differently, what would it be?" And God said She (God was a she) would make everyone's skin the same color. She said that when She made people, She loved how many different shades of skin there were, like flowers in the field or leaves changing color in the fall. She thought that people would see the beauty in all the different colors of skin and appreciate one another for how unique each person was. Instead, people used the color of their skin to enslave one another and discriminate against one another and start wars with one another. God said that it made Her so sad that all Her beautiful colors caused so much distress. If She had to do it over, She just would have made one color.
Yeah, it's kind of a silly little scene in a silly little book, but one that really makes you thing, huh?
If I could change that one thing about the world, I'd make us all appreciate those colors.
And I'd make everyone refer to God as "She" :)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
People come from all over. And yet, I'm still amazed. Really? You came all the way here to this little town on the water in the November cold for Thanksgiving? I live here and I almost skipped the parade!
Of course, not having the foresight to get there early, I had to park 2 1/2 miles away and had a nice little walk to and from the parade. Today, I did the Turkey Chase (freezing! I really should have worn more layers!), saw a bluegrass band, and went to the farmer's market. Overall, a good weekend. So why am I stuck in complaint mode, cursing the cold? Some people just can't be pleased, eh?
At home, I continued to purge. Its becoming a habit once, again; one I may continue through December. Just because I'm a typical American with way too many things and a preponderance to accumulate more.
So this week, I got rid of:
1) Two pairs of socks (donation)
2) A zip up hoodie I haven't worn in over a year (donation)
3) A bunch of sunglasses cases I don't even know how I got (donation bag)
4) A large storage tin with snowmen painted on it (donation)
5) Some holiday print cloth napkins -- don't know how I got those, either (donation)
6) Went through a few more magazines in the basket and brought those to the waiting area at work
7) Threw out a small bottle of lotion that looked a bit congealed.
At this rate, I should be ready for another trip to the thrift store next week!
Today I am grateful for:
1) warm clothes
2) comfort food
3) good books
4) good friends
5) the promise of a short work week ahead!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
(Lucky for me, the special, before-Thanksgiving-Farmer's-Market is this weekend!)
I'll be branching out beyond soups, though. I got side dishes to prepare. Until then...
CARROT AND GINGER SOUP (Adapted from "The Garden of Vegan" by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer)
4 large carrots, chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 Tsp dark sesame oil
1 small yam, chopped
1 Tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups vegetable stock
Throw oil, carrots and leeks in crock pot on high while you cut up everything else. Transfer to low and add the rest of the ingredients. Then throw in some cinnamon and allspice just for the heck of it. Leave on low and go work out. Shower at the gym so you can run the rest of your errands -- post office, bank, recycling, gassing up the jeep, and stocking up at Costco. Then come home. Test the carrots. Leave in for a while longer, until the carrots are fork-smushable. Blend half the soup with the immersion blender and leave the other half all chunky and stuff. Yummy!
Today I am grateful for
2) the gym
3) fleece jackets
5) foot powder!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Today I am grateful for:
1) Foam rollers
3) weighted balls
5) my bed
Monday, November 15, 2010
WHEN IT IS ALL SAID AND DONE, WILL YOU HAVE SAID MORE THAN YOU'VE DONE?
Oh, Lord, no. I have a master plan to do it all. And though sometimes I wear myself down doing so much I have to sacrifice things like... sleep...I still feel so far behind!
That's what all my lists are for.
I do think it's ironic, though, that originally I wanted to be a writer. In which case, the whole point is to say more than you do, eh?
Well, gotta go. I got stuff to do.
Today I am grateful for:
1) spinach and strawberry salad
2) recovery workouts
4) my awesome new boots
5) pita chips
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I have to admit, I've been a little laxidaisical about it this week. Could be I'm tired from the time change (whenever we change the clocks, I have like 10 days where I can't fall asleep at nite, even though in the fall, I should fall asleep easier!), could be I'm still pretty overwhelmed. But then again, that's why I started this purging thing in the first place!
1) Under the sink in the bathroom, I had a tube of Biofreeze that had kind of...solidified. No use to anyone now! In the trash
2) Went through the basket with magazines. I pulled out any articles or recipes that looked of interest to me, and put the rest in my gym back to give to the gym.
3) Went through the pile of catalogs I had put aside and did a little Xmas shopping online. Then put the catalogs in the recycling bin.
4) Pulled out a pair of socks to put in the donation bag.
5) Since I am mailing a bunch of Xmas gifts directly to the recipiants (wrapped and everything. Love online gift giving!) I went through the supply of boxes I had put aside for shipping purposes and put a bunch in the recycling pile
6) After the Ruckus, I threw out socks, underwear, and gloves. Not really sure if I should count this, but I am.
7) Pulled out a Tshirt I've had forever but never wear. But it reminded me of my neice. So I gave it to her today when I went over to visit.
And there we are. 7 things lighter this week, hopefully more energy next week.
Today I am grateful for:
1) Keeping in touch with friends who are far away
2) Xmas shopping early
3) I'm sore as heck today, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to feel that way!
4) That I get to visit my neices more easily now
5) And get to see my Dad. (and that my Dad is healthy enough to run in his own 10k while I'm Ruckusing away!)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Yes, that is mud all over my face! The Ruckus was much, much muddier than I anticipated.
I wasn't in the first heat (I was in the 5th! Long wait before running) so I got to check out what the course looked like from the stands (though I did not get to see what happened once everyone ran into the woods). I saw that the first obstacle was crawling under barbed wire. And that lots of people got stuck in the barbed wire, creating a back up for those at the back of the pack. Since I'm really short, I figured I'd blast out of the start, scuttle under the barbed wire, and then let all the fast people pass me later. It worked out great!
Then I entered the woods. And saw that the next two obstacles were water filled trenches with sand piles in between, and a 20 foot long water/mud pit. (which totally worked against shorties like me. The water pit was chest deep on me!) It also meant the entire rest of the 3 mile course was run in sopping wet in shoes that looked like this:
(and yes, those socks started out white)
But, oh! what fun. There were nets to crawl under, walls to jump over, crossed-4x4's called "Normandy walls" to step over, tires to run through, ropes to climb, monkey bars to cross, a horizontal pole and then a suspended rope to traverse, cargo nets to climb. The hardest for me was an 8 foot wall to jump over. I'm only 5 feet tall! Plus, I was wet and muddy and this was around 2.25 miles into the course. (I needed a boost). It ended with a crawl through the mud under a net and a run over a huge dirt mound.
When I finished, my legs looked like this:
I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a challenge and some fun. (Just make sure not to make the big mistake I made: do not wear white, cotton underwear under your running tights. You'll regret it later)
Today I am grateful for:
1) running events
2) the chance to hang with people just as crazy as me
3) yummy soup for a recovery meal
4) warm showers
5) warm sweatshirts
oh...and Q-tips. I'm very, very grateful for Q-tips!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This week, I pulled a recipe from this book which turned out, I may say, absolutely fantastic. (that should come as no surprise, based on the name)
SENSATIONAL SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SOUP
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves (or more! Double the amount, I say)
1 large carrot, chopped
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
31/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (I used canned, that's the way I roll)
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
5-6 sun dried tomatoes, chopped (or more. they're good. more means better)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried mustard (or mustard seed. is there a difference?)
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Braggs (I have no idea what this is. So I left it out. Soup turned out great)
2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp tahini (I left this out, too. Though I do know what it is)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced (or a few shakes dried parsley)
Pop the onions, garlic, and oil in the crock pot on high. Chop the rest of the vegetables. Turn the crock pot down to low. Add everything else. Cook until the chickpeas are mushy enough to mash with a fork when you test it. Take your handy immersion blender and whip it around in the crock pot a few times. Clean up the mess of splattered soup all over the counter tops and walls. Eat with delicious white cheddar melba snacks.
Today I am grateful for:
1) the sun coming out!
2) and the rain stopping
3) the fact that I have access to a washer and drier and don't have to beat my clothes against a rock to get them clean
4) breath freshening gum
5) how much warmer my head is while I sleep when my apartment is in "winter configuration"
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Of course, since I don't watch reality TV or TMZ, I have absolutely no idea who any of the people on the covers of the rag mags are. My internal monologue goes something like this: "Who the heck are Ali and Ryan? Why doesn't that Justin Beaver kid own a hairbrush? There's a show about teenagers who have gotten pregnant? Why? What the hell is a Snooki? Should I be buying a bunch of those to compliment last year's Christmas snuggies?"
But last week was different. I actually saw people I know on the cover of the rag mags. Probably because they are over 35. And hey -- maybe it's not because of my TV watching habits (or lack thereof) that I don't know the rag mag subjects. Maybe its because of my age! If they made a special magazine of just people close to my age, I'd probably know everyone! The Jennifers (Anniston and Lopez), Brad and Angelina, Matthew Mc Conoughey, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck...I know all those people! They are all over 35! As are the people I recognized on an ACTUAL gossip magazine: Courtney Cox and David Arquette.
Once I got over my shock of actually knowing somebody on the cover, I read the headline: "Courtney and David Call It Quits" and immediately felt bad for these two people I've never met. "Oh, I'm so sad. They seemed happy. I was rooting for them. They seemed like such a mis-matched couple, but I thought they'd show everyone how opposites attract and they could stick it out if the just worked on it and blah, blah, blah." And I read: "David Admits to Cheating". And my ridiculous internal monologue came to a screeching halt. For at least 2 to 3 seconds.
And then: "What! HE cheated on HER?? Doesn't he KNOW that he was marrying UP while she was settling?" (It's amazing how justified I felt in passing judgement on these two people who I've never met). But I'm not the only one. 'Cause the next day, J told me that she had pretty much the same conversation with two people at work. One of her co-workers concluded: "Oh, you should never, ever settle. ALWAYS marry up."
Seems to make sense. Until I thought that marrying up really means different things to different people.
For some, marrying up means to somebody who is better looking. (In which case, anyone on my pretend gossip magazine would be the settler) I think of people going out to bars and night clubs, looking for people super cute and attractive so that they can marry up. But that's not what it means to me.
For some, marrying up means to somebody who has more money. (In which case, Bill Gates would be the jackpot, huh?) Somebody who has the means to fund endless shopping sprees, new cars, trips around the world. And while all that sounds pretty fun, that's still not what marrying up means to me.
For some, it's marrying somebody in a higher social circle. Yeah, I know this is America, not India with its caste system, but let's face it; there still are higher and lower social circles. There are those proud to shop at Wal-Mart and those who run in and out as fast as possible, hoping nobody sees them while looking around and saying "Where did all these mutants come from?" Know what I'm saying? Though I guess it really doesn't matter, 'cause that's not what marrying up means to me.
For some marrying up means to somebody who's more successful. In which case, I'll say Matt Groening is the jackpot. Who ever would have though so much would come of Bart Simpson? Or, you know, Oprah. Because she's, you know, Oprah. Or anyone else in the world who doesn't quite measure up to those two but have carved out their own little niche of respect. But, alas, that's not what marrying up means to me.
To me, marrying up would be to somebody smarter than me. And funnier.
But then I really thought about that. It seems I'm not looking for somebody who's attractive or successful or financially stable with any sort of social standing. Just somebody with a brain and a sense of humor. And I got a frightening picture of my future.
Picture Kevin Smith if he had never made any movies. And still lived in his parents basement.
Oh crap. Now I'm depressed. I think I may have to go back to the grocery store, buy a bunch of ice cream and sit on the sofa watching TMZ.
Today I am grateful for:
2) sweet potatoes and cranberries
5) diet coke...it's my heroin
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?
Interesting. I think it's a misconception that life is all about doing things we like. That the ultimate purpose in life is gratification for gratification's sake. If that were the case, we would all be hailing Paris Hilton as the wisest person on earth and remembering Mother Theresa as a misguided no-nothing.
In everything we do in life, there are enjoyable and un-enjoyable aspects. We all have great days at work. We all have crappy days on the slopes or the golf course or fishing or have days where we are sand blasted or stung by jelly fish on the beach. Focusing solely on activities we view as things we like won't necessarily bring us happiness.
Since life is so short, maybe we should be focusing on being in the moment and finding both the purpose in and the likable aspects of everything we have to do, no matter what that may be.
Today I am grateful for:
1) changing seasons (though not necessarily the SNOW on the ground this morning!)
2) my all terrain tires that do so well in slippery conditions
3) yummy salads
4) fleece socks
5) online Xmas shopping
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It's funny: I actively try to downsize and purge on a regular basis, as well as limiting the amount of new stuff that I bring into the house. Yet I still somehow end up drowning in stuff. What's up with that?
So this week, I went through the kitchen and found
1) a mini blender that I had gotten as a secret Santa gift from work. It's nice for making smoothies and protein shakes, but really? I have a full size blender and a shaker cup that I use more often. Into the bag for the second hand store.
2) Four plastic tumblers that came as part of a set for freezer containers. The containers I use for all the crock pot soups I've been making. The cups? Not so much.
3) A glass goblet I'm ashamed to admit that I swiped from a restaurant. It's been sitting on my counter filled with potpourri. That went into the second hand bag, as well.
4) While paying bills, I noticed I had two calculators. Plus, calculator functions on my computer and my phone. (Plus, the ability to do basic math skills in my head or with a pen and paper. That's a skill I really should use more often lest I lose it completely) So one of the calculators went.
5) Went through the bookshelf and pulled down two books. Another of my goals this year has been to systematically READ all the books on the bookshelf. But let's face it. Some books were just a bad decision and I'll never read them. So I'll pass those along at the second hand store, too)
6) I have a music CD that somebody gave me for meditation or yoga or tai chi or whatever. I've never listened to it. So into the bag that goes.
7) While changing the summer clothes for the winter clothes, I managed to pull out two bags of clothes that I don't need anymore.
I feel lighter and less burdened already. (And after the purging of the As We Change catalog, I found that I am apparently quite fetching to guys 10 or so years younger than me while at the bar seeing my friend's band. Or maybe that was the beer. I'm going with me.)
Today I am grateful for:
1) an extra hour of sleep
3) movies that you watch over and over
4) environmentally friendly cleaners that smell good
5) seeing friends find their passion
Saturday, November 6, 2010
And tonite? I gotta rally to go into the city to see my friend's band. (I've been needing to rally to do just about anything these days) Should be fun.
Today I am grateful for:
1) productive Saturdays
2) Sleeping in
3) Purging clothes
4) flattering blouses
5) Good books
Friday, November 5, 2010
Today, I went to get a mammogram. I've never had one, but since I've turned 40, I figured I should go get one.
The ironic thing is: I was one of those people who was irate when insurance companies decided that the recommended 1st mammogram at 35 was unnecessary and they wouldn't pay for one until age 40. I was equally irate at that stupid panel this spring who concluded that women shouldn't do monthly breast exams or get mammograms until age 50 because the false positives caused more pain and anxiety than could be offset by the detection of true positives. You know, because the pain and anxiety of being asked to come back for more testing and then being told there is nothing wrong is right on par with dying! It ticks me right off that preventative diagnostic exams are valued so little by our insurance companies.
And then I go and conveniently "forget" to get a mammogram until I'm almost 41.
Of course, part of it was because I was petrified of the procedure. My friend, Isabella, told me in WAY too much detail why getting a mammogram was "the most painful thing she had ever experienced in her life."
For me, not so much. The entire procedure took ---I kid you not -- less than 5 minutes. I was like "That's it?" Then I looked at the rest of my afternoon, which I thought would be taken up by a long arduous procedure followed by curling up in fetal position in pain, and decided to go get a nice sandwich.
Maybe Isabella is just more sensitive than me. And I'll say it wasn't COMFORTABLE, but it was far from painful. I've had overzealous boyfriend inflict more pain on the girls. ( at which point I had to smack them upside the head and say "Hey buddy! Those are attached! Jerk.")
Anyway, I returned home, feeling pretty proud of my maturity for getting that old-lady medical test out of the way like a responsible adult. And found that an interesting catalog had arrived in the mail.
It was called: "As We Change." I repeat...the AS WE CHANGE catalog arrived in the mail today with my name on it! Chock full of lovely items like wrinkle cream, hair touch up cream, bunion pads, and glasses that flipped down one eye piece at a time so that you can apply eye make up whilst still seeing yourself in the mirror. There was a lovely 3 page spread of "resort wear": swim dresses, mu-mu's, wide brimmed hats, and sandals that look like they were custom made for the customers who buy the bunion pads. And my personal favorite item: arm girdles. Yes, indeedy, lycra sleeves to be worn under your clothing to tame the bat wings. Ever hear of a gym, ladies? Some nice tricep extensions twice a week may work nicely on those bat wings.
Exactly WHAT did I order in my life that put me on the list to get this catalog? And what kind of sick joke is the universe playing on me that it arrived on the very day that I got my old person diagnostic test on the ta-ta's?
I spent the evening drinking with my friends.
Today I am grateful for:
2) good friends you can dissect the AS WE CHANGE catalog with and laugh
3) the lovely leaf colors in the fall
4) ice cream
5) the awesome new book I started today
Thursday, November 4, 2010
And I'm resurrecting:
COOKING FOR THE CLUELESS (for the culinary challenged and/or those without a functional oven)
today's recipe was probably pulled out of a magazine or something. I wrote it in my recipe card file but have no idea where it came from.
SWEET POTATO/ SQUASH BISQUE
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium diced onion
1 minced shallot
2 diced granny smith apples
3 diced celery stalks
1 pound diced butternut squash
1 pound diced sweet potatoes
4 cups veggie stock
8 ounces silken tofu
1 dash cumin
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
salt and pepper to taste
Put the olive oil, onion, and shallots in the crock pot on high. While that is getting all nice and warm and smelly, dice the rest of the ingredients. Pop the rest of the veggies in one by one. Then the spices. Look in the fridge and decide to throw in some red peppers and a couple cloves of garlic as well. Add the veggie stock. Turn to low. Then go to bed and let it cook all night.
Wake up around 2 am inundated with the smell of garlic and onions and dreaming that you are trapped in an industrial kitchen with a serial killer after you like in a horror movie. Run around, opening windows and turn on the ceiling fan. Be eternally grateful that the weather warmed up so you can sleep with the windows open without freezing your tuckas off.
Get up in the morning, add the silken tofu. Let that cook for about 20 minutes. Scoop a couple ladles out into storage containers because it looks so good as is.
Then blend the rest with an immersion blender and put in storage containers.
It is super-duper yummy.
Today I am grateful for:
1) spinach pie
2) the gym
4) hanging out with my buds
5) my kitty cat
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
2) Which is worse: failing or not trying?
Ok, that's pretty much a no-brainer. Not trying is way worse! There is nothing worse than not trying! Failing doesn't even really exist, when you think about it. Because even if things didn't work out the way you wanted them to, you always end up learning something from the experience. Some of the best character building experiences of my life came from situations that ended the exact opposite of how I hoped. And though I wished those things had never happened while I was in the thick of it, later I appreciated how I grew and changed as a person because of it.
On the contrary: NOT trying? NOT TRYING? How is that even an option? Has anyone ever gotten to the end of their life and said "I'm so glad I spent all that time sitting on the sofa watching television instead of out in the real world." Well, maybe there are people who would say that. I'm happy I'm not one of them!
Today I'm grateful for:
1) cancellations on my schedule
4) my new book
5) Lush's Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter (so effective and so fun to say)
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
When I was little, I had this best friend. We were inseperable. We were both these tiny, skinny, really athletic little girls. We did gymnastics and played soccer and swam in her pool. We used to do crazy flips off the diving board and scare the be-jeezus out of our mothers. We climbed trees and built gigantic snow-jumps at the bottom of the sledding hill so that we could flyhigher than anyone else. (we were little and tiny so our sled didn't weigh much) We used to pretend that we were sisters. We pretty much were. Every weekend we slept over one another's houses. Every day we sat together on the bus.
Somewhere in junior high school, we started to grow apart. She was always a little braver than me. And wanted to grow up faster than I did. In junior high, that combination of bravery and a desire to grow up fast can put you into situations that I was afraid of. And we drifted.
It's not like we had a big falling out. It's not like we were ever angry with one another. It's not like there was a lot of drama. We just drifted apart. And I haven't seen her in I don't know how many years.
Until last night, at her mom's wake.
And it was so sad to know that the person who was like a second mom to me is gone. Sadder still that I hadn't seen her in so long. It's bewildering to think that a person who was one of the most important people in your world slips from your life and you don't have any contact until... a wake.
And even still....we talked and cried together and hugged and reminisced a bit. But I'm not even sure if we will be in contact from here on out except as facebook friends or something.
It has me thinking a lot. About things that may have no answers.
Today I am grateful for:
1) the right to vote
2) an end to negative campaign ads
3) old friends
4) kind words
5) second chances
Monday, November 1, 2010
But now I'm ready to lose the October blues and jump head first into November for what I hope is a fantastical month!!
1) I've been ramping up the off-season training: Lose 5# in November.
2) Get 2011 Race Schedule set.
3) Get apartment into winter configuration
4) Finish work presentation
5) Do certification exam
6) Get Xmas shopping 1/2 done.
7) Finish 4 books
8) Post every day this month
9) Get started on photo book from trip
10) Get rid of 30 things this month!!
And since November is Thanksgiving month:
Today I am grateful for:
1) early morning workouts
2) a good night's sleep
4) fleece socks
5) keeping on track at work
Monday, October 25, 2010
Goal to drop some weight and work on strength and speed.
And...I may have an opportunity to do Boston! A fund raising venture, of course, as I am too slow to qualify. Plus, 2011's race sold out in 6 hours! So even if I did qualify, there's a good chance I couldn't get in anyhow. Living so close to the nation's oldest marathon and having been there for the party atmosphere so many times in the past, I figured I should jump on any opportunity to actually run it if I could.
Now the waiting game begins....will I get a fund raiser number?
We shall see.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
But this weekend, I did get a chance to sit down for an hour or two and check out all my favorite bloggie buddies and I came across this new little jem, through Lacey in Love. (She's just the cutest thing!)
Anyway, I just fell in love with City Girl's thoughts on life and living in the city and all that jazz. So much so, that I decided to steal an idea from her blog. (It's not really stealing, is it? It's collaborating! I feel like we are doing this together, just that I'm 5 weeks behind. We're bonding, really.) And I invite anyone else out there to do the same!
Or maybe its because I'm just too tired and brain dead to even come up with an original idea on my own.
Whatever. Here goes:
50 Questions to Free Your Mind:
1) How Old Would You Be If You Didn't Know How Old You Are?
I think I'd be 26. Twenty six was the year I decided to jump in my jeep and start driving all over the country with just the most minute idea of what was next. 26 was the year I finally felt like I had enough courage to break out of the roles that had been placed on me by everyone else in life and decide for myself who I wanted to be. 26 was the first year I REALLY felt like I was in control.
I've been through alot since then, and I have to admit that when I started this blog 2 years ago, I was in a place where I had no idea who I was anymore. I felt a lot older than I was. And alot younger (and confused) at the same time.
I'm happy to say that I'm back in that good place. I feel 26 again. I have no idea where my life is going again. I'm pretty sure where I am right now is not it. But I don't feel stuck anymore. I don't feel scared anymore. And even though I've once again put myself into workaholic mode, I don't feel like its my inevitable fate.
I'm pretty happy with my 26 year old mentality.
I think I'll stay 26 for a while
Monday, October 18, 2010
Unfortunately, my face had erupted into a beautiful mess.
Last Thursday, I started getting a strange rash along both cheekbones. It was bubble-gum pink and bumpy. And hot. And itchy.
I figured I was having an allergic reaction to something, so I went home, washed my face and took a Benedryl. It did not help. At all. I woke up actually worse than before!
My friend, Isabella, told me that often after traveling overseas, she gets a rash when she returns home. Seems our water in the US has chlorine and fluoride in it, which can irritate skin that's not used to it. So I bought a gallon of spring water and washed my face with that.
It seemed to help a bit. It wasn't as itchy and had toned down from fluorescent pink to a dull red. Bingo! That's all I need to do.
Through Saturday, my mystery rash remained unchanged. I just hung low and kept washing with spring water.
Then Sunday hit. I woke up looking like "Woogie" from "There's Something About Mary". I actually had a small cyst-like bump on the rim of my left eye. (It killed!) Both my eyes were essentially swollen shut. The leprosy had spread from my cheekbones to my chin, jaw, neck, and chest. And I itched. My eyes itched. My nose itched. My ears itched. My throat itched. My hair itched.
There was no way I could run a half marathon in this condition!
I pried my eyes open as far as I could and hit the walk in clinic at CVS. There were 4 people in line ahead of me. All four looked at me and said "Why don't you go in front of me?" ( I probably would have done the same thing)
I think I can conclude, with a fair amount of certainty, that it was not the water that caused this. I still have no idea what it was, but now I'm on prednisone, so whatever it was is clearing up. (I'm still pretty itchy, though)
So now, I'm looking for another half marathon in the New England area. Or not. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something?
I'm still hitting Cool Runnings tonite.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Now that I'm back from my trip, I guess it's time to update my life list:
1) Saw the Sistine Chapel in person (check)
2) Fell down the stairs at the Vatican (check)
3) Stole the Pope's hat (Ok, no. Decided that would cut the trip real short!)
4) Saw the Spanish Steps in person (check)
5) Soaked the entire front of my pants so it looked like I peed myself at the Fontana dell Barcaccia at the base of the Spanish Steps (check)
6)Saw the Colosseum in person (check)
7) Fell down the stairs at the Colosseum (check)
8) Went on a gondola ride in Venice (check)
9) Got hit on by a gondolier named Leonardo (of course his name was Leondardo. What else could it be? And no, it was not the same gondolier from our ride) (check)
10) Fell in a canal in Venice (almost but I caught myself just in time)
11) Dropped my sweater in a canal in Venice (check)
12) Threw out a sweater in a foreign land (check)
13) Saw St. Mark's Basilica in person (check)
14) Saw somebody else fall off the elevated sidewalk into the water in a flooded St. Mark's Baslica (check)
15) Said a small prayer of thanks to St. Mark, my patron saint of not-falling (check)
16) Climbed to the top of the Duomo in Florence (check)
17) Fell down the stairs at the Duomo (NO! Keep up people! I already said my prayer to St. Mark)
18) Saw Botocelli's "Primavera" in person (check)
19) Had a complete identity crisis: "Why the heck did I go into health care when I could have majored in something REALLY good -- like art history?" (check)
20) Saw Galileo's telescope in person (check)
21) Had a complete identify crisis: "Ok, science and medicine are good, too. But compared to THOSE guys, I totally suck!" (check)
22) Had to be talked off a figurative ledge by J: "Maybe comparing yourself to Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci is setting the bar a little high." (check)
23) Saw the statue of David at the Galleria dell Accademia in person (check)
24) Fell down the stairs at the Galleria dell Accademia (check) (What the hell, St. Mark? You fair weather saint! Aren't I allowd an identity crisis or two? Jerk!)
25) Ate my body weight in proscuitto and gelato (check)
26) Saw two dear friends get married at a villa in Tuscany (check)
27) Accepted the fact that every other wedding I'll go to for the rest of my life will pale by comparison (check)
28) Had a complete identity crisis: including my own if I ever get married (check)
29) Lost my cynicism regarding love (check)
30) Decided I have to go back to Italy to complete the rest of the Italian based items on the life list (check)
LIFE is GOOD. I feel like the luckiest person alive.