Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Early October

And though I am a summer girl at heart (toes in the sand, jeep top down, hair wild in beachy waves and disarray) I am proclaiming it "October" one day early.

'Cause this gypsie vagabond needs to head the call of travel and friendship; I'm off to Italy with my two best buds.

Be back when October is in full swing with tales galore!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

INSPIRATION IS ALL AROUND YOU ----Seen on a "Life is Good" shirt

SO last week, I shared a little story about my overindulgence and the subsequent aftermath. It seems, however, that I was a little quick to judgment. On Tuesday, when I was still feeling ill, I embraced the idea that I did not, in fact, have a hangover. Which was, sadly, a bit of a disappointment to me. I thought I at least had some bragging rights for partying like a rock star! (You know, a rock star who can't handle two micro-brews and a pile of donuts and has Martha Stewart housewares in the car for a bridal shower)

Anyway, this weekend, there were so many things I COULD have done: a friend's party, the last tri of the season, firewater in Providence, if only I could rally. But then, I thought: if I rally this weekend, will I be paying for it next weekend? That would not be good. A friend is having a destination wedding in ITALY!!! and it has snowballed into a girlfriends trip abroad. So dragging-ass next weekend is NOT an option. And even though summer rallied and blessed us with one last perfect beach day, I did not rally, myself.

I did, however, spend a lot of time thinking of some people I met two weeks ago who were the polar opposite of me last weekend. They didn't just RALLY, they completely inspired.

During the warm up for the Mayflower Sprint Triathlon, I started talking to an older woman who was sporting a wet suit. "Well, I'm 75 and it's my first triathlon, so my goal is to just finish without drowning."

"My goal is to be YOU someday!" I said. (I totally do, too. Nothing I want more than to still be doing the tris when I am 70)

The next day, I went to the gym for a little recovery workout wearing the race shirt (it's a really nice cool max) A woman at the gym said "Did you do the race?" I said yes and she told me that her mother was the oldest woman in the race, age 75.

"I met her!" I said. "I told her I wanted to be her!"

Turns out, they had a relay team: The mom, age 75, did the swim. The daughter, a breast cancer survivor, did the bike. And the grand-daughter did the run. She has CP and walked the 3 miles with forearm crutches.

"You guys are AWESOME!" I said. "You rock!"

So even though I was completely lame last weekend, I assure you all it won't become a habit. When I'm tempted to just sit around and do nothing, I have the best motivation I would ever hope for. All I have to do is think back to the amazing people I was lucky enough to meet through the sport I hope to be lucky enough to still be doing when I'm 75.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

yay summer

Yay to summer for totally rallying into fall and giving me that one last beautiful beach day I have been dreaming about.

Now I can put the hard top on.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Advil, sudafed, tea. Repeat.

I swear, buying REAL sudafed is harder than buying a gun, now! I went to get some and none was available -- anywhere in town! A few days later, I got the last box in CVS. You have to show your ID and they keep track of everyone who buys it.

Seriously? If I tried to make crystal meth, I'd end up burning my house down. And besides -- alcohol is so easy to obtain and cheap. I'm lazy like that.

So when I feel like I just got run over by a truck, please don't hassle me for my sudafed.

That's all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

too much

Here's the thing: I take on too much. All the time. I don't know how to say no. I try to. And then I give in and say yes. I end up with way more to do than I possibly have time for and have to sacrifice the things I really want to do. In order to do things for other people that they really should be doing for themselves.

It happens at work. It happens with friends. It happens with family. It happens with mere aquaintances who I know vaguely through a group or club or something.

I get overwhelmed and stressed. Sometimes run down and sick. Always cranky. Really, really, cranky.

So today, when the countdown to my awesome Italian trip should be totally underway, I am drowning under too much. I'm sacrificing workouts. I'm sacrificing sleep. I'm going into work on my day off (and not getting paid). I'm getting up at 6:00 am on weekend days that I DON'T have a race!

And then, when I tried to re-delegate a task back to a friend (who works one day a week) I somehow ended up getting it re-re-delegated right back to me.

WHY WHY WHY do I let people convince me that their watching Survivor is more important than me getting more than 5 hours of sleep at night?

ANd does anyone know of a good assertiveness training class that I should take?

*Image from

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fair Food

This weekend, I met some friends for a mini college friends reunion at the Big E. For those of you unfamiliar with the Big E, it officially stands for the Eastern States Exposition, a kind of state fair for all the collective states of New England. Unofficially, it stands for The Big EAT, as it is the only place I know of to eat your way across all the New England states in one day.

That, of course, is what we did. There was lobster rolls and potatoes in Maine, maple candy and Ben and Jerry's in Vermont, blueberry pie in New Hampshire, cranberry jam in Massachusetts, tomato salad in Connecticutt, and seafood stew and Quahogs in Rhode Island. Plus, different varieties of clam chowda in EVERY state. Of course, I didn't eat ALL of that food, but I did think about it.

What I did eat was the food item I had been thinking about for weeks, ever since we started thinking about going to the Big E: Tom Thumb mini donuts! In the mega bucket size. Nothing says fair like a mega sized plastic bucket filled with fried dough circles covered in cinnamon and sugar.

My friend, Renee, and I hauled that bucket all over the fair. In the Farm-a-rama: "Hey, you want to look at the baby chicks?", "Sure!", "Donut?" "Sure!" ; "I had not idea there were so many products of bovine origin!", "Me neither!", "Donut?", "Sure!". In the Better Living Center (or, as we call it, The Hoax Hut) we scarfed mini donuts while we researched pillow pals, snuggies, Body Perfect Activewear, and three different types of waterless cookware. Oh, and if you've ever wondered if the Sham-Wow! can pick up a pile of spilled grease and cinnamon sugar...absolutely!

You know what else they had at the Big E? Beer! Lots and lots of beer. I do not remember beer at the Big E when we were in college. I'm pretty confident that we would have spent far more time and effort into procuring said beer when we were in college. But now? There is a Sam Adams tent right in front of gate 1! (And in mid September, the selection includes BOTH the summer varieties and the harvest selections!) There are micro brew gardens and beverage booths everywhere you turn. And you can walk around the entire Big E with a big cup of beer in one hand and a mega bucket of donuts in the other.

Of course, at 5 am on Sunday, Sam Adams and Tom Thumb paid me a little visit. It seems they really enjoyed the Big E, too, and they still wanted to party. As for me, I was not amused by their antics and I am presently not on speaking terms with either Sam or Tom.

I will end with a question for you all: the same question that was running through my head as I was driving down the Mass Pike today. At what age are you too old to show up at a bridal shower completely hung over?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fill in the blank Friday

Totally stole this idea from Lacey just because I thought if was fun. Go over and check out her answers, too. (Then you can compare and contrast cute little Southern gal and Cranky ol' New England gal!)

When I get a day to myself, I like to:
Get outside and do something! Nothing I like better than going to the beach, biking, hiking, running, or just lying in the sun with a book for those days when the dogs are barking! Oh, the good weather days are growing short. Soon I'll be bundled in fleece for my outdoor days off. sigh.

High School Was:
Hard. Stressful. Something I couldn't wait to end. (I went to one of those all girl's college prep schools, which will do alot to explain the above adjectives.) On the other hand, I think I'd be MORE uptight now if I didn't get that nonsense out of my system in high school!

A little dream I have is:
To complete a half ironman. Without walking. Or dying.

A big dream I have is:
To travel the entire world. I'll be one step closer to that goal next month. (I'm going to Italy!)

If I could drive any car it would be:
A jeep, of course! Though I wish they were a little more environmentally friendly. (I'm pretty positive a hybrid jeep will never be a reality) Oh, but the wind in my hair with the top off! And the freedom to go anywhere in any kind of weather thanks to the four wheel drive. I think if I could BE any car I would be a jeep.

A time that I felt really and truly beautiful was:
This time several years ago when I met my then-boyfriend in King's Canyon for a camping trip. (we were living far apart and the park was in the middle) I was hot and sweaty and disgusting in dusty, ripped jean cutoffs and an old t-shirt. Plus, I had just chopped 10 inches off my hair 'cause the air conditioning in my building didn't work and I couldn't take that fur coat on my neck and shoulders anymore. So, no, I wasn't feeling particularly beautiful. Until said boyfriend arrived and saw me with my short hair for the first time. The way his face lit up and the way he said "Wow!" made me feel like I just won Ms. America or something.

Tomorrow I will:
Drive out to the Big E for a reunion with the gals I went to college with.

Have a good weekend, all!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Seasons turn

Oh what a difference a week makes!

Last Monday, I was all about watermelon and strawberries, capris pants and jogging outside along the canal. I had the fan on high and a tank top and boxers to sleep in.

Today, I had sweet potato soup and I'm craving butternut squash. Pulled out my cashmere hoodie this am before work. And I'm closing all the windows in my thermal top and sweats.

Good sleeping weather.

But I'm counting on a good indian summer to give me a few more beach days before autumn truly sets in.

'Nite, all!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

weekly writing workshop

Last week, I was searching through my favorite blogs and I came across the weekly writing assignment from MamaKat. That’s something I’ve participated in from time to time. And the prompts this week really made me laugh. But life has been a whirlwind this week and I just didn’t have the time to sit at the computer and write.

But then, this morning, as I was doing dishes, I watched Chelsea Handler doing stand up on Comedy Central and it go me not only laughing, but thinking back to MamaKat and her funny prompts.

So, 4 days late for the party:

What did you used to have in common with your child-bearing friends and why you still love them anyway.

I’ve been thinking of this quite a bit over the past few years. Most of my friends have been taking the leap into parenthood and I’ve been watching, fascinated. And while I think having a child is wonderful, I never fully realized that having a child is sort of like being abducted by aliens and being replaced by a pod person.

I’m not sure if newborns emit some kind of mind altering pheromones or something, but one of the first symptoms of parenthood is amnesia. The moment their baby is born, parents completely forget what their life was like before children. Strangely, they all seem to remember their lives as being way more exciting with much less responsibility.

A few months ago, I was talking to a friend of mine, a SAHM with a three year old. She was waxing poetically about what her life was like before she became a mom. How she used to party until dawn and sleep till noon. How she would jet off to Vegas or the Playboy Mansion at a moment’s notice. And what about that time she danced naked on a yacht with Diddy?

“What? You were a kindergarten teacher!” I said.

“Yes,” she replied. “But a kindergarten teacher who PARTIED!”

“But you and your husband vegged out on the sofa watching movies BEFORE you even had a baby.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t expect you to understand,” she said. “You don’t have responsibilities like I do.”

“Look, I’d love to continue this debate, but I gotta go. I worked 12 hours today and I gotta get into work by 7am tomorrow if I want to be able to go to my niece’s dance recital tomorrow night.”

“See!” she wailed, “Your work day ends when you come home! I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week!”

Which brings me to another mystery: what constitutes “work” and what constitutes “time off” between those with children and those without. Look, I know that staying up all night with a crying child who has a fever is a thankless, exhausting, emotionally draining task. But why is filling the washing machine with onesis and bibs an act on par with building orphanages in the slums of Calcutta? Especially when my throwing in a load of sheets and towels is viewed as equal to hanging out with Snookie and the gang in Atlantic City?

When my friends gave birth, I did not suddenly acquire Mary Poppins-like powers allowing my apartment to clean itself, my clothes to put themselves away, and groceries to buy themselves, whip themselves into nutritious dishes, and then go live in my fridge. (Which kind of sucks. I would LOVE to be able to do all that!) So if we are both on the floor scrubbing out the toilet, why can’t we either BOTH be working or BOTH be enjoying our leisure time?

And about that leisure time: I use mine to run. And bike. And swim. To lift weights and do yoga. I do this because I like to. Also, because if I didn’t do these things, I would probably climb the nearest bell-tower with a rifle and start picking off pedestrians. Exercise keeps me sane. It’s also wicked fun! But I don’t expect everyone to spend their leisure time the way I do.

I have some friends who ground themselves with a cup of tea and a chapter from a good book. Other friends need a half hour of trash TV to forget their worries. I have one friend who designs stained glass hangings and sells them at craft fairs. (It’s really cool. She’s so talented my head hurts when I look at her stuff)

Something weird happens when you have kids, though. You start saying things like: “Well, I could do triathlons, too. But I have kids, so I don’t have time.” Even if you hate running. And haven’t run since high school gym class when you had to do those presidential fitness tests. Even if you hate sports and competition of any kind. Even if you once went to a super bowl party and asked “Who’s Tom Brady?”

Plus, I see tons of people at triathlons with kids. They don’t have ONE child, either. They usually have 5 or so. (I’m guessing two defensemen and three forwards. Mom and Dad take turns being goalie.) The collective resume of these 5 kids reads something like this: alternate for the Olympic ski team, college scholarships in lacrosse, gymnastics, and baseball, summiting all 48 high points in the continental USA, and walking the entire Pacific Crest Trail at age 16. They begin their athletic endeavors by blowing by my sorry ass during the run portion of triathlons. Even though their wave started 12 minutes after mine. I’m not positive, but triathlete parents may ACTUALLY be aliens beings! You know, of a more highly evolved race that are just slumming it on earth for a while. So it’s probably not even fair to be mentioning them at all.

My original point is: training for a marathon is NOTHING like carrying another human being in your uterus for nine months. Stop comparing them!

Of course, I can stop marathon and triathlon training at any time, as unadvisable as it may be. It’s a very bad idea for all of mankind, but I do have that option. I could quit my job that keeps me those long hours and decide to travel around the world with nothing but a backpack. Which, on the other hand, is very advisable. (Let’s face it; its pretty much inevitable in my little world.) I could stop cleaning the bathroom; I could live in a tent without a bathroom if I wanted to!

My friends with children don’t have the option to stop being parents, even for a little while. They’ve made a decision from which there is no turning back. Maybe THAT’S what all the odd behavior is about?

Maybe it’s not that they actually think I sit around all day in my underwear, eating bon bons and drinking whiskey. Rather, they know that my decisions are still all my own. They do know I work hard and I work long hours. But they also know that ultimately the only one who depends on me is me. And to them, being free of the fear that one mistake will affect another little person permanently really is like having no responsibility at all.

So I can forgive them for the crazy behavior. Because I know it really isn’t about me. And I can continue to love them for the people I know they still are underneath the craziness.

Now… about the set ups with your creepy co-workers because you want to see me settled already…

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A few months ago, K purchased the Droid Incredible and has spent every waking moment since using any and every application possible....all in an attempt to convince J that it is a cost effective piece of technology. I sit by and laugh at the arguments that erupt over his using Google maps to get directions to the Dunkin Donuts three miles from the house -- the one he has gone to each and every day for coffee for the past 10 years.

So a couple weeks ago when we went on the annual camping trip (yep, the one where I was ruthlessly attacked by a yellowjacket) we HAD to use the Droid to get directions. This wasn't quite as off the wall as the Dunkin Donuts trips. After all, even though we have been going on this trip since our teens, we somehow manage to go a different way each time. So maybe the Droid would educate us on a better route after all.

The soothing female voice from the phone directed us to exit the interstate two exits before our usual turn. Then led us down a winding, meandering, very desolate road. No worries, the scenery was beautiful. We just didn't seem to be headed anywhere. We passed through tiny picturesque towns in New Hampshire with beautiful white steepled churches and signs that declared their poulations: 246 or 312.

In one such town, we passed a sign in front of the town hall announcing a Beanhole Dinner. That's right: Bean. Hole. Dinner. Not a spaghetti supper or a pancake breakfast, a pizza party or a potluck. No...a Beanhole Dinner. Now, I have absolutely no idea what a Beanhole Dinner is. I can only hope, for everyone's sake, that the picturesque town hall is well ventilated.

Shortly after Beanholeville, the soothing female voice from the Droid Incredible announced: "Connection Lost." Inside the car on the picturesque road, we went nuts.

"Are you f-ing kidding me? She drives us out in the middle of nowhere and then just abandons us?!?"

"That BITCH!"

I declared that when we got the connection back, I was gonna kick her right in the teeth.

J went one better: "I'm gonna kick her right in the Beanhole!"

And thus was born our newest and favorite insult: beanhole. We waxed poetically how funny it is that Cakehole, Cornhol, and Beanhole all quite obviously refer to completely different spots. And how funny the words are in their own right. Why is that? Why is it so funny to say "Shut your cakehole?" I don't know. It just is.

We finally arrived at our destination: a mere 45 minutes longer than our next longest trip to the Saco. (that was the year the police set up a sobriety check point that created a 4 mile backup) Undeterred, K proceeded to declare the superiority of the directions from the Droid. "Yeah, we might have gotten here earlier without this, but the Droid gave us beanhole."

We may just have to kick him in the Droid Incredible.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor day was made for the beach! Oh, and what a happy labor day it was!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life is Good

Oh, what a fantastic day! I did my sprint tri in warm water (thanks, Earl!) and wonderful sunny yet breezy conditions. Every time I do one of these things, I'm overcome at just the sheer joy of the swim, bike, run. I love all three so much! And yes, I'm slow. I'm torn sometimes between wanting to be faster and the fear of taking all the fun out of the training and racing process.

Today was wonderful and fun.

And...AND...had enough time to go to the beach afterward!

SOmetimes life is just so good I can't stand it!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

a good day

So it looks like Earl peetered out and was not the giant storm we had expected. Nonetheless, my sprint tri was postponed until tomorrow secondary to strong currents. It's pretty rare that a race is postponed until the next day. I'm pretty happy about that.

Instead of racing, I went on a slow group run, drove the bike route of tomorrow's race, and then went to the farmer's market for this week's groceries. As I was driving home, I was thinking about all the other things on my "to-do" list and it hit me: if I were reading a memoir or something and somebody else described my life to me, I would be really jealous of it. I'd be thinking "Oh, a nice group run, a ride down a meandering road past horse farms to prepare for a race the next day, a trip to the farmer's market where there is food and live music...must be nice!"

In my own life, I don't appreciate it. Instead, I'm thinking of all the other things I need to accomplish and basically treating my life like a running list. And though I am a big fan of lists, I don't want to live my life like it's a list of thinks to be ticked off one at a time.

And so for the rest of the day, I tried to appreciate all the good things that are surrounding me.

Off to bed...big race tomorrow!

Friday, September 3, 2010

book report

I just finished a book that I picked up from the bargain section of the bookstore. I always have mixed feelings about the bargain section. On the one hand, I love a bargain. On the other hand, I always feel bad for the authors of the books that land in the bargain section.

But then again, I often come across books and authors that I otherwise would never have discovered. Occasionally, I end up thinking, "And the bargain section is the only place your work SHOULD be" (I'm sorry, was that snarky?) But often, I finish the book and I'm pleased to have discovered a great work by a great writer. And vow to buy something from this author from the NON bargain section.

This was one of those books.

The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer is a fast paced, keep you guessing thriller in the same vein as The DaVinci Code or Angels and Demons. Only instead of rushing around Paris or Rome pursued by Freemasons or people from that weird sect of catholocism that Mel Gibson belongs to, the protagonist in this book is rushing around....Cleveland....pursued by ....agents from homeland security....trying to deicpher a code hidden in .....superman comics. (Put that way, it sounds rather ridiculous) But it really is a good read.

I read this book on the beach, and it's a great beach book. Or a great before bed book. It kept me interested enough to wonder what was going on with the characters. But the chapters were written in such a way that I felt ok putting the book down at the end of a chapter. I was never tempted to stay up all night to finish the entire book. Not because it wasn't interesting. More so, I think, because the author was thoughtful enough to realize that sometimes readers want to unwind with a chapter or two and then get enough rest to function at work the next day!

My other thought was: why haven't I heard of this Brad Meltzer guy before? You'd think that his stuff would be more popular. Turns out, he's actually a pretty successful writer and he's written several best sellers as well as writing for television (Jack and Bobby). So I didn't feel AS bad about the bargain section thing. At least he wasn't existing on ramen noodles in a rat infested apartment somewhere while I picked up his work for $3.99.

One more thing-- (maybe the best part of this whole book experience) -- he started an organization as a result of the research for this book.

So it was multi layer experience of goodness.

Go to the bargain section of your bookstore and pick it up. You'll like it!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Last weekend, J, K, and I went on our annual canoing trip to the Saco River in Maine. Its a trip we have been going on pretty consistantly since we were 19 years old. For the past few years, we have been musing that "This is our last year." This year, between the overpriced camp sites (it used to be public land with free camping), the extra bag of trash we took OUT of the river as we floated along, and the fact that it now resembles and outdoor nightclub rather than a river in Maine, we may actually MEAN it.

But this story isn't about that.

It's about this:

As we were loading the canoes, I got stung by a yellowjacket. Of course, I didn't know it at the time. I couldn't see my feet since I was carrying a huge cooler filled with ice and beverages. Single-handedly. Because I'm wicked strong! I was standing there, rock-still with this really heavy cooler while K tried to get the food cooler into the canoe keystone cop-style. I felt a sharp pinch on my foot.

"Man, my flip-flops are really uncomfortable" I thought. I twisted my foot to make it more comfortable. Another pinch. "I'm tossing these things after this weekend." And yet another pinch. "Why are they ITCHY now?"

At this point, I was able to unload my plastic burden and get a good look at my foot. Where I saw a yellowjacket the size of a hummingbird resting. Oh.

So I shooed him (her?) away and continued with the packing process. No biggie. I've been stung by bees before, lots of times. I mean, not since I was around 12, but I never remembered it being a big deal. A little baking soda paste, some screaming and crying, a popsicle, and --pow-- good as new.

Only this time, about an hour later, my foot was the size of a football. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration; a nerf football. I held my foot up for everyone to see: "Does this swelling look a little excessive for a bee sting? Or three?" It was decided that the swelling was pretty bad, but as long as I could breathe ok, I should just shut up and keep drinking. Cool.

Oh, and I probably should mention that when I say "canoing", I mean walking along and dragging the canoes behind us. With the hot temperatures and lack of rain this summer, the Saco River was at an all-time low. As I walked along with my jurassic foot (now devoid of any sensation other than ITCHY) I stubbed my toe on a log. Successfully breaking it.

So now at the end of my leg I had a nerf football with 4 stubby sausages and one concord grape. (I'm wicked attractive)

Luckily, by the time we got to camp, J had located some Benadryl gel-spray which we applied liberally to my cloven hoof and cankle. It took the redness and itchiness away. Not the swelling, though. That stuck around for a while yet.

By the next day, the cankle had ascended and now I had a CALF. Ok, that totally didn't work. I had a Sta-Puft Marshmallow calf!

And by Sunday, my knee had gotten in on the action. I looked like one of my cardiac patients in the throws of a particularly bad bout of congestive heart failure. I could breathe, though. So it was all good. (And I continued to drink)

We did stop at CVS on the way home and pick up some Benadryl and an ice pack. I was passed out and chillin' all the way home. (missed all the traffic through Boston)

So now, I gotta get myself to an allergist to get tested. Because I there's a chance I'll step on a beehive NEXT year.

Which just might be our last canoe trip. I really mean it this time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Goals

Happy September everyone! I hope everyone is feeling as good as I am. Unlike most folks, I don't consider September the beginning of fall. September has some of the best weathe of the year. It's just summer with all the kids back in school and all the tourist gone from the beach! Its a great time to start up with goals, again, too.

September Goals:

1) PR in sprint triathlon. I'm hoping hurricane Earl cooperates and blows on out to sea.

2) Clean eating for the month I got a really good reason for dropping pounds before October

3) Completely prepare for October trip (more on that later)

4) Try 4 new recipes this month (four clean food recipes)

5) Journal every day (is it nuts that I actually have THREE journals for three purposes?)

6) Have a nice Auntie Day with my neices and nephews

7) Finish 4 books

8) Complete prep for work presentation

9) Post every day this month (would that make four journals?)

10) Suck up every last minute of driving with the top down time possible!