Monday, November 28, 2011

Think Locally Act Thankfully

So it was a busy weekend filled with lots of warm weather and lots of activities. (Though blog posting was not one of them!) How wonderful to have 60 degree weather at the end of November in New England?

Also have the opportunity to donate to charities that are worthwhile. Last week I commented on a charity that operated out of Africa. Today I'm going to talk about a couple closer to home. Not only closer to my home, but closer to just about everyone's home as there are local chapters all over for those who like to think globally and act locally.

Two of the booths at the Alternative Gift Fair were taken by: Habitat for Humanity and the local food pantry. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide affordable homes for needy families. They build a number of homes in areas with donated materials and volunteer labor and assist the families with reasonable mortgage payments and affordable loans. The goal being to keep at risk families above the poverty level and prevent homelessness. Habitat operates worldwide. The other nice thing about Habitat is that in addition to monetary donations, volunteer opportunities exist for those of us who want to give back but have financial issues of our own to contend with.

Food pantries also exist all over in local communities. The food pantry in this area operates by accepting donated food and then putting together and delivering boxes to homes in the area. Most food pantries are especially in need of baby food, baby cereals, and formula. They also accept canned items, boxes of cereal and oatmeal, pastas and sauces, and juice boxes. Some organizations accept fresh produce, others cannot. Its important to check with local agencies to see what they are most in need of. Volunteer opportunites also exist for these organizations, as well. I have worked in the past "out back" sorting food according to category, getting rid of expired products, stocking shelves, and putting together boxes. It sounds rather boring, but in fact, its kind of nice, almost meditative. It's especially nice if you deal with people all day long and just want to chill out and decompress after work while simultaneously doing some good. I spend a couple Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings working in soup kitchens, as well. We made soup, mashed potatoes, rolls, veggies, etc. We served turkey and ham dinners to homeless folks (who always seem to be really, really funny. It's like having a great sense of humor is a needed coping strategy or something) We put together care packages of socks, granola bars, lip balm, sun screen, soap, wet naps, and little first aid kits that all the folks could take when they left. It was a good way to start off a holiday.

I haven't done the soup kitchen thing since returning home where the family lives, but that doesn't make lot of sense, does it? Maybe I need to look one up for this Christmas.

Fri 11/25: 30 min walk and abs-- 3 points
Sat 11/26: 12 mile run --12 points
Sun 11/27: 30 min bike and arms--4 points
Today: 0 points :(

Friday I was thankful for:
the fact that my car trouble was totally minor (up and running!)
Saturday I was thankful for:
the unseasonably warm weather
Sunday I was thankful for:
a restful day. they don't come along very often
Monday I was thankful for:
Carol, a former co-worker who is moving on to another job in Florida. She is great. Florida is lucky to be getting her!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Oh, Thanksgiving! The other 364 days of the year, I never consider Thanksgiving a "favorite holiday". But on Thanksgiving day itself, I love, looove, lurve it!

This year, we went to my younger brother's house, not my older brother's, as has been the tradition for the past 5 years. They have a much smaller house, so in order to accommodate the number of people present, they had to move the dining room table from the little dining alcove into the living room and move the sofa from the living room into the dining alcove. Sounds crazy, but it totally worked. Worked almost too well, as my sister in law, at the end of the day, said: "I kind of like the sofa here. You can sit and relax and talk to everyone in the kitchen while they work. I'm keeping it like this until at least Christmas!"

Here's the thing about having dinner for 22 when nobody wants to show up empty handed (and half the folks in attendance are Italian) way too much food! We had three salads, three types of cranberry sauce, three types of stuffing, three types of sweet potatoes, three different breads, a turkey and a ham. Don't even get me started on dessert! (I vowed that in the future, I would not bring food, but would be the designated container supplier so there would be something to bring leftovers home in!)

For the first time in a few years, I did NOT do a turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning. (which is kind of a bummer since it was warm for the first time in many years) My car broke down yesterday. I got a ride to work yesterday and will deal with the car tomorrow. Which kind of puts a damper on my chock-full of events weekend. But then again, maybe its a blessing in disguise. It forced me to slow down a bit and just take care of business on the homefront. Relax a little more. Maybe watch a movie or two. So there's something to be thankful for.

Plus, I had all those neices and nephews to bring to the playground after dinner. Maybe I didn't get a turkey trot in, but I did get a little exercise in. And that's something else to be thankful for!


Mon 11/21: 4 mile run + abs = 5 points
Tue 11/22: 8 mile run = 8 points
Wed 11/23: 12 hour work day and a ride home from work = 0 points :(
Thur 11/24: playground with the kids: 3 points


Mon 11/21: I'm thankful for taking chances
Tue 11/22: I'm thankful for a good, hard, sweat
Wed 11/13: I'm thankful for unexpected twists that show you that you really aren't in charge
Thur 11/24: I'm thankful for my crazy, off the wall, loving and totally sane family. (seriously. I know so many people who are involved in feuds and drama and this one isn't talking to that one or one ripped off the other or somebody will never forgive somebody else in the family. Got none of that in my family. We just all get together and eat. )

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's Bad Dates...Computer Dating

Before I relay the next bad date story, I have to give a little background information. Background information of a different sort:

Tuesday's Good Date!

(unfortunately, not mine)

A while back, my co-worker, Pat, set up a profile on one of those on-line dating sites. She had been toying with the idea for a while, but was always a little nervous. But one more bad encounter with her ex was all she needed to upload a few photos, write up a little profile, and hit "post." She figured, what did she have to lose? She'd just take a chance and see what happened.

You know those advertisements for weight loss pill that say at the bottom in little tiny print "results not typical"? Pat's on-line dating results are not typical.

She decided she wasn't going to contact anyone else's profile, but instead just see who would respond to her. Day one she got a bunch of responses, weeded through them, and kept 2 or 3. Same day two, day three, day four. At the end of the week, she responded to the bunch of keepers and waited for their response.

One person responded back. They emailed a couple times, talked on the phone a couple times, and then decided to meet for dinner.

A year later they're engaged.

One person. ONE PERSON! How lucky is Pat? I mean, I'm happy for her. Pat's awesome and she deserves to have a super cool, nice guy who can actually keep up with her. (She's an Ironwoman. Went to Kona and everything) But how often does that happen? Not much. Results not typical.

Pat's story is what inspired my other co-worker Sharon and I to mock up a couple profiles of our own.

Let's just say, the results were -- typical.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Alternative Holiday Gifts

Today was a bright, beautiful, sunny warm day. An unexpected surprise on November 20th! It was a great day for a long run along the canal. Not fast, by any means, especially since I was battling cramping the entire way but still a good day.

Today was also one week since my visit to the Alternative Gift Fair last Sunday. A great idea and a nice reminder to me of my oh-so-optomistic vision at the beginning of the year to highlight and donate to a different charity each week of 2011. 2011 sucker punched me right in the head to knock those wonderful thoughts right out of it. But I'm happy to say cynicism won the battle but not the war. 'Cause as of today, I'm reinstating the weekly charity post.

One of the charities at the fair last week was an organization called Touching Tiny Lives. This organization aims to provide medical help and support to children in the small African country of Lesotho. It is estimated that 30% of Lesotho's population is HIV positive.

Touching Tiny Lives has set up a medical clinic to house and care for up to 20 children at a time, as well as providing visits to more remote villages for primary and follow up care. Their booth at the fair included two possible "gift items": $20 to provide a month's supply of food/formula for a child or $35 to supply fuel for 8 medical visits to remote villages.

If anyone else, like me, is feeling that sometimes we get a little too materialistic during the holidays and is looking for their own "alternative gifts", I urge you to visit their website and make a donation in a friend or loved one's name for the holidays.

Today's exercise: 16 mile long run = 16 points + 1 hour of playing "Just Dance" with my neices = 2 points.

Today I was thankful for:
a beautiful warm sunny day

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey Trot

Today I officially kicked off the holiday season...I did a turkey trot. Nothing major, just a 5k. But it was super festive and fun and, much like my last weekend with the "more for less" theme, it was a multi-purpose event!

About a year ago, my aunt was diagnosed with uterine cancer. It's been a bit of a tough road for her over the past year, but she is doing pretty well with her treatments and things are looking hopeful. The turkey trot today was for an organization that raises money for cancer research. So a large number of family and friends all signed up and formed a team for her!

This morning, bright and early we all met at a community center and did a little run and then hung out and reconnected and played with the kids and ate some food and generally partied for a while. Plus, there was some good fund raising going on.

It was nice to go for a run with my dad, as well. He was just getting over a cold, so we went at a slightly slower pace than planned (9 min mile) but finished and had fun. What's better on a November morning than running with your dad?

It turned out to be a good kick off for the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge which is also a great holiday tradition around here.

Today's exercise: Run 3 miles, ab workout ---5 points

November 14th I was thankful for:
unexpected and pleasant surprises

November 15th I was thankful for:
a quiet place to come home to after work

November 16th I was thankful for:
being able to teach what I know

November 17th I was thankful for:

November 18th I was thankful for:
productive days off

and today I was thankful for:
the opportunity to hang with my cutie pie nephews

(and the chance to sit down and write a post. I was thinking of it all week, and I was just too busy!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More for Less

This weekend, the theme seemed to be more than you bargained for. In a good way! And I took advantage of it all.

On Friday, Veterans Day, I signed up for a few races in 2012. Which means I can't be lazy and back out. It also means that the race promoters will be making donations to the Paralyzed Veterans Association. With my involvement in adaptive sport and rehab, its a cause that I believe in and I'm glad that race promoters are doing their part to help out.

I also got a head start on some on-line Christmas shopping for the same reason. I received a few emails from sites that were donating to veterans funds with purchases made on Veteran's Day.

Of course, if I were a little more on the ball, I would have posted links to the sites and spread the word to all those other runner type people out there. But I'm a little scattered and flighty. Always. But now more than usual. I'm still blaming the daylight savings debacle we go through every year. Twice.

On to Saturday, when all I had to accomplish was a 15 mile run. (Everything else was put on maybe status pending how I felt after the run) I did finish the run, but it was arduous. Because of the non-stop wind along the canal. At one point, I had to stop and walk in a near horizontal orientation in order to make any headway. (after turning around, the way back was much easier. like flying) In any case, I feel like I got a lot more bang for the buck by running against the wind for, well, 7.5 miles. More than I bargained for.

I felt so good after the run, I stopped at the Christmas Tree Shop to get some household items because I had a friends and family coupon. I got 3 bags of stuff for $15. Practically free! Score!

And then, today. I went to something called an Alternative Gift Fair. (which is such a fantastic idea, I think it deserves it very own post, unencumbered by talk of 15 mile runs) In a nutshell, you the fair is comprised of booths where charitable organizations have displays about what they do. Then, you can make donations to whichever charities you wish and you get a card to give to somebody for a gift. (kind of like "The People Foundation" from Seinfeld, but legit)

And lastly, I got the very last Just Dance 3 in the store today. (Because 10 year olds really wouldn't appreciate your buying a flock of chickens for a village in the Sudan instead of a video game)

Things just kind of rolled my way this weekend.

November 10th Thankful:
good food, good drink, good times, good friends

November 11th Thankful:
the hard work and sacrifice from our veterans and all the other people out there who give selflessly and expect nothing in return

November 12th Thankful:
that I live close to the ocean and get to see it every day. Even when the wind picks up exponentially when in close proximity to the water.

November 13th Thankful:
that I am lucky enough to be able to share with those less fortunate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daylight Savings Blues

Whew! I have been exhausted all week. I haven't adjusted to the time change yet. It's amazing how just one hour can cause such chaos inside my little ol' body. I've been ready to fall asleep at the drop of a hat and eat everything is sight all week. I've been getting up at the same time every day (my bladder hasn't adjusted to the time change) yet I feel like I've been working for two hours extra because its so dark. Just one little hour. It's kicking my ass!

Yesterday I was thankful for:
my co-workers. they are great

Today I am thankful for:
my patients. I have such a great caseload of nice people right now!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Bad Dates: New Hampshire styel

Last weekend, in addition to spending time with lots of cool people for a cool cause, I also spent some time in a bar in a ski town in New Hampshire before ski season. It's a lot like spending time in bar in Cape Cod in March.

Lots of local yokels and a spattering of tourists who are disappointed that tourist season isn't in full swing. So they drink and act like buffoons. Of course, last weekend, it was more like lots of tourists and a spattering of local yokels. And me right in the middle, taking full advantage of the last vestiges of pumpkin ale before it disappears for another year.

If I could have a dollar for every time somebody picked me up in a bear hug and walked me across the room without my consent, I'd have...well...six dollars. But hey- that's at least 3 bear hugs too many!

But the walking bear hugs weren't my big problem.

I went into a bar with some friends to play fooze ball and air-hockey for a while. Turns out, quite a few of the 200 plus volunteers were in this bar, as well. Never did get around to air-hockey. But I did talk to quite a few of the volunteer people. Plus a couple guys who I thought were part of our giant group but actually weren't.

They were actually up in New Hampshire doing some winter camping. "Oh! Winter camping!" I whined. "I miss winter camping! I haven't been in years." So one of the guys, Quinn, asked where I had been winter camping. I replied that I had been in Utah, Texas, Washington, Oregon, and my favorite winter camping spot, Yosemite National Park. "Do you have any tips for winter camping?" he asked. "Get good gear," I replied. "Keep your clothes inside your sleeping bag, and sleep on top of your boots so they don't freeze." "Well, I thought we had good gear. But I'm still really cold." he said. "We stopped at Dick's on the way up and bought all our stuff." "Dick's!" I screamed, "You can't get good winter camping gear at Dick's! It's like 20 degrees out there! Dick's sells bags for, like, 50 degrees. You need to go to REI or EMS and get a zero bag! You should really get a hotel room tonite." "Maybe I could stay in your hotel room" he said. "Yeah, no." I said. "We need to change the direction of this conversation now."

"Ok, how tell me what are your vices?" he said. "Ok. I drink way too much Diet Coke. I eat too much junk. And I don't get enough sleep. Those are my vices. What about you?" "BORING!" he said. "Your so called vices are going to put me to sleep." "Well, what do you want me to say? That I'm a heroin addict? I drink too much Diet Coke, eat too much junk, and don't get enough sleep. I have no idea what you are looking for with this." "How about...I have sex with random strangers I meet in New Hampshire." he said.

Here's the deal. I don't know what was more pathetic. His God-awful attempt at a pick up line or the fact that this did not phase me a bit. Not one bit. It's like I expect behavior like this. Because I said: "Good try. But no. I guess you had to give it a shot. But that ain't happening. Not a chance. was nice talking to you for a while. But I think we're done. Have fun camping and don't freeze to death."

Like the "criticism sandwich" you are taught about when coaching: compliment, constructive criticism, another compliment. That's how I respond to creepy guys in bars. God forbid I harm their self-esteem or anything!

Monday, November 7, 2011

looking forward to a good winter

Last weekend, I was up in New Hampshire, attending an orientation weekend for volunteers for the adaptive skiing program run by New England Disabled Sports (NEDS). It is a fantastic organization and I am so lucky to be doing some work with these guys this year.

First off, let me say that I am simply not in the same league as the rest of the volunteers for this program. I am merely somebody who will be accompanying some clients up in a van to try some skiing (many for the first time). The rest of the volunteers are super-duper expert skiers who pledge 20 days of their ski time over the season to assist people with spinal cord injuries, strokes, CP, MS, autism, amputations, and any number of other ailments to ski. That's a pretty big commitment. That's a pretty great bunch of folks.

I only hope I'll be of some sort of help when I go up, not a clumsy doofus who creates more of a problem just by being there. I can ski. But I'm not great at it. Plus, after living on the west coast for so long, I moved back to New England, went skiing once, and declared the skiing here "Absolutely sucky and not even worth it." Then I proceeded to spend my winters in the gym or on the sofa or sometimes winter running but never on a mountain, which is really where any self respecting outdoor person should be in the winter.

Sometimes it takes something bigger than yourself to motivate you and bring you back to things you used to love (and can love again, given the chance). So instead of moaning and groaning this winter about how much I hate being cold, I'm going to go hang out with some really cool people and have some fun. Maybe, in the process, help some folks who never had the chance to hang out on a mountain in the snow to love it, as well.

It's gonna be a good winter. I can't wait.

(that may be the first time in my life I've ever said that)


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Back from a long weekend

Back after a weekend away doing some orientation stuff for winter adaptive sports. LONG weekend...made even longer by an extra hour. And I, like an idiot, chose not to use that extra hour to SLEEP, but to exercise. (Hence my exhaustion tonight)

But along with my new found faith in long runs, this weekend I have added a new found faith in people. I met a lot of really great people. (along with a lot of really local yokels and touristy jackasses which just reinforced my faith in the old adage: "The more things change, the more they stay the same") But it's November. Time to focus on the positive and the things to be thankful for.

Yesterday I was thankful for:
pumpkin beer (gotta enjoy it while its still here!)

Today I was thankful for:
hidden hiking trails (found one this morning and ran it)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

successful long run

Yesterday I headed out for a nice, long run. 14 miles. Really starting to kick up the mileage in the marathon training program. And the magical point which, for me, is the transition to REAL distance. (It's always been 14 miles. That's when it feel like a LONG distance) It's also when the mental benefits of long runs kick in.

Last weekend was a 13 mile run. Not much shorter. And really? I should have been feeling those mental benefits last week. But with the impending storm moving in, I was focused on getting the miles all done before the wind and rain and possible snow started. So I started mixing workouts. Distance + speed + intervals. It's kind of like mixing beer + wine + hard liquor. After 13 miles of tempo plus ladder intervals and ending with more tempo, I felt like I had just ingested a few red party cups of Jungle Juice. And the next day I pretty much felt like I had gotten run over by a truck. So much for the nice, relaxing, Zen effects of long runs.

This week was different. This week I focused on the LSD I can become so addicted to. (don't worry...Long Slow Distance! I'm not turning to pharmacology just yet) This week, my brain cooperated, as well.

The last marathon I trained for specifically to empty my head I was so happy to find that the endlessly chattering voice in my head shut up on long runs. Yesterday, I found something different. The chattering voice came back. Which was a good thing, this time. Because as endlessly chattering as that voice is, at least it's sort of happy. Upbeat. Optimistic. Though at times annoying.

What I hadn't fully realized until yesterday was that the voice in my head over the past few months has been angry. Really, really angry. Without justifying it or getting into the ugly details, I'll just say that I did have reason to be angry. But I never knew that the anger would take up permanent residence in my head. And make me into an angry person.

I mean, there's angry and then there's ANGRY. I was angry with a lower-case l. But even that's too much. It's just not me. Yet it had become me.

So somewhere between mile 5 and 6, the anger melted away. It didn't melt away and drift off with the tide, but it stopped talking. And the chipmunk voice came back. I missed that chipmunk voice! It plans and arranges and supposes and what-if's almost to the point of obsession. But it never feels like taking a Louisville Slugger to somebody's head. It's a happy voice!

So even though when I was driving home from the canal, the angry voice tried to weasel its way back into my head, I recognized it and was able to shut it out.

Chipmunk: 1, weasel: 0.

And that's what I call a successful run!

Next week I do 15.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chaos Theories

Ok, so once again, I must ask: WHAT IS UP WITH THE UNIVERSE?

2011 seems to be the year of chaos. Any physicists out there, feel free to email me and explain the finer intricacies of chaos theory and how it came to cumulate in 2011. (Or maybe I'm just some kind of vortex pulling in bad energy this year?)

Finally, I've moved onto a place where there is no more bad energy at home. Now work is in absolute chaos.

Weird stuff. Yesterday, two people walked out...just walked out in the middle of the work tears. I have no idea why. There was lots of speculation and theories flying around the staff room yesterday evening, but no rock solid evidence.The afternoon was spent running around like lunatics trying to accommodate their patients and workload. (We got it done, though. We are awesome)

Until now, work has been, sadly, the one consistent thing in my life. Sure, there were little annoyances, as there always are in any work situation, but for the most part, it was -- well-- work. Go, do my job, come home. Now, it's drama. What's up with that?

Is it me? Am I exuding some kind of chaos pheromone that causes those in close proximity to me to have meltdowns? Is there a soap for that?

Will 2012 change all that? Or is the Aztec prediction going to come true and the world will end in 2012? Maybe I'm merely a seisometer to the upcoming disaster.

I got plans, though, and the end of the world will really mess them up.

Yesterday, I was thankful for:
starting a new book
And today I am grateful for:
long runs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Boom Boom Pow

So today, I was walking into the gym while this guy was walking out. He gave me a once over and said "BOOM."

Not sure what that meant.

But I decided to take it as a compliment and said "Thank you" before going in and working out.


Today I am thankful for:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

november goals

Happy November Everyone!

I have officially been in my new place for one month today. And I didn't fully realize what bad energy was floating around my old place until I was out. It's much better here. I can sleep. Even when things were better at my old place I couldn't sleep. Now...well...things are always better when you can sleep!

Anyhow, now that I'm a little more settled and a lot more rested, it's time to jump back into my nice little bloggie routine that I have been neglecting for the past 8 months!

Which, in JeepGirl land means

Goals for November:

(where would I be without my goal lists?)

1) Stick to my marathon training plan.
Despite my more relaxed place and better sleeping habits, my running has still been a bit sporadic. Not good when a marathon is looming. It's ok though. I can ramp it up.

2) Start weight training again.
Now that I've eased back into cardio, time to pile the weights back on. So I can take off the weight I piled on.

3) Journal Daily
Fell out of that habit for a while. And felt a little lost. Journaling, I have found, like exercise, keeps me grounded.

4) Eat Clean.
Or cleaner, anyway. Just as soon as I finish this handful of candy corn. Totally. I swear. I'm starting now.

5) Read and get rid of 5 books this month
I got too many books. I really do.

6) Turn in my recert info for adaptive technology professional.

7) And my kinesiotape certification stuff.
(and maybe cut the crap with all this certification stuff. seriously)

8) Book my plane tickets for marathon in January and my big trip in March
I'll share more about that later. It's going to be SOOO cool!

9) Get rid of 5 DVD from my basket of DVDs.
How the heck did so many accumulate?

10) Drink a 8 - 10 glasses of water daily.

In a weird way, I started feeling bad about myself when I was writing goals down on a little sticky yesterday. I mean, how many times do I have to try to accomplish the same goals over and over again? But then, I read something on Facebook from an acquaintance of mine. He lost 150# three years ago and now works for that Herbalife company as a spokesperson of sorts. Seems he had some hard things in his life this year and he put 60 pounds back on. And he was posting a very humble post about starting all over again from square one. I didn't feel like HE was a failure. I thought that he was very brave for starting all over again. So why didn't I feel like that about myself when I keep revisiting the same goals? I really should.

I keep attempting the same goals repeatedly. Maybe they are just very worthwhile goals, eh?

And, because November is Thanksgiving month:

my new apartment.