Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals for 2011

I don't like making "new years resolutions." I feel like there is no time like the present to make a change, and if you are going to actually make a change, it'll happen when you're ready, not just when the calendar changes to another year.

I find it easier to set goals for things I want to do rather than habits I want to change. Some of these goals are aligned with habits I would like to change though.

Goals for 2011:
  • Run another race longer than 6.2 miles.
  • Join a running club/group. 
  • Run over 400 miles total (average 7.7 miles each week).
  • Do at least 12 races.
  • Do something fun and unique that is also exercise, like roller derby lite, burlesque class or trapeze class. 
  • Take a vacation, even if it's just a long weekend trip somewhere in the Midwest.  
High School.
I was a soccer player.
College. I lived in Chicago.
We walked a lot more.
Also, I was looking through my mail earlier today, and came across my Wellness assessment from work. My company does an annual health fair, so I could see how I've done every fall since 2006.

Ick. What happened?

Four years ago my BMI was 23.3.
Now it's 25.8.

My total cholesterol was 165 (HDL = 110, LDL = 89).
Now it's 187 (HDL = 126, LDL = 109). Still under what it should be but I don't want it trending upward.

My percent of body fat was 24. Now it's 28.

So I really need to stick to working out, and signing up for races seems to be a good way to force myself to stick to it. For inspiration, check out how skinny I used to be.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Search terms that have lead people to my blog

  1. 10 reasons not to become cat lady
  2. black swan perverted movie
  3. black swan was natalie portman doing good ballet
  4. black swan why does she go for a woman in the movie
  5. blackswan lily ___ __ nina [omission is mine ...]
  6. how do you do the schwartz shuffle [OMG!!! AWESOME!!]
  7. margret hot
  8. waste my time ass. bariers [huh??]
  9. why is the black swan so perverted
  10. what is it like working at olive garden 

thanks for the LOLs

regarding #6, I think it goes something like this, as demonstrated by my brothers:

And then there is the Schwartz Shuffle remixed:

Al & Ang Wedding

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 in photos

I take a lot of photos. Pages 1-73 of my Flickr photostream are just photos uploaded in 2010. So anyway, what did I do?

It snowed. I took pictures.


By the way, this photo was taken in March. Yay Chicago weather.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Winter! Photos from Christmas. And nature covered in ice.


In case you didn't notice, it's cold outside.This is what is next to the driveway.

So I took a ton of photos over Christmas, but of course none of yours truly. Oh well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas! And, how to make a holiday video e-card.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Last year, I made a holiday e-card and it turned out pretty well, so I decided to do it again this year. (Also last year, we had a lot more going on so it was a little bit more interesting. This year I just wanted to save money on stamps.)

So how do you make a video e-card?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Adventures in Alternative Workouts: Trapeze

This past Saturday, my sister-in-law and I took a free trapeze taster class at the Aloft Loft in Chicago. And it was a lot of fun! There were about 10 people there and two instructors. After a warm-up and stretch, they explained the proper body form for hanging on the trapeze bar. And then ... it was time to get up on the bar!

I should explain that I hate being upside down. It makes me feel nauseous and uncomfortable and honestly is a little terrifying. So trapeze is perfect for me, right?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas! Winter! Snow! And yet another reason why my cat hates me.

Sometimes Chicago winters don't start until after Christmas. This is not one of those years. True, we didn't get any snow before Thanksgiving, not even a dusting, which was rare. But since Thanksgiving, I feel like the Chicago weather devil has made up for it.

Snowing in Downtown Downers Grove

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Present: The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker!

Good job, Joffrey marketing department
Last night the Sailor took me out for my Christmas present. HE took ME to the ballet. Yeah. You read that right :)  We saw the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago perform The Nutcracker.

I love ballet. I've taken ballet and even did the ridiculous and performed in a recital at the tender age of 24. (My now sisters-in-law, my brother and one of my long-time friends also performed.) But I haven't been to the ballet in awhile. (Actually the only times I've been in recent history were to see the Salt Creek Ballet perform The Nutcracker at Governors State University.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Review of Black Swan movie with Natalie Portman

Last Sunday, I saw Black Swan, so I was surprised to see trailers this week saying "in theaters everywhere this Friday - Black Swan." I guess that means it had a good weekend limited release opening weekend. Or because of the stellar reviews the movie it getting, they pushed a wider release. I can't say they blame them. Natalie Portman alone makes this movie worth the $8 just for a weekend matinee. (I really had to hold back as I was buying my ticket - I really wanted to tell the kid selling it at the theater that I remember when you could see a first run movie for like $6 on a weekend night ... of course I'm not so old and I'm sure my parents remember when you could see a movie for a nickle.)

Nina: Stressed
In case you haven't heard, Black Swan is a psychological thriller about a ballerina, Nina, played by Portman.

Unrelated to anything else: It's not a "real" ballet movie until you see the gnarly-feet-and-how-I-customize-my-pointe-shoes montage. If I had time, I would make a montage of these montages. Perhaps at the Oscars?

Portman plays the sh** out of Nina. I have never felt so anxious in a movie theater. Nina has two things in her life - ballet, and her mother (in that order). That's it. She doesn't have any other friends or family or any other hobbies or interests. Get up, go to the studio, dance dance get yelled at dance dance, go home, get doted on, go to sleep, repeat.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chrismtas in Downtown Downers Grove

Made a stop on the way home from band rehearsal the other night to get some pictures of Downtown Downers Grove decked out for Christmas:

Downers Grove Christmas

Monday, November 29, 2010

Surprise Party

On Saturday night, we threw a surprise birthday party for The Sailor and one of my sisters-in-law, both of whom are turning 30. And they were actually surprised! We told them we were getting together for our family's Thanksgiving at my brother's house, since we didn't get together on Thanksgiving.

Surprise Party
DIY wine tasting

Surprise Party
30 years + 30 years

Surprise Party
Listening to the most tone-deaf version of "Happy Birthday" ever

Surprise Party
The Sailor & Me

Surprise Party
Our roommate hit it off with my mom & my mother-in-law

Surprise Party
The Sailor & his BFF

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meeting Peter of Peter, Paul and Mary

Peter Yarrow
Peter and me (and another volunteer)
Tonight I volunteered at WTTW Channel 11, answering phones during their pledge drive. (Anyone can volunteer.) One of the shows that aired during my shift was a Sing Along with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. And wouldn't you know, Peter Yarrow was live in the studio while we were taking pledges! (click for video!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful For ...

a very snuggie Christmas
Five people I'm thankful for: The Sailor (despite the Packers hat), my brothers and my sisters-in-law.
Photo taken last Christmas. Two of the three snuggies belong to me.

Turkey Trot: Bonfield Express 5K

Picture lifted off the Facebook page.
I'm in the white, second from right.
This morning The Sailor and I woke up early (for a non-work day) to run the Bonfield Express 5K. It was a little chilly and dreary and misting when we left home but it was a good race. After the Hot Chocolate race, I wanted to beat The Sailor.

We started off with about 3,400 other runners through the streets of Downers Grove. It was pretty crowded. We started in front of the walkers corral but still ran around a lot of walkers during throughout the course. And also children and people with dogs. Not really very safe in my opinion for such a large race. At one point I saw a woman running with a dog almost clothesline a kid with the dog's leash. Luckily she noticed before the kid went down.

Anyway, I followed The Sailor throughout the course, weaving around people the whole way. We got to the final stretch and he started sprinting. I tried to keep up, and was doing a good job, but about 20 yards from the finish, felt like I might puke if I kept up at that pace.

So he beat me by four seconds. He finished in 29:55 and I finished 29:59. Pace 9:39. Not too bad considering how little I've run in the past three weeks.

If it's any indication of the crowd, our splits were 10:16, 10:10 (lost 8 seconds to tie my shoe) and 9:12. Which means we did the last .10 mile in 20 seconds? Hmm. That's not right.I trust the official race time over the GPS on my phone.

Anyway, this will probably be our rematch.

And last night we saw Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band at Schuba's. Awesome show. Where else will you see a washboard played like an instrument and then set on fire during the finale?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Post-Race Update: Our Times, and My Iliotibial Band

I came, I (mostly) ran, I got the sweatshirt
Yes, this sweatshirt was a big reason
I did the Hot Chocolate 15K
I talked to my marathoner friend yesterday afternoon and described the pain I felt during the race (pain on the outside of my knee/leg), she suggested it was probably my IT Band, which would be my Iliotibial Band if you know your anatomy (I do not). After a little Google research, it sounds like that was it. And it makes sense, because one of the causes of IT band pain is pushing yourself too hard and increasing mileage too quickly, and in the week prior to the race, I ran/walked 7 miles the Saturday before, and then didn't run again until the race. Smart.

So anyway, our times:

I told you the Sailor had a good race. He finished in 1:43:38, an 11:08 pace. Not bad considering the last time he ran such a long distance was a year ago during A-school in Pensacola.

And as expected, I finished in 2:10:43, a 14:02 pace. I'll put a little asterisk next to my records ...

Next up, Bonfield Express 5K on Thanksgiving morning!

Chicago skyline from the Shedd during Hot Chocolate 15K
One nice thing about walking - time to snap a nice picture of the Chicago skyline

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hot Chocolate 15K and my stupid knee :(

So this morning was the Hot Chocolate 15K (and 5K).

enjoying hot chocolate after the Hot Chocolate 15K

I went into it hoping I could finish around a 12:30 pace. (I was doing the 15K.) Unfortunately my knee had other plans.

Anyway, so to start at the beginning. It was chilly out there this morning! I think around 29 degrees when we woke up, not sure what it was when we got downtown, but not that much warmer. And it was crowded. Two races with 15,000 runners each. I will say this - there were more than enough port-a-potties, thank you RAM Racing! I didn't even have to wait in line.

So the 15K starts, and I start out slow. I didn't want to get sucked into starting off at a faster pace as is common at races. The Sailor started out a little faster than me, which was fine, I figured he would slow down in the second half and I would catch up.

No such luck.

Things were going fine. I kept it slow and felt great, figured I should be able to at least run the whole thing at that pace, maybe even do the second half a little faster.

But then just past the halfway point, my knee started hurting.

My knee has felt like that before during runs, usually after a little bit (of either running or walking), it goes away. So I figured I would just walk until it went away. So I walked.

Every few minutes I would try to start running again. Nope, major pain. This is how miles 5-8 went. Walk walk walk try to run OW walk walk walk try to run OW walk walk walk etc. Eventually around mile 8 I just figured well, I guess I'm just going to walk the rest of the way.

Honestly, it was a major disappointment. I knew without the knee pain I could have run a good race (for me). And it was such a large race, it would have been fun to finish with a lot of other runners. Instead, I walked and finished with people who intended to walk the race. I tried really hard not to be negative, but there is not much else to do when you have to walk for 4.5 miles. And I don't run with music. So it was just me and my thoughts among the walkers.

When I got to the very end, I tried to at least look like I was running to cross the finish line. But that REALLY hurt and if they did snap a photo of my crossing the finish line, I'm likely grimacing. At this point my jacket was zipped up and you couldn't see my bib so I'll likely never see those pictures which is OK. I did pose for some finishers photos with my bib number showing. My sunglasses hid my tears. (How poetic.)

After the race finish I hobbled around, eventually got in line for the chocolate fondue (which was really yummy) and found The Sailor. He was really sweet once he realized my pain + disappointment. He actually ran a really great race, did much better than I thought he would.

enjoying hot chocolate after the Hot Chocolate 15K

So anyway. I think in the next few weeks I'm going to try to work on doing some weights for my legs. I don't know if that was the issue. But probably a good idea to strengthen those muscles.

enjoying hot chocolate after the Hot Chocolate 15K

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photos: For the next few days I can enjoy the sunrise during my morning commute

And this morning was definitely a sunrise to enjoy.


I swear these were all taken while I was at a stoplight ...


Well maybe just two out of three.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween! Photo Post. Lots of 'em.

Not my fireplace

Hope everyone had a great Halloween! I did!

Jack Skellington Jack-o-Lantern
I always wanted to do a Jack Skellington pumpkin

I think this is the first Halloween that I intentionally chose a "feminist" costume.


Rosie the Riveter. I needed to practice the face more. When my friend was about to take my picture, I smiled like I normally do, then quickly thought to myself "look serious." This was the result.

The Sailor was a cannibal

Our party hostess was Coraline

Martha Stewart, crafting from her craft basket

A Chilean Miner, his "wife" and mistress

The Sailor's sister and her family stopped by during their trick or treating on Sunday. She made all of their costumes - Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling and John Darling. Pretty handy.

Peter Pan

And now for some photos lifted from my roommate's Flickr account ...

Halloween 2010-63
Carving the pumpkin

Fall Frisbee 2010 Schiller Park-128

Apparently he was supposed to dress as a pirate for their Frisbee game. He mentioned this a few days prior to the game, but he didn't have a costume... As luck would have it, when I was at my parents' house a couple weekends ago, I picked up my pirate costume just in case. Problem solved. Although I kept the headscarf for my Rosie the Riveter costume. He supplied the balloons.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Becoming a Crazy Cat Lady: Phase One

snuggied up
I debating not starting this post. For fear of being one of "those" people. But, then I remembered this post from Mashable - The Million Dollar Question - Why Does the Web Love Cats? - and decided this is post is appropriate for all you fellow, geeky cat lovers out there.
cat nap

So anyway ...

Here are the reasons why my cat is awesome:
  1. She purrs. Loudly and often. Now, she is my first cat (my mom hates cats, so we never had one when I was growing up, which broke my little heart), but I've been around plenty of other cats, and none of them purr quite as much or as easily as my Olive. And to a cat-lover, that's a pretty satisfying sound. (It's truly the only way they express any emotion other than "I'm better than you.")
  2. She is super soft. Again, this is only in comparison to other people's cats, but seriously, my cat's fur is softer than your cat's fur. 
  3. OliveShe likes to cuddle. She's curled up right next to me right now. This makes me so happy. I've encountered plenty of cats that want nothing to do with humans. My cat loves humans, or at least her Human Overloads (as The Sailor and I refer to ourselves in relation to her - I think he coined the term). She often comes to whatever room in the house we are in, and will even come up on the couch/bed/chair with us. My favorite thing is when my cat curls up behind my butt when I'm in a desk chair (see photographic evidence of such action at right). Especially in the winter. She's warm!
  4. She still loves to cuddle me even though I like to torture her from time to time.
  5. As long as I barricade her from whatever room she's "tagged," she never does her business on the floor. (I should do a post on "How I got my cat to stop pooping and peeing on the floor." I bet it would get a lot of views, thanks to Google and the general jerkiness of cats.)
  6. She sheds far less than other cats I've encountered. Plus she has dark fur, and I wear a lot of dark clothing, so it works out well for me when she does shed. 
  7. She has won over The Sailor. (Who am I kidding? He's a big softie. This was not hard.) He denies it though. But then he's always petting her. I even once heard him whisper to the cat something about "I give you secret lovins."
Now to truly end this on a I am a Crazy Cat Lady note, enjoy this slideshow of all my Olive photos: