Saturday, October 18, 2014

First place!

So I ran in my first 5k in two years this morning. I ran in the Race for Pace, which is one of my favorites because it is local (10 minutes from where I live) and Pace School does great things for kids with emotional and behavioral disorders.

I initially wanted to finish in under 35 minutes, but once I realized that I ran the race in 28:55 two years ago, I decided I had to do better than 35. Even though back then I ran, swam and did Zumba weekly, and I was two years younger, I refused to settle for something six minutes slower. For the love of FloJo, I am not that old and out of shape.

So I set a new goal of 33 minutes, though I was really, really hoping to do it in 31 minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen: This Supergirl finished in 29:21.

And, best of all, I got first page in my age group, 40-44 (or 40 and Fabulous, as I like to call it).



It turns out there were only three people in my age group, but I was still first! (If I had finished third, I would have been pretty bummed) I finished 67/159 overall. For someone who is apparently middle aged and past her running prime, I am proud of myself.

Supergirl!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What kind of guy would wear a shirt like this?

I started running again about five months ago, somewhat sporadically. But about two months ago, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could run in a 5k again. So I figured I had better start running once a week, if I had any hope of running the entire thing. Once you are fully entrenched in your 40s, it is a little more difficult to just run a few times over the course of a couple of months and go out and do a 5k. Or so I would imagine.

The 5k I am running in next week is the Race for Pace. This year, they are having a super hero theme. Me being me (well, I being I) embraced that wholeheartedly and decided to wear something super hero-ish. At first, I thought I could go as the Flash. I figured it would be ironic because I was probably going to finish in the bottom 25 percent (maybe worse, but let's not think about that). People would see this middle-aged woman panting and barely jogging as she was halfway through the race, and they would laugh. I am always happy to provide a few laughs. :-)

But yesterday, I headed to Dick's and found this nice Superman (maybe Supergirl?) Under Armour t-shirt. It is subtle for sure, but I am pretty certain I would not embarrass myself, no matter how slowly I end up running.


I next went to Target to get a few things, and I happened upon this gem of a shirt. In the men's department, no less.

That red piece of fabric coming off the back shoulders? A mini cape! Of course, I had to buy it. And it was about a third of the price as the Superman UA shirt.

I so totally want to wear this shirt, although I have some qualms about the muscle definition in the front. I have pretty decent abs and all, but not a male six pack.

But honestly, the big thing that would keep me from wearing this shirt? The small part of me that thinks I can run the race in a decent enough time that I just don't want a cape slowing me down.

Stay tuned for what I end up wearing. But as my title asks, what guy would wear a shirt like this? Or maybe the question is where would a guy wear a shirt like this? Because I want to know!




Sunday, October 5, 2014

Decisions, decisions

On Friday, I had planned to leave work a few hours early. Because the bus I ride runs every 30 minutes that time of day, some planning is involved. So after being too busy to make the 1:19 bus, I left at 1:44, which would give me 5 minutes to make the 1:49 bus.

As I was about 2/3 of the way down the street, I saw two buses at the stop, across the street. I looked at my phone and saw it was 1:47. Since it was early, I told myself it was unlikely either bus was mine, so I decided not to run the rest of the way down the hill, knowing the light would change before I got there. Fortunately when I got to the bottom of the hill, I saw the buses, now a block away, were not mine. Less fortunately was it was raining harder than a sprinkle, and I had yet to replace my recently broken umbrella. 

Before I knew it, 10 minutes had gone by, as did five other buses, and I started to fret. Maybe my bus had come early. After all, the drizzle did not seem to be enough to justify a delay. 

When a couple more minutes had passed, I was wet, cranky, and wishing I would finally get into a campus parking lot, so I could give up the bus. After all, in about 15 months, I had not only gotten into my third choice of lots (which I turned down), my name had also moved up about 40 people for my first choice.

Eventually, I had come back to reality. The bus showed up, 15 minutes late, and I got over my ire fairly quickly. However, ironically enough, when I checked my work email a few minutes into the ride, I saw an email from the parking people. I had gotten into my lot!

My first reaction was almost dread, because I would have to decide whether or not to take it. To some people, it would be a no-brainer; jump on it. But for me? I had some real debating to do.

I pay nothing to ride the bus, as my employer pays for it. A monthly lot permit costs $85. Sure, I paid almost twice that the first 4.5 months at my job when I parked at a cash lot (one of the cheapest!), but I have gotten used to what essentially became a $156/raise. 

And I hate driving home in traffic, something I largely avoid busing it. Then there is the additional wear and tear in my car and more money to spend in gas.

But, of course, there are positives to parking. I can come to work late (which I almost never do because I drop my perfect-attendance-seeking kid off to school daily). If you get to the bus lot much past 8:30 or so, you might not get a parking space. I can also leave when I want. Having to time that with a bus has been an issue. 

And this lot is a 2-minute walk to the office. So I would save time there (but would get less exercise).

I have to drive to and from the bus lot, so there is wear and tear on my car and gas expenditure.

I have 1.5 weeks to figure it out. If I turn it down, I can get back on the list. But the last person on the list is #47. When I got on the list 1.5 years ago, I was #37. (In the same amount of time, I went from 529 to 205 for my second choice, but if I turn down my first choice, I lose my second choice, as I understand it.)

I am slightly leaning towards yes. I figure I can still take the bus a few times a month, although I would be paying for a lot I am not using. But it is an option. 

Decisions, decisions...

Friday, September 26, 2014

Second chances

I thought I would wait until the ire surrounding the Ray Rice/domestic violence in the NFL died down a bit before posting some thoughts. Of course, with an ongoing investigation, it is still rare to go more than a few days without seeing that incredibly disturbing video.

So here goes my thoughts about various topics around the saga and domestic violence in general:

  • Enough with the video. Can someone please think of Janay, Rice's wife. And I feel sorry for their daughter who in just a few years will probably be on the Internet and come across that. Just stop.
  • It does not (much) matter that the extremely damning video came out later; the Ravens and the NFL should have done more knowing what they knew months ago. Rice said he hit his fiancée, and at the time there was video of his dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. For the love of God, why wasn't that abhorrent enough to warrant more than a two-game suspension?
  • It is never okay to strike a woman. Closed-fisted, open-handed, it does not matter. If a woman has wronged you, hits you first (which is also wrong), or badgers you verbally for hours on end, you need to walk away. Punch a wall if you must. But not a woman. Never. I might even go so far as to say even if she is 6 feet tall and 250 and you are 5'6" and 140 pounds wet. But you know what I mean, hopefully.
  • Women who stay with abusers don't deserve scorn. You probably have no idea why they won't leave, but to them, it is a really good reason. And often there are many reasons: fear, forgiveness, thinking divorce is a sin, fear, their children, embarrassment, fear, money, thinking it is their fault, fear, self-esteem issues, bad advice, fear, not wanting to be alone, thinking they will never find someone else, fear. Yes, I said fear. A lot. Based on my experience volunteering at a DV shelter many moons ago, fear was up there and a big motivator to stay (because really, if your man points a gun at your head and says he will shoot you if you leave, I am guessing that would be enough to make most women stay). But again, many, many reasons.
  • Most batterers hit again. Ask any woman who has ever been hit. Some change, but it is probably not worth it to take a chance and find out if said person is a new man. But see my next point.
  • Once someone has been suitably punished (and Ray Rice has not been yet, as far as in the eyes if the law, but he has as far as the NFL is concerned, if he misses the entire season), and in some cases, once there is enough passage of time, we should move on. See my next point for more about that. But when I say "we," I do not mean the victim of DV; I mean the rest of us.
  • Former Steeler James Harrison slapped his girlfriend many years ago. The Steelers, particularly Dan Rooney, did not handle it well. I am pretty sure I blogged or wrote a letter to the editor about it. But that was years ago. Since Harrison has not gotten in trouble for anything DV-related since then, why punish him now? I would say this for any person, any team. Otherwise, why not just leave every person in prison and never let anything go? And, yeah, for me this applies to all wrongdoings. I don't hold Ben Roethlisberger in the highest regard as a person. But he was suspended for what he did (and keep in mind he was not charged with anything nor was there proof). So I am over it. 
  • Again, I am saying this as an outsider, not the girlfriend or wife of an abuser or sexual assaulter. Because those people have no obligation whatsoever to move on as far as forgiving and forgetting. But if they do? Again up to them.
  • Finally, we make our own choices. What we do is rarely the fault of our team, family, coworkers, school, teachers, etc. Dont hate and/or blame entire entities for one person's screw up. I root for entire teams. I refuse to hate a team because of the things a few did. Just as I would not quit my job if I found out a coworker or boss drive drunk and injured someone. And just as I would not shun an entire family if one of their kids was a drug user and seller.

Now giving someone a third chance? That is different. Still working through my thoughts there.

That is all for now.




Sunday, September 21, 2014

42 going on 22, going on 37, going on 63

Can someone please tell me I am not alone in feeling as if I were a different age on different days?!

I am 42 3/4, and quite comfortable sharing my age with anyone. This is due mostly to my mom's shaving four years off her age and my finding out about it in the seventh grade, via looking at her yearbook at Grandma's. But the other reason I don't bother hiding my age is because if you are not getting older, then you aren't doing anything (except, perhaps decaying in the ground). You are welcome for that visual!

But feeling and/or looking a certain age is another matter entirely.

I think I look around 37. I don't know why I have that age in mind, but I am quite convinced few people would guess I was in my 40s. In fact just recently, two gals in the choir, who are somewhere between late 20s and early to mid 30s seemed genuinely surprised I was 42. I told them I think of myself as 37, and one said she thought I looked even younger. (She is my new best friend.) The other one said that 42 is the answer to everything. So there is that!

A few weeks ago when I was riding the bus in Oakland, where there are several universities, some older woman (she was in her 80s, maybe she said 84 or 86) asked me if I was a college student. I laughed and told her, "Not for over 20 years."

I walk around campus with a backpack, because I can carry more things. But I am not going to lie: There are times I pretend I am a college student and imagine that people (i.e., students) think I am one of them. Which is, of course, ridiculous. Although, as my one coworker said, that 85-ish woman probably thought I was a grad student, or she just had poor eyesight!

Then there are the times when I feel young(er) and within a matter of minutes or hours, I feel about 20 years older. 

Yesterday, I went running, which is something I started to do again, but only 2-4 times per month. I started out, as I typically do, feeling like I was all that, convinced that anyone who saw me was impressed with my great shape and form and probably thinking I was this pretty 35-year old. However, within five minutes, I felt every bit of 42. And by the time I got to the second-to-last, killer hill, just over 20 minutes into my run, my heart rate had gone beyond the max it should, I was panting more than a dog on a warm day, I was dripping with sweat, and I felt as if I were pushing 60. Afterwards, I was sore for hours, and I felt old, sad, and out of shape.

Today? I don't know. I guess I feel 42. But in a young mom kind of way. :-)




Friday, September 12, 2014

Can't cry hard enough

Pretty sure I've used that as a blog post title post before. But it fits. 

Yesterday, we found out Sadie, our nearly 13-year old dog, has cancer and likely only a few months to live. She had a growth by her tail, which hindered its usual question-mark shape. I had thought it had to do with her injured ACL (maybe she was overcompensating). But when I really looked at it, I decided maybe we should get it checked out. 

When we walked into the vets's office a few days later (last night), the vet took one look and said it was bad. No need to biopsy. He knew. And because of its location, he could not operate (though at her age, I would not put her through that anyway). He said things will probably get bad; she'll have trouble going to the bathroom, particularly if/when the mass grows. She is struggling with that now, but she can still go; everything else seems okay. She did get sick a few times this evening, but I am hoping it is a fluke and not the beginning of the end. I am counting on those few months and selfishly hoping for more.

I am not ready to say good bye yet. I cried so much last night. I did not even sleep for two hours last night. Thank goodness I was able to stay home, rest, and just be with girl, the original reason I was called "Mom."

I have been quite upset about the Ray Rice/NFL crap. I had wanted to write a post about that, mostly to express my disappointment with the NFL. But I never got around to it. And last night, it mattered less. (Though my feelings about it have not changed; they are a mixture of anger and sadness.)

J and I decided to start a blog about Sadie (sadiethepitbull.blogspot.com). I like to think I/we will do a better job of keeping up with that than I do around here. I hope it helps us. 

Because I can't cry hard enough.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sometimes it is easier to focus on others' problems

Let me start off by saying I have much to be thankful and grateful for. And I am mostly positive and optimistic, so that helps. 

Some days (mostly, fortunately, just hours or even shorter periods), I feel frustrated. Angry. Sad. Other things.

I might yell. I most likely will cuss. Sometimes I even cry.

I wonder how things got that way. Why this happened to me. When things will get better. 

I like things to make sense. I believe people should treat others as well as animals and nature with kindness and/or respect. To this day, I just don't understand why people do otherwise unless they have been badly provoked (for the record, I am pretty sure the empty McDonald's bag you just threw on the street did not provoke you, but I could be mistaken).

I don't get it when people are always negative and can't see the upside to anything. I get annoyed when people complain about things and do nothing to try to change the situation. I don't understand why it is so hard for people to admit when they are wrong. And I get frustrated when people get upset and give up easily. Whoever said life was or should be easy?!

All of this does not take into account depression or mental illness (and I am hopeful that not all or even most people who fit the above bill are depressed or mentally ill, though I am fairly certain some are).

Is it selfish of me to think it's okay when I get mad or sad, but get annoyed when others do it so much more? Maybe. 

Am I better than the people who seem to talk about others often just because I do it only once in awhile? Probably not.

Just because I can admit I need to be better at something but choose to do nothing about it, is that somehow more acceptable than those who rant and rave about a situation but can't see their part in it? Not really, I suppose.

I really have no idea where I am going with this. I just know that sometimes I want to scream, and tonight, for about 15 minutes, was one of those times. As was a time late this afternoon. And briefly yesterday. And probably 12 other times in the last couple of weeks. 

Sometimes I feel as if I am failing, which bothers me. And other times I feel as if others are failing, and that bothers me too.

And I just don't know what to do. 

But the good news is that the positive optimist that I am won't dwell on this.

But, alas, it will come back.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

I took a vacation day yesterday. Things have been slow at work, so I figured I might as well take the day (even though I will probably want/need that day this coming school year when J has about a dozen, somewhat random, days off). J and I were finishing up a visit to my mom's, which included my adorable, but somewhat whiny and very good storyteller, nephew. I did a little cleaning and laundry at home, nothing too exciting. Mostly I was just glad to be off on a Monday because who likes Mondays?

Except by "losing" my Monday yesterday, I got punched in the gut by Monday's evil sister, appearing on a Tuesday.

It started off as it had for the last week, which was with a slight pain in my back from something (cyst maybe?) that I will now most likely need to have removed. Try not to visualize that too much.

After I was nearly ready, I went in J's room to wake her up. I act as her snooze, which allows her to slowly awaken over a period of 5 to 10 minutes. During that time I feed the fish and do my hair. I noticed when I dropped the fish flakes into the tank, that Mr. Goldberg, the very large fish, was not swimming around. I quickly looked around, then looked to the top and fortunately did not see him floating. Instead, he was inside this long, but not huge, log at the bottom of the tank. Mr. Goldberg is too big for the log; he has never fit in there. Yet somehow he managed to cram his entire body inside. This did not look good. But I thought his fins were moving. Until I realized they probably were not. I decided, at first, against telling J. I went down to get my coffee, which I have set on a timer. It smelled great, much stronger and more obvious than usual. Then I realized that I must not have put the pot completely underneath the basket, and the coffee was spilling over the top and onto the butcher block. That took quite a few minutes to clean up. Because I need my morning coffee, I strained the coffee through a coffee filter into my cup, since the coffee/water that made it into the pot was full of grounds.

Running late, I asked Jordan if she had checked on the fish. I told her that Mr. Goldberg was in the log. She went to check and noticed that he was upside down. Crap. Tears ensued. I struggled to get him out, but could not, what with a dressy long-sleeved blouse on, so I told the hubs about it. And I told J we could have a service for him later.

J got into the car a few minutes later, and more tears came. Within a few minutes, she told me that the tooth fairy did not come last night. Sonofabeech! Then, when we were nearly there, she said we forgot her water bottle, which she uses at her day camp.

At this point, I was ready to cry myself, convinced that this Tuesday was worse than any typical Monday. But I could barely hear myself think as my already loud car (I think it has something to do with the tires) was rattling like crazy from the dashboard.

As we walked into her day camp, and she went over to her hook, she also reminded me that we did not bring her towel, as we do at the beginning of every week. Fortunately, it was a little chilly for water day. But for the love of Pete, could I have forgotten one more thing?!

Naturally, I missed my usual bus, but the next bus was running late, so I made that. I was only a few minutes late to work, so there was that. And it was not hot, which is awesome for July. I was finally busy at work (hooray) but we found out a staff meeting that some cuts were made and more may come, so, sigh. I was mostly annoyed by my back pain, but more annoyed that my dermatologist cannot see me for over three weeks. Sigh, again.

At least the day ended on a positive note. I came home to a good meal, as I am lucky enough to almost always do. The hub had dug out a hole in the side year and prepared a "casket" as well as a stone that J wrote on. And the three of us had a lovely service for Mr. Goldberg, complete with Jordan's musical selection of "Hallelujah" playing on her iPod. Once that was done, we headed to Rita's for some much-needed therapeutic sugar.

I still want to punch this Tuesday in the face, but I guess it just goes to show you (me) you can't outrun a Monday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oh, beautiful, the city view

Yesterday I took my dad and my kid up the incline so we could get a great view of the city. I ended up with some nice shots. I only wish I had thought to have brought my camera; the iphone does not do the view justice.

Nice view of Heinz Field and the three rivers (mostly the Ohio and Allegheny)

The edge of the Point, with Downtown and the Mon River


Mostly the Point

View of the Ohio and a little of Heinz Field

The Ohio



We ate at the Grandview Saloon, which I have not been to, I am guessing, since before J was born. We were fortunate that the waiter got this nice shot of the three of us with the view in the background.

dad, J and I, with our fair city and a couple of rivers in the background (plus some random guy to my left)


We also took a Gateway Clipper one-hour cruise, which allowed me to get a handful of nice city shots as well.

View of Downtown from along the Mon River

The Point from the Mon


The Point from where the three rivers meet


The Point from the Allegheny (because you have to see if from three sides)

Heading down the Allegheny

Rivers Casino along the Ohio

View heading towards Downtown from the Ohio


View of the Northshore and Downtown from the Ohio


Pittsburgh, how I love (most of) thee!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Vacation all I ever wanted!

We had a fabulous vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, last week. I highly recommend doing a mini-week there if you are within six hours away. Being at the beach for seven nights is a bit much for us; my skin could barely take the four days we were there. And by staying just over half a week, we saved money, obviously. But I do admit I would have loved one more day.

Food was an integral part of our trip. I love to eat. I really love to eat seafood, so I made sure that was part of every lunch or dinner. I also managed a tasty beverage with every lunch or dinner as well. That is part of what vacation is about.

Here are a couple of pics of those:

Delicious lobster bisque

Strawberry blonde ale at brew pub on the boardwalk

Steamed clams from Jonah and the Whale at the end of the boardwalk
You gotta love shrimp in your bloody Mary. But the siracha-sauce soaked beans I could have done without! This was from the Crabcake Factory.
On our way out of town the last morning, when it was pouring rain, we stopped at a "cute" bakery in Fenwick Island.

As a kid, we spent hours at the beach daily (we went to OC pretty much every year). I don't know if it is just that my skin is older, the ozone layer is depleted, or what, but I ended up burnt and with a rash by the second day. This despite my drowning my skin in sunblock multiple times. Still, nothing can beat the ocean.

Here are some shots of that; the waves were pretty tough:

I took this as soon as we set foot on the sand, our first day there. Hello, ocean!


These were the waves our last full day there. We did not go out as far.

 As a kid, our trip to OC was not complete without a trip to an amusement park and mini golf, so we made sure to do both of those things. Many of the rides at Trimper's on the boardwalk are still there, 20 to 30 years later. Unfortunately. I could not get J to go on the ones I wanted to. The four of us did ride the giant Ferris wheel, which gave us a spectacular view of the beach below.

Lost Treasure mini golf

Fore!
View from the Ferris wheel

The place we stayed at was on the bayside, though our place did not have a water view, unfortunately.

Here are couple of shots from our neighborhood:

This was the view behind our place.

Assawoman Bay, at the end of our street.

Geese in the water


Since I am doing my best to maintain my fitness level, I made sure to walk and/or run every morning. It was quite humid the first few days, but being able to walk near water helped temper the 80-degree temps. I save my longest run for the last full day, when it was overcast. I had not run on the beach since I was a teen, I am guessing. Even then I am not entirely sure I did that. It is quite the challenge running along the ocean, but there is not way I could have handled the "regular" sand.

Here are some pics from that morning:

Selfie of my running

Cool shot, I thought

I ran along the ocean. I am pretty sure I ruined my tennis shoes, but I think it was worth it.

I admit my eyes welled up with tears as we drove home. I grew up a spoiled child who vacationed at least once a year. For a couple of years my family had a house on the bay in OC; unfortunately, between two working parents and a six-hour drive, we never made it there more than three times a year. After that we had a house on Indian Lake, which we did visit often. But towards the end of high school, we had some money problems; my parents' divorce followed a few years later, and all of the sudden we were struggling. That experience turned me into a frugal person, which is mostly a good thing. I truly appreciate experiences like these. When you vacation only every few years, you savor the moments. But you also can become sad knowing that you have a few more years until the next one.

I am just glad we had a great time, that J got to have a fun vacation. I appreciated being off work for a week, and the hubby, who hates his job, really was glad to be off. Hopefully my rash will fade soon! But I am more hopeful the memories will linger on.

Here's to the next adventure!