Liz Trains for a Marathon Week 5

I'm finding it's going to be really important, as I move forward in this thing, to remind myself exactly which week of training I'm running. This is week 5 (of the mileage buildup to begin actually training for a marathon). I should also, at some point, probably count the number of weeks until the marathon.

Is it odd that I'd rather run 5 or 6 miles outside than 3 inside? Although, tomorrow that plan may be put to the test because the lake path was completely ice this morning and I heard it's supposed to snow on top of all that tomorrow. It's possible I'll be running inside no matter what.

Mom got me an awesome windbreaker and Jenny got me reflective bands to wear when I run. The windbreaker looks fabulous. The reflective bands also came in handy because I wound up running in the road rather than on the path. (See my above note about ice.)

How far did I run this morning? I have no idea. I'm guessing 5.4-5.5 miles. There was a path, there was a road, there was ice. My goal for the week: 17 miles apparently.

By the way, is it weird to talk with God while running?


Blogging while drunk

I decided I should have an episode of blogging while drunk since I got (really really) toasted yesterday and didn't really blog. Although nothing quite compares to the Margaritas, today there was Bailey's with ice cream in a fake mud slide sort of thing for "lunch", wine with dinner (which I had a lot of because I wasn't driving), and after dinner, another (bigger) Bailey's. Yum.

Today I hung out with Jenny who learned that I don't know crap about the east side of Cincinnati and got me drunk in return. Also, thanks for driving at Hyde Park plaza which is something I refuse to do. (Seriously, it's the only place I can think of that Mom will drive and I wont.) We went to First Watch for breakfast, looked around the Krohn (that's the conservatory for those of you not from Cincinnati), went to Target which apparently sells Wrangler jeans, and then got Grater's and alcohol and headed to the condo.

We both helped Dad move furniture. (He finally listened to me about where stuff should go. I was right and sober at the same time then.) Then we wrapped our presents and had "mud slides".

Then I went to my aunt and uncle's for Christmas Eve dinner and homemade canoli for dessert. What could be better? Oh yeah, I know, that'll be tomorrow when I'm having my Christmas Spaghetti which I'm not even going to link to at this point because my vision is blurry and I've mentioned it about 100 times in the past week.

I love the drinking holidays.


For those of you wondering about my day

There was an obscene amount of alcohol...

There was *ahem* walking it off...

And, an hysterically funny Christmas present (which, as Chris noted, probably would have happened even if we were sober)...

And then, there was this


Liz Trains for a Marathon... A Happy Post

You might have notice that I didn't run this week. At all. I noticed it too. Today was a really rough day in terms of my parents moving. Ever witness someone else having a panic attack and them not knowing (or not admitting) they're having one? It's really sad. I actually spent most of the day thinking helping my parents move was going to be my exercise but there came a point when I just needed to get out of the house, so I went on a (fairly long) run. It was actually quite challenging because Cincinnati is all hills. The second half of the run was awesome. Down hill for a mile and half, what could be better?

The graph above is the change in elevation during my run, you can see it's all up hill for the first mile or more, ten a nice gentle down slope until I turn around, run back up that little hill, back to the highest point in the run, and then go down for pretty much the rest of the way.
While I sit here and experience my parents new house...

Friday Five -- December 19, 2008
This week's questions were suggested by [info]angelswilliam.

1. What decade did you attend/are you attending high school or college? High school was 1994-1999, College was 1999-2002.
2. What clothing fashion from that time are you glad/do you wish went out of style? Flannel shirts, dog collars and wallet chains
3. Do you still listen to the music from your high school/college years on a regular basis? The good stuff I still listen to. Page and Plant reunited at that time, there was Nirvana Unplugged and Sarah McLachlan.
4. What hairstyle/hair color did/do you wear during high school/college? Almost the exact same as now. Wow, that's depressing. Although there were quite a few changes in between.
5. What was/is "the cool thing to do" while in high school/college? Remember those Friday Night "X-Files" parties? I do.


I'm copying off Kelly again. Merry Christmas

Kelly did this over on her blog and you can follow all the links back to whomever is the original poster if you're really that curious.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Well, there was the Bed Bugs an experience that ultimately made me better at my job but I'd be happy to never ever repeat. I also ran a 10K and I quit my job at the aquarium.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year? I don't do news years resolutions. I'll make changes in my own time.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Um, no.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Is New York City it's own country? (It feels like it sometimes.) No? Then just South Africa and I was technically in Senegal twice during that trip.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? I'm planning on running a marathon. That should be nice.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Easy and for obvious reasons.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? The one I'm feeling most proud of at the moment was a family I served. The person I was serving died recently and his wife made sure to call me and thank me for helping make this person as comfortable as possible. It was the most touching moment I've had at my job.

9. What was your biggest failure? I don't feel like I've failed at anything really. Sometimes I feel frustrated with this whole "training for a marathon" thing, like I'm not actually doing the weeks as I'm supposed to and that doesn't always make me feel good. But that will work itself out. Winter is about the crappiest time possible to start training for a 26 mile run.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes. The one that's coming to mind right now I got right after the South Africa trip and resulted in me being on a liquid diet for three days. It also jump started weight loss which was awesome.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My iPod Touch. I didn't think it'd get as much use as it does. A happy surprise.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I refer you to question 7. Now, see, you're not sure if I'm talking about President Elect Obama, his family, the ticket, the voters, or something else entirely. And I'm going to leave it that way.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? California voters who decided gay people can't get married. I respect that "marriage" is a word from the bible and other religious texts and has a specific (and sacred) meaning in that context. But these citizens aren't asking California if they can get married in that religious context. They're asking to have tax benefits, property rights, disability and veterans benefits, insurance coverage, and power to make medical decisions, which is the purview and job of the government. If you don't like the word marriage, change the word, but don't use semantics as an excuse to deny a sizable minority a basic human right.

14. Where did most of your money go? It's called a mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? There was that time I went to South Africa. Also, we elected a president this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? There are a few. New Soul by Yael Naim is one I found this year. Burnin Up by the Jonas Brothers (I am not ashamed) is another. I know All these things that I've done was made popular by the olympics, I love to run to it now. Especially the chorus that goes "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier..."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Yes, I still am.

18. happier or sadder? Same.

19. thinner or fatter? Definitely thinner.

20. richer or poorer? I'm really note sure.

21. What do you wish you’d done more of? Run outside.

22. What do you wish you’d done less of? Not running.

23. How will you be spending Christmas? At my parents new condo. Although at this point, it's not clear whether the kitchen sink will also be spending Christmas with us.

24. Did you fall in love in 2008? Well, that's an interesting question. I'm not sure I've really told that story.

25. What was your favorite TV program? Clean House. It's like an addiction. In fact, when Style went to the more expensive cable teir, I found it in my budget to buy more cable. Happily I also get the Colbert Report which is another excellent show. I'd been watching that one on Hulu for a while now.

27. What was the best book you read? Dreams from my Father by President Elect Obama. I love the part where he talks about realizing how his mother sees Africa. I see Africa how his mom did.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery of 2008? Does books on tape count? I knew about books on tape, but I made a recent discovery about how to *ahem* make them accessible to my iPod.

29. What did you want and get? To not have bed bugs anymore.

30. What did you want and not get? A more comfortable place to sleep while my apartment was being sprayed for bed bugs. A note here to Amanda: You are an awesome friend because when I called (in a mild panic) asking for a place to stay, you never asked how I'd be sure not to contaminate your place with bugs too, and you just welcomed me right in. That was probably the worst time of all year. I feel really lucky to have you as a friend.

31. What was your favorite film of this year? Does the Vice Presidential Debate count? They played it at the local theater? Seriously, there were movies this year?

32. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? For sure there was alcohol..., I think there was cake too. I turned 27. Wow, I've been telling people I'm 28 for a while now.

33. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I have no idea, but it was pretty good they way it was.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? "Bonnie takes Liz shopping"

35. What kept you sane? There was the the time I called Amanda sobbing because none of my clothes would be returned to me before I went on a 14 day international trip and she actually calmed me right down from that one. On the phone the first couple of things she said to me were really nice which at the time made me cry harder because it felt so good to have a nice friend like that.

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Tina Fey? Does fancy mean I have a crush on them or I think they had a good year. Tina Fey definitely had a good year but I don't play for that team. I've always thought Hugh Grant was pretty hot.

37. What political issue stirred you the most? I didn't realize until just now that gay marriage was pretty important to me. Also, I'm going to have to say health care and the economy.

38. Who did you miss? My heart always misses Africa. But I have some people who live in the US and are still far away, I miss you guys too.

39. Who was the best new person you met? I think I technically met Irmghard in 2007, but I'm definitely happy she's part of the family now. And thanks for letting me stay with you in New York. I had a nice time.

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008: I'm going to refer you back to number 8 for that.

41. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Possibly Affirmation by Savage Garden.


Just more proof that Walmart really is the devil.

Just read the article. It seems like this ridiculous story about a bunch of red necks who give their kids an unfortunate name. I got all focused on the kids name, the name of their other kids, the picture, and then ::BAM::, Wally World shows up in a way that only they could.


Copying off Kelly

Who knows the meaning of irony? I do and this is it.

Who knows the meaning of "hindsight is 20/20" and "oh, he was really on to something there"? Environmentalists perhaps. Hopefully the rest of us catch on.

Who knows the meaning of wrong? I do and this is it.

And who knows the meaning of dumb? For those of us in Minnesota experiencing record breaking cold (it's so cold the frost is actually inside my car) this is stupid.

And now, from Kelly, I will do the 25 questions she copied from someone else. I actually read that blog too.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. With lots of ribbons. I love wrapping presents and decorating them with the curly ribbons. Right now I've been using a lot of tissue paper because it looks pretty.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Fake. But seriously, it's like two feet tall and not even the real Charlie Brown trees are that small.
3. When do you put up the tree? Right after Thanksgiving usually.
4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day.
5. Do you like eggnog? I feel like I've been told that I don't like egg nog. I'm not sure if it's really true but I've managed to avoid trying it without causing insult most of my life.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I seem to remember a tennis racket, a sled, and an art set.
7. Hardest person to buy for? Kelly. Sorry, I know I get you the same thing every year, and earlier this year Amanda assured me if I didn't give you that gift you'd go out and but it for yourself. I still feel uncreative when it comes to your gift.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Dad. He likes to play tennis and cook. There's always more to buy with both of those hobbies.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? No. I don't celebrate the baby Jesus at Christmas.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? ::Looks around sheepishly:: Neither. But I do write a year in review blog post I invite people to read.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Wow. Nothing comes to mind.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Love Actually is my favorite Christmas movie that I'll watch in entirety, while A Christmas Story is definitely the one I associate most with Christmas.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever I see a nice present for someone.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so. Although, yeah, maybe. I can't remember a specific incident but it sounds like something I'd do.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Have I mentioned the Christmas Spaghetti?
16. Lights on the tree? Colors right now. It's a small tree so it's not tacky.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Little Drummer Boy is probably my favorite. In high school and college I worked in this exhibit at the museum and was deluged with all manner of Christmas songs except (inexplicably) that one so it's one of the few I still enjoy hearing. The Hallelujah Chorus is always a great one. When I was in the Jazz band in high school, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was one of the most challenging (because of the arrangement) and funnest songs to play.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Well, I used to travel to my old home. While I won't be staying there this year, it's possible I'll see it one more time.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Kelly said there were nine of them. On Dasher on Donner on Comet and Vixen on...Prancer... Rudolph. No.
20. Angel on the tree-top or a star? On my tree it's actually an ornament I got at Jenny and Doug's wedding. Hey, for those of you who think I'm difficult to shop for, I need an angel that's appropriate to top a two-foot-tall Christmas tree.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve? That's totally cheating. We do it the day of.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? It's -10* in Minnesota today? That's the actual temperature. The thermometer doesn't even get low enough to read the wind chill.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? At home it's all old Christmas ornaments I've been given over the year. On my itteh bitteh tree it's itteh bitteh red globes (that's right, I did avoid saying I had small balls on my tree) but I'm not married to the those.
24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Again, I direct your attention to the Christmas Spaghetti.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Spaghetti? (This one time, after I'd been out of the US for several months, I was going to stay with Uncle Tom and Aunt Barb. I typed Uncle Tom this email just to firm up the plans. Then I went back and added the word "spaghetti" every few words to the entire text of the email.) I think I'd like a new bed (like the actual mattress for obvious reasons) and I also think I'm going to need a new car radio because the tape player (which is how I listen to my iPod) is freaking out. Kelly, perhaps you can direct me to the place you used.


Christmas is coming...

But first, I declare that we shall have blizzard in many parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas. No, seriously. It's not in my area but I suspect the roads (and my car too) are just a solid sheet of ice. As you may recall from what I wrote five minutes ago the temperature came down here pretty fast from temperatures so high the snow pack was melting.

I started re-reading some of my posts from earlier this year and I really enjoyed it. I'm already putting some thought into my next year in review post. Last year's was a fun way to sum up the year without writing out a billion Christmas cards. (I really don't get those.) I started re-living the kitchen fiasco remodel which began in January and felt truly over around May. I also got to look at Mark and Irmghard's wedding again. And re-live Mom telling me my looser cousin didn't even call me to tell me he was engaged. Send an email or something. Seriously.

I also spent a kind of long time watching various Star Trek movies. I am not ashamed. To cap off my productivity for the day, I did laundry (and actually got it folded which should count as it's own accomplishment), "did" the dishes (by loading the dishwasher and turning it on), and wrapped so many presents I ran out of paper.

I was planning on wrapping more presents tomorrow but I just saw the weather report. I think it'll be quite a commitment to see my mentee tomorrow night. It's sad that one of those days when I want to be outside as little as possible is coming in December instead of the middle of January where they belong.

And to wrap the day up, I want to share with you what I've learned this weekend:

Related to the environment:

Political or similar:

On a lighter note:
  • Remember when you could pull a prank like stealing the baby Jesus from a manger and it was funny. Don't do that anymore. It's not worth the theft charges and (I'd imagine in the case of the menorahs) hate crimes charge somewhere along the way. Technology can be so helpful sometimes.

  • Finally, to Kelly and Amanda (mostly to Amanda), I think when we get together to celebrate Christmas we should make this. Just think of all the awesome things you could do with that. It could be bacon, cucumber, lettuce and mayo (for I fear the "T" in the BLT), there could be blue cheese in there, maybe even a little pineapple and mozzerla for a "pine and swine" experience. I'm just saying...

Liz Trains for a Marathon, a reaches an exiciting milestone

Well, I did miss a run last week. (Yesterday really because I was sleeping most of the day.) As much as my OCD wants me to be bothered and freaking out and planning to make it up, the part of me that calms down when I run is fighting that feeling pretty well.

But I did want to run today. It was still 37* when I went out and I had plans to run the five miles I needed for day plus an extra lap around the lake to make up for yesterday. But then the temperature started to drop. Now, I was dressed for running in 37* so I was quite warm at first. I did make two entire laps around the lake which is 5.6 miles. But about a mile into the second lap, the wet pavement started to be ice covered pavement and my once warm face started to feel frozen. So I stopped at the end of the second lap.

Even if I could have changed into something warmer, running on ice, and smooth ice at that, is not my idea of a good time. When I got home I learned the temperature dropped about 10* in that hour and the wind picked up from basically nothing to very strong so the wind chill was even more out of hand.

So, I'm on track for this week which will be my highest mileage week so far if I make it. And when I plugged my iPod in after the run, I got another special treat. I've now run over 500 miles since I started using it in 2007. Thanks again to Amanda, Kelly and Eric for that awesome graduation gift.

I did manage to leave my house yesterday, even if it wasn't to exercise. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got Christmas gifts (although I don't think I got any there for anyone who reads this blog, so you can all still be surprised). It was when I got home that I realized I have no wrapping paper.

This morning I made a list of the gifts I still need to buy, and those that I already have. I want badly to go out and get some of them now but I fear the ice I was running on earlier has spread to our roads. The temp is now 18* and the wind chill is -6*. Don't like the weather in Minnesota? Wait five minutes.

When I got home I had a nice bowl of chicken soup and now I'm thinking of making egg drop soup. For some reason, I can never get it the way they make it in the restaurant. I have a feeling they add something unhealthy that makes it taste so good. But I found a new recipe and I'm going to give it a try.

By the way, I seem to be watching even less television since I got the good cable. Somehow seeing that guide on the television just reaffirms my belief there's really nothing good on and I turn the thing off right away instead of aimlessly flipping channels for a while in the hopes that something good will break into my regularly scheduled programming and entertain me for a while.


Liz Trains for a Marathon

And the new motivation will be...

As in, Wow! I think my face is frozen. It's not entirely clear who far I ran today, although I think it was at least 5.2 miles. And we know that the last two miles were very fast.

Miles today: 5+
Miles this week: 8+
Goal for the week: 12.0


Today, A Strange New Accusation Was Leveled At Me

Today, I was accused of being like Barack Obama. I have no idea what to do with that, although I was right. Basically someone was saying that we should just do something on our own and not include some partners we'd been working with because we didn't need them. And I said no, we had to include them, and in the end it would be helpful to us even if it didn't look like it as we started off. I was right and I still am. So I'm not sure if that was a compliment or something else. Either way, I wasn't being someone else, that's really what I think.


Liz Trains for a Marathon

I think I set a record for the number of times I could clean my car in one day. It's not a record I particularly wanted to set, but that's how my day was. Now I'm so tired I may fall asleep while typing. So, just in case:
Miles run: 3.0
Miles this week: 3.0
Goal mileage: 12.0

That's right, this will be my shortest week. And today was the first time I'd been convincingly under 11:00 miles in a long time. That's a nice feeling. In honor of that accomplishment, I'm going to go to sleep now.


I Just Realized I Forgot Thanksgiving Pictures

Kentucky really is one of the prettiest places I've ever been. It was nice to go down to the farm for Thanksgiving. I hadn't been there in a while. We didn't ride the horses, but maybe this summer I'll go down and do that.

It was great to see my family. Some of them I hadn't seen since last Christmas, most of them actually.

Plus, I got to see Jenny.

Many of you have heard me try to describe my cousins house, car museum, and rec center. Here are some pictures. That's me doing a flip on the jumper. I don't know where the other one was, but that was the only one that was blown up.

Saturday Linkfest

It's a good think it's cold out because bacon (like a bacon cheeseburger) sounds really good right now and I'm too cold to move. Here's what I'll be looking at instead:

Health related news:


For Minnesota:

Food: (Did I mention the Bacon Cheeseburger?)
  • I'm so happy to learn that Butter is better than margarine because I find the fake stuff disgusting and try to avoid it.

  • I love the comment that said Something wrong just happened because that's how I felt watching this video. It is totally safe for work but may make you feel like you're hearts collapsing.

And the other stuff:

Liz Trains for a Marathon

I was getting ready to write this post and was shocked to learn I'd been at this for three weeks already. I ran yesterday and today.
Miles Friday: 4.0
Miles Saturday: 2.8
Miles this week: 16.8
Goal miles: 16.0

Did I mention that today I ran outside. Around Lake Nokomis. It was quite windy. I'm thinking about running outside tomorrow too. It's nice to have that big hot tub at the Y as a reward when running outside in the middle of winter. It's also nice to have a reward that's not food and doesn't cost money.

Amanda and Kelly and I went to the No Coast Craft Show which was actually only my second time in the Midtown Global Market. I really enjoyed it.

I also enjoyed that I could buy earrings at this place. I'm one of the gazillion people with a nickel allergy. (If it's the most common form of dermatitis, it begs the question why the stuff is still used in earrings anyways.) There was one artist who actually had her earrings marked so I knew which ones were safe to buy. I got two really cool pairs. I'm excited because I love earrings and they're really hard for me to buy.

I'm thinking about getting my Christmas tree down. This year I'm ridiculously early and I actually have presents I could put out around it. I'm also thinking about dinner. Not sure what I should do about that. I don't think I can go outside again.


No one knows what I was thinking this morning: Liz Trains for a Marathon

No one knows what I was thinking this morning. Even I was shocked by my decision to run another five miles. But I got through it ok. I'm still a little behind on my running for the week, but it's possible for me to catch up tomorrow. It's been hard to run two days in a row at the Y this whole time. I'm not sure why. I think it's something of a mental block. But I'm going to try my best. So, for the record:

Mileage today: 5.0
Miles this week: 10.0
Goal mileage: 16.0


Liz Trains for a Marathon

Getting back on track for training: Basically, I didn't run Sunday and I should have and I was too exhausted to do it on Monday. So, I ran Sunday's run today, I think I'll do today's run tomorrow and then be back on track for Thursday.

Miles today: 5.0
Miles this week: 5.0
Goal mileage: 16.0

I think the hardest part of this is the amount of running and the distances that I'm probably going to wind up doing inside. I was impressed that I could do a five mile run inside. Although running for an hour around a track might be about my limit.

Tomorrow I get to go to work late so I'm going to sit in the hot tub after I run. What a great reward.


Update from Saturday: Liz Trains for A Marathon

I'm not sure if I accomplished my running goal this week or not. For the record:
Mileage today: 5...., it was over 5 miles for sure.
Mileage this week: 15 plus miles
Goal Mileage: 15

So why didn't I reach my goal? I was supposed to run four times this week, I only ran three. Not sure bout that.

What else did I do? After I ran we went to my cousins Car Museum (no, seriously) to take family Christmas pictures. I'm so glad I don't regularly take pictures of kids. It's like herding cats. What's the car museum? It's an extended (and I do mean large) garage off the end of her house. It's used for entertaining, I can only assume so that people stay out of the family home.

Then we had a graduation party and birthday party for my cousin's son. There were lots of fun things to do at Kris' Rec Center. We ate, we played on the "jumper", on which I can still do a front flip. I didn't try a back flip but that would have been cool. We also played video games and Uno. No one went in the pool although I think so people did work out.

Then, I did a ride along with another cousin who is a police officer. That was interesting. It's actually probably the most time I've spent with him, well, ever. He's a really nice guy, although I wouldn't want to be pulled over by him. Or any of the other officers.

After that I fixed one of my aunt's computers so she can pay her bills online. Vista really does suck.

The Angel on my Other Shoulder

This year, I'm especially thankful for...

  • Finding that one last thing at my parents house that I would have been sad to loose. What was it? A statue I got in Malawi. I forgot I owned it. I saw it, grabbed it, and realized I was about to leave that house for the last time. That was emotional.

  • The farm. I love going down to the farm in Kentucky. That's what we always used to do for Thanksgiving, and it really felt like Thanksgiving to be back. Minneapolis is my home but I do love Kentucky.

  • The hot tub at the farm. It's Kentucky but they're not hillbillies.

  • My job. I love what I do, and I enjoy my colleagues as well. I think I'm pretty lucky in that respect.

  • My awesome friends and family. I can't name you all, but if you're reading this blog, you are included.

  • So many more things...

And now, a special tribute to my friend Jenny. I'd tell you Jenny's last name but that's a subject of some debate at the moment. You may remember me going home for Jenny's wedding in June (and a certain attic cleaning incident at the same time). Apparently Jenny is rather attached to her current last name and would like to keep and use Doug's last name with a hyphen. I've only heard one side of the story but it sounds like Doug is hurt that his name alone isn't satisfactory to Jenny. In the mean time, nothing has been done and Jenny's maiden name continues on as it always has (or that's how I understand it). Kelly, I think you should tell Jenny how long it actually takes to get your name changed so that she can have it done before they retire.

Why do I want to thank Jenny? Because, someone finally has a small glimpse of what my life was like for, well, ever.

Today Mom, Jenny and I took a walk at California Woods (where I used to work) and then had lunch. Then we went back home because I wanted Jenny to see the awesome job I did on the attic earlier and the follow up job my parents had done in moving stuff. (They really did do a good job. It's almost totally empty now.) Jenny and I were just hanging out so I offered to box some stuff up for Mom. And the three of us got to work on the cookbooks. Apparently Dad had already gone through the cookbooks, and while he claimed to have ditched some, that clearly wasn't true. So Mom authorized the purge of several more. She did a really good job of throwing things out.

And then Dad walked in, and looked longingly at the bags we'd just labeled "Good Will" and "Library Sale", and continued to gaze longingly at the bags despite my reassurance that Mom had authorized all decisions about cookbooks. Now, I'm pretty clear on my feelings towards Mom's hoarding, but she does a really good job of throwing some things away, especially things that can legitimately be useful to others. So when I saw the look on Dad's face as he gazed at these bags, I called out his true identity to the entire room. Remember, he claimed to have gotten rid of the cookbooks they no longer used. When it comes to clutter crap hoarding Dad is really a lion in sheep's clothing. He's the reason they keep so much stuff that's useful but not in use.

Next, Mom asked us to clean off the top shelf of the kitchen pantry, which is when I proclaimed to Jenny that the tides were about to change, there would now be a complete role reversal. Mom would assume the role of Hoarder in Chief and Dad would be the one advocating some semblance of reason.

It was about then that I pulled the first of several half used packages of paper cups off the shelf. Jenny said, "I don't think they make this color any more". I don't think they ever made that color Jenny, but thanks for being nice about it. And then I started pulling the plastic forks, more cups, plates, more forks, plates, cups, napkins, more forks, and more plates off the shelf. Jenny would dutifully take these things out of my hands, lay them on the table to be packed and return to where I was standing on the chair, at which point she would give me a look that said, "you know this is crazy, right?" Followed by a look that possibly said, "no, seriously, this is crazy, why are you cooperating with them?"

Next I found a plastic bag full of what could charitably be called tuppeware. It's really old take out containers and yogurt cups Mom wanted to keep in case she needed to put something in a container for someone else to take home. For that need to arise, we'd actually have to have company in the house which is a whole separate blog post. I tried to persuade Mom that perhaps it wasn't worth the effort or space to move these things to the new house. Mom assured me that these pieces of crap wastes of space gently used, ever so fragile, good for five more seconds of use, food containers could be stored in the new garage. Want to know why you don't have house guests? You think it's ok to put their food in a container you store in the garage.

There are no words for the look on Jenny's face at that point but I'm so happy someone else got to experience a little bit of what my life was like as a kid. All these things were happening that I knew were crazy and Mom (and sometimes Dad) went to great lengths to assure me that this craziness was quite normal and I had a bad attitude for complaining about it. It's like I finally had the little angel on my other shoulder assuring me that these things were, in fact, crazy and I was the only sane person in the room.

So this Thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful for the angel on my other shoulder. It's such a relief to have you there.


Happy Thanksgiving (and Liz Trains for a Marathon)

I'm writing this Thursday morning (Happy Thanksgiving!) although my internet connection is somewhat in doubt so it's not clear when I'll actually be posting. I'm also writing this in a plain text editor (see my previous comment about the internet connection) so I have no idea how it will look when I copy it onto my blog.

Yesterday, I had every intention of getting up and going to the gym. I did not. I didn't go Tuesday either. Or Monday. One of my goals with this whole "Liz Trains for a Marathon" thing is to run consistently over the course of the month, even at ahem uncomfortable times. It's a work in progress. This month, I made one five mile run I probably wouldn't have last month.

The drive was, well, I'm really not a fan of driving in, around, or near Chicago. Other than that stretch, it was fine. There were these two crazy merges, one on I-90 and one on I-39 within a couple miles of each other and traffic was less than thrilled about it. This might be one nice thing that comes of me going to Indiana for part of this trip. I don't have to come home that way. Traffic was equally screwed up on the other side of the road.

For most of the trip, I listened to an audio book. Perhaps you've heard of it, Dreams of my Father. I really didn't think I would enjoy listening to a book while I was driving. Usually I prefer to dance and sing at the top of my lungs. It keeps me active and engaged in driving. But I absolutely fell in love with this book. If you've been living under a rock, Dreams of my Father is the first book President-Elect Obama wrote. He wrote it right after he was elected editor of the Harvard Law Review. And of course, he reads the book himself. Thank goodness too, it would be really distracting if it was someone else's voice. Some passages of the book are really eerie, in hind sight. There's one part in particular about moving to Chicago right after the first black mayor was elected and how the white and black communities in Chicago reacted. Although possibly my favorite part was when he realized how his (white) mother saw African children. I loved that part of the book because that's how I see Africa too. When I arrived in Cincinnati last night, I'd just gotten to the part where he meets Rev. Jeremiah Wright for the first time. He'd already applied to law school (glad I know how that turned out), but hadn't heard back yet. Anyways, it's a book I could really get into.

Last night I stayed up and talked with my parents for a while before bed. That was nice, to actually visit with them.

This morning, I did, in fact, get up and run. I went to a bike/running path and ran a little over 5 miles. Go Lizzie. I was supposed to run four times this week, instead I think I may do three runs and cover the same mileage. I'm not sure if that's cheating or not. So, for the record:
Miles today: 5.3 (I'm guessing on the .3, it was over 5, that's kind of a low estimate really)
Miles this week: 10.3
Goal Mileage this week: 15


When people ask me...

When people ask me what my blog is about, I will now direct them to this picture. Hee hee. It's wrong but it's so right at the same time.

In the mean time, let me show you what I've been reading:

Liz Trains for a Marathon

Yesterday. Liz trained for a marathon yesterday. Today, I took a break.
Miles Sunday: 5
Miles for the week: 5
Goal mileage: 15

Actually, I'm supposed to run 4 days this week, 4 miles 3 days and 3 miles the last day, plus a 5 mile run next Sunday (while I'm trying to drive from Indiana to Minneapolis). So it was nice to put in an extra mile yesterday.

Other accomplishments from yesterday:
  • I fixed a leaky faucet Amanda basically fixed a leaky faucet for me but I did have the foresight to invite her over and promise her food, so in some way, I contributed to making my home better. And, amazingly, it only took one trip to the hardware store.

  • Laundry. I did laundry. It sounds small...

  • Vacuuming. That sounds even more ludicrous but given the recent bed bug issue, it's even more necessary. And I hardly ever do it.

  • Shopping, including toys for the toy drive at the YWCA.

All in all, it was a productive weekend. Which explains why I'm so tired now I guess.


Liz Trains for a Marathon

Miles today: 3.0
Miles this week: 14.3
Goal mileage: 14.0

What I learned so far:
  • I like having a schedule laid out, and trusting that it's there. I like being able to think, "ok, all I have to do is worry about today" and trust the plan. It helps me stay focused.

  • Check outside before choosing running apparel. I'm notoriously bad at this one and it's the reason I wind up running in the rain so frequently. Apparently, it snowed overnight. I was going to run outside. I decided my shoes would get too wet and went to the Y. (I don't have that luxury on weekdays when I have limited time to run and get to work.) I'll still try to run outside tomorrow.

I'm still trying to work out my travel and running schedule. I'm scheduled to run 5 miles next Sunday which isn't a super long run, but I don't think I'll be able to do it and then drive home. I might have to put that run sometime earlier this week. Wednesday morning before I drive may be free.

I'm also trying to work out the rest of my Thanksgiving plans. As you know from previous years, I usually go to my aunt and unlces in Ft Wayne Indiana which I typically enjoy. But this year, Dad didn't want to go up there because he has too much work to do on the house(s) or some such nonsense. I was really sad to miss that part of the holidays. I think I've created a plan that my parents may or may not (probably not) like. I'm going to drive down to Cincinnati and spend Thanksgiving and the next day with them, then drive up to Ft Wayne and spend a day there and then drive home. Going up to Ft Wayne doesn't really take time off the drive back to Minnesota, but it doesn't add time either, especially if I get through Chicago nice and early.

Still listening to Rhythm of the Saints and loving it.


From the land of links

Liz Trains for a Marathon

I wonder how many posts will have this same title by the time I'm done. I can't count that high. But I am still on this whole train-for-a-marathon idea.

Miles today: 3.0
Miles this week: 11.3
Goal mileage for the week: 14

Today I ran intervals (run 1 lap, walk 1/2 lap) until the total distance I covered was 3 miles. Intervals are good because they make me run really fast. Besides just completing a marathon, I'm hoping that my times in shorter races get faster over the year. I'm ok running intervals. At first I wasn't sure if it was cheating or not. I've decided not.

Lessons Learned:
  • I can't believe I did 3 miles worth of that interval. Usually I'm dying after way less than that.

  • The hot tub remains an awesome reward. There was a really hot guy tonight swimming in the pool and I had a great view.

  • I can run even when I feel like crap. On a fairly regular cycle, I get really tired and don't want to do anything. Usually at times like these, I don't run because I think it's an impossibility given how tired I am. Nice to know that's not true.

  • Running at night is OK.


Liz Trains for a Marathon

Miles today: 4.0
Miles this week: 8.3
Goal mileage for the week: 14

Lessons learned:
  • Apparently, I can run 4 miles around a track without stopping. Who knew? It got hard to run around the track at the Y for long periods because I was so used to running sprints and intervals on it. I'm getting used to running in circles for long periods of time again.

  • Running on a track when it's [sort of] busy is fun, all those people keep me entertained.

  • Paul Simon's The Obvious Child from Rhythm of the Saints is a great song and needs to appear on all of my exercise playlists.

  • When I wait 'till the evening to run, I feel like a lazy failure all day. That sounds a little a lot melodramatic. I like to run or exercise in the morning, so when I don't, I feel like I've skipped a day, even though I haven't really.

  • The hot tub is the best reward ever after a run. I'm glad I've finally found a reward that doesn't involve food.

  • The hot tub is significantly less crowded on weeknights than on Sunday morning.

Tuesday Linkfest

For Bloggers:

Things I find entertaining:

For the environment and health Amanda:

For those of you interested in geography:
  • Where's the best place to be single? I highly disagree. Minneapolis actually rates 16 in number of singles. All I'd like to know is where the heck are these people? And it's not fair if they're only using census demographics like legally single and married because there's a crap ton of people who are with a partner but not married. Trust me.

  • Where not to live is the least healthy part of the US? While it's no surprise that the middle of Appalachia is first on the list, I'm shocked at Los Angeles and San Bernadino area in California appearing.

  • And the follow up, Where's the healthiest place to live in the US? I highly agree with this one. In the Twin Cities, there's always a road race somewhere, indoor triathalons in the winter and a championship triathalon in the summer, plus the Twin Cities Marathon and the insane number of people riding their bikes everywhere. Way to go us.


Well, I'm haivng a day...

Apparently, I'm having a bit of a day. I called home and talked to Dad as was normal, and then started talking to Mom. For some reason, Mom didn't know I was planning to drive home for Thanksgiving. So then she spent 15 minutes figuring out if I could get home another way. And I asked her stop [obsessing], and then I offered to call her back later [because she was still obsessing], which was when she said she'd stop. And instead of stopping, she kept discussing it, so I told her I loved her and I'd talk to her later.

I'm sorry, it's no fun for me to listen to my mom obsess and repeat herself for 15 minutes, I just wanted to chat with her. Here's the deal. I have a co-worker who obsesses all day, every day. And it drives me up a wall (although her anxiety doesn't transfer to me). On Sunday night, I just don't want to listen to it. Having OCD, I just assume mine isn't as bad as everyone else who has OCD. Is that wrong?

Sunday linkfest

The things that I found interesting:

For Sarah:

For people who shall remain nameless (it's ok, I don't think they read my blog):

For Kelly (and I want to make it clear that I don't think your fat, the article just reminded me of something you said):

Liz Trains for a Marathon

I've officially started training for the Marathon next October. I was able to find a Marathon Training Schedule online that looked pretty reasonable. But that's not what I'm doing. Right now I'm on the Build up plan which builds up to the marathon training program.

Miles today: 4.3
Miles this week: 4.3

Lessons learned:
  • It's too freakin' cold to stop. Ever. And on Sunday mornings, there's not many people out so it's really peaceful out.

  • Whenever I run in the cold, I freeze for the rest of the day. Does anyone else have this issue? Discuss.

  • I'm going to need more cold weather gear. Good thing I bought that stuff yesterday and did laundry today.

  • Days like this are the perfect day for a hot tub. (My membership at the Y just got a whole lot more valuable.)

I actually did go to the Y after running. I lifted some weights and then, sure enough, got in the hot tub. And it was wonderful. And I wasn't really as cold as I normally am for the rest of the day.


Congratulations, you've reached your goal of 1,000 posts

Graphic taken from this place.

I was thinking about what would be a really special post for my one-thousandth post. Here's what I came up with: for all of you, I've updated my amazon.com wish list.

Also, Garmin GPS systems seem to be ridiculously discounted on Amazon right now, and, Amanda, Sports Authority online has ridiculous deals on Nike apparel. I got an insane deal on cold weather running pants and a jacket. I was going to just tell my parents what to get me for Christmas but it was so cheap, I just went ahead and bought it.

In a couple weeks, I have to give a talk about my trip to South Africa. I decided that I needed to talk about living in Malawi as part of that talk so I scanned a whole bunch of pictures into my computer for that, and from my first trip to South Africa, including some of the pictures where I'm bald. This stuff is really fun for me to remember so I thought I'd share it:

This was my first time in South Africa, October or November of 2001.
Above: Table Mountain at Sunrise. Below: Kaga Kamma.

This picture was controversial because I was too young to buy alcohol in the US. No problem in South Africa though.

Gugulethu township, which of course, I revisited in 2008.
That's my friend Sarah also seen here, and two South African school teachers. We tried Sarah tried to fix something on their computer but it didn't work. I still remember Sarah was fooling around on the computer and one of them was looking out the window and singing song to herself and we stopped to listen. It was really cool.

These guys are singing their national anthem, one of my favorite songs.

Yes, that's my "golfing". I think I was posing for a picture.

Remember: there's nothing like close ups of kids.

Why am I wearing a bandanna in all of these pictures? Because I was bald, and in the stop before South Africa I'd learned the rather painful lesson that scalps can peel because of sunburn just like any other part of the body.

Then, there's Malawi. Four years later, I still don't have the words to explain, but these might help:

I'm especially speechless thinking of my family:


Number 999

I was just watching an update about the senate race in Minnesota. The nice thing about having this one stretch out (as opposed to 2000) is it actually decreases any anxiety I had about who the winner will be.

I'm starting to get excited about running in the cold. (It's the new clothes I get to wear.) I wish it would stop snowing/sleeting/generally crapping out so I could go one morning. I'm also starting to get serious about this whole Marathon training business. It looks like I have to get used to running 4-5 days per week, a tall order considering I usually run about 3 days per week. Honestly, sometimes it's not a tall order. I don't think I'll loose enough weight not to get my period so those weeks could be interesting.

On Sunday I ran 2 miles with Amanda. Monday I did the elliptical at the gym (which is good cardio but doesn't count as running) and this morning I ran 3 miles. I'm thinking about going outside tomorrow. As always, it depends on the weather.


What have I seen lately?

For post 998, I will tell you

Regarding politics:
  • For all those of you who had a different opinion on the elections than I did, from me to you.

  • I got sucked into this article because it said President Elect Obama has read all of the Harry Potter books (which makes me feel a lot cooler than I did yesterday) and then I read that he smokes?!?. Serious? Interesting, I used a similar tactic to get my dad to quit smoking. Way to go Mrs Obama!

In the world of medicine:
  • The best inventions and cures are almost always by mistake. That's how we got the telephone. Apparently, it's also how we'll cure AIDS.

  • What happens when a documented immigrant with no health insurance needs care? Apparently, nothing good, unless you go to California. There's not a study, but I'd imagine it's cheaper to treat than to deport at some point.

  • I remember one time Kelly told me womens feet and hands are always cold because we're "keeping the baby warm" even if we're not pregnant. Who knew there was scientific proof? Cool. It's winter and my feet will be icicles until at least April.

And in the Just For Fun section:

::Steps up to Soap Box for post 997::

On President Elect Obama's Education Plan:

The other day I heard someone say that President Elect Obama had a plan to give $4,000 in tuition for 100 hours of volunteer work. I thought to myself, "add a zero and it's AmeriCorps", the program I did for two years. AmeriCorps is a little over $4,000 in an education award for about 1200 hours worth of work. But I read today, the person I heard did indeed get the figures right (see the "Education" section) and I'm fairly conflicted about the whole thing.

I feel like the contribution I made through AmeriCorps is suddenly a lot less valuable and that really hurts. I lived basically in poverty for two years in sub-minimum wage jobs helping people work and helping women escape violence. The whole time I had no actual health insurance. Then, when I went back to school (to become a social worker) I had to turn around and pay taxes on the education awards I earned while being poor.

I feel like I got screwed with my pants on if this really happens. It feels even more personal since I actually voted for this guy, he is my president. (Like you all didn't know who I voted for.) I was used to getting screwed with President Bush (sorry, you know it's true) but I wasn't expecting it straight out of the gate with the President Elect.

I feel like this will kill AmeriCorps which is too bad. It's a really good program. No one will spend a year being poor for $4,725 education award when they can volunteer 100 hours for almost the same amount of money. AmeriCorps members contribute a lot in all the different programs. And (and I can't believe I'm saying this) even President Bush acknowledged AmeriCorps when he talked about public service in one of his State of the Union Addresses.

I feel like the money is too easy. It's like it's too good to be true. $4,000 for 100 hours? That's $40 per hour. What college graduate makes that to start out with? (And if I'm reading it the other way, it's $4,000 for 400 hours. $10/hr is above the average wage in the country, certainly more than most high school graduates make.) In some ways, it's a lot of money, in other ways, it's not enough. $4,000 is nice a really big help, but the rest of the money to pay for a college education has to come from somewhere. Which still means this program could miss really low income kids who don't have parents to chip in.

Most of all, I feel bad for feeling mad and cheated. (I told you I was conflicted.) I was in a youth program as a teenager and then I supervised teens in a teen program here in Minnesota. I cannot believe the crap kids (especially low income kids and minorities) have to put up with that's totally outside their control. I was amazed at how hard these kids worked and it still wasn't clear if they'd get in to college or be able to pay for it. I think going to college should be a given for those kids like it was for me. I believe that the government should believe in these kids, and $4,000 is a nice way to show it.

So, here's what I want from the President Elect: Sir, it sounds like this program has the potential to help people and that is a good thing. And when it gets signed into law, I want you to speak directly to the former AmeriCorps members who spent much more time for a comparatively smaller reward (that we had to pay taxes on). I need to know that this program is going to add value to our country without taking away the value of what I've already contributed. Given everything I've just said, I need you to tell me why I should be excited and feel good about this.

::Steps down from Soap Box::


Counting down

T minus 5 posts until I reach the 1,000 post milestone.

It's been a big week. This election was by far my favorite one that I got to vote. I woke up at 5:20am on Tuesday and leaped out of bed. I was really excited to vote. I actually went to the Y and exercised. Then I picked up my mentee and took her to vote with me. I had her fill out my ballot. To all of you freaking out (because my ballot will be re-counted in the Minnesota Senate Race), it was my vote, I told her how to vote, and I'm allowed to have help filling out my ballot. But in four years, she'll be able to vote for Barack Obama herself.

We waited in line for an hour to vote. I've never seen the line go out of the gymnasium before. Tuesday it was all the way across the ball field. Dad said he had to wait in line in Cincinnati too. We agreed that it's our favorite line we've ever waited in. After that, I took my mentee to school and went to work where I had a hard time concentrating.

The rest of the week was slow by comparison. Today I did manage to leave my apartment long enough to go to the Y and run. Who turned on the winter? That's right, it's snowing outside. This is prime running season so I need to get into good enough shape that I can do a long run in the cold. Today at the Y, I realized that for the month of January, I'll be doing a lot of indoor running. That's partly because it's January in Minnesota and I don't have that many options. It's also because January is the month everyone becomes a member of the Y and it's kind of hard to get on the machines then.

What else have I been doing?
  • Lately, I've become addicted to on-line puzzles at Jigzone. It's mostly because I can't just sit and watch TV. I have to be doing something else at the same time. Try the "240 Piece Squares" cut for some long lasting entertainment.

  • We also just passed Halloween which is my least favorite holiday. For those of you who do like it, here's another use for all that candy. Be warned, when I opened this page, I didn't think it was candy on the calendar.

  • Do you shop at one of the 10 healthiest grocery chains in the US? Super Target? One of my favorite things about Super Target is that I can reliably and easily get Chicken Sausage there, something not even my co-op can boast.

  • I always remember Kelly getting these "eye twitches" that she couldn't stand. Why? Here's one possibility. Kelly, the last time I remember you having these, you weren't married yet, not even sure if you were dating Eric. Hopefully they're not a problem anymore.

  • Best caption of the Vice Presidential Debates. Ever.

Speaking of President Elect Obama, here's my favorite reads about him and the election:


Well... Wow.

I didn't think this race would get called so early. I can't remember the last time a presidential election was called before 11pm in Minnesota. I also didn't think I'd have tears in my eyes when they called it. I didn't at first but then I started listening to all these old white men who were tearing up (Tom Brokaw is who did it to me) and then I started to get tears in my eyes.

Wow. Just Wow.

From here.