A new dawn may be starting sooner than I think

Well, I've done the unthinkable. Possibly not unthinkable, but at the very least, ill-advised. I mailed a letter today to all of my friends and family, and some loose acquaintances who asked to be included (thank you) giving an update on my progress raising money for Bolder Options. (Look at the sidebar on the right...) If you're reading this blog, there's probably a letter headed your way in the mail (unless you're moving this weekend, in which case it will be hand delivered). Once you get it you'll see that I included my blog address on the letter and invited people to check her for updates on the whole "Liz Trains for a Marathon" bit.

Some of you reading this blog may not have received this letter. And I may not have even asked for your support yet. To anyone in this category, just because I know how to get to your house doesn't mean I know your address. (It's ridiculous, I know. And, I'm including in that, people I've known since the year I moved to Minnesota.) Also, I have until September to raise this money. So I'm sure I'm still planning on asking for your support. But you can always leave a comment here on the blog or shoot me an email reminding me that I have your support and you're an awesome friend.

Now, why is a thank-you, update, come check out my blog letter ill-advised? Well everyone got that letter. And I'm including my parents, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and even an old professor. So I think I'm going to have to broaden the scope of the little blog here, and possibly adjust the content slightly, just in case the viewing audience does grow. For those of you who don't have your own blog, think of friending your parents on Facebook. That's what I've just done here. (Hi Mom and Dad, glad to have you!)

Since the letters won't get mailed until tomorrow morning, I'm going to do one last linkfest with wise-guy comments my current audience will appreciate.

We'll start with news that rocks:
  • Most of you know I live in the congressional district that elected the first Muslim congressman. (It's Minneapolis. We elected Al Franken too.) My representative's name is Keith Ellison and we're pretty happy with him here. Before he was elected, he did a lot of work on the north side of Minneapolis (read: the poor, drug-infested, gang-infested, all-but-forgotten part of Minneapolis), including some environmental work, which you don't see a whole lot, even in Minneapolis. Congressman Ellison was arrested this week while trying to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur. Someone said to me, "oh, that'll hurt his chances for re-election". It really won't. (I haven't checked, but I'll bet his approval rating actually went up.) The genocide in Darfur is a serious issue that often gets swept to the side. Thanks for doing your best to keep it front and center.

  • Also, in the slightly-more-liberal-than-Minnesota state of Iowa (wow, whoever thought that's how we'd describe Iowa), same sex marriage licenses are now being issued without any problems. It's not lost on me that Iowa is the first state in the country to hold caucuses for the presidential elections, even before New Hampshire has their primaries. I used to hate that (think we'd have ethanol if it wasn't for Iowa going first?) but now I'm excited to see how President Obama and any potential presidential candidates speak to the issue of gay marriage.

Next up: headlines that rock:
  • Honest, when I first saw this headline I thought it was a story from The Onion but apparently it's for real. I was sad to hear the bear died too.

  • And Awesome sports headlines that don't require knowledge of sports to be funny. A slightly dirty mind always helps though.

Like I was going to have a post and not talk about the Swine Flu:
  • First, get the real information on this one. In Minnesota there's a couple suspected cases (in a little town called Cold Spring, not in the Twin Cities, but they won't be confirmed until testing by the CDC is complete). All my friends and family in New York, you guys stay healthy and I'll be thinking about you.

  • Once you have the facts, a little laughter never hurt. I love this one because I actually take some of the references. (Not all of them. I guess I'm not a true geek yet. Sorry.)

Like to cook?
  • I tend to make some things from scratch. Especially chicken broth once Mark taught me how ridiculously easy it is to do (thanks again). Someone (who is either related to Martha Stewart or has too much time on their hands) decided to see if it's better to make various other foodstuffs from scratch or suck it up and buy them. My favorite is the granola thing. Also, Mark taught me to make some awesome pineapple-coconut marmalade jar of yum one time. I think I'd need a refresher before I made my own but wow was it good.

  • This is self explanatory. I've never done a bacon-cone. Amanda and I have woven bacon, baked it, added potatoes and ranch dressing on top of the bacon-mat and then rolled it up like a tortilla and that was pretty damn good. I can imagine this is equally awesome.

  • If you're not having a heart attack thinking about the bacon mat and the bacon cone, then you're probably healthy enough to have a nice mouse full of coffee (computer mouse, not live mouse, ewwww).

And a bit of randomness to end on:
  • Speaking of friending your parents on Facebook.... Some of you probably know this, but I'm new to Facebook as you also know so I appreciate the tip.

  • Also, in what is a surprise to exactly no one reading this...

    You Are a Ponytail

    You are energetic, laid back, and a lot of fun. You are ready for whatever life throws at you.
    Your idea of style is looking presentable. You prefer simple, well fitting, and neat clothes.
    At your best, you are productive, inspiring, and full of live. You love to be active.
    At your worst, you are hyperactive and frenzied. Sometimes it's hard for you to calm down.


172 days until.... Liz Trains for a Marathon

I think maybe I'll just count down the days until the marathon rather than counting my training weeks. In the mean time, I've achieved a new milestone: two weeks in a row of running five days a week. Technically this next week I can run four days instead of five. I can also forgo the long run. Not sure if I will though. Because at the end of May, I'll be running the Team Ortho Half Marathon. (And today Amanda volunteered to haul me up to the starting line at 7:00 in the morning.) And I just signed up to be a member of a 12 person relay team for the Great River Relay. How fun does that look? Each member runs three legs of the relay. How long is each leg? Check out the runner chart. I badly do not want to be runner number 5. It doesn't look like 2 would be much fun either. I'm really excited for the thing in August. Almost as excited as I am about the marathon.

Many of my friends who gave donations to Bolder Options have now said that someone from the agency has called to thank them for their support. I also thank you for your support. It feels like you're with me when I'm out running all over Minneapolis and St. Paul. I don't think anyone could run a marathon alone really.


The most productive thing I did all day

There's this game on Facebook called "Word Challenge", very similar to this game incase you can't find the one on Facebook. When the game gives me my score, it says, "you have the verbal ability of an......" and for a while it was saying "POET" and it looked like that was the highest verbal ability possible.

Not so much it turns out.

I just learned something new

Apparently, the trackpad cover on my MacBook can get so dirty it needs to be replaced. I'm having trouble deciding what kind of cover I'd like to replace it with. There's lots of them with designs, or I can upload my own design. Or I can go to the store and buy a white one and actually have it soon.
Too. Many. Options.

Funny news from around the web

I woke up bright and early today. Actually, I woke up so early it was not bright but dark. I ran with Beth and some other runners who go much faster than me. It's nice to have a new challenge. I think after running with them for a while, I'd like to be able to run a 5k in under 30:00. We ran 4 miles at about 1:00/mile faster than I usually run. It was hard to keep up with them at the end, but I think if I keep going back and running with them I'll get the hang of it.

I'm sitting outside and I'd swear my neighbors have a bald cat sitting out on their balcony. Not like the ones that don't have hair, but one that's supposed to have hair and doesn't.

Anyways, I've seen some ridiculous (meaning both funny and safe for work) stuff on the web lately that I wanted to share.

I have no idea where I found this one. I think it was on Yahoo News somewhere. It belongs on the FailBlog.

This one can be found on Overheard in Minneapolis. At first it appears to be a stupid thing to say, but it's actually so on the nose that it's hilarious.


I woke up and I was down one fish

I woke up this morning and there was only one fish swimming around in the tank. It took a full five minutes to find the other one. It was obviously dead and had mysteriously fell right in the middle of the fake plant. I actually had to pull the plant out of the water to pull the little fish out.

I'm not quite sure what to do for my little fish. I've read guppies are schooling fish and I should get more. But I was thinking I'd wait a while and make sure it was the fish that died and not the owner that killed it.

After I flushed the little fish (good think I hadn't picked a name yet), I went for a run. A nice long run. I ran 8 miles, just running, and then did intervals for the ninth mile. I'm getting closer to that nice 13 mile mark that I'd like to hit by the end of May.


It's possible I am a runner

Yesterday Beth drug me around Lake Calhoun faster than my body has ever moved in my life. (Thanks for that, I had fun by the way.) And this morning I ran 6 miles more or less.

It was sometime yesterday, or possibly the day before, that I started actually thinking I could run a marathon. And then I started thinking about all the marathons I could run. There's one in Cincinnati that would be fun. Plus at some point I do want to run the Twin Cities Marathon. I feel like that's the one that got all of this started.

I read this book once, (well a few times now) that said, whenever reality meets your highest thoughts about yourself a new and grander view of yourself is suddenly open to you. And in that way we never stop growing and getting better. That's how I'm feeling about running right now. I am finally starting to believe that I can regularly run 5 days a week. And I'm even contemplating the Half-Marathon at the end of May. (I should register for that pretty soon.)

I think this week I'm going to try to start running more with Beth so I can learn to go faster.


Funniest thing I've ever seen...

Most of you know my love for the Colbert Report. I usually wind up watching shows on Hulu instead of watching them live. And that allows me to rewind. So I can watch my new favorite moment ever. It comes around 17:45 of the show while Steven is talking to a guest and asks an unintended, unfortunate, and hilarious question. The discussion is basically safe for work, although I don't recommend sitting around watching TV while you're on the clock. Just saying...

Sunday Linkfest

  • The scariest headline ever?. Could be.

  • Ever wanted to blow up a squirrel? My family has certainly experienced this urge. I think that if anyone else tried this they'd be arrested under animal cruelty laws.

  • There's been a lot in the news recently about President Obama's decision to release memos from President Bush authorizing torture. But this is perhaps the dumbest thing I've ever read. Do they just want to nail the people who did the torturing and forget about the people who ordered it? Don't get me wrong, I think everyone should have known better here and allowing something to go on when you know it's wrong makes you wrong too. But I'd rather the US and the UN spent their time and resources going after the people who were elected to uphold the constitution and our agreements to the UN and pulled this crap instead. ::Steps down from soap box::

  • For Amanda legal drugs with crazy side effects. For reasons passing all human understanding, my favorite drug,Lariam didn't make the list.

  • Speaking of health care, did you know we pay a boatload more for our health care than in other developed nations and it's not really as good?. I did, but I went to school a long time to learn that.

  • And, most disturbing of all, a medical ethicist in the UK has said that those who are senile have a duty to die. Where's that soap box? The point of life, I think, is to see whatever comes along as a gift. My grandma and grandpa both had dementia in varying stages and I watched my mom take care of them for several years before they died. And that experience gave me my career. Once I heard a man with early stage dementia talk about forgetting how to do things and he said, "now I just get to let everyone care for me and love me". Dementia isn't a blessing or a curse. It's what it is. How we can we get to show love and strength in ourselves and our families unless something like dementia comes along that requires us to show all of our love and all of our strength and the best of who we are?


Go Fish!

As I mentioned before I set up my fish tank on Thursday. Amanda actually got me the tank for Christmas. But I was sadly unable to set it up for a while due to recurring issues with bed bugs. (The filter has to be unplugged and the tank covered during any bed bug spray.)

As you can see, it's a small tank (read: beginner). Amanda taught me that one inch of fish needs a whole gallon of water to live in. So I chose two small guppies (both boys, I'm in favor of family planning here) to live in the tank.

It was a bit of an adventure to get them relocated. First the PetCo bag sprung a leak. Then I realized I don't own a fish net. (How to get them from the bag into the tank without dumping water from Tank A into Tank B?) I did a little internet research, and a fast operation to keep the bag from leaking all over the living room. And the fish were relocated after about 20 minutes of living half in a pitcher and half in the bag.

I haven't named them yet but I have a couple of ideas. I'm considering auctioning off naming rights to my fish as part of my marathon fund raising efforts. The only rules are it has to be a name (and the meaning of the name) that I can say to my mentee and to my parents without blushing.

Here's my ideas:
Winter and Sprinter
Yuppy and Puppy the Guppies
Max and Albert
Merle and Earl
Hawkeye and Buckeye

Any votes? Any write-ins?


Amanda got me a fish tank, I got some sun

I ran today. It was kind of nice to not be cold when I stopped running. Although I tried not to relish it too much because it won't be long and I'll be hot, even when I'm not running. I'm assuming that's where I got most of the sun on my little red face.

Then Amanda took me out fish shopping. I got a cool fish tank, some nice rocks and a fake plant for the fish to hide. The tank is settling in for a day or two before I go to purchase the fish. For fish people my tank is small some I'm going to get two boy guppies. No girl guppies. The tank can only hold two fish. (Amanda, I did take pictures but it's too late to upload them now. It's too late for you to look at them too.)

After we bought fish things, Amanda took me over to DQ for an ice cream and more sitting in the sun. It was actually really nice and relaxing. And the ice cream was good too.

In the evening I went to meet what have now been dubbed "the running mates". I met the people with whom I'll be training and fund raising for Bolder Options. It looks like it will be a fun group. I told Amanda it's weird to do things with people my own age. People who talk about Facebook. None of my colleagues even know what that is. Almost all the people I work with have kids my age. It's like I don't know how to be a 27 year old anymore. (That's right. Don't hate me.)

And then Amanda talked me into running a half marathon in May. (I still don't know what I was thinking on that one.) I'll keep you updated on the running and the fund raising.


Oh, the joys of random holidays

Last week I worked 3 days. This week: same thing. (Don't hate me.) It's Passover and we take time off for that.

When I walked in the office yesterday, two of my co-workers meant well and it led to an hilarious conversation:
Co-worker 1: Happy Easter
Liz: Thanks, but I don't celebrate Easter
Co-worker 1: Why not?
Liz: I'm not Christian?
Co-worker 1: What are you?
Liz: I don't know, nothing I guess.
Co-worker 1: You have to be something.
Co-worker 2: You could almost be Jewish.
Well ok, thanks for welcoming me into the club.

Running is going well so far this week. I'm trying to do all my running on weekdays so I can take Saturday off. I'm planning on running the Oy Vey 5k (no, seriously) on Sunday and I want a day to rest before I do.

Tomorrow or Thursday I'm hoping for another nice long run around Lake Harriet (my newest favorite lake in Minneapolis). I ran 5 miles this morning. Last night I did 4 miles on the elliptical at under 10:00 miles the entire time. (Seriously, that's insane.)


It's saturday and I feel like ish, and this post is not about politics

It's not totally unexpected that I feel this way. And no, it's not related to alcohol. But that's an idea for next time. As I was poking around on the web today, I found this headline, and the artwork here is important. For the non-Minnesotan readers, that's the governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty.

Possible GOP Contender? I'm not even going to descend into politics here. I just don't want a presidential candidate from my state when I work in the capital city, live in the biggest city in the state, and my condo is only a few miles from the airport. I just don't want to deal with the logistics.


Liz Trains for a Marathon: No one knows what week it is anymore

I've lost count of the weeks of training. I got off my weeks schedule here in March anyways. But I'm slowly getting it back together. Today, in honor of my 4 day weekend, I ran 8.5 miles. Yeah me. Now, the real test will be how far I run in the next couple of days. But at this point, I only need one run that far a week so it's fine.

After I ran I went back to sleep for a couple hours. (Like I was going to do anything else after running that far.) Once I woke up, I ate a little food. I was surprisingly not hungry until just now when I ate what had to be four meals in one. It's ok, I did run a really far this morning.

After I had a little snack, I went over to soak in the hot tub at the Y. It's almost worth paying the membership just for the hot tub. I'm also going to have to remember that for this summer when I want to run outside but I need to get in my eight visits per month so I get the discount.

I went grocery shopping. (Kelly, I'm assuming a 5lb bag of potatoes is enough for whomever shows up on Sunday.) I got bacon. I got other stuff too but obviously, I'm most excited about the bacon.

Tomorrow, Amanda and I are going to get fish for my fish tank after we eat at Maria's. (After I run around a lake and earn my two corn pancakes.)


Gotta love these headlines

It seems as though there's not much to report in my life. Most of my life has been taken up with work which has been busier than normal while we prepare for two three day weeks in a row. It's Passover. (You know you want to work at a Jewish agency too. Don't be jealous.) I'm still running which is having it's ups (accidentally running to Lake Harriet last week) and downs (not running today because I was tired, how lame is that?). Although, when I was running on that path and came up this little tiny hill and saw Lake Harriet at the last minute, I never felt more like a runner. I never felt happier either.

In the mean time, the headlines as of late (and some of the actual stories) are just too good:
  • Chia-Obama no longer sold at Walgreens. You'd think it's from The Onion, especially with the part about the "Happy Chia Obama" and "Determined Chia Obama". But no. It's a real story.

  • How did America's most famous (and maligned) Mom pay for the medical procedures that led to the birth of octuplets? By working a ton of overtime as a psychiatric technician. Oh, the ironies abound.

  • This article just pissed me off because they don't know what they're talking about. And I just wanted you all to know that it's wrong. Where did it go wrong? FTA (emphasis mine):
    The term “OCD” has recently displaced “anal” in contemporary slang as a way of describing people who are more than usually meticulous, pernickety or pedantic – the sort of people who are never satisfied unless things are just right. If this reflected a greater understanding of obsessive compulsive disorder, it might be no bad thing. In fact, it has simply increased the degree of misunderstanding by confusing two different conditions with almost the same name. “Anal” people do not usually have OCD at all; they simply have an obsessive compulsive personality type, meaning they’re a bit fussy. People with OCD, in contrast, are suffering from a serious anxiety disorder that greatly impinges on their lives.
    Here's the thing. There is actually a diagnosable disorder called "Obsessive Personality Disorder" and you don't have it just by being anal. This article is not clear and that annoys me. I just wanted you to know.

  • A couple of articles I find interesting (and possibly no one else will). First, It's impossible to buy a stick shift anymore. So sad. Even at my young age, it was like a rite to learn how to drive a stick. And, Who the heck still doesn't have a Facebook account?. I feel your pain.

  • There's possible new diagnostic testing for both Alzheimer's Disease (would you really want to know ahead of time?) and Schizophrenia. Ok seriously, I thought the mask was right side out at first. Back to the Alzheimer's thing, it actually is important to know as early as possible because the Alzheimer's meds work better the earlier they are given in the course of the disease.

  • For some reason, people think everyone on welfare is on drugs and they are going to test that theory. It's not true by the way. Stop being mad at people for having less than you do.

  • And speaking of drugs, decriminalization of drugs is something I've been a fan of for a long time. It takes the money and the danger out of the business. And it's worked in Portugal for several years.


Saturday Linkfest

Well, I'm a little tired from my run yesterday. I made it all the way to Lake Harriet, and about half way around it. I actually wasn't super tired but was facing another kind of distress that made me stop. By the way, the water is turned off in all the buildings at Lake Harriet. Sucks.

Today I walked around Lake Nokomis. Not sure if the water's off but the lake is thawed. Lake Harriet still has a fairly huge ice cap on it. I'm still pretty sore from yesterday. I can only imagine how this is going to feel after a marathon.

In the mean time, here's some great things to know more about:
  • This past week has been filled with some great and surprising headlines out of Washington. First, they expanded the AmeriCorps program and gave the first increase in the education award in, well, ever. And now they're lifting some travel restrictions to Cuba. That was out of the blue. But very cool.

  • Since the bedbugs, I've been wanting to re-do my closet. How cool would this be?.

  • This made me think of Amanda and Kelly who either own or covet one of these things. It also made me think of work which has promised to be more laptop friendly in the near future.

  • And this one it totally for Amanda: Watch Surgery on YouTube. Just don't tell me anything about the amputation one ok.


A whole post for Amanda's comment yesterday..

So yesterday, I provided this link and some commentary on it. Actually it was probably earlier this week and not yesterday, but stick with the point. Then Amanda read my blog post and commented.

And I was thinking about her comment. (Because I do care.) I still don't like the way the article is written, specifically the stuff about mental illness and chemical abuse. Here's my thoughts:
  • The ER employee in question from Amanda's comment is a surgical technician and anyone requiring surgical care costs a lot of money.

  • Since surgery is expensive, it requires fewer visits to rack up a $1,000,000 bill. Although it is still quite impressive.

  • The article said 9 patients made 2,678 visits to the ER, and the average ER visit is $1000.

  • $3,000,000 divided by 2,678 is $1,120

  • The average cost for these people was only slightly higher than the average cost per visit of the general population so we can assume they aren't having too many surgeries.

  • 2,678 divided by nine is approximately 298 visits per person.

  • 298 visits in six years is roughly one visit per week. What the hell? Were they ever admitted or did they just go home and come back?

  • If there's any other way to get medical care other than an Emergency Room, it's almost always my choice. I'm assuming that's true of the general population who like to wait 20 minutes for the doctor in a quiet waiting room rather than 2 hours in an ER with a puking kid and a drunk guy.

  • Since the people in this study are accessing medical care in the ER every week, it's reasonable to ask if there is anywhere else for the to access such care.

So, I go back to my original point. Minnesota ranks 10th in the country in doctors per capita. Texas ranks 42nd. (Yes I'm a nerd. Check here.) It would be interesting to see how many visits the top nine ER users in Minnesota have made and what their costs were. Maybe we could help Texas. Or maybe every state has 9 people who go to the ER all the time and we shouldn't focus on them when looking at how to make services more cost effective. Maybe we should start with a group that's easier to serve, like people who go to the ER frequently but would go to a clinic if they had one.


A brief linkfest before bed