Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Overload

Happy Day after Thanksgiving!

Again, too much time in between posts -- what can I say. Hubby and I have been working like crazy lately. I've been going in to work early (like 6:00 am or 6:30 am) and we've both been staying late (like 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm). A lot of projects to try to wrap up before the end of the year.

Turns out that, despite our great two-week trip to Europe, we both have a bunch of vacation days to use up before the end of the year. (At our company, we are allotted "x" number of Paid Time Off (PTO) days. We can carry over 5 days to a new year, but have to "use or lose" the other days). I've scheduled some days off between now and December 31st, but still have six unscheduled days to play with. Hubby has about the same. We are trying to figure out what to do -- since those project deadlines don't go away and we don't want to sacrifice our time off. I'll probably end up taking some time off and still logging in to work during part of my days off. That seems like the only realistic compromise.

It was a really nice holiday this year. Started out the day running the annual Turkey Trot 5K with 7,500 other of my close personal friends.

Actually, I ran with my marathon friends, who I have not seen since October 1st! The event was very fun, even if I was slow as molasses. It was great to see my friends and catch up a bit. Plus, the race gave away a great shirt this year, which is always a plus.

For Meal Number One: We spent part of the day with Hubby's parents, siblings, niece and nephews. (Hubby's kids spend Thanksgiving with their mom -- we spend the Easter holiday with them. Seems reasonable, except that every year, the kids forget to call their dad, which ticks me off to no end. (Hubby and ex-Mrs. Hubby don't get along very well and if he calls their house, it is always very uncomfortable....One of the kids text-messaged his sister (their aunt). We had her text back a message "Call Santa at this number". THEN Hubby got the finally got the call. I love those kids to death, but sometimes am just mystified about how forgetful they can be when it comes to their dad - my Hubby...)

I digress: After spending part of the day with Hubby's family, we went over to my sister and brother-in-laws and had MEAL NUMBER TWO. We planned to spend the night there, and Hubby's sister came over too. After dinner, we watched some movies, played poker and sat outside by a fire.

Yes, SAT OUTSIDE! The weather in Minnesota has been great this last week -- highs for the past four days in the mid-fifties.

It was soooo nice, that Hubby and I got out and played four holes of golf at the course near my sister's house. The course is officially closed, so no one was out there but us. We got to take multiple shots, practicing chipping, teeing and approach shots. Who would have thought it possible to golf in Minnesota the last week of November.

The other last holiday note: I actually participated in the craziness of Black Friday today with my sister-in-law. She makes it a tradition to hit the stores before the crack of dawn to take advantage of those early bird specials and discounts that kick off the holiday buying season. I've never done this before, so I told her I'd join her.

We left my sister's at 4:50 am and went to Best Buy. Parking lots every where were jammed. The store was packed with hundreds of crazy shoppers. I just stayed out of the way, while my sister-in-law went to find her purchases. Once she was ready, we got in line to check out. We were in line for 50 minutes! The line snaked through the store before we made our way to the registers. I could not belief it.

I'm glad I went along to experience it, but don't think I'll be doing it again any time too soon. At my age, I think I may need the beauty sleep more than the DVDs for $2.99

Saturday, November 4, 2006


I had to attend a Coaches meeting this morning for running club I belong to. It was held at a club that I don't normally get to -- lovely club with great amenities, but far from downtown and difficult, with horrid rush-hour traffic, to get to.

The meeting was supposed to be from 8:00 am until 11:00 am and I thought, since I was already there, it would be great incentive for me to workout after the meeting.

I packed my bag with my swimming gear and some indoor workout gear, as I wasn't so sure what I would want to do for the workout.

I got to the club at 8:00 am on the dot and the lobby was filled with Running Coaches AND runners. Apparently, there was an additional email sent out that told us to plan for an outdoor run before the meeting. I did not receive that one.

No bother -- that little snafu gave me an hour and fifteen minutes where I could workout before the official meeting.

I looked around the club and found their pool -- 25 yard/meters, warm air in the pool house and warm water in the pool so I decided to swim. (This time of year, I dread finding pools that are surrounded by glass walls, especially when the glass is between the pool area and the great outdoors. Glass is not such a great insulator, as you all must know, so the air temp in those pool rooms can be quite chilly).

I had a pretty good swim -- did 1000 yards. I concentrated on staying on my sides, reaching on the rails, bringing only half of my head out of the water and looking to the side (as opposed to behind me) when I would come up for a breath.

The water felt really good.

I have lost some of my summer endurance -- but would expect that as swimming really took a back seat after the St. Croix Valley tri last September. Fortunately, I think I'll be able to get that endurance back pretty quickly.

I was none too happy about what my reflection looked like in the mirrors of the locker room however. The harsh reality of looking at myself from ALL angles -- not just seeing the front of me from the waist up -- was pretty brutal.

It did help me with some resolve to change what I'm seeing, however.

After the meeting, I stopped at Costco and at the regular grocer to pick up lots of fresh veggies, fruits, lean meats and bubbly water. I did not walk out of either store with any M & Ms....(we do still have some leftover Halloween candy, however).

At a minimum, I can't say that I'm stuck eating heavier (or "easier" foods, like Chinese) because there is nothing in the house.

We are supposed to have a pretty mild day tomorrow. My plan is to get out for a run.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Helllllloooooo Winter!

What the heck happened to autumn?

About a minute ago, it was Twin Cities Marathon (October 1st). About 30 seconds ago, we left for our trip to Europe. About five seconds ago (aka "last Sunday"), it was a lovely warm day in the 60's. Hubby and I went spent the afternoon on the golf course, getting in one more round for the season. I am happy to report that I legitimately had a lower score than Hubby did for the round too!

Now, it is freezing cold (highs only in the 30's), it is dark at 5:00 pm (damn that Standard Time thing), and I'm ready to settle down for a long winter's nap.

Sigh. Looks like winter will be a long one.

Hubby and I have been getting to the gym a bit. Feels good to be getting back in to a routine there. I had one sugar-free day before the deluge of pre-Halloween, then Halloween and now post-Halloween candy set in. I've run a couple of times and even been in the pool a couple times. All of it feels good to do -- just may be not quite enough of it on a regular basis.

I'm starting to think of what events to do for 2007. I've signed up for the indoor triathlon (Tri-U-Mah) again, which will happen in February. I'd like to do LifeTime Triathlon -- Olympic distance again. I'd also like to try a couple other Oly distances and I'm flirting with doing a 1/2 Ironman distance.

There aren't enough race dates posted on any internet sites yet to help me make up my mind. The timing on a 1/2 Iron would be crucial. I don't want to do one too early in the season that the water will be cold (even if I can wear a wetsuit). The LifeTime date in July has proved to be the hottest day of the summer the past two summers, but if I could find a 1/2 Iron in late July or early August, that might be ideal.

I'm not sure I'll do another marathon next year, although it will be the 30th anniversary for Chicago Marathon. That has some appeal. I would like to do several 1/2 marathons -- Grandma's and Urban Wildland again -- then who knows!

Other semi-interesting news to report:

We've had a pair of plastic pink flamingos in our front yard ever since we moved in to the house four years ago. Hubby gave them to me as a house warming present. I went to the University of Wisconsin -- Madison during the years of the "Pail and Shovel" student political party. The two fellows running for student office made lots of promises, like raising the prestige of Madison to that of other east coast universities; promising a rebate for our high (!) tuitions (of like $400 per SEMESTER if you were a Wisconsin resident, etc.).

These guys were great fun. (Google "Pail and Shovel party" and you'll find a number of web-sites and info regarding the party and its accomplishments such as erecting a huge replica of the head and arm of the Statue of Liberty on a frozen Lake Mendota, ensuring our position on the same level as those elite east coast schools, Or, the 1008 pink flamingos they scattered around on Bascom Hill one fine spring morning.

Because of them, pink flamingos and I have a sentimental connection and Hubby gave me my very own pair to commemorate our moving in to the house. They have been in the front yard, just sort of minding their own business, ever since. The only change for them was in the spring and fall, when I put on or took off their little "sweaters" -- Ralph Lauren socks with the toes cut out so they could get the "sweaters" over their heads.

Last Saturday, I read that the company in Florida that manufactured these creatures for the past 49 years is no longer producing them. I thought to myself that I might want to put the guys (who were in their sweaters by now) in the backyard, lest any person wanting to snatch the icons from our yard. Then I thought "No, we live in a nice neighborhood and no one would do that.".


I got home from work on Monday afternoon to find only one flamingo in the yard. The other one? 'Poof'. Gone.

Perhaps migrated south; perhaps "adopted' by a new owner. Perhaps on one of those 'fun' mysterious vacations where the person(s) who took it will supply me with lots of cool photos, showing me a happy flamingo at the top of the Empire State Building, or at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, or getting a hug from Mickey Mouse...Perhaps just stolen.

In any event, I'm kind of sad about it and now the remaining, lone flamingo is in our BACK yard, where hopefully it will make friends with the bunny that hangs out there.

The only other interesting news to post is also political news. We are less than a week away from mid-term elections and I'm hoping for a Democratic sweep of seats for both the House and the Senate, along with the governor's office here in Minnesota.

Unlike the Pail and Shovel party at Madison, the current party in the big white house are not quite as "fun" fellows. They are very good at shoveling out quite a bit of "s*#@" but nothing quite as fun as pink flamingos. Not that I think that job should be all "fun".

But -- if I am to believe the citizens of this country find that the biggest pressing issue out there for us as a country to worry about is gay marriage, then it really will be a long, long winter.

Iraq; North Korea; Iran; stabilizing our relationships overseas; bringing our men and women in uniform home; medical care and costs; education; social security; women's productive rights; keeping a true separation of Church and State; creating real jobs paying real wages -- THOSE are issues we should be paying attention to.

I don't care who gets married or why they get married. If two people of the same sex want to have a legally binding commitment to their relationship -- so be it. It in no way cheapens my marriage or any one else's.

I guess my last comment on this subject tonight is a simple one: get out there and VOTE next week.