Tuesday, November 29, 2011

21 Random Things about Me

I was tagged by Alisa at Ambitious Aspirations make great accomplishments to tell 21 random things about myself.  I'll give it a try.

1. I love desserts and have a real sweet tooth.  I particularly like pumpkin and chocolate.
2. I am a cat person but I have recently fallen in love with a puppy.
3.  I really don't like to cook much. I especially hate having to cook supper (yeah, that's what we say here in Vermont) night after night.
4. Friday night I don't cook supper because on Friday nights it is time to have popcorn for supper.
5. I taught school one year in Northern Canada (Chibougamau, Quebec) and LOVED it.
6. Summer is not my favorite season. It is a distant third.
7. I have taught school for more years than my children have been alive.
8. I like to read cheesy magazines.
9. I don't watch much tv but I love tv series DVDs.
10. I love coffee.  It has to be hot and flavored with hot being the most important attribute.
11. I love to organize things. I wish I could be paid for it.
12. I don't like public speaking at all.
13. If I travel somewhere, I want to have travel books about the place, I want to read books set there and find out as much as I can both before and after I go.
14. I didn't learn to swim until I was about 11 years old.  I never got good at  it (although I am working on it now!).
15. If there weren't such things as races I probably wouldn't run.
16. I have a very dry sense of humor and appreciate it in others.
17. Patrick Dempsey has a crush on me.
18. If I couldn't live near the mountains I would want to live near the ocean.
19. The state I most want to visit is Alaska.
20. The country I most want to visit is Ireland.
21. A place I have been I want to go back to is Italy. (And of course DC!)

This was fun to do.
If you haven't been tagged go ahead and do it. I love reading these about other people.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jameson's new puppy

This post is mostly pics.  Who wants to read my drivel when you can look at puppy pics?

Just about to head home with Jax.  What a face!

This is Jameson just before we get Jax. 

They meet each other.

Just another shot of "the cute puppy face."

He slept most of the way home. It was a long
ride from Alabama.  (We picked him
up in New Hampshire.)

Home and chowing down.

Playing with a toy.

So much to explore.

Climbing the stairs right after Jameson said he was 
too little.

One more shot of the new best friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

You went really slowly why?

Across from my house when I got back from my

All of my runs outside lately have been so slow and today was no exception.  But today I had an excuse!  There was black ice everywhere. For those of you not from  northern climates - black ice is hard to see and makes things rather scary whether in a car or on foot.  It is not unusual to hit a few patches of black ice as I tend to run early before the sun has done it's melting magic. But today it was almost continuous and I had not worn my Yak Trax because........
it is way too early 
the road was bare.

So of course I couldn't get going fast!  Right? Right!
The BLACK ICE  which was everywhere.

It's much too soon for this.

On the other hand all and I do mean all of my runs on the treadmill have been great. They have all been fast and continuous with no breaks - something I am not always able to do on the TM.  They have all been slightly under a 10 minute pace which is great for me in a non race situation.  They have been relatively easy and rather enjoyable. When I paid my monthly fee recently for my gym membership I felt a little better as I have been actually using the gym (twice a week but that's way up from no times a week) and liking it. 

This week when I went to the pool on the other hand I forgot my cap and goggles. I almost turned around but I went anyways. Once  I got used to it it was okay.  I did all my usual laps.  No increasing the free style laps yet. It is still hard for me to do 3 in a row but before the new year I will try 4.  I promise.

Saturday I am going with my son to New Hampshire to get a new puppy.  I also promise that I will post puppy pictures.  A lot of you asked if my indoor missing cat had appeared.  Yes.  But.  He spent about 3 days  underneath some cupboards and rarely coming out. When he did he acted scared to death.  Today he has been "out and about" for most of the day and is currently sitting in my husband's lap.  I don't know what caused him to freak out so and hide but he is over it for now.   

I finished The Night Strangers Chris Bohjalian's newest book. It certainly engaged me but once again I did not like the ending. I won't say too much and I would recommend reading it but if you do let me know what you think of it.  I took a book to my son's today and read while he and my husband watched football. I had a wonderful quiet Thanksgiving with them. We missed Em but she will be here at Christmas and she was with a lot of friends.  
Our first Thanksgiving at Jameson's house.  

I hope you all had a great day with friends and family.  

I also can't resist showing you a few pictures from my other life.  We have been studying habitats at school forever..... and the final project was a flip chart (a cleverly disguised report) and a project. Most kids chose to do a diorama and they truly thought they had died and gone to heaven whenever they were able to work on them.  Here are a few.
This student spent forever making the creatures.

This kid went to a craft store to buy sand and impressed
all the other kids who used   dirt from the playground.

Notice the palm tree and alligator.  Lots of clay
was used in these projects!

Toothpicked signs for labels were also a big hit

One student did a photo story which was fabulous.
At one time this would have been the first choice for
all but I guess there are more opportunities to use
technology so it isn't the draw it used to be.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Thankful Post

Last November I did a thankful post every day.  First let me say I am thankful I am not doing that! It was hard to post every day. But I would like to give some thanks as Thanksgiving Day approaches.

1. I am thankful for my family: my sweet husband and wonderful children.  They all make my life richer in so many ways.

2.  I am thankful for my parents. I didn't have them nearly as long as I would have liked but I always felt loved and special.

3. I am thankful for the beautiful state I live in. I love Vermont in all it's seasons. Whenever I return from a trip away I know I live in the best place for me.

4.  I am thankful for a job I enjoy, that is never boring and that keeps me challenged on an ongoing basis.  I love the children I work with and my team is the best.  I work with many wonderful people.

5.  I am thankful for the joy exercising brings me.  I can't imagine a sedentary life.

6. I am thankful for races. They are the frosting on my exercise cake.

7. I am thankful for injuries that have allowed me to discover yet new ways to exercise that I love.  Last year I began to fall in love with biking again.  This fall I am discovering that I like swimming. That is the surprise of the decade for sure.

8. I am thankful for authors who write good books to keep me entertained and to continue to help me learn new things.

9. I am thankful for my cats who are constantly entertaining and affectionate. Although as I write this one of our cats is missing. Can you lose an indoor cat?

10. Last, I am thankful for all the bloggers who support me by giving me advice, commenting on my posts and giving me much to think about in the exercise world through thoughtful and entertaining posts!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who doesn't like free things?

I ran errands Saturday and  came home with new things I didn't pay for ...........sort of. Don't worry I didn't steal them, let me explain.

First new free thing.  I can peruse this during the coming months. From just glancing through it I don't think it will be where I get my training plan but it is a good starting point and is beginning to make me realize

I am going to have a lot of questions. For instance .........how long is a good training plan for a first (sprint) triathlon?  This one worries me a bit as the first two tris I am looking at are in June.  I don't know realistically how early I can start bike training in the spring.

But back to the free part...........I had a gift certificate to a Barnes and Noble from a student last spring.  My cost - $1.00.  Not technically free but close enough.

Second new free thing.  Okay this was several new things.  I bought 10 giant cookies  at Fresh Market in Burlington which has the best cookies! They are
slightly doughy which is how I like them. I had my son with me so he took 4
of them for himself and friends, I took home 4 and I took 3 to a neighbor who has just had surgery.  Why did I buy 10?   I had a Jump on It which is our local
Groupon and I had to spend $20.  I have a confession to make about this deal. When I bought it (I really bought two) my daughter asked me if I really wanted it and would use it.  I said of course.  Well, when I went to use it first I started to go to CITY Market and as I was about to pull in I said to myself - "Wait, AJH, that coupon did not say CITY Market, it said Fresh Market."  So I didn't turn in, went to Fresh Market and wondered what in the world I had been thinking. It is a great place for cookies but 20 dollars worth?  City Market would have been much better.  But Jameson went with me Sat. to help me spend it. While we were there we saw several prepared meals in the frozen food case so I gave him the other coupon to use to give himself some meals another time. So was this free?  Of course not.  The two of them cost me $20 for $40 worth of food. I got $20 worth of food I do not need although I was able to visit my neighbor with a treat, give my son and his friends a treat and ensure that my son will have some good meals in the future.  At one time I paid the $20 but it was so long ago it certainly felt like free and it didn't stay in my pocketbook unused and expired. A win for sure!

Third new free thing.    A week ago I went to The Body Shop for one of their sales. I bought a tote bag for $5 and filled it with as many things as I wanted for 30% off and as a Love Your Body member I got another 20% off.  As I was checking out they gave me a coupon for one free thing a week for 6 weeks maybe.  I figured it was going to be a small sample in an envelope that was basically unusable.  So I was surprised and pleased to get a full body duo which I have never tried. I did not buy the $10 scrub that you could also get so I didn't spend one cent. Yes I did buy the original tote bag and filled it with things I needed wanted a week ago but I spent nothing on Saturday!

So in my book, I came home with many free things! What is the last "free" thing you got?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Try to Tri

It will be no surprise to anyone who follows my blog if I say I am going to attempt a tri next summer.  

Although as short a time as 6 months ago it would have been shocking news especially to me.  I have never been a swimmer. I learned very late and never got good at it.  Doing a duathlon last summer was way outside my comfort zone and as far as I thought I would go.  Yet I remember well when a marathon was unthinkable. I can also remember a time earlier than that when I admired my friend, T, because she raced!  My life has changed drastically in the last 10 years and it seems as though there are yet some major things I am willing to try in the athletic part of my life.

 Yes, I will attempt a tri next summer. I hope to attempt at least 2 so I can see some improvement. I am already scouring the Internet looking for tris with very short swim portions in my area.  And they are out there - many many more than a simple duathlon which is part of my motivation.  I just plain like to race!  There are even some with the swim portion in pools.  A coworker told me about someone she knows my age who recently started doing triathlons.  This woman is very athletic looking, in fact MJ told me she was the athlete of the year for New Jersey at one time.  Well, guess what?  She came in next to the last in the results of one tri I was looking at.  Good God!  If she came in next to the last I will be last for sure. That is why I have to do at least two. I hope to at least see some improvement as I do a second one.

 I am not great at any of the disciplines and super bad at one of them.  I could wait until I turn 60 and do my first tri in my 60s but I am too anxious to give it a try.

  I am also hoping to get a road bike but not just because of this goal.  I ended up doing a lot of cycling this summer and hope to do even more next year. I could see a distinct difference between those with road bikes and those without. I didn't feel the difference was based on fitness as much as the bikes.  I  want to rack up even more miles next summer and I don't want to be held back by my bike.  Of course there are many levels of road bikes you can get plus I really will have to learn to change a tire but it will all be worth it as I explore new and old routes all over my beautiful state and beyond. I am thinking if I want to get one anyways I should certainly do it well before my first tri so I can have it and learn to use it including those foolish clipless pedals.

When I do something new, I always like to read about it.  Any recommendations for Tri books out there esp. for first timers?

And waaaaay before next summer when I try to tri, go over to Run With Jill's blog for the second annual bloggy gift exchange.  Last year it was a lot of fun.  Join in the fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Three Things Thursday

The Birthday Girl!

Listening to the Proclamation about the Day in Her Honor
(Her husband is near her - he is 98!) 
1.  Monday night I went to a very special birthday party. My friend's mom turned 100!  The party was at the nursing home she is living in and the party was packed with friends from her town. I was amazed at all the people who came. When we left the line of people waiting to wish her happy birthday was still out in the hall.  She was a cook at the second school I taught at and homemade bread and rolls were one of the many constant wonderful things on the menu.  Her younger sister (now 90) was the other cook!  This woman is one of the people I bore on a regular basis and send a letter to each week. The poor woman knows far more about me than she wishes to I am sure but she puts up with my drivel to help fill her mailbox!  The town she is from declared it a day in her honor Monday and read the proclamation at the party.  My colleague had the students do some math problems related to her mother today such as telling them the year they got their first car and how old her mom was each time the Red Sox won the World Series.  If I remember correctly it was 7, 93 and 96.  Then they all thought of a question they wanted to ask her. I hope if I live to be 100 I have half as many people who want to wish me happy birthday!  Her husband was there too and he will be 97 in a few weeks.  MJ comes from some good genes.

2.  I seem to be getting to the gym twice a week these days.  ( 2 gym days, 1 pool days, and 2 outdoor running days on the weekends).  I have to say all of my treadmill workouts have been great. Maybe because I have to keep up with the pace I set I have better runs pacewise than outside.  I workout by songs. I start at a pace and each time a new song comes on I move it up. I move it up for 7 songs and then start going down.  Lately this plan has worked great for me and before I know it my miles are done. I do a minimum of 4 miles running which generally takes about 10-11 songs. I usually feel I can keep running for one more song. I can take a walk break after 7 if I want but I often keep going.  It is just one of the many mind games I play to get though my treadmill workouts but lately they really have been going very well.

3. Watching - The Good Wife - I am almost at the end of the second season. I love that show.

Reading - Tag Man by Archer Mayor - a Vermont author.  This is one of his best books yet. I have the new book by Chris Bohjalian, another Vermont author (who was also at the gym tonight) waiting for me at the library.
I'm still reading the book about running on all 7 continents at the gym. I don't read much there so a book takes me forever. I just finished the chapter about running on Antarctica and I loved it.  There is a small part of me that thinks that would be such an awesome thing to do!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who Do You Admire?

My school day starts with a Morning Meeting from Responsive Classroom.  These help set a positive classroom climate and get many a kiddo's day started in a positive frame of mind.  One element of Morning Meetings is Sharing.  Currently for sharing, 2-3 people a day are sharing someone they admire. Many of the kids have shared about a family member they admire and the stories have been very sweet. Today it was my turn and I certainly could have shared about family members but I chose to share about Matt Long.  I had the pleasure of hearing him speak last summer at Lake Place Ironman and recently read his biography. My admiration for him runs deep.  I could not believe what he overcame as I read  his biography and found out more details of his horrific acccident of being run over while riding a bike  by a 20 ton bus.  This morning when the kids arrived I had the Runner's World site up on the whiteboard to show the kids a short video about him.  They were reading the article and were already intrigued before I even spoke.  They were fascinated by the story. When they heard he had run the NYC Marathon after the accident they wanted to know if he won.  Loud groan  here - they always ask that. I said, no the important thing was that he finished. When we did watch the video he said the goal for him was to cross the finish line!  The more they hear it isn't about winning for everyone the better!  When the video was playing you could have heard a pin drop.  They were completely into this story!  We talked about how he persevered and managed to do what seemed so impossible. They were very impressed by his muscles and his scar.  I may have managed to sneak into my story that the reason I was able to hear him speak was because my daughter did an Ironman.  (I had told them what that was as I was telling them Matt Long's story.)  When I said my daughter did one they gasped!  Maybe some of their admiration for her spilled onto me!  It was a great way to start the day.

I had been swimming first which seems to be my favorite way to start my day at least once  a week. Yesterday I got up early and went to the gym for a good workout but  swimming in the morning is what really works for me. I have such a satisfied feeling the rest of the day.  I did my 6 sets of 3 laps of freestyle again. I was a little worried when I started as I felt tired right away. But once I warmed up I was fine. Speaking of warming up the pool was 89 degrees!  Yuck! I hope that changes.  Before I got out of the pool I did one more lap of freestyle this time for "speed."  I have not done any laps of freestyle for speed and it felt quite good.  Baby strokes, baby strokes.  One lap for speed is fine.  The rest continue to be breast stroke which is my safe stroke  - no fears of drowning or ending up on the bottom of the pool.

Who do you admire?  Who do you hope students would admire?  

I have been glad they have admired family members and not some of public figures in our society that are not admirable at all.  One girl shared today that one thing she admired about her family was she knew if there was something going on at school, someone from her family would always be there. That is NOT something that is true for all students and I loved that she appreciated it about her family.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Time To Give 5K

I am freezing as I wait for the race to start!

Saturday I ran my second 5K of November.  It was an excellent race for a good cause.  It is run by a family whose son had pediatric cancer to help other families with expenses.  I was surprised at how many people were there.  Three years ago I won my age group because I think I was the only one in it.  That was not the case today.

T has been surprisingly easy to talk into racing lately!

First T and I had the ongoing discussion about what to wear. We never believe we will warm up quickly and wear too much. I instantly knew I had overdone it once we started but it was so cold and windy waiting.  I really really wanted to beat last week's time and yes I did!  I beat it by more than a minute and a half!  Yeah for not what you want race times to make you look good the next time.  I ran it in 28:07.  My pace was 9:04.  Only the first mile was in the 8s but none were in the 10s this week!  I was 30 out of 144 which looks falsely good because there were a lot of people there who are not runners but were there to support the cause.  I was 6 out of 19 in my age group which is a lot more people than 3 years ago.

The race was on a path in the woods I have raced on a few times.  What I did not realize was........
part of today's race took place on Ti-Haul Trail.

This 1.1 mile route was created decades ago for moving the steamship Ticonderoga from Shelburne Bay to its home at Shelburne Museum two miles away.. The gravel path starts on Harbor Road and and continues to Bay Road via field, wetland and forest.  The Ticonderoga was pulled from the lake and moved two miles overalnd to Shelburne Museum where it is a National Historic Landmark!

Nice little piece of history!
Cold, cold chocolate milk post race and lots of it!

Great bagels and pumpkin cream cheese!  The only thing was 
there was lots of maple syrup given away and neither
of us won any!