Monday, December 29, 2008

Time to Reflect

Generally, I avoid the "New Years Eve Resolution" silliness. For me, these types of life changing commitments tend to happen around my birthday. I believe I will continue with that tradition for myself, as it seems to have the most meaning for me.
However, I do like to take some time at the end of the year to reflect a little. It's sort of a "thanksgiving" for me.

As I look back at 2008, I realize how many special events occurred in my life. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Shayna graduated from High school in the top 10% of her class. No small feet since her class had over 400 students.
  • Shayna was accepted into every college she applied to, and we supported her with her decision to attend SUNY New Paltz.
  • I took my oldest child to college, and left her there to start the next phase of her life.
  • Jack has grown into a preschooler, who is healthy and happy.
  • Kenz started Kindergarten. We've watched her make the adjustments and transition from daycare to school, with the same enthusiasm she tackles all of life.
  • I left one job, and started another in June. It was a challenging transition for me.
  • I bought my first bicycle since I was a kid, and fell in love with the fun of riding again.
  • I entered a Sprint distance Triathlon.
  • I trained diligently for the tri, pushing my body and mind to new fitness levels with brick and double workouts.
  • Even though the official tri was cancelled due to a Hurricane, Kevin and I persevered and ran our own race. With the support of the kids, we completed the first annual "Home Tri" as we affectionately named it.
  • We had a great visit from my sister (pennycandy) and her family in July.
  • We were able to take a family vacation to the Cape with friends again this past summer.
  • We enjoyed good health and friendships throughout the year.

So, here's to another great year! I'm looking forward to the exciting things that will happen in my personal life, and the world around me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Fine Mess..

As my friend Peter would have said when we were little, "This is another fine mess I've gotten myself into." And, just like back then, I'm so excited to be in this mess!

I joined a training group on

There are 10 people in my group, and I believe I'm about to get my butt kicked into shape!

I am a total newbie when it comes to training, and really don't know what the heck I'm doing most of the time. So, I'm really psyched to learn every thing I can from this group.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If Children Ruled the World...

This is a story that my oldest just shared with me:

"Mac and I were up in my bed watching TV (probs pbs kids) and one of those "donate money to the kids in Africa" came on. So I started to change the channel, but Mac freaked out on me and said "No Shayna! I wanna watch it!" So I warned her that it was pretty sad... and flipped it back...As soon as the commercial was over, she side hit me... like w/ the back of her hand and I looked at her. She had THE BIGGEST EYES bulging out and she goes "CALL shayna!!!" like I was mentally insane for not picking up my cell asap. And so I explained to her that it was really expensive... and she goes... "Well... would they send that little boy to us?"

This really struck a chord with me. I'm proud of her for her strong desire to help others, but I don't think her reaction is all that unique. It seems that most children have an overwhelming sense of wanting to make the world a better place. When they see poverty and pain, they seem to have a basic need to fix it.

And I wonder, when do we become so cold and distant from the pain of other human beings?

If children ran the world, I bet there would be no hunger. Every one would have warm clothing. Every one would have a bed to sleep in and clean water to drink. And, I'd be willing to bet that every child would be guarenteed a loving parent or parents, with lots of hugs and laughter.

Oh yeah, and if Mackenzie ruled the world, every kid would get a chance to play basketball and stay up all night eating cookies!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gender Analysis

A couple of weeks ago , Spokane Al posted this link:

They are 72% certain that I am a female! Good to know I don't meet all the stereotypes!

What do they say about you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Little Piece of History

December 26th is my Grandmothers birthday. She was an awesome lady. She had 9 children, and worked hard her whole life. I don't have many photos of her, so this one is precious. Shayna recently found it and forwarded it to me.

The people in the picture are Me, my Mom, and Grandma Jennie holding baby Shayna!

So this is when I will ask anyone who knew Grandma Jennie (as Shayna Jennie called her), to share some memories of her.

Here is a very short one of mine, but since I love food, it's a good one: She made the best fried chicken ever! And, I developed my love of the chicken skin from her! The memory of her chicken is almost enough to make me think about eating meat again. (not really)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reason #353 for why I love my Parents

A few weeks ago we celebrated my Mom's birthday. She assures me that she turned 58 this year. Mackenzie made her a birthday hat for the celebration! It was a grand example of the masterful work of a five year old.

Here is the birthday girl in her beautiful crown!

My dad has a reputation for being a bit...cantankerous. He actually is a little proud that this word has been used to describe him in the past. But I'm here to dispell that myth, with solid evidence that he is really a loving and silly Grand father...

There aren't many grandparents who would happily wear this hat, and allow pictures to be taken, and take the time to read to their grandchildren while wearing the silly thing!

It's just another reason to love them and be eternally grateful that they are here and healthy.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Came Early!

Winter here in Upstate New York has arrived. It's not too cold or snowy (yet), but it's dark until after 7AM and by 4:15PM! So, I was already starting to go a bit stir crazy!

One of the things I've learned about exercise is that the more I get, the more I want. This is a problem when it's dark out for all of my free hours every day!

So, what's a girl to do? The only option was to convince my dear husband that a CycleOps fluid trainer is a great investment! My trusty Craigs List link, actually made this a fairly easy task. Last weekend we picked up a fluid trainer and all the niceties for a very sweet price.

One of the great things about this, is that I am thinking about cutting way back on my running for the winter. It's too dark, and I get hurt way to easy when I try to run in the dark. And, I am one of those people who can not use the treadmill! I'm the crazy lady at the gym who goes flying off of it every time I try to go faster than a slug!

And for those who were hoping I might come to my senses and give up the Triathlon obsessiveness, I assure you that the bike trainer allows me to continue training through the winter!

Bike on the trainer! Swim at the Y! And now, I've added Pilates for some badly needed core strengthening!

Look out 2009 race season!

Friday, November 28, 2008

What's a Vegetarian to Do?

Admittedly, Thanksgiving has never been my favorite Holiday. I don't need a designated day to be thankful for all that I have and all whom I know. Yes, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. But the reality is, I'm fortunate that I get to do that almost every weekend of the year.

However, now that I am a Vegetarian, I find this holiday to be a total dissappointment.

I've never liked potatoes (except for Kristens Yummy baked fingerlings!). Pies are perhaps my least favorite dessert on the planet...oh wait, I just thought of that Mexican thing that sounds like phlem. (But that's beside the point.)

Anyway... No turkey, no pie, no potatoes. What does that leave for me? I made a spinach lasagna wasn't the best I've ever made. And, sometimes my lasagna is killer, but since I don't follow a recipe, sometimes it's less than stellar. The dog liked this one. At least I'm assuming she did,since she ate two thirds of it out of the pan, the minute I turned my back.

Any menu suggestions from other vegetarians out there? I might need them for Christmas dinner.

Okay. I've decided to consider Thanksgiving the "Gateway Holiday" to the rest of the season. It's the day when I now force my family to start planning Kenzie's birthday party, and to decide when we'll go get the tree. And to figure out where we'll put it.

And, maybe I should start watching football. Atleast that would give me something to look foreward to on the day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Things that make me feel young...

As a follow-up to my last post, I'm reversing my thought process. Things that make me feel young include:

1. Sprinting to the icecream truck for a fudgesickle!

2. Spending an evening with friends, giggling (yes; giggling) about absolutely nothing!

3. Completing a Triathlon!

4. Taking the "real age test" and having results that say I'm 9 years younger than my biological age!

5. Being proofed at the local liquor store. Yes, I know the sign on the wall says they proof every one. Yes, I know the man infront of me (who was about 60) was also proofed. But I'm sure that in my case, the sweet young boy behind the counter really thought I might only be 20.

6. Spending time with this man:

This is my Great Uncle Pete! He is a charactor who deserves an entire post dedicated just to him (and I may do that soon). But for this post, I will say that he always makes me laugh, and he has the spirit of a ten year old boy!

Anyone have anything to add to the list?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things that make me feel old...

1. "Throwing" my back out. Just the phrase makes me feel old. Forget about the actual pain that goes with it.

2. Not recognizing the majority of celebrity names during Oscars/MTV Music awards/Etc.

3. Not really caring that I don't recognize these names.

4. Having an opportunity to go out on a Saturday night, and choosing to stay home instead!

5. I have NO idea what a Blackberry does, or why it's so cool.

6. Not understanding the whole "Wii" craze. Isn't it just a video game system?

7. Standing at the magazine display, and chosing "Cottage Living" over "Cosmopolitan"

Any one have anything they'd like to add?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A "First Time"

One of the greatest things about being a Mom (to me anyway) is experiencing all of the "first time's" This morning I was treated to my first full length story of the adventures of Jack and his imaginary friend, Donkey.

Yes, that's right. Jacks imaginary friend (I.F) is "Donkey". And given that he does the ears and "YeeYaw" sound every time he says Donkey, I think that it is truly a donkey he is talking about. I should also note that I have not yet seen a Donkey hanging out in our back yard, so I'm concluding that this is imaginary!

This morning as we were "nuggling" together he told me all about the adventures they had yesterday. These adventures included going to the park so that Donkey could play on the swings and slide. But Donkey fell and cried, so they left. They also went to McDonalds (2x's during the story) for cinni-minis...Thanks Moma for that exposure! They played soccer and walked the dog. They ended their day with a trip to the eye doctor, so that Donkey could get NaNa (shayna). But JackJack did not get glasses, only a lollipop!

I love imaginary friends and hearing the epic adventures that my kids take with them!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On a lighter note...

My little Shayna has glasses!

She came home last weekend and had an eye exam... This was the final result! I think she continues to grow into the meaning of her name!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Afraid

As anyone who knows me can guess, I am thrilled with the outcome of our recent presidential election! However, some events that occurred that day leave me sad and afraid for the direction this country is going in.

Specifically, on election day, four states passed bills and amendments that promote hate, discrimination and prejudice. I am talking about the various anti-gay legislations that were passed in Florida, California, Arkansas and Arizona. I won't attempt to talk about the details of each, because honestly, I don't need to know all of of the intricacies of each to know that they are wrong.

I am reminded of how it might have felt in the very early days of Hitlers reign in Germany. I imagine that he had a small and vocal group of supporters, who were full of hate and irrational fear. I imagine that many non-Jews must have either been unaware of the movement, or felt complacent because it didn't effect them. I imagine that by the time it became clear to the general population, just how evil this man was, people felt powerless or too afraid to speak up against Hitlers army.

Now let's look at America in 2008: The small Christian fundamentalist Right has been allowed to speak loudly about their views. Most Hetero Americans are looking the other way. It's not our concern; it doesn't really effect us; we have enough other things to worry about (economy, the wars...)

And so because so many of us didn't stand up for basic human rights, many people in 4 states have lost their rights! Based on religious fears and arguments that are based in fear and hate. Does the wording "between Man and Woman" really justify and warrent such hate?

I am married to a great guy. We have 3 beautiful and healthy kids. We voted for Obama, we own a home, and have good jobs. Life is pretty darn good for us. We have nothing to gain or lose from the issue of gay rights. Right??? Wrong! We have every thing to gain or lose. I want to live in a society that is fair to all. I want to live in a society that does not foster hate or discrimination. I want my children to be free to be themselves (whoever that may be).

So on November 15, I will take part in this:

I hope you will do so too.

If our country does not reverse the course we are on with this issue, I fear that soon there will be people forced to walk around with rainbow stars attached to their shirts and coats: No longer allowed to enter a store or office through a front door, no longer allowed to sit at the front of the bus, and no longer allowed to be parents.

Let's speak up now, while we can.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Runners High

Last week I commited to these work outs:
Monday: Swim 750 yards
Tuesday: Run 30 minutes after work.
Weds: Bike 30 minutes after work (swim if weather is bad)
Thurs: rest
Friday: Run 30 minutes after work.

For those who asked how I made out, thanks for asking! The answer: Not SO great.

Monday: Swim 900 yards. Yep...That's a full 1/2 mile. It never sounds that long to me, until I clock a half mile on my car odometer. Then I think "Oh my! That's a long way to swim!"
Tues: Freezing rain, snow and wind kept me inside. GRRR.
Weds: Laziness, and Kevins work schedule prevented a work out.
Thurs: 40 minutes on the elliptical at the Y.
Friday: No work out. Jack was sick, so I didn't get out after work. Oh well, that's life with kids. They'll always be my priority when push comes to shove.
Sat: Nothing
Sunday: 3.2 mile run!

So here's where the "Runners high" title becomes relevant. There is a phenomenon for runners called the runners high. Essentially, runners spend our career chasing it. It is that perfect run, where every thing comes together seamlessly. I had that run yesterday! It's the second time I've had it in my life.

The first time occurred when I was in 9th grade. We were at a sectional varsity cross country meet, with several other schools. There were over a 100 female runners for the varsity race. Everything came together that day, and I finished 14th! For a 9th grader, that was pretty impressive.

Yesterday, I set out with a goal to run an easy 2 miles. By the time I hit my mile marker, I knew I was having a great run, so I changed my plan for the route and hooked a left instead of a right. I was now committed to a different (harder) loop. Again, I got to the next turn point, and felt too good to head back home just then. So I kept going straight. All of a sudden, I realized that I was on a route that I haven't tackled in 4 years! There is a tough short/steep hill at the end, that always scares me a little! I got done with the run, with shaking legs and a huge smile! It felt great to be out there. I didn't wear my watch, but I'm pretty sure it was the fastest time I've had in a long time. I woke up twice in the middle of the night, thinking about the run (and smiling). Now, THAT'S why I run!

So for this week's goals: Swimming, running and maybe a Zoomba class at the Y. I've never done one, but it sounds like a lot of fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Off Season Training

Last week I did not do well with exercising...Okay, truth be told, I haven't been doing well since the Tri. I think my body needed some rest time, so I've tried to be patient with myself about the lack of exercise. But, now I'm feeling like it's bordering on laziness.

In the past it has worked fairly well for me to post my goals here and have to be accountable for my activity (or lack there of). So here it is:

Today: Swim 750 yards

Tuesday: Run 30 minutes after work.

Weds: Bike 30 minutes after work (swim if weather is bad)

Thurs: rest

Friday: Run 30 minutes after work.

Anybody want to join me?

Oh water intake has been lousy!! So, now I am paying more attention to that too. And when I say lousy, I mean I can go days without drinking water if I don't force myself to do it. Why do I always dislike the healthy things??

Friday, October 24, 2008

True Story

The other day I ran into a woman who I have a minimal acquaintence with. We were talking about a few things, and some how the conversation turned to the increase in illnesses that used to be infrequent or rare. Here's where the conversation went:

Me: "I'm fascinated by the increase in children who have peanut allergies."

Crazy Lady[name changed]: Why does that fascinate you?

Me: It seems like 20 years ago, no one had peanut allergies. I wonder what happened to cause such a drastic change.

CL: (with a very serious face and tone of voice): Isn't it obvious? God is punishing us for electing Jimmy Carter to the presidency.

Me: (considerably silence)..."Wow." (more silence) "I have to go run some errands. Take care."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Political Post

This is a political post...consider yourself fairly noted.

I just read an article about an interview that VP candidate Sarah Palin gave saying that she supports a federal ban on gay marriage. Here is the link to the article (if you can stomach reading it)

Essentially, she says that she supports a ban on gay marriage, and wishes it would be acted on from a federal level. She believes that a marriage between man and woman is the foundation for strong families. Okay, I know there are people out there who agree with her. What I want to know is, why? And if any one is going to answer my question, don't stand on some misinterpretation of the bible to justify your prejudices. Because the bible can be used to justify almost any point of view, if you want it to.
I want to hear from some one (anyone)how a same sex couple has negatively impacted their life personally. I suspect there aren't many people who can give me a concrete example of how same sex couples are destroying the foundation of family.
I hear people saying that, "it's wrong. It destroys the moral fabric of society. The Bible says it's a sin."
To those people I say, "Believe what you want. But don't try to cram your beliefs down my throat. Truly give me an example of how someones choice in who they marry has affected your life on a personal level."

There was a point in history when marriage to some one of a different religion or nationality, or skin color was not accepted. I think that the majority of Americans now see that those beliefs were fear based and ridiculous. Can we PLEASE get to that point about same sex marriages? Marriage is based in love and commitment. The world certainly needs more love, so why are we trying to destroy and hide any form of it?

Palin says she is "tolerant" of gays. Really? Wow. That must be one of the most insulting things I have heard from her yet (and that's saying something). I find it incredibly offensive that she thinks it is her place to "tolerate" any one that lives a life she disagrees with. If anyone told me they are tolerant of who I am, I would be quite intolerant of them!

If some one told me they did not like Kevin, but would "tolerate" my marriage to him, I would have said, "then don't come to our wedding, and don't come to our home." What if, our government had tried to tell me that we couldn't marry? Do you see my point? The thought is so incredibly absurd that I can't even process it!

I'm actually so disgusted, that words are now failing me. I may be back to edit this post once I calm down, and can be more eloquent in my thoughts.

I Found it!

I found my next short term goal! Here it is:

Kevin and I both want road bikes for next spring, and this is the perfect match for us! It's affordable, socially responsible, and good for the environment! Plus, it'll be a super fun thing to do together!

So, we have a date for next Tuesday night to go find our new bikes!! I'm really excited to learn how to fix/repair/build a bike!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In Limbo and in a Funk

Much of my life is in limbo right now. This is not a spot that I am comfortable in, or do well with. The lack of goals and foreward movement is a bad scene for me. When I fel restless like this, I have a tendency to do stupid things. So, I'm trying to be wise and think my way through this, rather than act rashly.

I took a new job in May, understanding that the company was in the process of applying for approval from NYS for my position. That approval process should have been completed by July. But NYS is extremely slow, and at this point, mid way through October, we still do not have approval for Service Coordination. So I am doing other work, but it is not what working with survivors, and I miss doing SC.

The Tri that I planned to do is over. The season is done in upstate NY until next May (at the earliest). So I'm having a hard time being motivated to work out. I'm evaluating what I want to accomplish in the next few months, and will try to figure out how to get there.

I need a new short term fitness goal, but haven't settled on one yet. Do I try to improve my 5K time, or build my base to a 10k? Join a swim class to improve my skills?

The seasons are changing. Although it is beautiful, the days are getting shorter. That means time outside is becoming a precious commodity. That means little time for biking, and soon we'll be stuck inside in the evenings.

Our house needs some work. Nothing big, just little projects that all cost money. The problem is that we can't seem to agree on what the priorities should be. So, nothing is getting done.

Yuck! I hate being in limbo! I like to know where I'm going, and how I'll get there. I just don't have that right now. Okay, I try to be positive most of the time. I'm just not feelin' it today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A day with friends

The weather here in Upstate NY was beautiful all weekend. This was fortunate because I had hiking plans for Saturday.

In a very rare treat, Kevin was available to spend all of Saturday with the kids, so that I could spend the day with friends. I consider myself very lucky to be part of the Ryder/LC/Bentley trio for the past 22 years! Earlier in the month, Ryder celebrated her birthday. So this day of hiking was a birthday celebration!

LC, Coltrane, and Ryder on the cliff

Ryder came to my house at 8AM, and we headed out to meet LC. LC actually lives near New Paltz, and is the educator for the State Park there. Since we were hiking down near Shayna, she joined us for the day.

The park that LC works at is beautiful. It is unlike any other park I've seen in NY. Most NY hikes are up a mountain, with not much of a view until you reach the peak. The trail that LC chose for us, travels almost completely along the edge of a cliff. The views were astounding! At one point I stopped to watch a bird circling. I was fascinated by this bird, which was rare, because birds just don't catch my attention normally. It finally occurred to me that the reason I was so fascinated was because the bird was actually soaring below me. It was an interesting perspective.

A view of the lake

There is something priceless about spending the day with lifelong friends! The conversation, and silences, are easy. There is a natural flow and understanding that is unique to our group. So few people in this world know me in the way that Ryder and LC know me. I suspect that the same is true for all of us. We have been there for each other through all of the heartbreaks and thrills of the past 22 years. There is a depth to our connections that grounds me. These friendships have the strength that make time irrelevant. We may not see each other for weeks, we may not know the daily activities of each other(as we used to before kids and careers), but the core strength of our friendship is formidable.

The foliage from the cliff

Ryder and LC have been very influential women in Shayna's life, and have been there for her (and me) as she has grown up. Shayna has often accompanied us on hikes and camping trips and many other "girl's only" events over the years. They have known Shayna through all of her adorable baby days, fun loving elementary years, and awkward junior high events! They have been her counsel and mentors when she has not always wanted to confide in me.

Shayna dangling her feet over the edge

On this day, there was an element to our group that was new, yet familiar. As you know, Shayna has been at NP since August. Although I talk to her regularly, I do not see her every day. The distance has been a wonderful thing. She is growing so quickly into her own person. She is spreading her wings and soaring. Like the Turkey vulture I watched from the cliff, I am seeing Shayna from a new perspective too. I suspect that at times she is stumbling, and working to find her footing. I hope that she is developing her own web of friends that will be there when she is in her forties.

She joined us on this day, as an adult, a peer, and a woman friend! It was truly a wonderful way to spend the day...with 2 lifelong friends and our new "woman" addition to the group!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Apple Picking in New Paltz

This is Shayna. Mom asked me to write a little something about the family's trip down to New Paltz this past Saturday. It was family weekend here at my school and I asked Mom to bring the kids down to spend the day with me (Dad had to work).
They arrived around noon and we headed to a small, privately owned cafe at the Water Street Market in down town. After a healthy lunch outside, we decided to go apple picking. Jack and Mac had a lot of fun (reguardless of the bees) and I had so much fun spending time with them.

Mack picking an apple

Leaving the orchard

A little later, we headed over to the mall in Poughkeepsie for a really yummy dinner at Ruby Tuesdays (one of my favorite chains) and mom picked up some things from Target for me.
It was a really fun day and I was so glad the kids could come down, but it kind of sucked that I didn't really get to spend any quality time with mom. Sooooo... Mom is coming back down with out any kids this coming Sunday with Ryder (one of mom's best friends) and we will all meet up with LC (another bff) and go for a hike for Ryder's birthday! Hopefully I'll be able to have some quality time with them all!
Thanks for tolerating my intrusion on mom's blog.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Remembering Mark

One of the things that I love about my job, is that I get to meet incredible people.I work with adults who have had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). When people ask what I do, I say "I work with people who are in Nursing homes, to get them out and back into the community." That is the CLiff note-short answer at a party.

For the past 5 years I have been working with survivors, and every one I've met has been an inspiration to me. Sometimes, I am fortunate enough to work with some one who has a profound impact on my life. This post is in honor and memory of one of those people. Mark passed away one year ago this week. His life and death continue to affect me greatly.

Out of respect for his privacy, I will not give great detail about Mark. So, how do I pay tribute to him, without giving too much detail. This is what I will say. When I met Mark in late 2006, he was sitting in a sub-standard nursing home, recovering from a TBI. He was in his early fifties, and at over 6 feet tall, was a gentle giant. I have rarely been so motivated to do my job quickly and thoroughly. We bonded quickly over our common interest in sports, and a love of peanuts and raisins for an afternoon snack!

I worked with Mark and his family to get him out of that horrid nursing home as quickly as we could. He was patient, and when things didn't always go as planned,he would often say to me, "it's out of our hands, Boss."

To Honor Mark, I must also honor his family. His mother, sister and brothers were amazing. They were fierce advocates for Mark when needed. As his health deteriorated, they supported him with such grace and strength, I was amazed.

For a while, Mark's health improved. He had a form of cancer that few people survive, yet for a couple of months it seemed that he might beat the odds. He had an apartment, and worked diligently to regain his reading and writing skills that he lost from the TBI. He exercised daily. And by exercise, I mean that he put the training I did for the Triathlon, to shame.

Sadly, his cancer returned in August of '07. He came to peace with it much more gracefully than I did. He said that he was okay with dying, because he had almost died from his TBI, and so he knew that what was waiting for him would be wonderful.In his last weeks, he was too tired to venture from his home much, so I went to see him almost daily. Often, we would simply sit in silence, as his language was failing him. Sometimes, we would watch a Yankees game. Sometimes, he would look over at me, give me a half grin and shrug his shoulders, as if to say, "it's out of our hands Boss."

And so, a year ago we said goodbye. His wonderful family was kind enough to let me see him in his last hour, which I am forever grateful for.

Much has changed in the past year. I have lunch with Mark's mom on occasion, because she is an amazing woman, and I feel fortunate to know her. When I am running, I often think of Mark. His spirit keeps me going when I want to quit and walk a block or two. When my job gets tough, and I feel like I'm not helping anyone, I think of Mark. His memory reminds me that we all have the ability to make life better for those around us. And perhaps most importantly, Mark taught me that sometimes "it's out of our hands" but that's okay.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More Tri Pics

Here are a few more pictures from Sunday

Kevin getting his "body markings"

Shayna and Jack entertaining themselves!

Heidi finshing, with Kevin's support.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tri Report

Friday night we were getting ready to go to Cape Cod for the Tri, and the excitement in the house was palpable. Mackenzies overnight bag was packed, the house was cleaned, and I was starting to pack Jack's bag. Kevin and I were trying to decide what he should do about Tri shorts. The outfit he had ordered online, had not yet arrived, so he was contemplating running out to a sporting goods store to pick up bike shorts.

That's when I checked my emails and found that the race had been cancelled due to "dangerous weather conditions" The race and safety officials decided that with the pending hurricane coming up the coast, both the swim and bike legs would place athletes in significant danger of injury or death. Sort of defeats the purpose of getting healthy, right?

But, oh boy was I dissappointed! I really just wanted to cry. I think Kenz was almost as sad as me. Kevin quickly came to the conclusion that he has no interest in swimming during a hurricane, so he was okay with the cancellation. I spent the night moping, and checking the weather channel(like that would change any thing).

Saturday morning I got up, and at some point Kenz and I went for a walk. I don't know if it's because we're both middle children, or because we're pisces, but we tend to share a desire to fix things, and seek harmony. On the walk, she told me again how sad she was that we weren't going to get to race, and that she had really wanted to cheer us on and make signs for us. That was the turning point for me. I went home, and told Kevin we should do our own Tri here, on Sunday morning. (He had suggested it the night before, but I wasn't ready to hear it then). So that's what we did. Shayna is here, and was willing to watch the kids for us, so it was a go!

Buzzards Bay was scheduled to be a 575 yard swim, 14.7 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. We mapped out a course with these totals: 600 yard swim, 15.4 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.

We got up this morning, loaded the bikes on the car and headed to the Y. We racked the bikes there and went in for the swim. I finished the swim in 16:45, and Kev was about a minute ahead of me. I am really happy with the swim time, because I've never swum competitively, and don't really know what I'm doing! It took me a long time to get from the pool, get shoes/socks on and change my shirt, then get to my bike. I was on the bike at 22 minutes, and could see Kevin leaving the Y parking lot as I got to my bike.

The bike: Ouch! Buzzards Bay described it's course as having 1 hill. The course Kevin chose for us had 4 significant hills! Plus, I got stuck at 2 redlights, which added 4 minutes to my time! Overall, I finished the bike at 1hour, 27 minutes. That was an average speed of 14.22 MPH. If I could deduct the 4 minutes at redlights, I would have been at over 15 MPH! It's not blazing fast, but it's respectable. Kevin was ahead of me, but I'm not sure how far.

The bike course looped once past our house, and ended there, so we got to see the kids! I dropped my bike, and headed out for the run. I am embarrassed by how slow the run was for me. It was a total of 38 minutes. I had to stop and stretch my calves out twice, and I walked a little bit in 2 other spots. The run was brutal for me. Toward the end, my old foot injury was really painful, but I kept going.

My goal for a final time was 2 hours and 10 minutes. I finished at 2:08:22!! So, if We did the 14.7 ride that was scheduled, and I didn't have to stop for the red lights, I believe I would have been at just about 2 hours! So, for a first time, I'm pretty satisfied with that.

Thanks to every one who has been so encouraging over the past few months! I'm looking forward to doing an official Tri next year!

More Pics to follow!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bobbing like a Holloween Apple

Last night I went to the Y to try out the wetsuit! It was quite the experience, and I'm glad I didn't wait until Sunday morning to try it on. I got to the Y fairly late, so that there wouldn't be a lot of people in the pool. That plan seemed to be working well, while I was in the locker room. The wetsuit is made of heavy material, I think it's called "neoprene" or something like that. I had read a lot of warnings about not poking holes in the suit with my finger nails, so I was very anxious about getting it on. Plus, by design the suit is supposed to be quite snug (which I Think it is).

I inched and wormed and wiggled and squiggled my way into the suit. OKay..suit is on. Now I just need to zip it up the back. Shouldn't be too hard, since there is a long industrial strengh chord attached to the zipper.Hmmm Did I mention the suit is supposed to be snug? Let me say that I have had an easier time getting in and out of every formal gown I have ever worn! So I stood infront of the full length mirror, doing the "Scarlett O'hara tummy suck" for several minutes. Wishing for the first time in my life that the locker room wasn't deserted! Finally, I asked some kind woman to help me out. She might say I accosted her at the door, as she came in!

Out to the pool I go...Oh no! 2 lanes of swim teams (think 12 year olds who swim 5x's faster than me), 4 lanes of overweight old ladies attempting to do water aerobics, and 2 lap lanes being used guessed it..3 very athletic guys in tri wear!! This was my worst night mare!

Okay, pull it together and walk to the lane, you wimp! Be a Triathlete!

And guess what! The guys were nice, and helpful, and knowledgable about wetsuits! So after we got passed the ridiculous:
Guy #1: "will your boyfriend be at the race to help you out?"
Me: "No. Actually my husband and 3 kids will be there with me."
Guy #1: "Oh...that's good." (nice save buddy)

obvious fish for info, they really helped me.

This is what I learned:
Pull the wetsuit all the way up, so that all the extra room is in my shoulders.
I can bob like an apple when I have a wet suit on!
Using a wetsuit in 83 degree water is insane, and I was swetting by the end of the 3rd lap!
I swim fast, with a little help from my new best friend, Neoprene!
slimming affects of black+being sucked in by neoprene= a fairly slim profile! (I know it's vain, but a girl has to rejoice in thinness when she can get it!)
Even though I thought the suit was snug, the experienced tri guys said I should get a size smaller if I'm going to buy one.

In other Tri related news:
The weather forecast for Sunday is 40% chance of showers, highs in the low seventies.
Taking a cue from my cousin Felicia, I am using a house sitter for the weekend. We'll see how it goes, because I like the theory better than sending the dog to a kennel for the weekend.
And, Belinda called it right; Kenzie wants a wetsuit of her own now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The wetsuit

Kevin and I decided to rent wetsuits for the tri, and they were delivered to my office today!! I opened the box, and it took all of my will power to not run to the ladies room and try it on! It's super cool and sci-fi'ish looking!

I'm going to the pool tonight to see how it feels. I've been warned that the first 50-100 yards will feel very weird.

Only 4 days left!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

6 Days to go!

Last week did not go quite as planned! It was a definite test of my patience, as Jack and Kenz both seemed to be determined that I would not get in any morning workouts!
Let me explain that to get in a morning workout, I have to be up by 5AM, and out the door by 5:10. Which is not bad, when Jack sleeps through the night, and doesn't wake up at 5:05. It was a frustrating week, with minimal workouts, because of sleep issues.

So on Tuesday I got a short run in after work, but no 5k in the AM. "That's alright, I'll go tomorrow." I told myself. Wrong! Jack was up from 3AM until 4:55AM, so I just didn't have it in me to go for a run. But, my 750 yard swim that evening actually turned into a 1/2 mile!!
No bike time all week until yesterday morning, when I did atleast 15 miles, and a short run after that. Kenzie did the first 1/2 mile of the run with me, which was awesome! She totally kept me motivated.

I did get a 5k in on Friday, but nothing on Saturday, due to Kevin's work schedule. At this point, I'm hoping to get a few short workouts in this week, but the focus is really on tapering a little so that I'm strong and ready on Sunday.

Mentally, I'm in a good place. I'm ready. I have developed some solid "scripts" for myself to fight fatigue and keep myself going. Kenzie's enthusiasm for me is palpable, which is a huge motivator.

I also finally admitted that my neck and shoulder have not been right since the fall I took off my bike a few weeks ago. So I called my chiropractor and saw him for an adjustment on Friday. Now I feel much better!I'll see him again this Friday before we head to the Cape, for one more adjustment.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Last full week of training

I'm writing down my training goals for this week, to keep myself on task. It is the last full week of training before the Tri, and ofcourse, Kevin is very busy. So, I don't have a lot of gray area to fit workouts in.

So Here it is:
Today-Rest day.
Tuesday: AM-3 mile run
PM-Bike Ride 10-15 miles
Weds: PM Swim 750 yards.
Thurs: AM 3mile run
Fri: PM-12 mile bike/3mile run/walk.
Indian food!!! (okay, it's not part of a training plan, but I lovve it!)
Sat: AM 5 mile bike to gym, then 750 yard swim, 5 mile bike home!
Sun: Possibly 5k run in Saratoga for a good cause!

That's it. Wish me luck!!

One positive and very exciting side note...I now have muscle definition in my biceps from all the swimming work outs I've done!! I love toned arms!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Woo Hoo!!

I ran a full 5K this morning!!

(just don't ask about my time.)

But I did it!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kenzie Update

I brought Kenz to the Dr. for a follow-up on her pneumonia. The Dr. said her lungs are still not clear. Therefore, she added an albuterol inhaler for Kenz to start taking. Her last day of antibiotic is today, but it is one that will continue to work for another 5 days. We return to the Dr on Monday afternoon. Hoefully at that time she'll be cleared to go back to school.

Her energy level and silliness are returning, but are not at 100% yet. She also continues to cry fairly easily, and have some body aches.

Huge Thanks to my Mom, who has willingly watched her for the past 3 days. And thanks to everyone who has been sending positive thoughts and energy in her direction.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

19 days and counting! My first ever Tri is getting closer, and it's been a busy week. Kevin and I both officially registered for the Tri, so there's no looking back now!

Of course, life keeps rolling and it isn't always smooth. Kenz has been sick for over a week with a fever that comes and goes, and low energy levels. I'd been attributing it to the stress of starting school, but by Sunday it was obvious to me that there was more going on.

So at 1 in the afternoon, I packed her up and we went to the local on-call facility. The nurse measured her oxygen level, and said,"there were 4 people in front of her to see the Dr. but he''ll be in in 2 minutes." Her oxygen was registering at 88, which is not good. The DR. came right in and informed me that we would be going to Albany Med by ambulance, as he suspected pneumonia. I knew she was really sick, when she didn't care that 3 firefighters came into the exam room to see her.

Kevin met us at AMC, where they placed her in the pediatric Emergency Department and started O2 immediately. She was a total trooper, and didn't move when they put the IV in her hand. The only thing that prompted a response from her was when the xray tech gave her a "My Pretty Pony" sticker; To which she responded, "oh yuck!!" 7 hours and one IV antibiotic treatment later, she was released to home. She was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.

She still is not back to her usual energy level, but is getting a little better every day. Today she is home with Moma. We go to her pediatrician tomorrow to see how she is doing. She is still at risk of needing hospitalization, if her O2 levels are not strong. So, please send positive thoughts her way.

So with all of the Kenzie concerns, training has taken a back seat. I did get in a 15 mile bike ride on Saturday. The first 10 miles were with Jack and Kenz riding in the bike trailer, so I'm feeling like that was a good solid workout. Tonight I'll hit the pool and possibly do a run. The weather is horrible here, so the run is questionable.


Friday, September 5, 2008

In the category of "WTH"

Kenz started kindergarten on Weds. on Thursday Kev got a call from the guidance counselor. (You'll LOVE this).

The k-garteners are asked to bring in a complete change of clothing to keep in the classroom, so we packed some up for Kenz. The outfit was her normal clothing-boy jeans, basketball shirt, and Spiderman undies.

Apparently, the classroom aide had an issue with the underwear, and brought it to the attention of the school PSYCHOLOGIST!! They didn't talk to the teacher, but went right to the school social worker, Mrs. G. (who we know well). So Mrs G. called Kev, to ask if perhaps there was a mistake, and they were actually Jacks (although every thing was clearly labeled with her name.)

I was SO mad! Kev was completely shocked. All he could really think to say was that yes they are hers, it is what she chooses to wear, and he doesn't feel that it should be any one's business or concern. We support her right to be who she is. (good job Kev!!)

So I called today to find out: Who exactly had the concern, and what the specific concerns are. I guess that Mrs. G, the teacher and Kev had already chatted this AM before I called. The teacher was really angry that the aide made an issue out of it, and didn't discuss it with her first. She felt that it should be a non-issue. I never got an answer as to what the Psych's concerns were.

Mrs. G commented to me that she understands the need to "pick and choose your battles" and that this doesn't need to be one. (even that ticked me off) I told her that it isn't about choosing battles, but about embrassing who are daughter is, and what she is comfortable with at this point in her life.

I also told her that unless the school psychologist is contacting parents of every 5th grade girl who is wearing a thong and push-up bra about the inappropriateness of their underclothes; or every boy who wears a pink polo shirt, I expect this to be an end to the discussion.

I mean honestly... Kenz doesn't see these as "boy" underwear. She likes superheros, sports and racecars. As soon as some one starts putting those designs on "girl" undies, I'll buy them! Whatever happened too the idea of gender neutral for little kids, any way? We're talking about 5 year olds!!

So, let's hear it: Has any one else had issues with school officials over-stepping their boundaries? And, how did you handle it?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A month of changes

Kenz started Kindergarten today. This is the last big change in a month that has held a lot of changes for her. Kev and I know that she is ready for school, but I'm not sure she knows it.

In the past month she has stopped going to the daycare she's been to since she was a baby. "Roro" has been so wonderful to Kenz. Roro has a gift for developing routines and providing an incredible sense of security for the children she cares for. For the past 4 years, she has seen her best friend Joey there 5 days a week. And, she has been with Jack since he started going to Roro's as a baby. So in one move, she lost 3 very important things in her life.

As you know, Shayna left for NewPaltz on 8/21. This has been a great thing for Shayna, but very difficult for Kenz. She misses Shayna greatly, especially in the evenings when she wants some quiet time and snuggles. As adults we know that Shayna will be back for holidays and some weekends. This is little comfort to Kenz. She wants her Shayna here, and doesn't want to talk to her on the phone.

And now...Kindergarten has started. I don't even know what to say about this. She woke up this morning and didn't want to go. As a Mom, I began asking myself, "what did I do wrong? Why isn't she prepared and excited? How can I help her feel good about going?" As a 5 year old, she informed me," I have a loose tooth. And so I don't think I'll go to school today." Oh boy!

We talked about the one boy she met at Open house last night. We talked about how he chose to sit next to her for this morning in class. We talked about Shayna's first day at college, and how she was scared. But now Shayna loves college, so she might love school too!

Reluctantly, she got up and got dressed. We went downstairs, and the answer to all of my self doubting questions was sitting on the kitchen island: The super cool Spiderman water bottle that I picked up on a whim in Target last night! That's right. A $2 Spiderman water bottle was the answer. She smiled! She was happy! We walked to the car together and Kevin took her to her first day of school!

And guess what else: She lost her tooth during lunch! The principal and nurse made a huge deal out of it. Some of the kids were very excited for her. She told me "I didn't C-R-Y once all day!"

So my "tough guy" little girl, who doesn't like change much, came back home happy and with a little bounce in her step at the end of the first day of Kindergarten! Let's hope tomorrow goes as well! And, here's hoping we can continue to help her adjust to all of the changes she'll face in the future; whatever they may be.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

26 days and counting!

My first Tri is in 26 days. Yikes! 26 DAYS!! That is only 21 days of training really. So here is where I’m at:

Swim:Kev and I hit the pool this last Sunday. Thanks Shay for watching the kids! The race is 1/3 mile swim. Kev did a half mile in the pool. I did 15 laps, which is just under a ½ mile. I’m feeling pretty good about the swim. I like the ocean, and I can do the distance. My elbow is still sore from my bike fall last week, so I’m taking it a little easy in the water. My goals: work up to a half mile in the pool (which is an additional 3 laps), and get in the pool a minimum of 3 times a week.

Bike: We biked on Saturday. I went with Kev out Krumkill road, and looped around a little. For those of you who don't know Krumkill, it has probably the biggest hills in Albany. I was feeling pretty good about this ride, because it was the first time I was able to take the hills without stopping! Post ride mileage check showed it to be a 12 mile loop. So that isn't as long as the race will be, but the race isn't going to have those hills! My goals: Complete a 20-25 mile ride, ride atleast 4 days per week.

Run: This is my weak spot. I ran yesterday morning. So far I have not gone more than 2 miles without a walk break. This is the area I need some serious work in. Especially since it is the last leg of the race. So my goals: Running a minimum of 4 times per week. Hit 3 miles without a walk break by next Tuesday 9/9. I don't need to go fast, just GO.

Wish me luck. School starts tomorrow, so the time crunch is on, and training will get harder.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

How do I get myself into these things. Or; Training for a Triathlon

In June I bought my first bike in years. The original motivation for the purchase was to use it for commuting to work on most days. But, because I'm me, I very quickly became addicted to the speed factor. (Why do I always have a need for speed? It gets me into trouble more often than I care to admit.)
Within 2 weeks of commuting to work, I decided that I'm going to do a triathlon. Not a big scary Ironman, but a little tiny Sprint Tri. I let a few select and incredibly supportive friends in on my secret, and began training. I'm riding my bike lots, and swimming a little. Running a few days a week, and doing "brick workouts". This is when I often ask myself, "what are you thinking?"

I've chosen my race. It's the Buzzard's Bay Triathlon, on September 28. Kevin has agreed to race with me. Well, he won't really be racing with me, because he is much faster and stronger than me. But, we'll see each other at the start and finish lines.

So how did I get myself into this? I still don't really know. It seems like I often get a crazy idea or impulse and then act on it with out thinking the whole thing through. And now I'm committed to it. I mean, I bought the Tri shorts and new sneakers already. Plus, I test rode a new bike 2 weeks ago. Yes, I know my current bike is only 2 months old, but she's really for commuting. I could go much faster on the new bike that I'm eyeing. (Theres that need for speed thing again.) Doing a Tri justifies the need for a faster bike!

For now, I'm trucking along on Pip, and getting ready to embarass myslf in September. Feel free to send me any words of wisdom or training tips, because I really have no clue about what I'm doing!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First fall

Well it took longer than I expected: My first fall off my bike happened this morning. I bought Pip on June 28th (yes, my bike has a name). I've been riding almost every day since then. Honestly, I expected to fall in the first week. This morning I was commuting into work on her, in all of my commuter geekness. I know I look geeky, because Shayna tells me so! So for the last 4 miles, I decided to pick up the pace and turn it into a mini workout. I intended to run for 3 miles once I got to work.

Any way, as I was plowing through the final leg of the ride, I looked up and saw two elderly men on the trail in front of me. I see these men fairly often, so I know they do not always hear me when I shout "on your left". Feeling in a good karma sort of mood, I decided to take a detour around them so that I wouldn't scare them with my blazing speed :).

And that's when it happened: I hit the gravel as I was entering a turn, and went down pretty hard. Those 2 sweet old men came rushing over to help me up. At that point I had many thoughts. Here is what I remember:
"Lisa would love these 2 men." I know; goofy thought, but those of you who know my friend Lisa, know she gets huge crushes on old men!
"Geeze, I hope I didn't rip my new shorts!"
"It's very humbling to be helped up by 2 men in their 70's or 80's."
"MY BIKE! Oh please let her be okay." [she is]
"My panniers! Oh please let them be okay, because I just bought them, and I really love them, and they are the epitomy of my commuter geekiness."
"I knew I should've bought those gloves last weekend."
" My elbow doesn't want to move......oh wait, there it goes!"
and finally..."Wait till I show Kenzie my injuries. She'll think they're cool!"

Gravel in the palm of my hand=not fun!
Going down hard=cool adrenilin rush!

Monday, August 25, 2008

College life has started

Last Thursday we took Shayna to SUNY NewPaltz. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of my emotions. Now that the dust has started to settle, the predominate feeling is of excitement for her.

Kev, Kenz and I drove her down to help her get settled in. The school is just over an hour from us, so there is security in knowing that we can get to her if she needs us (okay, or if I need to see her).

Through out the day, I was struck by the many juxtapositions between her maturity and her inexperience in the world. She carried herself with much poise, as she began to unpack and ran into a few people she met during orientation. I, on the other hand, turned away a few times so that she would not see the tears in my eyes. Then, we got to the book store, and she had not brought her course list with her (theres the inexperience peaking through) and look here's proof she still needs us! As she asked Kevin for help navigating the bookstore.

When the day was done, and we were leaving her, I did okay. I didn't cry...well only a little. Mostly, I will focus on the positive. My little girl is in college! She is having opportunities that I did not take advantage of at her age. She is making friends quickly, as she always does.

I have memories of little Shayna ice skating around the pond at my parents. Long legs and big heart, smiling from ear to ear. She knew she could get the "shoot the duck" and those beautiful cross overs mastered. It wasn't work for her, becasue she was so thrilled to be on her skates. I truly believe she will continue to skate through life in the same way.

Joining the world of Blogs

Thanks to Felicia and Kathy who sent me links to their blogs! It opened a whole new world for me. And it seems like the cool thing to do, since Paul is also doing it!

With Shayna away at school, I have some more time to do things like this.

Please be patient with me, and give me time to get the whole thing up and running.