Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years

I haven’t posted in a bit. I didn’t post for our anniversary. Or the weddings of good friends we’ve been to in the last few weeks.  But today is a day the country takes a deep breath and comes together, everyone with the same day on their mind.

I posted Never.Forget last year.  Rereading it, every word still rings true.

It’s the 10 year anniversary of 9.11.01, a day that has helped shape the lives of entire generations, for better or worse.  This year, there have been endless documentaries, examining the events from every angle.

For a lot of people, it’s hard to watch and they’ve done their best to avoid it.  I can understand that.  Me, I’ve watched several.  I’ve cried at least once during each of them.  For children that found out that day they would never see a parent again, for the spouses that received goodbye phone calls, for the fire fighters who risked and gave everything.

One show I watched talked about the fire station that is located next to Ground Zero.  For the last ten years, people have stopped by the fire station everyone single day to thank the firefighters for their work.  The narrator went on to explain that the firefighters are too polite to bring it up, but it has forced them to relive that day, everyday, for the last 10 years.

B and I watched the specials on the building of the 9/11 memorial, and new world trade center towers.  We may not enjoy visiting cities, but plan to make a trip to New York City to pay our respects within the next few years.

Never Forgotten. Forever Grateful.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Look Baby, I’m a Rockstar…*

I read something once that someone’s pet peeve wasn’t just people who don’t update their blogs very often, but people who don’t update their blogs very often and then proceed to make a million excuses about it.

So I’m not going to make excuses. But I will say my life has been hectic, nonstop, and wonderful lately.  Roadtrips, concerts, long weekends, family, friends, weddings… everything a summer should be.

And a photo shoot?


No, I didn’t have a career change.  But I did play model for a day with my good friend Kristin.

Kristin is one of those rare friends you find that you immediately click with, and it’s like you’ve known each other your whole lives.  She’s also become quite the magician with her camera.  Check out her website (and post about yours truly!) at Kristin Hardwick Photography.  She’s posted the best pictures from our cornfield photo shoot there (the first one there is the current favorite), but I wanted to share some additional ones I love.


If you haven’t had photographs taken of yourself since the classic high-school-senior-against-a-tree photo (you all had that one too, right?) I *highly* suggest indulging.  Hire a professional, find a friend with a nice camera and good eye, or you could always borrow Kristin.  I would not consider myself vain nor do I tend to care what others think of me. I rarely wear makeup and just had my haircut for the first time in a year and a half… my split ends were as old as my niece. That has to deserve some kind of award.


To see yourself through someone else’s eyes is, well… eye opening.  She made me feel like a gorgeous rockstar, even tolerating my uneducated strumming on my guitar (yes that’s mine. no I don’t really know how to play it. someday I will.)  Anyway… morale of the story, go schedule a photo shoot and give your ego a little boost.  Vanity may be a sin, but self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings** (Samuel Johnson)


All photos are copyrighted to Kristin Hardwick Photography 2011

*Quote from Brantley Gilbert’s song ‘My Kind of Crazy’. If you like country music and don’t know this guy, you have no idea what you’re missing.

**quote from Samuel Johnson, that I found here from random googling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don’t Ask Me How I Know: Poor Race Prep

When planning to run a race, do not also plan to donate blood the day before.

The typical donation is about a pint of blood.  We have about 10 pints of blood in our body.  Therefore, in donating blood you are losing 10% of your blood supply.  It takes approximately 24-48 hours to replenish the volume, and four to eight weeks to replace the red blood cells.

If your race is 30 hours after your donation, it’s probably not going to go well.

A pre-race meal, approximately 3 hours before the run, should not consist of fried dough and a root beer float.  The fruit salad will not make up for it.

You may spend the entire race hoping and praying you do not throw up.  Because really, it’s a 5k and that would be embarrassing in itself, but this happen to be the biggest 5k in the state with over 6,000 runners and walkers that the news not only covers, but many of their employees run as well.

And lastly, if you’re planning to run a race, actually training for it, even in a minor way, will help.

I fully support blood donation – its one of the easiest ways anyone can help save lives.  Being uncomfortable for ten minutes to a half hour (yea, sometimes my blood doesn’t flow quite so fast) and maybe enduring a bruise for a week is nothing compared to what someone in need a blood transfusion is likely going through.  But I will never do it within a week of a race again. Ever. Ugh.

I fully support fried dough and root beer floats at appropriate times.  Post race would be a good choice.

Pretty sure fruit salad is okay in almost all situations.

Blood donation facts taken from : the internet, per Google. kthanks.

5k Fail.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sun, Dust, and… Airplanes?

Last Thursday night I braved the heat and set out to run my 3rd 10k.  I headed into the ‘big city’ and over by the airport where the race was being held.

I’m pretty sure parking was like a mile away. And it was an airport parking lot, so there was pavement EVERYwhere.  Meaning it was even hotter. (Ok, that may not be fact, but I theorize it’s true.)

I’m not sure why races think giving you your tshirt before the race is the best idea.  I guess most people have people that come with them, but cut the rest of us some slack. What am I supposed to do with it!?  Even if it was a tech shirt, I can’t wear it during the race… that’s like wearing the band tshirt for the concert you’re doing to see. Totally lame.

So, I got my bib and shirt and had time to kill, so I make the trek back to my truck to drop off the tshirt.  I guess it was a pretty good warm up?

The starting area was small. And they started asking us to line up 10 minutes before the race started. And told the 5K runners to just line up behind the 10K runners, their race would start 5 minutes after the 10k. Oooookay.

I lined up in the middle of the pack.  There were some obviously *confident* people around me, some of which were obnoxiously yelling back and forth.  I kept checking my watch, just hoping it would finally start so I could turn my music up, find someone to pace, and ignore all the hooplah.

The first 2.5 miles where around the airport, which happens to be under construction. And offers no shade.  I was so tempted to turn around at the 5k mark, but I have too much pride and continued on.  Luckily there were plenty of water stops at least.  When I finally reached some shade, it smelled.  No idea. Not pleasant.

The last mile was fairly awful and tried to wish it away as much as I could, which involved some walking.  I guess it happens to everyone right?

Anyway, I didn’t really except anyone to show up.  I walked/ran the last mile and made no attempt to hide my disdain for the fact it wasn’t over yet.

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See told you, disdain.

Needless to say, since there are photos, obviously my wonderful parents came to watch!!

I wanted to break 60 minutes, my previous 10k PR is 1:02:54, and that was last October.  I came so, so close.

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Yes, that’s a measly 38 seconds I missed it by.  Although, you might notice I ‘lapped’ my Garmin at 6.2 (split 7), and THAT was under an hour. So, I’m blaming the race for being more than 6.2 miles. HA.


Well, another race under my belt and I can’t complain.  68th out of 96, and 6th out of 11 in my age group.  I was admittedly ill prepared for this race, having not put in the miles, and certainly not the miles necessary in the heat we’ve been having.  Next up? 5k next week... bring it!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The best things in life are…

Free. Spontaneous.

Ok, that's probably a lie, since Diane Sawyer informed me last night that most people get more pleasure out of the planning and anticipation of a vacation than they do on the actual vacation.

Go figure.

Despite the Nightly News report, spontaneous nights with a random collection of friends are fantastic.

A few weeks ago I woke up on a Sunday morning and the weather was just right for a BBQ.  But it was a Sunday, and we're still in our mid-twenties and have full time jobs.  BBQs typically include quite a few alcoholic beverages in our circles, so I wasn’t sure a Sunday was going to work out so well.  But I guess we're growing up a little because we got several responses from our mass texts and suddenly we had an event to host!

Spontaneous BBQ/Dinner Party/[Insert Other Event Here] Guidelines:

AKA: How I Totally Fake It And Just Hope People Have A Good Time:

1. Delegate.  Provided you hang around with even a slightly refined group, the questions of "what should we bring?" or "do you need/want us to bring anything?" will come up.  Although you might think you're being nice by saying "We've got it, don't worry about anything", be honest - you don't have a money tree (and if you do, I'm taking applications for BFFs, kthanks) and you probably need to spend some of that would be shopping time cleaning up the designated event area - yard, porch, dining room, kitchen, etc.  Pass things off - salad, chips & dip/salsa or other appetizers, veggies, hot dogs, dessert, etc - and of course "and bring whatever you'd like to drink" can be tagged on the end.

2. Use what you have.  Especially once you’ve lived on your own for a bit, you’ll start have *things*. Like table clothes and vases.  Maybe left over from a holiday you bravely hosted or were given to you as gifts.  I know a lot of blogs are all “OMG I <3 GOODWILL AND I BUY ALL MY COOL HOUSE THINGS FOR $2”, and more power to them, seriously. I wish I had the time and patience, but I don’t. And I was lucky, the previous owners left us some sweet vases, so those cost me $0, relatively speaking.  And, we have an incredible yard that used to be meticulously landscaped before we lived here.  We’ve managed to not kill or weed whack all of the flowers, so those come in handy in a pinch as well.



3. Maintenance.  Not my strong suit.  When motivated, I can get stuff clean and organized (I swear!). But it doesn’t usually stay that way long. I’m not sure why. I think gnomes come in when I’m not looking and mess everything up again. But regardless, I can imagine having spontaneous events would be a lot easier if it didn’t mean a mad dash to clean everything before your friends come over and realize how lazy messy you are on a daily basis.

Obviously I had way too much fun chasing the dogs, playing ladder ball, stuffing my face, and laughing about who knows what with some good people to take any pictures of the actual event.

Anyone else something think the best get togethers are the random spontaneous ones?  Any delicious last minute recipes out there I should know about for next time?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Never Regret

It’s been almost unbearably hot around here – high 90s and into the 100s.  My Grandpa told me he was day dreaming us sledding when I was younger just to try and cool down.  For New England, it’s been unpleasant.  Obviously the last thing I’ve wanted to do was sit around with a hot lap top heating me up further. I’m sure you understand.

Today it’s cooled down. A lot.  And it rained all afternoon.  It was the kind of day you want to come home from work and curl up on the couch and take a nap.  Maybe snack and watch a movie.  Be lazy.

But I had ‘scheduled’ myself to go to Zumba after grocery shopping.  There’s nothing forcing me to go – it’s all a mental scheduling. Sure, I pay good money to be able to go to Zumba.  But I paid for unlimited classes in the month, and as usual, I’m way over the break even point for if I had paid per class – so I already feel like I’m getting a deal.  So, see, nothing making me go.

I skipped last Wednesday because my knee was feel wonky (technical term) and thought it best to lay off for a day.  Plus I had some things I wanted to get down around the house (don’t ask if I got them done…).  It would be easy to again tell myself I’d go tomorrow, or Wednesday, maybe just do a workout video at home – that’s always an option – and be able to relax and get some housework done (but let’s be honest, do I ever actually do that?).

Driving home from the grocery store in the pouring rain, I thought about what I would do if I skipped Zumba.  Take a nap?  Read?  Do some laundry?  All tempting in their own ways, I mean there’s always something else that could be done, that needs to be done.  But something I read in the last few weeks has really resonated with me.


You’ll never regret a workout[run] you did,

but you’ll always regret one you didn’t do.


Something like that.  A play on the “never regret what you did, only what you didn’t” quote.  I can’t recall where I heard this related to workouts or runs, but a quick Google search shows quite a few versions and origins.

This concept got me to Zumba tonight.  And guess what?  I don’t regret it.  It’s gotten me to the gym, races, on the road, and out for walks of the last few weeks.

I won’t sit here and say “Workouts always make me feel amazing and wonderful and life is so good after a run no matter what!”  Because I’d be lying.  Through my teeth.  Sometimes they suck and are no fun at all and I can come up with 1,001 different things I’d rather do at that moment.

But, no matter my mood, I’ve never come out of a run or workout more upset, angry, or sad than I was when I went in.  It doesn’t always fix my mood, funk, or situation, but it’s never made it worse, and the majority of the time I come out at least a little better than I went in.

The last seven months – yes, all of 2011 – I’ve spent time, energy and money on making staying active a priority even when I didn’t want to.  And I’ve been successful, at least in my own eyes.  Exercise and deliberate activity has become a part of my almost daily routine.  And now, I think I’m finally rounding the corner where it no longer has to be viewed as just priority on the list, it’s becoming a necessity to my day.  Just like brushing my teeth, taking vitamins, or eating breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Sure, maybe you miss your vitamins on occasion, or you’re running late and don’t have time for breakfast before work every few weeks.  And, I think we can all admit, there have been times we’ve fallen asleep at night before brushing out teeth.

But one day of missed vitamins, breakfast, or teeth brushing does not undo all the work you’ve done, and the habits you’ve formed.  The same goes for running and working out.

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Never thought I could be one those people.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trying Something New…

I’m trying out a new way to make posts to the blog – Windows Live Writer.  Amanda over at 5 Miles Past Empty asked what services people use to post to their blog and mentioned that she USED to use Windows Live Writer and *loved* it.  Now, call me blog sheltered… but I never even thought that I could use anything other than what is provided by Blogger.
So yea, this is an experiment.
And those are some flowers that I cut from the garden to decorate for a random cookout. Because apparently I’m domestic like that now. Not sure where that came from.
And there’s a side-by-side before and after of the deck staining (which I plan to post about soon – I swear!)  M in the after is just bonus.
So far I’m liking this Writer – so here we go – hopefully this works out…!!