Monday, November 26, 2007

Fall Cleaning

Except for a brief bit of sunshine on Saturday, which allowed for a trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for a scavenger hunt with camera phones, the icky weather gave me the opportunity to do a bunch of clearing around the house.

Pulled outgrown clothes from kids' dressers and closets. Got photos finished and have made up my list - so I'm dropping off three paper bags of winter clothes at Goodwill later today. Woo Hoo!

Have noticed it's damn near impossible to get my daughter to part with anything. If it's worn out, then it's her favorite, and she wants to keep it because it's too sad to throw it away. If she's outgrown it, then she wants to keep it for her dolls. Ack! Have finally had to take a hard line - if she wants a replacement, then the old one has to go before we go shopping. It's working so far, but there are still tears shed over the sizes 4 & 5 that were put in the bag.

I also started on a complete purge of my wardrobe. Some of it was needed anyway, since I still have several 8s and 10s hanging at the back of the closet, and even a couple of 12s. After 2-1/2 years in size 6 and under, I think it's safe to let those go. I'm also weeding through and putting aside my favorite things, in preparation for taking a hard look at all the indifferent items. Anything that doesn't either serve a specific purpose or make me happy will be going. I was inspired by, among others, 34 pieces together, the blog of a young lady who made it a goal to do more, fabulously, with less. I don't know if I can get down to that small of a list, but figure that 40-45 pieces is a good target.

At some point, I need to figure out how to put a link list down the side. Maybe I can figure that out later this week. After all, I only have two maps going into the final production and proofing stage over the next two days, and sleep isn't that important, right?

Thanksgiving Dinner...

Thanksgiving = Chaos.

Three days of food prep turned out a fabulous dinner, if I do say so myself. Since everyone was coming in Thursday morning from out of town, the cooking was all mine. (Cue evil laugh.)
Finally, I got to make changes to the typical Turkey dinner menu. No green bean casserole! No burned or slightly overcooked crescent rolls! No cranberry from a can!

Sweet potatoes with maple & pecans. Mashed potatoes & parsnip. Fresh cranberry compote.
Steamed french beans with butter & almonds. Homemade Applesauce (4 types of apples)
Succotash. Corn Muffins. Stuffing w/apples, cranberries, tons of veg & sweet italian sausage
Apple Butter & Pumpkin Pie. (I cheated on the crusts - freezer section)
And, of course, Turkey.

Family visited from out of town, so my tiny little home housed seven adults, two children, three dogs and one very crabby cat. Did I mention it was cold and rainy, so we were a very close knit bunch.

Kept the kidlets busy Thursday morning with this fun tabletopper for the kids table:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Death & Taxes...

Yeah, Politics. Next up, religion and money.

How many issues do you need to have in agreement with a candidate before you can support him? One? Two? Five? Maybe all but one?

I know so many people who say they support a particular candidate, BUT he's...
...been known to support gun bans
...raised taxes
...increased state spending, or voted to increase federal spending
...voted to limit free speech
...voted to increase government control over individual decisions

Why is that okay, but it's not okay to support a candidate who truly supports shrinking the size and power of government in our daily lives, just because he doesn't support a war which he believes to be against the constitution?

How many other candidates even weigh their decisions and stated views against this "goddamned piece of paper" we call The Constitution of the United States of America?

Anyway, his name is Dr. Ron Paul, he's a congressman from Texas, and he's a rare thing in politics - a man of conviction.

Scheduled to the 9's

Book fair week. Ugh. As much as I love all the books, and seeing the rugrats perusing the stacks at the Scholastic Book Fair each year, I really miss sleep. In order to find time to be at both schools, work gets pushed back to evenings for a few days this week.

Have picked up a few items for myself, um ahem, that is to say, the kids.
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
-Comes with a movie poster, which the DD & B2 are fighting over
The Artemis Fowl Files, by Eoin Colfer
-Contains short stories about Mulch. How can one miss out on gassy dwarf stories?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
-Looks like a lot of fun, will read when B2 finishes.
Beowulf, by Gareth Hinds - Graphic Novel
-Yeah, this one is just for me. The kids can read it, but it's mine.
A 36 yr old with an occasional comic book jones, ack.
And, finally, The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau.
-I'm really looking forward to reading this outloud for bedtime over the next week or two.
It looks to be one that should strike the fancy of a 6 yr. old, her brothers, 8 and 13,
and their dear old mom. (I'll have to keep my fingers crossed on the 13 yr old appeal.
He's in the "that's boring little kid stuff" phase.

Anyways, didn't have time for putting in any miles today, but tomorrow I'll hit the track. I needed the recovery day after this past weekend. Solid hour of jogging on Friday, a 1 hour group ride on Saturday (with hills), another hour of running on Sunday. It was all I could do to make 25 loops of the track on Monday.

Now, time to catch up on some Ron Paul reading, and then get back to mapping.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Beginnings of My Addiction, part 2

Today's going to be a bit short. Super busy schedule of prepress and map work, puppetmaking with the 1st graders, reading Invisible Fran, a Franny K Stein book, to the 3rd grade class. After that though, I'm hitting the road. Granted, today is on foot, but I'll get to ride tomorrow. But, back to how I met my new best friend.

October. 2007 bikes went on sale. This would include a $200 discount on the bike I needed. (Notice that I say needed. Was not a want.) It was painful to go home the day I saw the sales sticker, but I did. Later that week, stopped by to grab an extra water bottle and inquired about the availability and pricing. Was told that I could take an extra $100 off. That was it. I paid for, NO, let's say I paid adoption fees for this new member of my family:

Yes, I know. I will have other bikes. Road bikes which will cost me far more, and have all these fancy gadgets, and be made from better and better components. But this little beauty is special. First time I broke 20 mph under my own leg power. The big jump from 10 to 15 miles becoming my standard "quick" ride.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Beginnings of My Addiction

So, how to exercise in a practical way? A bike. A little store by the name of Trader Joe's opened up exactly 1.25 miles from my house. I had the inspiration I needed. A bicycle, a basket, and three small grocery trips a week. That's how it started, one mild week in April.

My Columbia hybrid became my morning cup of coffee. I started buying the smallest amount I needed, just so I'd have to ride back to TJ's the next day. (A side benefit was that my grocery bill dropped. not much room for pricey junk food in a bike basket with the essentials.) Soon, that 2.5 miles a day wasn't enough. I needed more.

So, popped the bike in the back of the truck, and started riding the trail at Riverside Park a few afternoons before picking the kids up from school. Pretty soon it was almost every day, and one trip each weekend.

Bought a computer, so I'd know how far I was riding. Then added cage pedals. Then I started paying attention to my speed, and working on maintaining a certain pace, with the help of Their BPM mixes are fantastic!

A friend of mine, PJ, suggested I try the Silver Comet Trail. He rode with me a few times, and Wow! did he ever help me take it up a level. I was planning a 5 mile stretch down the trail, figuring 10 miles was the longest I could handle. But, thanks to his gentle pushing and wonderful conversation, 15 miles flew by.

I started going for longer rides 15 miles during the week, 25-30 miles on the weekend. I started renting the Trail Bike at the Silver Comet Depot to attach so I could take one of my children with me. (Those rides are shorter, just 10-12 miles) Picked up cycling shorts. The temps in Atlanta were climbing into the 90's, and it didn't bug me. I was still riding, loving the heat, going on 40 mile rides each Saturday. Felt great, but I wanted to go faster.

My hybrid is a great commuter bike. Comfort seat, the basket & mount on the handlebars, great for riding with the kids, but 40 miles takes a really long time at 12-15 miles an hour.
The tires are 650's, the frame is heavy, it's just not meant to zoom. So, I started trying out road bikes.

Specialized, not bad. Fuji, pretty nice. Schwinn flatbar road bike, liked it. Trek, 's okay. Then, I saw it. A beautiful blue bike, the seat just even with my hips. It called to me. I handed over my drivers license and took it for a spin. My sneakers slipped off the pedal clips, and the shifting took getting used to, but... I flew. The wind was actually loud in my ears.

And the bike was the perfect fit for my short legs and long torso. No stretching, no scrunching. No scooting around on the seat to get comfy. It was perfect. It was also $950, way beyond what I planned for my first road bike. So I went home.

The bike stuck with me. I'd stop by each time I rode the Silver Comet, drool a bit, check the price tag, and walk away. For that bike, I'd even learn how to use cycling shoes. Even if it meant falling over. I'd wear a helmet on a regular basis. I'd give up my plan of upgrading my 2nd generation iPod for another year.....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Starting Again...

I'm trying this blog thing again. I didn't really have a clear purpose when I started, and it showed. My updates were extremely few and very far between. Now, they're gone.

I'm using this as a way to keep myself motivated on several fronts. With this being sort of public, I'm calling myself on the carpet. So here goes...

To start, let's tackle health/fitness. I've never been one to exercise.
That's a lie.
I have been one to exercise, but in fits & starts. The person who goes to the gym every day for a week or two, then avoids all exercise for months on end. Was okay when I was 22, but helped pack on 40 lbs by the time I was 32. I was disgusted with myself, so lost weight. No chips, no sodas, no burgers, and no exercise.
Looked pretty good, but still felt fat. Not in a vain way. I didn't want to lose more weight for beauty or fashion. I wanted to walk my big dumb dog without being winded. To chase along my daughter as she tried to ride without training wheels.
I knew that exercise had to be a part of my regular day. If it was an effort to drive to the gym, or to arrange childcare, or juggling group exercise schedules to fit my schedule of work, volunteering at school, three kids with music and swim lessons... you get the idea.