Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Missing: the month of June

Where in the heck did June go. No, seriously. How can today possibly be the midway mark for the year?

I remember being bored alot as a child. A LOT. My poor mother. She should be sainted for the number of times she heard me say, "Mom, I'm bored" which was always accompanied with a dramatic sigh and the heaving of my body onto a chair/couch/the floor. I remember her saying that she WISHED she knew what it felt like to be bored. I would roll my eyes and continue with the dramatic sighing and complaining. Sorry, mom! Good thing I grew out of that!! Yeesh, if I ever have kids, I hope they aren't as whiny as I could be at times...

So June has come and gone. How has the June-athon gone, you might be wondering? My response is - 'meh'. Could have been worse, could have been better. The final stats for the month are (drum roll please) - I ran 20 out of 30 days. So about 5 days/week. I probably ran about 60 miles total. It's mediocre in my opinion. Better than last month, though, so at least I am making progress.

But hopefully next month will be better. I thought my 1/2 Marathon training commenced next month, but that was for a race I decided not to do. Training starts August 10th, so now I have another month to build up more endurance, which is probably a good thing.

Have a safe & happy 4th, everyone! Anyone have big plans? I will be heading up to my parents' cabin on Thursday night. I can't wait for a long weekend with the fam. 2 of my 4 siblings and 3 of my 4 nephews will be there so it should be a good time. I was in France over the 4th last years so missed out on the fireworks. Hopefully the weather will cooperate - I need some sun!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My running club experience

So I did run on Tuesday night even though it was crazy humid. I was a hot mess by the end of the run, let me tell you. I had plans to meet up with my cousin afterwards and didn't even bother to put on make-up because my face was still bright red, and no amount of Bare Minerals foundation would have cured that... It rained today so hopefully the dew point has dropped!!

Anywho, so back when I started to get back into running, I thought it might be a good idea to join a local running club. Because I can be kind of on the cheap side (except when it comes to gadgets/technology...), I decided to join one that is free. I signed up for my first run, which was on a Saturday morning. There was an option to RSVP to brunch and I thought - 'what the heck, maybe there will be a dashing young fellow that I'll want to get to know a little better over eggs.' And when I say dashing, I mean handsome, not fast. Because I am not fast. I like to say I was built for distance, not speed. Side note: I did once briefly date a really fast runner - he said maybe we could run together and he would just run backwards so we'd be at the same pace. Ha. I wanted to laugh, but I wasn't sure if he was serious. He probably was.

So I was basically committed to this 4 mile run & a brunch afterwards. I was really excited about the prospect of meeting some new runners. As I pulled up to the meeting location, I searched for a parking spot and saw a group of people out of the corner of my eye. It appeared that one of them was wearing a kilt. But I thought - no, that's not possible. My eyes are playing tricks on me - he must be wearing really baggy khaki shorts or something.

Wrongo batman. The guy was literally wearing a khaki kilt. And he was in the running club. He was a nice guy, but very, very odd. I mean, seriously - I totally respect the Scottish culture, especially since I have Scottish roots (my mom's maiden name is McDougall - doesn't get much more Scottish than that!). But do you really need to wear a kilt when out for your morning jog? And it didn't even seem authentic. It looks like something you would buy at American Eagle. If they sell kilts. I assume they don't.

Of course only4 people stayed for brunch and one of those 4 people was the kilt-wearing wonder. He was one of those extremely intelligent people - he casually disclosed that he was a member of the mensa club. But as is sometimes the case with extremely intelligent people, his social skills left a bit to be desired.

I survived the brunch though, but haven't mustered up the courage to do another run. There is another group of runners w/in this club that also did a run that same morning, but they run around a 7-8 minute mile, and I just don't run that fast. See above comment about being built for distance.

And so my quest for a normal, fun running club continues... I probably need to accept the fact that I might need to pay for a running club. But I already know I have to avoid another popular running club in the Twin Cities because the bad tipper told me he is a member when we went out on our first date. And there is no way I want to see him on a weekly basis. I also avoid a certain Whole Foods store because I ran into him there about 2 weeks after our last date and pretty much ran out of the store to avoid any sort of awkward run-in. I don't deal well with awkward situations.

But I am getting off topic here. I could go on and on about awkward situations/run ins as I have had a few lately. Oh the stories I could tell. But I'll stop here... So if anyone that reads this resides in Minneapolis and has a suggestion for a running club, fire away. My only caveat is that the runners wear normal clothing - i.e. no kilts, please.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If I had a library...

I would totally buy this print and hang it in my little library.

It's by this Etsy seller. She's got lots of great stuff - go check her out!

But I don't have a library. Yet. So for now it's on my list of things to buy when I do have a house... The list is getting quite long, by the way.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Off the wagon...

I was doing so well w/ that whole June-athon thing. Up through the 18th I had ran 15 out of 18 days.

Then last weekend came and went. And I didn't get a single run in. And I didn't run yesterday since I had something going on at night. So I haven't ran for 4 days, which is the longest break I've taken since May 1st.

I know this because I keep track of these things. Yes, I need to get a life and rely less on spreadsheets.

I plan on getting back on track, starting tonight. Tonight will be my first run in what we refer to as extreme heat & humidity here in Minneapolis - it's about 95F, and I think w/ the humidity the heat index is around 105F. Part of me wants to say - 'eh, skip the run, it's probably not healthy to run in such hot temps.' But then I think back to the summer I trained for the marathon - it was consistently above 90 & humid for most of the months of July & August, when I was putting in double digit distance runs. So I can pound out a measly 3-4 miles tonight. I'm going to attempt to run at 5 a.m. the next couple of days since it looks like the heat isn't breaking anytime soon. If only I was a morning person...

I did order a new toy, though.
I've been wanting a new Garmin Forerunner for awhile, but didn't feel like spending the money. Turns out I can buy a 305 with the reward points from my credit card - a bunch of them are about the expire so I figured this is a good purchase. It's an upgrade from my 101, which I've been using for 3 years. Err, um, maybe I should say I have owned it for 3 years, it hasn't gotten much use since the fall of 2006 when I ran my marathon. I know I will get alot of use out of the 305 and it'll be interesting to use the Heart Rate Monitor - I have no idea if I am training in the appropriate heart rate range, so that data will be interesting.

And you know me. I love data. Oh, to think of the charting I could do once I have this new Garmin.

Kidding. Sort of.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time for a training goal...

So I have been running pretty consistently for the last 6-7 weeks. I'm not close to being as in shape as I'd like to be, but I am getting closer. So far the June-athon is going pretty well. I've ran 14 out of 17 days. Not too shabby.

So now that I've gained some endurance, I figure it is time to register for a race. I'm the kind of person who needs a goal to work towards. Today I registered for this half-marathon. It falls on Halloween. Um, I hate Halloween. I know, I know. I'm a party pooper. I just hate coming up with costumes. I've never been creative. Just ask my mom -she can marvel you with stories of the art projects disasters I brought home when I was in elementary school. Seriously - just mention the words "Gingerbread House." She'll have a wonderful story for you.

Anywho, since the race falls on 10/31, I now have a viable excuse to not go to any Halloween parties or out to any bars on that dreaded night.

I love marathon & half-marathon training schedules. I pretty much always use Hal Higdon's. For an analytical/spreadsheet lover like myself, there is nothing better than having a grid that tells me exactly what I should do every day, for 12 weeks straight. So since I am just getting back into distance running, I'll be using this novice schedule. Training starts the week of July 13th so I have almost another month to keep working on building up my base.

It's a little bit daunting to think about the 13.1 initially. But then I remember that I ran 26.2 back in 2006, so there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to train myself to run 13.1 over the next 15 weeks or so!

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A year ago today...

On June 17th, 2008, I flew out to a wonderful city that is the home of these notable landmarks...
After spending about 5 days in Paris on my own, I met up with Grad School classmates for a 2 weeks program in Lyon.

Even though I was super busy with school work, I still managed to do some sightseeing,

eat dinner with an adorable French couple where the main course was this interesting chicken jello type of dish,

and try something that I had read about in "Julie & Julia" - bone marrow!! Would I try it again? No. Am I glad I was adventurous & tried it? Absolutely.

I also fit in a weekend in Annecy, which is nestled in the valley of the French Alps.
Annecy was a little slice of heaven for me. It's referred to as the Venice of France and is just a gorgeous city. I hope to return some day - maybe on a honeymoon? It's got a great combination of narrow streets to wander down as well as biking & running trails.

* sigh * What a wonderful trip that was. Spending 3 weeks in France was one of the best decisions I've made. France has totally captured my heart and I hope to return there someday soon - I already have an apt picked out in the Marais area (my favorite part of Paris).

My trip to France will always hold a special place in my heart - it was my first solo trip to Europe, and I loved those 5 days that I spent on my own in Paris! Also, taking that trip inspired me to start blogging. That whole trip is chronicled here.

On an off-subject note - the week took a sad turn yesterday. My good friend's baby passed away yesterday. She was born prematurely on March 25th and fought for her life for the last 12 weeks. You can read about her journey here. My heart just breaks for my friend, her husband, and their families. Please say a little prayer for them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

So far, so good

So I started Anna Karenina over the weekend, and so far, it's going well. I have wanted to read this book for years but was completely intimidated by it. It's long. Like 754 pages. I'm going to get a nice little arm workout by carrying this around with me!

The good news is that the language is very accessible. Some of the older books are tough for me to read since I stubble over the language at times - so far, that has not been the case with this book. There's lots of adultery going on - very scandalous - especially for the time it was published (1875-1878, it was published in installments).

One interesting thing I've learned about Russian names - they use both their Christian first name and another name that is called the "patronymic" - they take your father's name & add "yevitch" for boys and "yevna" for girls. So if I was Russian, my name would be Lisa Paulyevna. Kind of cool. A little more interesting than Anne. But given the length of my last name - yikes - that would have been a mouthful.

By the way, years ago, I took this grad school class about International Education. I had to give a big presentation about education in Russia. After the presentation, one of my classmates asked me if I was from Russia... Very bizarre since I obviously don't have a Russian accent. Nor do I think I look "Russian".

I do hope to someday visit Russia, though. My good friend at work is from Russia and said she'll be my tour guide/interpreter if I ever go over there with her. Perhaps that will be my next overseas adventure!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Have I outgrown chicklit?

I got a bunch of gift cards at my graduation party - mostly for B&N. Along with one of the cards came instructions to buy myself a fun summer read. So I decided to pick up a book that falls under the "ChickLit" category. I used to read these - almost exclusively - when I was in college, but haven't read many in the last 5 years. Some of the books I've been reading lately have been a little on the heavy/sad side, so I thought it'd be fun to read something a little lighter. I bought "The Smart One and the Pretty One" by Claire LaZebnik. The story line looked kind of cute - as an adult, the sister of one the main characters stumbles upon a contract that her parents drew up when she was a child, betrothing her to the boy next door. The main character is single and approaching 30, so the sister decides to track this guy down.

Yes, it's a silly & unlikely storyline, but it sounded entertaining enough.

Let's just say I was pretty much annoyed while reading this book. The boy next door turns out to be a twice-divorced man in his 30's who works in the fashion industry and proclaims that he will never settle down again. Wow. What a catch. This has happy ending written all over it.

Meanwhile, the sister who tracks him down start seeing a man that I can only describe as a train wreck. She initially meets him while accompanying her mom to chemo treatments. He catches her eye by verbally accosting one of the nurses. Yes, that would catch my eye, but I'd be more likely tell the guy he was the scum of the earth rather than flirt with him.

I wonder if I would be as annoyed if I was reading this when I was younger? In my wide-eyed innocence, would have read and thought - 'oh, I bet he is going to change and end up being her prince?'

I guess I'll never know! But for now I think it's best that I avoid the ChickLit genre. I think I've just become a tish too cynical/jaded!

Next up - Anna Karenina. I've been wanting to read this book, but am intimidated by its length. Now that I am done with school and have much more free time, I figure this is the summer to tackle this classic! One of friends at work is from Russia so I can't wait to discuss the book with her as she has of course read it!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Apple must love me

I adore Apple products. I already purchased a 120G iPod earlier this year. You would think that I was done buying iPods for quite awhile.

But I just couldn't stop there. I love the 120G iPod, but it's not small. And it's not light. So it's not exactly something you want to strap onto your arm when heading out for a run. I already have a nano, but it's reaching the end of its useful life. I got it as a gift back in 2006. A Valentine's Day gift, by the way. Quite the gift, huh? The nano has lasted exponentially longer than that relationship! Ha! Actually the 24-pack of Michelob Golden Light that I stocked my fridge with for said boyfriend lasted longer than that relationship...

I digress. Anywho. I kept telling myself that I didn't really need a new Nano... but the old one would quit on me at times. So, on Sunday, I bought this little addition to the iPod family.

Meet Sophie. Another iPod, another name. I made a new running playlist on Sunday night, and it appears to have helped me speed up my mile splits... Turns out I run to the beat of the music, so running to Jack Johnson wasn't exactly helping my speed!

And the June-athon is going good. I've ran 10 out of 11 days. I know I said I'd shoot for doing 30 days, but I've decided that a day off each week is probably necessary.

So I am slowly, but surely, getting back into shape. I'm fighting off feelings of impatience - I keep reminding myself that I spent the last 3 years getting out of shape, so I can't expect to get back into shape in 30 days. But I'm making progress.

Now I am trying to figure out if I need a new Garmin or not... I have the Forerunner 101, which runs on batteries... I'm thinking about upgrading to a model that has a heart rate monitor and a re-chargeable battery... Part of me says - treat yourself, this is something you'll use nearly every day, so if you depreciate the cost over the # of times you'll use it, it's actually inexpensive (yes, I work in finance). The other part says - you can get by w/ the 101. We'll see which part of me wins out...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Book Review: Tales of a Female Nomad

I just finished "Tales of a Female Nomad" last night and let me just say this - I think it is the first travel memoir that I have disliked. I disliked it so much that I thought about returning it after reading the first couple of chapters. But I kept telling myself that it was going to get better. Plus this blogger is having a virtual book club at the end of the month and selected this book, and I thought it would be fun to participate. The book sounded intriguing - it's basically about this woman who gets divorced in the late 80's and decides to start traveling to find herself. She starts off in Mexico and travels all over the globe, spending many years in Indonesia.

Well, the book fell flat for me. I didn't find the author very 'likeable', if that makes any sense. She kind of annoyed me at the beginning of the book - she gets to Mexico and then sort of panics about eating dinner by yourself. I just rolled my eyes and thought - really? You want to do all this traveling by yourself and be this independent woman but you are worried that people will think you are pathetic for eating alone? I sympathize with the fact that she was coming out of a 20+ year marriage (I think - don't have the book w/ me to verify the number of years, so I apologize if I am wrong on this), so was probably not used to dining alone - I am sure it was a tough adjustment to go from having a dining partner to flying solo. That said, I wouldn't go to one of the nicest hotels in the area and try to flag down a dining partner. If I was her, I would have saw it as an opportunity to become more comfortable with eating by myself. I vividly remember my first meals eating alone when I studied abroad in Australia. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. But I got over the discomfort pretty fast when I realized that no one really pays that much attention to you.

I also was bothered by the fact that this woman chose a nomadic lifestyle even though she had 2 children. When she initially started traveling in the last 80's, they were in college or graduating college, so were grown-up, to some extent. But you still need your parents at that age. At least I did and still do. If my mom decided to pack her bags and head to Indonesia for 8-10 years, and only visited for a month here and there, I would be extremely hurt and would question why she even had children in the first place.

I'll stop there. Suffice it to say, this is one book that I will probably consider selling at half-priced books or something like that. No need to keep this one around as I will never re-read it or lend it to someone!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Running in the rain...

It rained all day yesterday. All day. I woke up to rain around 6 am, and it was still raining at 8 pm. I know we really need rain in our area, but did it really need to rain for 12+ hours straight?

I know I said I was going to rain every day, rain or shine, but I just couldn't get out there yesterday. You know how people will often say they love taking walks in the rain? I don't enjoy it. At all. And I certainly don't enjoy running in the rain. So I gave myself permission to take the day off yesterday. I ran an extra mile today to make up for that, so still feel ok about running 6 of the last 7 days.

I have one vivid memory of running in the rain. I was training for my marathon back in the summer of 2006. It was overcast, but I went out anyways, hoping to get my 10 mile run in before it started to rain. I decided to run around Lake Harriet, Calhoun, and Isles.

Here's a picture of where I do most of my runs. I always park at the southern tip of Lake Harriet, and run the lakes counter clockwise. I have tried to run them clockwise, and my runs always feel TERRIBLE when I do that. I am such a creature of habit.

Anyways, on this overcast day, I was at the northern tip of the middle lake, Calhoun. I thought about cutting my run short in case it started to really pour, but I really wanted to get my long run in so I wouldn't have to do it during the week.

By the time I got to the northern tip of Lake of the Isles, it was pouring. And lightning. I was kind of freaking out. I was a good 5-6 miles from my car, and there really wasn't anywhere for me to take shelter. So I kept running. I kept thinking -I'm totally going to get struck by lightning and then I am going to be the random unidentifiable body that some random person finds on a running path that makes the 10 o'clock news.

Yes, I realize that is an incredibly morbid thought, but since I live alone, and don't really talk to anyone on a daily basis, no one would really know if I went missing - esp over the weekend!

I made it back to the northern part of Calhoun and found a bus shelter where I hung out until the lightning subsided.

When I got home from the run, I called my mom and told her what happened. That next week, she sent me a laminated emergency contact/allergy sheet to put in my running belt in case I am struck down by lightning some day or something like that.

That way I won't make the news.

Miraculously, that was the only time I had to run in the rain during my 18 week marathon training program.

I'm praying that if it does rain a lot in June - I at least get an hour window where I can do my runs. Otherwise I am going to have to re-think putting my gym membership on hold.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

And other parties...

My grad party wasn't the only party last weekend. Abby had flown back from Tucson for my graduation party, so my aunts planned a shower for her. I brought my camera, but forgot to take any pictures. Here's one my aunt snapped of us - Abby is wearing the corsage, my mom is in yellow, and my other sister Emily is in black.

The shower was so nice and Abby got tons of great gifts. She's become quite domestic since moving to Tucson - her fiance is a lucky man! I'm really looking forward to their wedding in August. She is getting married at the church we've always gone to when we go to the lake in the summer and then her reception is at a nearby golf course. We have grown up going to the lake every weekend, so I love the fact that she's getting married up there!

On Sunday, we celebrated my nephew Andrew's 4th birthday. The last 4 years have just flown by. It doesn't seem like that long ago that I was meeting him at the hospital! Here's a picture of me holding him after his Baptism.

Check out that head of hair! He had so much hair when he was born, he actually had little sideburns!!!

The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, so the boys had a great time playing in the water. They play so well together.

Andrew's biggest gift was a mini-kitchen that my parents gave him. My brother loves to cook and Andrew loves to help so I am sure he'll love having his own little kitchen!

Some of my best memories from my childhood were playing with this kitchen set that my mom's dad had built for us. He was an amazing wood worker. My parents still have it, I think?

After presents it was time for cake. My sister-in-law is so good at cake decorating! I just would never have the patience, or steady hand to decorate cakes like she does!

Here's the birthday boy with his cake.

The boys all enjoyed the cake - especially Kolin. He gave up on using silverware pretty quickly and just used his hands!

After 3 parties/celebrations in 3 days, we were all pretty pooped. It was great seeing all 4 of my siblings, though. I can't wait for us to all be together again at Abby's wedding!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Grad Party

I'm finally getting around to posting about my graduation party. Unfortunately, I don't have very many pictures. I forgot how busy you are when you are the host! I'm not used to playing that role since my condo isn't big enough for entertaining. I look forward to buying a house down the road and hosting some parties... but probably on a smaller scale than this one!

I was super nervous about the weather, but it turned out pretty well - in the days leading up to the party, I told myself that I needed to be happy with the weather as long as it didn't rain. And luckily, it didn't rain - so I guess I can't complain. It was a big on the cool/windy side, but it was sunny - all in all, pretty darn good weather for a May day in Minnesota!
The party kicked off around 3 with a bunch of appetizers. My mom's 2 sisters were there early on Saturday and helped with all the prep work which was wonderful - as a result, I was able to sit down for a bit at the beginning of the party and get some pictures taken.

Here I am with 3 of my 4 nephews. The 2 older ones (James & Andrew) were happy to pose but Kolin had just woken up from a nap so wasn't too happy about posing... luckily my SIL had some M&M's to bribe him with!

Kolin was much happier on my dad's lap, aka the Baby Whisperer. He is so popular with the boys. They have all been so drawn to him since they were infants! I think it might be the fact that he is kind of the calmest person in our family!

My other nephew Matthew is also quite a fan of Grandpa. He gives him a stare down quite often - similar to what you see in this picture. I guess the Baby Whisperer can communicate without words or something!

The weather was cool, but that didn't keep the boys from playing with their water guns. It was fun to watch Kolin - he wanted to do whatever the older cousins were doing! James helped show him how it worked.

I got one last photo with my friend Brooke before heading in to start getting ready for the main meal. Brooke is one of my best friends - we lived together during college. She came up early that day to help get ready. I am so thankful for all the help I had! I tend to get a little bit on the stressy side, but the help from my parents, siblings, aunts, and Brooke kept me from getting stressed out!

We ate dinner around 5 - here is a picture of the spread. Needless to say, no one went hungry! My brother Kevin took care of the meat since that is his forte. He cooked up 2 pork shoulders, which is about 36 lbs of meat I think, and also bbq'd 8 chickens!!

I believe there were about 50 people there, so we had quite the crowd! Here's a shot of some of them enjoying the meal.

All in all, the day went really well. I didn't get much of a chance to visit with people, though, which I kind of felt bad about. I know that is part of being the hostess, but I still feel guilty. I guess I just need to let it go, though!

At the end of the day, we were all pretty exhausted! Here's one final shot of the Baby Whisperer reading to two of my nephews!

I think they might like books almost as much as their auntie! :)

I'll leave you with a recipe for one of the salsa I made for the party - it is sort of my signature appetizer. It's so simple, and so good!

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 red onion, diced
1-3 clovers of garlic (I use 3 but I love garlic…)
1 red pepper, diced
¼ c. finely chopped cilantro (more or less depending on how much you like cilantro!)
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. crushed red peppers

Combine ingredients and chill before serving. I think it’s better if you make it a day ahead of time, or at least 4-5 hours ahead so that the flavors can all combine.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

For the 2nd time in a month, I am reviewing a book that pretty much everyone and their mom has already read. It was a new release back when I was working part-time at B&N. I remember picking it up, reading the synopsis, and thinking - this is not for me. It just seemed a little bit too science fictiony. Which is so not my genre. But lately, I've been hearing all about this book. I've read a few posts about the book and it's been on a few blogger's 'must read' lists. So I decided to give it a shot. If you are not familiar with the book, "The Time Traveler's Wife" tells the story of Henry, a time traveler, and his wife Clare. You should be prepared to be a bit confused at first. Henry can travel backwards and forward in time, and he can be any age when he travels. So sometimes he'll go back to 1991 and be 30 years old. Or he could go back to 1991 and be 8. And sometimes he will go backwards or forward in time and visit himself - so 8 year old Henry & 30 year old Henry will hang out together at times. But once you get your head around this, the book flows very smoothly, and 500+ pages seem to fly by. At least that was the case for me - I think I read it in a span of about 4-5 days?

It's interesting to think about Henry's ability to time travel. I asked myself - would I want to do this? I often joke that I wish I had a crystal ball, but in reality - I don't think it would be ideal to know what is going to happen in your future. Henry knew what was going to happen, but he could never do anything about it. He couldn't change the course of events, so the knowledge really wasn't much of a benefit for him. He also had to be careful about how much he told Clare about their future - he didn't want to upset her by sharing things that would happen, which put a strain on the relationship at times.

Clare spends so much of her life waiting. Waiting for Henry to return from his time travels. Waiting to find out what Henry already knows about their future. Will they have children? Will Henry live a full life or die prematurely?

One of my favorite part of the book is actually a poem that was included right before the dedication page. Here it is:

Love after Love by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Isn't it beautiful? It represents the theme of this book so well and is a poem that most people can probably relate to. I know I can. Haven't we all sort of 'lost ourselves' at some point in our lives? It seems like, at some point in your life, you go through something that leaves you feeling like a shell of who you previously were or who you will be in the future. But then you heal and one day you catch yourself laughing or smiling and think to yourself - 'Thank the Lord, I am back.'

If you haven't read this yet, it is worth checking out. But you better hurry - the movie comes out this summer! Rachel McAdams plays Clare and Eric Bana plays Henry - it will be interesting to see how they make this book into a movie. With all the time traveler and difference in ages during the time travel, it seems like it will be a little bit tricky!
Oh and I was excited to learn that this is the August selection for a local bookclub called "Books and Bars". I've wanted to go to one of their meetings for months and now there is no excuse for me to not go since I have already read the book!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I am just days short of being one month out of grad school. And wow - the last month has flown by. Graduation feels completely official now that I've walked through commencement & hosted a party for family & friends this past week (pictures & a post to come soon...) I'm feeling a little nostalgic about the whole grad school process. I got a little bit sad when I went to campus to return my hood a few weeks ago. It's kind of like when you break up with someone and then after a few months, you kind of forget why you NEVER should have dated them in the first place... and they seem like this wonderful person.

But I've got this little thing called a ginormous student loan that keeps me from trying to 'get back together' with grad school. At times, I will wake up in the middle of the night, panicking over that student loan payment that will kick in this October. I calm myself down by reminding myself that I have increased my earning potential by getting that degree, but I'm not the most rational person at 2 am...

So those mini-panic attacks prevents me from even considering obtaining another degree. Seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a betting board in Vegas on how soon I will be back in school. That was the question/on-going joke at my party last week. I got a lot of 'sure you aren't going back to school' looks. But believe me - I am done with formal education until those loans are paid off, or at least paid down considerably!

Of course, language classes are an exception to this. I fully intend to work on becoming fluent in French as soon as the thought of sitting in a classroom doesn't induce a gag reflex.

So what have I been up to during my last month of freedom? Lots of stuff. I have absolutely no trouble filling all the hours that used to be consumed by homework, class, and group projects. I read 4 books last month and started knitting a scarf.

And I ran. That was my main goal for the month, and I am pretty happy with my progress. Being the analytical person I am, I kept track of how often I ran. The final stats? I ran 14 out of 31 days. Which means I probably logged more miles in May than I did during the entire spring semester...

I'm taking it easy and am only running 3 miles each night, but I am starting to feel like a runner again. A half-marathon in the fall is looking like an attainable training goal.

I'm pretty pleased with the 14 out of 31 days of running. But it could be better.

I read a post by a local runner that has inspired me to set a goal for June. I am going to attempt to run every day in June. I think know it is possible... but it will be a challenge for me. I put my gym membership on hold, so this means I need to run, rain or sunshine. It will also force me to get up and run on the mornings when I have plans after work.

I'm borrowing her title and am calling it a June-a-thon. It will be a challenging goal, but I know I can do it. And by putting this out there in the blogosphere, I am more likely to follow through with it. There's nothing like posting about something you intend to do to keep you honest.

So here goes. I'll probably post occasionally to let y'all know how it's going. Especially if I fall off the wagon. But let's hope that doesn't happen.

After all, Abby's wedding is just over 2 months away, so it's crunch time for this maid-of-honor!

Wish me luck!