31 January 2008

check it out!

My cousin Nicholas was on NPR being interviewed about a story that he wrote for the Wall Street Journal. Nick lives in China and usually writes about health issues in the country. Click HERE to listen to his interview!

P.S. the only bad part of the interview is that the interviewer kept mispronouncing our name. :( Hello people it's phonetic! ZA-MISS-KA :P

29 January 2008

unfinished business

So there have been a couple of questions left in comments from previous posts that I have TOTALLY meant to respond to but just kept forgetting so I'm going answer them here. :) I know that it is totally not that interesting but you can learn a little more about me if you'd like. :) But first, make sure you check out Steve in a Speedo's post today, it seriously made me laugh my ass off.

Josh asked: what do you do? From my Mr. Right vs Mr. Right Now post

Well Josh, funny you should ask that. I'm technically an urban planner. That's right people watch out, city planning in progress! Don't worry not the urban renewal kind. ;) Right now I'm 3 lousy credits away from my MUP (yes I'm a MUP, ;) ) and my degree will FINALLY be conferred this May. I currently am self-employed and have a couple of clients that keep me relatively busy. It is the cash-flow part that is the biggest pain, but that seems to be with anything. :) I'm cutting back my hours with my biggest client to make time for finishing school and I just accepted a tutoring position two days a week for elementary students, which is going to be the MOST fun ever! :)

Speaking of most fun, what are you studying at Temple Josh?

B Bop asked: Did you name him yet?? From bike update.

To be completely honest, I'm not sure that I 'know' my bike well enough yet for a name. That prob sounds totally weird, but I can't really think of anything that fits it just yet. I think once I get out on the pavement something will come to mind. How did you name yours? And how come my bike is a 'him'? Just curious. :)

B Bop asked: you're finishing up your thesis/project?? whatcha studying? From so exciting post.

Yes, as I just mentioned, I am FINALLY finishing. :) Laaaaaa! I still have yet to determine a project topic. When I went two weeks ago to good old Buffalo, things were slightly tense in the room. I got the impression that the prof didn't really want to be going over all the info and that the rest of the students didn't really want to listen. Normally, my program picks a town/city somewhere in the Western NY area or southern tier even. So I was kind of looking forward to studying a different area for a change. However, I guess the current second years bitched up a storm and this semester the city is................you guessed it good old, B-lo. Which to me was a bit disappointing just because I have already done a shit load of work for the city. I was an intern there and then a consultant so it is not new to me. I think that is why I haven't picked a topic yet. :( One of my very bestests, Stephanie is the ED at housing nonprofit on Buffalo's deep west side and she might need some help so I'm leaning toward a vacant lot analysis or a housing demolition study. I know so totally exciting. ;) Hey I HAVE to get that diploma!

Veggie Jen asked: Are yours at all interested in this new fixture? From my week in review post.

Morris is a VERY SPECIAL cat. He has practically no sense of balance, talks almost as much as I do, purrs nonstop (cuz I'm apparently a great cat mom!) and often sees things that aren't there. While he provides a ton of entertainment and comfort (he is being a headrest for me right now as I type ;) ) I do sometimes worry about him and his safety. He is very afraid of the treadmill. I think it is the beeping it makes and then the moving up as I increase incline. Who knows!

So I assumed that he would be afraid of the bike too. Especially since I have a wind trainer and those are...well, very windy when you get going fast! :) So the minute I set the bike up Morris was ALL OVER IT! Rubbing up against every part he can touch. The first time I rode on the trainer he kept trying to walk under my feet as I was pedaling. So I kept having to stop so Morris wouldn't suffer a concussion. Then he sat on the couch next to me (this is when the bike was behind the couch) and kept pawing at my arm and crying til I held him! Well let me tell you that was the last time I rode and held the cat, big PITA!!! So now that the bike in is the middle of the living room he is even more interested in it and runs all around it like it is some obstacle course. However, yesterday I seriously thought he was going to get killed because he kept going over by the trainer while I was riding (my cadence was over 100rpm). I'm not sure what to do with this crazy ass now!

Ok I think I have bored everyone enough now! From now on I PROMISE to answer questions as they come and save all of you the torture of reading another post like this!

I like to add pics so here are a couple of me and Stephy from grad school!


This one was from my bday a few years ago. As usual, I said something naughty and Steph gave me that face!


And here is one of Morris who is always too curious for his own good!


freaking out...

I have been putting this off big time but, I'm finally admitting now. I have a HM coming up in March. March 2nd to be exact. And I'm overwhelmed with doubt, I'm pretty much scared shitless at this point. I know most of you will think that I'm being over dramatic but hear me out.

First of all this is the longest distance that I will ever have attempted to run, ever. And I really consider myself a SUPER new runner; and not in a super star or super cool kind of way (although I totally am super cool, just not as a runner). I started with my first 5K in September of 2007 and now I'm doing a HM!? Holy shit! Seriously?! I don 't really feel like I have any business even attempting this. I don't even know why I signed up in the first place. Well I know why, but just because Monica believes I can do it doesn't necessarily make it true! It just makes her crazier than me. ;)

So I have quietly been having this mental breakdown over my upcoming HM since the middle of December. A week or so ago, I met this woman after a swim lesson who asked if I had seen the course yet for the HM. I looked at Monica and then at the woman, who clearly BOTH knew of a danger I didn't and said "well, I thought of driving it but then I figured I would just let myself be surprised." Instantly, Moncia says, "Oh no don't do that, just wait, you'll be fine." Clearly knowing that if I did drive it and see for myself that I would chicken out and not do the HM. The woman laughed and said, "Yeah, that course is pretty bad, lots and lots of really hard hills." At that point, I think I looked like the fear of god had taken over and Monica looks at me totally dismissing it and says, "Yeah, it is really hilly but you can do it, don't worry!"


Ok, confidence is still not restored.

Seriously 13 miles what was I thinking!? I know that I am always pushing myself and pushing hard and I always think I could do more but for the first time in my life I'm quietly screaming inside that this really is crazy. I had totally planned this great training schedule so I would be ready and I didn't follow it. I'm sure I'm increasing my mileage too quickly. I'm sure I'm pushing myself over the line. But I can't not follow through with this. That just isn't who I am. I have no delusions of grandeur, don't be concerned there. I mean I'm only running about 13-15min miles right now. :( If I actually live to finish the race, I expect that 3 hours is the best I can count on. 3 H-O-U-R-S! Can I SERIOUSLY run for 3 HOURS even with walk breaks!? AAAAAHHHHH!!!

*breathing deeply*

I don't know. Who knows, what will happen. All I can do is try. Try and not die. ;)

Ok I feel a bit better now, thanks for listening everyone! *HUGS*

26 January 2008

decisions, decisions

Hello everyone!!! First, I want to give a shout out to all my CTCers who did the Buckeye Winter Trail today. Way to go!!!!

So what is on my mind today!? GEAR! Cuz apparently you can never have enough! ;) Seriously though folks, I think that some of this techy stuff really does help you to track your progress and see how well your training is going and how you are improving. That said, I also think that most of it is hella expensive! Now if I had the money, I would not be having this discussion with you but instead would be out buying a Garmin 305 forerunner or the Polar RS800. Now I did find a couple of good deals on the 305 on eBay but considering I need to get, NEED, a new pair of kicks AND a pair of trail shoes, I really can't afford to spend $200-$500 on a running computer. Plus, while I'm sure the features that both of the above offer would be super helpful to everyone, I feel like I can wait for another year before I get so high tech. I have a basic Cat Eye on my bike (like $45 or something) and I already have a decent HRM that was like $120 on sale so I don't really want to spend more than $100 on something new.

I was looking yesterday and am frankly overwhelmed by all the choices available and I'm not sure what to buy. Sooooooooo I humbly rest my question at my wonderful blog readers.....like I frequently do. What do you guys use?? I know the 305 is great, Monica and Dave (from CTC) both have one and have tons of positive things to say about it. I just don't think it is in the cards right now. Isn't there something that can provide me with similar info????

Below, I have a list of the features I'm looking for and what I've looked at so far, if any of you own it let me hear about it! And PLEASE all recommendations are welcome!!!!! :) Thanks a million everyone! ;)


Things that I would like:

-time (duh!)
-time and distance based interval timer
-speed/pace distance
-cadence and avg stride length
-trip odometer
-measure splits

It would be a plus to include HRM abilities but not necessary.

Garmin Forerunner

PhotobucketPolar RS800SD

PhotobucketPolar RS200SD

PhotobucketTimex Sleek Ironman 150

PhotobucketWomen's Timex Ironman 50 Lap

PhotobucketWomen's Nike Imara Run Watch

PhotobucketWomen's Adidas Adistar GT

23 January 2008

week in review

Soooooo.......I didn't mean to leave everyone hanging! Saturday I went and got my bike! :) I lllloooovvveee it!!!!!!!!!


I went to the movies with my mom and gram. We saw a girlie movie, cuz gram loves those best. ;) 27 Dresses. It was pretty cute. The best part was all the crazy dresses she had to wear! Then I ran over to Mountain Road Cycles and got fitted for my bike. Then I had to go pick up my landlady June. She had been in the hospital since Monday.

I can't even remember what I did that day. :( Cleaning I think.

I did some weights and jumped on the bike for 30mins. I only had time for an hour workout. :( Steve and I went to City Fresh Monday at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. It was a really great presentation this month. Darren Doherty from Australia was speaking about permaculture. I've always wanted to have a farm. :) I know, I know. But I think it would be so amazing and fulfilling and listening him to made me wish I could. He had amazing stories to tell and even better pictures. Here is a link to his website.

Monica and I had a swim lesson with Laura Kessler. She was so helpful! I need help with my stroke. I do well in the other areas but my stroke is not efficient or very good. :( Elbows up!!!

And that brings us to today! :) I got my IronGirl DVDs today! Woohoo! So I did a bike session which was good. Only about 8 miles in 25 mins but it was a good workout. Intervals and we had to keep the cadence up over 100. One thing I like about these DVDs is how short they are. It is a three pack - running, spinning and strength. Each DVD has 3-7 25-35min sessions and all are of different levels. So you can mix things up! The strength one looks pretty tough but I'm looking forward to trying it out. I also got a couple of endurance mixes off iTunes with a gift card from xmas (thanks mom! :) ) So tomorrow Lance Armstrong and I will be running for 45mins. :)

My living room has been turned into a training area. Thank god I live alone. ;) My bike has taken the place of the coffee table and this weekend I will probably move my treadmill back in there too. So here's to happy training everyone! :)


18 January 2008

so exciting!!!!

Today as I sat at my desk, recounting my 2 hours at UB yesterday and what going to classes and starting my project means, my cell rang. And guess who it is was............................Jacob at Mountain Road Cycles!!!!!!!!!!!! That's right everyone, my bike is ready for me to pick up. If he had been standing in front of me I probably would have hugged him! I'm so excited to get fitted and bring it home. :)

One sad note to report though. So as I described in my last bike post, I am apparently more miniature than I thought. So not only do I have to have a 2xsmall but the wheels I originally ordered and wanted only come in 700s and for my frame I need 650s. :( :( So goodbye Mavic Aksiums! It was nice for a little while when I thought you would be part of my wonderful bike.

So maybe one of you very talented readers should take this knowledge and run with it. I can't possibly be the only short person who wants a road bike. So why don't all the cool things come in my size!?! Maybe one of you very talented readers should create a product line for shorties! ;) I know I would buy the products! :) But seriously, I know alot of short people so I know there is a market I just don't know why they don't make stuff for us.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the movies with my mom and gram. :) THEN, I'm going to get my bike!!!! So the first thing I'm going to do when I get it home is put it on the trainer. Then I will probably stare at it for a little while in wonder (told you I was the same as a four year old) and then I will ride. Unfortunately, there is some crazy snow storm predicted for this weekend so I won't be able to take it outside. But rest assured, when I do you all will be the first to know about it! ;)

14 January 2008

Race ya!

So in the spirit of B Bop, Veg and Trifolk and their respective recent posts of childhood adventures I decided I would jump on the wagon.

Since I was very young, I always had a sense of adventure that needed little coaxing. The street I grew up on only had boys my age. There were two girls, sisters actually, that lived a few houses down on another street that I would play with but my times with Leslie and Allison were very girlie. We stayed inside alot and did art projects or played Barbies or dress up.

I was also an only child for much of my childhood. My mother and father both worked and I couldn't nap or I would be up all night. Needless to say, nap time at the babysitter's house for me was anything but. :) All of this independence allowed me to develop a great imagination. An imagination that helped me leave the confines of my bedroom or backyard and go all over the world to discover.

My frequent 'traveling' companion was my next door neighbor Clayton. Clayton had a much older brother so he would occasionally terrorize us but overall it was me and Clayton. We were the same age and inseparable. Every Sunday, he would be sitting on the front porch waiting for me to get home from church so we could start the next adventure.

We had woods behind our houses that led to a very deep gorge and even had a small makeshift treefort. Sometimes we would bring our other neighbor Grant along or some of the other boys down the road, but mostly it was the two us traveling to parts unknown. One time we caught a big snapping turtle and Clayton's brother Brad had to come and help us carry it to the house. He then proceeded to chase me around the yard with it; I can't remember how it ended, knowing me I finally stopped to see just what he planned to do to me with that turtle.

Even though I was out being a boy, I was all girl. I would run around with the gang in my sundresses with jelly bracelets and bangles up to both elbows. I can't tell you how many times I'd be walking around with torn dresses from climbing trees and fences. I took on every challenge and always had to prove myself to the boys. I got dirty and had a blast. Playing with the boys helped me define my limits. I learned how to stand up for myself, push myself and fight for the things I believed in. There was never even a question that I couldn't do something. Between this and my thirst for adventure I felt like I could take on anything.

I feel so fortunate to have parents that never told me I couldn't do something, that believed in all my craziness, even if they weren't always in support of it. Lots of people talk about 'latch-key kids' and how sad our lives are that we didn't have cookies and milk and Mrs. Clever waiting when school was over. I had several wonderful babysitters as I was growing up and the time I spent with my family was very fulfilling and meaningful. I don't know if I would be as outgoing, flexible and adaptable and open minded if I had not had the experience of going to Mrs. Rhoder's house after school. Meeting new people comes easily to me because I got to have new after school friends all the time!

Sadly Clayton moved to North Carolina when I was eight or nine. They would visit every summer for 3 years or so and then I never saw him again. I will however always remember all the fun we had. There are times when I'm in my parent's backyard that I look at the woods and I can here Clayton saying, "Race you to the tree! Last one there is a rotten egg!"

09 January 2008

bike update :)

First I want to thank all of you for the awesome advice! It was definitely something I needed!!! So here is the update:

I went to the bike shop to check out the bikes and have a preliminary fit to see what size was best for me. I was looking at Giants so I hopped on a kick ass one a.k.a totally out of my price range, and road on the trainer for a bit so Jacob, rockin sales guy, could take a look and get some measurements. It was quickly determined that the XSmall wasn't quite extra small enough for me. :( I road in the lot for a bit to get a feel and then he did some more measuring. When I looked at the bikes I've been lusting over, I was quickly able to narrow it down to a couple of fitness level bikes, no entry racers, one competition bike and nothing else higher.

As we looked at other manufacturers I realized a trend. It seems that all the full composite/carbon bikes didn't come small enough. :( Anyhow, I thought about getting last year's frame of the composite racing bike I was in love with because last year they came in my size, but it was slightly more than I wanted to spend. But then all of your handy advice popped into my head. So I went back yesterday and went with the competition bike, aluminum frame/carbon fork and then made some upgrades to the shifters, wheels, pedals, and derailleurs. Oooohhh, it's red too. ;) Then I got my shoes and a rack for my car. Everything was less than I had anticipated because I got some super great deals so now I just have to wait till it comes in. :) So thanks again, I had all the advice running around in my head as I made my decision.


Now, who wants to go riding?!?!?!

07 January 2008

Mr. Right vs. Mr. Right Now

I've been in this predicament before. I made the right choice that time, thankfully. :) So I'm sure it will work out in the end but I feel like I have a million choices to make. In reality it is only like two or three, but they are big deals to me.

Ok so first choice is buying a new road bike. Very exciting yes, but I'm one of those people who has to do a ton of research before I make a big/important purchase. I research and read and ask for opinions to try and determine not only what is the best choice for me but also to make sure I'm getting the most for my money. I finally have an appointment today at the bike shop near my work to get fitted and look at a few bikes they have there. So now here is where the Mr. Right vs. Mr. Right Now comes into play. Do I buy a bike that I can afford and will work for the short term and then buy another one in a year or two (Mr. Right Now) or do I splurge and spend a bit more money than I want to/should and buy something that will last for many years to come (Mr. Right)???? It is quite a conundrum! I'm stumped right now and am not sure what will happen. Between the awesome advice I've received and my research I'm sure it will all turn out ok. :) I usually follow my intuition so maybe I just need to listen more to what that is saying! ;)

Ok so next thing has many facets. I have been feeling very unsatisfied in my current working environment (Mr. Right Now for sure!). I have a couple of smaller clients that I periodically do things for but my main client....well, I just don't feel like this is the right type of work. It isn't anything that gets me super jazzed and most days it is such a chore to deal with all that comes with it. So the client of my client has been sketchy with payments and some other things so they might lose the account which means they wouldn't need me anymore. So that means I have no major client or income. I have been looking but haven't seen too much out there. I have a couple of applications out so we shall see. Now to further complicate matters, I have been thinking about going back to school to get a PhD. I'm still looking at options in terms of the programs, costs, etc. So I have several decisions to to make.....soon.

I have no issues with going to a temp agency and getting another Mr. Right Now till I figure things out or find something that fits me better. I've have mad typing skills along with a host of other things you pick up while getting multiple degrees and while I know this isn't something to be proud of, all my friends call me when they need help with Microsoft products. Ha!

I know this is going to sound totally cliche but I really need to have some sort of purpose in my job. At one point in my life my career was everything to me. But now I have other priorities and every minute I spend at work I see as another minute away from doing things that I love and that are important to me. And I can only imagine that this will continue to be the case as my life changes and I have more responsibilities. If I had a career that I enjoyed and was passionate about, it would justify the time spent doing other things instead of what I want. Additionally, I want to be proud of what I do everyday. Not that I currently feel like I'm asked to behave unethically, but I have in previous jobs been expected to do that.

That is really what has been weighing on my mind lately. Just making some decisions, nothing major but still worthy of pause and reflection. I have yoga tonight so maybe that will help get things going in the decision making process. ;)

I hope that all of you are beginning a worry free week!!! Get outside and enjoy the warm weather before it disappears! :)

03 January 2008

There are times when you are on top of the world and......

times when the world is on top of you.

Today is one of those days. I feel like I can't get motivated after the holidays. :( I'm pushing myself but not really sure where I'm going. I guess I've just let the overwhelming feelings from the holidays linger and creep in a little. It's like when the sun shifts as the day progresses and shadows grow.

That's how it feels.

I've been feeling couped up.

Constantly surrounded by four walls.

As much as I love city living, sometimes you want to be able to hear the snow fall.

It is so amazing on a crisp dark night to be outside and listen to the big fluffy snowflakes float slowly down. Dancing with the other snowflakes; turning and spinning. You can hear the slightest sound when they finally rest on the ground. It is this peaceful sound, like when a baby is sleeping. Somehow the stillness is comforting. You kind of lose yourself in this moment of simple joy. Simple. Joy.

For me, simplicity is so important. I put an amazing amount of effort, even subconsciously, into finding joy in the everyday. Well not everyday, most days it comes naturally to me. I'm like a 3 year old. The smallest thing can make my day come alive and I float all day until my head hits the pillow. It isn't that I ignore the sad things or the unpleasant things. It is just that it seems way too easy to recognize those things instead of all the good things. I would much rather laugh so much my cheeks hurt, than allow myself a headache because of all the things I see that are wrong and sad and disappointing. I learned long ago when I was a child that I could acknowledge what was going on in the world but not let it overwhelm me. I remember being 4 or 5 and not being able to sleep because I had just learned that some children didn't get to have dinner that night or reading Anne Frank in middle school and staying up all night thinking of what she might accomplished if she had only made it a little longer.

I'm thankful that I can still see a snowflake and smile. Or take time to stalk a falling leaf. Or enjoy the wonderment of the world and possibilities. That I can still imagine and dream.

Remember that you can take stock everyday, not just January 1st. Tomorrow is always a new beginning, a new possibility, an adventure. Life is full of discoveries, daily. Take time to enjoy that and be thankful that you can always begin anew, tomorrow. :)

02 January 2008

Let it snow......

So I just wanted to share something that caused lots of laughs and lots of swearing. This morning, my mother told my father to take her car to work because it had snowed so much and he has rear wheel drive. She doesn't have more than a quarter of a mile to go. He, in usual form, insisted that it would be fine. The more she pressed the more he said he would have no problems. (And you wonder where I get my stubborn, prove everyone wrong attitude. ;) )

So this was the result:

The car ended up almost perpendicular to the driveway. I will leave you with these images of yet another time when my mom was right. ;)

01 January 2008

Today the NHL made history

While most people in Cleveland aren't very interested in hockey, I LOVE, LOVE it! And today, history was made in the good old b-lo! Today the NHL held their first outdoor hockey game in Buffalo, NY at Ralph Wilson Stadium (OP, NY). There have been outdoor games in Canada and a few collegiate games have been played outdoors in the US, but this was the first NHL game in the US.

My brother and I watched the game this afternoon (1:00-4:30pm), envious of the 73,000 fans freezing in the brisk, snowy Buffalo winter. It was wonderful to watch even though the Sabres lost. :( Hopefully, there will be more. They were discussing other teams that might hold outdoor games. The next exciting game is the Bruins vs. Rangers at the Gardens!

Woohoo! Go HOCKEY! ;)

You can check out the game summary HERE.

I grabbed some game day pics off Getty Images and made a little slide show for all of you in blogland! I know you are SOOOOOO excited! ;) Enjoy!

P.S. Sorry for the poor quality! I could only grab the editorial pics and to get better res. you have to purchase them.

The Great New Year's Eve Run

I did my last race of 2007 yesterday in Stow. It was a great course, challenging for me since I haven't done any hill work. I was hoping for a PR but I was 30 seconds over my last time. Considering the last 5K was the Reindeer Run in Lakewood on basically a pretty flat course, I'm pretty happy with my time. I ran more this time and for longer periods which was good. I will say I definitely felt like it was longer than 2.8 miles, lol. The final hill was pretty steep, which for some reason I didn't remember being there.

It came into view and the teenager next to me looked at me and said "ugh." I'm like "oh, shit." So I walked it and pushed myself up the hill. At mile 2 my time was around 32mins. So I thought I could make it. As I came into the gate, I could make out the time clock and was hoping to make it under 43. It read 42:44 and I broke into a crazy (foolish, desperate) sprint running as fast as I could to try to make in time. I was too far out for my sprint and even if I had kept it up, I would still not have made it in time to PR. I looked at my HRM and it read 189 so I slowed down and jogged slowly to the end. Overall, I think I did well. I maintained a avg HR of 173 and the end there was my max at 189.

I had two cheerleaders at the end, my mom and fellow CTCer Brandon, so that helped. Initially, I was disappointed and I remember thinking on the big hill that I hadn't run enough this month. After I had an apple I started to feel a bit better about it all and I woke up this morning feeling my calves and knew I had worked hard and I was pretty satisfied as I stretched in bed this morning.

There were quite a few CTCers there; Brandon and Craig did well with their times. We stayed for most of the awards and then I drove the route so my mom could see the hill. She wanted to see how steep it really was. :)

Overall it was a good time and next year will be even better!