Monthly Archives: March 2007

on running

I’ve been thinking a lot about running lately. I’m learning more and more that I’m a real goal oriented person – which explains a lot about the procrastination thing, because if I were more PROCESS oriented I wouldn’t put things off like I do. So running and training for races seems like the ideal way to exercise towards a goal. Now that my knee doctor has said that my knee is “almost as good as new” (which is as good as they’ll go) it also makes me realize that without the goal of rehab, I need another reason to stay active. When I stopped running after the 5K in the fall I noticed right away that my knee responded poorly to the loss of movement.

so my new strategy is to start training for 5Ks. I’m trying to sucker people into running races with me all over the place in an effort to keep myself motivated to go to the gym. I’ve mentioned it to a friend who lives in Montreal, so I hope we can connect in the spring or summer for a 5K up there. Meredith and I (and potentially Michelle too) are planning to run the Freihofer’s 5K for Women on June 2nd. Team Lois (Michelle and I) have also tentatively planned to run a 5K around the metro NY area in May, as well as travel to Pittsburgh for the Great Race (a 10K!). And also, I’m trying to talk my company into sponsering a whole bunch of us to run in the Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic 5K on July 19th.

I’ve started back on the couch-to-5K again (I picked up at week 4, though, it’s nice to start in the middle!) (oh, and I can’t speak highly enough of this program) and it’s going pretty great – especially considering how long it’s been since I’ve run. my body is so tough and forgiving. I’ll miss out on running while I’m in Japan but with my big feet and the whole “backpacking” thing I’m not going to bring workout clothes with me. Hopefully Michelle and I can pick a 5K sometime in mid-May, I think that would be wonderful (maybe the wall street heart run on May 22?).

I never really thought I liked running – and that’s probably true. scratch that, I like running but JOGGING I don’t enjoy. But I do like being good at things. I do like succeeding at things. And I think that running is something I can be good at if I work at it. Hence this goal-oriented training program. Plus, the whole RUNNING thing. I do love the feeling you get when you’re going fast and you feel like a million bucks and it’s beautiful weather and you just feel like a coil of boundless energy. It’s the toil to get to that point that I’m not a fan of! but the goal is so very worth it. and I’m so thankful I have so many kind people in my life that I can talk into running these things with!

instructables = teh awesome

this is what the internets are for. instructables is so great! like, for example, check out this cool-as-heck rechargable LED flashlight in a tic tacs container. I don’t even like tic tacs and I’m thinking about eating lots and lots of them now.

tiny little turbines

I read about these tiny plastic turbines in treehugger today – they are so freakin’ cool. I immediately sent the link to my dad and stepmom and stepsister – they kind of live on a compound in the woods, and they need more sustainable energy to truly get compound street cred. In all honesty I must admit that the compound was an accident – my stepsister and her husband sold their house before they bought a new one, and they couldn’t find one that fit their needs, so my stepmom offered to divide her property and stepsis is building a home right next door. See? accidental compound. I’m always joking that I need a place to put my tiny and cute straw bale bungalow but sometimes I think about starting a competing compound with my brother and his girlfriend.

anyway, these microturbines are so exciting! you can put them up as a screen or garden fixture in your yard – they’re not bad looking – and just kind of casually generate energy (I refuse to say “reap the wind”). you can get an array of 20 turbines for about $25, apparently – that’s about 3.35x4ft. That sounds pretty fabulous. Now all I need to know is

  1. can you get these made from recycled plastic?
  2. how much electricity will be generated from the turbines?
  3. How easy would it be to create an array in a sturdy frame for traveling, say, on a camping trip? [besides trying to talk my dad into solar and/or small scale wind power on the compound, I also try and talk him into renewables while they camp at the beach]; and
  4. where can I sign up? I want to get some right away!

treehugger links to this plastics news article with more information about the inventor.

a nice compliment

I was talking to a sweet friend yesterday and she said I was charming. I know she doesn’t say that about all the girls (because she told me so) and it is such a nice compliment! I asked her if she thought maybe it was b/c I am from Tennessee, and she said “oh, yeah, and Niskayuna probably factors into that too” which makes me think of all the un-charming people I know from Niskayuna.

I mean, *I* think I’m charming, but I am also good at making myself believe things. Which may have factored into me thinking my little short car with the extensive molding and spoilers and and wheel covers really didn’t have anything to worry about in the snow as I extricated myself from my parking spot this morning, culminating in me perching dear little car over the top of a tall ice bump. I had to go ask some work men in the new house down the street if they would give me a push over the top, and luckily, either because of my surfeit of charm or their surfeit of gentlemanliness, they did. And it is very nice of my girlfriend to think I am charming as well.

other links

speaking of links, here’s some stuff I picked up today on my stroll through various blogs (mostly via treehugger, which is, y’all may know already, pretty darn fabulous:)

  • this guy and his family have sworn to live no-impact for a year in NYC. totally great, and inspiring. and he makes a really valid point: people say we can’t live in cities as ecologically and less-impactful as we can in the country, where we can compost and tailor our living spaces to include efficiencies and power generation. but I read recently (and I wish I could find it again quickly, I think it was in an article about falling developed country birth rates and how america’s immigrants are propping up our future populations) about how quickly our cities are growing. Not living in cities may not be an option for people for much longer, so we really OUGHT to figure out the best ways to conserve and be less impactful while we still can.
  • I figured out the only reason why I should buy a house: not for the equity, or even the tax credits, but to have an extension cord and a driveway so I can buy a tesla electric roadster. they’re opening a showroom in NYC! and in 2009 they’re going to start producing sedans! though at 50K a pop, they’re probably not the car for me – especially if it requires I buy property to support it.
  • wind cubes are cool. if I owned a warehouse, skyscraper, or big box store, I would totally install one on the roof.
  • green as a thistle is endeavoring to make 1 eco-decision to green her life a day for a year. I’ve only skimmed a few posts so far, but I bet there are a lot of good ideas for people to implement!

In other news, it’s absolutely miserable outside with little ice cubes falling and everyone at work stressing out about the roads on the way home. I’ve about decided to work late on purpose so I don’t have to worry about rush hour traffic (and the associated crazy people).

flor carpet tiles

I mentioned flor carpet tiles before (note to self, I am so glad you set up a “links” category) and just read that you can now get small packs of the modular carpet tiles from target online! they’re $60 for a pack of 6 tiles (roughly 20″ square each). not a lot of variability in colors and patterns, but it’s a great start. They’re even slightly cheaper through target than they are through

must see.

Prefabricated Homes in America: The Early 20th Century Mail-Order House
Exhibition, January 31 – April 21, 2007
Gallery A, 170 East 70th Street

“Facsimiles of vintage catalogs and pattern books featuring mail-order houses and plans for purchasing the ideal home are on view. As early as 1914, consumers were able to acquire prefabricated houses factory-direct through mail-order sources. Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and many other sources provided a viable way to own a piece of “the American dream.”

With colorful covers, these all inclusive catalogs offered perspective views and interior floor plans, numerous architectural styles, and many optional enticements. Also included were the latest in home appliances, mechanical equipment, lighting fixtures, and built-in cabinetry, as well as coordinating fabrics, wallpapers, furniture, and china. Historically, the prefabricated home has provided a creative and economical solution for housing in America. Related lecture on March 28.”

[[this gives me 11 days to see it after I get back from Japan. I have a little collection of prefab house catalogues at home – I’m sorry that I’ll miss the lecture! and they’re only open Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, so I’l have to go on April 21st. shoot. that’s cutting it close!]]

a few things I’ve been learning

that said: I’m so totally off of plastic bags. this is the news story I needed to start getting really nerdy about carrying around tote bags to shops. I even sent an email to my office all about it, and offering to put in a big group purchase of ultracompact bags from Anyway, when I cleaned my apartment and went through Every Single Plastic Bag I Own, I was appalled at how many I have. so it’s not going to be tough for me to reuse what I’ve got until they’re gone, and stick with canvas and reusable for shopping. And when they’re gone I’ll start buying recycled plastic bags so as to support the implementation of recycled plastic.

seriously, though. I know about a lot of things! how did I not know about this?

  • I learned that the store brand cottage cheese? does NOT taste as good as the premium brand. it is so much worth the extra 30 cents to get premium brand. now what will I do with a whole container of gross cottage cheese?
  • I learned that if I send an email to everyone in my office about how I don’t think the realty company that owns the building recycles, and include relevant code, the big boss will call people In The Know and ask them to follow up on the issue. Until then, I’ll be a recycling dork and will continue to bring recyclables home with me from work to dispose of properly. I call it “implementing a recycling program.” Nice.
  • oh, check out this really cool toilet/sink combo. it’s super effiecient. of course, this means one can’t really brush ones teeth while your roommate is on the can, but I bet most people don’t do that anyway.

my body kind of rules

because I’m heading off to japan at the end of the month, I’ve been getting more serious about working out. I don’t mind knowing I’ll be a giant in Japan. I know that there will be a certain quality of body dysmorphia that I’ll just have to deal with. plus, I’ll be traveling with my slender stepsister, so I do wonder if I’ll feel entirely out of place.

but I’m ok being a giant. I just don’t want to be a MUSHY giant.

so I’ve been going to the gym a bunch. I was kind of horrified at how long it’s been – roughly 6 months – since I’ve worked out regularly. I’ve got a secret goal to go almost every day before heading out. since it’s been so long, last week the elliptical was surprisingly hard. then sat. I got up, went on the elliptical, did some lunges and sit-ups, and went off to a lovely weekend in Philly with my coworkers. and there was a dance party, and then the next day my dancing muscles were in sad sad shape! I was so sad that they hurt so much, until I realized that they weren’t just dancing muscles, they were LUNGE-ING muscles. which makes it a little better, mentally.

tonight I went to the gym and had an epiphany of a sort… there weren’t any ellipticals available so I got on a treadmill instead. and I was bummed, because I figured I’d be walking most of the time. and then I remembered: hey. I had a dance party for, like, two hours straight on sat. if I can do that I can run! so I did run, and I was right – I CAN run.

I guess the point is to say that every once in a while? I am so pleasently surprised by my body. it is a tough, resiliant cookie. Yay.

[[that said, my arm HURTS. there was also some arm wrestling. I am not that competative with my right arm but left arm does ok. note to self: If you’re gonna keep challenging people to arm wrestle, maybe start pumping some iron, ok?]]

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, as you may or may not know, is International Women’s Day. Which of course we don’t celebrate in America, but if you were a woman living in China you’d have the half the day off.  see also:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, where it is an official holiday [according to wikipedia].

This year the UN theme topic is “Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls.” which is FABULOUS. Especially when rape is used as a weapon in times of war, and when women still are battered and abused around the world. but lest we all start patting ourselves on the back and congratulating ourselves on a job well done, on equality well reached, there are a few really timely news stories that are making me grit my teeth today. Here you go! Enjoy the “holiday!”

  • ran a story this week about the incredibly horrific number of rapes that are happening in Iraq – only we’re not talking Iraqii’s here (which is horrible enough), we’re talking American women serving alongside men who rape them. Did you know that the Military has accepted rapes as status quo to the point where if you’re raped, they don’t even try to argue you out of your PTSD, they just start paying for treatment? Which they totally should, don’t get me wrong. But what about, you know, STOPPING THE RAPES?
  • I heard about this on Marketplace (NPR) this weekend, but came across a newspaper story today. The Washington Post reports that young, brilliant, scholarly law students who happen to be female are not getting job offers. The reason? there is a nasty disgusting message board out there where men slander these women. They log in and impersonate them. They rate them on looks. they post their personal information, including phone numbers and addresses. And employers may google search the candidates names and find this board, and be disinclined to give them a job. There is very little recourse for a woman in this situation. Tell me: when does it cross the line from a bunch of jerks online to a stalking and abuse situation? like, legally? because honestly, where do people get off being so hateful to women? it’s not personal, they are like this to ANY women. why is it ok to hate women? There’s more response and detail here.
  • Another less horrifying and slightly more ironic highlight for International Women’s Day: scroll down on this post to see what comic “Crock” ran today. Veeery timely and apropo.

I realize that this may sound awfully angry and bitter. you know what, though? I AM awfully angry and bitter. I am so frustrated about this whole cultural hatred of women that is seemingly acceptable. I’m frustrated that coworkers STILL conduct business in strip-clubs, and that the word “slut” is still a powerful insult thrown at women. Where the heck is the respect? where is the being treated as equals? International Women’s Day has been around for nearly 100 years, and we’re still demonized for making decisions that make “society” uncomfortable? 

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again. THIS is why feminism is still relevant. We should ALL be angry – furious, even – about these things. Because this is holding us back. This is one of the things that is preventing all of us, women and men, from reaching our full potential. This is just plain awful.

Yeah. Happy International Women’s Day, indeed. /gritting of teeth.

apartment cleaning

I had some brilliant goals for this weekend. I mean, firstly, let me say that this was my first weekend at home where I didn’t have big sad plans for, oh, say 6 weeks. my apartment was a DISASTER SCENE. papers everywhere! hadn’t swept in months! at least my dishes were clean, but that’s just because washing dishes is about the easiest and most rewarding form of housecleaning you can do. hey presto, all of a sudden things are totally clean.

saturday I went to a Society of Women Engineers conference for work and manned the career fair booth. I told so may people how great MyCompany is as a place of employ. it is pretty good, I have to say. and then I went back home and had a fancy spa pedicure and watched tv on the internets until I passed out on the couch.

Sunday I woke up full of energy and drive. I spent FOUR HOURS cleaning the kitchen. FOUR HOURS! it wasn’t even THAT dirty! and it’s definately not that big! but I went through my cupboards and tossed open packages of grains and nuts and seeds and beans that were older than 2 years. I wiped off the counters and did the dishes and put things away and rearranged shelves and I even sorted through my plastic bags. that’s right. I sat on the floor and pulled out all of the plastic bags I’d saved from the grocery store and sorted them by size (tiny ones to my car for garbage bags, really big ones got their own container). And I cleaned out a spot under the sink to stick them.

[[side note No. 1: a friend of mine pledged this year to only accept 13 plastic bags from stores in 2007. I was like: oh, but I use mine for my garbage sacks, and she said she’d rather support recycled plastic bags by purchasing them than getting them from the shop. and that makes total sense to me. and THEN, when I sorted my bags, I realized that I’ve got about 10,000 plastic bags (give or take a hundred). I have so many! So I’m making it a huge No. 1 priority to not accept any more bags from the grocery until I use up all of my old ones.]]

So the exciting part about the cleaning of the kitchen is the part where I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the floor for, like, 2 hours. I hadn’t scrubbed it at all, not even when I moved in, and while I HAD mopped it, there’s something for getting out the wash rags and the sudsy water. And THEN, to really get the job done, after scrubbing with the soapy water I scrubbed with a “magic eraser” (from the japanese dollar store), and then I wiped it down with clean water. I had to change the water, by the way, like, 10BILLION times. maybe not so much of an exaggeration.

[[side note No. 2: these magic erasers? they are awfully amazing. I used one on my tub that was all stained black in the bottom when I moved in and which I couldn’t clean with normal mildly abrasive cleansers and elbow grease – I had reconsiled myself to a black tub and told myself that at least the DIRT was clean, after all the soap and scrubbing I’d given it. but with the magic eraser the tub came magically clean! amazing.]]

and now I’m trying to talk myself out of polishing my kitchen floor. it’s such old linoleum, you see, and it’s all matte finish and sad and dirty looking. maybe floor polish would rock it’s world? maybe it would be fabulous and incredible! but if I AM going to polish it, I need to do it right away, because I don’t want to have to scrub that floor again. (is it REALLY bad form to polish around the furniture?)

After I let my dishpan hands recover, I went to the living room and threw all of the papers in the whole house that were not put neatly away where they were supposed to go onto the floor. All of them. And then I sat there for hours and sorted and filed and recycled and tossed and made ready for the shredder. I got nearly every paper in the house sorted and put away! now all that are left on the floor are stacks of books, magazines I haven’t read yet, and a box of odds and ends that I might as well toss, because I don’t miss anything that’s in it and probably won’t in the future.

And THAT was my very busy, very productive sunday.


This week, when I was working on healing, Rachel and I also booked our flights to Japan! I am so excited. here is a short list of the fun I am looking forward to:

of course, before I go I have a whole lot of things I need to do. ranger and I need to pick our itineraries and figure out where we’ll be staying. and I want to make new clothes to bring with, esp. considering how smart everyone seems to look in tokyo. and I need to get a suitcase – I haven’t had one for YEARS now and 2 weeks of travel kind of demands something that will carry bunches of stuff. oh, and then there’s that whole “day job” thing.

February 2007 Books

14. Oath of Gold by Elizabeth Moon
15. The Jackel’s Head by Elizabeth Peters
16. Domino by Phyllis A Whitney
17. The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton
18. In th Cut by Susanna Moore
19. Girl with the Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace (short stories)
20. Feather on the Moon by Phyllis A. Whitney

This month I did some shelf cleaning. I have a bunch of books that were either given to me or that I’d bought a long time ago, so I started trying to read them all and then donate them to a worthy cause.