Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I love peer pressure!!!

Holly, one of my "lifer"s (see Momo's post) and running buddy just called to say she wants to do the Deadwood Trail Marathon on June 3rd. It's in the Black Hills of South Dakota, (!) Thirteen-point-one miles uphill and then 13.1 back down.

Resting place of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane; real cowboys and real Indians. Close to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

I looked at my newly, actually-written-down training calendar, and that weekend is scheduled as my last long training day before IM Zurich.

So I said, okay, sounds fun.

Anyone else feeling weak to peer pressure? It'll be fun! Come on - how often in your ENTIRE LIFE will you go to South Dakota on a whim?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Boston; First outdoor ride

We took the kids to Boston for Spring Break - it was great! Bobby is really into history and it was his choice that we come here for vacation. We saw lots of historic sights and did a lot of walking, Everthing in Boston is close by, but being a city-vacation we did use lots of different kinds of transportation: plane, train, taxi, trolley, ferry, and foot, as Bobby pointed out on the way home.

Below we found Paul Revere's gravesite near Boston Common... perfect place for a family portait. (?)

This is a photo I took in Salem - the architecture is so quaint. We didn't actually meet any witches but the kids thought they saw a ghost at the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Did you know that he changed the spelling of his name? He added the "w" because he was so ashamed of his grandfather (spelled Hathorne) who was one of the judges presiding over the trials that accused (and ultimately put to death) 19 innocent people during the Salem witch trials.

Of course the hotel pool was a hit every night. Here Ally is being a swimming fashionista.
I took this picture below because if I just told you all there was such a place as "Bunghole Liquors" none of you would have believed me:

Below is Bobby by a cannon on the USS Constitution. Amazing that ship is 209 years old and still seaworthy. They still take her out at least once and up to several times a year. Those cannons pull back 4 to 6 feet when they are fired... those sailors really needed to have their sea legs! We saw a few sailors before we boarded for the tour, and we thanked them for serving and the kids wanted to get their picture taken with them. While we were on board, we noticed they too had boarded and were engaged in a ceremony to re-enlist. I am just so grateful for the brave souls who look out for the rest of us. I love America, and being an American, and feel so blessed that only by the grace of God was I simply born here and that was all it took to be entitled to enjoy the freedom we have here, which was and has been ensured by the sacrifice and commitment and conviction of these folks and all who went bravely before them. Made me a little weepy watching them voluntarily re-enlist.

Here is Ally at Paul Revere's house, reading about his historic ride telling of the charge of the British soldiers.

Here we are having dinner in an old Boston restaurant just across the street from Faneuil Hall.
It was a busy and interesting week of history, science, architecture and most importantly: family time.
I did try to train while we were gone, but it just didn't pan out. It only took 3 strokes of the pool before it was time to flip turn, so I lasted all of 5 minutes and gave up. Then I ran on the dreadmill for 3 miles one day. That was it. But I enjoyed the rest time and my life doesn't need to revolve around triathlon. I figured I'd jump back in upon returning. So on Saturday I squeezed in 3 workouts to try and catch up. Today is Sunday, I'm pooped, and I have been drinking water, eating well, and playing with the kids. I am commited to a real, actually planned-and-written down schedule starting tomorrow.

We rode outside on Saturday... finally!! It was about 60 degrees or maybe even warmer. There are eight Zurich IM triathletes in this picture. Taconite Boy is third from the right; Marz_Racer is on the far right; Steve is fourth from right; Cliff is front and center in white jersey; Eric is 5th from left; Terri is 4th from left; I am 3rd from left; Tim is second from left.

Below is an interesting Before-and-After picture: This is why I felt so weak on the 52 mile ride yesterday, well, besides actually BEING weak from not riding as much as I should have been... On the top is my derailleur and chain. It's a little dirty, no? When I pulled that black thing out today it looked like a worm - only it was made of bike grease, salt, and sand -- all held together with hair. Gross!!!!! As we rode along yesterday, I imagine it kept picking up more snow-plow salt and sand from the freshly thawed roads. I kept getting more and more tired and started asking people if I had a flat tire. So it was only HALF my fault that I was slow and getting dropped. Oh, and maybe that I ran 17.1 before the ride. But I toughed it out and was so excited that I didn't quit and go home that I ran another 2 1/2 miles after the ride with Tim and Jesse!

Before; After

Friday, March 16, 2007

Spring Break!; Tile Project; Family Drama

The kids are on a two-week break from school. We leave for Boston on Monday, which should be a lot of fun. Bobby asked to go to Boston because he loves history and wants to see the Freedom Trail, especially Paul Revere's house. He was enthralled by the American Revolution in school this fall and has talked of going out east for months, so I hope it's all he has cracked it up to be in his mind. He does actually have a couple ancestors who were Minutemen. My dad's family (the Morgans) came here in 1710 and several played some pretty interesting roles in Colonial history (founders of Morgantown, WV, and Wilmington, DE as well as the first Episcopal Church here). They also were the very first white settlers west of the Blue Ridge Mountains; Civil War historical figures, the Westward Movement, etc... If I weren't so lazy, Ally and I would be card-carrying members of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Maybe going there next week will inspire me to get our paperwork filled out for it. Anyway, this week has been a flurry of shopping for clothes (they keep growing!), planning the trip, tying up loose ends around the house... can't wait to be on that plane.

My girlfriend (who created the mosaic for my basement kitchen floor) finished last week, and we installed it for three solid days: laying the underlayment, re-mortering a second layer to house the glass tiles, then grouting. It looks amazing. I have a carpet guy coming out on the 26th to re-align the carpet to the new edge and then it will be officially finished. I'll post a final picture when that is done. I am so proud of us for taking on and actually completing this huge project. Neither of us had ever laid tiles before and I admit there was quite a learning curve, but the gratification of knowing we had the gumption to attempt this is very satisfying!
Way back when we first had to pull up the carpet and lay these sand-colored tiles.
Here is Stephany laying the final tiles along the edge by the door. There are literally thousands of 3/4 inch glass tiles on the floor. About half of them are hand-made art glass that people use in stained glass windows.
Here we are grouting - last step!

The wave pattern goes from the sliding glass doors around the kitchen counter and ends before you start to go down the hall. About 45 linear feet total.

Many of you know I gave up alcohol for Lent. I'm not sure if my uber-soberness has made me more sensitive to (and irritated by) drunkenness, but after last weekend, I could see giving up alcohol for life. We were wakened in the wee hours Monday morning by my husband's ex-wife (the mom of my step-kids) telling us to go retrieve my 33-year-old stepdaughter from jail. She was arrested for beating up her husband, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. It's all so unattractive and unladylike it's just hard to understand. And rather than being embarrassed and ashamed by it, Marnie's just blaming her husband, blaming the alcohol (like it just pours itself down her throat?), blaming the stress of law-school, blaming the stress of working at the Capitol, etc. How about a little personal responsibility? All I can say is "ick". Actually, as the step-mother, I can't even say that.

In the mean time, I am excited to take my family to Boston; I have my plane ticket for Wildflower; I love my Bible-study "small group" that I meet with once a week.... the stuff I am actually sort of in control of is running smoothly.

My step-kids are coming over for dinner on Sunday. As usual I will just bite my tongue, smile politely, BE polite, and know they will go home after a few hours.
Today our friend Momo is at her cousin's funeral. That whole situation has me a little sad, too, so those of you who pray, please pray for Momo to find comfort and understanding on this difficult day.

Friday, March 02, 2007

One week later

OK. We've had a chance to forget a little. Now we're mad. That Only-Half-of-the-Birkie we did last weekend bleepin' conquered us. That can't ahppen!!!

So we are going back for next year to do the whole thing. Dang-it-all.

After that, we're going to try this: