Sunday, November 26, 2006

Best. T-Shirt. Ever.

That is dark brown, which matched the post-race brown food, which matched the mud caked all over my trail shoes and my legs, which matched the cow chip that *didn't* fall on my square. But what a *fun* race!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Third Birthday, Jasaroonie Noodle!

From this:

To this:

in 1,095.75 days. And heres to many, many, many more!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

If its a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, it must be preciptating.

Thanksgiving morning I got up and ran the 11th Annual Cohasset Turkey Trot. It was cold, windy (of course), and rainy (of course, part deux). Two Turkey Trots to my name, and snow for the first, a NorEaster for this one. This one was local, I could roll out of bed, throw on my gear, and was at the start to register by 7:15. The race went off around 8:10, and I was home, showered, dressed, and off to Connecticut by 9:50.

As for the race -- a lovely course around Cohasset Pond and along Atlantic Avenue, where I regularly train. Hilly, but not too bad. When the course got to the beach, the wind and sand were whipping around, and the rain started driving. But just another November day along the sea, right? Anyway, I pushed along and while I was the last runner across the line (only the real nutcases show up on a cold holiday morning, I've decided), I finished in a 5K PR, by a handful of seconds, 43:41. Given the conditions, I'll take it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkey day arriveth!

I am humbled by the many things I have to be thankful for this year:

I am thankful for my beloved, adored, incredibly supportive family. I could not do half the things I have done, and indeed would not be the woman I am, without them.

I am especially thankful for the unceasing love and support of my sister, and her selflessness in sharing so much of her sons, my amazing, adored, incredible nephews. One just arrived this year, and one turns three on Friday. I am so looking forward to the continuing celebrations.

I am thankful for the same support and love from the dear friends I have collected across the years and across the world. I am so greatful for the gift of your friendship.

I am thankful for the new friend in my life, and his extraordinary kindness, gentleness, and patience, with this very impatient girl.

I am so thankful for my health and strength, and how much I have learned in the past few years about the incredible things my body can do.

I am thankful for work that stimulates, challenges, engages and enlivens me. In the short time at my new job, I have come to appreciate my collegues, their guidance, their professionalism, and their friendship.

Mostly, I am thankful for the life I have created for myself, the lessons I have learned, and the life yet to be lived!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

SUN-day: grey and organized.

Cold and grey day today, and after staying up to see the Leonids and being clouded out, I slept in a bit. Instead of a chilly bike ride with an aching back, I spent a good 50 minutes working on my strength routine and stretching.

Afterwards, I set out for a late breakky, and lots of errands. Christmas shopping, dry cleaning, some groceries so I can cook good food this week - short as it is - more looking for the necessary but amazingly difficult to find black work pants, and a kick ass pair of tall brown boots to wear on my date Tuesday night! I also got a polish change, so I'll have nice red reminder nails again this week.

Now I'm home and settling in for the Sunday evening. I have a little bit of work to do, and I'm cooking a couple of things for the week. When that's all done, I'll pack my bags for the pool tomorrow morning.

Breakfast CousCous - a nice change from oatmeal!
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup uncooked wheat couscous
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup toasted almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; stir in remaining ingredients. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. (Mixture will thicken as it cools.)

Yield: 3 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES 305(21% from fat); FAT 6.9g (sat 0.7g,mono 1g,poly 4.8g); PROTEIN 9.6g; CHOLESTEROL 2mg; CALCIUM 174mg; SODIUM 169mg; FIBER 3.3g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.7g (5 WW points per serving)

1 large head of cauliflower florets
2T vegetable oil
1 large tart apple,grated
2 large onions, chopped
2T fresh minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2T all purpose flour
4T curry powder
1 14oz can lite coconut milk
1 14oz can lite chicken broth
1 bag of fresh Spinach chopped
or 1# frozen
2 cans garbonzo beans

First set a pot of salted water to boil and cook the cauliflower until crisp/tender, about 3 mins. Remove from water.In large pot over medium heat add the vegetable oil and sautee garlic and onions until softening then add apple and ginger and sautee another minute. Add the flour and curry to the vegetables and cook for 5 min on medium. This will cook out the flour taste and toast the curry. While stirring add the coconut milk and broth and let this come to a gentle boil and allow to cook for about 3 mins. This will thicken and become gravy like. Add your spinach then the cauliflower and the beans. Allow this to very gently cook for about 15 mins. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Makes 10 pint servings: 170cals, 6g fat, 2g sat fat, 23g carbs, 7g protein; 3 WW points/pint.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Inspiration comes from the strangest places.

I've been in a bit of a weight-loss and training funk lately. Three weeks of lots of work, bad sleep, missed WW meetings, and too much social life has left me decidedly off track. Still, I recommited to making sure that I at least journal and stay within my points this week, and I've been doing OK (i.e., I've actually journaled, but I've eaten a bit too much every day).

I was in one of the local boutiques this morning, trying on some dangly earrings, when a woman sharing the mirror said to me, "those look good on you, you have a nice long neck and can carry them off." I looked at her astonished and thought, uh sure lady. I looked again,at her and saw a compact, trim person, who really did have a short neck. But me, I'm a tallish, round, still fat girl, and I don't have a neck either. All of this is running through my head when she says "you have one of those necks like a ballerina."

Clearly this lady is a lunatic. Ballerinas are long, graceful, slender, willowy, and they do have those lovely swan-like necks. But I'm *nothing* like a ballerina, right? See mental image, above.

When I got home, I went immediately to the bathroom mirror, pulled up my hair, and looked. The weirdest thing about significant weight loss is that your body becomes unfamilar to you in the oddest ways, and sometimes the changes come out of no where. So when I looked in the mirror, I did see a neck. Reasonably long, actually. Not surrounded by rolls of fat, or drowned in multiple chins. Yes, there is still a bit too much chin above, but the fat rolls are gone, and the collarbones are visible, as is the hollow at the base of my throat.

Today, I stayed within my points. And I went running.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a ballerina-like person, fighting her way out. Maybe I *can* be slender and graceful and willowy.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A vivid reminder to take good care of myself this week.

No, nothing serious, just pretty red nails for a change. I like how they look, dancing over the keyboard. But don't my hands look puffy, yikes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Veteran's Day Vignette

Yesterday I stopped in the swanky town next to mine to run a couple of errands before work. I ended up in this very high-end accessories store, and made a couple of purchases. The lady behind the counter was typical for the town, older, white, preppy and prosperous looking. We were chatting about some jewelry on the counter while she was ringing my purchases and when I moved my purse she gasped: "oh, you're wearing your poppy."

"Yes," I said, I got it on election day after I voted."

"My husband is a Veteran," she said. Then, her voice getting husky, she added,"and my son is a Marine."

I asked where he was and if he was OK, and she started to cry. "He's fine, but he's going to Iraq in January."

"Oh no," I said. "I hope he stays safe."

She waved her fingers and shook her head. "I can't talk about it much," she said. "Some days, it just overwhelms me."

We finished up the transaction, and as I was walking away, she said "thank you for wearing the poppy."

I replied, "you know, on Tuesday, I voted to bring them home. I hope the changes coming will really do that, and your son never has to go."

"I never thought of it that way," she said.

And I've been mulling that exchange over and over, ever since. I really do hope and pray they all come home soon, and I send my sincere and heartfelt thanks to every service man and woman who has ever been there, and to their families as well.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Holiday Challenge!

OK, its *that* time of year, when many of us toss our discipline and good sense out the window to enjoy the holiday revels. I want to indulge in revelry as much as the next lioness, but this year, I want to revel in a way that reinforces that mantra for 2006 - my body is a temple. I can revel in good, clean, healthy CONSCIOUS eating, I can revel by moving my body, I can revel by enjoying how well my body works when I take care of it, and how good and energized that makes me feel.

My roadmap to a healthy revel is as follows:
1). Journal every day;
2). Stay within my points every week;
3). Savor every bite of the good stuff, but keep it limited so I can still meet #2;
4). Move my body 5x/week, and earn 30APs/week, min.
5). SERIOUSLY limit sugar.

I think that's it!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Politics, not triathlon.

I want to interrupt this irregularly scheduled tri-blog for some thoughts (cribbed from another site) about Tuesday's election. And please, regardless of your own political beliefs, regardless of whether you agree with the piece or not, don't forget to exercise your right to vote next week.

Holes: A Society Teetering on the Precipice

By Dennis Rahkonen
Created Nov 1 2006 - 9:10am

An inadequately-armored Humvee speeds down an unfamiliar roadway, bearing callow soldiers who sweat more from well-warranted fear than from the oppressive Baghdad heat.

Suddenly a hidden explosive device is detonated by remote control.

Its shaped charge easily tears through the vulnerable vehicle's bottom, then sprays steel ball bearings at tremendous force into young American flesh.

No one survives.

The bodies of the dead are riddled with small holes.

A large hole smolders between the four wheels of the overturned truck.

An even greater hole is to be found in the arguments of those who contend our nation has some legitimate and worthy purpose for being in Iraq, and that it would be "folly" to remove American parents' precious sons and daughters from the murderous, sitting-duck situation they unceasingly face.

The dead soldiers will be returned to their respective hometowns, where not that long ago some of them laughingly swayed on tire ropes above summer swimming holes, unaware that distant politicians were plotting the demise of their teenaged happiness, and their very lives.

To the mournful strains of Taps, they'll be placed in holes dug through local cemetery sod, leaving holes that will never heal in surviving family members' perpetually pained hearts.


An elderly woman with multiple health problems is about to be shocked by a malicious, deliberate flaw in what she thought would be a welcome, money-saving prescription drug plan, Medicare Part D.

Having exceeded an arbitrary limit with the purchase of earlier medicine, she now enters the infamous "donut hole."

Suddenly, she incurs the full cost of drug purchases out-of-pocket, while still having to pay premiums. All the crucial requirements of sustaining daily life on a fixed income are abruptly called into frightening question.

"How will I afford my utilities?"

"Can I even buy groceries?"

She wonders empty-eyed through the halls of her modest home.

No answers are provided. No help is given.

Meanwhile, in the boardrooms of pharmaceutical and insurance companies that sought Congressional assistance to gimmick Medicare Part D for their own, corporate gain, profit arrows point so sharply upward that they could almost poke holes in the ceiling.


In urban ghettos and on desolate Indian reservations, where chronic joblessness is epidemic and poverty abounds, and where the human spirit all too often becomes hideously deformed, entire generations are sacrificed.

Children without futures succumb to the impossibility of their circumstances.

They punch holes into scarred arms, shooting addictive dope that offers the briefest relief.

Relief followed by even greater despair.

The anger they ought to manifest as rebellion against imposed injustice is, instead, directed at their own kind, differentiated only by the colors and symbols of gang affiliation.

Fratricide supplants remedial options.

Armed youth in passing cars fire holes into mean-street apartments.

The intended targets sometimes escape, but maybe not their baby sisters, sleeping innocently in their cribs.


A slender man in a tattered coat moves amid shadows beneath a freeway overpass.

Snow whips in circles, driven by a howling November wind.

He slides into a cardboard refrigerator box, his home without a television or even a street address.

He wriggles under dirty blankets and tries to attain some measure of comfort, finally shutting the box flaps above his head.

But a hole remains, allowing white flakes and an icy blast to steal inside.

He tries to patch the problem with a crumpled newspaper, whose want-ads he'd futilely searched for jobs. All the factories have closed, becoming shameless runaways to low-wage countries in the Third World.

Will his fix do the trick?

Or will he be found, frozen solid, a few days or weeks later?


There are mysterious black holes in space that swallow starlight.

There have been societies on Earth that became so compromised from within that they vanished, into the devouring vortex of history, to emerge later as ruined reminders of their former selves.

We know their names. Babylon, Egypt, Rome, the European colonial empires, and the Third Reich.

George Bush and his profits-before-people Republicans have taken America to the precipice of that sucking hole, and we fight the malevolent force that would take us down.

Have we unthinkingly gotten too close to the edge?

Has past apathy sapped the strength needed to step back now?

Or can we still lean leftward and leap into a future bright with hope?

Election day will provide the answers.

About author Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the Sixties.