Real Talk Tuesday: Breast Cancer Charity Run

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

If you've read my blog even once over the past two months then you are well aware that I am running my first half marathon in a few weeks.  This race, the Big Lake Half Marathon, is partnered with a charity called My Breast Cancer Support.  This group works to support women and families that are currently fighting breast cancer in many different ways.
With a grandmother and aunt who are survivors, and another aunt who is currently fighting, this cause is close to my heart.  If you are looking for a good cause to put your money towards I would love your help in reaching my goal.  And for all of my friends that are out slaving away at the first real jobs, remember that your donation is tax deductible!
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Half Marathon Training Weeks 7 & 8

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Given the events of the past week I didn't really think about my training recap so the past two weeks are just going to get lumped together as one.

To be quite honest I can't remember much about the runs during the week.  Generally nothing eventful happens while just running around my neighborhood.  On Saturday  we went into Boston to see the Red Sox so we put our long run off until Sunday.  I ate way too many burgers/beers/bar foods on Saturday but I at least learned how NOT to prepare for an 11 mile run.  My body actually held up pretty well but around mile ten it started getting angry.  Not only did I eat all of that crap, but we had also been out in the sun all day so I was pretty dehydrated.  A lesson learned.

The only way to describe my runs this week is distracted.  I didn't sleep well for the entire week and when it came time to do four miles on Friday I just knew it wasn't going to happen.  I had been streaming the news on my phone at work all day and I was too anxious to leave the house.  I did attempt to get out but after half a mile with the dog I just decided to cut my losses and head back home.

Fortunately, cutting it short on Friday left me with a lot of energy for Saturday.  We had 12 miles to do and I actually really enjoyed myself!  We ran strong (for us) and kept an almost perfectly consistant pace.  It was nice and cool out which I can't really count on for the race, but I think we will be able to accomplish the race at the goal pace we set for ourselves.  More importantly, Saturday marked the end of our peak week.  I don't know if I really get to enjoy it as much because I didn't get one of my runs done but I feel VERY accomplished!

To reward myself I bought this:
My phone has been very good to me so far but it has been getting increasingly more unreliable.  There is nothing worse than knowing you ran 12 miles only to have your phone tell you you only did 11.5.  As it gets warmer out I'm also having a harder time bringing my phone out with me.  I think this will be a good investment for my future running.  

Lesson from the Outlets

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I went to the outlets today.  I don't really like shopping, but after the exhausting and tense week we have all had, something as normal as shopping was just what I needed.

I did find some great deals on clothes, but more importantly I got to see something that put a lot of this week into perspective.  With all of the tragedy we have seen, it was great to be reminded of the true sense of community here.  Not just the Boston community, but the community of Americans, built on people from all around the world and from all different backgrounds.  I heard no less than six different languages and saw at least a dozen people of different nationalities.  I saw two women, presumably a couple, walking together holding hands.  I saw a woman in a hijab chase her daughter around the children's play area, both of them laughing.  I saw an Asian woman with a white man hugging their small black baby.  I saw an older japanese couple who appeared to be right off the boat, but were proudly wearing Red Sox hats.

This country is truly a special place.  There are people who will hate and people who will attack, but those people will never be able to break the most basic building block of this country.  The country is built on people who are different from one another.  Undoubtedly, not everyone will get along but today was a great reminder that the vast majority of people happily coexist. 

Some Thoughts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Well, it doesn't get much more real than then events of yesterday.  I left work a little early, got home, and watched the same news story over and over again, hoping that at some point it would all just makes sense.  It still doesn't and, as I'm sure many of you would agree, I don't think it ever will.  There is no reason important enough, no cause great enough, to warrant something like this.

One of the greatest things I love about this city, and I'm sure I've mentioned it many times before, is the all encompassing pride people feel for it.  You are not just FROM Boston, you ARE Boston.  The city itself is small, but its pride, strength, and unity ripples out to the farthest reaches of New England. There is a culture here that I have never seen duplicated.

I actually have a half written post about how the people of Boston are represented on tv. I'm not referring to the Departed / The Town / Mystic River tough guy mob image, but the representation of regular individuals.  In almost any show that has a person from Boston in it, they immediately become referred to as "Boston". From Boston Rob on Survivor to the family simply referred to as 'Boston' on an episode of Yard Crashers I watched recently, you simply can't escape the city.  Even if the accent (which I firmly say I do not have, though everyone in Ireland argued otherwise) and head-to-toe Red Sox gear doesn't give it away, people still know.  In my own experience when leaving the country you will invariable be called "Boston" by at least a handful of people on any given day.  You can leave Boston, but Boston never really leaves you.

Because of this, I know we will come out on top.  People can try to hurt us but what they don't realize is that they are simply making us stronger. This also goes for America as a whole.  We undoubtedly have problems, but it is at times like these that we are reminded how much we all have in common.  The health and safety of those around us are a top priority for every American and we will all work together to maintain that.

After 9/11 I began living under the notion that life is short.  I have tried to cram as many experiences as possible into my short 25 years, but I'm realizing now that they have all been very me-centric.  I feel like I have done a lot, but I do not feel like I have done enough for others and I think it is time for that to change.  If there is a chance something could happen at any moment, I want to make sure that not only was I able to experience as much of the world as possible, but that I also helped someone else do the same.  I haven't figure out exactly how I'm going to do that but it's time to start thinking about it. 
Simple Bliss

Prayers for Boston

Monday, April 15, 2013

I really can't believe what is going on in the city right now.  I was at work today and far away from the city but I was following the race all morning from my computer and I am definitely in shock.  I believe everyone I know is alright, but there is still such limited information coming out that I cannot be sure of the full impact.

Thank you to everyone who reached out with concern.
Thank you to those who were there to help the injured.
I hope that everyone who was in the city has been able to get in contact with their loved ones.

I do not understand why anyone would ever do this but I do know that they pick the wrong city to mess with.

Back to Boston

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It doesn't matter what the reason is, there are few things I love more than taking a trip into Boston.  I loved my time living in the city, but I think I appreciated it much more now that I only get to go down there once in a while.

One of my friends took the initiative to organize a trip to a Red Sox game.  They ended the last year on a pretty sour note, but they've been doing well so far this season.  I really love everything about going in for a game.  From taking the T to walking through Kenmore towards the stadium.  The atmosphere is so unique. It's even more fun with all of the marathoners in town.  They add an even higher level of excitement that we only really see once a year.

We ate quickly at Game On before the game and then headed into the stadium.  It was sunny for about 15 minutes, but then it was overcast for the rest of the game.  I, of course, managed to get sun burned.   Even with the clouds, it was a beautiful day.

They were playing the Tampa Bay Rays and the game was tied for most of the afternoon. It went into extra innings but ended with a Red Sox walk off.  Woo!

After the game we headed to a friends house for some grilling and a lot of laughs.  I actually feel like I did a full ab work out yesterday but it was just from some ridiculous youtube videos that had me sobbing laughing.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

I really don't have much to say today but I felt like I needed to type something.  My head hurts.  I'm exhausted.  The rain is making it all worse.  I'm a big cry baby.

Our office has a rotation to cover the security desk so people can take lunch breaks which means once a month I get an hour to just sit and essentially do nothing.  I answer the phone when it rings and help people to sign in when needed but that doesn't happen often around lunch time.

I bailed on my run with Alanna yesterday.  I just felt like I needed some alone time.  I feel like I'm surrounded by people for all waking hours these days which, for an introvert, is exhausting.   I was surprised to see how easy this five mile run was considering it was only a few weeks ago that even a three mile run alone bored me to tears.

Have I told you how I think I'm addicted to paying off my loans?  I will eventually write a full post about it.  But  I put a few hundred dollars towards them every week and I think I actually enjoy that more than I would enjoy going out and buying a new outfit or something.

Have I also told you that my boss is retiring?  And that depending on who replaces him (we have two internal applicants) it could mean big changes for me?  Rumor is we could hear by tomorrow who the replacement is so I'm pretty anxious about that.  I think in either case the changes will be good for me but I need to let my brain rest since it's been going non stop thinking about about the different scenarios.

Well, the end of my hour is here.  Peace!

Real Talk Tuesday: A Rant

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I try to be open minded towards everything.  When talking to people I try to always play the devil's advocate, but my own views are really very moderate.  I also try to always see the best in people but once they prove otherwise they do not get back onto my good side easily.

I understand the need of a social welfare system.  There are many people in our country who cannot take care of themselves or simply need some help to get out of bad situations.  Our country was built on  immigrants working their way up for the bottom to better their lives.

It really frustrates me however when people abuse the system.  I see it so often that it really makes me sick.

My most recent encounter with this involves my niece's other grandmother (aka not my mom).  I've only known her for about two years but from what I can tell she has always been cheating the system.  We found out recently that for all three of her children she managed to collect disability checks, claiming that they all have ADD.  I guess if you were low income and were trying to pay for special tutoring or something for you children this would be great to have, but that of course wasn't happening.  In fact, one of her children hadn't lived with her for years and another (my sister's boyfriend) lived with us for close to a year while she still collected under their names.  Meanwhile she didn't work for much of this time because why would you when you're getting three checks for a hefty amount each month?

Eventually the two oldest kids  turned 18 and those checks stopped coming.  She (sadly) had to get back to work.  Then she found out that she had finally qualified for Section 8 housing.  Last week she got a three bedroom apartment for her and her daughter.  Her sons weren't allow to live there because they were over 18 but she has no problem renting out the extra room to a man she has been working with for less than two months.

She actually bragged, "now that I only have to pay $30 a month for rent I don't even have to work full time anymore!"  Her youngest child is 13 and in school all day so there is absolutely no reason for her to not work less than full time.

There are so many people in the country that need help from the government.  Not only are there families who need help, but there are schools that are being shut down, police and firefighters being laid off, and people suffering in general... all while this lucky woman "doesn't even have to work full time anymore!"

I would understand if this was just an outlier to the norm but it's not.  It frustrates me more than I can really put into words. What's even worse than people cheating the system is that our system is so dysfunctional that things like this will probably never even be addressed.

Ok. Rant over.  

Simple Bliss

Half Marathon Training: Week 6

Monday, April 8, 2013

This was another great week for running.  I was able to squeeze a quick run in on Monday before training class.  Wednesday Alanna and I met in Derry to do our five miles.  It was pretty cold and windy but luckily we warmed up quickly.  I took the dog with me for the first half of Thursday's run.  He's definitely getting better but I can only handled him for a little while before it gets to be too much.

Alanna and I decided to run on Sunday instead of Saturday since it was pretty cold and windy Saturday morning.  I really love that every week is a new record for both of us.  Six weeks ago the most either of us had EVER run was 3 miles.  And both of us pretty much hated it.  Here it is, a month and a half later, and we're running 10 miles.  Granted, it's a pretty slow 10 miles but we're running it non stop.  I couldn't be more proud.   We are both pretty confident about our race that is now five weeks away.  I think we'll do very well but also leave ourself a lot of room for improvement!

An Update

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Since I considered a lot of you almost family (and some of you are actually family) I thought I'd give you all an update after my post a few months ago.   You were all so kind and concerned and I don't know if I could tell you enough how much I appreciated it.  Luckily things are going ok right now.  We've all fallen into certain routines and, while none of us necessarily like the routines, we're all working with them and things have been relatively calm.

 Today, however, I came home from work today today to find this:

My stomach immediately dropped and I asked my mom what happened.  She laughed, "It's ok!  You're sister was carrying one of the baby's toys over her shoulder and it hit the wall!"

I started laughing, too. Then we both laughed at the fact that we were laughing at a hole in the wall.  It's sad that I was happy that someone accidentally knocked a hole in the wall, but it's much better than the alternative.  I thinking hoping for NO holes might be wishful thinking, but we have to start somewhere, I guess.  

So, thank you all for your concern after the earlier post and just know that for now things are going good.

And because no post is complete without my adorable niece, here she is clapping for her new Red Sox gear!

Fancy Babies and Blindfolded Easter Egg Hunts

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I know I'm a few days late but I thought I'd share a quick Easter recap (mainly because I want to share some adorable pictures of my niece!)

We normally have Easter at my parent's house but it is kind of a disaster at the moment and in various stages of renovation so my aunt was kind enough to host down in Woburn.  I really missed Easter last year while away from my family so it was great to get to celebrate again.

Showing her a picture of her great-grandfather who passed away four years ago
On my mom's side (who we celebrate Easter with) I am the third oldest grandchild and the oldest granddaughter.  This means I lucked out and for years got to enjoy watching my younger cousins do their Easter egg hunt even if I was too old to really participate.  Two years ago, however, even my youngest cousins decided that they were "too old" to do it.  This, of course, was not going to fly so I came up with a new game.  Ok, it's the same game... we just added blindfolds.  Each of the older cousins would partner up with someone and would be led around blindfolded trying to get eggs.  We started this two years ago and, while I'm not sure they did it last year while I was gone, everyone was up for it again this year.  I was a little disappointed in my partner's performance (ehm, Mom) but even with my measly two eggs it was still an amazingly hilarious game.
Two years ago... just a few seconds before smashing into my sister
because we were both being led to the same egg

post-Easter egg hunt this year

Real Talk Tuesday: Writing

Anyone who blogs probably has some amount of passion for writing.  I generally use this blog as a diary / journal.  I have some wonderful blogging buddies, but for the most part I write for myself.  I like to imagine myself, years from now, looking back and reliving a lot of what I write about.  I want to have something that I can show my children and grandchildren some day to provide a little snapshot of what life was like "back in the day."

My relationship with writing goes beyond the blogging world, though.  Most of what I write outside of blogging will probably never see the light of day, but I have always had dreams of someday being published.

I still have the first story I can remember writing.  Old yellowed paper ripped from a notebook and carefully saved in a basketball textured folder that a fourth grade friend let me borrow. It was a story about a little girl who was abducted from her farm by aliens with her friend.  I do not remember how (or if) the story ended but I knew there was a scene where the girl discovers her friend chopped up and being fed to some alien dog.  (I was a pretty morbid child).  As twisted as this story is, I treasure the small stack of papers.  To me, that was the start of a long relationship with writing.

I still love to write.  I wish I could do it more often and I wish I was better at overcoming writers block.  I'm currently working on a story that, in it's earlier form, was started over 10 years ago.

On my 25 in 25 list, I added "Finish at least one of my stories."   Out of everything on my list, I think this is the scariest.  I only really have two I am working on right now and, since one is the aforementioned 10+ year production, it's going to have to be the other.

I have faith in the other story.  I have a story line, characters, and a plot.  The only thing the story is really waiting on is me.  I just need to get my act together and write.  I've had good experience with holding myself accountable via the blog so maybe I could try that?  Keep an account of my progress and have you all yell at me when I'm not doing what I'm supposed to?

We'll see.

ANYWAY, tell us why/what/who/where/when/etc. you write!

Simple Bliss

Half Marathon Training: Week Five

Monday, April 1, 2013

These weeks are flying by!  I feel like I've just typed one recap when it's suddenly time to do another.

Monday's run of 3 miles was good.  I had to take Mac to puppy class and I debated for about 20 minutes whether I should try to squeeze a run in before we went.  I finally just did it and had a whopping 5 minutes to get my stuff together and get him into the car.  At least today I know that I'll have time to get a run in if I don't waste so much time before hand.

Wednesday was this.

I was very tried on Thursday.  I think it was a combo of a longish run on Wednesday and staying up too late Wednesday night but I decided to put my run off until Friday.

I wasn't feel much better on Friday and for the first half of my run it felt like I was running with someone else's legs... and not in a good way.  But I eventually warmed up and worked on upping my speed in the last mile.      

Saturday's run, in comparison, was glorious.  It was close to 60 degrees and Alanna and I had found a perfect trail in Windham, NH.  There was a cool breeze and a warm sun.  For the first time all winter I was able to run in a t-shirt.  We completed our 8 miles and were completely happy doing it.

I do have a problem with my GPS though.  It is always about .2 miles behind Alanna's even though we start at the same time and run next to each other.  It also gave us split times that were different by about 30 seconds?!  We've decided to trust her's though and according to that we ran and almost perfectly steady 11:30 pace.

If you've made it this far in this post, don't forget to come back tomorrow for Real Talk Tuesday.  We're talking about writing- what you write, why you write, who you write for.  We're all bloggers here so we have that much in common, but we want to hear more about your work!