Monday, June 30, 2008

Two Engagements and a Baby

No, folks... that is not the title of a new reality TV show. Rather, its a summary of my previous week (or friends' weeks, I guess... I actually haven't been QUITE that busy).

Congratulations go out to:

1. Ian and Melinda. Ian is my coworker and was born to be a daddy — I could tell the minute he told us his wife was expecting. Meet Lukas Michael (photo below), born June 22... so cute and apparently a pretty good guy so far from what I hear. I cannot wait to meet him and I'm so happy for Melinda and Ian.

2. Jen and TC. Too cute... TC proposed to Jen last week on a hike in Virginia. They've been dating for longer than I've known either of them. Which is weird because I feel like I've known them forever — that may have something to do with the fact that (1) they adopted my sister and I for Thanksgiving last year, stuffed me with turkey and Tusker beer and then went on to to humiliate my Wii ass and (2) they have seen me officially drunker and dumber than I ever want to remember (luckily I don't). No matter how long I've known (or feel like I've known) them, I couldn't be more thrilled for these two. I cannot wait to toast you two with a nice martini (but not 4!!).

3. Lynn and Matt. Ok, let my just tell you how this went down (yes, Lynn, I'm still gonna whomp on you for this)... Jen and Lynn are very good friends. I heard about Jen's engagement and was talking to Lynn about it last night on the phone. We also talked about my running progress and the Achilles Club, her recent exam that she had been studying her pants off for, life in general, the weather, our families, the Johnson's house expansion, and pretty much every other topic possible... when 10 minutes into the conversation she says nonchalantly: "so I got engaged today." Even though I knew the likelihood of her and Matt getting engaged soon was very high considering how long they've been dating and how stinking cute they are together, I totally did not believe her because (a) I thought she was joking given Jen's engagement news and (b) how the hell could she hold that in for 10 whole minutes! I know her too well to not have known she had these kinds of acting talents! Anyhow... hilarious. But I'm still going to whomp on you, Lynn. And then I will hug you and scream really really loud and jump up and down with you! I'm so happy for Lynn and Matt and know that they will have a great life together!

*sigh* I'm exhausted already from all this fun. Alright... who else has news for me?

POW-MIA Run for Freedom with the Achilles Track Club

Sunday I was able to enjoy a very foggy, very humid 5-mile run with the NYC Achilles Track Club. Stewart (who runs the NYC Club) and Matt (a visually-impaired runner) and wheelchair-runner Peter (Iraq veteran) all came from New York to run the POW-MIA Run for Freedom in Dorchester/South Boston. Even better, they brought along my sister Tessa! Hoorah!

Tessa and I started along with Matt and Stewart (Peter obviously started earlier in the wheelchair division using a super sleek handcrank that the ATC had brought up for him). At the first mile mark, we were seriously panting (while Matt and Stewart looked like they were off for a leisurely stroll)... when I check our time at that mile, I realized it was 8:30! About a minute or slightly more under my traditional pace. Add the humidity and the mass amount of champagne and sun from the polo match the day before and it was definitely not easy. I pushed Tess the first few miles and she definitely had to push me the last few. Some jerk had put bricks in my shoes for the last half mile! But Tessa (who beat me by a second!) and I ran pretty good times with a pace of 9:21. I'll need to pick it up for the NY half-marathon in a few weeks if I want to beat 2 hours! But I'm happy with 5-mile PR (personal record for you non-runners)... although I think the PR may be because I've never actually ran a 5-mile race. ;)

Afterwards, they had Sapporo beer on tap and hot dogs! Much better than the usual bagels and bananas! I also met/recruited Mark from the latest season of The Biggest Loser. He ran wicked fast while pushing his son in a stroller — very impressive. When I mentioned that I was trying to organize a Boston Achilles Track Club, he was really excited and said his brother and him would love to help. He was sooo nice, friendly, and down-to-earth. I also met another friendly guy named Chris who was the other participant in the wheelchair-division and recruited him for the Boston Achilles Track Club too! He was using a very worn-down handcrank so I'm hoping (as is he) that once we get this group up and running, we can work on getting the Boston team a better one that he can use.

All-in-all, the race was so much fun (albeit harder than normal) and it was so great to meet part of the Achilles Track Club team. Today, I get to remember the great day fondly as I ice the hell out of my "posterior shin splints" (I'm calling today to get an appointment for custom orthotics -- damn my flat feet).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Today Let's Celebrate 30 Years of Gorgeousness

It is my good friend Braden's 30th birthday today... and what a great friend to celebrate. I met her about a year and a half ago through Danielle at her New Year's party and I'm so thankful for it. From being a dedicated horse-rider (she goes every weekend), an awesome drinking buddy (oh the memories of 28 degrees, Excelsior, and Harvard Gardens), to a (I just learned we have this in common) huge jigsaw puzzle and sudoku fan (gotta love that dorky side to someone like her who is so gorgeous that it is unexpected). She's so hilarious, so intelligent, and a phenomenal friend.

Happy 30th Braden!

(Polo photos to come... we're going to Newport this afternoon to see a match and have a picnic in celebration)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Shockingly I Have Never Thought of This!

(via [BB-Blog])

Achilles Track Club coming to Boston

I'm so excited... this weekend my sister Tessa is coming to town with some of the members of the Achilles Track Club from NYC. I'm going to join them in the POW-MIA Race/Walk for Freedom so I can get a glimpse of the program and prep myself for setting up a Boston club (efforts will start a little more in July when my life is slightly less insane). I want to reach out to local groups of disabled and wounded veterans and such first because I think finding the volunteers will be easy through Boston Cares, Niketown Wednesday night crew, BostonFit, other running groups, and just general craigslist postings and / ads.

My fundraising efforts for this group are also going pretty well and I'm 30% to my goal because of some serious generous donations! Thanks to all! And any of you readers out there who haven't donated, we appreciate any amount — no contribution is too small. Thanks in advance... the support from my friends and family has been truly touching.

Look for a post how the race goes goes!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Sister's New Baby

Congratulations to Tessa who finally bought herself a super cool road bike. She is also planning to compete in a triathlon (now that we've both conquered a marathon last year). Its so pretty and I must confess I'm a bit jealous not just of the peacock blue but also that I had bought a hybrid when, let's be honest, I'll never need anything even remotely mountain bike-y. Oh well... pretty sweet bike though, eh? Now she has to name it... and pray that she doesn't have any spills similar to when she was run/walking a month ago and broke her arm!

Also, she's coming to town this weekend to run a race with an Achilles Track Club member. Can't wait to meet some of the crew from this awesome organization!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Man, I Must Love My Crazy Cat

So, my eighteen-year-old cat Midnight has been itching her one ear for... I dunno... a year? More? And she has basically lost a big chunk of hair from it (sorry for the gross graphic). After expensive blood tests and vet + hospital trips, the vet declared there really was nothing wrong with her and that she was in fact, healthier than cats half her age (Guinness book of world records, here we come).

So now they are guessing that she just has a food allergy that is causing the itching. I just placed an order for two months of hypoallergenic food: $95.41!!! And last night she was itching so much it was waking me up... so today before I left for work, we relegated back to "the cone". Thank goodness she still doesn't hate me for putting her through the madness of a huge plastic cone on her head. Shockingly, in fact, she's cool with it — other than bumping into corners when she enters a room and the hilarious scene of her trying to enter her covered litter box for about 10 minutes before I finally took the top off for her (I may be considered mean -- but it really was quite funny).

Fun with Madeline and Eli

Had a great time with my sister, my brother-in-law, and my nephew Eli and niece Madeline this weekend. Here are a few video highlights. For photos: check out my Picasa gallery.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On my way to Life List #16?

Well, after a nice 8 1/2 mile run last night (was supposed to be 8 but it was late and I was tired and I did my math projections wrong... whoops), I figured I'd treat myself to something really bad (PS - I have to stop doing this... I need to fuel my body with healthy things with all this running). So today as part of my lunch... I had buffalo wings and about 4 huge glasses of water. If I could eat buffalo wings every day, especially ones as hot as these, I don't think I would have such a problem with fulfilling Life List item #16 (which I still find odd that I have such a hard time keeping this consistent for more than 3 or 4 days:

"16. drink 8 glasses of water a day for one full month"

Love this poster for a designer like me...

(via Frank Chimero's awesome portfolio)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Feel Better Tessa!!!

I See Dead People

Fake dead people... but dead people nonetheless. Check out the scene right outside my office door on St. Botolph Street in Boston today. They've closed down the street (with fair warning to us with yellow flyers) to film the movie "Surrogates" with Bruce Willis. I told my co-workers I was just going to walk out into the street and lay down and see how long it took before someone asked me to get up and leave (and I would have too if I didn't have a huge presentation I have to work on today). Check out a few pics compliments of Ben... very creepy:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Updates on my Marathon Fundraising...

Check out my fundraising widget on the right — I've had some very generous donations in the last few days and am 23% to my goal! Thanks for all the help so far folks...

Rugrats in Tow

Today is the day! My 4-year-old niece Madeline and 1 1/2 year-old nephew Eli are coming to Boston for a long weekend today! Of course they are also bringing my sister Jessica and my brother-in-law Bill as well. Apparently Madeline last night wanted to go to bed as early as 7pm because she was so excited about today (me too but I had cookies to ice and and a website to update for a freelance client). It will be a fun weekend of Red Sox, picnics, and lots of play! The only unfortunate thing is that it comes on a ridiculous week of work... I'm slammed and really need to squeeze in some later nights or weekend working for a presentation on Monday (and a hundred other deadlines) -- may have to do some working through Dora the Explorer or something this weekend. Boo.

So although I hope to sneak out one or two quickie runs in, the training will slow down a little. I did 4 1/2 last night (in fast speed too!)... but we'll be walking a lot and I'll be picking up a long run on Monday night. I think its okay though actually because I picked up a lot of mileage last week and should back off a little and rest my muscles that are in shock right now so I can start adding mileage more gradually.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

HOORAH! NYC Full Marathon!

I didn't get into the lottery for the ING NYC Marathon (apparently the odds of getting a bib for that just randomly are pretty bad). But I was accepted with guaranteed entry to represent the Achilles Track Club as a fund-raiser (which is also pretty competitive to be awarded one of these spots). Despite the pressure of having to raise $3,000, I am thrilled to be raising it for this organization particularly. Not only is it a smaller organization where I know the money will be put to good use, but also my younger sister Tessa runs with them every week. Its an organization based out of New York but with chapters across the world that supports disabled athletes (everyone from children, to people with a prosthetic, to visually impaired, to wounded veterans). Not only does Tessa rave about her fulfilling experiences with them, but I also want to use this opportunity to try to coordinate a Boston chapter. Its such a shame that with such a big running community, the closest Achilles chapter is 75 miles away!

In the meantime, I'll continue to pose as the athlete I'm really not (I'm too slow and klutzy to ever consider myself a full athlete!)... and keep on chugging towards the NYC Half-Marathon on July 27, the Sprint Triathlon in Bristol, RI on August 17, and now... FINALLY... the NYC Marathon on November 2.

Help me raise the money towards my big goal by clicking the widget to the right or by visiting and thanks in advance for helping a great cause.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Running Machine...

So far I'm doing... um... ok with the training. It ain't easy trying to mesh the half-marathon with the triathlon training. The only thing I'm delinquent on (assuming I go for a another 3-miler tonight) is my swimming... I need 45 minutes of pool time but since there's no pool at my gym, I'm just going to pay $10 to go to the Y on Saturday. Although... the Blackstone Community Center's pool directly behind my apartment will be opening back up in a few weeks after getting a new filter installed and the membership price is — get this — $30... FOR A YEAR! I cannot wait!

Unlike last year's marathon training, this year, I'm really making an effort to make up for any miles I miss each week (within reason of course)... last year, if I missed a run (or 5) I would just pick back up where I was at. Which meant I would do multiple long runs and entirely skip my shorter weekly runs. And wouldn't you know, I ended up with a stress fracture. Silliness and stupidity.

So last night I did 4.5 miles with the Niketown Running Group last night (was going to do 3.5 but then I found out the Longfellow bridge sidewalk was closed and I didn't want to do the back and forth run as they had planned). And then this morning I did a 3 mile interval run (trying to build up speed). I looooove running in the morning... if I could get up even earlier than 6 right after the sun rises, that would be even better. Its so zen when I'm up running and hardly anyone is out.

Check out my side bar updates... with my Nike+ profile and the Wehrman sister challenge.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

See Blogorelli? It Wasn't Just You...

Although maybe you were one of the folks included in this study (ps: Mom, please don't read this):

Snowboarding Tops Most Dangerous Outdoor Sports List

Next powder day, bring your first aid kit: snowboarding ranks as the riskiest outdoor sport, according to a new C.D.C. report. The study, which tracked injuries at 63 major hospitals countrywide during 2004 and 2005, showed that snowboarding accounted for a full 25.5 percent of all injuries in the outdoor activities category. Sledding came next, with 10.8 percent of the injuries, followed by hiking, with 6.3 percent.

Though skiing was found to be considerably less dangerous than snowboarding, nearly 65 percent of 5,609 sample cases cited in the study were results of snow-related activities.

(via Outside Magazine blog)

What a difference 5 months make!!!

Yes, you may not recognize me any longer, friends... both because I was brunette 5 months ago (and going back to my natural blonde color was so difficult that I may never do it again too) and even more so because MY TEETH ARE STRAIGHT!

When I went in to Dr. Korn's office this morning, my one single janky tooth (the one that originally was about 90 degrees from what it was supposed to be about 5 months ago) was still hanging out behind all the others. With a little tightening of my braces and — KAPOW! — she has finally joined the party.

Check out my pic from early-February compared with now. TA-DA! It's like magic! Too bad I still have a little more straightening and then letting them settle before I can get these crazy things off.

(Pardon my creepy close-ups)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oooo Dang... Making Plans to Hit Off Another Life List Item This Summer

WOO HOOOO! Could I be more excited about the weekend of July 18? My fabulously awesome friend Silvia and I are making plans to go to Montreal! Neither of us have ever been... not only will I be checking off #45 of my Life List, but it will be so much fun to go on a trip with her. That girl knows how to have fun!

I cannot wait (between that and the iPhone and the NYC half-marathon and the fact that I'll hopefully have my stupid air conditioners installed by then, July's going to be a kick-ass month)!

July 11?! $(*&@^)!@

So yesterday they revealed the iPhone 3G. I know that waiting over a full month shouldn't be an issue since I decided to buy an iPhone in February... but for Pete's sake!

My parents' birthday gift to me was some cash towards my purchase of the iPhone (I am not spoiled, people... they are only paying for part of it, of course)... and that was April 24!!! So now I have to wait until my little sister's birthday to actually get one. Hmph. Let's hope I don't have to wait in a line at least.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Artichoke Hearts and Onions, Here I Come!

So today I biked (slightly hungover -- thanks, Kate!) up to the Cambridge Institute of Culinary Arts for the Knife Skills class that Danielle, Kristen, and Liz signed me up for as my birthday gift (along with the SCARIEST but AWESOMEST butcher knife ever!).

It's official: #72 on my life list — "learn to chop food like a pro" — check! (although I need practice for my speed!)

It was great... learned the different types of knives, what to look for when buying a knife, how to both hone and sharpen your knives, how to hold them, and then the fancy tricks and techniques of cutting. Let's see if I can remember everything I cut:
- oranges (we tournered them first and then cut them into little slices by cutting away the "parchment" in between and moving it to the side as we moved around the orange)
- cucumbers (sliced)
- zucchini (julienned then chopped)
- basil (rolled, then sliced)
- lettuce and radddichio (same way as basil)
- onions... (this was my fave... we halved them but kept some of the brown stemmy part on... then from the bottom of the half we sliced our way up without cutting through, then sliced perpendicular to the stem, then parallel to have nice little diced perfect onions) also with the onions, I was able to teach the other students a trick as they didn't inform us of the perfect way to cut an onion without crying... keep your mouth closed! seriously, if you don't talk and only breath through your nose... not a single tear... I've also heard that burning a candle works but I don't like the scents mixing in my kitchen. they did tell us that the safest cure if you're already tearing up though is to open the freezer and stick your face in for a few seconds. interesting...
- garlic (sliced then minced)
- parsley (bunched into ball and minced)
- peppers (sliced and diced)
- cantaloupe (again with the "tourner" and then quartered and then sliced the middle seeds out — very different then my usual technique)
- mushrooms (simply sliced)
- artichoke... we simply cut out the hearts so it was a lot of choke wasted if you're buying per pound... but it was a very intricate process for getting those clever little artichoke hearts out so I simply could not explain in words... sorry
- pineapple (tournered and quartered and sliced out middle)
- butternut squash (this one is still tough... tourner and then chopped)
- potatoes for fries (peeled and julienned)

And at the end of class, we had a lovely green salad (with the cooked artichoke hearts and oranges), butternut squash soup (amazing... we only used water too and no stock... SO easy, cheap, and less sodium!), frittata (no cheese necessary with so many awesome veggies), and french fries.

It was SOOOO much fun. Thank you girls! I owe you dinner...

Next I get to go back with the gift certificate from Christine and Alex... I think I'm going to take a sushi class which will be great because it is with the same teacher (Hong)... she was great!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Houses with Views

Call me anti-social, but I would LOVE to live in any one of these houses...

(from the Phottle Blog found via graphic-exchange)

My First Boston Cares Volunteering Event

So this morning I biked down through Dorchester to The Bridge Home for my very first Boston Cares volunteer event. Now I have to tell you, the Boston Cares program is great and absolutely perfect for a busy girl like me... you can volunteer for single one-time events so there's no weekly commitment that you have a problem keeping. I really recommend if you're looking for volunteer opportunities to sign-up, attend an orientation (its only $20 to register)... they have events of every sort including a lot of great farming and outdoor events in the summer... they also have organizations in NYC, DC, Chicago, and probably more. My next event is Beep Baseball where I'll be helping blind children play a game of baseball!

Today's event was also up my alley — for two hours I had Arts & Crafts time with the children at The Bridge Home. The Bridge Home is an emergency residential program for children up to age 12 who have been removed from abusive or neglectful homes. With the exception of one little boy who wouldn't behave and was removed from the room (it was so sad... ) the kids were lovely. Some were quiet and self-sufficient, others were talkative and social, but they were all very sweet. We made totem-poles out of paper towel cardboard cores and construction paper. One little boy who didn't say much and seemed a little unmotivated and lost, had a spiderman toy with him. So once I made him a spiderman face for his totem-pole, he started warming up and coming out of his shell... he had me make spidermen faces in two different colors, a pair of wings, some fire coming out of the top, the whole works. He eventually started talking a little at the end and as I was leaving even asked, "will I see you soon?" It broke my heart but also made me feel so good — the next and only other session listed is already full with volunteers (there's a max of only 6 for this program) but I will keep a close eye on it to see if anyone backs out because I had such a great time with the children.

Finally Finished "The Fountainhead"

So its taken me several months because I've been too busy to read and because it happens to be 700 pages long... but I've finally finished Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead"... all I had left for the past week even was 4 little pages but I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it and really had time to soak in the overall story. So today in Franklin Park next to my house with my Flour Bakery's BLT sandwich and raspberry seltzer (PS... on a side gripe, why is it it takes Flour 40 minutes to make a BLT sandwich to go? I've never gotten a sandwich there in less than 20 minutes even when there was no other customers... absurd).

The book was extraordinary... it's one of the few books that — even with my crazy huge list of to-reads — I would read yearly. I love when the story itself is so interesting but yet there's a cleverly inserted life-lesson. "The Fountainhead's" theme was about fulfilling and growing yourself and your personal passions rather than trying to satisfy what you think everyone else wants from you... and about doing things your own way rather than the way its been done by everyone else. In a nutshell — marching to your own beat really and being able to find a contentment in that rather than feeling like a failure if it isn't accepted by others as right or stylish or beautiful.

It was a great read — and there is another Ayn Rand book on the top 100 list ("Atlas Shrugged") but I may take a break from 700 page novels and fit in a few more manageable ones so I don't get overwhelmed and burnt out from the list!

So on this top 100 list... I only have 9 of the 100 finished (a few others I've read in high school but I'm planning on re-reading them since that's obviously been awhile!).

And even though I have read 9 of the "best of the bests," my all-time top books only include this single most recent book.

In order, my current favorites (the few books I would easily reread yearly):
1. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
3. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
4. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Hmm... with all the awesome books I've gotten particularly from my sister Tessa for my 30th birthday, I can't wait to pick my next book!

Makes Me Laugh Every Time

Have a great weekend... from my sister Tessa and that dolphin!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Woo hoo! Google Reader!

Ok - I'm probably the last to know about this, but the other day my coworker Ben (my total source for anything too techy for little old me), showed me the ropes on Google Reader. I was able to input and categorize all my favorite blogs so that I can see at a glance which have been updated since I've last viewed them. How I ever lived without this I don't know... but I'm sure I've wasted lots of time re-checking some of my favorites way too often.

I'm a blog-addict... 44 blogs in my reader and adding more every day! Design blogs. Fashion blogs. General life tip blogs. Friends blogs. Running blogs. This reader makes being a blog addict SO much more efficient! Finally maybe because of Reader, I won't be the last to know of other things in the world!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

500 miles

Wow. Who knew when I went out for my teeny little run this morning to kick off my half-marathon training that I would complete 500 miles??? OK - so that was over the past year and a half technically... but my account congratulated me this morning as I passed this milestone.

Man... I knew I was tired for a good reason!

Monday, June 2, 2008

NYC Nike Half Marathon -- July 27, 2008

Hoorah! Just found out today that I made it into the lottery for the NYC Nike Half Marathon! So did my sister Tessa!

This was (besides the Marine Corps full marathon last year) my absolute favorite race. Not only did I do my best half-marathon time: 2:08:59... pretty good for being 90 degrees, but the course was a lap through Central Park, down 7th Avenue through Times Square, right on 42nd Street, and left on the West Side Highway. There's something about running through Times Square... with the neon pumping and the street shut down... I felt like I had a crazy burst of energy at that point of the race like the electricity was also being pumped through me as well. Let's hope I feel that way as well this year...

Training begins tomorrow! I'll find out mid-June if I make it into the full NYC marathon for November.

Here's a pic of me that was in the gallery page of last year's race. Mile 12... I can't believe I'm blowing kisses because if I remember how bad I had to pee and that my blister on my foot was bleeding, I should have actually been giving that photographer the finger.

30-day shoe challenge for the month of June

So I did indeed "purge" my closets (although binging sounds like more fun) this weekend. And in this purge I am getting rid of about three huge shopping bags of clothes, two huge garbage bags of random crap that is undonate-able, and 36 pairs of shoes!!! No worries... my shoe closet is still full with about 70 some left. Isn't that just plain ridiculous?! Good thing I get crazy good bargains...

The other great part is that I found shoes in boxes that I totally forgot that I had.

Anyhow, I shared this knowledge with my coworkers and everyone was slightly appalled and in disbelief. So we agreed that the best idea to make sure I was getting my money's worth was to do a "30-day shoe challenge" where I wear a different pair on each day.

I will share a photo of my newly organized shoe closet tonight (its so pretty!). Until then I'm doing pretty well with my challenge:
Sunday, June 1: I wore my classic black Haviana flip-flops
Monday, June 2: I'm wearing my newish sweet pale pink satin and glossy ivory wedges with cork trim.

Oh my goodness... this is fun already!