Monday, December 20, 2010

Memory Quilt


Just a quick note to say.... had the cold for 3 Saturdays - yes, three weeks!  Am just now coming out of the fog that is Cold Meds.  Final exams are finito.  Grades are almost -- portfolios... what WAS I thinking? Looking at about 3 hours of reading/scanning/grading.  And then.... done until August 2011. Which is another subject for another time, but suffice to say this will be the first time in 30 years of teaching that I've taken any time off. Wow.


My first goal, even before grades and finals, was to finish the Memory Quilt that I've been creating for my mom.  And... over the weekend, I did.  Here is the final piece de resistance...


Click on the picture to see the full quilt and Casou!


The pictures start at the upper left corner and proceed in somewhat chronological order, except for the middle row where I placed pictures of my parents -- the left is from their honeymoon and the right is a shot from an anniversary.  The sibling pictures are mostly standard studio sittings,  photos which start with me (the first/oldest) born in 1951 (so the picture is circa 1952) and then we add one sib every couple years until we get to #4 who is one year and a day after #3 (wow Mom!).  In 1966, when I was going on 15 and Mom was 40, we added #6, but I couldn't find the sitting we did when my baby sister was probably a year old?  I knew exactly the picture, so I sent my brother on an errand to claim it! And he did!  That was the last sitting my parents "made us" do.... Seriously, I'm guessing 1967 because I remember the dress I'm wearing -- my mom bought it for me to wear at a Christmas "semi-formal" dance -- my first at OGHS, which would have been December 1966.  I remember being a bit peeved that Mom bought the dress without me (we didn't "shop" in those days) but eventually as with many things (including a pair of penny loafers she also bought me without input), I ended up loving the dress.  It's kelly green with white lace and not fancy, but cotton (not so semi-formal).  Sorry for the digression.  Christmas always seems to flood my mind with memories of the ghosts -- people and events that have passed.


I want to post some of the pictures from the quilt, but right now I'm off to do some errands.  I'll post 'em later.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Sick!


And I don't mean that in a "good" way.  As usual, right before a vacation, I pick up some bug or other (from my darling students? ya think?) and fall down in aches and sniffles with the darn ubiquitous crud.  Lucky for me,  I completely caught up with all paperwork for classes on Friday morning. Done for the moment, I could relax into the rotten cold... ick!  And grab me, it did.   I hopped (grumped?) into bed about 10 o'clock on Friday evening and awoke at 1 p.m. on Saturday.  Whoa!  Thanks to Tylenol Multi-Symptom Cold Night-time liquid (how about a little product placement, eh?).  Same agenda on Saturday night: gulped down the liquid and wafted off to dreamland until 11 a.m. Sunday.  Trust me, I did NOT drink any of that stuff on Sunday evening because I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and leave for CSC at 6:30 a.m. -- cannot miss class!!!  I did swallow a "daytime" capsule to get me through my classes without coughing all over my students.  Thank goodness that worked.


By the way, between long bouts of sleeping, I languished on the couch with an NCIS Season 4 marathon (all the Netflix discs sent back today) and the end of Human Target, Season 1 (really FUN new show).  Sick couch potato.  


So... the best laid plans of mice and men did not come to fruition this weekend.  My Vagabond die-cutting machine arrived!  But I hardly garnered the oomph to lift the machine to the second floor and plop it on the studio work space.  Alas, the beautiful machine awaits me... beckons me... whispers to me:  you're not sick, come on, let's play!


Meanwhile, T!m Holtz has not stopped for love nor money.  He's cranking out the 12 Tags of Christmas and today was Day 6.  I'll just post all the pictures and you decide.  I am going to start working on the Day 6 Tag because he has two tutorials (say that about 3 x fast) posted on his blog, showing the way to use the Vagabond. -- exactly what I need!! Can't wait to try all the nifty techniques!!


Day 3
 Day 4  
Day 5 
 Day 6 




If you are interested in the 12 Tags of Christmas "challenge" project and/or the Tim Holtz Distress Inks and other products, visit his blog athttp://www.timholtz.typepad.com

And today, for my Christmas Wish List, I'm adding the latest iWorks program AND a new digital movie camera.  Hey!  Our grandchildren will soon number 5 -- and I want to get in on the ground floor with the new bambino.  Soooo, Santa won't you bring me the camera and the software?  And I will make wonderful movies!!!  I promise!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

2 Tags and One Idea for the Wish List

The 12 Tags of Christmas (a crafting/art event!) is off and running.  T!m (yes, that's how he signs his name on the blog: http://www.timholtz.typepad.com/ ) Holtz designs the Christmas tags (a "tag" is a standard #8 13 pt. manila shipping tag, slightly smaller than a 4x6 photo -- a nice size and texture as a "canvas" for creating a little art gem) and teaches a variety of new techniques with each tag, uploading step-by-step photos.  We're on Tag #2 today, but I'll post a picture of Tag #1 (December 1) also.


December 1


December 2

I am finishing a "memory quilt" for my mom -- with photos of our core family (sibs in formal sittings)  printed on fabric and sewn into the squares.  Once I am done with that project (whew!) -- I'll start making these tags.  T!m archives the 12 Tags on his blog.  In fact, the last 4 years' tags are available. I enjoy tweaking the designs by using whatever products and junk on hand in my studio. 

 I recently bought his die-cutting machine (because his is very cool and makes sense -- it's a suitcase... clever, huh?  Maybe we need a little product placement?   "The Vagabond" die-cutting machine by Sizzix.  This machine can cut all kinds of paper AND even material (like felt!).  Exciting days ahead in my studio!

Now for the Wish List.  Is it too early for World Peace?  Or does that go at the bottom of the list?  Well, today I'm craving a new organization system for my studio.  I need to re-org the shelving for my stash of fabric and art materials.  I can't put my finger on an exact system, but I am ready to do something new in the studio!

We had a MAJOR wind/rain storm yesterday.  And we lost a HUGE tree, which fell away from the house, over a rock wall, and into the neighbor's backyard.  I guess we'll be hearing the lovely whirr of the chain saw most of the day.  In fact, Steve is already among the trees, assessing damage and rolling up his sleeves.  I guess I better join him!



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WISH LIST!

I finally found something to LOVE for Christmas.  But.... do I really NEED it?  No.  And I can't in any universe rationalize spending... okay, I'll say it... something like $6000 on a .... sewing machine.  Unless I could drive it, sail it,  and it would also organize and write my syllabus each semester.   Oh, and take out the compost.


Actually, the machine is amazing.  It's an embroidery machine.  Yesterday I saw an actual photograph that the machine stitched (yes! stitched!) onto a piece of fabric.  The stitching was so fine and the shading was exact --- looked like a photo portrait.  Like f-ing photoshop on a sewing machine.  Wow. And the machine is programmable -- can do all the quilting in fifty bazillion styles.  Right now I've been avoiding the actual quilting part of the quilts because I don't have a snazzy machine to do the stitching.  Soooo....


Anyway... this is the first day of My Christmas Wish List.  Since it's a Wish List and not a "real" list, I'm putting the Husqvarna Designer Ruby at the top of my list.  I don't see it listed at Amazon, so here's the direct link:  http://www.husqvarnaviking.com/us/2820_19505.htm


Weather here:  expecting 50 mph winds and mild temperatures at about 40 degrees.  Yay Stick Season!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

12 Tags of Christmas!!!

I'm excited because Tim Holtz announced the 12 Tags of Christmas for 2010!!!  I've posted my tags and linked to the Tim Holtz blog, website, and products in the past.  I will do so againg this year.

This project (well, actually 12 projects if you count each separate tag) is creative, invigorating, and just plain FUN.  Every year  I am sure that I have all the products to make the tags, but then Tim Holtz throws in a new product or a new way to use a product that I do not own.  The fun of developing these tags while following directions, yet making my own tweaks creates a wonderland in my studio.

 The crazy, creative journey starts December 1st     Can't wait!

Here's the link to the T!m Holtz blog, where you will find a cool announcement video and archives of each year's 12 Tags:

http://www.timholtz.typepad.com/

Here's the annoucement (I'm attempting to embed it.... cross your fingers)

Monday, November 01, 2010

NANOWRIMO

Friends, Romans, and fellow writers!!  NaNoWriMo is here!  Yes,  it is..... National Novel Writing Month!  Every November writers around the world start tapping out a 50,000 novel in 30 days.  Yes. You heard me.  


50,000 words in 30 days.


This amounts to a pace of......  1667 words per day.  


Every. 


Day.  


Oy!  I have signed the pledge every November for the past five years, and I have... as yet... NOT completed a novel of 50,000 words.  I have approached 30,000 words on a couple occasions.  But not the requisite 50,000.


Flu, finals, friends, and house guests -- those are a few of my excuses.


The dread dead middle of the book --- ah! that's the real problem, so 'tis, my darlings.


Well, I am off to start on my Writers Journey.  And yes, if you do want a GREAT book about writing and movies and classic heroes questing through time and space, love and laughter, fear and courage -- here you go (link and image here from Amazon) --  Christopher Vogler's, The Writer's Journey.  I use this book to teach Western Lit by following each hero's journey, and most of my students enjoy the focus of the course.  They also tell me they will never look at a movie the same way again.  Cool, huh?


Meanwhile, this year for NaNo, I have absolutely NO idea what I'm writing.  Last year I was deep into a spy novel.  Since I cannot use a novel I'm already writing, I've got to come up with a New Idea.  Oy yoi yoi.


Well, I am going to employ some sneaky ways to get to a start -- I am going to use The Writer's Toolbox (yet another product placement for this blog -- ah ha... do you think I will ever make money here?  NO).  Anyway.... this little box has "sixth sense" cards, three sets of 20 popsicle sticks (that's 60!) each with sentences introducing ideas, and four spinners: Obstacles, Goals, Protagonist, and Action. 


Whew! All I have to do is spin, pluck, and deal.  Et voila!  A novel.  Or maybe an inkling of an idea?  I hope so.







I'll be writing about my journey here.... if I am awake and able.  Coffeeeeeeeee!  










***Meanwhile, I have one note for whoever attempted to comment on my previous post.  Okay, more like four notes.  With reference to The Four Agreements, too.  


1.  Always be impeccable with your word.  If you stand by the courage of your convictions, why would you attempt to post by signing "Anonymous"?


2.  Don't assume anything.   You assume a lot.  You assume that because my blog offered no comments after the post, that I had somehow censored the comments.   Dude... I had no comments because nobody reads my blog.  Rarely have I any comments to read.  At all. Duh.


3. Always do your best.  Do you really think anybody wants to allow obnoxious, rude, denigrating comments to their blog?  You might want to re-think the Civility tone. Seriously.  Calling the blogger names is not a good idea.  Actually, as a rule of thumb in life, don't call people names.  I figure if you're calling names, you are the one with the issue, not me.


4.  Don't take anything personally.  I had to sift comments for odd reasons which have nothing whatever to do with politics or anyone else's point of view.  Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes crazy relatives are crazy.  But I'm betting most people need a refresher course in Projection.  Look it up.


I'm jus' sayin'......


Final product placement... The Four Agreements




Back to writing that novel ...  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

End the Right Wing Election Hatred Cycle


Now they are going after Muslims.  The hateful actions of the right wing, left completely unchecked and uncriticized by any "leadership" on the right, call into question their love of the Constitution and the USA.  This nation's very existence is based on religious tolerance.  The Pilgrims arrived on the shores of this land because they sought refuge from religious persecution.  The reason we have a "First Amendment" is to specifically protect those freedoms we cherish.  And religious tolerance is the first and most dear on the list, combined inexorably with freedom of speech, which means freedom of communication with ANY deity, freedom to worship in ANY community, and also, freedom not to believe.  We hold the First Amendment (and the rest of the Constitution) as a sacred trust for which men and women have given their lives.  


How then, do these radical rightwing crazies justify their hatred and intolerance?  They cannot keep waving the Constitution in our faces and at the same time spit on it.  Okay, well... they "can" because they have no shame.  They seem to be ignorant to the core -- not only of the law itself, but of the real lives of their fellow Americans. Clueless, spiteful, and of course, in complete fear of "the other."  That's it in a nutshell.  They have been told that they (mostly white Christian males) are the foundation of this nation, that they are "special" and this nation was created for them.  When they hear "with liberty and justice for all," they see white faces and their own community, not a wave of faces ranging from Italian marbleworkers in Vermont to Cajuns in Louisiana; not Chinese building railroads in the West to Irish laboring in the bit cities of the East; not slaves shackled in the South or  Swedish mail-order brides riding across the prairies of the midwest. And they certainly never see the faces of the real owners of this land -- Native Americans of all tribes and communities.  No, these rightwing "conservatives" harbor little real knowledge or love of the history of this nation.  They see nothing but themselves and their narrow world of ideas.


If we want this hatred to stop we need to put a real face on the target -- just as we have with other groups the fringe-rightwing have made into targets right before elections. Muslims are real people, living and working and struggling andsacrificing for this country in our communities, next door to us, in the seat beside us on the bus or the desk in front of us in school -- every day. They aren't cartoon characters and they aren't stereotypes. We are all the same-- living life to the best of our abilities, caring for our loved ones, and loving this country -- and the more we understand this, the more compassion we have for each other and ourselves.

Trading on fear and hatred has become a way of life for the fringe-rightwing. If it's not gays, it's "liberals"; if it's not Mexicans, it's welfare moms. If it's not the unemployed, it's the "educated elitists." If it's not labor unions, it's "women who take jobs from men." Every election cycle they prod their base by heating up the fear rhetoric. When will the base realize they've been used? The right wing had house, senate, white house and even the Supreme Court and they didn't repeal Roe v. Wade, end gay marriage, stop illegal immigration, privatize Social Security and Medicare, or shut down welfare. Wake up, moderate Republicans; you're being used. 


End the hatred cycle now: VOTE!  


Vote for responsible leadership by putting an "X" next to the names of those who are on record against the hatred.  Read, in a variety of media, what candidates say -- and look for real answers, not evasions.  Research their stands on recent issues and look for answers that uphold the dignity of ALL citizens.  

Monday, August 16, 2010

SUMMER FADES


I haven't posted in ages.  I wonder how many bloggers start a post with a line like that at least once a year? every six months? monthly?  Well, I'm baaaaacccccckkkkkk.  A part of me considers this idle time wherein I could be "really" writing -- back to The Cheesy Christmas Story or Molly or The Last Spy or Magic in the Mix or... well, you get the idea.  I could be writing. 


But this really, truly is WRITING.  And it's a good way to get myself back in the swing, the saddle, the line-up... (or another metaphor).  The summer has delivered lovely and lazy days,  great for rejuvenation, not that I need much.  Here's what's up:


1.  I finished the 5k.  Ran all the way.  Well, almost.  Just walked up that last little hill.  Ugh.  I was the slowest runner in the pack.  I could have walked faster than I ran.  BUT... as my friend Betty Ryberg continues to remind me:  "you beat everyone who didn't run at all."  Okay, that's weak, but I'll take it.  I did beat those who slept in on the morning of the race.  I realize now how much fear I was carrying about running and how that impeded my progress.  I'm working on actually RUNNING now, not jogging.  And yes.... I continue to run three times per week, usually every-other-day -- MWF or Tu/Th plus either Sat or Sun.  I must confess, however, to abstaining during the height of the humidity.  No can do.  It's just too too overwhelming -- I can't work for the rest of the day if I start out all sweaty and exhausted.  Usually running in the morning exhilarates the rest of my day, but not when I'm a wet dishrag after running in the humidity. One more thing -- I never really ran 3 miles until the 5K race.  Yep.  That was a surprise.  I have been training by time and not by distance.  I haven't changed that ... yet.  But if I ever (ha ha ha ha ha) sign up for another race, I'll have to find a distance and stick to it.  But I'll repeat: ha ha ha ha ha... on that future race idea.


2.  Lots of sewing.  Quilts, clothes, bitty booties.... ooooooooh... that brings me to #3... (drumroll)...


3.  The BIG NEWS:  I'm gonna be a grandmother.  Now this takes some explaining, since I'm already a grandma.  I'm a grandmother to my husband's kids' children.  In essence, I'm a step-grandmother.  But I've always considered myself a grandmother (although I admit to having a bit of hurt feeling when one of the kids told my husband that I "wasn't really in the family").  


My son and his wife (wedding pictures from summer 2009 here somewhere in the archive) are expecting my first biological grandchild in February.  I suspect I'll feel something a little different with this bambino.  I'm not sure. I would hope my love is equal to the task of surrounding all five (5!) amazing grandchildren -- each with his or her own personality.  But you just never know what will happen, do you?  I am excited and happy and looking forward.  I love connecting in this even with Geoff and Carrie who are unique and delightful in my eyes.  Watching them welcome a new life will be inspiring.  Oh, it is already.  Do you know what they did?  They sent me a digital sound byte of the baby's heartbeat.  Did I cry?  Oh, please.  Tissue fairies have been alerted!


I'm sure I have more news, but I'm so not sure anybody's actually reading.  I'll get back to ... SYLLABUSVILLE.   I'm taking off the Spring Semester 2011, so I've got 3 classes now for which I need to prep and organize. Oy!  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

TRAINING


I'm officially "in training" for the 5K Race on July 17th.  That means I've moved from the treadmill to the.... omg.... open road.  Okay, the open cul de sac in front of our house.  I'm not venturing out of the vicinity while plugged into my iPod.  But...Yes, I'm running on pavement, taking inclines, and trotting downhill.  Twenty four hours after that first session on the road, I could barely move.  Everything ached and twinged and basically hurt, especially my shins which to this point had never given me a bit of alert that they were experiencing a stretch or deviation from the norm.    Of course my mind zipped right over to 'shin splints' and I fretted a bit but then waited out the next days and figured I was okay when everything seemed to return to the regular aches and pains of age.  Not that I have many of those -- I don't.  But you know, sometimes I creak and pop when I'm bounding down the stairs in the morning.  Doesn't everyone?


Today something very nice happened.  Steve asked if he could run along with me.  Now he has signed up for the 5K Race but he hasn't been sure if he'll do the run or the walk.  I'm IN for the run, and I thought he was, too.  But I guess he's still weighing his options.  He kept up fine today.


I've returned to the "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks" program.  I wasn't too far in the 10K program, but I was still  running around 2 minutes and walking equally.  I thought even though the 10K program was longer in duration (it runs for about 50 minutes) I wasn't going to get to 30 minutes for awhile.  I need to bring myself up to running 30 minutes or more at a time with no walking breaks.  I began the 5K program at Week 4 and I'm into Week 5 now.  Because Steve ran with me, I decided to repeat the 5 minutes run/3 minutes walk session.  Next is run 8 minutes and walk 5 minutes.  That would have been a hefty shift for him because he hasn't been running at all.  The last two times on pavement I've been fine, feeling much better in fact.  Thank goodness.  I was beginning to think I couldn't get off the treadmill.


In the interest of product placement, I'll tell you that I am reading/listening an interesting, if not odd, book. This author is new to me and the book is very popular this summer.  It's building slowly with lots of characters to keep straight and story threads that are sure to intersect soon.  The Passage, by Justin Cronin.  My copy is from Audible.com and is being read by Scott Brick who I've come to admire as a vocalizer of thrillers.  I can also recommend Kill the Messenger, by Tami Hoag which is also read by Scott Brick.  He has a great voice for edgy male characters.


Back to the studio!  It's a beautiful, cool (75 degrees) day with muggy undertones that whisper "thunderstorm."  Perfect for creating new ZeeStuff.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sit Down Before You Start Reading!

Okay, now that you're sitting, maybe you should have a cold glass of water in the vicinity -- just in case you feel faint.  I know I need one... right now.  Because...


I signed up for a The Susan B. Komen 5K Race in Manchester, VT on July 17.


Did you pass out when you read that?  I nearly did -- by just writing the words.


I know.  I know.  I swore on this very site that I would NOT be running in any real 5K races.  Nope. Nada. Nyet.  No dice.  But..... 


I've also had a little "vacation" from running since school ended, what with going to South Carolina and to a workshop in Boston this past weekend.


I must return to the treadmill and get ready for this race.  I cannot believe I signed up, but if you are reading and you would like to donate, here's:  My Personal Race Page


Time to go nitey nite.  More later -- I must change my ways --- I'm.... in training (cue the Rocky music)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Whoda Thunk It?

I jumped out of bed at 4:50 a.m. (yes... AM) and stumbled to my studio where I had stashed my workout clothes and running shoes, in addition to my headphone and a Klean Kanteen of water.  Dressed, stretched and started the "Couch to 10K" program by 5:05 am.

I wanted to see if I could.  I did.  But I'm still sayin' that I am not "in love" with running and I'm definitely not in love with getting up at 4:50 a.m. to run.  Or rather, at this point in the training sessions, mostly walk. Since I'm now training for 10K, the workout this morning was 51 minutes built on increments of 1 minute run and 4 minutes walk. I think the idea at this point is to get used to "moving" for 51 minutes.  I assume that a 10K is an hour because I finished the 5K program by running for 30 minutes (no walking breaks at all).

Seriously, dude, I don't see myself running for 50 minutes.  Seriously.

But then again, I never thought I'd leave my warm bed at 4:50 a.m.  (AM!!!) when I didn't have to.  And even more miraculous is rising at 4:50 a.m. (AM!) in order to .... run.  OMG... pigs are flying somewhere.

p.s. I finished that first Mary Russel/Sherlock Holmes book by Laurie R. King entitled The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and now need something else for this running gig.  I'm on the lookout for a good book -- a good "listen."

Oh, and here's a shameless product placement.  This is a really really good listen:
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell.  Don't let the funky cover fool you.  This is a hoot and will keep you on your toes!

Monday, April 19, 2010

zPad!
or why I love my latest Apple device

Let's face it.  Vermont is remoteville.  And I will confess that many of us live in this remote spot simply because it is... remote.  But sometimes the very idea of not being connected creeps up on us. I mean, we are pretty much 2-3 hours from ANYWHERE "normal," like Boston or Albany.  Even Burlington, Vt is 2 hours from where I live and they don't have a Nordstroms.  See what I mean?  I live in a far outpost of civilization, on the edge of the frontier.  Sometimes our only link with the trappings of civilization, which I usually just ignore or eschew (whichever word sounds dandiest), is via the UPS or FedEx "guy."

And such was my experience about noon on Saturday, April 3rd, when my WONDERFUL zPad miraculously arrived at my front door in the arms of the UPS delivery guy (it's too early in the season for short pants so no ogling).   In some ways I would guess my experience with the unveiling of the iPad  was superior to those who stood in line all over the United States.  I sipped coffee and contemplated my navel as I waited for the little bugger to show up.  I was warm and comfy and mellow.  I could and did  sync my device as soon as it arrived.  I could and did curl up in a little ball of delight to read a novel almost immediately, if not sooner.  Yes, I did miss the ambiance of standing in line with fellow techies and non-techies (supposedly those who are more trendies than techies but it all works out in the end).  I know, I know -- the group camaraderie might have been a nice side bit (I once awaited the arrival of a Harry Potter book with a motley crew of like-minded readers in line outside a bookstore in Glastonbury, England -- a treasured vignette in my mind's eye),  the group's energy swelling my anticipation even more and giving me more memories for the scrapbook that is my life, BUT  I am very pleased that my zPad was delivered safe and sound and was revealed to be as wonderful as I imagined it would be as soon as I ripped open the box!

I plugged the sleek little gizmo into my MacPro and pro-ceeded ("me" being the Pro) to sync some music, two movies (Julie and Julia, The Frog Princess), a television show, two podcasts (Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann -- my heroes!), and some wickedly great apps. Then I clicked through some FREE books -- the classics are free!  Wow!  All this I synced on my zPad in approximately 20 minutes.  Seriously, no hassles.

For apps, I purchased the trio from iWork, included Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.  I use all three in their full versions, and figured this would bridge to using the zPad at work.  In fact, I have already given two keynote presentations (Keynote is the Apple version of Power Point and the zPad version of Keynote is soooo cool because all the manipulation of slides and dynamics are via finger moves).  Since I am using zPad for work, it's a "write off!"  How cool is that?  I teach Western Literature and every book I cover is offered free at both iBooks (the iTunes Store for Books) and Amazon (I am using the free Kindle reader for  iPad):  Pride and Prejudice, Oedipus, The Odyssey, Hamlet, and parts of the Old Testament.  I also saw Beowulf, although I'm not using it this semester.  The only piece we read that I couldn't find (yet) for free is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  But if students only have to pay for one book, at probably $10, that's a far cry from close to $100 for all the pieces in one or two books.  Currently, I use the Norton Anthology of Western Literature, Volume 1 and The Annotated Pride and Prejudice.

The best news for students  is that the Kindle Reader is now downloadable (is that a word?) for almost any laptop or electronic device: iPhone, PC, MacBook, and so on.  My students could read the free versions of these pieces and could bring their laptops to class for referencing.  The only thing missing would be page  numbers or in the case of Shakespeare, line/page numbers, which I like to use to focus attention on specific areas.  Oh well.  Sooner or later all this will be fixed, too.

I am looking forward to taking the zPad on vacation (coming May 17-24 on Sullivans Island), not lugging around a boatload of books. Although, in my own best interest I really should delve into my basket of "to be read" paperbacks -- said basket in the office/library now overflowing with a second smaller basket located next to my bed.  Oy.

In addition to Keynote presentations, I have set up the zPad for our vacation by using the spreadsheet program, Numbers.  Instead of writing everything down in a notebook, I will be able to record expenses and figure gas mileage with the flick of a finger.  I can even keep a little journal and insert any pictures I'm taking.... Wow!  Now, in defense of technology, I could have been doing this with my laptop on every vacation we've taken in the last ten years, but I was still working with a 3 ring binder.  Silly me.  I've finally seen the light!  I will, however, continue to do Morning Pages for The Artist's Way in handwriting using my favorite pen and ink in a rather large lined journal designated for these musings.

My assessment of the zPad so far?  MARVELOUS!  Iniitally, I just wanted an ebook reader and as you can see from all my spewings above, I have received soooo much more.  But back to the ebook reader, that, too is FAB!   The Kindle reader plugs me into almost any book (well, not Harry Potter, darn it!) in the Amazon store.  The Apple ebook reader program, iBook, while connected to its own bookstore, provides an elegant reading experience once you settle down with your cuppa, some snacks and a comfy corner chair.  The pages turn galantlyand any color pictures are dazzling.  The zPad came loaded with Winnie the Pooh.  Do you remember the beautiful illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard?  If you don't, you really owe yourself the treat of a leisurely look through the color version of this book.  I'm sure your public library has a copy.

But if not.... maybe you could buy an iPad in the hopes that the Apple folks are still delivering Pooh with purchase.    Just don't expect me to share... at the moment.  I'm smitten and holding on tight to my zPad!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Finished!
or.... I. DID. IT. 

Of course, this begs the major question in life:  are we ever really finished?

Today was the LAST DAY in "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks."  I never missed a day, never took a "vacation," never quit the sequence of 3x per week with one day at least between workouts. And most of all -- I never, despite the voice of doom every session, gave into my inner weenie -- I never slacked in any workout!!!  Never took a break within the session.  Never "paused" the button.  Never switched to walking while I should have been running.  No. I did the workouts exactly as the program required.

I started on February 16th , with 60 seconds of jogging broken by 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.  I ended today, April 17th, with 30 minutes of jogging (no intervals of walking since back on March 25th at Week 6 Day 2.

I'm very proud of myself, I must say.  I know that sounds corny, but HEY(!), I've also been honest about being the couch in this program -- a bookworm who seriously isn't into running.  I've been honest about not really "running" since I graduated from high school back in 1969.  And even then, I liked sprints plus a lot of burst in playing field hockey.  I loved field hockey, which does require a lot of running.

Here I go with product placement, but what the heck.  I signed up as an Amazon Associate mainly to give full credit,  on my ZeeStuffVt.com website, to a mentor or two of mine -- Christie Friesen and Tim Holtz.  As long as I'm giving them a boost (well, maybe)(I should hope someone gets interested in their books), I'll share the book I'm currently listening to while I run.

Now it's The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie R. King.  No matter where I look for good books to download to my iPad (or zPad as I call it), her name pops up with great reviews.  She's written several in the series, but this is the first one.  I always prefer to start with the first book of a series.  Sometimes the first book isn't the best, but I still like to understand the origins of the character and the writer.  Does that sound snobby?  I hope not.  Anyway, I just started this one and I love the tenor of the story -- well, it's story within story within story, in a very interesting and quite visual way.  I think I shall be well able to recommend The Beekeeper's Apprentice.















By the way, here are the two books that I list on my website:
Christie Friesen, for all things polymer clay and whimsy with Steampunkery








And Tim Holtz's recent TERRIFIC book which offers layers and layers of distress and altered art techniques, A Compendium of Curiosities













I own and use both these books.  If you want to see what I call  wearable art, go to ZeeStuffVt.com and check it out.  Thanks.

Okay! Now I need to figure out what to do next --  I'm soooo not done with this C25K thingy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why?

Ever wonder why 30 minutes feels so much more tickety tockety, more TIME, than 28 minutes?  Well, maybe because it is actually two whole minutes more. But I'm thinking it's because we can call it a HALF HOUR. Yeah, I just ran a HALF HOUR.  Will I ever be running for a full hour?  Nope.  Never gonna happen.  I'm not running for speed here.  No, I'm running to keep a promise to myself; I'm running for the session to be over, finito,  done.  Done feels great.  The running part? Not so much.  I'm not in pain (not really -- a little tightness, but not pain; not even my knees which have had issues).  But I don't really enjoy the experience.  Wah, wah, wah, huh?  No.  I do like when I'm done:  how much I love the shower, the cup of tea, the book I'll be reading on my iPad.

Oh, my iPad.... or zPad as I call it.  That's another topic for a non-running day.  But I do love it already.

Day 1, Week 9 of "Couch to 5k in 9 Weeks" is now one for the record books.  I completed 30 minutes of running with no breaks for walking except 5 minutes warm up before the timing started and 5 minutes of cool down after the 30 minutes of running ended.  That's 40 minutes for a woman who hasn't really moved that much since 1969.  Time to celebrate?  Maybe this coming Saturday -- the LAST DAY.

For now, I'll just savor my after-run ritual.  I'm off to the showers.  Then tea and a book.  I guess the running part brings me some bits of joy.  Oh, and the losing 13 pounds so far?  Not bad.  Not half bad.  Not even Half an Hour bad.   ha ha ha.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 8
Day 3

Whew!  This morning I finished Week 8.  The focal point of Week 8 is running for 28 minutes with no breaks for walking.  As in... none, nyet, nada, zip, zero, zed.  I think you get the picture.  I'm still not in love with running.  Each session this week I've thought, "I can't do this" or "I've got to stop" but then something kept me going to the end.

Here's the deal.  I'm running (okay JOGGING) on a treadmill.  I seriously doubt this would transfer to a road or an outdoor venue of any kind.  I'm not experiencing hills or even slight inclines.  I'm just jogging along at a rather steady and rather casual pace.  Except I am sweating.  Yes.  But I still don't see myself doing a 5K.  Run in front of people?  Nah.  I'm totally bonded to my treadmill, thank-you-very-much.

Meanwhile I'll let you know what book I'm listening to now.  Not bad -- a remake of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, which by the way, I just finished (free!) on my iPad.  Yes, I have an iPad, but I named mine zPad.  I really do love it already.  I've been reading with it pretty much the whole break.  Anyway, back to the book.  Sometimes a bit whiney but on the whole OK.  I don't know how it's going to turn out because the author veers away just enough  from Austen to throw a reader off the scent.  But, you could do worse.  Three stars out of five (I'm a tough critic) for  The Three Weissmanns of Westport.

Friday, April 09, 2010

ZeeAras!

I want to share another new category of ZeeStuff.  I'm seriously not ready for prime time with these, but I am having fun... AND that's what counts.... right? Right!

I've asked the ZeeBears to wear the ZeeAras and they were thrilled to be modeling again.  I did post the ZeeWands, didn't I?  I'll have to scan back and check.  I've been so busy documenting my "C25K" experience that I may have overlooked the ZeeWands.  Oops.  For those of you new to ZeeSpeak, we're talking wands and tiaras and bears, OH MY!  That sounds boring, doesn't it?  I'm back to ZeeAras.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

28 Minutes!

I should look back at the first few posts I made when I started this "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks" program.  I bet I'll be mortified.... abso-eff-ing-lutely mortified.  I mean... duh... I was huffing and puffing and considering 60 seconds to be a lot of running.

Yikes!  Yesterday was Week 8 Day 1, and I ran 28 minutes with no walking breaks.  I did.  Yes, at times I thought about giving up and I thought a lot about... WHY THE HECK AM I DOING THIS???  I can see "Resistance" (really, you gotta read "The War of Art," by Steven Pressfield, and you'll start understanding the insidiousness of "Resistance") looming.  Resistance is really pissed off that I'm doing this running gig.  Resistance wants a piece of the action.  Creeping Resistance.... when I put off running; when I can't find my shoes; don't have the right water bottle.  You know the drill... Resistance wants me to succomb to his charms.  NOPE!  I'm going to win!  Take that, Resistance!!!

I'm in this until the end.  Week 9 Day 3 and we party.  Then what?  Dunno.  But I won't stop keeping in shape.  I really need to work on toning my arms.  My arms suck major.  I feel like somebody's grandma.  Oh, sorry.  I really AM somebody's grandma.  I just sooooo do NOT want to have Bingo Arms.  This is my next project.  Well, it will be my tandem project.  That is... body project.  Run and lift weight.



Meanwhile, here are the latest ZeePins:  Winged Hearts!!  These are $12.00 each at ZeeStuffVt.com

Friday, April 02, 2010

Run, Interrupted
But... I'm Baaaacccckkk!

Yes!  They thought I was down and out; they thought I was through; they thought I was quitting....
Who the hell are "they"???  NOBODY!  I'm making it up as I go.
But.... I did wander in from the trenches on Wednesday with a terrible, awful, no-good sickness: high temperature, aches all over, and nausea.  I went to bed at 9 pm and didn't wake up again until 2pm the next day.  My usual running day is Thursday, but Thursday was "I am sick" day and no amount of chicken soup could recoup my energy or my equilibrium.  On the couch I stayed.


Miraculously, I felt 100% this morning! Off to work with me!  And when I got home, I laced up the new shoes (which are divine, I must say) and hit the treadmill.  Oy!  You know, just one missed day  (which is not so bad because the program builds in a break between workouts) really takes a bit of wind out of the sails, if you know what I mean.  When I ran that one by Steve, he had to tell me not only that he knew what I meant, but then I had to hear a litany of how he's older than me and man has he the experience of age to tell me how I'll experience aging.  You know.... sort of "one-upsmanship" every time I have any health issues.  It's not that I want validation, but sheesh, I'd like to have my own aches and pains and maybe even a teeeny tiny bit of sympathy.  But nooooooo.... if I've "got it," then he's "had it" worse or longer or more painfully than I did or do or will.  Men? You think?  Dunno.   But it was funny... We were sitting on the front porch today (it was 75 or more and LOVELY, like summer) and I think I mentioned about some twinge or pain or something, and right away he started to say how he had the same.... and then... he STOPPED himself and looked at me and said, "yeah, I guess I do that."  Meaning... he does that one-upsmanship thing.  Well, I guess noticing is the first step.  I'm sure we all do it; I'm sure I do it.  I'll just be more careful, too.


Meanwhile, back at the corral, I was strapping on my shoes and hitting the treadmill.  And it was HARD today.  Today was Week Seven, Day 2.  And that meant.... 25 minutes of uninterrupted jogging.  It was the third time I did this gig, and I thought that meant I'd be into it, no sweat.  But somehow, whether it was the break of one extra day between workouts or being sick yesterday, I struggled to finish.  BUT... FINISH I DID!!!! 


Let's face it.  I'm not WINNING the 5k... I'm just going to be able to THINK that I can sign up for a 5k.  Seriously, I'm just jogging and jogging with slow, deliberate strides.  I'm trying to avoid looking at the time left or anything to do with the ticking of that 25 minutes.  I do so love when the dear voice says, "half way."  So cheerful and seductive.  I"m almost screaming, "OMG... it's only half way" but the other side of my personality is screaming, "Yipppppeeee! Half way!"  I think, over all, I'm a glass half full kinda gal.  Gal?  Did I just type "gal"?  Omg... I'm going to be drummed out of NOW, aren't I?  


Since I'm "off" my days, I've decided to get up early on Sunday and run before we head off to Boston for a little Easter gig with the kids.  I just don't see myself waiting all the way 'til Tuesday (when we'll be back late Monday night).  That would be harsh re-starting and I  don't want to do that again.  I'll just get on the treadmill about 7 a.m. and off by 7:45 and hit the showers and we can leave the casa at about 8:30 a.m., if I'm all organized the night before -- and why not?  


It's not that I "like" this running thing.  No. It's more that I'm stubborn and when I commit to something, I commit.  Sometimes it's fleeting, but usually if I get to the point where I'm in the Stubborn Zone, I can  follow through for a long time.  For example, they put a candy machine in the faculty room at SMJHS and I vowed never to buy candy. And I never did.  Not once in 20 years.  I committed to it, and I stuck to it.  The same goes for McDonalds in Rutland.  Never been in the McD's here and never plan to be in either one. Yeah, we have 2 in Rutland.  Odd for a state where we don't have a McDonalds in the capital city of Montpelier.  And we only have three Starbucks (I think it's still only 3) in the entire state, and they are all in Burlington.  None in Rutland, although we're always hearing rumors.  Anyway... I won't be eating at McDonalds in Rutland, but if they add a Starbucks, yeah, I'm IN!  See? Stubborn! which is what's keeping me running.  I said I would do it, and I am.  No stops, no weenie moves, no half-assed attempts. I haven't missed a session yet, even with being sick yesterday, I'm still aiming to finish Week 7 while I'm still actually IN Week 7.  


Rock on!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 6, Day 3 --
Run: 25 minutes  
No breaks... 
Hey, I rocked the session!!!
Weird?!
Okay... um... Week 6 of C25k (oh, that's the new short version of ... "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks") so far has been truly odd.  


Remember back...... to that terrible-awful-no-good day in Week 5 (last Saturday to be exact) when I looked at the screen and was told to run for 20 minutes without breaks?  Well, I did.  And I didn't collapse from fatigue.  I wondered what they could throw at me next.


Was I ever surprised (yet again).  We were back to intervals of running and walking on Week 6 Day 1.  Hmmm.  Now between that last session on Week 5 and the first session on Week 6 the app downloaded an update.  Do you think they had a glitch at Week 5 Day 3?  Do you think... horrors!... that I ran 20 minutes unfettered for... NO REASON?????  Oh well.


Week 6 Day 1, which was Tuesday, March 23,  was a build up, like this:  Warm Up walk 5 / Run 5 / Walk 3 / Run 8 / Walk 3 / Run 5 / Cool Down Walk 5.  After running non-stop for 20 minutes on the previous Saturday, I must admit that this interval stuff was... dare I say it?.... easy.  Okay, I said it.  Now I'm waiting for the zap from Zeus or whatever god is in charge.  Probably Hermes.  You know.. the runner, messenger god with the little wings on his heels.  He's pretty gay, so I'd guess no zaps, just a slap and a finger wag. 


Week 6 Day 2 on Thursday was pretty straightforward:  Warm up walk 5 / Run 10 / Walk 3 / Run 10 / Cool Down walk 5.  Maybe that was the missing link session?


I have no idea what I'm facing in a few minutes.  It's Saturday and I'm laced up and ready to go.  Just finished my breakfast:  1 cup real oatmeal (not that instant crap), 1/2 cup cherries (defrosted, organic), 1/2 oz mini chocolate chips.  It's pretty much YUM.  I put the chocolate chips on when the oatmeal is hot. They melt and the whole mix is very creamy.  The cherries make it Cherry Garcia Oatmeal.  If you want Banana Split Oatmeal just substitute 1/2 banana, sliced and a couple strawberries, also sliced.  If it's still winter (duh, we're experiencing a blast of arctic air wafting o'er our newly sprouted crocus) where you live, defrost some you stashed in your freezer for smoothies.


I don't know whether it's the running finally catching up with me, or the fact that I've been absolutely religious about writing down what I eat and the points (yes, I'm a Weight Watchers person), but I have lost 13 pounds so far this semester -- well, in the last 6 weeks.  I started both programs at the same time, and I must say, I'm feeling quite empowered by both. 


Remember where I said I had no intention of running a 5K?  Well.... I was reading some reviews of C25K --- digression: the iTunes App Store has two versions, at least, of this program.  I'm using the one that has a brown and white logo with 5K on the front --  continuing....  I noticed that many reviewers were extolling the virtues of this program and writing that they, indeed, ran their first ever 5K after completing the 9 weeks.  I've only been running on a treadmill, so I'm not sure what I'm ready for in the real world.  I like the treadmill for many reasons, the main one of which has been the weather -- as in, I don't have to worry about it.  I've been looking out the window at snow, sleet, rain, and now sunshine (although today it's 24 degrees despite the brilliant sun).  I don't see how I could run with earbuds. I'm using my Bose headphones while on the treadmill and they're fab.  I can't see myself running on the street without getting hit by a car because I had my mind wrapped around a program on my iPhone which was strapped to my... what?... arm?  I can't see it.  So, if I can't run outside with the program, how can I switch to running a race outside?  You see my dilemma (and my mixed up mind), eh?  But ... I have 3 more weeks to concern myself about the next level. I'm getting way ahead of myself.


Onward to the end of Week 6.

Monday, March 22, 2010

10 Immediate Benefits 
of 
Health Care Reform


Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President's signature on the health care bill:
  1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
  2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
  3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
  4. Free preventative care for all
  5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
  6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
  7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
  8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
  9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment -- oh by the way MY SENATOR!!!). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
  10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can't lose your insurance because you get sick.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Can you say ... SURPRISE!?! 
(Surprise! Surprise!)

Week 5, Day 2 was on Thursday and BOY HOWDY! was I surprised, but that was topped by Week 5, Day 3.  Talk about SHIFTS in consciousness! Wow.  Really wow.  Let's go back to 5.2, shall we?


I've been lulled into certain expectations on this "Couch to 5K" program.  Each week the program changes -- upping the ante, so to speak.  The new set of walk/run times would change on the first day of the week and remain the same for the 3 workouts of that week.  The "run" times would increase, the walk times would change, too.  Sometimes it was the spacing -- short breaks of walking between runs, or fewer breaks.  But the pattern for 4 weeks has been that whatever changed on Day 1 of the week, continued for that week.


Then I turned on the Week 5 Day 2 program, all set to do that crazy 5 mintues of running that I did on Day 1 of week 5 ... and.... OMG!  The program changed.  EIGHT (8) minutes of running with a five minute break for walking, then another 8 minutes of running.  My eyes bugged out when I saw.  Could I actually run for 8 minutes without a break?  Seriously, I didn't think so.  But I didn't waiver.  I am following this program to the letter.  In 5 weeks, I have not missed a day of workout.  And that means, I follow the number of minutes and I do what that lovely voices tells me to do.  


I'm glad nobody was home when I did this Day 2 workout.  By the last 8 minutes of running, I was coercing myself to continue  like a cheerleader at a football game.  I can do this! I can do this!  I was chanting (albeit breathlessly) aloud and exhorting myself to finish the program.  AND I DID!!!!  Whew!


Today was Day 3 of the week and I figured we'd be repeating that 8 minute set repetition, so I girded my loins (as much as I could gird).  In fact, I put off doing the workout for as long as I could and then I thought "this is nuts, it's just running for 8 minutes and you've already done that."  So, I strapped on the iPhone and my headphones and turned on the book I'm reading (okay, I'm still trying to finish The Winter Garden by Kirsten Hannah -- you know, the book with the whiniest main character in the history of main characters (I hate her).  Spoiler alert:  her husband (FINALLY) left her... but she's still being a jerk).  And then, I switched on my good ol' reliable "Couch to 5K" app.


OMG!  I thought I was surprised on Day 2 of this week, but .... the program was completely different AGAIN!  In fact, I slowed the treadmill (I had started the warm up portion of the program) and stepped off for a few seconds to grab my glasses and read the fine print. YEP..... those little words actually spelled out....


20 MINUTES OF RUNNING  and NO WALKING BREAKS.  


None. Nada. Nyet.  Oh my! Straight 20 minutes of running.  The warm up is 5 minutes and the cool down is 5 minutes.  But in between, I'm running for 20 f-ing minutes.

For some odd reason, I didn't stress out.  I just figured if worse came to worse, I'd slow down on my own and walk.  Would that be weak? Would that be giving in to resistance (book note... everyone should read:  The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, who also wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance... and then you'll "get" the whole resistance thing).


I started.  I continued.  I RAN FOR 20 MINUTES!!!!  


I must say, I feel pretty much pumped by my little teeny tiny accomplishment today.  All the little people raise their hands...  

Product placement note.  Yesterday, I bought some new shoes -- My. First. Running Shoes.  Ever.  They are Nike Xccelerators.  Great shape. Light. And they absorb the shock of my (large) body pounding on my feet.  So, thumbs up, Nike (in my wildest dreams NEVER would I have thought I'd write those words).


In addition, I googled information about How To Run and got some pointers.  I had been worried about how I placed my foot down with each stride.  I'm pretty sure that I'm a heel first kinda girl.  But then, was I also going to my toes?  Hmmm.  Now I know it's the middle.  I think the shoes helped me get the 20 minutes.  I'll just believe.


So, what's next?  Who knows!  I am on the "Couch to 5K" ride now.  Nothing is certain.  I don't know what to expect.  Except -- I think I'm getting better at this.  No, I do not "love" running.  But somehow, doing those piddly first 90 seconds that I thought I couldn't bear makes me laugh -- at myself.  And laughing at myself is a good thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Easy?


No, not really easy.  Easy in retrospect -- about 2 hours later.  Here's what bothers me most about this whole "jogging/running" thing:  my calves HURT!  And my ankles.  So, how come people love to do this?  I stretch.  I warm up.  I cool down.  But still, the legs hurt.  Am I doing it all wrong?  Am I missing some trick?  Do tell!


It's week 5 of "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks."  Today was the first day of this week's program.  Pretty much straight forward -- run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, and run 5 minutes. Add on a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down.  That's it.  I'll repeat this on Thursday and Saturday.  Although it's less running than last week's program, by one minute, it was more concentrated.  Last week it was built up from 3 to 5 minutes, but this week... BAM!... we started with 5 minutes and kept that pace. 


I didn't experience as many moments of "hey! I wanna quit!" as I have in the past on the first day of a new series.  For me, that's a terrific improvement.  Maybe it's the SUNNY outdoors I get to look at while I'm on my treadmill.  Yes, the snow has finally melted, but it's only 45 degrees, so no matter what I think I'm seeing out the window (summer!), it's really still cold (winter!).  My hope, as with this running thing, is a metaphor for SPRING!


Meanwhile, one product placement today.  And it's not a good grade.  In fact, UGH!  While I'm doing this whole "Couch to 5K' thing, I'm listening to books on my iPhone.  Welllllll... I started Kristin Hannah's new novel, Winter Garden, and if I had been holding a print version in my hands, I would have thrown it against the wall.  I'm still listening only because I don't have another book loaded on my iPhone at the moment.  Winter Garden is pure crap -- filled with whiney, horrible characters and weak, spineless mates.  My advice to the husband of one sister, Meredith, and the boyfriend of the other, Nina, is..... RUN AWAY NOW.... BREAK UP... GET A LIFE without these whiney, bitchy, dysfunctional women.  OMG... could we have any more grating"build up" to a character change? A writer often starts with damaged characters who will, in the course of a story, grow and change for the better, becoming whole, loving adults... BUT JEEZ-LOOOEZE.... you gotta start with characters who have more than a snowball's chance in hell of being LIKED at the outset.   I mean, a reader's gotta try to find something to care about in the characters.  And even though I'm at the part where the father dies (it's not a spoiler because the book jacket also tells you this is gonna happen),  I'm thinking the father was the lucky one. He didn't have to stick around for the whole book.  I know, I know.  Surely the surprise about the mother's former suffering (I'm guessing, but come on... it's soooo obvious) is worth my time? Not if I have to suffer through more time with Meredith, the character from hell. So... I'm not sure I'm going to finish.  I usually like Kristin Hannah's books, but she does tend toward whiney heroines that I wouldn't want as friends, and this book is worse than her last couple of attempts.   Soooo.... don't spend your money.  If you really like KH, go to your local library and check it out... for FREE!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shocker!

Week 4 - Couch to 5k in Nine Weeks (app on the iPhone)

Okay, I promised to report on my progress.  We took the game to a new level.  Seriously, I've said this before, but I thought I was gonna crash and burn.  And... I didn't.  Tired? Yes. Sweaty? Yes.  Defeated? No!  I came.  I saw (oy... did I see that new program or what).  And... I kicked my own butt.


I am a weenie.  We have established that.  And I haven't actually "run" since about 1969.  Thus the "couch" part of "Couch to 5K in Nine Weeks" is owned by me.  Yep, I am a couch spud.


Let's go back to last week.  Yes, I thought week 3 was hard.  But by the 3rd day (and we only get 3 days to workout per week), I rocked the program.  All smiles.  All... YES...I can do this.  In fact, I've been doing Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, but on week 3, I stepped up to Saturday.  Which might have been a mistake?  But I was feeling so... full of myself.  Anyway...


Tuesday.  First day of Week 4. New week, new times for jogging and walking combination.  I knew it would be more of jog and less of walk, but I thought I was cool with that.


Stretched and ready to push the buttons and take off on a new round of repetitive sets walk/jog or something like that.  Well... wah hoo.   So far, I haven't been able (and I really haven't tried) to figure out how to look at the future weeks' settings and to find out what's coming.  I was quite surprised when the Week 4 program popped up on the screen:  Jog 3 minutes, Walk 1.30 minutes, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 3 minutes;  repeat.  OMG.... I jogged for.... 16 minutes this week.  Really -- I almost expired.  Remember:  my post-menopausal idea of  exercise is turning pages in a good book.  Well, that isn't fair. The entirety of what we might dub my "middle ages" has been a sea of turning pages in hundreds of books, not to mention shopping for books, hunting books in libraries, and lugging books into and out of the house.  Oy! the exercise!


But here I am, jogging 5 minutes at a swipe and wanting to stop... but... I didn't!  I did the whole program and didn't stop or walk or give up at any point.  Yippppeeee!


Tomorrow is Thursday and I'm up on my perch again, so I'll let you know.


Sorry, no big product placements today.  Just drank straight water and jogged.  Wow... did I just say that? Jog? Don't slap me.