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

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

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 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 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


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


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

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!