Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week 1

And so it begins my 24 week training schedule for the Chicago Marathon.  This week was comprised of 3 runs: 3 miles, 3miles Pace and 6 miles.  The 3 miles on Monday went well.  The 3 miles pace on the treadmill went well on Thursday although I could've upped my mph sooner than I did.  The 6 miles this a.m. were pretty tough.  I've been fighting a sinus cold so just real stuffed up.  So constant nasal drainage not fun.  You add in very windy and the farmer's blows get even more interesting- YUCK!  Anyways, ran the first 3 with running partner Melanie and she went on to do her 10 (training for Madison 1/2 marathon Memorial Day weekend- so our schedules are a little off).  The wind was at our back for the first three so felt fast, but I knew I was in for not fun times on the return.  The wind was very strong and so my goal to do the 6 in one hour was a little challenging.  Finished in 1:02.  Told you I wasn't fast :).  I did a modified core work out Tuesday night ( 2 sets of 10 push ups and 2 sets of 80 crunches with plank pose in between)- needed a break from my regular routine.  I was suppose to do some core work today after the run but really feel out of it because of my cold.  Anyways, so my 24 weeks starts- not bad, but not the best either.  Next week : 4 miles, tempo run for 30 and 7- should be interesting. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cutting for Stone

The story is a riveting saga of twin brothers, Marion and Shiva Stone, born of a tragic union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, and bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.But it's love, not politics -- their passion for the same woman -- that will tear them apart and force Marion to flee his homeland and make his way to America, finding refuge in his work at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him, wreaking havoc and destruction, Marion has to entrust his life to the two men he has trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him. taken from

This was my April book club's pick.  I've been waiting since early April to write about this book, but thought I better wait until book club had discussed.  I really enjoyed this book and probably won't do the book or author justice in the following post.  I was trying to tell a physician I work with about how great this book is and sometimes my chattiness is a downfall.  I justt couldn't seem to explain how entertaining this book was.  It is a story that reads like nonfiction/biography.  I really thought the book was based on an actual hospital and the people who made up the healthcare staff at the hospital.  I'm always amazed at how brilliantly some people can write.  I'm in awe of them and their way to write fiction as if it is not fiction at all.  I'm also amazed with people who not only write books, but hold other lives/jobs at the same time.  This book is 541 pages long, but kept me interested and hardly noticed how thick the book was.  Now that said I do question whether this is a book for everyone.  It has quite a bit of medical terminology and some pretty graphic scenes both medical and related to real life in Ethiopia.  Mom- don't know if this one is for you.  Below is a little bio on the author which I find interesting, plus we have to notice the Iowa Writer's workshop mention.  I look forward to reading one of his other books in the near future.  Our book club really enjoyed this book and many plowed through the 541 pages with no problem.  Next up "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote- next month I host our book club and our 8 year anniversary. Sometime I'll get chatty about what this book club means to me, but enough words for tonight.  Happy Reading!

Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, is Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine.

Early Years
Born of Indian parents who were teachers in Ethiopia, he grew up near Addis Ababa and began his medical training there. When Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed, he briefly joined his parents who had moved to the United States, and worked as an orderly before returning to complete his medical education at Madras Medical College. he later retured to the U.S. for his residency as one of many foreign medical graduates. Like many other foreign medical graduates, he found only the less popular hospitals and communities open to him, an experience he described in one of his early New Yorker articles, The Cowpath to America.From Johnson City, Tennessee, where he was a resident from 1980 to 1983, he did his fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine, working at Boston City Hospital for two years. It was here that he first saw the early signs of the HIV epidemic and later, when he returned to Johnson City as an assistant professor of medicine, he saw the second epidemic, rural AIDS, and his life took the turn for which he is most well known -- his caring for numerous AIDS patients in an era when little could be done and helping them through their early and painful deaths was often the most a physician could do.

First Books
Abraham Verghese's earlier work as an orderly, his caring for terminal AIDS patients, the insights he gained from the deep relationships he formed and the suffering he witnessed were intensely transformative; they became the basis for his first book, My Own Country : A Doctor's Story, written later during his years in El Paso, Texas. Such was his interest in writing that he decided to take some time away from medicine to study at the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1991. Since then, his writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Texas Monthly, Atlantic, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Granta,, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

After leaving Iowa, he became professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in El Paso, Texas, where he lived for the next 11 years. In addition to writing his first book, which was one of five chosen as Best Book of the Year by Time magazine and later made into a Mira Nair movie, he also wrote a second best-selling book, The Tennis Partner : A Story of Friendship and Loss, about his friend and tennis partner's struggle with addiction. This was a New York Times' Notable Book.

Emphasis on the Physician-Patient RelationshipAs founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, he brought the deep-seated empathy for patient suffering that had been honed by his previous experiences to his new role in the medical humanities.
He gave the new Center a guiding mission, "Imagining the Patient's Experience," to emphasize the importance of truly caring for the patient. He saw empathy as a way to preserve the innate empathy and sensitivity that brings students to medical school but which the rigors of their training frequently suppress. In San Antonio, also, he became more focused on bedside medicine, inviting small groups of medical students to accompany him on bedside rounds. Rounds gave him a way to share the value he places on the physical examination in diagnosing patients and demonstrating attentiveness to patients and their families, a vital key in the healing process.

Dr. Verghese's deep interest in bedside medicine and his reputation as a clinician, teacher and writer led to his being recruited to Stanford University in 2007 as a tenured professor.
Today, in his writing and his work, he continues to emphasize the importance of bedside medicine and physical examination in a time in medicine when the use of advanced technology frequently results in the patient in the bed having less attention than the patient data in the computer. His December 2008 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Culture Shock: Patient as Icon, Icon as Patient, clearly lays out his viewpoint. In his book, Cutting for Stone, he also addresses the issue.
"I wanted the reader to see how entering medicine was a passionate quest, a romantic pursuit, a spiritual calling, a privileged yet hazardous undertaking. It's a view of medicine I don't think too many young people see in the West because, frankly, in the sterile hallways of modern medical-industrial complexes, where physicians and nurses are hunkered down behind computer monitors, and patients are whisked off here and there for this and that test, that side of medicine gets lost." taken from

Monday, April 25, 2011

Elmer Elevator and a dragon named Boris...

So the fam is off to hockey.  I felt crappy all day- think I'm getting a cold/sinus junk.  So I'm home resting and thought I'd  put a new post up about a recent chapter book I read with the kids and a book about getting your kids to love reading.  I enjoyed both... so here we go.

Wikipedia writes...
My Father's Dragon is a children's novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett about a young boy, Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby Dragon. Both a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book[1], it is the first book of a trilogy whose other titles are Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. All three were published in a 50-year anniversary edition as Three Tales of My Father's Dragon.
The narrative mode is unusual, in that the narrator refers to the protagonist only as "my father", giving the impression that this is a true story that happened long ago. The other two books in the trilogy are narrated in the third person.

The book was really enjoyable and not scary, too fantasy like, or out there for a mom, kindergartner and 2 1/2 year old going on 20 to understand. I really liked all three stories and the kids liked that almost every page had some black and white sketch/drawing.  I highly recommend this book and am so thankful to have the great librarian (Coralville library) who steered me towards this book. 

So besides loving going to the library by myself or with the family I also really enjoy reading reference books from the parent/teacher shelves about different books for kids to read.  One I read this past weekend was great with many specific examples about topics and genres and age appropriate book suggestions.  I came away with some new ideas for reading activities this summer for the kids and also another list of books I want to check out with the kids.  I think I already mentioned it but if not- I keep a three ring mini notepad in my library bag with all the "wish list" books for both me and the kids.  I also have written down quotes I have enjoyed from varied books I've read and also have started to have other lists such as music, videos (I guess I should call them DVDs) and web sites I want to check out for me or the kids.  All this info in a little binder- easy, but handy to keep up on reading with kids and my own personal choices.
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike

One of my favorite quotes from this book is "Love, like literacy, is a great source of strength. And, like literacy, it is a gift we can give our children that never goes away".  It is a great resource and Coralville has 2 copies of this book you can check out and take home with you.  I'm currently in a book called Books for Boys- I'll let you know how that one turns out. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

So it has been awhile since I've posted about a book(s) I've read or am reading.  I'll tell you about Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese as soon as book club this month is over.  Right after I finished that one I read the following book by Nora Ephron.  Now it does resemble her I feel bad about my neck- 2006.  However, I really enjoyed this book and didn't really enjoy the 2006 version.  It was a light read, but yet this book spoke to me as if she was a pretty down to earth person, which she could be except for the fact that she wrote When Harry Met Sally. Totally out of my league.  So if looking for a little light, funny, at times snarky ( by the way when I spelled checked this post snarky came up as not a real word- go figure) reading pick this one up.

Off Week

So not too chatty this week.  It started a little rough, due to too much fun at my sister in-law's bachelorrette party.  Saturday was fun, but Sun, Mon, Tue wasn't :(- too old too party like a Rock Star.  So needless to say my great work out regimen and healthy eating went down the drain.  I only ran 9 miles and didn't do my arms/core work out at all.  I ate a lot of greasy food items thinking it would take care of my liquid diet from the weekend, but my old stand by chicken mcnuggets, didn't help.  I did stay true to my Easter/Lent no sweets goal, but this week I felt like, more than others, I was craving sweets and my old Diet Coke/Diet Mountain Dew stand by.  Along with being tired from the weekend festivities, my two 1/2 year old, going on 20, is really driving my ultimate "mommy push button" into overdrive... sleep issues with a child- not fun.  I've never dealt well with the kids not going to bed easily (flashback Mason as a baby sleeping only 20 minutes during the day and crying himself to sleep for the first 3-6 months of his infancy).  Oh and don't forget Mason and my Tuesday "lost tooth" trauma- I really was worn out from that adventure ( I really thought I was going to pass out).

So I tried to give myself a break and justify my non working out/less than perfect healthy eating ways this week... I'm not in training yet, Sleep is more important than working out (no early morning jaunts), and I'm not back to sweets or diet coke so I'm still doing o.k. with my eating.  Although these justifications aren't bad it kind of goes against one of my earlier posts about "gutting it out".  I didn't do that this past week, but the good thing is today starts a new week and so I'm "back on the horse" starting with a little yoga tonight.  Felt great to do a 20 minute yoga routine- I know only 20 minutes, but have to start somewhere :).  Below are two of my favorite yoga poses.  Happy Sunday- onto a better week than the last.

Yoga: Pigeon

Exercise Description:
Yoga: Pigeon
Place the right knee forward and extend the left leg back. Make sure that the right toes are facing in on an angle and the left toes are pointed and facing down. Place the hands on either sides of the knee and shift the weight over to the left while lengthening the spine. Square the hips and the shoulders. Move the right foot away from the groin working towards a 90-degree angle with the right calf. The right hip may or may not be connected the floor. The left hip is facing down towards the floor. If there is too much pressure in the knee, readjust the calf. Replace this posture with the modified pigeon. Inhale and lengthen the spine, exhale and lower down onto the elbows maintaining the weight shift over to the left hip. Rock from side to side to help to increase the circulation in the hip joint. Only if you are incredibly flexible in the hip, start to work your chest down to the floor extending your arms out in front of you. The left hip, thigh, calf and top of foot is facing towards the floor. Relax the head, neck, shoulders and face. Breathe into the hip and back body. Relax in this pose for 5 to 15 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Side Note:
Increases the mobility and flexibility of the ankle, knee, glute, piriformis, hip flexor, lower back and groin musculature. Helps to alleviate lower back pain. Tones and massages the internal organs. Calms and quiets the mind. Improves digestion and elimination.

Tree Pose - Vrksasana (vrik-SHAHS-anna)
Tree PoseBenefits: Strengthens thighs, ankles and calves. The tree pose also stretches the shoulders and thighs while improving the student’s sense of balance.
*Steps to performing vrksasana:
• Stand with your legs about three feet part on the mat and shift your weight slightly to your right leg.
• Bend your left leg, reach down and grab your ankle. Bring the sole of your left foot as high up on your inner, right thigh as you can.
• Balancing on your left leg, put your hands together and raise them above your head.
• Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Return to standing position and then repeat exercise on the opposite leg.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lost Tooth

Tonight I have a guest co-editor of this post.  His name is Mason.  Here is the story... my edits/additional comments are in italics

Friday we were driving home to Oswego and Mason said "my tooth hurts".  So I thought that his tooth must be loose.  Then Friday night I brushed his tooth and blood was on the toothbrush. I thought it was really strange that he had blood coming from the back of his tooth. So the rest of the weekend we did a good job not eating sweets and not drinking juice and brushing really good.  Monday I called the dentist and they were able to see us at 1pm on Tuesday. 

Yesterday Mason got to leave school early.  We went to the dentist and the doctor Karen pulled out his tooth, because he had fell on it Friday at school and injured his tooth so bad his root was showing through the back, hence the blood.  That is his take, my take once I knew what was going to happen was OMG I'm going to pass out because I hate dental procedures.  I once told my dentist I'd rather go to the gynecologist than him.  He proceded to tell me that dentists have the highest rate of suicide for medical care givers- felt bad after that.  Anyways- Mason did great with the nitric oxide, but the shots were horrible- I think he has my pain tolerance which is little to none (Red heads supposedly have low pain threshold so I'm blaming it on our red hair).  The actual extraction went quick, but him yelling "I want to go home, I want to go home," crushed my heart. The dentist gave Mason a tooth holder to carry his pulled tooth in.  Mason did great with the laughing gas, but didn't like the "mosquito bites" at his gum line (aka shots). 

And then I let Mason watch The Empire Strikes Back as a treat for doing so good at the dentist. Mason had recently watched the original Star Wars with Matt and loved it- gave me play by play about the whole movie.  So I had a feeling that when we were leaving the dentist and he was still whimpering I was in for the second Star Wars when I gave him his own movie pick.  Empire Strikes Back is my least favorite, and maybe because it is such a dark movie.   Mason didn't really like the movie.  He thought the "good guy" - Hans Solo- died, but I explained he was hibernating in carbon at the end of the movie.  He kept on crying when the movie was over and saying "I don't like this movie".  It was a rough day.  Mason had to eat soft food the rest of the day.  He had oatmeal, yogurt, and ice cream for dinner.  He feels much better today and has enjoyed showing his tooth off.  I was totally amazed with his recovery and he did great at school today.  Hope to not have to go to the dentist for awhile now.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pumpkin pie breakfast treat

Anothe steal from Healthy Tippingpoint blog. I've made a few changes to her recipe and so here is my bfast treat.

1 6oz Greek yogurt (like vanilla flavor)
1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup granola or whole oats
Cinnamon to taste
Drizzle of honey (don't use this all the time)
Mix all ingredients in bowl and enjoy!

I've been pleasantly surprised with Greek yogurt. It is tangier than regular yogurt, bur a lot of different flavors (honey, vanilla, blueberry, strawberry).
This bfast definitely keeps me full and tastes good too.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Girl Grit and Sign up for Something...

April's  (2011) Women's Health Magazine Editor-In-Chief, Michele Promaulayko, had some great quotes and theme from her Letter from the Editor this month. 

Smart Things Women have said about having Grit- even if they didn't call it that...
"Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." Harriet Beecher Stowe- Love this one.

"If you really want something, and you really work hard, and you take advantage of  opportunity, and you never give up you'll find a way." Jane Goodall

"We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough." Helen Keller

"If you have an idea and a vision and stay with it and doom the naysayers, you can have a tremendous impact."

Her letter from the editor highlighted the theme of "grit".  It is a human trait which all of us have, but just different levels of it.  I liked her idea of tapping into "grit" to accomplish something great.  She talked about "gut out" hard situations in all areas of our lives (home, work, friends, exercise/sports).  I will think more about tapping into my own "grit" when I need to in all of these areas of my life.

Sign up for Something... this idea came from Dawna Stone's founder's note in the March 2011 Women's Running magazine. She said the 2 most frequently asked questions people voice to her are: "How can I stay motivated? and How can I lose weight".  Her response- "pick an event".  I totally agree with this idea.  I find that if I sign up for something be it a 5K, half-marathon, full or tri-sprint, I am much more apt to stay with my exercise routine.  I'm also more apt to have a better diet/lifestyle, because if I don't that makes the training that much harder.  Dawna admitted that her running has ebbed and flowed over 30 years of running, which is refreshing because I think it is real life.  We all have things that come up ( for instance my lovely daughter who was up 2 times last night and now is refusing to nap :).  These real life disruptions to our schedule make us tired, stressed, and break the routine/plans we had to accomplish our goals.  So... we can use our "grit" to "gut it out" and get back on the horse and "getter done"!  So if looking for a way to get yourself back on the track/path of health/training I agree with Dawna- sign up for something.  You'll be amazed what signing up for something will do for you. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Princess Blue

Our cat Blue decided to become a princess Sunday during the kids' nap time. She looked so peaceful in her castle. We have had Blue since august 2001. She is definitely part of the family. Kate loves her to death. Sometimes I think her hugs are going to send Blue to coralville animal hospital. Kate recently was gone on a trip and when she returned one of the first things she did was run and give Blue a hug. She said "I love you Blue. I missed you Blue". Reminds me of my childhood pet Misty, black cat that eerily looks just like Blue. She lived for 17 years and was a member of my fam as Blue is to our's. Guess I need to put up the castle more often and give Blue the feeling that she really is a princess.
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

No I'm not Pioneer Woman but I try...

I made the following recipe after my run on Saturday. It was good and filling. I ate 1/4 of the pie.

Banana bread breakfast bake:
1 banana
1/8 cup raw oatmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat pancake mix
1/4 cup corn muffin mix
Cinnamon to taste
1/4 cup skim milk
1/8 cup water
1 egg white

Preheat oven 375
Grease mini casserole dish ( I used pie plate)
In bowl mix all ingredients except 1/2 banana
Use spoon or fork to smash banana 1/2 in the mix
Pour unto dish and slice remainder 1/2 on top (I only did it on 1/2 dish for those in fam that don't enjoy sliced banana- Mason)
Bake for 24 minutes. Let stand few minutes and then serve.

( I substituted skim milk in place of almond milk- this recipe came from healthy tipping point blog and she is vegan hence why almond milk. I also doubled this recipe to serve whole family. She states the above is 1 serving- wow that would be alot. Kids weren't to keen on it but Matt and I liked it.

Ok another fun physical activity the whole fam can do. Just Dance. I know I'm way behind the times. We tried it out with the kids Friday night- rented the Just Dance kids version from library. It was so fun. Try it if you have Wii.
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