Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Reading Program...

Mason, Kate and I went to the Coralville Public Library tonight to sign up for the summer reading program.  Before going into the library we checked out one of the Book Marks statues at the Coralville library.  It is an innovative public art project celebrating reading, and writing.  It was really neat!
I have really found memories of my childhood library and reading, as mentioned in past Blogs.  Summer Reading Programs to me are the essence of summer reading.  I once heard this mom in a library in our town say, loud enough to be heard by those around her, " I don't want (lets say) Johny to be signed up for the summer reading program.  I don't believe in them"  She was saying this to either her mother in-law or mother, as best as I could decipher from their interactions.  I think my jaw probably dropped open because I wondered what she had against summer reading programs.  They are a way to have kids stay active with reading, and like my book club, make you read some topics you would never think of reading (nonfiction, art books, poetry, etc).  Mason and Kate were totally excited about signing up.  Both of them picked out an "adopt a pet".  It is a beanie baby that comes with a spiral notebook and you are encouraged to write a story, diary entry and/or draw a picture about your time with your pet.  Kate got a bunny and Mason got an ant eater.  The best part of the night was after we had checked out books and was getting to walk out the door Mason said, "mom aren't you going to sign up for the reading program".  Yep- I forgot and so dutifully walked over to the adult sign up table to put my name down to read 6 books by August.  Well better get to bed and get reading. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wedding weekend #2

Diana and Jason Palmer were married at 4pm on Saturday in downtown Des Moines.  It was a fabulous ceremony and reception.  Kate was the flower girl and Matt was a groomsmen.  Kate wasn't keen on the walk down the aisle, but the rest of the service, night she really enjoyed.  How many flower girls do you know get to play with big bubbles at the Des Moines Science Center during the reception ?
The kids had their own room filled with hands on exhibits for kids.  They also had their own dining table (chicken fingers, fries and fruits).  Each kid had their own candy box for a after dinner treat.  We really had a great time.
It was fun catching up with college friends we hadn't seen in a very long time and the PKT's that attended the wedding had a good time being rowdy together.

The kids stayed out until 10pm and were shuttled home by Papa Chris and Grandma Randy.  Matt and I stayed out later and I felt it the next day.  I think I've hit my limit for weddings this year :).  We are so happy for Diana and Palmer and thank them for letting us all be apart of their big day.

week 5

Running this week: 4, 4, 8- step down week for me.  Last week was a little challenging with a 10 miler on Thursday a.m. that was done in some wind and I produced a headache mid run (Dehydrated :)).  I was suppose to do a tempo 35 min last week.  That to me means run faster so I tried to run a faster 4 miler on Saturday a.m. and it felt faster, but really wasn't (still 10 min miles).  I also got on the bike last Friday pulling Kate behind me and road to the library and back.  I felt the burn in my quads reminded me I was someone who hasn't biked for 6 months on a real bike, spin not included.  So I'm again reminded me that my weakest part of the tri is my biking so I will start to purposefully schedule bike times every week.  Already did my bike this week- today- family jaunt to Target and then Sonic for junior sundaes for kids and a small slushy for me.  Matt is staying true to his "no dessert" goal started right after the New Year so he just watched us eat and drink our treats.  Hope everyone got outside today- we did and it felt great.  Off to get some rest because tomorrow 5:30 wake up call will come to soon :). 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Planning...

So as usual I have a lot of lofty goals for the summer for both me personally and our family/kids.  I'm sharing with you all because maybe then I will follow through on a few of them.

Personal- so you have heard it before, but summer goal would be to train for both Chicago and the mini-sprint triathlon in Oswego (August 7th), try to up my reading and avoid  watching all the reality crap t/v shows I do ( no real housewives of NY for me :)), and lastly try to enjoy the outdoors more (gardening, eating out side, entertaining outside and going places that require you to be outside- see below under fam).

Kids- Mason: READ, READ, READ.  he loves being read too, but is not as keen on reading out loud or learning how to read on his own.  I have asked for advice from one friend who is a teacher and is getting certification as reading specialist ( i think that's the title), my mother in-law the elementary school principal who has access to many resources, and Mason's Elementary school librarian.  I'm creating a work book of pages with writing exercises and now in the process of finding some math pages to tuck in with the reading and writing. Kate and Mason both have activities for the two of them I've found on the Color with leo site (colorwithleo.com) that's leonardo davinci .  They are activities that involve art in relation to different themes and artists. 

Family- I.C. park and Rec summer catalog has a page with all the iowa city park facilities around I.C.  I would like to make it a goal to try to get to as many of these parks as possible.  It would be fun to bike to as many of them as we could.  I would like to go camping, just the four of us, for our first time and possibly squeeze in a second outing before school starts.  Matt and I liked camping pre kids, but have really dropped off with camping since having Mason 6 years ago.  To go along with my theme in avoiding unnecessary junk TV I too would like to avoid junk tv for our family, now that doesn't include watching a good family movie with each other once in awhile :). 

We'll see how the above goes and what I really get accomplished.  In my search for summer reading ideas for the kids I came upon this blog  that seems right up my alley so I share it with you: http://readingyear.blogspot.com/  It has some great reading ideas that some of you who read my blog may be interested in.  Also, I recently wrote about the book Run Like a Mother.  One of my friends told me the two authors have a blog so check that one out too:  http://anothermotherrunner.com/.  Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In Cold Blood and My Bookies...

Tonight I hosted our 8 year anniversary of book club.  My book club meets once a month on the last Wednesday of the month, except for the month of December- we take a break over the holidays.  I love my book club for so many reasons.  I mostly love my book club because of my bookies- they are some of my favorite peeps.  We have a wide age range and also a wide range of readers.  I mean some read 3-4 books/month and some are lucky to get our book for book club done in the month.  It is not pretentious or high faluten, but I do feel we cover varied genres of reading.  Here is a list of the books we have read this past year.
June 2010    The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larssen
July 2010     Shit My dad Says by Justin Halpern
Aug 2010    The Lolita Effect by M Gigi Durham
Sept 2010    The Help by Katrhyn Stockett
Oct 2010     Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenenger
Nov 2010   Back Roads by Tawny O'Dell
Jan 2010     Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Feb 2010   Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx
Mar 2010  Why my 3rd Husband will be a dog by Lisa Scottoline
Apr 2010   Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
May 2010   In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

The top 3 picks for this past year, when bookies were polled tonight,  were: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, Cutting for Stone

This past month we read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and I enjoyed it. I picked it because I knew about it being a classic, but had never picked it up.  It is a true story about a family of four who were murdered back in the late 50's in their farm house in Holcomb Kansas. Truman Capote goes to Kansas to interview the two men accused of the crime.  The story is about those two men and also the family they are accused of killing.  The story is riveting, suspenseful and written well.  Read to me like historical fiction even though it is nonfiction.

Here is a pic of some of the bookies, some were not present at tonight's book club, but this is a pretty good showing for our group.  I let the girls know before posting this that they would be a part of the blog- no one jumped ship before i took the pic :)- actually before Matt took the pic.  These women again are very special to me and have helped me open books that I never would have picked on my own.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chicago Wedding...

My sister in-law, Abby, got married this past Saturday to Mike.  The wedding took place at Volo a wine bar/restaurant in Roscoe Village Chicago.  It was a small wedding, but the smallness of the group I think made it that much more special.  The service/ceremony was one of the most personal (not cheesy though) ceremonies I've ever been too.  Abby and Mike both wrote their own vows and had Matt's Uncle Russ read a poem that is Mike's favorite (was very touching).  Needless to say I shed some tears throughout the ceremony because of just how beautiful and truly lovely the two of them looked.

Kate and Mason had their parts in the wedding.  Kate did a good job, for an almost 3 year old flower girl- she wasn't keen on walking down the aisle with the other flower girl, but she gladly took my hand and I held her or Matt held her during the ceremony- she had a great view. We (Matt and I) both stood up with Abby, as Mike's brothers stood up on his side during the ceremony.  Mason did a great job handing over the rings and got to sit right up front with grandma Randy and papa Chris after his duty was done.  The best part of the night was probably the show Kate put on on the dance floor.  She was doing her own thing- some might call it the ELAINE 2 (reference to Elaine dance from Seinfeld), but she put her own spin on it by moving to the beat.  By the end of the night other adults were doing the "Kate".  Wish I had shot video of her and could put it in this blog for you.  Maybe I'll try to do that this coming weekend for wedding part 2- Des Moines, Iowa- where her godfather Palmer and his bride Diana will get married.  Kate's wearing the same dress, just different bow.  Pretty amazing that her Aunt Abby also her godmother and her godfather Palmer happen to be getting married within 1 week of each other.  Here are some pics of my gorgeous children from the weekend wedding.  Kate really did look so sweet, and Mason, as one of Abby's good friends pointed out, he looks so 6 years old with his short haircut and missing teeth.  It was a great weekend and I'm again so pleased to be apart of Mike and Abby's big day.  They both really radiated their love for each other.

Week 4

5, Tempo 35 minutes, 9 miles is suppose to be the schedule this week, but I will likely do 4 miles, Tempo 35, and 10 mile.  Sometimes it works (due to my already planned running loop for the long one this week) to run the extra mile with the long run and shorten up the mid week runs.  Last week worked well and so hope this week I can cram the runs into already busy schedule: Birthday party, book club, and wedding in Des Moines.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week 3

This past week was a step down week, which felt almost too easy (3,3,5).  However, then I started looking at our next two weeks/weekends of activities and schedules and realized I needed to rethink when I was going to do my long runs, because the next 2 Saturdays are out due to 2 great weddings.  So this week my schedule is suppose to be 5, 3P, and 9.  I got the big run right away out of the way by running 10 miles today, late morning, with running partner Melanie.  She is getting ready to do her 1/2 marathon in Madison so she ran 12, but I slacked off at 10 :).  I didn't slack off, I'm playing it smart and sticking to my training schedule because I'm getting old and foresee a injury in my future, which I would never want to blame on over training or pushing too early too soon.   So now just have two more runs to get in before we leave for Chi town on Friday at 12pm.  I also am going to go swim sometime this week, since I signed up for the mini-sprint Triathlon in Oswego for beginning of August.  I'm a little intimidated by the longer lanes at the Campus Rec and Wellness center, but I have to try sometime. 

Terrarium update- the plants are dying/dead with mold on them.  Mike, soon to be brother in-law, said it could have been one of the plants had infection and spread to others or too many plants in confined space or not the right kind of plants.  My mom reports hers are not moldy, but does notice a lot of condensation.  I'm going to start a fresh and will again send pictures.  I've heard from half of you which report not getting pictures via blog email update and 1/2 say other than the terrarium you have received all other pics.  If you want to see the pictures- which I think sometimes make the blog go to chattynatty.blogspot.com.  Hope everyone had a lovely Sunday. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Friday...

Kind of have no one purpose for today's blog, but have several things want to "chat" about.

First, one of my blog readers informed me that none of the terrarium pictures got sent with the email alert some of you receive.  It made me wonder if you get any of my pictures.  Please let me know if you are getting the pictures- it makes the message more meaningful to have pictures- I think.

In regard to terrarium- my plants are dying- and worse I fear are my mother's.  My mom is in the process of moving her office so hard to get ahold of so I'll check in with the life of her plants this weekend.  My soon to be brother in-law is visiting tomorrow and I'm hoping he will be able to shed some life on what I did wrong with the  terrarium- otherwise it is back to the drawing board or else just go with a open air terrarium. 

Random "chat" number 2- Today I came upon a blog that initially had me so interested and excited about its content.  It is called Planner Perfect- Here is the writer's scoop on her idea from her blog:

Planner Perfect is a planner that I have created to harness a life that desires to aspire. Forget everything you think of when you think of a traditional planner with all of its "to-do" lists and space for our endless tasks that consume our lives. What about a planner that is set up to create a life where life doesn't pass you by? That actually is there, waiting with blank pages for a more abundant life scripted by a creative author? One of the fundamental differences between task managers and Planner Perfect is this: Planner Perfect is a place where you can be creative and goal oriented about your life. It is set up to inspire you to dream and project what you want your life to look like tomorrow, a month from now, to a year or two in advance. Examples of such goals include: your emotional and physical health, what you want your days to look like, your holidays, wardrobe, weekly menus and most importantly, goals for your dreams. The beauty of the planner is the feeling you get that comes from being in control over your own life versus the feeling of being out of control and led by all the daily tasks of life. It's your life! Make it the way you want as though you are writing a book. Scaling down your life because a busy life is no life at all... and on those blank pages of your planner, is where you write what you want your life to look like and the steps you need to take to get you there.

 My mother is the inspiration for this planner. Her planner was a plain ordinary notebook; what was scripted inside is what made the notebook and her life amazing. I have always emulated her with her planning but I took it a step further and transformed her notebook into Planner Perfect in a way that any woman can use with ease. My e-book pages are written to help you assemble your very own Planner Perfect, or if you decide to purchase through Planner Perfect, to help you use your new planner to the fullest. I hope to give you the feeling through inspiration and example, that I am right there with you guiding you very step of the way. I hope that you enjoy your new planner to the fullest and find it to be simply… Planner Perfect!
Sincerely,
Jenny Penton
 
The wording in red is what really sold me on the planner idea.  However, when I really started looking into it I found her Planner was for sale for $50, and it is a planner (large 3 ring binder with whole year of calendar, goals/dreams pages, and daily pages).  However, this isn't really applicable to me because I would need something portable to be with me both at work and home and no way I'm lugging that thing around.  So she has a smaller version for $40.  Again I started thinking maybe I could just make my own planner and make it small enough to fit in small purse.  So this is on my "to do" list for the next week.  I'll let you know how it turns out. If some of you readers already have a great idea about the above and it won't cost me $50 let me know.
 
Random "chat" 3-  Siri Hustvedt recently wrote an essay in Allure (free subscription not my type of mag) May 2011 called "Dreaming in the Dark".  The author talks about how her style came from watching film heroines- Katharine Hepburn (one of my all time favorites) so I read the essay and found some great lines which I think some of you will see yourselves in as I have seen myself...
We enter characters in novels, too, and imagine ourselves in their stories and in whatever costumes they may have on during their adventures, and it is possible for us because we do not have to look at ourselves while we are doing it.  When we are invisible to ourselves, every transformation is possible.  Movies give visual form to our myriad waking dreams.  The marvelous people on the screen (or book) take the place of the mirror for a while, and we see ourselves in them.
 
Random "chat" 4- the following is "On Being Mom" by Anna Quindlen one of my book club friends gave it to me back in 2006, actually May 22, 2006 to be exact and I keep it in my nightstand next to my bed as a reminder to what "being a mom" is to me and also a reality check.  Hope you find it as truthful and realistic as I do.
 
On Being Mom by Anna Quindlen
If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the blackbutton eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. ALL MY BABIES are gone now.
I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete.

Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations — what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing.

Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.

I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk,too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons.

What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.
It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

After reading this again today it makes me think maybe I should read this everyday and really look at life in a different way.  Life is too short, maybe one of these days what I read will sink in and I will do what I read. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Present...

I couldn't post this earlier, because my mom would've figured out what she was getting for mother's day.  I was at a nurse practitioner conference recently and one of the silent auction items was a closed container terrarium.  I really liked it and the bid went a little higher than I was willing to spend so I just asked how she learned about making the terrarium.  She said a friend and herself put their terrariums together following step by step container garden instruction.  So I figured I could do the same.  The kids helped me make a smaller one for myself and a larger one for my mom.  I was surprised to find the glass containers so reasonable at Walmart.  ($6.97 for small and $9.97 for larger one).  Here are the steps and some pictures from our adventure.  One comment- I think I should've put more activated charcoal in both because there seemed to be quite a bit of condensation.  I've overcome the condensation issue by removing the lid from time to time to let the container air out.  Happy planting. The below step by step process minus pictures and captions is from: http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/terrarium-basics.htm

1. Selecting a container - The container can be almost anything at all. You can choose something dish like to create an open air container or something bottle like to create a closed environment terrarium which is a bigger challenge to make and to maintain.

2. A Layer of course sand or pebbles is placed in the bottom of the container. This allows for good drainage of the water in the terrarium.


3. Activated Charcoal - If you are making a closed container terrarium you should next place a layer of activated charcoal over the pebbles/sand layer. In a closed environment this charcoal will filter the air and keep it fresh. This is the type of charcoal used in aquarium filters so you can purchase it at any pet shop with aquarium supplies. If you are making an open top terrarium there is no need for this charcoal.
charcoal found at pet store- Walmart doesn't carry in their pet area
4. Add a layer of Spaghnum Moss on top. This prevents the soil in your terrarium from settling down into the pebbles. It is kind of a like a filter that will allow the water to filter down but not the soil. If you don't have spaghnum moss a very fine screen will work well here but over time the screen will rust and need to be replaced.
Moss found at Earl May probably the priciest piece of the project considering it came in 8 x 11 size envelope for $10

5. Add Soil - Regular potting soil works fine. There is no need to try a fancy mix. But if you are creating a desert scene and using cactus you may want to get potting soil specifically designed for them.

6. Add the plants and or seeds. Care should be taken in this step. You want to arrange things in a way that is pleasing to the eye. You may want to make sketches before you plant. Or you may want to dig some small holes and move the plants around -trying different locations and arrangements.
I'm horrible about knowing the names of the plants I plant- likely never to reach master gardener status


7. Finishing touches - Add ornaments or other decorations. These add a nice touch to your terrarium.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week 2

Overall great work out week.  Yoga Sunday 20 minutes, 4 miles Monday, cross 20 min and core/arms 20 min Wednesday, 7 miles on Thursday and 3 mile run, 3 mile walk along with leisure swimming (few laps) on Saturday.  So onward to week 3- 5, 3,3 miles (this is a step down week hence shorter distance).  I'm thinking- strongly- about signing up for the Oswego sprint Tri I've done in the past.  Last year I was going to do it, but registration for the event closed before I could sign up.  It would be pretty easy to fit in one day of bike and 1 day of swim with my 3 days of running, plus I know it would meet my cross training fulfillment for the marathon.  However, I'm tired today so of course less excited about training more when I'm tired.  So last week was a good work out week, but the "healthy eating" wasn't really in force so back to boot camp this upcoming week- starting with 3 mile run tomorrow a.m.  Hoping for cool/sunny start to my week. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Playlists... but first thing first

So I will get to the real meat of the Post in just a few lines, but wanted to share the following quote. The below is in reference to Gary Williams, Maryland Terrapins men's b-ball coach announcing retirement.

Maryland's Gary Williams is a throwback to an era when coaching meant making good players great instead of babysitting great players for a year or two, writes Dana O'Neil.

I don't know Gary Williams personally, but do know that I think he is an "old school" b-ball coach and based on the above quote think my general thoughts on him are correct.  He is class act who gets the big picture. Now I don't know Dana O'Neil, she could be his daughter just using her married name, but I do think this quote is accurate for describing what is happening to sports.


O.k. back to topic at hand... Music means a lot to me. I remember putting on the records in our Circle Drive East house (my sister and I) and we dancing to "Hooked on Classics", "Lost Horizon", "Sound of Music" and even "Up with People"- all my parents genre.  Music has always had a profound affect on my mood.  I probably should utilize it more in my daily life.  I should probably also get back into playing the piano much more frequently than I do.  I have one Sonatina by Clementi which I can still pound out decently, but my sight reading is less than desirable. O.k.- no really back to topic at hand.  Music means even more to me when it comes to working out.  Music is a total motivator for me.  In the "Run Like a Mother" book they discuss the music/playlist topic.  They discuss the importance of changing it up a bit and also how different music is relevant to different runs.  Here are some excerpts...

In the Chapter Running Partners: friends, indeed...  Jam for the Ladies page 67...
There's something just groovy and empowering about listening to an all-chick playlist on a run.  Or at least we think so....

Here are some of our faves: pg 67
"Jam fo rthe Ladies by Moby
"Long Time Gone" by Dixie Chicks - this is one of my all time favorites been on both my half-marathon and marathon play-lists
"Freeway" by Aimee Mann
"Suddenly I See " by KT Tunstall
"My Moon My Man" by Feist
"Stronger" by Britney Spears
"Power to the Meek" by Eurythmics
"Heartache for Everyone" by the Indigo Girls
"Right in Time" by Lucinda Williams
"Light Enough to Travel" by the Be Good Tanyas
" 4 Minutes" by Madonna
"Disturbia" by Rihana
"Whenever, Wherever" by Shakira
"Head over Heels" by the Go-Go's
"My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson
"Soak up the Sun" by Sheryl Crow
"Surrendering" by Alanis Morissette
"Change" by Tracy Chapman
"I Run for Life" by Melissa Etheridge

In Chapter Speed: Distance Cranking It Up:

Long Playlist for Running Log page 85
"When You're Falling " By Afro Celt Soundsytem
"In the Colors" by Ben Harper
"Catch My Disease" by Ben Lee
"Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution" by the Black Crowes
"The Rising" by Bruce Springstein
"I will Survive" by Cake
"Hard Sun (main)" By Eddie Vedder
"Heaven Right Here (come over to my yard)"  by Jeb Loy Nichols
"Life of the Living" by Jeffrey Gaines
" All these Things that I've Done" by the Killers---- ALL TIME NATALIE RUNNING PLAYLIST PICK I've got soul but I'm not a soldier, I've got soul but I'm not a soldier, I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" Favorite part of the song.
"Down to Earth" by Peter Gabriel
"Skinny Love" by Bon Iver
"Snow (Hey Oh)" By Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Such Great Heights" by Postal Service
"I Don't Feel Like Dancin" by the Scissor Sisters"
"Viva La  Vida" by Coldplay
"Read by Mind" by the Killers
"Ill Go Crazy if I don't Go Crazy Tonight" by U2
"Fill Her Up" by Sting
"Between Love and Hate" by the Strokes
"Blue Ridge laughing" by Carbon Leaf
"Grace is Gone" by Dave Matthews Band
"When Your Mind's Made Up" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
"LA County" by Lyle Lovett
"Scare Easy" by Mudcrutch

OK so I haven't heard of most of these, well I think I haven't heard of them, I'm not real good about knowing the actual name to the songs I listen to, nor the words... However, I intend to look at these on I Tunes and figure out if they are something I need to become familiar with.  New beats/rhythm is helpful in keeping runs fresh, at least I think making new playlists adds to better runs for me personally. 

Here are some of my personal top picks from year's past  and current training.

Hells Bells and Highway to Hell by AC/DC- yes let there be rock!
A Little Less Conversation  by Elvis Presley
Fast as You can by Fiona Apple
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell  - not every song in your playlist hast to be fast/upbeat.  This is not a fast song, but has great/powerful meaning, because Mason was born when this song was playing, plus from Love Actually great movie!
Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root
Long Way Around by Dixie Chicks (again up there with Killers song as top race run or any run for that matter)
Miami by Counting Crows
Unemployed Boyfriend by Everclear
Us by Regina Spektor (again up there with Long Way Around and Killer's song for top motivator for running- great tempo beat with piano)

Happy Listening and if anyone has additional picks let me know.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Run Like A Mother

 Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving- and Not Lose Your family, Job or Sanity by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea

Just finished this book.  It was great!  There are so many great parts/quotes from this book it may take a couple of posts for me to get through them.  The chapters are easy to read, short, and don't only involve these two author's points of view, but also other women who answered a running survey they sent out.  So not to inundate you in one post here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book...

Chapter on Mental Toughness: Training my Brain Dimity wrote
Conveniently for me, I don't think mental toughness needs to be built.  Although I rationally know you have to accept pain in order to get better, I also believe this: As a runner, no matter your level or mileage, you are, by definition, mentally tough.  There's a reason why less than 10% of this country runs, and why the elliptical machines and recumbent bikes fill up at the gym way before the treadmills do.  Running isn't physically enjoyable.  It takes discipline and courage to propel yourself forward faster than a walk.  So whether you come in 5th or 5,000th in a race, realize you have more mental toughness than 99 percent of the people you've encountered in your life.

Chapter on Clothing: Dressing for Success
T-shirt slogans...
"If found on the ground, please drag across the finish line".
"All it takes is all you have".
"Does this shirt make my ass look fast?"

Chapter Running Partners: Friends, Indeed
Running is conductive to frank, sometimes soul-baring conversation in the same way road trips are: When you keep your eyes on the road, you can speak from your heart.

Chapter Children: Managing the Offspring
My mom demonstrated how to be passionate about something, how to delicately weave an activity into your life so that it marks you but doesn't define you.  She showed me you can be a mother, have another job, and still carve out time for yourself.  Although your kids might resent your absence some days, you taking time to run or ride actually teaches them that the world-news to them?- doesn't revolve around them.

I've done this mothering thing for long enough to know that what I want for my kids has little bearing on what they actually want to do.  When I'm intent on us all going to the pool, they want to paint.  When I'm ready to set up the easel, they've moved on to setting up the Slip n'Slide.  As every parent quickly learns, "force" is not a verb that works well with kids.  Still, I'm going to, um, strongly encourage them to find their own version of running, somethingng that alternately challenges and calms them, makes them feel alive and proud, and surrounds them with lifelong friends. 
     When this strategy inevitably fails, I'll turn to the other two signature emotions of parenthood: hope and faith.  I'll hope they stumble into their version of running, as I did into mine.  In the meantime, I'll have faith in the all-to-accurate message from a magnet my mom surreptitiously stuck on my fridge: "Sooner or later, every daughter becomes her mother". Side note this magnet sounds like something my own mother would give me.  Otherwise known as my "payback is a you know what" line.

Ok so maybe I didn't just give you a couple of lines, but this is just the start.  They had some great ideas on speedwork, playlists both short and long runs, too.  That will be entering this blog in the future. For now, enjoy the above and if interested look into picking this book up.  I do think it is a fitting book for mother's day too. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yeah it is Monday!

No really that is how I felt this morning.  Our weekend was less than stellar and I was so excited for it to be Monday.  It was one of those weekends where, yep already said this to many friends, I wanted to go to bed at 12:45 pm on Sunday and wake up and it be Monday.  The adult beverage last night didn't even help out my mood- by the way- I think I am a closet Sunday depressed person- Sundays have always been my downer day in the week.  Church normally helps improve the mood ( it really is just singing songs that I've sung since I was little and really brings utter happiness to my heart- favorite "Beautiful Savior"), but wasn't able to do that yesterday so I went to bed at 9:35 pm (early for me and my love for reading late at night). 

So this a.m. I got up at 5:30, yep a.m.,  tied on the shoes and ran 4 miles before work. My running partner couldn't join me this a.m. and actually I think I needed some alone time to just think the weekend through. I knew I needed that run to start my week off right and I think I was right on that one.  So my reason for posting this post is to say if you are having a tough time/week/day just go to bed early and get up early and run.  That and be able to vent to all of your good friends/family about your crazy weekend. Thanks peeps!

 To put the icing on my totally 360 degree day from the weekend: Kate let Mason sit in the middle tonight to listen to bedtime stories (which NEVER happens- because she always has to be in the middle) and  Mason gave me a sheet that has a big yellow star and flowers on it  (colored by himself) that says To: Mom From: Mason  Thank you for being my "Star".  You are someone I can talk to anytime I am worried, confused or need help! Confirmation and again a sign that someone up above is looking over me and knew I heavily needed that sentiment from my son who is a mini "me".  Well good start to week 2 training, but even better good start to a happy work week.