Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Highlights of 2008

I've decided to give some thought to the highlights of the past year, since I'm thinking about my 2009 goals in the mean time. Here are some that come to mind....

1) I trained for and finished my first half marathon, the City of Oaks Half Marathon on November 2. To do this, I signed up to train with the Raleigh Galloway group, which turned out to be a huge plus. I met a lot of new people with a common interest in running, and that was a lot of fun and very motivating.

2) Although I missed a few road races to early-year injuries and longer-distance training for the half, I did do new (for me) distance races in the 1-mile and 4-mile.

3) I branched out, Web 2.0-wise, and have made some new acquaintances there. In addition to Facebook and BuckeyeOutdoors.com, which I believe I joined last year, I'm now on Twitter, Goodreads, Athlinks, DailyMile, RunningAhead, and LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter have allowed me to learn a bit more about my co-workers, fellow Junior Leaguers, and other runners, and that's been fun. Goodreads has been the latest social community I've joined, and it's inspired me to take the time to read more. In the mean time, a few co-workers are on Goodreads now too. Since we work with books, it's nice to learn about what books they like to read as well.

4) My department at work moved to a different building. It was an interesting process, moving to a place where I'm working for a library, but not in a library. I'd been looking forward to the move, but I've been more pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the new location. It's a nice building, and although I'm not on the main campus anymore, I really like the location. I get to take periodic walks in a neat Durham neighborhood, and I've gotten to try several restaurants I've never been to before for lunch during the week. Amazing what a change of scenery with a coworker for lunch can do to refresh the brain! It's been nice!

5) I finished up my time on the Rice Diet Program back in January. While I've struggled a little bit with the weight since then, I've managed to keep most of it off, and have also stayed off of diabetes and high blood pressure meds since then, which has been a big plus.

6) I've visited several more North Carolina counties for the North Carolina Odyssey Project, the name for my mission to visit, photograph, and blog about all 100 counties in North Carolina. It's been fun seeing and learning more about this state I live in.

7) George and I celebrated 6 years together with a trip to western North Carolina. It was a fun trip, one of the best we've taken. Here's to many more years together!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shaking My Family Tree

Earlier today I drove over the Clinton to do some genealogy research at the public library there. They have a quaint little local history room, which shelves and shelves of books, as well as a cabinet of microfilm, which I have yet to explore like I should. I took my laptop with me, and it was fun to be able to look up people in my database, to see whether or not I had information on them, and to add information right into the computer. I felt very "green" doing that too. I used to go home after a genealogical research trip with copies galore from books I'd found, and sometimes it was hit or miss as to whether or not the information would be useful. Some of the information I found today was a little iffy---I wasn't sure if some of the families I found were related to me, but I suspect that they are. I was able to go ahead and plug the info into my database, ready for when I DO find the missing links! So much fun! One of the things I love about genealogy is gathering the puzzle pieces, then seeing how they fit together!

I've been thinking for years that it would be fun to become a professional genealogist, even as a sideline. It would probably take a while to get the certification and such, though. Even still, with the internet and all the great genealogy websites out there, who hires a professional genealogist these days? So lately, I've been wondering if there's a market for a "genealogy tutor," someone who shows people how to start climbing their own family tree. With so many genealogy programs and websites out there, I wonder if there are people out there who want to do some family history research, but don't know where to start. If so, maybe I could help fill that niche. Food for thought.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Holiday R & R

I've really enjoyed the first week of my vacation. I've gotten a lot of time with family, some with mine and a lot with George's, and that's been nice.

One of the odd things that's come from the time together, though, is that my being a vegetarian has come to the surface during three different meals with George's family, and the comments have been against my shying away from red meat and chicken. Part of what's so odd to me about the issue coming up this week, is that I've been a vegetarian for over two years now, and I've never gotten any "feedback" from them until this week. I need to think carefully about how to respond the next time it comes up, because I don't want to come across as contentious, angry, or finger pointing at them about eating meat. I became a vegetarian for health reasons, and have lost 100 lbs and all my diabetes and blood pressure medications, thanks to the vegetarian diet. His whole family has witnessed my transformation, which is part of why I'm baffled by this sudden "interest," more like concern, in my giving up meat. I've always tried to work my diet around whatevers being served at their home or available on the menu of whatever restaurant the family has gone to, and I've never complained about the food choices. I've enjoyed their company along the way, and have been appreciative when veggies have been available. I hope the comments will pass soon. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can handle this and keep the family peace?

Another "odd" thing that's come from the past week is that George, his brothers, and first cousin have taught me how to play a game called Star Munchkin. It's a fun game that involves strategy, and interaction with the other players, sometimes helping--but sometimes ganging up on opponents too. So far, each game we've played has been pretty lengthy. Over the weekend, it's been a pretty good investment of time. There's another round of the game on tap for today; as much as I've enjoyed learning the game, I may just let the guys go at it this afternoon! :)

I've also been reading a lot the past week, and have finished a few books so far. I may finish another this afternoon, especially if I don't get sucked into Star Munchkin again! I've gotten some good ideas for reading material from Goodreads.com, and have gotten back into the habit of utilizing the local public library. I've ordered a few books from Amazon.com over the holidays, but mainly I've been putting books on hold through the library's online catalog, and having them routed to the library branch closest to me. Problem is, I've seen so many things I want to read, and put holds on them, that I've got a pretty sizeable stack of books from the public library to work through. That normally wouldn't be a "problem," except that I've done the same thing at the university library I work for! In a nutshell, I'm realizing I may have a book addiction! I love having books around! At least I don't feel like I have to OWN a lot of books, though I have quite a few. I do enjoy having a lot of books around to choose from when I finish one book and need a new one to start. I also like having several books going at one time, usually a variety of fiction and non-fiction, so that I can pick up whatever I'm in the mood to read at the moment. I didn't always read that way; I used to finish one book before I started a new one. Now, I love the variety...though sometimes I'll get on a kick to finish more than one book before I add to the "in-progress" pile.

I've also gotten a good bit of running in over the holidays, including a 7.15 miler at the American Tobacco Trail yesterday. My running goal for December was to run 100 miles, and it looks like I'm going to break that mark soon--a good thing since the month is coming to a close soon!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Although I'm on vacation, I woke up over an hour ago, and couldn't get back to sleep! I guess that's a throwback to my childhood! I got up and stretched out on the couch to finish a book by Jeff Galloway about running half marathons, so the day's already off to a good start!

I'll go to the gym soon, while George continues to snooze! Later, we've got plans to eat at an Indian restaurant, and then it's off to Goldsboro to see my uncle. Dinner plans are with George's family in Cary.

Tuesday night, we celebrated Hanukkah with George's family, and last night we went to our church for the annual soup supper between Christmas Eve services. (I took a veggie chili that was almost eaten up!) Oddly enough, we decided not to stay for the second service, but came home instead and relaxed. We both enjoyed that.

I have presents to open from my sister and her California-based family, who shipped things to me ahead of their holiday trip to Fiji. I can't wait to see what the gifts are, but I love the anticipation of wondering here at Christmas. My parents and I will celebrate the holiday later, when they return to Durham in January.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finally, the Finale

George and I watched the finale of "The Biggest Loser" last night, though we'd threatened not to. One contestant, Vicky, who I've posted about recently, but a big game player this season, but a big turn-off for us. Her game-player moves were not very entertaining, and ended up having plenty of watchers, it turns out, rooting against her. My main mission last night was to see that she didn't win the game. In the light of day (though the sun hasn't risen yet this morning!), that was a silly reason to waste two hours in front of the television. I was thinking all this when I got out of bed this morning, and George said to me, "I'm done watching "The Biggest Loser!" I could've been doing other things!" I totally agree! That's a huge chunk of time to give to a TV show, when there are many other things I want/need to be doing! Maybe I'll tape it next season and watch it some when it fits my schedule, but maybe I'll just let it slide. I'm tired of thinking about that show now, though, and I'm glad the seasons over. Time to go exercise, myself!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Late Birthday Celebration

Yesterday, George and I celebrated my birthday a little late, but we had a wonderful afternoon and evening!

We started with the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It was a fascinating and well-done exhibit, and it was interesting to learn some of the Duke connections to it. (For instance, in/around 1950, they were on exhibit in Duke Chapel, and Duke had a chance to purchase them, but didn't.) Afterward, George and I had dinner at the Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh. We'd been there once before, for Sunday brunch, so it was nice to eat there for an evening meal. We both got the same veggie dish, which was yummy! Afterward, we went to Brier Creek to see the movie, "The Secret Life of Bees," which I really enjoyed! I'd read the book recently, in hopes of seeing the movie soon. Queen Latifah did a nice job in her role, as did Dakota Fanning. (Little Dakota is growing up!) All in all, a really fun day with George!

It's a busy weekend, overall! Friday night, George's family treated me to dinner at Lucy 32's as a late birthday present, and tonight we're going to the Raleigh Galloway running group's end-of-year party. Tomorrow night we're having a church group over, so we're cleaning and shopping for that this afternoon too.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Old Habits, New Habits

A few weeks ago, I started posting weekly goals here, and then reporting on my progress. I haven't done that in a while, but some of those weekly goals have continued to become habits. Some of the other items have fallen by the wayside, for some reason or another, so perhaps it's time to reassess.

On the plus side, I've continued to finish at least one book a week. If I push a little, I'll complete more than one. I've continued to have fun tracking my reads on the site Goodreads.com, which has helped me to keep on going with this goal. Since it's a social networking site as well as a book-tracking site, I've "friended" several friends on Goodreads, and it's been fun to see what they're reading as well. When I go to others' homes, I'm often drawn to their bookcases--to me, the books on someone's bookshelves tell me something about them.

I've also continued to increase my running mileage as I train for the Coach Bubba 20K in Durham in February.

I'm keeping up with my family tree data input on a weekly basis, even if it's just a few names a week. I know I'll never totally be done with my family tree, but making progress brings me satisfaction.

Meanwhile, my weight loss plans have plateaued, and I haven't kept up with trying a new dish (cooked by yours truly) each week. I've also unsubscribed from the FlyLady emails (for apartment cleaning), which got to be too much to keep up with. So, these are things I'd like to concentrate on in the future. Maybe the trick is to integrate things more slowly, or to try different approaches.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Our Boone Vacation

George and I had a wonderful vacation the last week in October! We used Boone, North Carolina, as our home base, and did a lot of exploring in the northwest corner of the state.

It started snowing the night we arrived, and it was still spitting snow when we woke up the next morning! It was pretty, but didn't get in the way of getting out and about.

This picture was from a little later in the day. It cleared up nicely, and we had a fun time exploring.

One of our first stops was at New River State Park in Jefferson (Ashe County). It had a wonderful visitor center, with various exhibits and a short film. I was determined to have more pictures taken of us this trip, so one of the staff members graciously agreed to take a picture of us out on the back deck of the center. George's short sleeve shirt shows how much the weather cleared up from earlier in the day!

As we continued on our travels, we passed this bail of hay and had to stop for a picture! Remember, this was the week of Halloween!

Across the street was a field of pumpkins--I assume this is what a pumpkim patch looks like!

On our way to visit Galax, Virginia, we saw this Tastee Freeze on the outskirts of town. George had never actually seen a Tastee Freeze, so we stopped for a picture. He'd seen it mentioned in a book he'd read, so he was excited to get a picture.

Here's a picture of downtown Galax. It's a quaint mountain town, and we really enjoyed exploring it. We had a nice lunch there and ducked into a bookstore for a while.

At one of our stops on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we enjoyed looking at this sign, which pointed out various mountains and spots we could see from that particular vantage point. On the far right section of the sign, it told us we could see North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Here's the real live shot of that area of the mountain range. Pretty cool, huh?

Although it was getting toward the end of day, and we were tired, George willingly went along with me to to see St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Jefferson. It's a charming church with a fresco painted by Benjamin F. Long.

Another interesting stop during our time in the Boone area was at Shatley Springs Inn. The lady at New River State Park suggested we try to do lunch there one day, and we did! While "family style" country food is their specialty, we were able to order single dishes, which worked out well.

George and I also stopped at Mt. Jefferson State Park, and hiked up one of the easier trails. Bound and determined to have more pictures of the two of us, George took the shot on the left. The shot on the right, if I have my sequencing right, is one of the shots from the trail we took.

Toward the end of our vacation, we visited Blowing Rock, the tourist attraction, as well as the town. This is one of our favorite shots of us from the week. "The Blowing Rock" is behind us there.

After visiting the park, we walked around the town of Blowing Rock. I got a cute "Life is Good" t-shirt there at a shop called Jakes at the Rock, which is dedicated to Life is Good products. Very cute store! The sign on the left was in downtown Blowing Rock as well, and I thought it was very cute.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"The Biggest Villain"

I've watched the reality show, "The Biggest Loser," since its inception, intrigued by the courage of the contestants to be weighed weekly on national television. While each participant has been able to put their life on hold, at least until voted off of the show, to exercise and eat healthy with a group of like-minded people on national TV, it's been interesting to watch. This season, though, I've been turned off by one contestant in particular, because I haven't like the way she's "played" the game. George and I have watched the show together, and totally agree with each other on this, but I figured we were the only ones out there turned off by her game play. Well, I was glad to see a blog on Yahoo, and ensuing comments, about that contestant's performance on the show so far. If you're a "Biggest Loser" watcher like I am, read the blog post here and let me know whether you agree or disagree.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Getting Back Into Routine

It feels good to be back into the routine of the gym and work, I just wish I felt better. As much as I enjoy down time, and doing different things, I miss my routines after a while, and am usually relieved to get back to them. Does anyone else feel this way?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life is a Highway

This weekend I've been thinking about how much I'm enjoying reading again. I'm soaking up more books than usual, and it's been an interesting ride!

I think it started as a desire to reclaim my bookshelves at home, which are overflowing with books, many of them checked out from the university library where I work. My unit processes many of the incoming books, and as I see titles that look interesting, I put a request on them, and they land in my chair or box at work, checked out to me, even! My current due date for most of them is in May 2009, so unless one of them gets recalled, there's no pressing deadline. Thankfully, I've recently picked up the pace on my own, reading several books at a time (nothing unusual there), and actually finishing several.

Of course, more reading means less time on other things. Right now, I'd say reading time is being taken from away from computer and television time, not a bad thing! Other than being sick the past few days, my exercise time (which is non-negotiable when I'm well) hasn't suffered.

I have been wondering a bit about what my next big time shift will be. Sometimes life has a way of dictating that, but most of the time I tend to feel like I'm in the driver's seat of my life. As I wind down my last active year as a Junior League member (which ends in May) and as a Worship Associate at church (which ends in August), I'm thinking that next "school year" will be a great time to pick up something new. Some things I've been thinking about include training for a marathon, learning a martial art and working my way up the belt ladder, and learning how to knit or crochet. I think that the marathon training and knitting could be worked before then, but the martial arts classes would take more time than I'm willing to commit right now. Still, all three potential interests I've mentioned are things I've been thinking about for a while and just haven't been able to shake. (Ever get that way?)

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Thanksgiving Holiday

I've been looking forward to this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with hopes of spending lots of time of family, as well as getting errands and chores done. Well, I started feeling a little icky on Tuesday, but hoped the slightly sore throat was just a passing thing. Wednesday I woke up feeling even worse, but chugged through a short workout, and left work at lunchtime. I'd planned to have it as a vacation halfday, perhaps to run errands, or to shop for a new dress and get a much overdue manicure. Well, I picked up lunch to go and went straight home to bed. I eventually checked my temperature--101.2! Ick!

I'd signed up for the Inside-Out Sports Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Cary on Thursday morning, and was looking forward to seeing Simon and Jake Weinstein (George's uncle and cousin) there, but I knew that the race was out of the question by this point. Before the night was out, my temp had climbed to 102.2.

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling better, and my temperature stayed below normal all day. My throat still hurt a little, but I felt well enough to join my parents and George's extended family for dinner at the Washington Duke Inn, which was just lovely. The company and the food were great!

This morning, I'm still fever-less, but my throat sure is being pesky. It doesn't feel like strep throat (believe me, I've been there!), it's just being pesky, and my voice has that raspy, throaty sound. Perhaps with another day of rest, it'll be better too.

Meanwhile, I've managed to do a lot of reading already, and George and I watched a chunk of the "House" marathon on the television yesterday.

I have had a chance, too, to think about all the things I have to be thankful for in the past year, and in general, and that's been nice. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My (Virtual) Bookshelf

Last evening I finally finished entering the books I've kept track of reading over the years into the website Goodreads.com, and it's been a revealing experience!

Since college, I've kept a list of many of the books I've read in the back of whatever journal I was writing in at the time, and I'm so glad I did that! I listed title, author, and date finished, but I didn't add any stars, synopsis, or review. I just know I read those books. While the lists were inconsistent, as my journal writing has been, it was a great walk down Memory Lane to enter all those books into one list. It showed me that I have read a lot of mysteries, several books about education/teaching (from my teacher days), a few books on Type 2 Diabetes (before it became controlled with diet and exercise), a number of books on running (now that I'm a runner again), and a rash of classics and current literature. I don't remember the plots of a number of the books I've read in the past, and I know current list is incomplete, but at least now what I have is consolidated.

As great as technology is, I'm thankful that I've kept paper records, not just of books I've read, but portions of my life through the journals as well.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last Week's Goals Revisted

Okay, so it's Sunday afternoon, time to look at my goals for this past week.

1) Finish a book.

I actually finished five books last week, which sounds more impressive than it really is! Two of the books were already in progress, one was a book of poetry, one was a photography book, and the other was a combination of journal entries and artwork. Thanks to discovering the Goodreads website, I'll be able to keep track of the books I've read more easily, I think. The titles were:

-The Secret Life of Bees (favorite of the week)
-Figure Studies: Poems
-Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous (disappointment of the week)
-1000 Journals Project (surprising delight of the week)
-Images of a Girl, Images of a Woman

2) Run at least 16 miles.

I ended up with a total of 21.34 running miles for the week! I'm a bit tired, but feeling good about it overall.

3) Try one new recipe.

Last Sunday I tried a vegetable bake recipe from Kraft's website, that included whole wheat pasta, frozen veggies (I used a red, green, and yellow pepper combo from Trader Joe's), and cheese (I used low-fat shredded mozzerella and a little parmesan). The recipe called for two boxes of the whole wheat pasta, and the finished product turned into more leftovers than I'd bargained for. The finished product turned out okay to me, but George raved on and on about it.

4) Work on a cleaning schedule.

I tried FlyLady's emails this past week, which gave me a task a day in the kitchen. On the surface, it seems simplistic, but it helped me stay on task, and the kitchen certainly looks better than it did a week ago. I still need to figure out how George and I can get in sync with a cleaning schedule again. But this was a start.

5) Blog about our October vacation.

I got the pictures uploaded onto a post draft, but I haven't gotten around to putting any words with the pictures. *sigh*

6) Lose at least one pound.

I lost one pound between Sunday and Saturday! Yay! And when I weighed in at Weight Watchers Satuday morning, I was actually down three pounds there from the previous Saturday. My scale at home is definitely different from theirs, but I'll take it all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keeping Track of My Books

I've been on a mission this fall to find a good way to keep track of the books I've read. I started out with the Books application on Facebook, then tried the Visual Books application too. I'd been using both to see which features I preferred. It started feeling like too much of keeping track--the double entry thing and all. I've become more aware of how I spend my time, and how I can streamline some things. I wasn't totally happy with either book-tracking application on Facebook. And of course, one of the issues was having to be on Facebook to use them! So, I pulled up Google, and found some other options. I tried three different book-tracking websites, and have found a favorite! Yay!

1) I think the first one I tried was Shelfari. I like the graphics, and the fact that it seems to be community oriented. There's an option to add friends, but I only have one friend using Shalfari (that I know of). So, it wasn't really pulling me in, making me look forward to logging on. Not initally. Is quick buy-in important? When you're short on time and trying to streamline like me, I think so.

2) Next, I tried LibraryThing, whichs seems comprehensive, and is also building an online reading community. But, alas, no friends on LibraryThing. AND...there's a 200-title limit! Oh, you can add more, but for $10/year, or $25 for a lifetime membership. Nothing to break the bank over, but I could have stayed with Shelfari, or used GoogleDocs, another blog, or something else.

3) Well, that something else has become Goodreads! I've enjoyed Goodreads so much, I've been busy trying to catch up on adding books I've read in the past couple of years. It, too, has the community thing going on, and the ability to add friends. This was the only site that facilitated adding Facebook friends, which made it easier to build my own little community first. It's been fun to see what other people I know are reading and reviewing, and I'm getting good ideas from them as well as people I don't on the website. Meanwhile, it's inspiring me to read more, which is definitely a good thing!

Below is a sample of a cool thing Goodreads does. It doesn't show all of the books I've added as read, just the most recent ones, but it's pretty neat, I think.


Monday, November 10, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

I've been thinking lately that I'd try to participate in National Novel Writing Month when it came around after the first of the year, and see what I came up with. NaNoWriMo, as it's known in shorthand, is an annual event where writers and writer-wannabees (that would be me) work to write a 175-page (that's 50,000 words!) book between the first and the end of the month. I thought I remembered it being early this year, and thought it sounded like a neat idea. On vacation a couple weeks ago, I thought, well, maybe I'll try it early next year. Well, I just found the website, and lo and behold, this year's contest started November 1! Ooops! Okay, so I'm a little disappointed that I missed the deadline for starting this year, BUT this will give me a year to think about a plot (amd maybe do a little research) for next year.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Goals for the Week of November 9

Okay, so I've been back from vacation for a little over a week, and I've got a week of recovery from my first half marathon under my belt. I'm almost caught up from the vacation, but race recovery has been slower. I still feel pretty tired, in fact, so I took last week off from setting any goals. Today, I'm still dragging a bit (especially after running a 5K yesterday, not a big deal by itself, but still being in recovery...).

I'm beginning to think that getting back into the goal routine may help me beat the tiredness (and post-big-goal-finished blahs). So, my goals this week, while familiar, will get me back on track, I'm hoping!

1) Finish a book.

2) Run at least 16 miles.

3) Try one new recipe.

4) Work on a cleaning schedule.

4) Blog about our October vacation.

5) Lose at least one pound.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

City of Oaks Half Marathon

Last Sunday, I ran in my first half marathon, the City of Oaks Half Marathon in Raleigh. It had been a goal of mine for quite a while, and I've been training specifically for this race for several months.

George went with me to the race Saturday morning, and was at the finish line to take pictures of me, (mostly) smiling for the camera. When I finished, I was exhausted, but otherwise not as emotional about finishing as I thought I might be. I was relieved and happy, but mostly exhausted.

A couple days ago, the company that had photographers on the course posted their pictures for the runners of the City of Oaks races (half and full) to access. When I looked at all those pictures of me actually running the course, I choked up! Seeing pictures of me out on the course, and reliving it a bit, was different from seeing shots of me finishing the course.

The picture posted here was my favorite. I like the trees in the background. I'm thinking, though, that maybe I'll try to wear something cuter the next time I'm in a race with photograpers and pictures for sale. ;-) I am glad I wore my pearl earrings, though. It was a way to "dress up" for a special occasion, which this was.

My full report of the City of Oaks Half is on my running blog, and can be read here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

10 on Tuesday: 10 Things I Love Talking About

It's been a while since I've done one of the "10 on Tuesday" memes. This one seems fun and pretty easy. Let me see how it goes....

1) Running
2) Genealogy
3) My project to visit all 100 counties in the state (partly because I like to learn about other people and what they find interesting about our state)
4) Where people are from (something I find interesting in general...it tells me something about them--not only locations, but how they feel about being from "there")
5) A good book (especially when I find someone else has read the same book, or a recommendation for a good book)
6) Duke football
7) Duke basketball
8) Libraries
9) Favorite movies and TV shows
10) Diet/weight-loss tips (depending on the person)

Okay, these are what came to my mind first. Other ideas may pop into my head throughout the day. :) Now, what's on YOUR list of things you love to talk about?!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Home From Vacation

George and I are back from several days in the Boone area, where we had a great time! I plan to blog about it and post more pictures soon, but here's a sneak peak from our first full day there.

It snowed the night we arrived, and we awoke to a pretty dusting the next morning!

It cleared up nicely that afternoon, and we had nice weather for the rest of our stay!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Goals Revisited

Since George and I will be heading to Boone in the morning for a short vacation, I decided to go ahead and recap my goals for this past week.

This Past Week's Goals:
1) Cook one new recipe this week.

I tried some low-fat pumpkin bread (see previous post), but it didn't turn out very well. I decided not to take it to work, but George said it was okay, and ate some of it. Perhaps he was just being sweet. :)

2) Start my Control Journal notebook (see FlyLady.net)

I found the Control Journal I started a couple years ago, and tore out the outdated pages. I haven't gotten any farther than that.

3) Continue with reading, weight loss, genealogy, and getting-to-bed goals, as a habit takes about a month to take hold, I've heard.

I didn't finish a book this past week, but I made progress on the one I'm reading. I should get even more reading done this next week.

I'm up .8 of a pound since last Sunday, but I had a large weight loss last week. I was down for the previous week at this past Wednesday's Weight Watchers meeting. One thing I've learned is that weight loss is a fluid process, and requires persistance and patience. Sometimes the body reponds in quirky and unexpected ways. I'm continuing to log my foods and exercises in FitDay.com, which has been interesting and motivating, so perhaps that will show me some patterns in time.

I continued to get in bed by 11, but may need to do better than that if I continue my running ways after the City of Oaks Half Marathon a week from today.

I made some good progress on my genealogy database this past week, mostly in the cleanup catagory. Several months back, I accidentally merged someone else's gedcom file in with my own, and had a lot of database clean-up to do, including deleting duplicate people and editing all the occupations from the other file that ended up in location fields. (For example, someone who WAS a doctor looked like he/she had a practice IN Doctor.) Now the database is a lot more normal looking, and I feel like I can move forward without worrying about that clean-up anymore.

Since George and I will be on vacation this week, I won't make any goals except to have fun and relax!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Sawdust

I decided to bake some low fat pumpkin bread with walnuts Thursday evening, with the hope of taking it into work Friday morning. I went to two grocery stores to get everything, and was psyched about trying a new recipe.

I decided to change things up a little (creative and healthy cooking!) and use brown sugar instead of white, and whole wheat flour instead of white. The recipe already called for egg substitute instead of real eggs.

The outcome tasted, in my opinion, like pumpkin sawdust! And I like whole wheat stuff in general. This is one case where the batter was way better than the finished product!

I think part of the problem is that the Refectory has set a high standard for pumpkin bread! I'll just have to keep trying.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Goals for This Week (and How I Fared Last Week)

This Week's Goals:
1) Cook one new recipe this week.

2) Start my Control Journal notebook (see FlyLady.net)

3) Continue with reading, weight loss, genealogy, and getting-to-bed goals, as a habit takes about a month to take hold, I've heard.

Last Week's Goals:
1) Check out FlyLady.net and see if I can buy into.
I decided to work on some of the things FlyLady incorporates, but not go "whole hog" yet. I plan to start with the "Control Journal" first, which consolidates a number of things into one notebook, like schedules, routines, emergency numbers, and an address book.

2) Get in bed by 11:00 every night
Accomplished this goal Sunday through Friday nights, though it was right on the dot one night, and I felt it the next day.

3) Finish at least one book.
I finished two books again this week, a book of poetry called Sea Level, by Angela Leighton, and a current events book, The Return of History and the End of Dreams, by Robert Kagan.

4) Plan mountain vacation with George.
We've decided where we're staying and some of the things we'll do. Can't wait!

5) Lose 1.3 lb. this week.
Lost 3.8 lbs this past week-wohoo! I'm not surprised, really, as I had some interesting dieting revelations and activities last week, which I blogged about on my running blog here.

6) Add at least 5 names to my genealogy database.
Input about 15 names this week.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Busy Weekend

Boy, we've had a busy weekend! We didn't plan for it to be so busy away from home--it's just worked out that way so far.

George and I attended the Duke-Miami football game this afternoon, and my mom took a picture of the two of us to commemorate. Duke had a really good first half, but things started going downhill after the break, and Duke lost 49-31. Oh well. One of the highlights there was getting to meet the father of Desmond Scott, a top running back in North Carolina, who plays for Hillside High School in Durham and has committed to Duke for the next school year. (Wish he could've suited up this afternoon!)

Before the game, the Duke Libraries sponsored a Home Movie Day, where people from the comminity could bring old home movies to show on a number of projectors set up in different sections of the Rare Book Room. I let Mom know about it before they came to town, and she brought 30-40 old 8mm and super 8mm reels of film to show. George and I joined her at the library, and got to see a number of the films. It brought back a lot of old memories, including vacations to North Carolina and Disney World (this is when I lived in Alabama), birthday parties, holiday celebrations, a ballet recital, Girl Scout camp, church youth group, various pets, a Japanese tea party, and family get-togethers. (And those were just the films we had time to see before the football game!) Mom got some good advice and a recommendation for someone local who will transfer the films to DVD, and I really, really hope she does it!

Last night, George and I joined his family for a spur-of-the-moment dinner in Cary, which I really enjoyed. I happened to sit next to Papa, George's grandfather, at the dinner table, and he shared with me a story about his then-girlfriend (later wife for a gazillion years until she passed away earlier this year), whom he took barnstorming in Black Mountain while they were still dating. She didn't tell him until afterward that it was her first airplane ride! That was an interesting insight into her personality.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goals for the Week (and How I Did Last Week)

Goals for this week:

1) Check out FlyLady.net and see if I can buy into (Bigger goal here: become more organized)

2) Get in bed by 11:00 every night (Trying to establish a habit here.)

3) Finish at least one book (Trying to form a habit here too, and also working on decreasing the number of library books I have stacked up in my home office! )

4) Plan mountain vacation with George

5) Lose 1.3 lb. this week (See last week's goals below to explain the oddball number!)

6) Add at least 5 names to my genealogy database (Again, another habit former. I had fun with this one last week! Bigger goals here: maybe putting a family tree book together or one or more lines, maybe joining DAR)

Last week's goals:

1) Lose 2 lbs. Well, if this didn't backfire! I actually gained 1.2 lbs this past week! Yikes!

2) Get in bed by 11:00 each night through Friday. This was a success! The lastest I got to bed was 11:01 one night. I noticed a difference in how I felt at work.

3) Enter at least 5 new names into my genealogy database. I ended up entering 30-40 names between a couple of different lines, and did some database clean-up along the way.

4) Finish at least one book. I ended up finishing two books, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami, and Death in North Carolina's Piedmont: Tales of Murder, Suicide, and Causes Unknown, by Frances H. Casstevens.

I enjoyed the running book a lot, especially since the author is a distance runner, and he wrote from personal experience. He also made some interesting connections between running and his work as a novelist.

Death in North Carolina's Piedmont was is a collection of true and locally "famous" stories of deaths in the North Carolina Piedmont region. The two people I'd heard of before were Tom Dula, who was originally from Wilkes County, where I have relatives, and Z. Smith Reynolds, who was from Winston-Salem, where I used to work. I especially enjoyed the story about Smith Reynolds, as I'd heard he'd died under suspicious circumstances, but I'd never learned how.

5) Run at least 21 miles this week. I ended up running 26.02 miles last week, and am a little tired. I'll probably scale it back a bit this week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Post-race Visit to the Farmers Market

After running the Autism Ribbon Run 5K in downtown Raleigh this morning, I passed a sign for the Raleigh Farmers Market on my way home. I've never been to the one there, so I decided to pull off the interstate and check it out. It was much bigger than I expected, with several buildings as well as a restaurant. I didn't look at everything, but I did enjoy walking around for a little while. I'd love to return sometime! Meanwhile, I bought a red bell pepper and some squash.

One of the booths was run by McLamb Farms out of Johnston County, so I stopped and spoke to them. My grandmom was a McLamb from Sampson County, so I don't know if I'm related to those folks, but it was nice to chat.

I also enjoyed looking at the plant section!

Friday, October 10, 2008

How Many of Me?

LogoThere are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Just the Book for Me

A couple of days ago, I decided to see what titles the library I work for has about podcasting, and I was thrilled to see that Podcasting for Dummies was held by the library--and available! I started reading it yesterday, and I think it'll provide a decent introduction to podcasting and give me a good idea about 1) whether or not I really want to do it, and 2) if so, what it takes.

At the 30Threads Blogger Bash I dropped in on a couple days ago, someone I met there mentioned that someone at her work had suggested borrowing library books instead of buying them as a way to be green. I smiled when I heard that, because I'd picked this book up during a visit to Barnes and Noble over the weekend, but put it down and decided to wait. At the time, it hadn't even dawned on me to check with "my" library to see if if was there. Yay!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Quick (sort of) Update

Since I decided to some up with some goals for the week (AND post them to this blog), I must admit that I've felt more focused, just a day after coming up with and posting my weekly goals. I was starting to feel a little stressed and frustrated about how busy this month is turning out to be, and I think I was feeling worn down and a little out of control, at least as far as my schedule was concerned. Ever felt like your schedule was controlling you instead of you controlling your schedule? I was feeling a hint of that.

Goal setting is such a basic thing, and I've done it before, of course, but it's been a while since I've done it for my general life and made the goals public. I have my work goals, of course, as part of my annual evaluation. I have running goals when it comes to participating in road races. I have general ideas in my mind of where I want to go in my life, and sometimes I'll talk with George or others about my goals and dreams. Somehow, though, writing goals down, especially for others--strangers in the blogosphere to see, even, takes them to a different level.

One thing that spurred me to do this was something Scott Smith said on one of his podcasts, either "The Motivation to Move" or "The Daily Boost." (I subscribe to both through iTunes and listen on my iPod.) On the shows, he often asks, "Have you done your homework?" On one recent episode, it really hit home when he asked that question, and talked about doing something weekly toward your bigger, life goals. (I've heard him ask that question any number of times, but it made an impression this time.)

I've made some progress on my goals already, eventhough it's just been a day. I've lost .4 of a pound so far , read several pages in a book I'm working on finishing next, run 7.25 miles so far this running week, and got into bed at 11:01 PM last night. All of that, in addition to work and a meeting last night.

In reality, there are many more goals I could've added to this week's goals list, but I figured I'd set up a short list and see how things go. There can be a fine line between a goal list and a to-do list. My to-do list wouldn't be so entertaining, and there are other venues for that.

While I've got goals on the brain, I've done a couple of things podcast-related. I mentioned that I set up a blog as a placeholder for show notes down the road. Well, I did it here on Blogger, and I learned yesterday that it was tagged and blocked as possible spam, so I had to type in a password-thingy to have it reviewed. Sheesh. I'm not sure why a URL called goingtheextramileopodcast.blogspot.com sounds spam-like. We'll see that the Blogger powers-that-be say.

Meanwhile, I've signed up for a podcast account at podbean.com, and my url is http://goingtheextramile.podbean.com. Since "Going the Extra Mile" is the name of my blog about my personal journey of running, weight loss, and better health, I thought it would be a good name for a podcast too. I'm still a while away from starting a podcast, but it feels good to get started.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Goals for the Week

I've decided to start something new, having goals for each week and posting them here. I'll also post my progress (or lack thereof), either along the way or at the end of the week.

My goals for this week:

1) Lose 2 lbs. (I'll start with my weigh-in this morning, and no, I'm not sharing!)

2) Get in bed by 11:00 each night through Friday. (I'm tired of complaining about being tired!)

3) Enter at least 5 new names into my genealogy database. (I have so much info to enter, and I want to get back into it.)

4) Finish at least one book. (I have so many books checked out of the library that my shelves are overflowing. I've started several of them and am ready for some closure.)

5) Run at least 21 miles this week. (Last week I dipped under 20 miles for the week, and want to catch back up.)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Busy Month

Why does October always seem so busy?! It's one of my favorite months of the year, and it seems like it's been a really busy month for me the past few years.

This past week, for example, I had commitments Monday through Wednesday nights, plus I helped with two training sessions at work. Friday night, George had another overnight test at a sleep clinic. Yesterday I worked my shift at the Junior League's Bargain Sale, then tried to get a long run in, but didn't make it very far. This morning, I attempted another long run before I had to go to church, where I'd signed up to be an evaluator for the second service.

This coming week, I have commitments Monday through Thursday nights, plus I'm signed up for a 5K road race on Saturday morning.

George and I are taking vacation the last week of October, so we need to finish planning that soon! Boy, am I looking forward to the vacation!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Me? A Podcaster?

This afternoon I started pondering what it would take to put together a podcast. Things that came to mind included:

1) Something to talk about
2) Equipment (and how to work it)
3) A website for show notes
4) A home computer with internet access

I have the last two taken care of now, as I just created a placeholder for show notes here on Blogger, and I've got the computer with internet access up and running now.

The first two items on the list have given me more to think about, and research, and think about some more. It's fun to think about, but makes me a little nervous too. :) This feels like a good challenge, whether I get any listeners or not!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Garrison Keillor in Raleigh

Thanks to a Twitter update fron Ginny, George and I headed to Raleigh this afternoon to hear Garrison Keillor talk at the McKimmon Center. We stopped by Quail Ridge Books first to buy our tickets, then got to the venue nice and early.

Keillor, of "Prairie Home Companion" fame, has a new book out called Liberty, and while this was a book promotion, he didn't talk much about his book. He talked for about 50 minutes or so about all sorts of things, and was very entertaining. He even sang some during his talk, and seemed to refer very little to his notes.

After the talk, he entertained a number of questions (including one from George), then stayed to sign books. I'd bought his book, Love Me, before the talk started in hopes of getting the book signed, but it turned out it was going to take a while, so I decided to pass. Looking on the Barnes and Noble, it doesn't look like my choice of Garrison Keelor books is very good. Oh well. I still enjoyed the talk alot!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

10 on Tuesday: 10 Great Things That Happened This Summer

Here are my answers to a new meme (the 10 on Tuesday that I do sometimes). I enjoyed coming up with this list (in no particular order, by the way); it's a really nice recap of my summer.

1) My department moved to another building, and I really like the new building and location (better than I thought I would)!
2) The Olympics--I especially enjoyed watching the swimmers (especially Torres and Phelps)and the runners (especially the men's and women's marathon finishes). I had a hard time staying awake for most of the gymnastics events, and could've done with less volleyball, but all in all, I really enjoyed watching the Olympics this summer.
3) I joined the Galloway training group and started training for a half marathon.
4) I ran/walked 15 miles one Saturday morning with the Galloway group. This is the farthest I've ever gone.
5) My parents and sister visited ERUUF one Sunday when I was the worship associate, and they got to hear me speak.
6) I finally got to visit Merchants Millpond State Park.
7) I was interviewed by two different Korean news teams doing separate documentaries on the health benefits on eating rice.
8) George and I celebrated our first year of living together and renewed our apartment lease.
9) George and I took a vacation to Winston-Salem, enjoyed being a tourist there, and visited with several friends and a cousin.
10) George and I also visited Oxford and Roxboro together on daytrips as part of my NC Odyssey Project. We do make good travel buddies; maybe we should sign up for "The Amazing Race!"

Okay, so what would make YOUR list of 10 great things that happened this summer? :-D

Friday, September 19, 2008

Finding My Way

I found myself at an Evening Prayer service at St. Joseph's Episcopal Church this evening after work, and it was pretty comforting after the day I had. It wasn't the worst day, but not the best either.

I may have mentioned a while back that I applied for a Master Trainer position with the State Library of North Carolina. 16 people were selected, and I learned via email earlier this week that I didn't make the cut. The rejection email offered application feedback, so I decided to take advantage of that. I made an appointment for a phone conversation, and that happened this morning. She gave valuable feedback, for sure, and I feel like her advice will come in handy in the future. I'm just a bit dissapointed. It does have me thinking about what to tackle next, though! I'm not sure which way to go yet, but I don't feel rudderless. I have some good possibilities I'm mulling over, none of which involves moving, changing jobs, or anything like that.
After lunch, I went to a memorial service at the library for a coworker who passed away from cancer a few months ago. I didn't know her very well, but those who did thought very highly of her. I was intrigued, in a morbid way, to learn more about her life. I was really touched by what some of her coworkers had to say about her, I got rather teary-eyed. If I'd known her better, I probably would've been blubbering away. On the way back to my building, it had me thinking (again) about the direction of my life, and which direction I want to go next. I have some things going on, both professionally (mostly training right now) and personally (the half marathon and Junior League are the biggest visible things at the moment). What's next? There are some interesting possibilities out there, but for another blog post.
It seemed eerily appropriate, then, that after the Evening Prayer service at St. Joe's, that a lady I met afterward (who's a Vestry member) gave me a nice canvas bag with the words, "Finding the Way Together" across the front, in addition to the church's name and contact information.
I didn't take it as a sign that I should join this church or anything like that (I'm happy at ERUUF, after all), but I must say that I did enjoy the responsive reading during the 15-minute service, and especially the fellowship afterward, as the people in attendance (uh, 10 or so, not many at all!) shook everyone else's hand in peace and hung around talking for a few minutes. It was all very charming and comforting. As it happens, that church holds Evening Prayer Monday through Friday, and it's about 5 minutes from work, so maybe I'll stop back in on occasion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

10 on Tuesday-10 Simple Things That Make You Happy

Here's another meme from the weekly "10 on Tueday" email I receive, and it's a nice one to think about on a rainy Tuesday!

Here's a list of 10 simple things that make me happy. They're the first things that crossed my mind. Now that my brain is cranking, I keep thinking of more (not a bad thing)! These are in no particular order (although hugs and kisses from George remain high on the list on any given day, not just on Tuesdays!):

Hugs and kisses from George
A good book
A fire in the fireplace
Hot chocolate with marshmallows
A handwritten letter in the mailbox
A good run outdoors
Running a personal best time at a road race
Being in the mountains
The smell of cinnamon-apple cider simmering on the stove

Okay, so what makes your list of 10 simple things that make you happy?

Monday, September 15, 2008

If I Want to Write...

I came across a current printing of the title If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit, by Barbara Ueland, on the processing shelves of our department earlier today, and it piqued my interest. It looks like a classic of sorts for writers, or at least writer wannabees. Since I've wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, (and here I am with a handful of blogs, which I enjoy writing!), I decided to put a hold on this book, for when it makes its way through cataloging and processing to the circulation desk at the library.

What would I want to write? Aside from the Great American Novel, you mean? I've thought about writing a book about my family tree/history. (I imagine it would be just for family.) I'm also thinking it would be fun if my North Carolina Odyssey Project spawned a book of some sort. I've been encouraged to write a book about my weight loss and running. I love to read mysteries, and wonder if I'd be any good at writing them. (I know, I know, one doesn't necessarily lead to the other!)

Are you a writer? If so, I'd love to hear about it! Are you a writer wannabee? Then what are your writing dreams?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Speaking of Faith

I recently added a new (for me) podcast subscription to my iPod called "Speaking of Faith," and it's been a pleasant surprise! Krista Tipett, the host, talks about a variety of subjects (or so it seems, I'm only on my second episode) relating to "religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas." The first episode I listened to was about a man who found spirituality in fish and fishing. The one I'm listening to now is an interview with Rick Warren (and his wife, Kay) of Saddleback Church. My only regret (and I hate to call it that) with this podcast is that each one (so far) is 53 minutes long, and I typically don't have 53 uninterrupted minutes to listen to a podcast! It's taking me a few days to listen to each episode, partly because I listen to several podcasts in addition to SOF.

In checking the podcast's website this morning, I learned there's a book out that's spawned from the podcast. I just discovered the library I work for holds it, but it's checked out, so I've put a hold on it. :)
Listening to this podcast has reminded me, in part, why I enjoy going to Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, where different faiths and spiritual journeys are welcome.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Evening Rainbow

It started raining on my way home this evening, and I saw this rainbow! I was glad I had my camera handy. The rainbow was visible for the last several minutes of my commute, and it was a great way to end the work week!

Now There's Some Inspiration!

I recently stumbled upon a new (to me) running blog that included a mention about an 81-year-old Maryland man who finished a local 5K road race in 27:06! Needless to say, that impressed me quite a bit. I'd love to be able to talk to that person and learn his secrets of longevity and an active lifestyle. I hope I'm still going that strong at 81! A link to the newspaper article is here.

I was thinkng about running in a 5K road race in the morning (there are a couple of possibilities), but my nose is still stuffy and I've been sneezing this afternoon. A few weeks ago, I did sign up for a 1-mile road race, the Magnificent Mile, on Sunday afternoon. I think I'll just get a slow, easy (and maybe short, depending on how I'm feeling) run in tomorrow morning, and do the 1-miler Sunday afternoon.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hooray for Historic Preservation!

For quite a while I've had a dream of restoring an old (Victorian or something like that) home, so I've enjoyed walking through the Trinity Park neighborhood in Durham and watching some of the renovations going on in that area. One of the projects I've been pleased to see is the old King's Daughters Home on Buchanan Blvd. When I walked past there a few weeks ago, I noticed there was some renovation going on, so I googled it later and learned it had been bought and was going to become a bed and breakfast inn! A little while ago I walked by it again and saw a sign with the projected opening date of April 2009, and a website for the to-be King's Daughters Inn. Check out their website for progress pictures of the construction and renovation, which I love to see!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The End of a Short Vacation

I head back to work tomorrow after taking last Thursday and Friday off of work with George. We didn't do as much as we'd planned, but it was still a nice break.

Thursday morning I decided to get my 10-mile run in while George had an appointment in Cary. I went to Shelley Lake for the run, and ran into Donna, another Galloway groupie. It was fun to run into a running acquaintance by accident, and it was a good run, to boot.

Thursday afternoon, I joined George, his brother, and his dad for lunch at The Food Factory in Cary. I hadn't been to the Food Factory before, and enjoyed a veggie wrap.

Friday, George and I drove up to Person County to have lunch at Clarksville Station and explore Roxboro. I blogged about the excursion on my North Carolina Odyssey Project blog, where I'm keeping track of my journey through all one hundred counties in North Carolina. My Person County post is here. Friday evening, we joined George's family for Shabbat dinner.

Yesterday morning, I enjoyed puttering around while the rain and wind from Tropical Storm Hanna blew through. (I love storms, as long as they aren't harmful!) Last night we celebrated a couple of family birthdays with George's family at Bonefish Grill in Cary. Little Talia turns 3 tomorrow, so it was fun to see her really enjoy getting birthday presents this year.

I've been having trouble with my red iPod Nano lately...the screen keeps going white. I've rebooted each time, but it's gotten harder and harder to get the index screen of songs and podcasts to show up. So, I decided I'd had enough of it this afternoon. I looked online and ordered a black 3rd generation Nano from Circuit City's website, and opted to pick it up from the nearest store with one in stock. I headed off to Cary (lots of time in Cary this weekend!), and came back with a brand new iPod! I've had fun figuring out how to fill it this evening. I think I've got what I need from the old iPod on it (it's still charging, so I haven't plugged the earbuds in yet).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What Lesley Means

What Lesley Means

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.

You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

Ten on Tuesday: Ten People You'd Like to Meet

I just got the "Ten on Tuesday" meme in my inbox, and thought it was a fun one. For me, the list of people I'd like to meet is a fluid one, as I learn about more interesting people and as current events unfold. It was hard to narrow it down to just 10 people, but if I just had to pick 10 people to meet for dinner this evening, here's who I'd pick at this moment (in no particular order):

Hillary Clinton
Barack Obama
John McCain
Sarah Palin
Carol Burnett
David Cutliffe
Rosa Parks
Barbara Walters
Harper Lee
Deena Kastor

Who would make YOUR list?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who is This Team?! And Where Have They Been Hiding?!

George and I spent last evening on the Duke campus, mostly in Wallace Wade Stadium, for Duke's footbal home opener against James Madision University. Duke's football program has been pretty lackluster for too many years, but with the hiring of new head coach David Cutliffe from the University of Tennessee and the University of Mississippi (between those two football programs, he coached both Manning brothers), we Duke football fans have been hopeful.

Before the game, George and I went to an employee appreciation picnic (which included free football game tickets for up to six people to encourage families to come, face painting and a few other things for kids), which had a great turnout. The food was standard picnic fare--cole slaw, potato salad, hot dogs, bar-b-que, and what I heard were veggie burgers (no more left when I got up to the front, so I had cole slaw and potato salad for supper, not the healthiest, but oh well! It was still fun!).

We also got to watch the football team's new tradition of marching from the Chapel to the football building, amidst a good crowd of fans. (We were near the football area, so I don't know what it was like between the Chapel and the area near Cameron Indoor Stadium and Wallace Wade Stadium, where we were.) They were led by Coach Cutliffe, and followed by members of the marching band and the cheerleaders. What impressed me most about this new tradition is that Cutliffe and the players were all dressed in suits and looked very classy! They were holding their shoulders high, most with big grins but a few with their game faces on already. Many shook hands with or gave high fives to fans in the front of the crowd. It looked like a team with a different attitude!

George and I ended up inside the stadium way early, but just relaxed and enjoyed watching the stadium slowly but surely fill with fans. It turned out to be one of the best crowds I've seen for a football game at Duke in a long, long time! The players came out for some pregame warm ups, and it was impressive to see everyone out there. About an hour before the game was supposed to start, two parachute jumpers landed on the football field. We were impressed, but wondered why they were jumping in the middle of warmups by both teams. It turns out that they landed in the wrong field! They were supposed to land at the UNC-McNeese St. game a few miles away--it happened to start an hour before our game (was supposed to start)! Oops! Read more about the wayward parachute jump here.

The game started about an hour and a half late due to weather, but we were relieved that it wasn't cancelled. (George and I bought ponchos to wait out the rain.) The players and football staff came through the tunnel flanked by fireworks (see left), but the big inflated football helmet they used to run through onto the field was gone. (Now that I think about it, that big helmet thing was a little cheesy!)

Here's a sampling of the home crowd--lots of Duke blue! It looked like a big crowd of ticket purchasers, in addition to the relocated student section on the west side of the stadium (about time!), and the general admission section which included all the employees who came out. They offered prizes for student living groups with the best attendance, as well as raffle prizes for grad students and employees who swiped their IDs to register.
Before the game started, Coach Cutliffe came over to the student section, I guess to thank them for coming out in such great numbers. Nice gesture. He seems to have worked on (and gotten) their support. The game finally started around 8:30, and here are the Duke and James Madison teams about to start the first play of the new season.

Duke made the first touch down of the game, was ahead at the half, and won the game 31-7! (Left is the final scoreboard.) I really enjoyed watching them play, and even George (not a sports fan in general) had a good time. They ran the ball well, started getting their passing game together, kicked very well, snagged some interceptions, and made several fourth down conversions. The total package was impressive for the Duke football program.

At the end of the game, many of the players came over in front of the student section to high five and cheer with the students. Nice, very different from many previous games of late, where the players have walked dejectedly toward the locker rooms after a loss. In the background, the goal post was brought down with long pole thingies by staff members (same with the other end). Cutliffe had asked that students not storm the field for the goal posts this time, since he wants everyone to start expecting Duke wins. Goal post hopping, he said, could wait for a bigger game.

After the victorious game, fireworks ensued.