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, 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 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!