Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New kicks

I think that the experts advise replacing your sneakers after about 500 miles. Once upon a time, that meant I was going through 3-4 pair per year. Until this weekend, the pair I'd been wearing had been around for more than a year. I don't know how many miles they had on them, but I think they were ready to be retired.

Choosing new footwear is never easy. For many years, I made my decision based on two factors -- do they come in a cute color, and do they come in my size? (It isn't polite to ask a lady her shoe size, but let's just say that if I ever find myself without a home, I could probably live quite comfortably in one of my shoe boxes). While I'm sure my feet looked great, this method is not really the best for providing the best foot support.

A few years ago I went to JackRabbit Sports (a great running store in NYC) for a proper shoe fitting. The staff at Jack Rabbit is fantastic. They know their stuff and they really want to put you in the right shoe. They videotape you (well, your feet!) on a treadmill to analyze your gait and find the shoes you need to stay comfy and injury-free.

Hey, that's a snazzy color combo...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

For my dad on his birthday

So much of me
Is made from what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart

- Elphaba, Wicked

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 62 (and probably not all that happy about it), but he passed away nine years ago. People say it dealing with a loss gets easier with time but really, it just changes. 

There's a much longer story to tell, but it is not an exaggeration to say losing my dad had a major impact on my life. I was 23; technically an adult, but really still a baby. I had a little bit of a warning, but it was still a huge shock to the system. I was told he might have 6 weeks to live, but 11 days later he was gone. As the oldest child, I took care of many of the details. There are some things I would change if I could, but I think I did the best I could.

Time has passed, life has moved on, and I am finally at a point where I can control the tears (mostly) and focus on the happy memories. I also find myself thinking about the things that he has missed, both big and small. I am sad that I never really got to have a relationship with him as an adult. I know that my adult relationship with my mom is incredibly special and so eye-opening. Now with some perspective, I really appreciate all of the the things my parents did for me as a child. I would give anything to be able to tell my dad "thank you". 


New week, new route -- the Promenade! I felt like changing it up a bit. Just call me Daisy Miller...

Sometimes it is a bit annoying to live all the way at the edge of Brooklyn (Manhattanites: think East End Avenue -- faaaaar over), but there are some advantages. Super easy access to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is one of those things. The Promenade is a lovely stretch of a thin, park-like space overlooking the East River and the Manhattan skyline. It is parallel to my beloved Brooklyn Bridge Park, but higher up -- much higher up!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

At last...

The About Me page has been updated. Sorry for the delay!

I am thrilled and flattered that new visitors click over to my blog every day, and I know that the About Me page is often a first stop (it is for me when I'm reading your blogs!). The old page was really meant to be a placeholder, but it went neglected for too long. Not that you didn't enjoy seeing my dog in a reindeer costume...but I think this version is a bit more useful.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Business travel

The stars at night
Are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas
-George Strait

Yee-haw and howdy! Right now I am writing from the comfort of my totally adequate business traveler hotel near the conference I am attending. I wish I was attending one of the super fun blogger conferences that have been going on lately, but this is work related. Not quite as much fun. (Also: the only person who has said "yee-haw" or "howdy" so far is me. It is possible I know nothing about Texas).

I travel a bit for work, and while I am lucky that most of my trips are day trips (Amtrak and I are very well acquainted), every so often I get the pleasure of spending a few days in a new city. Business travel isn't usually the most fun. Oh, the first day is OK -- you're excited to get to your destination, you check out your hotel and it kind of feels a little bit like you're on vacation...but that usually only lasts about 24 hours. Now the honeymoon is over, and I miss my doggy, I miss my time zone, I miss my comfy bed.

While I'm counting down the hours until I head home, I thought I'd share a few of the tips I've picked up that make business travel (and maybe all travel) a bit easier:

1. Pack light

This is definitely a hard one for me, but I find that when I travel, I never regret the clothes I didn't take; I do regret stuffing my suitcase to the breaking point and having to lug it on planes, trains, and automobiles. Check the weather before you pack, be realistic about your needs, and REALLY think about your shoe wardrobe. Those suckers are heavy.

These aren't mine, but I do love my pretty pink suitcase
Photo credit: Love Pink

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taking the night off

Fact: rainy weeks feel 1000% longer than regular ones.

Though it feels like it should be at least Thursday already, the calendar tells me we are only halfway through the week.

I really wanted to be a hardcore athlete and get out there in the rain, but I was feeling pretty wiped after a long day at work. For those who went out and logged their soggy miles today, I salute you.

I was happy to veg on the couch for a bit and catch up on some bad TV. 9 o'clock rolled around and I still hadn't done anything about dinner. I wasn't particularly hungry, so I wasn't really in the mood for anything -- does that ever happen to you? But I knew I need to eat something, otherwise I'd be awake in the middle of the night ready to eat my pillow. When no other plan materialized, I went with my favorite old standby: PB&J!

Take photo, THEN take bite. Food blogging is tricky.

I made mine with my favorite German Dark Wheat Bread and just a tiny bit of raspberry jelly...and ate it in bed. The rain was still falling outside, but I was nice and cozy inside. Sometimes taking the night off is a very smart thing to do.

Tomorrow it is back to the routine. Probably. It can't rain forever, right? ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

On trying not to pass out in the middle of the street

And now for something totally different...a bad workout.

It has been a while since I had one of these, and it hit me hard. Now that I am comfortably sprawled out on the couch, let me try to figure out what went wrong.

After getting home and doing my Audrey duties (cuddling, feeding, walking), I laced up my sneakers and headed out. Apparently New York is masquerading as Seattle this week, so I stepped outside into a fine, constant mist. A little chilly and not doing the hair any favors, but I was ready for it.

I knew I needed to finish up my walk/run with some errands, so I decided to stay close and do some "laps" up and down the long stretches through the brownstone neighborhoods. Straight, flat, not too crowded...perfect. I could cover some distance without actually going too far away from home, and I would be able to take care of a few things before heading back.

Along my route: a retro soda shop in modern Brooklyn; photo taken using my
modern iPod with an app that makes things look old. In my low
blood sugar state, this seemed highly amusing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A little quiet

I have been quiet lately but don't worry, I'm here -- I'm just thinking. A lot on my mind right now, but I'll get to that.

I decided to take a nice walk to clear my head. Last night was a clear, mild night in NYC and it was great just being outside. I knew I wanted to do the Brooklyn Bridge Park loop again tonight (I've been taking that route a lot lately -- I love it!), and I decided to do two things differently tonight. First, I left Audrey at home. I was a little sad, because I do like her company. But she pulls a lot, and it distracts me from keeping up a good pace. Also, despite her repeated requests I have not been able to have all other dogs removed from the borough of Brooklyn, and sometimes she does feel the need to scream and carry on when she sees another four-legged furball.

The second thing I did differently is that I grabbed my point and shoot camera -- because I promised pictures! I only took a few because the little camera isn't the best for night shooting, but it was easy to stick in my pocket. Once I start my DSLR classes, I'll be sure to get some quality shots. I headed out of my apartment and down to the park and as soon as I looked up, I was SO glad I my camera.

That sky, oh my goodness that sky!

Mapping it all out

"You can always change your plan, but only if you have one."
-Randy Pausch

Last week I launched fully into goal-setting and life-planning mode, which I have found to be lots of fun and super energizing. There was even more of that this weekend. Things are starting to take shape!

Saturday morning I slept in, headed out for a 3 mile walk/run, showered, and was sipping on a yummy protein shake before the morning was through. Since I felt I'd been pretty productive, I decided to do a couple of things that would help me continue with figuring out my goals and plotting out a course for the next few years of my life.

First, I re-watched Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture".


Trader Joe's Chicken Patties are the diggity!

I'm not a food blogger, mostly because I tend to eat the same things over and over, and because when it is chow time I am usually so hungry that I don't want to take the time to pull out the camera a snap a pic. BUT, I had to share my recent delicious find: Trader Joe's Frozen Chicken Burger Patties.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! I hope all of the moms had a great day, and I hope all of the kids made sure to thank their moms. I know today can be an emotional day for people (maybe your mom isn't here anymore, or you're struggling to become a mom), but I think everyone has a special lady in their life that deserves to be honored -- and it feels great to make someone's day!

Source: Some ecards

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vacation planning

This spring is flying by so quickly that I was surprised to remember that I'm going on vacation next month! Woo-hoo!

Where am I headed? Only the Happiest Place on Earth (my #1 vacation destination)!

Photo credit: Disney
We'll be there for about a week, doing all my favorite things: touring the parks, volunteering at Give Kids the World (more on that in another post), and eating!

Now that I realize my trip is so soon, I have begun doing a bit of vacation planning. Not creating itineraries or planning activities -- I've been to Disney a lot, so I have my plans down. The kind of planning I'm talking about is making sure I'm continuing to take care of myself (with good food and exercise) while I'm away. I have some good momentum going and I want to keep that up, and I know when I'm doing the right things just feel better -- and I'm going to need tons of energy for my trip! A Disney vacation is amazing, but it can really kick your ass.

So here's the plan...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To Judge Judy, With Love

Right now I am engaging in one of my favorite evening activities: watching today's Judge Judy episodes, which I have lovingly DVR'd. I recognize that my TV viewing choices are not always the best (Real Housewives of Anything), but I know that my JJ habit makes me a better, smarter person.

**A little side note: I don't remember this, but my mom tells me that I used to like watching the People's Court when I was very little. In fact, I told her that I should have my own show called Ali Decides. I was quite a bossy toddler!

Today, I share with you life lessons learned from the Honorable Judge Judy Scheindlin:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Giving myself a little push

"Did you know each time you push through
a discomfort barrier you make it easier to do next time?"

- Jeff Galloway

I am writing this post from my bed, where I am lying practically in the prone position. I don't have one of these kooky desks, but this should give you an idea of what I look like:

I always wear a suit to bed
Photo credit: Skymall

Tonight, I pushed through a barrier. I am glad to have done it, but I am a bit...sore.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring cleaning my cleaning routine

"Come my little friends
As we all sing a happy little working song
Merry little voices clear and strong"

- Giselle, Enchanted

I think I've mentioned before that I live in a pretty small apartment (here in NYC, we call it "cozy"). It is 400 sq.ft. of goodness, and I love every inch of it! This may actually be the smallest apartment I've ever lived in, but for some reason this one just works really well for me. This apartment is fairly new construction in an historic building, so I get just the right combo of charm (pretty brick facade) and convenience (central air, dishwasher, etc.). 

One thing I've learned though is small space living means keeping things neat can be tricky. Seriously, my apartment can go from spotless to disaster in a matter of minutes. So frustrating! It doesn't help that I am pretty lazy when it comes to housework. There are just so many other ways I'd rather spend my time...

Photo credit: Martha Stewart