Saturday, January 31, 2009

This is what happens in Fayetteville

It was (kind of) Caleb's birthday. Scarlet was threatening everyone who managed to come near. Anna squealed. Dan (not pictured) corralled Scarlet. I wore a side ponytail that was only slightly askew.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Book #5: The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really loved this book. No, it's not literary genius, but it was an entertaining read when I was holed in my house on Wednesday. It took me a long time to really get in my groove with this book, but I'm glad I didn't give up. I simply just didn't understand what the hell was going on at first. The author's imagery is superb and you can really picture the story unfolding on your internal film projector. In fact, the author said in an interview that she imagined the film version of her story as she was writing it. The rights were bought before the book even was released to the public.

I'm THRILLED with the casting of this book in the movie that is coming out sometime this year. Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in the leading roles will really help ensure this book-to-movie adaptation works.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book #4: Dreams from My Father

Dreams from My Father Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
The book opened quickly for me and I was engrossed instantly. I will say I found the section about Hawaii and Chicago the most interesting. I did not dig the Africa section, but I'm not surprised by that. (Other books set in Africa kind of fall flat with me -- yes even The Constant Gardener and The Poisonwood Bible...I don't know what it is.)

What amazed me most while reading this book was that the author is now our president. He wrote such an honest book, talking about his struggles and faults, and he has still managed to win the majority of Americans over. I was also impressed with Obama's use of literary devices. All around a good -- very inspiring -- read.

View all my reviews.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Running Log #6

Workout — Eh...tried to do .5-.5-.5 intervals, but that didn't work out so well. It kind of ended up being .5-.25-.3-.12. Ick.
Total mileage running — 1.17 miles
Total mileage — 2.4
Time — 35
Pace — 6.0
Highest Heart Rate — 190
Average Heart Rate — 159
Calories Burned — 315
Overall Report — Well I have been sick for about 10 days, so this was my first time back on the treadmill in more than a week. I feel like I've been setback two weeks. And I'm sore for the first time ever in this training process. Also, I felt close to being totally out of breath and weak during my intervals, so maybe I wasn't totally ready to come back yet. I'm going to try to hit the treadmill every day this week (tomorrow is up in the air) to catch up on my training. I'd like to run three half-mile intervals by Saturday and maybe take the run outside on Sunday if it's nice.

Training Schedule
Week 1 — 0.25-0.5-0.25 (check)
Week 2 — 0.5-0.5-0.25 (check)
Week 3 — 0.5-0.5-0.5
Week 4 — 0.5-0.75-0.5
Week 5 — 0.75-0.75-0.5
Week 6 — 0.75-0.75-0.75
Week 7 — 0.75-1-0.75
Week 8 — 1-1-.75
Week 9 — 1-1-1
Week 10 — 1-1.25-1
Week 11 — 1.75-1.5
Week 12 — 3.25

Love This

Check out this New Yorker interview from 1996 before Barack Obama got into politics.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Politics

I can't pinpoint the exact moment I became politically minded, but I know it happened fairly young.

I have distinct memories of voting for George H.W. Bush in the 1988 Weekly Reader election in kindergarten. (I believe my young love for Republicans had a lot to do with the candidates looking more like a grandpa than their Democratic rivals. I guess old white guys have that going for them, too.) I remember making a Bush/Quayle '92 sign in the fourth grade. I remember voting in the kids' election at my parents' precinct in 1996. I stayed up past 2 a.m. watching the 2000 returns with my dad.

That was all before I could legally vote.

So it's probably easy to imagine how excited I am about Tuesday. It's all I want to talk about and think about and read about. I can't get enough. Tuesday is bigger to me than the National Championship or any bowl game. It comes a close second to my wedding day. VERY close.

I married someone similar, but maybe not quite as fervent. (Although he is only half-joking when he talks about sending Obama an application to be his chief fantasy sports counsel.)

So Ryan and I will be camped out in front of the TV all day Tuesday until I have to go to work and I will be DVRing the coverage and readying my hard drive to save all of the front pages of Wednesday's paper like I did on Nov. 6.

Regardless of your political affiliation, Tuesday will be a time to watch and hope for the best for our country. We certainly need all of the positive energy we can get.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book #3: One Fifth Avenue

One Fifth Avenue One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ryan got me this book for Christmas this year. It wouldn't have been one I picked out -- I have read Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City and Lipstick Jungle and didn't come away with much of an impression.

But I have to say once I got into this book, I enjoyed it. Bushnell writes about high society New York City like she is writing a zoologist's field guide. There is never one main character, and in this case there is no fewer than eight characters who take on prominent roles. In the end, you end up rooting for a few, hating several and not caring about the rest.

View all my reviews.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Observations on Past & Present

1. I'm not as chatty as I thought. I just talk to fill the awkward silences.
2. If something doesn't work four or five times, it probably won't work the subsequent time either.
3. My husband can be determined if you convince him to be.
4. I need to work on Subject-Verb-Object when talking to people as an authority figure. Backing into suggestions when I'm the one in charge doesn't make me seem like an effective leader.
5. I love lists.
6. I really love completed lists.
7. I really love lists that my husband complete.
8. I don't like talking on the phone to anyone really. It's just awkward, and Observations No. 1 and No. 4 make this even worse.
9. I feel really lucky to have a job right now.
10. Nine of my 10 favorite people in Arkansas aren't from Arkansas.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Running Log #5

Workout — .5-.5-.25 intervals on treadmill
Total mileage running — 1.25 miles
Total mileage — 2.25
Time — 34:30
Pace — 6.0 mph for first and second intervals, 5.5 mph for third interval
Highest Heart Rate — 191
Average Heart Rate — 152
Calories Burned — 289
Overall Report — Today was harder for some reason. Maybe it was the poor soundtrack (still haven't made that special running playlist and "All the Young Dudes" is just not that inspiring to run to), or maybe I just wasn't into to it. I can't really imagine adding another quarter-mile next week (hopefully I'm not overdoing it?) but we'll see. I'd love to see my peak heart rate drop into the mid-180s.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Things I Don't Like Right Now

1. Lists that aren't completed.
2. The tear in my screen door.
3. My co-workers (in general, not particular).
4. My lack of Wii to play my Wii Fit.
5. Running for longer than 5 minutes.
6. My nasty kitchen floor.
7. Trusting my husband to take care of his online class without telling him what to do.
8. My loved one continually making the same mistake over and over again.
9. Winter.

Your turn! Post below!

Things I Like Right Now

1. Lists. [See]
3. Running in intervals.
4. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. (Please, please, please read it, but don't tell me if you don't like it. It'll ruin my good feelings about it.)
5. My Wii Fit.
6. This video. (OK, so I totally teared up at this. Lame, I know...)
7. NPR. (OK I know how pretentious that sounds, but I HATE music, but hate silence more. How have I not been an NPR nerd all my life already?)
8. Goals.
9. My clean shower. (That I used two toothbrushes to scrub.)

OK, readers (I know I have some), post some of your recent highlights. Don't be shy...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Book #2: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Can I give something 10 stars? Please?

Seriously, now that I've read this book, any flitter of thought about me writing my own memoir is now buried. Amy Krouse Rosenthal has already written something so original — but yet something so accessible and heartfelt, that I can merely just reread, smile and nod — satisfied that someone else told my story so perfectly.

View all my reviews.

Running Log #4

Workout — .5-.5-.25 intervals on treadmill
Total mileage running — 1.25 miles
Total mileage — 1
Time — 35:00
Pace — 5.5 mph for first and third intervals, 6 mph for second interval
Highest Heart Rate — 189 (slowly going down!)
Average Heart Rate — 148
Calories Burned — 282
Overall Report — I added a quarter-mile of running onto my workout this week and it went well. My peak heart rate is gradually decreasing so that's a good sign! I can already tell my stamina is improving and my muscles are developing enough that the running is easier. I also started covering the statistics on the treadmill with a towel, so that seemed to make everything go faster.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Running Log #3

Workout — 1 mile run outdoors
Total mileage running — 1 mile
Total mileage — 1
Time — 11:02
Pace — 5.37 mph
Highest Heart Rate — 191
Average Heart Rate — 178
Calories Burned — 129
Overall Report — It was a fabulous day outside so I decided to take advantage and run a mile outside. It's my first straight mile in months, so I wanted to kind of use it as a base point of sorts. It's also the first time I used Trailguru, which is a free iPhone application that uses the GPS in my phone to track my path, elevation and pace. All that gets downloaded to a Web site where it gives me handy-dandy charts (I <3 charts!) and tracks my overall progress. Overall, the run was good. My pace was slower than I'd like, but I entered quite a bit of wind today.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Running Log #2

Workout — 0.25/.5/.25 intervals with .25 in between.
Total mileage running — 1 mile.
Total mileage — 2.07 miles
Time — 32 minutes including cooldown
Pace — 6.0 for the first two intervals, 5.5 for the last interval
Highest Heart Rate — 193
Average Heart Rate 152
Calories Burned
— 270
Overall Report
— Running at 6.0 is getting a tad more comfortable, though I think I'll still build up to it weekly. That is likely going to be my outdoor running goal. My highest heart rate dropped a little bit. I've decided I need to make a dedicated playlist.

Book #1: A Virtuous Woman

A Virtuous Woman (Oprah's Book Club) A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons

My review

No. 1 on my journey to 50 books in 2009.
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Have you ever read a book and felt so distant from the characters that it shocked you when you realized you were actually in tears? This novel, such a quick read that a devoted reader will finish it in one sitting, seems so benign and irrelevant, yet works its way into your heart. By the end I found myself shockingly gulping for air. This may be an Oprah pick, but it's a smart book that I'd recommend to anyone who can appreciate a simple story line and a solid tale.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I just spent my hour dinner break curled up on the couch in the foyer trying to fight off sleep while reading a book. This doesn't bode well for the new year.

Two highlights of my 2009 so far. I beat Ryan in Trivial Pursuit (this never happens, those dang sports questions get me every time) and I spent a few hours with the lovely JT on her sojourn from Costa Rica.

(Side note — Raise your hand if you think it's fair Ryan got a pie piece answering this question: What team does the Arkansas Razorbacks play every year in the Boot Bowl?)

JT has been my New Year's staple for three years running now. My first NYE in the Great State of Arkansas, we passed the hours playing Apples to Apples. Last year, we spent a quiet night in (Ryan of course was out of town) watching Jesus Freaks.

This year we talked life in my kitchen and later at BWW — one of her favorites. She is the poster child for why you should never get married before 30 — clearly everything I am not. She is everything I think I want to be, yet I'm glad she's my friend so I don't have to.

She goes back to Costa Rica in a dozen days or so. Sometimes I wonder if her students think all Americans sound like her. :)


New Year's Resolutions.

I have lots this year. I think I'm going to take the "Throw as much shit on the wall and surely some of it will stick approach." I realize this is kind of illogical, but I can't seem to narrow it down. So I won't. Apparently I have a lot to work on.

• Run a 5K and a four-miler in April.
• Read 50 books this year.
• Keep the house clean!!!!
• Let people make their own mistakes.
• Create a budget.
• Cook more meals at home.
• Don't buy clothing for at least four months. If I finish four-miler in April, I'll get myself a little something-something, but that's it!

Wish me luck.