Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

I stole the idea of 2010 in pictures from Katie. At the end of the pictures I will review 2010 as I saw it. (PS: Yes, I know there is no January or April. I guess nothing monumental happened!)
 Our last year at Castle Rock in Lutsen, MN.

 My first Firkin Fest at The Happy Gnome. 

 Annual Memorial Day camping trip. Willow River State Park.

 Finally made it to Byron, MN.

 Our road trip through the south took us to Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

 My first time on a boat! Lake Minnetonka.

 The 2010 Minnesota State Fair, natch.

 I brought field hockey to Edina, MN. 

 My sweet new baby! 

 The largest snowstorm to hit Minnesota in the 12 years I've been here.

2010 had a lot of twists, turns, and uncertainties. Most of the year I was caught in an uncertain whirlwind, which wrapped itself up around the middle of August so that I could enjoy the rest of the year, which I did. I kicked my butt into gear from August to December and really turned things around. I lost 10 lbs. I decreased my mile time by over two minutes. I ran a 5k in under 40 minutes (39:39). These were all huge accomplishments for me. I still have plenty of work to do with regards to my "running," but I'm happy with what I've done this year. On January 5, 2010, I weighed in at 172.8 and on December 18, 2010, I weighed in at 160.2 (yeah...we're not counting the 3 lbs I gained in PA over Christmas...). As I said, I didn't really get serious until September. Just think what I can do in 2011! 

Longest walk: 14 miles
Miles run/walked/ellipticalled (Aug-Dec): 171
5Ks completed: 2
Unworthy boys dissed and dismissed: 3
Blu-ray discs owned: 3
Loads of laundry still to do in Mt. Laundry: 10 
Gopher volleyball games attended: 3
Gopher football games attended: 2
Dome collapses: 1

I have a few goals in mind for 2011, all of which I think are completely do-able:

1. Get mile time under 9 minutes. (11:19)
2. Run a 5k in under 37 minutes. (39:39)
3. Do not settle for ANY unworthy boys. Set standards high and keep them there.
4. Lose another 10 lbs., which allows for any setbacks or bad weeks along the way. 

I was going to make a goal for Mt. Laundry, but I know myself all too well. C'mon. Even if Mt. Laundry is tackled, it will only come back. Mt. Laundry and I are connected at the hip. Buddies, even. 

The last official day of 2010 was spent doing what I do best: exactly what I want to do. I started it off by seeing The Black Swan at 9:40 am (incredible movie) and then I had lunch at high noon with one of my best buds, Jen. We tried out a new place - Stanley's Northeast Bar Room. Jen's been on this kick of trying out new places for lunch and I'm digging it! I'd love to go back and try out Stanley's when I can have a few beers. The beer list seems pretty good for a small place in NE Mpls. Then I went home, picked up my laptop, and settled in at Caribou. I got my small hot chocolate (skim milk, no whipped cream) and started typing. 

I re-set my fantasy football line-up for this weekend, benching Vick, Akers, and Jackson and sending in P. Manning, Sebastian Janikowski (Oak), and Avant. No one had Avant so he was an easy last-minute pick up. If I win this week, I will win the entire fantasy football league. Jodi better get cracking on that traveling trophy! 

I don't have any plans for tonight. I'm thinking of going to Punch Pizza in Highland Park if it's not too icy out and then watching a movie - perhaps 17 Again on blu-ray (thanks Ru!). Then I'll switch to my man Ryan Seacrest and watch the ball drop with a Yuengling. Tomorrow morning may be quite ambitious - barbell strength class at Lifetime if it's open and then perhaps I'll take in another movie. 

Well, people are starting to annoy me at Caribou so I think I'll see what the roads hold for me.

Take a part of 2010 that you liked, think about it, and then launch headlong into 2011. It's gonna be a good one.

Friday, December 24, 2010

So, How'd I Do?

On Saturday, Day 19, I weighed in at 160.2. That was close enough for me! My goal was to be under 160 by Dec 31st. Since being back in PA, I've been trying simply to maintain instead of lose. Yesterday, my first day back, included Auntie Anne's pretzel bites with cheese, 2 cokes, a Wawa hoagie, Herr's Sour Cream & Onion chips, a 9" cheesesteak, and peanut butter Kandykates. I tried to talk Rudi into walking the 5 mile loop around Valley Forge park today, but she is illin' and chowing down Advil cold & sinus. Perhaps Sunday morning, she said. 

Total lbs lost since 9/8/10: 10.6
Total lbs lost since 7/2009: 20.2
Goal for the entire '10-'11 school year: -30...1/3 of the way there!

So since I'm back home for awhile, I thought I'd post some fun Friday facts regarding home.

1. Every TV in the house needs to be turned up so that my ears are nearly bleeding. Dad is deaf in one ear, Mom's hearing appears to be waning, and Rudi's ears are clogged up. 

2. I never remember the house being warm when I was a kid, but now it seems like a sauna, even at night. Ru and I are trying to talk Dad into taking the heat down to 58 at night instead of 62. 

3. Homemade cookies have just been dropped off by one of Dad's friends. So we have Coke, Tastykakes, cookies, and chocolates in the house. It's all I can do to not dive into all of them all at once.

4. Upon entering the airspace over Pennsylvania, four new zits sprung up on both Rudi's and my face. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity!"

5. Tonight is the McClure's annual Christmas Eve party that the rest of my family attends while I watch It's A Wonderful Life. Since I've already seen that this year, I believe I am going to watch The Bishop's Wife starring Cary Grant. 

6. While PA has not even a dusting of snow, St. Paul just got another 5". I am very grateful to have such awesome neighbors! 

7. My dad is a very good cook, and the smallest liquid measuring cup he has is 1/4 c. The next step up is a huge measuring cup, which holds between 1-4 cups, with nothing in between. I had to measure my juice in three 1/4 c portions. 

8. Tonight we are having turkey and mashed potatoes - yum! 

9. Mashed potatoes are quite possibly the best food in the world. 

10. I cannot wait until Sunday, the one day a year when I get to watch the Eagles in a bar where everyone else is rooting for the Eagles. Eagles + Yuengling + old friends = an awesome time!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Free at Last!

My street is finally plowed out. After I finish doing laundry I'm going to try and head out into the world. (Yes, Mt. Laundry is two loads smaller!)

Days 14 & 15

I have this ever-present fear that my car is going to be towed. It doesn't necessarily have to be snow-related. If I park on the street and then take the bus somewhere, the walk back to the car the next morning is anxiety-inducing. If I go to a bar and take a cab home, the trip back the next morning is nerve-wrecking. Even if my car is parked outside of my house, I get nervous that someone is going to tow it for some reason unbeknownst to me. 

This recent snowstorm and the amount of times I've had to move my car definitely worries me. I check and double check the snow emergency rules. I check Ottawa and Cherokee, the streets that border Morton, to see where other people are parking. I've had to park on Ottawa this time around and Ottawa is down the street and I can't see my car. If I parked on Cherokee, I'd be able to keep an eye on my car. That's where my neighbors are parked and it would make me feel a lot better if my car could be near theirs. 

I also wish that they would just plow everything and get it over with. I can't get out of my neighborhood, or rather, I'm scared to try. If I get stuck, there is no one around to help me. I may try later today once it "warms up." That's the other problem. The high today is around zero and if I get stuck, I could freeze to death. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but c'mon! I need to get out of my neighborhood! My street still looks like this: 

My ears perk up every time I think I hear a plow and I spring to the window to check out things. St. Paul and Minneapolis have canceled school today, which means that both cities are having some issues. St. Paul has declared two snow emergencies and Minneapolis is debating calling another. 

The two cities are very different when it comes to snow removal. Apparently, neither is better than the other. Minneapolis plows "even" and "odd" sides of the street, based on the house numbers. Day 1 (which is really the first night) is night plow routes, which are main streets. Day 2 is either even or odd sides of the street and then day 3 is the other side that wasn't done on day 2. St. Paul plows night plow routes (which are posted on the streets) starting at 9 pm the day the emergency is called. Night plow routes in St. Paul are main streets and one side of north-south residential streets (Cherokee and Ottawa). Starting at 8 am the next morning, all day plow routes and east-west residential streets are done (Morton). Day plow routes still haven't been done in my neighborhood. 

I have things that I need to get done today: I have a stack of bills to mail, xmas presents to buy, a library book to pick up (Big Sur), and I need to buy and drop off that American Eagle gift card for the kid who took my shifts this weekend. I want to go to the gym. I'm sick of being in my house! Although, I may start tackling Mt. Laundry if I'm stuck inside much longer...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 13

All exercise today will be from shoveling... 

339 PM CST SAT DEC 11 2010

339 PM CST SAT DEC 11 2010


30 MPH.
10 MPH.
5 MPH.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Days 11 & 12

Day 11 was Thursday. Every teacher at my school has to sign up for an extra duty outside of the many other duties we have. This year I signed up to sell tickets at the 8th & 9th grade school play. I emailed the director (a flamboyant and energetic man) and asked him what he'd like me to do. He replied that I should man the hallway between the lobby and the back hallway, which was cast and crew only. Once again, I'm hired to be the "muscle." This was fine with me. I thought I'd have a lot more to do, but the hallway was dead aside from two young boys gallivanting around. They were easy enough to take care of. Then I went back to reading my book in the quiet hallway. Once the play started, I was free to go home. 

I had worked out in between school and this extra duty, even though I wasn't feeling so hot. I've been feeling tired and a scratchy throat has set in this week. I decided to forgo the mile run and instead ellipticalled for 40 min. I went to bed early and felt like I was going to throw up. 

Friday, Day 12, found me feeling just a little bit better, but still tired. It was a tough day with a lot of talking on a sore throat and I decided to skip the gym and treat myself to tomato bisque soup at Noodles. The scale was flickering this morning and I'm hoping to see a drop tomorrow morning *fingers crossed!* After Noodles I went to Target to stock up on things that I had run out of such as milk, yogurt, and protein bars. 

I tried a new protein bar this week - Cliff Mojo chocolate covered peanuts. It was super duper good! So I picked up two more Mojo flavors - trail mix and peanut butter pretzel. I also picked up a Luna bar in caramel fudge brownie and another mondo protein bar which contains 20g of protein. Since starting on this challenge to lose weight seriously, I've been trying to up the amount of protein that I have, especially after working out. Protein helps repair muscles and there are so many yummy options out there! It's not just chicken, fish, and eggs anymore (although I keep a steady supply of tuna fish in the house too). I also enjoy making fruit smoothies with Lifetime Fitness's Fast Fuel in vanilla. I bought some bananas and creamy peanut butter to try a new smoothie this weekend. I hope it tastes as good as it sounds! 

Speaking of this weekend, in case you haven't tuned in to the Weather Channel recently, we're in for a humdinger of a snowstorm in the next 24 hours or so. I've heard 5" overnight, starting at 9 pm, and then another 8" tomorrow during the day with bouts hitting up to an inch an hour. There are blizzard warnings to the west and south of the Cities and I'm sure we'll see some blizzard conditions as well. MPR said that if we get 15" it will be the 11th biggest snowstorm in Twin Cities history, with the Halloween blizzard of 1991 topping the charts at around 30". 

Minnesota Public Radio 

I was supposed to work two lifeguard shifts this weekend in Maple Grove. For those of you who are not familiar with Minnesota cities and distances, Maple Grove is 42 minutes northwest of St. Paul...on a good day. With near-blizzard conditions and 7" on the ground, there is no way in hell that I am risking my life and the Echo's life for $55. As I told the manager on duty when I called today, "I like my job, but not enough to risk my life or my car." It's simply not worth it. She told me that if I didn't find a sub, I would still have to come in so I'd better make sure I left enough time to get there safely. Like hell I will! So I sent a text out to the four lifeguard subs offering a $20 gift card to a store of their choosing if they would take my Saturday shift. A guy responded in five minutes and took my shift...all for $20 to American Eagle. I asked him if he'd like to take my Sunday shift as well and he said, "Sure!" What a great kid! I'm tempted to toss an extra $5 onto the gift card just for being so swell. 

These were the last two shifts that I was signed up for this year. I had already backed out of a shift on 12/19 in order to attend a screening of It's A Wonderful Life at the Fitzgerald Theater with Stew. I will pick up my check and drop off the gift card on Monday and then I will bid that establishment adieu. In the three and a half months that I've worked there, I haven't been all that impressed. I haven't felt like I've fostered a relationship with the staff or supervisors and to be quite honest, as a lifeguard, I feel pretty darn superfluous. I went through an extensive new hire training and all of the training was directed towards swim instructors. I believe lifeguards where mentioned once. Maybe twice. Definitely not three times. I was even told to provide my own shirt! No company logo, nothing. I wore my lifeguard shirt from the JCC (which I LOVE!!! - the JCC, not the shirt. It's a little big actually.). Case in point - I was pulling in to the JCC last Saturday after the Reindeer Run and this other lifguarding job called me saying that I was supposed to work and where was I? I told them that I didn't have it written down in my planner and that I had said I'd work at the JCC from 2-3 and 7-9. When I relayed this story to my boss at the JCC (who is awesome), she was like, "F*** them! You always have everything written down and if you didn't have it down, you weren't supposed to do it." I've worked at the JCC for the same amount of time as this other job and yet my boss at the JCC knows my personality and how I operate. I wonder if the other people even know my name. 

Part-time jobs come and go and I remember the ones that I truly cared about - the ones where I felt like part of a team. Let's Talk Turkey, Pioneer Hall, Piccadilly Valet - those were great jobs where I felt like I mattered. People cared, and in turn, I cared about them and about my job. If you don't have an establishment that fosters a feeling of family, forget it. I pick up one and two hour shifts at the JCC because I want to help out my boss. I pay people to take my shifts in Maple Grove because I'd rather lose money than drive all the way out there for people who only care that I'm there because they need a warm body with a lifeguard certification. 

Next week I'll be working two nights selling tickets for the high school boys' basketball team. In those two nights I'll make $90 working just over five hours. This weekend I would have made $88 working 8 hours (which doesn't take into account the hours I'd be on I-94 in a snowstorm). I think working for the athletic department is a good trade off and I won't have to deal with 5-year-old children and florescent cupcake icing underneath my nails. 

It hasn't started to snow yet, but I'm pretty sure I've made the right decision. I'll sleep well tonight knowing that I do not have to drive anywhere tomorrow. I can shovel my walk and sip my protein smoothie while watching Netflix. Sounds like a good winter's day to me!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 10 - Halfway there!

Just as I plot out a 1 mile outside run, the weather decides to take a turn for the worse. The low on Sunday is predicted to be -8. Yes, there is a little negative sign behind that 8. Apparently, the average high for today is 28. I think we hit a balmy 18. Tomorrow's supposed to hit 30 to bring us some snow and then drop dramatically. In case you forgot you were living in Minnesota, this weather quickly reminds you. Needless to say, I won't be trying out my new mile course anytime soon. 

So I decided to try a mile on the treadmill before I hit the elliptical. I hate the treadmill. I'm always afraid I'm going to trip and fall off, left in a heap behind the whirring machine. It also makes me feel kind of funny once I dismount. But I thought I'd give it a try. I started off at 5.5 mph and once I was up to speed and had my iPod tuned to Green Day's 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, I had walked .04 miles. I then started my HRM to time my actual mile. I stayed at 5.5 mph for about 5 minutes and then had to start decreasing it by .1 mph every few minutes after that. I stayed at 5.2 and then increased it as I neared the end so I ended at 5.5 mph and ran my mile in an "unofficial" PR of 11:12 min. My last mile was at the Edina track at 11:19, which is why I'm figuring this as an unofficial PR.

But yay - day 10 and I'm halfway there! To be honest, I'm making an exception for Friday because it's neighbor Jody's annual holiday party. So instead of 21 days, it will be another 20-day challenge. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 8

Today was a typical Monday - aggravating. My 8th graders were just nuts and I had them sit down and do nothing for the last 12 minutes. That never puts me in a good mood. I'm hoping the next four days will be better. I have two people coming in to do karate and yoga with them. Look for pictures soon! 

My friend Kelly recruited me to run some lawyer papers over to Minneapolis to the tune of $20 - sweet! She was running a little late so I stopped off at REI to return the turtle fleece neck wrap that I had bought a few weeks ago. I then picked up a Buff. Jen had worn a Buff to the race and I had been looking into this "essential piece of equipment" (as one reviewer wrote on the REI website) for a few weeks. They come in a variety of prints and colors and are made out of a breathable microfiber. They also have wool ones, which I will definitely be going back for! I wore it on my walk today like a headband, but quickly noticed that I'll need a wool one for weather this cold (17 degrees with an 11 mph wind = 4 degrees = BRRR!). I loved how it looked though. It's always been hard for me to find a headband that fits my tiny head and doesn't make me look like a cancer patient. I think I'm in love...

You can check out the website and the many ways to wear the Buff here: The Original Buff

Look familiar? You may have seen the Buff on Survivor.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 7

Day 7 will be a day of rest. There's a lot of snow outside and it's cold. The couch is much warmer and cozier. 

Today the Comast guy was scheduled to come and install a CableCard in my new TiVo between 8-10 am. I thought he'd be in and out and I'd be off to the gym to watch the football pre-show by 10 am. I woke up around 9:30 and noticed that I hadn't had a call from Comcast yet. Just then I heard someone parking out front. No one is parking on my road at the moment because of the snow emergency. So I got dressed and popped my head out of the door to tell him that he had to move to Cherokee Ave. It was then that I noticed that he was CUTE! Darn it! I had just woken up and I looked horrible. The only thing I could do was brush my teeth. So he parked and he was very nice and funny and installed my CableCard and even helped me conform my TiVo remote. 

After he left I set up my season passes on TiVo and got the Netflix program to work. It's all very exciting! Now I only have one remote. And it makes the "boop boop" sound - my favorite!

My hips, legs, and knees are a little creaky today but I'm looking forward to my next 5K. I looked up 5Ks in the area and it looks like there's one on 1/29, which I think is tied to the St. Paul Winter Carnival, which starts on 1/27. There's also one on 4/16 in Duluth that I want to try and get some people together to do. 

But back to my day of rest. I've ordered Dominos and consumed a piece of pumpkin pie. I plan on laying on the couch watching football for the rest of the day. :)

Day 6

Day 6, Saturday, December 4th, was the day of the "you're going to run in HOW MANY inches of snow??" 5K. Jen and I had signed up for the Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run. Jen's been trying to jump start an Esther-loosing campaign and this was her beginning point. I've been working on my mile and 5K times and have been elipticalling like crazy. Jen was still a better runner than me. Suffice it to say that I will never be a "runner." It's a means to an end. 

I got out of bed at 7:15, grumbling because I had to shovel the walk and uncover my car before I had to meet Jen in Minneapolis in 8:45 to catch our bus to Lake Harriet. Race time was 9:30. There was about 5-7" outside my front door. 

At around 8 am I was ready to make my way to Minneapolis. I got as far as Morton St. and Smith Ave. and got stuck. Luckily, a car came up behind me and a nice gentleman got out of his car and gave me a push into the intersection. Now I was on my way. The plows were out on the major highways so they weren't too bad. 

The race was held at Lake Harriet, which is by the Uptown area of Minneapolis. Jen and I parked at the meters by the Uptown Theater and then walked to the bus shelter and waited for the 6D.

After a quick bus ride through Uptown, we arrived at the Lake Harriet bandshell, where the race both began and ended. It was breath-taking, and not only because it was 20 degrees out! 

You can see what this trail looks like and that's pretty much what the race route looked like for the 3.1 miles around the lake. It was very hard to run on and we definitely got a core workout as well as we kept our balance. 

There were a lot of people! I'm always amazed at how many people will show up for a race in 8" of snow. This was another fun run like the Blubber Run - people brought their kids, pets, and they dressed up. I was tempted to take pics of all the fun outfits, but as I mentioned before, it was 20 degrees out and my fingers got very cold every time I took off my mittens to take a pic. There were a bunch of Santas, elves, candy canes, presents, and even a guy in metallic gold tights. 

In this picture you can see the tower of balloons on the left side. This was the start of the race. What we didn't know is that the balloons marked the front of the line and the end of the line was back by the trees. We had to trudge through the snow to the back of the line and then we were ready to run! From our spot at the end of the line we had a good view of the bandshell and the lake behind it (looking into the sun). 

Notice that Jen and I are sporting our blaze orange Fox40 whistles! We were dressed up as out of shape PE teachers. We had a system set up as well: 2 whistle blows for "I lost you!" (which we only did once, and why we had to create a call for that) and 3 for an emergency, such as falling into a snow bank or having a heart attack. Luckily, we didn't have to use our whistles, although Jen tooted hers in celebration as we were closing in on the finish line. 

We started the race, but it was very frustrating. People with dogs and strollers were supposed to start behind all of the runners, but were mixed in with us. People would walk all over the route instead of staying to one side or another. One annoying girl kept jogging past us and then she would stop and walk right in front of us. Actually, quite a few groups would be walking and we'd jog past them only to have them run past us to start walking in front of us again. This is my main criticism of 5K runs. You're in such a clump at the start that it's impossible to jog your pace and therefore your time is always slower than it should be. We crossed the finish line at 46:16 (by my watch, the race was not chipped), but we guess that we could have been anywhere from 2-4 minutes faster had we not been all clumped together.

During the race my hips were the only things that were yelling at me. Jen's Achilles' tendon was bothering her. I wasn't cold until I stopped at the finish line and the sweat started to chill me. My glasses didn't fog up too badly until a bunch of snow fell off of a tree and hit me square in the right eye. But that's all par for the course of a snowy run. We finished and stocked up on water, bananas, chips, and protein bars. The Luna white chocolate macadamia nut ones were my favorite and I wished I had grabbed more than two. Now I know for next time. 

We only had to wait for about five minutes until the bus came and took us back to Uptown. We got off the bus and paid it forward to a woman whose Scion was stuck in the snow. We both got behind her and pushed. That's what I love about Minnesota in the winter - we all stick together and help each other out! And then we got back to our cars only to find parking tickets to the tune of $ all in all the Reindeer Run cost us $65, but we did get free protein bars! 

To celebrate our calorie burn we decided to have brunch at the Uptown Diner. We both got the #2, which includes two eggs, French toast, and bacon. And we split a side of cheesy hashbrowns, just in case we didn't eat back the calories burned with the first three things. 

It was a fun race with a great friend and we're looking forward to our next 5K.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 5

I kicked Day 5's tukus! I had a slight recovery from the puffy start to the week and dropped 1.2 lbs. 

When I play late tennis matches, I like to take a half day off the next day. I teach block 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6 and a morning half day would be the first and second blocks. Gets me in to school around 10:45 in order to relieve the sub at 11 am, just before hour 4 is dismissed. I love half days because, duh, I get to sleep in, but also because I eat breakfast later. I can have a granola bar or some trail mix, which will tide me over until I can hit the gym and after the gym I usually have an early dinner. 

Today I decided to hit the elliptical a little harder - 46 min instead of 30 min. - and I still have over 500 calories that I could consume. I had my protein smoothie after the gym and then noshed on a Lean Cuisine pizza. 

It started snowing today around 1 pm or so and it hasn't stopped yet. Some cities in southwest Minnesota already have over 5" of snow! I think we're supposed to get between 2 and 4 inches by tomorrow morning. Which brings me to my next bit of fitness business... 

Tomorrow my friend Jen and I will be participating in the Reindeer Run - a Lifetime Fitness-sponsored holiday 5K. I bailed on the Turkey Day 5K due to cold weather, but I refuse to bail on this run! It will be my very first very cold run. My first "cold run" was at around 40 degrees and I ended up PRing it at 39:39 min. There is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I am going to try and PR tomorrow. There will be at least 2" of snow on the ground and Jen hasn't been working out as much as I have. I'm planning on having fun on a freezing day in the snow and then going out to brunch with a great girl friend! People dress up in costumes for this race and Jen and I have decided to wear our whistles around our necks, dressed up as out of shape PE teachers. :)

Meanwhile, the snow is falling and I'm happy to be curled up on the couch for the night. I've turned up the heat and am looking forward to watching Netflix tonight...perhaps with a slice of pumpkin pie to take care of those extra 500 calories...

Day 4

Day 4 went relatively well, but only because I had decided to hit the elliptical for 30 min. I had a tennis match at 8:30 pm and had put 600 calories burned into my food diary ahead of time. I thought I was being conservative and that I'd have no problem hitting 700...until Amy and I stepped on the court. 

One of our opponents was overweight, in her mid-40s, had bad roots, and was sporting pigtails. I kid you not. Amy had played her before and really wanted to beat her again. 

Suffice it to say, we did not win. We lost 2-6, 2-6 mostly due to unforced errors. Amy was so pissed off after the match that she went for a run. I was going to have a smoothie, but decided against it because I didn't feel like I had earned a treat. It was just horrible. 

But on the diet and exercise front, I was able to burn almost 600 calories in our 66-minute match and I ended up under my allotted calories for the day. 

Mark one in the "win" category for Day 4.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 3

Today was day 3 of my "Back to the 150s by NYE Challenge." It went really well, even though I had to pick up a snack wrap at Wendy's after going to the chiropractor. I simply was not going to make it through the gym without something to eat. Yesterday was not as good...

Day 2 started off with a chocolate glazed donut and ended with a hot chocolate from Caribou. Needless to say, day 2 was a wash. I taught until 12:40 and then had my post-observation meeting until 2 or so. I had lunch/dinner at Noodles and then went to lifeguard from 3-5:30. From 6:20-8:30 I earned $55 guarding the dance competition judges at Edina High School. There were five high school dance teams (varsity and JV) from Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, and Wayzata. Three of my 9th grade health students were on the dance teams from Edina so it was fun to see them doing something they enjoy outside of the classroom. 

When I received the email informing me that I was going to be guarding the judges' table I thought, "What in the world?? Are they just making up a position for me? This is craziness!" But then I showed up and people were quite serious about it. A section of the bleachers was roped off by yellow crepe paper and there were signs up stating that this was the judges' area and they could not enter. 

My job was to guard the hallway behind the bleachers where the judges were sitting so that no one was looking over them while they were scoring and making notes. Also, when the teams were performing, I had to make sure that no one walked behind the judges and distracted the teams that were on the floor. For the most part people knew to stay out of the judges' section. I had to tell other people that they couldn't stand there or that they had to wait until the performance was done.

The biggest bummer of the night (which was probably good considering all I'd already eaten that day) was that the concessions stand was not serving hot dogs, even though they were listed on the price sheet. 

I took some pictures with my phone:

 The hallway that I was guarding. The judges are sitting on the other side of the green railing.

 The judges behind the yellow crepe paper. This was my view of the performance floor.

Edina's JV Dance Team

  Edina's Varsity Dance Team

I talked to one of the varsity girls today in class and she said that Wayzata won the competition and that Edina tied for 4th. Yeah...Edina didn't look too hot and Wayzata was absolutely awesome! They danced to a Michael Jackson number and they had super jazzy outfits. I was really impressed and they stood out, even to my untrained eye. I just checked their website and they won states last year. Yeah, they're good. 
I had to stay 20 minutes later and was compensated $10 more than the people who sold tickets! 2 hours, $55. Sounds good to me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 1

I recently completed a 20-day no alcohol challenge, put forth by Rudi. That went from Nov 1-20. It went so well that I've decided to do it again for December, starting today. It will be a 21-day no alcohol, workout extravaganza! It will culminate on December 20th with a few beers while watching the Bears kick the Vikings butt on Monday Night Football! I had toyed with the idea of buying tickets, but I thought my money would be better spent at a bar and a cab ride home. It would be a lot cheaper, at any rate. 

This morning I weighed in at a puffy, post-week off 164.2. Last week I was 162.2 so that needs to be recovered this week. My goal is to be in the 150s by Dec 31. 

I was not looking forward to today. It was the first day back after a week-long break from kids, but it went well. I was observed in one of my 7th grade PE classes and the kids were awesome. There's supposed to be some yucky weather moving in, but I have yet to see it, which is good. It's still currently 38 degrees, as it's been most of the day. I DID NOT want to go to the gym, but I hauled my butt there anyway. It was beyond packed in the parking ramp. I went all the way to the tippy top and only saw 2 empty spots. I decided to go home, take a nap, and then try again. The second time around was much better and I got to see Westbrook score his first touchdown as a 49er! 

Tomorrow's commute looks to be a bad one. I'm off to shower so I can just get up and go tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is going to be another long one - teaching, lifeguard, and then work "security" for the judges' table at the high school dance competition. I'm assuming it will be a pretty easy job... 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

1. I prefer the Arial font.

2. I have my first pre-observation meeting with my principal in 10 min.

3. I gave my first pop quiz today. It was in my fitness fun class and it was a 10-frame bowling sheet. They had to add up the numbers correctly. It didn't go well.

4. Today is day 19 of Ru's 20-day no alcohol challenge. I haven't had any alcohol for 19 days and I plan to celebrate on Sunday while watching the Eagles-Giants game (and perhaps the Vikings-Green Bay game).

5. Ru didn't do so hot on the 20-day no alcohol challenge.

6. I organized a game of snow football with my fitness fun boys this morning. They had a lot of fun and it reminded me of high school.

7. I'm excited for Thanksgiving. I have a fun day planned - 5k, lifeguard from 10:30-1:30, and then Lund's mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie w/ a good beer while watching football!

8. I did two loads of laundry this week. Still haven't really made a dent in Mt. Laundry.

9. I was supposed to have a date from Match tomorrow night, but he canceled. One of Ru's dates canceled on her this week too.

10. Don't really care about the canceled date. I'm more interested in working out and losing weight than boys recently. I know. Who am I and what I have done with Allison??

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I've been riding the high of the Eagles' win all week.
Let's kick some NY butt on Sunday!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Base Camp and 5k PR

It's been awhile since I've posted. I've been busier with school than I ever have been before. On top of an extra health class full of papers and projects to correct, I have an entirely new class to prepare for - fitness fun. This week past week I took my kids on a field trip to Base Camp, an interactive learning center run by the Boy Scouts of America. The kids get to go for three days from 8:10-9:15. They rotate through rock climbing, archery, and COPE, a high ropes course. Base Camp has only been open for a month, but the staff is great and the kids are really into it! Monday and Tuesday this week are their last days and then we go bowling until Thanksgiving. I've taken some pictures to display for parents during conferences, which are Nov 18 and 22.

The rock wall is made to look like Taylors Falls, MN. This is the front section and there are two more walls behind.


High Ropes/COPE Course

Yesterday I woke up and decided that I needed to start practicing my 5k again. I've signed up for the Lifetime Fitness Turkey Day 5k in downtown Minneapolis. It was 41 degrees when I left the house and 48 degrees when I returned. It was sunny, but windy. I decided to chart a flatter course, as the downtown course will be fairly flat. I decided to start by Caribou Coffee at the corner of Eagle Street and Shepard Road, down by the Mississippi River in St. Paul. Starting a little east of the parking lot and jogging to Randolph and back is 3.1 miles. I did the first half, to Randolph, in 19:38 min. My lungs felt like they were going to explode so I stopped my HRM for about four minutes and then started back. Oddly enough, with the wind to my back, I recorded 20:01 min for the return trip. I felt better though and almost felt like I had rhythm to my jogging. I was so excited to PR at 39:39 min!! My best 5k time to date before yesterday was around 42 minutes at the James Page Blubber Run. 

Today I returned to walk the 3.1 mile route and did it in 45 minutes. My legs and lower back muscles are sore, but I feel good. I also lost 1.6 lbs this week. I'm on a roll! 

After PRing on 11/7/10 - wearing my new "wicking" long-sleeved running shirt!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Field Hockey

Today I figured out how to create a video in iMovie and then upload it to You Tube. I'm so 2010! Now all I need is a camera with more megapixels...

This is the game-winning goal in the very first artificial turf field hockey game at South View Middle School in Edina, which occurred today. It's short, but it's a great video of a pass and a shot on goal. Then the boys run off to celebrate.

This is my first hour fitness fun class - only 3 girls in the entire's very high energy, but it's great to see them involved and excited about a new game that I taught them. Field hockey has never been played at Edina and I introduced it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This order of discs completes a 35-student set. Each student will have a putter and either a mid-range or a driver. Sweet!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Facts - Home Edition

1. I have never cleaned the bath tub in my house. I moved into this house in October of 2008.

2. I can count the number of times I've used the oven in this house on one hand.

3. The spiders can live in the basement, but they face extermination if they come upstairs.

4. I keep my bike in my living room, right behind my dining room table. It doesn't like the basement spiders.

5. There is only one closet in my entire house. It's a small one in my bedroom.

6. Because of the closet situation, my second bedroom has been converted into a huge closet. I have a 3-section IKEA closet that I love.

7. I would love to buy my house and build an addition to expand the bathroom and kitchen out into the side yard.

8. I am getting my front steps fixed on Saturday! They are currently a crumbling mess.

9. The woman who owns my house lives in California. She was an avid landscaper. She came back this summer to check out the house and I can only assume she had a heart attack when she saw how much I am NOT a landscaper.

10. I completely love my house! It's tiny and cute and it's got character. All of the woodwork is original to the house, which was built in 1890. It creaks and the floors slant and none of the doors really close, aside from the front door. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"3" Things Thursday

1. I gave out 3 lunch detentions in my 8th grade fitness fun class this morning. The boys received the lunch detentions for failing to turn in their signed syllabus. Not one of them showed up for the lunch detention, which means they now all have an email sitting in their parents' in box and two lunch detentions to serve. Don't mess with the best cause the best don't mess.

2. I confiscated 3 cell phones today in health class. The first boy was texting during a presentation on blueberries. He was so obvious. The second boy was texting under a table with his friends while he was supposed to be doing his nutrition packet. The third boy was playing a game on his iPhone behind his binder. He didn't even see me approaching him. 9th graders are so stealthy...

3. I played 3 games of big base today - one game in 8th grade fitness fun and a game in each of my two 7th grade classes. By the way, Byron's class beat Finanger's class during 3rd hour and Finanger beat Byron during 4th hr. We really killed him 3rd hour though...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Movie Monday, 1 day late...

Towards the end of the summer I was running out of money. This meant that I couldn't do a lot of the things that I like to do, such as go to weekend morning movies. I've missed a lot in the last month or so. But last Wednesday was pay day and I made sure that I saw a movie on Saturday morning.

I hate to disappoint some of you, but I saw Easy A. It is a high school twist on The Scarlett Letter, starring Emma Stone. Amanda Bynes, another one of my favorite now post-teen actresses, also stars in the movie.

Emma Stone plays Olive, a girl who is mistakenly accused of having sex over the weekend in the beginning of her senior year. What she actually does during this weekend is set in a hilarious few scenes spliced together. A gay friend of hers asks her if she'll pretend to have sex with him so that he doesn't get picked on in school. After initially saying no, she acquiesces. Word gets around and some dorky boys start asking Olive to help them out too. She decides to embrace this new reputation, inspired by the book they are reading in English class, The Scarlett Letter. Of course things start getting out of control and she begins to regret her decision.

Stone plays a great nerdy harlott while her parents, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, steal every scene they are in. They are the best movie parents ever! They are quick-witted and accepting of other's differences.

I absolutely loved this movie and I'll buy it when it comes out on DVD. "Two thumbs up!"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back At It, Or... My Gym Pet Peeves

I finally got my butt to the gym this morning. It's the first time I've been to the gym since I started the school year. I haven't had any energy or motivation...and I have 12 more days until the end of the month so that has forced me to get my butt in gear.

I was having exercise ADD (note, there was no "H" in there...) and decided to do 15 min on the bike and 15 min on the elliptical. Also, I probably shouldn't do ANY time on the elliptical bc of my back, but I just love and miss it so much. First off, the gym parking lot was packed. I had to go nearly to the top level of the parking ramp. I like to use locker #11 (hello OCD). Locker #11 was taken, as were practically all the lockers in the first section. I had to go all the way down to the 3rd and last section. I put my stuff in locker #139 after I changed, but it wouldn't lock. So then I moved all of my stuff down to locker #140. This is nowhere near locker #11!

Biking was fine. I was checking out the ellipticals while biking and there was one left right around my 15 min mark. I quickly put all of my stuff on it and cleaned off my bike. I always wipe down the machines before and after I'm there bc I've seen way too many people not wipe it off at all bc they are just "warming up." Hello, you still left your cooties! The two wipe dispensers closest to the ellipticals were out so I had to go all the way back to the one I used for my bike. I love the dispensers, but I hate that on any given day, at least 1 out of 3 in the first row are out of wipes. It's another pet peeve of mine when the person before has pulled two wipes out, but only uses one (they are connected). The other one inevitably dries up before it's used. Such a waste.

I ellipticalled next to a very tall/large man. He was actually kind of cute, but he smelled like Brian smelled and that was such a turn off. He was going great guns though, and not in a totally weird way like some guys. I like this bc it keeps me going faster as well.

I was able to stretch out and my back didn't hurt so I gave today's workout two thumbs up. When I got back to the locker room some lady was leaving and not only did she leave her locker door open (another pet peeve of mine, and yes, I do close them when I see them open), but she also left two towels - one on the floor and one on the locker door. Dude! The towel drop is on your way out, actually there are TWO on your way out. Don't be a slob - these people aren't your maids. So the workout was two thumbs up. The things I had to deal with were not.

Afterward I drove across the street to Brueggers and indulged in a pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese for breakfast. I love the fall!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Things Thursday

(1) I didn't have 7th graders today. They were at an all 7th grade "retreat" in the large gym. I got a lot done and am even up to date with my grade book! Now all I need to do is grade those pesky food diaries from health...

(2) Today was chilly and dreary. I decided to pull a pair of black fleece pants out of the dirty clothes and don them for the first time this season. Tomorrow is picture day so I may have to dress up a little more....or just wear a black zip-down hoodie.

(3) I heard a great new-to-me song today on the radio on the drive in to school. It was "Windfall" by Son Volt. They are an alt country band from Minneapolis. Apparently they started when Uncle Tupelo ended. I checked out the cd, Trace (from 1996), and downloaded it on iTunes. The singer, Jay Farrar, will be in St. Paul at the Turf Club on Nov. 5th and I just might check him out. I dig the Turf Club, but haven't been there since Duplomacy played (circa 2005-2006). A few lines from the song:

May the wind take your troubles away
May the wind take your troubles away
Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel
May the wind take your troubles away

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Impressions of the 2010-2011 School Year

Today was the first day of the second week of school, the first full week of school. Last week was really, really tough. On the first day of school I was in bed before 8 pm! The rest of the week wasn't much better, but I was able to stay up until 10 or so on Thursday night.

This year I am an official full-time teacher. Here's my schedule:

7:45-8:07... 8th grade homeroom
8:11-9:38... 8th grade Fitness Fun
9:43-10:25... 7th grade PE
10:30-11:11... 7th grade PE
11:15-12:42... 9th grade health

Fitness Fun is a class that my co-worker Lori created a few years ago. The class is really neat - a lot of activities and field trips that other PE classes don't get to do. I'm starting off with disc golf, which will culminate with a few field trips to the nearest disc golf course. Other activities include: karate, tai chi, spinning at the YMCA, bowling, xcountry skiing, snowshoeing, yoga. I'm also going to attempt to do rock climbing and curling. There's so much that I can do and if the kids would ever shut up, I'd be able to do it all! This year's 8th graders are last year's 7th graders and they are super chatty. In one class I have all but 2 girls; in the other class, all but 3. It's a tough crowd.

7th grade PE is pretty easy. This year's 7th graders are super nice, good listeners, and they wear their sneakers every day! I can only hope that they'll be good fitness fun students next year.

This year's 9th graders are kind of a rough crowd. So far it's not too bad, but they like to make comments all the time. I'm going to have to start kicking some kids out to make a point. We are starting with nutrition and we just started SuperSize Me today. They're more or less attentive, but the sound is so low that if anyone talks, you miss things.

I'm frustrated with the fact that I don't have a computer in my health classroom. The math teacher leaves her laptop and the sound just isn't the best. I have four whole days' worth of a video on AIDS and it's going to be a long four days if the kids can't hear it. The computer is hooked up to the projector on the ceiling. I never had a problem last year with the desktop computer.

Tomorrow night is open house and I think I'm going to dig it. Last year everyone followed their child's schedule, but this year each grade is doing something different. Why do they have to do that when it completely leaves out the specialists? So Jodi, Lori, and I are going to hang out in our office and if someone wants to visit us, they can. Otherwise, we can get some work done. I'm going to see how many discs I need to order for disc golf and then correct some health homework.

Our first long weekend is Oct 21-24, which is Education Minnesota's professional conference. (Formerly MEA weekend, so we still call it that.) I can't wait!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last Day of Freedom

*Big heaving sigh* Well, today is the last official day of summer for me. Tomorrow starts a week chock full of inservices, the purpose of which is to thoroughly numb my brain and make me long for June 13th when I can come in, submit my grades, and be gone for yet another blissful summer.

This has truly been the most enjoyable summer I've spent since 2007. I haven't had to look for a job and my main goal has been to be out of bed by 11, or noon at the latest. I've been trying to exercise and run my mile and, when not sidelined by back injuries, I've been successful. I've read a few books (none of them the req'd book for school) and have traveled through the south with 2/3 of the rest of my family.

And now the party is over. *Another big heaving sigh* This morning I woke up at Missy's just before 7 am and drove home to go back to sleep. I slept until 10:30 and then decided to make a plan for the day. I wanted it to be purposeful, yet fun. I decided to go to REI for their sale, Lifetime to work out, and then Punch for lunch with my buddy Bryson.

I started out at the REI in Bloomington.

Since it's the annual end of summer sale the place was packed. It's amazing how slow outdoor enthusiasts can go at 11:30 on a Sunday morning. I somehow got behind three of them before I even got to the clothes. My goal was to get two pairs of Teva Mush flippy flops, some Cliff Shot Bloks, and some protein bars, all of which were on sale. They only had one pair of said flippy flops in my size, but was directed to customer service in order to procure the other pair. They had all of the Shot Bloks flavors I wanted (I eat them during tennis matches to keep my energy up), but none of the Cliff Bar flavors. I decided to try two Luna protein bars.

The girl at customer service, Kym, was very helpful, although I think I stressed her out a little. There are roughly 30,000 different colors of Teva flip flops and she looked slightly exasperated while trying to find the one I wanted - Hawaiian Sunset Coffee - or some such ridiculous name. She finally found it, but they didn't have it at the master REI warehouse. She called over to the Roseville store and found a pair in my size. They put it on hold for me and I happily drove north on 35W to Roseville.

This REI is in a very small strip mall with a furniture store and an urgent care center. Usually the parking lot is so full that you have to park in the overflow lot. Surprisingly, I didn't have to do this. Inside was rather sedate as well. I guess everyone went to the Bloomington store this morning. When you enter the store there is a little Life is Good accessories display. The sign said clearance, but the bags still said the regular price. I picked one up anyway because it has my motto for this upcoming year of my life. When I got to the register it was nearly 50% off! Score! Cute, inspirational bag for $13! I also picked up a Life is Good purse that I had been eyeing in San Antonio. It was down to $15.

I picked up my flip flops at the back of the store and was on my way to Lifetime Fitness, Roseville. This is an interesting little gym. It's located in the basement of a large strip mall that's starting to look a little desolate. Linen N Things used to anchor one end, but has since gone out of business. JoAnn Fabrics used to be on the main level, but that's gone too. Anchoring the other end is an Old Country Buffet. I'm pretty sure that's not going anywhere. This Lifetime is also women only and it was odd not to see any men at the gym. But then I noticed that everything was clean and tidy and neat and I liked that.

I did a quick 25 minutes on the recumbent bike and then sat down to stretch. I found that I was able to touch my toes for the first time in 2.5 weeks! I went down really slow on each side and I could go all the way down! This is a major breakthrough and I'm glad I'm finally back on track.

Finally, it was time for Punch pizza. I drove to the Grand Ave. location and took a seat at the bar by the window. Even though it was past lunch time, the place was full. I like sitting at the bar, but inevitably, just as I'm raising a gooey slice to my lips, head sideways so as to catch any sliding cheese or sauce, someone walks right by the front window and catches me in this ridiculous pose. This happened twice today. No doubt they hardly wonder why I'm sitting at the bar alone... But I had my latest Bryson with me, The Lost Continent, and I was content to sit, read, and devour my yummy pizza while giggling at his commentary about driving across the United States.

While driving home over the High Bridge I noticed two police squad cars parked on the bridge. One was on top of the median facing north and the other was on my side of the bridge facing south. I thought this was odd, as they both had their lights on, just sitting in the middle of the bridge. I can only assume that they are discussing their strategy for tonight when all of the teachers living in the area descend upon the bridge in order to fling themselves off of it instead of following their fate of going back to school for another year. There should really be more squad cars. Two won't be nearly enough.

So now I'm back at home. I've read up a little on what's happening in the NFL, posted a cute Urlacher interview to Facebook, and have written my blogs. I think I will continue reading Bryson outside in an attempt to forget that I have to get up quite early tomorrow...

State Fair, Days 1 & 2

Jen and I went to the State Fair on opening day and had a fabulous time! Our first stop was Axel's to try the deep fried cheeseburger slider. We grabbed some Leinies and headed to a spot where we could stop and taste it. It was moist! Delicious! Fried! Cheesy! Jen and I were in heaven and happy that we had decided to split it. The ground beef was the best I've had in quite awhile.

We didn't try anything else new, but we did have pork tomales at the Bazaar, a venison stick on Machinery Hill, beer, garlic fries while waiting for the free University of Minnesota backpack, beer, beer on a stick, and a little more beer while watching the Boyz II Men concert.

We waited in line for 45 min at both the Kare 11 and U of M booths for free bags and we saw three free concerts. We got a free smutty Harlequin book, handed to us by a beefcake of a cowboy, and a free tube of toothpaste. Jen got her 4-sided yardstick for $1 after purchasing a pack of orange funnels for $1.25.

The second day I went with my buddy Tony. He was on a quest for a huge turkey leg, which he finally got outside of the Food Building. I tried some of it, but there seemed to be a lot of skin on it and the meat was greasy. Tony ate as much as he could and then announced that he was never having another turkey leg. Good call.

This trip was less about eating (although Tony did have a deep fried slider and mac n cheese on a stick) and more about people watching while sipping on beverages. We noticed a high volume of pregnant women and women who dressed too young for their age. Tony was also on the lookout for fanny packs. I am always on the lookout for money on the ground and found $10!

We ended the night by seeing Boyz II Men. Tony, being the avid R&B enthusiast that he is, sang all the songs at top volume and had a sore throat the next day. It was a pretty darn good concert.

Next Fair Trip: Tues, 8/31 with Missy & Dave. We're going to stand outside of the Grandstand and see if we can hear Carrie Underwood.