Archive | October 2011

Running On Empty

I have been struggling with making myself exercise lately.  I’m trying really hard to find ways to motivate myself.

One thing I’ve been doing is singing up for 5Ks and such periodically to make myself get out there.

Today, I ran, slowly, the Amherst Skeleton 5K “Run for Your Bones”.  This is the only local 5K I’ve done that used time tags.  The course goes through the Metroparks.  It was a perfect day for a run, very cool and sunny.

There were a surprising number of entrants.  Also surprising was the number of people in costume.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to feel cool when you’re passed by a guy with a huge leprechaun hat and fake beard.  And the three guys from a local bakery who ran with a tray of doughnuts; when they passed, that sucked too.  Although you gotta love a guy who runs with “I’ve got great buns” on his back.

A guy ran with a straw hat, Hawaiian shirt, and a grass skirt.  I’m pretty sure he finished before me too.  I have no defense.  I need to actually, legitimately train.  I can’t let the girl in a corset and fairy wings beat me and look like she wasn’t even trying.

I wonder if embarrassment will be a better motivator than what I’ve been using so far.

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Dirty Reggae

It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything on here.  I’ve done tons of cool things in my cool, cool city these past several months.

I took Thing 1 (my oldest) to see Neon Trees at the House of Blues  May 27th.  The opening act, Eastern Conference Champions, was  fantastic live.  They ended their set with an incredible jam that ended with all three of them beating on drums.  I can’t describe it, just go see them.  The crowd was really into the Limousines.  They were ok.  Neon Trees were really excellent.  The entire show, all 3 bands, really new how to work the crowd.  I was pleased that Thing 1’s first show at HOB was such a great show.

A few days later, I took Thing 1 back to HOB to see The Maine.  Augustana was the second act.  I love their song, Sweet and Low, but watching them live was boring.  I’ve seen The Maine live before.  They were much more energetic when I saw them at Warped.  I felt like I was watching a different band here.  At Warped, they were easy pop, here they were more country-fried.  I’m not a country music fan.  I found the show to be rather disappointing.

Warped this year was ok.  The change in venue really sucked.  Blossom is impossible to get to.  They have been having concerts there for 600 years and still can’t manage to get cars in and out properly.  There’s no way it should take an hour to go 3 miles.  The concert itself was only ok.  The high points, for me, were the Aggrolites, Paramore, and the Expendables.  It was difficult to get between the stages so I missed many bands that I wanted to see (A Day to Remember, Pepper, Sharks, Lionize).

I went to Taking Back Sunday at HOB in July.  I was so disappointed.  I realize that the original lineup is back together and everything, but I expected that they would play at least one song from their previous album, New Again.  Instead, I think they played music from every album EXCEPT that one.  And New Again is the album that I know.  I could sing every lyric from that album.  It’s the reason I bought tickets.  And the lead singer is a complete douche.  His stage banter is juvenile and boring.   The first act was supposed to be We Are the In Crowd but they cancelled.  I really was looking forward to seeing them.   I do have a suggestion for Taking Back Sunday.  If you are touring with Thursday, you should just commit and have a lineup up that only consists of bands with days of the week in their names.  Resurrect Til Tuesday.  Grab Hey Monday.  The Saturdays are most likely available.

I went the entire month of August without going to a single concert.  I know, I know.  I don’t know how I lasted that long.  The drought ended on September 12th when I saw The Expendables with Pepper at HOB.  The copious amounts of secondhand smoke insures that I won’t pass a drug test for a long time.  The show was good.  I don’t know many songs from either band, but they were fun to watch.  I’m not sure I’d go to see either band again, unless they are part of Warped again.  They are both good, but there are other bands that are much more fun to see.

I finally saw my first show at the Q on September 20th.  Rise Against opened for The Foo Fighters.  I bought my tickets because I wanted to see Rise Against.  I really wasn’t interested in seeing the Foo Fighters.  I figured that FF were past their prime.  First, the Q is a completely awful place to see a band.  You don’t feel a connection with the bands.  Second, Rise Against was Amazing.  And third, and most importantly, the Foo Fighters were amazing.  I wish that they didn’t turn every song into a 20 minute masturbatory experience, but other than that, they were great.  They really enjoy what they’re doing.  Dave Grohl, I think he would’ve stayed on stage all night.  And he did.  Even when the rest of the band left, Dave was out there by himself playing guitar and singing.  They played so long, that I left after the 3rd encore.  I had to get up for work the next morning.

The very next night, I saw Motion City Soundtrack at HOB, in the Cambridge Room.  It was part of their 2 nights, 4 albums tour (or whatever it was called).  The idea was that the band played all four albums in their entirety in order.  I only saw the second night, because I was at the Foo Fighters for the first night.  My husband isn’t really a fan, but I had the best time.  MCS is an incredible band.  The Cambridge room is so small.  HOB should really do something about the ventilation system in there though.  It was stiffling.

This past Tuesday, I made first trip to The Grog Shop to see the Aggrolites.  The Grog Shop is a complete oddity.  It looks like someone’s basement.  It has layers of graffiti on about ever surface.  And then they have a beer list that included enough stuff to keep me busy for a couple of weeks.  Sure it was all bottled, but hey, a girl can’t ask for everything.  I order the peche lambic and it was served in a beautiful snifter.  And I was only charged $6 for the entire bottle.  It was an awesome place to see a concert.   If they could just get rid of the loiterers out front….  Anyway, the Aggrolites were amazing, as expected.  And I think the lead singer, Jesse Wagner, even smiled a few times.  But the most surprising thing was how excellent the opening act was.  Roots of Creation were this completely perfect blend of reggae and electronica (?).  I had to buy their album.

And last but not least, I went to a few Cleveland Beer Week events yesterday.  I wanted to go to many more events, but I can only drink so much beer (I know, I know, blasphemy).

I went to Lilly Handmade Chocolates yesterday for the mead and chocolate pairings.  There were 4 meads and each was paired with a truffle. I like mead but it’s hard to find anything other than Bunratty around here.  Lilly’s had Redstone Meadery Carbonated Mead, Lugashall Christmas Mead, Iqhilika Bird’s Eye Chili Mead, and Dansk Mjod Viking Blod.  The last one, Dansk Mjod Viking Blod was most like the other meads I’ve had.  I preferred the classic mead taste.  And Lilly’s chocolates were really good.  I had not been there before as it’s a kind of crappy neighborhood that I don’t get to often.  I liked it much more than my husband of Thing 2.  I would like to go here again, but I’ll probably find someone else to go with.

After Lilly’s, we went to Deagan’s for the La Chouffe tasting (and glasses).  There were 3 different La Chouffe beers.  First was the La Chouffe, an unfiltered Belgian blonde.  It was good, not nearly as good as Indigo Imp’s Blonde Bombshell.  Then we had Ommegang Gnomegang.  This was a bit hoppy-er than  the other two.  Honestly, the three beers weren’t that different.  The coolest part of this trip was that the beer rep bought us a round. So, we also had the La Chouffe Bier de Soleil.  This was my favorite beer.  Sadly, it is a limited release beer.  I had a great time here.  We got to keep the glasses and the rep gave us hats with bells and a keychain.  I love my silly hat.  I look like an elf.

Next, we stopped at McCarthy’s Ale House in Lakewood.  They had Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.  I thought I’d had this beer before, but after tasting it I realized that I’d had beer aged in kentucky bouron barrels but never the brand Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.  It was so smooth and slightly sweet.  I love this beer.  And McCarthy’s is a nice bar.  It’s huge.  There are a few spots in the bar that could use some attention, but I would certainly come here again.

Last stop of the night was Fatheads.  I really didn’t need any more alcohol at this point but, you know.  I tried a Stone Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter.  It was definitely smokey.  I couldn’t really taste the vanilla though.  Not my favorite beer of the night.  That honor went to Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.  I wanted to try several other beers on the menu, but I simply couldn’t drink anything else.

Today I went to my final Beer Week thing.  I headed over to Mike’s Bar and Grill in Berea.  I haven’t been here before either.  It’s small and really really nice inside.  I had lunch with my Green Flash 30th Street Pale Ale.  The beer was way too hoppy.  I hate citrus-y hops.  But my lunch was excellent.  The sweet potato fries were perfect.  And my Philadelphia cheesesteak was huge and yummy.  Nothing was greasy either.  That could have been a really greasy mess of a meal but it was perfect.  My husband’s reuben was great also.  I liked trying the Green Flash beer but wish they’d had something other than the 30th street pale ale.

 

There are so many fun things to do in Cleveland.  I’m lucky that I’m able to do them.  I’m out of tickets and plans for now so I’m going to go plot my next outing.

 

Run to the Hills

I am NOT an athlete.  I am Asthma Girl.

But my a girlfriend asked me to walk the Columbus Marathon with her.  It doesn’t sound too tough, to walk.  However, until you have walked 26.2 miles, you have no idea how far that really is.

I guess I should  explain my personal fitness journey a bit.  I am Asthma Girl.  My mother hates moving.  I was discouraged from playing anything.  Although I’m very young, I’m only in my 30s, I was raised as though it was 1890.  Girls should be delicate and stay in the house.  I won’t even go into the whole “having a job is disgraceful” mentality.

So, I ended up big, and doughy, and gross.

It took me years to get down to normal-girl size.  I WALKED my first 5k last August.  I ran my first 5k last November (I had to walk parts, but ran for most).  I walked my first 1/2 marathon this May.  And now, I’ve walked my first marathon.

Unfortunately, I have been working so much this past year, I haven’t been exercising as much as I should.  I hate how much strength I’ve lost.  So, aside from when I was a big ball or yuck, this is probably the least ready I could have been for a marathon.  All the pain I felt during the marathon has made me realize that I really don’t care that much about my job, I need to take more time for my personal health. I will not be gross, weak, yucky Stay Puft marshmallow girl again.

Anyway, yesterday, I did the Columbus Marathon.  It was overwhelming.  It was sold out with 17000 participants.  Just such a crush of humanity.  This was the first time I saw strictly divided corrals.  The state canon signaled the start of the race.  There were fireworks.  It was inspiring.

The city of Columbus is beautiful.  As I was walking, at least for the first 16 miles, I was feeling good enough to take in all the stunning, well-maintained houses I passed.  But after about 16 miles, even MY normal Energizer Bunny self really started feeling exactly how far a marathon is.  And anyone who tries to say the walkers aren’t really marathoners is an elitist prick.  Anyone who does any physical activity for HOURS is intense.  It would have been very easy at a few points to just sit down and let the meat wagon pick me up.

The last 5 miles were the worst.  It took every bit of my Scot-Irish stubbornness to make it through.  I also had to try and keep my two walking buddies motivated.  I thought for sure that one or both of them wasn’t going to make it.  I stayed just slightly ahead and kept turning around to encourage them to keep going.  At one point they joked that they’d smack me if I gave them the come on wave one more time.  I told them they were welcome to smack me, they just had to catch me first.  In fact, before we all reached our breaking points, this was a great source of amusement and motivation.

At the beginning, I made jokes about all the bad singers along the course.  And I would sing the songs better, even as I was walking.  I really rather lost it when I heard someone mutilating Led Zeppelin.  Really, how could that be inspirational?  I was pointing out all the gorgeous homes and saying which ones I’d like to live in and which ones I just liked.  I pointed out detail work on the different buildings or just funky shops.  We joked about Franklin University being FU.  That will never get old.

By the end, we all sounded like we had Tourette’s Syndrome.  I curse.  My walking buddies don’t normally do so.  This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  My hands were numb, my feet ached, and I had stomach cramps from about mile 4 (this was a combination of energy beans and not enough water on an otherwise rather empty stomach – a banana is not sufficient breakfast to properly fuel a marathon, walking or running).

I admire anyone who attempts a marathon.  It’s tough.  I’m still dehydrated.  And really, anyone spending any time on physical activity is to be encouraged.  Good job to everyone.  Good job to the event organizers, they kept the course closed to the end (unlike Cleveland who allowed traffic down course roads way too early).  Good job Columbus, you are gorgeous.  Based on my trip for this race, I will definitely be coming back.  I have just one tiny favor to ask.  Can you maybe do something about the smell around the convention center?  Getting hit in the face by the intense smell of sewage followed by vomit was not a good way to wake up.

 

Baby You Can Drive My Car

I used to have this little royal blue, 5 speed, two-seater with a sunroof.  I washed and waxed and vacuumed that car every weekend.  I loved that car.  I loved it so much that I used to do much of the maintenance and repair work myself.  There weren’t many pleasures greater than popping out that sunroof, rolling down those windows, popping in my favorite cassette (yeah, I said cassette) and taking a drive.

Well, it’s been a few years since I was a carefree teen, zipping around in that little blue car.  But I still have a sporty car with the sunroof (moonroof, call it what you will I just want to see the sky).  No more two-seater, this car has four doors and seating for 5.  No more shifting gears either, my car’s an automatic.  The CD changer and the auxiliary jacks are tremendous improvements though.

I no longer have time to wash and wax and vacuum my car every weekend; I’m lucky to do it quarterly.  No more maintenance and repairs at home.  I take my car to a mechanic.  Fortunately, my car is a Honda, so repair work is minimal. I still like a clean car though.

I do not tolerate “stuff” being in my car.  I can’t stand when people leave stuff in the car.  And no eating in my car (except for my morning lean pocket for breakfast).  My car’s not spotless, but it is relatively clean and neat.

Another big change is that my drives are rarely for pleasure any more. They are mainly to either to run the kids (to lessons or practice or work or friends houses or etc.) or to sit in traffic on my way to and from work.  My relationship with my car has changed a great deal.  Never was I more aware of this change than I was yesterday.

Yesterday, I was driving a group of friends to lunch.  When I moved my little son’s booster seat……. there were pistachio shells.  And, even worse, he had spilled smoothie on the seat. I can’t believe I’ve become one of those women.

I have gone from having a love affair with my car to …. whatever it is when you move a a booster seat and find pistachio shells and smoothie.  Ugh.  I think I need to apologize to my car.  Maybe take it on a long romantic weekend.  Should I send it flowers?  How do I get this relationship back on track?

For the Love of the Money

I pay my kids allowance.  At the age of 4, the children got $1/week.  Their pay increases by a dollar a year on each birthday.  I usually pay them every other week, just like an adult paycheck.

My kids are in the really bad habit of buying just completely useless stuff with their money and never saving any.  So last month I made them a deal, for every dollar they agree to put in their bank accounts, I will pay $0.50.

We decided that once every 4 weeks, we will sit down with their bank statements and I will give them their allowance for the the 4 weeks.  At that point they can either take their allowance in cash or I’ll write a check for their bank accounts.

This morning, 2 of my children put in their entire allowances, for a month, plus other money they had.  The other child just put in her entire allowance.  This arrangement cost me an extra $131.28.  It was completely worth it.