last weekend i went to fairfield, vt with eva while she filmed her weekly seven days vlog, stuck in vermont, at the cabot hosiery mills annual sock sale. cabot mills is the only sock manufacturer in the state of vermont. purely homegrown -- now that's something to be proud of. every year, the mill workers clean off their factory floors and replace the machinery with tables and pile piles of socks upon them: merino wool socks, cashmere socks, wick-away socks, darn tough socks, army socks, sports socks, fancy socks, dress socks. soxy soxy socks.
i could feel the frenzy before i even entered the building. i just knew i would be tempted to knock down those grandmas who were holding the socks i wanted. but i didn't need to worry -- there were enough socks to go around. check out the video here and don't miss the frenzy next year:
this year, ella was a three-legged pig, oli was dogzilla, julie was a candy corn, jennie was a baby, baxter was a dragon with wings, paige was a dragon without wings, and i was the evil toothfairy (check out my tool belt). dad didn't win the adult free-hand pumpkin carving, but the red sox won the world series anyway. and baxter won the under 12 free-hand pumpkin carving, but we all really know that his aunt carved the train. too much candy, cake, and sugar was consumed by all. all in all -- a good time was had.
fall is my favorite time of year -- the colors, the smells, the apples, the cider donuts, the pies, the way the sun sets lower and gives everything a warm amber hue, the pumpkins, the craft fests, the corn mazes, the candy, the bringing out of sweaters, the chopping of firewood. this is what my fall looked like...
i'm lying in bed, freshly showered, feeling those 13.1 miles in my calves. it was a gorgeous day. derek made it in in less than an hour and 40 minutes, jennie was in in 2 hours 9 minutes, and i came in at 2 hours and 12 minutes (official results). julie was there with the kids to cheer us on, and paul rode around on his mountain bike handing us energy gus and cheering us on at various spots on the course. woo hoo!
this is my older sister jennie. in a few weeks, on sunday, september 30, she will be running her first half marathon. i will be running my second half marathon. we'll be catching the changing of the foliage first hand as we cruise the streets of waterbury, vt in the annual Leaf Peepers race. jen and i have been training together since july, logging what first started out as 12 miles a week, to what has now become over 20 miles a week. we are following halhigdon's half marathon training schedule for novices. while we have run in the vermont city marathon as a relay team and at the catamount 5 K summer races, we're definitely still in the novice category.
like many of the challenges that i take on in my life, to face this particular feat, i had to double dog dare myself and tell lots of people that i was going to do it. That way there was no way i could possibly back down. (i definitely did this when i joined the peace corps -- how could i tell people i was going, and then not go? for that matter, how could i pay my $30 entrance fee and not run in Leaf Peepers? oh no, not on my tight budget).
i do not like to run. not really. well, okay, it's growing on me a little bit (there is truth in those endorphines everyone talks about). but believe you me, when i first started this, i didn't like running one bit, and was just doing it to say i had faced and conquered the challenge. but running & training do become easier when you know that if you don't train, you will die while trying to run 13.1 miles. there is no option but to get out of bed at 6 am and get those miles in.
having jennie as my training partner has gotten me through those early, dark mornings, those cold, rainy miles, and the hot, thirsty ones as well. for those of you who don't know, jennie is an OB/GYN and operates on little to no sleep (no pun intended, ha ha, no need to take that literally...). how she does it i do not know (though, "i'm not a manny" might be able to shed a little light on that). on her days and nights and wee hours on call, we had a system to determine when our daily run would be. she'd call me 15 minutes before the pre-determined time and let me know whether or not she had slept. you'd think no sleep would mean no running, but that wasn't necessarily the case. one morning jen called me at 6 am to say that she'd been up since 2 am, but that she was feeling pretty good, so would like to get our 10K race-pace run in before she completely crashed. another time, jennie called me with the frantic, "i'm about to have a baby so i can't run" message (not her baby, rather, her patient's baby).
because of jennie's busy schedule with her career and her family, i rarely get to spend quality time with her. training for Leaf Peepers has given us a chance to catch up, and is perhaps one of the reasons that i now don't mind running and actually look forward to it. also, if i have to toot or need an emergency bathroom break while running, i can with jennie. now that's a bonus that not all running partners can offer.
jen says that she will be disappointed in herself if she walks at all during our 13.1 miles. and i say nonsense. to train and face the challenge at all is enough of an accomplishment. i'm proud of her and us.
this is julie, she is my younger, 27 year old sister. she is biking across the country at the moment -- on her aurora 800 hybrid, mind you, not her motorcycle or her moped, or anything woosy like that. oh yes, she and armin and ross left lincoln park, nj a few weeks ago, have biked between 40 and 80 miles each day, have camped out on church lawns and near town creeks. they have gone 7 days without a shower or laundry. she is now resting up in chicago for a few days (and finally reading HP 7).
check out her blogbecause it's fabulous and so are armin's and ross'. julie inspires me to do many things, including start up my own blog again. julie does not however inspire me to ride my bike to portland, OR. she can make me proud by doing that all by herself and i'll stay here and have a very comfortable bum.
in january, like everyone else in this country, i get my envelopes marked "important tax documents enclosed." however, probably unlike everyone else in this country, i promptly chuck those unopened envelopes into my very organized, orderly "look at later" pile o'crap. then on, say, oh, april 14, i actually, finally sort through that pile o' crap, and find my tax documents, along with that old receipt i was looking for, an old wedding invitation whose RSVP is past due, my map of vail that i meant to frame, those yoga videos lesh burned for me (not that those are crap!), and eva's business card (that's not crap either!).
now, i lead a pretty stress-free life. my job is with a non-profit arts organization whose perks of free dance classes and shows balance out the demanding grant accounting and performing arts class coordinating. but when tax time rolls around, i feel like i'm back in college with a term paper looming over my head, stressing out and procrastinating from doing the inevitable. i work best under pressure, and usually, when under pressure, i clean. don't ask me why. probably because cleaning is the last thing i want to do, besides my taxes. so, i clean. thanks to tax season, my home is spic & span. the fireplace and hearth are free of soot, the shelves are dusted, the floors are mopped, the carpets are vaccuumed, the kitchen counters and sink are scoured, and so is the coffee pot, the bathroom is soft-scrubbed and the mirrors are windexed. piles o' crap are sorted through and filed and arranged neatly. even my finger and toe nails are trimmed and my eyebrows are neatly plucked! i've cleaned out my inbox and deleted old emails and i've arranged my sharpies in rainbow order. only then do i log onto turbotax and get started. all in all, it wasn't that bad, and my taxes are done for 2006. The 2007 pile o' crap has already been started.
this dear readers, is all just to say, that when you picture me in my last moments of life, inhaling my last breaths, please do not picture me on my death bed, but see me with a duster in one hand, a vaccuum cleaner in the other, and mops on my feet like pippi longstocking. and rest assured, i will be wearing clean underwear!
i just discovered something. while looking for FAT pictures of myself, i came across only a few (please notice double chin in picture 1 and rolls in picture 2). this discovery by no means means that i am not a bit chubby. it merely means that i delete any bad picture of myself before posting to ofoto. looking through photos and starting to draft this blog in my head also helped me realize something else: i'm really not that chubby (or at least that's what all my unconditionally loving friends and family will/should assure me), perhaps just a little squishy in places with some jiggly bits. ah well, more to love, and as jules and i always reassure eachother, "we are good people." but years of turning bright red after moments of physical exertion, of being picked last in gym class, and of being made fun of in elementary school, have slightly skewed my self-image. everybody's got something they wish they could physically change about themselves (and if they don't, they're lying). almost 4 months ago now, i was inspired by my new & fabulous roommate hannah to join weight watchers. it really is a great program. so far, i've lost 15 lbs. and i've dropped almost 2 sizes! it's very exciting. when you first weigh in, they tell you that your first goal is to lose 10% of your current weight. depending on your age, height, sex, and daily activity level, you are assigned a certain number of "points" you can eat each day. Every single food item that you may ever allow to pass your lips does indeed have a point value, which can easily be determined by the fabulous ww sliding scale chart. it factors in calories, fat, and grams of fiber (which you soon realize is very very important -- the more fiber something has, the less points it is!) weight watchers have an amazing amount of point tricks up their sleeves -- have you heard of a 1 point English Muffin? or a 1 point wedge of cheese? what about the fact that most steamed vegetables don't even have a point value?! a single dove chocolate is only 1 point, so no need to deprive yourself of life's necessities. that is actually the point of ww -- eat in moderation, but no need to abstain. it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change. i've got to be careful, or one of these days, i might actually be one of the ww preachers... or is it too late? ww has little incentives too -- every week you lose weight you get a gold star sticker; every 5 lbs. you lose, you get a 5 lb. gold sticker star; when you lose your first 10%, you get a keychain that is shaped as a 10; when you reach your ultimate goal, you get a gold star charm to fit on your keychain; and when you've maintained your ultimate goal weight for longer than 6 weeks, you are officially a lifetime member and no longer have to pay monthly dues, even if you gain all the weight back! i got my keychain already, now i'm working on my 4th 5 lb. * well, just wanted to catch you all up on some of the somethingsomething i've been up to lately and to include some rather hilarious pictures of yours truly. hopefully next time, i'll be DOWN to somethingsomething more and fitting into my size sixes quite comfortably!