Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Time flies...

I can't believe how fast time is flying by! It's almost the end of January and I feel like the year just began. This blogging thing is funny because I know a few people read here so if I'm absent for a while I feel like I need to apologize and say that I've been away and I've been busy...on the other hand I think "well, who really cares?" I hate to keep doing breakdowns of what I'm up to but it always seems like the easiest thing to do in order to give a little picture of what my life is at the moment.

THE POOL: I promised myself I'd be going twice a week and twice a week it is! I don't always do a lot while I'm actually in the pool, but I have the excuse that I'm working on my "technique". (Ha!). Anyway, it's doing wonders for my back so I am very happy about that. Also I have a training secret: I have a "monday" partner (Tiziana) and a "thursday" partner (Linda). It is set in stone that we meet at the pool so I have no way to back out, someone is counting on me being there. I do this also for my Sunday workouts (biking or running). It's always a good idea to have training partners that keep you on your toes.

MY TRAINING: The running is going good. Not great but good. I did my first key race of the season last sunday, a 12 km near my house. I completed it. Enough said. The swimming is going good. Not great but good. The bike is non existent and I have to change that really really fast. I went out for a 30km spin yesterday but I really should be on the bike twice a week at this point. I now declare that I will get on the bike twice a week. For all of those keeping tally that's two swims, two bikes and three runs per week. Go!

MY BUSINESS: I've doubled my clients in the last two months so I am really busy with that. Next week I have two women's running clinics that start off in an area near Treviso. I've very excited about it since this is a new area for me, meaning I've never done clinics in this area. If you want to read about my clinics in english you can go here. I just feel SO optimistic this year, I can't wait for each day to start...

MY RHYTHMS:...and in my can't wait for the day to start mood I've taken to getting up at 4.30 a.m. - It sounds freaky, but I love it. First of all I love having some time to myself in the morning. Olly is a big girl now and stays up late so I almost always have someone around. I love my alone time, need my alone time. I get up, meditate for a few minutes, make a cup of tea, then I start the day writing. The time actually flies by since I have to get the kids up at 6.30. I bring them to school then get back home at around 9.00 where I can either continue working or go train guiltlessly since I've already put in a few hours of work. The most difficult part of the day is going to bed early. It pretty much means no television but I'm okay with that. This morning Piero got up with me and then we had breakfast and some time together just talking before he took off for Rome where he will be until Friday. Anyway, if ten years ago someone had said that I'd be up at 4.30 a.m. to work I would have laughed in their face. Look at me now!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

NYCM, here we come!

I was contacted a few months ago by a guy that had participated in my "My First Marathon". He wanted me to create a similar running program for his clients that would start running from scratch and work towards completing the New York City Marathon. We had our first meeting on Saturday. The spirit of the group was fantastic! Lots of fun people, very positive attitudes. To start out we filmed them running and then over the weekend wrote out individual video analysis for each runner. We showed them a few of the exercises that they'd find on their training plans in the first month also. Last night I finished writing out all the training plans and then I'll be calling each one next week to see how they're adapting to their schedules. The word must have gotten around at what a fun time we had saturday because three more people called yesterday to join the group. I guess I'll be going to New York in november! I love an excuse to travel, especially to the States.
In the "my kid's a freak" topic, Evan is learning to spell. Now, he knows all the letters in the alphabet so the other day we got take out pizza and on the box PIZZA was written across the top. Ev said "look Ma! P-I-Z-Z-A". I told him it spelled pizza. He got it. He's now memorized how to spell his Evan, pizza, casa, mamma, papa, and Scarabeo (don't ask...). Piero has fun saying a word he knows and telling him it's spelled sbzraq. Evan will correct you and give the right spelling. Very very cute...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Scattered thoughts for the week

This is Evan making his "sad" face, though you can see his eyes still smile. After two week away from nursery school it's been really hard to get him to go back in the morning. He puts on a little crying scene and pronounces in english "I want to stay home with yoooooouuuuuu..." If he says it in english you know he's trying to tug on those heart strings.
I haven't had time to write a proper entry so he's what's been going on this week:

- I've made good on my promise to go swimming twice a week. I almost didn't make it...The week started on monday the first and by thursday evening I still hadn't gone. On Friday I said to myself that I didn't have to do a long and strenuous workout, I just had to GET IN THE DANG POOL! So that's what I did. I ended up with only 1000 metres but half of it was balancing drills that takes a lot of time up. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it). Saturday I went again with Linda and all was good with 1600mts. This week I already went on monday and I have a planned workout tomorrow, so now it's a habit. Right?

- Watching all the weight loss blogs after the new year. I will scream the next time I see another person confuse "lose" and "loose". It drives me crazy!

- Sunday Linda and I did a really fun workout: 30' + 10 x (1' slow/30" fast) + 3 x 1km @ 160 bpm. Again, fun, but I have a lot of work cut out for me before I can run the Roma Ostia Half Marathon.

- Evan is seeing letters everywhere: license plates, road signs, packages. His new "game" is to open up a Word page and ask me to spell words to him while he finds the letters. I found a great site for tracing paper, to teach him to write his name. At the moment he can type it, but not write it. Computerized kid...

- I've been concentrating on how I chew my food. Don't laugh, I'm not being a freak. I love to cook and I do cook our meals at both lunch and dinner. So I'll spend like an hour preparing dinner, set the table and have everybody sit down. Ten minutes later the whole affair is over. Piero swallows his meal whole and he can really shovel it in. I have to slow Evan down all the time and have caught him taking on the same habits. Olly is better but she eats a quarter of what everybody else does so the time thing evens out. I'm somewhere between everybody but it is something I thought I ought to pay attention to. Here's what I've learned: 1- a ten minute meal now takes forty minutes. Twice this week I've ended up eating by myself since everybody else still finishes in ten minutes. 2) I'm more satisfied at the end of the meal, feeling fuller 3) Fruit and vegetables really DO contain a lot of water. If you chew long enough you end up with just a little pulp. 4) Foods that require essentially no chewing: couscous, ground beef, carrot cake. Who would've known?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

An opportunity for gratitude

Yesterday Olly and I got in the car to bring her to the train station. She was going to Milan to spend the night at her father's, but unofficially she was going to spend the day with her new beau. I knew this because her father works until about 7.00 p.m. and she was itching to leave by 10.00 a.m. so it wasn't hard to put 2 + 2 together. Plus, she was willing to travel by train. Until today we've had a decade full of her father and I meeting half way between Milan and Modena any time she wanted to see him. On my part that's 120 round trip kilometres plus the time getting it all together, probably about two hours total if there is no traffic. The train? A seven minute car ride to the train station, a one hour twenty minute train ride for her.

We get in the car, I turn the key and it makes this "mpehra..." sound, and then nothing. I knew what it was right away. The battery was dead. Olivia panicked. "Oh no!! I'm going to miss the train!". She had tears in her eyes. I'm more practical (comes with age) so I just told her that there was nothing we could do in that moment about the car but we could see when the next train was. We looked at the schedule and saw that we had an hour and a half to get it together. She suggested a cab, I suggested one bike, four legs. I won. I had about ten errands to do that morning and I needed to be mobile after I dropped her off at the train station. Plus, it's only a three kilometre trek from our house, so off we went.

After I put her on the train I had to deal with the car. Piero is away for a week so no male to take care of the mechanical stuff for me. Now, I don't know anything about cars. I can pump my own gas, but that is truly the extent of my mechanical knowledge. There is a car mechanic just three hundred metres from our house but he is a THIEF! He totally overcharges on anything he does plus he surcharges any parts. Yes, he would walk over to my house and tow the car off and fix it, but he'd be charging me a ton of money for the whole thing. I knew that it'd take him about ten minutes to change that battery and he'd charge me $200.00 for the operation. I don't know where it came from but my first thought was "can't I do this myself?" Now where did I ever come up with that idea?

My across the court mechanical type neighbor Andrea confirmed to me that it was a simple operation. He threw in "if you have trouble just call me". It was comforting to know that I had a backup. I asked him where I could buy a new battery and he told me that just behind the bowling alley not more than three minutes from our house was a battery store. It was like a dream. I mean, I've lived in this neighborhood for eight years and not more than three hundred metres away is this huge store where he sells nothing but batteries of every type.

The first thing I had to do was get the old battery out and remember the sequence with which I took it apart. This actually wasn't too difficult. The hardest part was getting the bolts to turn because they'd been in place forever. I also have to admit that I Googled "how-to-change-a-car-battery" and viewed a few sites that confirmed how simple it was. The only thing that I messed up was taking off the negative before the positive (or the other way around), but I'm still alive to testify that it wasn't a problem. Andrea also popped outside in the crucial moment when I couldn't get this thingy with the spark plugs that was screwed on top of the battery off because the bolt wouldn't budge. After a mere fifteen minutes I had my old battery out. Now how to transport it to the shop and trade it for the new one...the baby jogger! I got a few stares from people seeing me pushing the battery in a stroller, but I'm not that self concious so I didn't care. The salesman looked at my battery and asked if I wanted the same type or a new "no maintenance" one. I went with latter because I found out that in all these years I was supposed to check the water levels every year. Who knew? Equipped with my new "no maintenance" battery I wouldn't have to ever worry about that again. (I'm laughing on that last sentence...I've never worried about it in the first place 'cause I didn't even KNOW about it...sigh...)

With my new battery back in the baby jogger, I headed back home. In front of the open hood I did have a moment of hesitation. "Maybe I should just wait for Andrea...". "No, you do it." That was still me talking..."Just give it a try." Getting the new battery in was ten times easier than taking it out. Then, like a true mechanic, with the hood still up I went and tested the engine. Unlike any other mechanic, I gave out a little squeal when it turned over in an instant. I CHANGED A CAR BATTERY ALL BY MYSELF!

I have a lot to be grateful for in this experience. Don't laugh, it's my brand spankin' new 2007 point of view:

- I am grateful that I will be able to cut out a lot of driving by sending Olly on the train. Now we know that she can travel with no problem. It's ecologically more sound and will save both parties time and money.

- I am grateful that my mechanic has overcharged me all of these years because I would have never been inspired to change the car battery myself if he hadn't.

- I want to thank my old battery for nine years of service even if I never once checked its' water levels (though I'm sure that someone did at some point).

- I am grateful for the whole experience because it has opened up a whole world of mechanical possibilities to me: my bike, the house, my bike, my car, my bike. (I need to work on my bike but have always taken it to a bike mechanic. Hey, I can change a car battery, can't I change some bikey thingy?)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Day one...actually Day two...of 2007

I was going to post yesterday, being it the first day of the year and all, but I got too busy doing nothing. When you have the entire day to screw around with, it is really easy to watch the hours fly by. There are a few things I did get done though:

- I tried to solve the JBMommy problem with my fonts and learned all about CSS style sheets! I thought I could go into the html and just change the font colour from dark grey to black or the font size, but I couldn't find them. This led me to actually looking at what the heck CSS was and why I should learn more about it. Anyway, the CSS sheet is on an external site which I can't get to so we'll all just have to live with these fonts until I can change my site over...which is going to take a long time because the Beta version of Blogger doesn't accept a lot of the old stuff and you pretty much have to use their templates. For me to do a new site is really fun and exciting (really!) but it's a long learning process for me (read: I'm really slow in understanding new concepts...) and I don't have a lot of time to waste right now. We'll get there soon though!

- I sorted out the socks. I took all the stray socks from the laundry basket + all the stray socks from three socks drawers + all the socks from the stray sock drawer. I made one huge three foot pile and started to pair them up. I came up with 146 pairs of socks and only 15 stray socks left over. This took me an hour and a half to do. The fifteen stray socks left have one week to find their partners or else they outta here!

- I did part two of the "Get Your Geek On" Triathlon. I was supposed to do the run afterwards but it was cold out and rather grey and sort of depressing. I decided to skip it and do the five km timed run today...later...