Run/Lift 2.13

Time: 7:50am

Where: Gym

Workout: 1.25 mi easy (14ish minutes)

Then, a ladder workout (this is a ladder workout, right)

  • 21 (assisted) pull-ups
  • 10 BW lunges
  • 21 pushups
  • 20 BW squats
  • 18 pull-ups
  • 10 BW Lunges
  • 18 push-ups
  • 20 BW Squats
  • Etc. etc (went down in multiples of 3s, with lunges or squats in between sets of pull-ups and pushups, until I got to 3 of each).

Notes and Observations: Sweaty! I like the upper body workout, and felt like I was giving the lower a rest. According to the running schedule this is supposed to be an ‘easy’ day. But it’s also one of the few days I lift, so I’m trying to make the most of it.

Music: The Killers, Sam’s Town


Experimenting on chattycha

WordPress updated: check
Mobile apps downloaded: check
New perspective: why not?

Haven’t posted regularly in a while. I like to post photos, which require taking them. And uploading them. And in general having time. I do have time. On the bus. Which is where I am now, but means taking and publishing pics maybe isn’t so easy.
Which fits nicely into the changes I’m thinking about. Previously I saw this as a photo-food blog / occasional training log but beginning today you’ll see this become a training log / occasional photo food blog.
So, that is all for now.
Pardon the typos.

We are UCONN (with a south philly for dinner)

Saturday night (Kentucky vs. UCONN), I told the husband, that if UCONN won and played Monday in the final, that we should order pizza for the game. There was no hesitation in his reply “Okay!”

We are frequent pier at Pagliacci, but haven’t ordered in quite a while due to my avoidance of breads and grains. I told the husband to order whatever he wanted since I’d only lightly indulge, and probably would fill up on salad. He obeyed and got one of our standard orders: Pagliaccio Salad; a small CB-Pine; a small South Philly.

I read in a book recently that the average American eats 48 slices of pizza a year. Huh, I thought, when I read that sentence. That seems really low to me. Because for years at the firm I would grab a slice if I needed a quick lunch. Nasty, unsatisfying, greasy, dough-crusted pizza. Since I’ve cut that and most grains out of my diet, it’s so funny how much more you can appreciate the good things in life. I truly enjoy the one slice of toast I allow myself in the mornings (and if you haven’t already tried some, I strongly recomend splurging for a loaf, any loaf, of Dave’s Killer Bread).

So, where was I going with this? Oh yeah. For weeks now there has been not an iota of bad crappy pizza to distort my palate. That one slice of South Philly was the best-freaking-pizza I’ve tasted that I can remember. I ate it way too fast then had a stomach ache.

Pagliacci's South Philly pie via chattycha on flickr

An ache which could only be healed by my favorite college basketball team winning the NCAA championship title. Seriously. I was miraculously healed somewhere near the end of the fourth quarter.


I See a Little (Twi)light

twilight_book_cover I’ve got YA books on the mind. Probably because I spent the better part of a week –and-a-half plowing through the “Twilight” book series. Here is my quick take on these books:

Twilight – Loved it. For the most part. Kind of lost me at the vampire baseball game (I can only suspend my disbelief for so long), but after reading all four I’ve decided this is my favorite.

New Moon– Mostly liked it but OMG really depressing to read for hundreds of pages about the hole in Bella’s chest. It did make me want to go to Italy, though.

Eclipse: Fight scene will be much better on film. Too much exposition.

Breaking Dawn: WTF?

I admit, I got kind of obsessed about the series while reading it. I had a feeling that would happen, which is why I tried really hard to avoid the books. In fact, as an alternative my pal Kate suggested I read “The Hunger Games” instead, but more on that in a minute.

I’m glad I read them. There is something fun in reading about teenage romance as an adult. First and foremost, I’ve been married for five years, and I was with the husband for six years before that. That’s 11 years for those of you not interested in doing the math. While I love and adore him, that new relationship, crazy-in-love thing … well let’s be honest, it kind of fades when you find yourself permanently sleep-deprived and out of time because there is a child (whom you also love and adore) that needs a lot of attention. With a fun read like this you get to re-live it in a sense. It’s similar to what the husband thought was an unhealthy fascination that I had with the series Dawson’s Creek (which, don’t know if I’ve mentioned before or not, does NOT stand the test of time). Oh I had such a crush on Joey and Pacey. And I think I did because it came at a time when I was missing those weird, awkward high-school years. Watching the series gave me that fix. And so the same goes with Twilight.

In addition to that guilty pleasure, now I get what the Team Edward/Team Jacob thing is all about. This pop-culture phenomenon is no longer lost on me. No, I won’t be visiting Forks, Wash. anytime soon, but at least I feel like I’m in on the jokes. I am not interested in figuring out the High School Musical/Hannah Montana/Jonas Brothers nonsense. But at least now I get Twilight.

Beyond the fan sites, there is a lot of talk about Edward & Bella’s relationship. One: Is Edward a stalker? Two: Is this actually an abusive relationship? Three: Is Bella’s “damsel-in-distress” character a poor role model for the young girls who are obsessed with these books? (I am waiting for college thesis papers to cover this topic, if they haven’t already) Four: Are you FOR REAL??

C’mon people. These are novels. Fiction. If I had a choice between my future tweenage daughter reading these FICTION novels and in the process discovering what eventually becomes a lifelong love of literature (please, please let my daughter become a bookworm!), or watching REALITY TV garbage like the Kardashians or Real Housewives, the choice is obvious.

Give the kids credit to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships. Or, be ready to talk about them when the time comes. Twenty years ago it they would have been crazy about New Kids on the Block. Ten years ago it would have been N Sync or the Backstreet Boys. At least now these girls get some reading in alongside their swooning. And, they will grow out of it. We always do.

More importantly, when my daughter is done with Twilight, I have the opportunity to introduce to her a role model that I can be proud of. Maybe it’s Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Or maybe it’s…

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games! Now there is a kick-ass girl that I can stand behind. For those of you who haven’t read it, this futuristic view of a post-apocalyptic country pits teenager against teenager in a gladiator-type game. Social-class issues, love triangles, and yes, that confused I’m-a-teenager-what-the-heck-is-going-on type of situations arise. It is so easy to root for Katniss, the female heroine in this series because she is smart, independent, strong, and a fighter to the end. While some might consider Bella selfless (in that she makes choices to protect her parents and loved ones but are detrimental to her); Katniss truly is selfless, risking death to save her sister (as opposed to wanting to die to live forever with her vampire boyfriend).

As much as I loved reading Twilight and am looking forward to the movies (hey, I am also hooked on the Harry Potter and have been for nearly a decade), it’s the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy that I really can’t wait for. August 2010 can’t come soon enough. When push comes to shove, if I need to recommend a teenage girl one series, it won’t be Twilight. It will be The Hunger Games.

Some fun links I ran into while obsessing about Twilight:

Midnight Sun: Stephanie Meyer’s draft of 12 chapters of Twlight, as seen in Edward’s perspective.

Why Breaking Dawn Must Be Made Into  a Movie: A funny (and accurate) – and R-rated- synopsis of “Breaking Dawn”

Vanity Fair article on RPattz. I read it (before reading Twilight) and actually got nervous for him. I began picturing a dim future for him a la River Phoenix. But Cathy assured me he’s grounded enough and that if it gets too crazy he’ll just leave Hollywood. Phew.

Next topic: Why all the talk about Team Edward & Team Jacob & Team Bella? Where is Team Alice? Of all the characters from that series, I want Alice as my BFF. For reals.

Alternative endings

Wanting to wrap up a thought I had (one of many) after finishing There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America, by Alex Kotlowitz. This is a book that I am guessing most of my j-school classmates read back when we were in j-school. Kotlowitz is a professor at Northwestern and no doubt this is required reading for some undergrad classes. In his years as a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, writing about urban issues, he came to meet two young kids, Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, living in the inner-city projects of Chicago. A few articles lead to writing a book about a two-year period in their young lives. You can’t even imagine what they go through, what their little eyes see and what their young minds must process.

The book was written in the early 90s, and it takes place in the late 80s. One of the kids, Lafayette, is the same age as me. It hits you, as Kotlowitz wants it to, because there is an entire other world out there, (when I lived in Chicago it couldn’t have been more than a few miles) that I never saw and never will see. It hits hard again because now that I’m a mother I hope and pray that my child will never, ever see or experience horrors like these children did.

This was written long before the Internet was something we took for granted. In no way, shape or form could the family Kotlowitz writes about have ever imagine a world where, upon finishing the book, any one can say to themselves, ‘I wondering Pharaoh and Lafayette are doing today … Google their names and find out.

I more or less did this when I finished the book (actually I waited a day. I nearly almost Googled — sorry, bing-ed them before finishing the book but restrained myself). Based on my search results, I am not the first, nor will I be the last to do the same thing.

Upon doing this, I wish I hadn’t. At the end of the book you are left with hope. Hope that at least one of them will find a life beyond the projects, and becomes that success story. It is better to just leave it there and stay hopeful. We want the story to continue. We are looking for the alternative ending. Instead we learn what their real last name is (Kotlowitz had used an alias). We learn that Pharoah was featured on “This American Life” ten years ago. We learn that the state of Illinois keeps an online database of convicted felons. And suddenly the alternative ending is not as good as the actual end of the book.

And, you, too, will wish that you hadn’t.

This very thing happened to me when I finished Annie Lamott’s Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year. I Googled. Then wished I hadn’t. So sad that I was about it that I decided against reading another one of her books and removed it from my library hold queue.

This happened one more time this year, when I re-read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. This is a little different. You kind of know what Eggers has been doing. And, he kind of lets you know what Toph is up to (if you read the paperback version you get a little update). And, it’s not a sad ending … not even an alternate one.

Based on the search results I found, I know I’m not the only one thinking this and doing this. But, how sad have we become? That many readers out there demand to see into the lives of those who probably would prefer to remain anonymous. Almost think that they deserve it. Is reality TV to blame? The 24-hour news cycle? The always-at-your-fingertips Internet? Inquiring minds want to know.

BTW, all three of these books are such good reads, (well, AHWOSG, in my opinion, was much better the first time I read it, and I think it has something to do with the time in my life when I first picked up, compared to re-reading it ~10 years later). And I strongly urge you all to read these. And then to afterwards resist the temptation to try to find another ending.

Four for Four Weeks

Four items I’m glad I purchased for post-partum life … as it turns out, they all happen to be clothing-related. Fortunately my ninth month of pregnancy came right during the after-Christmas super-duper clearance sales.

1) At Victoria’s Secret I purchased two cotton nightshirts, one for $10 and one for $5 (the $5 was purchased after the $10 one, when they had slashed prices yet again. Gotta love the end-of-year clearance). I initially thought I might wear one while in the hospital, but that was just silly talk. The hospital gowns did fine. However, now, I wear these all the time. And, yes, I have found myself still in my pajamas at two in the afternoon. 

2) While it may seem silly to purchase a pair of maternity pants so late into one’s pregnancy, I knew that by the time I delivered I would be so tired of wearing the same pants that a new pair would be a luxury of sorts. This is why in early January I got from the Gap (on sale for $16.99) some knit pants (those sweatpant types that you can lounge in) and I live in them now. I’m surprised that so many new mothers are shocked that one isn’t fitting into one’s skinny jeans as one leaves the hospital. You leave looking more like you are six months instead of nine. All of the baby Web sites tell you this. So think ahead, and save those skinny jeans for a few months down the line.

3) At Target I bought flimsy ballet flat-like slippers on uber-clearance for a mere $3.97. And I did wear these in the hospital. And I still wear them. When my mom visited she asked me if she should buy me some new slippers. I was like, “Why? These cost me $4”.

4) A few days after we returned from the hospital I sent the husband back to Target to buy some XL boxer briefs underwear for me. This has come in handy during my C-section recovery. $7.99, and the only thing that was not on super-duper clearance, but underwear can’t wait for sales. I can just picture him finding some kind Target worker and hurriedly asking her, “Underwear. Hanes. XL. Where they hell are they?” Thanks, husband.  Thanks.


Today I had to take another glucose screening blood test. Results come in on Wednesday. Apparently my first glucose screening took place about five days before the window of when I’m supposed to have it. Because of my Asian heritage, doc recommended we do it again. Depending on the results, I may not be eating many more sweets from here on out. The husband thought ahead and we shared a very tasty slice of chocolate cake. Hint of coconut and caramel on top of the frosting. It was quite the piece of cake. This is what happens when we split the evening chores (“You walk Max. I’ll pick up some groceries.”) Sorry, no pics. We ate it too quickly. Well, there is still a hunk of it in the fridge but it’s not pretty now, half-eaten and all.

So, anyway. Today’s workout was very similar to Saturday, 15 min on treadmill (2.5% incline, 3.6 mph) then 30 minutes on elliptical, with the HR hovering in the 150s this time. Ended with a quick circuit of squats, bicep curls and shoulder press, all using the red band. I was doing this in the women’s workout room and observed a woman walking backwards on the treadmill. Seriously?

Finally, on the knitting front. Working on a pair of baby leg warmers. Stay tuned for a pic in the near future.