Beginning of Lent

For the last five years or so, I’ve been halfheartedly observing Lent.  I’d give up something, usually caffeine, but by the end of the first week, I would have had my first cup of Coke, Coke Slurpee, or Frappuccino.  One of my nieces mentioned that one not only should give up something but consider doing something too… that was too much of a challenge for me!

This year, Lent starts on Wednesday, February 10th and goes until the Saturday before Easter, March 26th.  While looking online for Lent ideas, because I can’t come up with anything original, I came across a website,, that is part of the Vineyard Cincinnati church, yes in Ohio.  Generally, Lent is associated with Catholicism, so it was different to see a Lent related program run by a Protestant church.  The creator of The Lent Experience (TLE) is Pastor Eric Ferris, and more info can be found on the website above, including what Lent is about and why it’s observed.

You can sign up for the Lent Experience by providing your email address and optionally, your mobile phone number.  They will email you videos and reading materials along w/challenges every week starting on February 10th.  They will also text you if you give them your number. You are also encouraged to share on Instagram using #LentExp2016.  I don’t know what I’ll be giving up or what this program really is about; it sounds legit enough to me, but I’ve signed up, and I’ll give it a try.  In the end, I may give up something that’s not good for me anyway, learn something new, and hopefully improve myself.

Interested in joining me?


Another Fresh Start!

I mentioned in a previous blog that one of my goals is to blog more consistently. Technically, it is twice a month, but January turned out to be a weird month.  From the last week of December and for about 2-3 weeks into January, I was sick, so I was in no mood to write, work my resolutions, or do anything, really.  I didn’t exercise for the first time until last Saturday!  My next half marathon is on Saturday, February 27th, so I am almost a month behind in training; I had barely started when I got sick.  However, I am on track, so I was able to do my long walks last weekend and this weekend.  I just won’t have enough weekends to do more long walks, and I won’t have time to taper.  My longest and last long walk will be 9 miles the week before my event.


Back to my New Year’s resolutions…here’s the thing.  January is for practice and tweaking.  February is when it’s for real.  And better yet, this year, February 1st is on a Monday, so it’s a perfect day to start or start over!


I will definitely try to blog twice a month.  This month, in the attempt to do better on my half marathon, I will work on losing some weight by logging in my food on, drinking 8 glasses of water daily, and continuing to exercise.  I also have to take my blood test, admittedly 1 year tardy, right before my half marathon, so hopefully, I will see positive results as well.


I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.  What are you working on improving in the next month?

A Challenge to Race in the New Year

Some of you may know that one of my goals is to complete a half marathon in every state.  As of right now, I have 46 more to go!  At this rate, I will finish when I’m… 70.  Yes, 70!  It’s a little daunting, but one day, Daniel and I were watching TV and saw a story about people retiring and dying… and decided that having goals into your senior years might be a good thing after all.

My friend, Mary, did the last half marathon with me in Rhode Island.  When she excitedly asked about the next one, we ended up signing up for the Phoenix Marathon in Mesa, AZ slated for late February 2016.  Admittedly, these races can be addicting; you are surrounded by people with the same goal in mind… finishing the race!  Sometimes you hunker down and suffer alone; other times, you chat with each other to pass the time away.  I always go faster when I’m talking to other people, although sometimes I have to stop talking and drop back, so I don’t use up all my energy.  The goal, after all, is to finish without injury.

In addition, I saw an event featured on where a race director was organizing a free event in Millinocket, Maine.  The tradeoff for not having to pay for the event is to make a contribution either online to support their library, spend money in their town when you’re at the event, bring something to the event to help others out, etc.  Millinocket used to be a mill town, but the mills closed, so they are running into hard times.  I’ve signed up for the event but won’t know until late September whether I’m able to make it or not as I do have a calendar conflict that I’m trying to work around.

I started marathon racing the hard way, from the full to a 5k, then a 10k, and now only half marathons.  I don’t think there is really a wrong way, but most people probably start with a 5k.  Those are fun, generally very family and walker friendly, doesn’t cost a lot, and occurs all over the place.  Some are for charity, others for community spirit and fun.

I would encourage you to sign up and train for at least 1 event in 2016.  You can search for races in your area through,, and other sites.  For those of you who have already been thinking of signing up for something or have already done so, which events are they?

Here’s to 2016

Almost every year, I have a list of new year’s resolutions, and without fail, every year by the second week, I’ve forgotten what they were let alone achieve any of them! A couple of things I’ve heard recently reminded me that while it’s great to live a spontaneous life, it also doesn’t hurt to have a plan. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Every year, I attend a three-day crop at the Santa Clara Scrapbook Convention run by Scrapbook Expo. While there, I visit the onsite massage therapist, a nice young lady who runs her own business and travels with the Scrapbook Expo. She told me that at the end of every year, she books a room in the Travelodge near her for several days and reviews her business and plans for the new year. I thought, “What a great idea!” About a month ago, one of my clients was describing the work that his employees do, and said something along the lines of “We track and measure everything all the time.”
Combining the two thoughts: planning ahead to set goals and tracking progress continuously, I decided that I was going to give this new year’s resolution another try. If it helps small and large businesses succeed, surely it should be good for me. I’m not going to bore you by listing my resolutions here, and some will get tweaked as time goes by, but suffice to say, one of them is blogging on a regular basis.
What are your goals for 2016?

Reprise: Things About Me

I posted this in late 2008, and it’s now 5 years later, and I haven’t changed much…

Favorite Color:

1. Purple

2. Blue

3. Black

Favorite Clothes:

1. long sleeve exercise wear that isn’t tight on me where you can see all my bulges (who makes this stuff?!) with a scoop or lower V-neck (so I can breathe)

2. cute socks

3.  Spandex but to the knees

Favorite Candy/Snack:

1. Haribo gummy bears (has to be Haribo and only bears!)

2. Almond Roca – has to be only almond

3. Nacho with cheese sauce

4.  Popcorn from movie theatre with butter in the middle and on top (exactly what I say when I order it)

Favorite Accessories:

1. Designer watches

2. Coach purses

Favorite Clothing Label:

1. Tahari

2. Classiques Entier (Nordstrom)

Favorite Store:

1. Kohl’s

2. Target

3. Nordstrom

Probably not in that order

Favorite Food:

1. Salmon sashimi (this would be my FAVORITE present ever!)

2. Prime rib (I’m getting this for Christmas already)

3. Pasta with cream sauce (Italian is my favorite ethnic food)

4. Cocktail shrimp

5. Frosted Flakes

6.  Starbucks Java Chips ice cream

Favorite Beverage:

1. Regular Coke

2. Frappuccino

3. Chocolate milkshake

Jobs’ I’ve Always Thought Might Be Fun:

1. published writer (newspaper or book)

2. personal trainer

3. travel agent

4. race car driver


1. scrapbooking (of course)

2. reading mysteries (James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton)

3. taking long hot baths

4. blogging

Favorite Restaurants:

1.  Gary Danko, of course

2.  Houlihan’s

3. Taco trucks/roach coaches – generically speaking

Favorite Fast Food:

1. Taco Bell

2. Jack in the Box

Favorite Music Genre:

1. R & B

2. Disco

Favorite Singer/Band:

1. Luther Vandross

2. Tina Turner

3. Lionel Richie

Favorite Book Genre:

1. Mysteries

2. Self Help

Favorite Splurge:

1. massage

2. long scrapbooking events

3. pedicure

Things I Most Want But Can’t Afford:

1. A world cruise – yeah, I’m waiting for someone to buy me this!

2. Spa resort vacation

Things I Want But Won’t Ever Buy For Myself:

According to my husband, everything!  Apparently from paper clips and cheese to restaurant meals.  If you’re buying me paper clips, I only use the smooth silver large ones.  Favorite cheese is sharp cheddar.    Oh, I always need reams of paper.  I don’t need any more scrapbook supplies.

Planning is More Fun Than Doing – Half Marathon Style

I can’t believe there isn’t a new blog here for the past six months.  The truth is that I’m working on finishing a very long one, but I’m not quite done yet.  I also read my last blog from January on dieting… I’m always trying to lose weight!  Anyway, it just proves that planning is more fun than actually doing the work.  So let’s go with that theme for this blog then.  I’m PLANNING to sign up for a half marathon, the Strip at Night Half Marathon, which is part of the Rock ‘n Roll series by Competitor magazine.  It’ll be held on November 17, 2013, and the best thing is that it takes place at night, so it’ll be dark and colder, perfect for a night owl who doesn’t like anything hotter than 65 degrees!  It starts at 4:30 p.m., and I’m allowed 4 hours to finish, of which I will need every single second!

In order to walk a half marathon, one must have a plan.  I have a plan.  I found a 16-week training plan online.  It’s an interactive training plan where you can input the date of the race, and it will come up a plan based on that date.  I manipulated it so that I can start this coming Monday, but this way it gives me two weeks extra.  With this plan, I only have to walk 3 times a week (I’m pretty sure it’s really a running plan, but I can barely walk, so literally baby steps for me!) starting at 3 miles on Day 1 of Week One.  On Day 3 of Week One, I walk 3.1 miles. Yup, that’s a 5K in three days!  Who needs the Couch to 5K plan?!  Just kidding!

I also need a plan to save money for this trip.  The entire trip will cost about $1,000:  $250 for airfare, $325 for hotel, $280 for food (because I’m allowing $40/day like Rachael Ray) and $145 for registration.  I have a special account already opened, but I haven’t added money in there for years.  It has $5.  I have 4 month to save $1000, which is $250/month, $59/week, or $8.25/day.  Every day that I bring lunch to work, I will transfer $10 into my ING account.  Every time I decide not to buy a frap or forgo some other unneeded item, I will put aside the money into the account as well.  I can do this!

I plan to blog about this.  My plan is to write once a week on Sunday nights and capture what, if anything, I actually did during the week!  Day 1 for all of this is Monday, July 15th.  Let’s see where this takes me!  Come along for the walk!

What am I missing?

The More Things “Improve,” the More They Really Don’t…

We’ve moved back to the new old house now, and there are many new items in there.  However, in playing with them all, I’ve noticed that things really aren’t what they seem…

  • We used to have AT&T internet in this house.  It used a modem that I bought from them.  If I remembered correctly, it was maybe $20, something nominal anyway.  When I called to transfer service, I was told that our neighborhood is using U-Verse now, so technology has improved, and I have to buy a modem for $150.  Who has things improved for?  Me or AT&T?!  I cancelled the service and went to Comcast… because that’s what we do when we get mad and feel taken advantage of.
  • We called Comcast for their bundle service because we wanted cable and internet, so it was cheaper to get cable, internet, and phone… because AT&T said our phone price would go up another $7, but we’d get free long distance (whether we want it or not).  That’s just great because I know no one I need to call long distance, and I can do that on my cell phone anyway.  So I’m forced to pay $7 more for service I don’t need… but again, that’s why we switched to Comcast…
  • Cable – not so long ago, Comcast gave us a box… or two… as needed.  When we cancel the service, we bring the box back to them.  Now we have to rent it for $7.50/month x 2 for the 2 non-HD TVs.  So glad they gave us the HD one for free… can you “hear” the deadpan humor?  Oh wait, back to the internet… remember the modem I was told by AT&T to buy for $150?  We have to rent a phone/internet modem from Comcast for $7/month or buy one from the store for $150.  We rented it thinking that we will buy one later, but it’s already been three months.  About two weeks ago, we had the representative come by because our internet was spotty.  He told us that their 3-in-1 combo box (that we pay $7/month) is no good for the internet and that we should buy a new router of our own.  WAIT!  I handed him the router I used in our old house.  He hooked it up to a new Comcast box with less featueres, and now it works perfectly (this is a sign to the company that more is NOT better, but alas, they don’t learn).  Back in the olden days… circa 1980, cable was $6.  You only got 1 plan.  They gave you the box.  Cable was reliable.  End of story.
  • TV – we have a fancy TV now.  I don’t know what all it does.  I don’t care.  All I know is that every time I turn on the TV, I have to wait about 20 seconds for the picture to show up.  That’s not “Smart TV.”  That’s a SLOW TV.  The TV should turn on immediately after I hit the All On button.  It’s “All On,” right?  Not all on after 20 seconds.  Back to the olden days again, it might have taken 5 seconds at the most.  Oh, and everything looks like soap operas because of the HD function.  I’m told that’s a good thing.  Maybe if you like soap operas…
  • Now into the kitchen:  The first time we used the dishwasher, we discovered that it was very quiet – that’s a great improvement.  When the wash was done, we opened the door and everything was wet.  Apparently it has no “heat dry” button.  My cheap dishwashers all had “heat dry.”  I called Samsung.  I was told that because it’s an energy saver that it doesn’t have heat dry.  OK, so you can slap a label on it by taking away a much needed dishwasher feature?  Dried dishes is an expectation of a dishwasher!  The representative sounded empathetic.  She suggested that I buy Jet Dry.  OK, so you call it an energy saver by taking away a feature AND now I have to pay to buy a rinse agent.  Is there collusion between Jet Dry and manufacturers of dishwashers?  Now my dishes have to be “dried” by a chemical rinse agent.  When I take the dishes out of the dishwasher, they smell like chemicals.  These are the dishes that we eat off of.  A few days ago, I brought my lunch to work in a Rubbermaid container.  All day, all I could smell was the Jet Dry chemical smell.  Who exactly is this really benefitting?!  Oh, we also ensure the dishes are dry by using the “sanitize” button, which I think probably uses a lot more energy… I guess I should ask someone… since I work for the utility company.  Last night, after we loaded the dishes, we were going to shower, so I asked my husband to put it on the delay function.  This was the first time we discovered that it didn’t have a delay function!  This is not a bottom of the line dishwasher!
  • My refrigerator/freezer is one where the refrigerator is on top and freezer on the bottom.  It has the ice and water dispensers on the door.  The ice maker is long and narrow with a large rotating screw-like thing in the middle that takes up about 1/2 the space, so I barely get enough ice… certainly not enough for a party.  We’re going over to the old house to get ice for parties now.  That ice maker makes and holds a lot of ice in comparison and it’s almost the bottom of the line appliance!  Why would you place this large plastic item in the middle of your ice tray to take up so much space?  Surely they must have design engineers with better ideas than that.  Maybe they don’t like ice like I do… because the key to a great party… is the amount of ice available!
  • We have a Grohe faucet.  It’s a high end name brand… well, high end for me, maybe not for other people.  It has a button to go from regular to spray… but no toggle button to go from spray to regular, so you have to shut off the faucet and turn it back on.  Who designed this thing?!  A cheapie off brand one from Home Depot is more efficient than this!
  • We have new washers and dryers.  You have to press a button to turn it on like a cell phone before you can make your selection.  Really?!  If I press a combination of buttons, shouldn’t it know to turn on?  It has LED display to tell me what’s going on.  All I care is that my washer and dryer are washing and drying.  All this just means it will be a lot for everything to break!

Speaking of breaking, as each item breaks, and you know they will because I’m sure there is a conspiracy among manufacturers to create stuff that only last a certain amount of time so that we can buy more stuff and they can earn more money like cell phones that mysteriously never last more than two years – I’m going back to basics.  I’m not going to care if my appliances match or not as long as they are functional for me.  ARGH!

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