Monday, January 28, 2013

New Year = Blogging Again

One of my new New Year's resolutions was to begin blogging again, even if it is just about random daily stuff that happens. I'll likely still talk more about books, writing, etc., but I'm hoping to get into a habit.

My other New Year's resolution is--like many other people's--to get back into shape again. I signed up for a new gym that offers a good cardio/boxing/core class. I've gone several times and have liked it immensely so far. Unfortunately, since my body is so conditioned to doing the kickboxing moves for so many years, I foresee that I will soon have to supplement the workouts with running and lifting.

I would also like, if I can lose some weight, to run in a half marathon in July. My goal is to run at least half of the distance and walk the other half.

So that makes two goals: Lose 20 pounds by the end of the year and run the half marathon. I'll be posting updates regularly (hopefully)

I'm also going to be updating my review blog with all the reviews I've posted at Amazon and possibly Goodreads. I'm up to 66 reviews at Amazon, although some are short. I've been reading some free self-published books, including poetry, lately, but I have yet to make a spectacular find.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How Can I Find a Reliable Mechanic?

I have had enough bad experiences with car mechanics that I now assume that whatever shop I take my SUV to for service is out to get me. Is that fair? Of course not. However, let's consider today's adventure:

This afternoon, I take my rig in for an oil change because I'm leaving on a 1600-mile road trip - by myself - on Monday. The gentleman at the front desk tries to talk me into the "high mileage" oil for an extra $10.00+. My rig has 82,000+ miles on it. Says so right in their computer because I take my rig there regularly for oil changes. According to the glossy brochure I am shown, this special oil has extra components that are supposed to, amongst other things, seal leaks in the car's oil system.

I decline. Politely. I want run that decision past my dad, who is wise in the ways of vehicles, and do some research to see if the extra cost was worth it.

Ok, so they take the rig, do an oil change, rotate my tires - for free because I bought the tires there - and then call me up to check out. Price? $39 and change.

Huh? I point out that the board behind the desk says an oil change is $26.99 + $2.50 for oil filter recycling. The guy looks at his paper work and says, "yes, oil change, high mileage oil..." and looks back at me. Waiting. I say, "No, I declined the high mileage oil. Remember? I said I'd consider it for next time."

He thinks about it and apparently remembers that. He gives me some story about changing it in the computer but on the paper work, sorry, yadda, yadda, yadda. Anyway, I got the high mileage oil. He does take off the extra $10 without any further argument from me, though. He tells me how great it is the whole time he's fixing my bill.


Could it have been an honest mistake? I suppose so. But my cynicism says otherwise.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Half Marathon or Bust

I first started running just after I got out of college. I wasn't athletic at all and the first few times out, just running a half mile kicked my butt. It took me several months to be able to run even two miles without sucking wind and feeling like I was going to collapse afterward.

That's just say quite some time ago. Since then, I have run intermittently. At one point, about 10 years ago I ran consistently all summer and worked up to about 6 miles as my longest runs. That was great. Then I suffered a couple of knee injuries - unrelated to running - and have struggled to get back into a running habit since then.

Well, no more. I'm now going to get serious again - about running and about losing weight (I need to lose about 10-12 pounds). Last Saturday morning, I did an approx. two mile run. I was tired at the end, but it felt good. This morning, I did about 3 to 3.3 mile run. The weather was cooler and it felt great until the last 1/4 to 3/8 of a mile. But I stuck with it.

What still amazes me is how fast the endurance comes back. I have run only a handful of times in the last six months, and yet two runs in, and I'm back up to 3+ miles which was my standard run for so many years.

In order to keep myself motivated, I have set a goal of running in a half-marathon next summer. One of my bucket-list items is to run a full marathon - just to have done it - but I'm going to set that goal a bit farther out. I'll shoot for the half next summer and try to get in a few races between now and then. I'm not fast enough to be competitive with others. I just like atmosphere of races and I use them to try to achieve personal bests.

We'll see how it goes. Updates in the future...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Updates, Updates

It's been awhile since I've spent time here, but the blogging bug has bitten again. I've made some changes to both my main blog (this one) and my book review blog, Book Snark (which is only somewhat snarky). Blogger has some nice new templates to play with.


Speaking of reading, I've got a couple more reviews to come. I've recently read "Unlocked" by Courtney Milan and "Exposure" by Therese Fowler, two books that are outside my normal reading genres but were recommended to me.

I have posted a review of "Exposure" on Book Snark. Warning, there are spoilers in the review. I really couldn't discuss one of my reasons for disliking the book without discussing the ending.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Currently Reading and Read

I've read a couple of pretty good books lately that I wanted to share.

"Silver Borne" by Patricia Briggs - I am a huge Patty Briggs fan. This is the fifth installment in the Mercy Thompson series, and I enjoyed it much more than the previous book. The book starts out slowly with several plots. It takes a while for the main plot to become clear, but I enjoyed the build-up. I'll post a better, more complete review later.

"Hell Fire" by Ann Aguirre - the second in the Corinne Solomon series. I'm only part way through this, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Don't let the cheesy cover art throw you. This is a good book.
Again, this one will get a proper review when I'm done with it.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Saturday Morning Miscellaneous

I've finished Tainted and liked it enough to start Torn, the next book in the series. I'm not convinced of the heroine's rapid transformation from girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks to super-demon-hunter, but other than that the book was generally pretty good.

I also picked up a copy of Blood Cross, the second book in the Jane Yellowrock series, by Faith Hunter.


The residential neighborhood we moved into at the beginning of December is popular with the local deer population. We're on the edge of town, partly up the hill, and the deer come down at night to feast on the vegetation. Several times I've been outside after dark (or before sun-up) and been startled to hear a clumping noise. Deer make a pretty distinctive sound when they walk, so I knew what it was; it's disconcerting to hear it that close, though.

Spring will be interesting. We have two fruit trees, an apple and a pear according to one of the neighbors, that I hope survive the deer. We also plan to add a lot of landscaping to now-rather-dull exterior of the new house. I'm going to have to consult with some folks to figure out how to keep the deer from eating the new plants. Years ago, when I was growing up, we lived an area with a lot of deer, so I know that they love tulips and hollyhocks (two plants we probably won't be attempting).

I've decided to make a writing calendar for this year. This year one of my resolutions was to submit more of my writing. There are several regular events that I want to participate in, and they tend to catch me by surprise - "What? the deadline is two days from now?". So I'm going to be more organized, plan ahead, and see how I do by December 31.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Currently Reading: Tainted by Julie Kenner

Publisher's Description from B&N: "When her little sister is brutalized, a vengeful Lily determines to exact her own justice. She succeeds at the cost of her own life, but as she lies dying, she is given a second chance. Lily can earn her way into Paradise by becoming an assassin for the forces of good. It's the job Lily believes she can really get into-but she doesn't realize that she may not be able to get out."

I just started this book last night. It's been in my TBR pile for a while, and since the next two books in the series are out, I thought it would be a good time to start. Then, if I like it, I can read the entire series back-to-back-to-back.

Happy New Year!

There's nothing more to say...

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 1 results

Yesterday was the first day of Nanowrimo. Fortunately, it fell on a Sunday, which is also the day we have traditionally held our write-ins. Because of the size of our group, we are holding write-ins at the library this year instead of at a local coffee shop. The only down side is that the coffee cart in the lobby of the library is not open on Sundays. I'll have to plan ahead enough that I can stop somewhere and get coffee on my way to the write-ins.

The result: I was able to get off to a good start: 2100 words in about two hours.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Happy Apil Fool's Day! + a Contest

No, the contest isn't a joke. It's for real. Check it out:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Work-Out Updates

I decided a while back to stop posting my workouts here. I have a log that I keep off-line to track progress, which is a better method for me.

I did buy new running shoes tonight. I've needed them for a while, but the Saucony model I normally buy is rather expensive (really good motion control shoes which saw a $25 price increase this year) and is not carried locally. I have to order them. However, a local sporting goods store was having a sale on running shoes, and there were a couple pairs listed in the flyer that I wanted to try as an alternative to spending $120.

The first pair was a Brooks model, which were a closeout of last year's model. Runner's World had flattering things to say about 2009 version of the shoe, and it seemed like it would be a good shoe for my flat arches. OK. They were comfortable enough, although they felt different than my old Saucony's which I had worn to the store.

Then I tried on another pair on a whim, an Asics shoe. As soon as I tightened up the laces, I knew I had found the shoe I wanted. They hug my foot just like the Saucony's, and there was plenty of room in the toe box. I know nothing about this shoe other than that -- it fits like my Saucony's. Oh, and the shoes were cheaper than I thought. With a coupon from the flyer, I got the Asics shoes, nice new cushiony insoles with arch support (a must), and brand new running socks, all for less than $80.00.

Tonight the shoes go for a test run.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Work-Out #3

Location: The club again. It was 40 F out, but overcast and drizzling a mix of snow and rain.

Mileage: 2 laps to warm up, then 26 minutes of continuous running at about a 12 min/mile pace. 2 laps to cool down. Total mileage was about 2.4 miles. Started out tired from last night, but at the end, even though my legs were tired, I could have continued running. Decided not to push it.

Duration: A little over 30 minutes, not including stretching time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Work-Out #2

Location: TKD school

What we did: Conditioning night. Lots of jumping and running around; some good squats. Not much TKD.

Duration: 1 hr


Tomorrow, if the weather holds, I'm hiking up one of the local hills with a friend. (Weather holding means it's above 40 F outside).

Work-Out #1

Last night was my very first work-out on road to running the half marathon. Since I've found training logs to be motivational, I'll be using my blog to keep track of work-outs -- all my work-outs, not just the running ones.



Work-Out #1

Location: The local gym. It was 34 F outside, overcast, and damp. Not my ideal running weather.

Mileage: A little over two miles. Warmed up w/2 laps. Ran about a mile. Walked 2 laps. Ran about another mile. Then cooled down with 2 more laps. The second mile got pretty tough at the end. Legs were tired, lungs were OK. I really need new running shoes, though.

Duration: Oops, forgot to look at my watch.

TKD is tonight. We'll see how my legs feel after that.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A New Plan

I've always done better at sticking to a work out plan when I'm training for a specific event. The last event I trained for was my second degree black belt test. I worked out pretty hard for six weeks, and although I did see some improvement in my cardiovascular fitness, I didn't see the numbers on the scale go down any.

Right now, I'm the heaviest I've ever been (about 176 give or take, depending upon the scale I use), and I'm tired of it. I still want to continue to improve my fitness and lose weight. So I need a new plan.

The other day, my yougest sister gave me a flyer for the 3rd annual local marathon, which also includes a half marathon and 5-K and will be held on July 12. A friend and I had talked two years ago about trying to run the half marathon. 13 miles is twice as far than either of us had ever run, but we figured we could easily do a combination of running and walking and still finish in the time allotted. And then nothing came of it.

This year is different. The half marathon is going to be my goal. I have five months to train, and I'm going to sign up for an inexpensive group training program offered by a local running group that starts in three weeks. The minimum run length, according to their web site, is 2 miles. I can get up to that in three weeks.

My ultimate goal will be to lose 20 pounds and finish the half-marathon in under 3 hours.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Funny Story

The other night, I'm getting ready to leave my TKD school. It's about 7:45 p.m., and it's 5 F (if that) outside. I'm sitting in the lobby putting on my shoes when a six-year-old boy comes out of the locker room with his boots and his bag. He sits down and starts to put on his boots. He's wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

I look at him and say, "[his name], don't you have a coat?"

He says, "Oh yeah! It's in the locker room."

He runs back into the locker room, gets his coat, and comes back out. Five minutes later, I'm standing around talking to another (adult) student. Our sixteen-year-old instructor (who is almost seventeen and mature for his age) goes out the side door, starts his truck to let it warm up, then runs around and comes back in the front door. He says something about it being cold outside. He's wearing....a t-shirt and jeans.

I look at him and say, "[his name], don't you have a coat?"

He says, "Oh yeah! It's in the locker room."

He runs back into the locker room, gets his coat, and comes back out.