Monday, August 20, 2007

The Fair

J & I headed to the ginormous fair near our house this weekend. I was very excited, as this was my first trip to this fair, and my first fair since seeing Journey at the Big E 5 years ago. (Journey without Steve Perry is excellent, by the way, as it appears the band has simply cloned Steve Perry. I wonder is the government knows they can do that).

So, this fair had everything a girl could want, aside from Journey. I refused to go on any of the hastily-put-together-by-a-13 year-old rides, not in fear of my life, but the fact they cost about $5 for a 30 second ride. I was budgeting for fair food.

I love fair food. I loved almost everything they had to offer, from the giant hot dogs and dog food sized bowls of fries, to nachos & burritos, pizza, gyros, and everything in between. They even had ice cream filled cupcakes. What more could you want out of life? And, of course, the fried dough, fresh from the scalding hot grease vat. Mmmm mmmmm good. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of deep fried junk food. There were no battered and fried Oreos, Twinkies or Snickers Bars to be found.

I was amused by the "fresh squeezed lemonade," as I watched the tween working the stand pour some yellow syrupy substance from a foil bag into the plastic cups. She caught me watching her while her food stand door was open, and shut it quickly, yelling "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" (Okay, I made that part up.)

The fair also had a bunch of 4H stuff. Lots of animals -- cows, chickens, bunnies, ducks. And lots of vegetables. Giant pumpkins and tomatoes, plus cucumbers dressed up like bugs. And free compost -- fun for the whole family!

But the best part of the fair is people watching. I saw a grown woman being pushed in a baby stroller with a toddler on her lap. If I ever asked J to push me in a stroller, he'd run away as fast as he could after he peed himself laughing at me. And I saw a toddler on a leash, who would drop face first onto the concrete just for fun. Lovely. It was kind of like birth control.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Run For Life

(Warning: Mushy Blog Ahead)

As many of you know, I'm part of a really special group of women called Team GDT. In 2004, the team was founded by 9 women from an internet message board who wanted to run a 5K and raise some cash for breast cancer. Today, our team has over 60 members, and to date, we have raised over $117,000 for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Boston.

I joined the team in 2005. I wanted to run a 5K, I had met some of these women and they seemed normal, plus the race was near me, so if they turned out to be crazy I could easily hightail it home. It was a lot of fun and games, and we were raising some cash and having a good time with everything, when one of our team members told everyone she had breast cancer. That really put our goal into perspective, and we ramped up our fundraising efforts to become the second largest fundraising team per capita.

Every year, the number of loved ones of team members who are battling or have lost the breast cancer battle seems to grow. And, frankly, it sucks. Its never easy to hear about a 28 year old with cancer, or a mom with two kids struggling through chemo. Sometimes the task is daunting. We try and raise every dime we can, yet people are still suffering. Its hard not to get frustrated, but its important to remember that this will be a long journey, and every dollar counts and helps. Like some rapper on my iPod says "Life ain't a track meet -- its a marathon." As is the battle against breast cancer.

So, for the past two Septembers, I've stepped up my fundraising efforts, bid on crazy auctions (causing J to say "You spent how much on jam?!?"), and hounded, er, politely asked, my friends and family for any extra cash they have. And I meet my team in Boston, and drink and eat and laugh with them, as they are no longer invisible people who I was apprehensive about meeting, but true friends who I love to share my days, and a weekend in the fall, with.

And on Sunday morning, I watch the survivors in their pink tees line up on stage and be recognized. All ages, all races, all walks of life. All surviving this awful disease. I run behind hundreds of people honoring their loved ones. Their moms, their aunts, their best friends. People that are missed every day when they're gone, and heroes every day they are here.

I'm in awe of the survivors, many who run this race faster than I, a healthy 28 year old, could ever run. After their bodies were subjected to things no human body should have to suffer through. They stand song, and run or walk as hard as they can, happy to be alive on a bright fall morning, happy to be here with friends and family for another day.

I've often wondered how strong I would be if I became ill. Would I just lay there and take it, or would I fight with every ounce of my being? There are days I hate running, but how would I feel if someone told me I couldn't run anymore? The people who stand in their pink shirts on race day are true heroes.

Its so easy to get wrapped up in the fun of this race weekend -- seeing old friends, wagering on who will raise the most money, eating all the free samples, trying to beat your time last year. But its hard to forget the survivors, and even harder to forget those we've lost to this awful disease. They really put what we're fighting for at the forefront of our minds.

I run for a lot of different reasons -- to blow off steam, to lose weight, to feel healthy. But on September 23rd I will run for life. For the lives of every man and woman affected by breast cancer. And I hope to one day not have to do it anymore.

"If you ask her why she is still running
She'll tell you it makes her complete
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me, my friend
I run for life"
-- Melissa Ethridge

If you're interested in learning more about Team GDT, look here.
Or, go to

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I Heart Apple

I know Apple has been around forever, its only just recently they have sucked me into their web of all that is good and happy in the world.

It started with the iPod. I can't be sure, but I'm almost positive Becca is the one who owes me $300 for introducing me to this fine piece of machinery. J just shook his head in disbelief as I dragged him to Best Buuy one cold Sunday and rang up an iPod, speakers, car connector, and the Garden State soundtrack for good measure. (This is before we combined our finances, by the way).

I love that iPod. I named him Ipod (pronounced Ih-Pid). I spent countless hours downloading CD after CD, even the crappy ones, just to watch my song count go up. I was amazed at the fact I could listen to 4 days of music without hearing the same song twice.

Then I took it running and dropped it. It didn't break (thanks to its rubber condom-like case I purchased online), but the thought of losing Ipod forever scared me so much, that I went out and bought a Shuffle (creatively named Shufflie -- see a theme?) When I opened the box I was a bit disappointed. What was this tiny plastic thing? How could it store my music? But it didn't fail me! Shufflie stored only my running songs, and, because I don't like to hear the same songs every time I run, the random shuffle was just what I needed in life.

Shufflie and I had a good run together, for a while. Then Apple came out with all these new iPods -- smaller Shuffles! Video iPods! The Nano! I resisted the temptation fairly well.

Until the Nike+ kit arrived.
I was strong for a while. I didn't have Nike shoes, so I couldn't even use the sensor, right? You Are Incorrect! I could buy a little case to velcro to my shoes. Then I signed up for the Boston Marathon, and somehow convinced myself that the $250 I would fork over for the Nano, the Nike+ kit, and the matching red & black armband would greatly help my training. So I bought it (and named it NanoNano, of course).

And it did help my training. It was a miracle! I owe the fact that I finished the Marathon to the people at Apple & Nike! If I had won the race (ha!) I would have thanked them as the officials placed the laurel wreath on my head. Maybe next year.

The kit is great, but I have to admit, it lies. I'm not fast, and would never pretend I am. When I'm on the treadmill, and it says I'm running a 10 minute mile, but the Nano says I'm going anywhere between 9:30 (yay!) and 10:30 (boo!) in a matter of 30 seconds of running. I recently ran a 5 mile race, but when I finished, NanoNano said I had run 4.6 miles. I need to fix that.
I love the Power Song function too. Just hit the button and you're best "pump me up" song comes on to get you through your workout. For a while, mine was "Eye of the Tiger" but I've recently evolved to Avril Levine's "Girlfriend." And there's nothing better than hearing "invisible male voice" say "400 meters to go!" Oh wait, its even nicer when Lance Armstrong congratulates you -- its like he's in my head, man!

Believe it or not, I do not work for Apple. If Steve Jobs is reading this, and he'd like to hire me as a spokesperson, I'm all for it. But I'm gonna need a video iPod as a signing bonus. And an iBook. And and iPhone, for good measure!

As an aside, did you see the slogan for the new iMac? "You can't be too thin. Or too powerful." Truer words have never been spoken.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Wild World of Sports

Slogging through my long run on the dreaded treadmill at the gym tonight, I got to see a lot of news. And the sports world has gone crazy, crazy I tell you!

First up, I'm not a huge X Games fan, even though I believe the first X Games were in my home state of Rhode Island. But look at this guy fall!
Jake Brown's X Games Fall
The amazing part, aside from the simple fact he's still alive, is that he's planning on coming back to skateboarding is three weeks. If I ever fell 40 feet, I think I'd wrap myself in bubble wrap and hang out in bed, getting up only to -carefully!- eat and pee. Of course, the odds of me being 40 feet in the air to begin with is slim to none, but you get the point.

Next, I think we may have to move the Seattle Mariners into the Evil Empire of Baseball. Why? Because their mascot, a moose of some sort (why the Mariners have a Moose mascot, I don't know) tried to run over Coco Crisp! How awful is that?! That moose should not be allowed into the Hall Of Fame -- blacklist him like Pete Rose, I say! Here's a clip: Coco and the Moose

The Rox Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster, is far more civilized, by the way. And, he's popular with the ladies

Some other stuff happened this weekend in sports too. ARod hit his 500th homer, and Barry Bonds hit number 755. I'm far more impressed by ARod, but that's a blog for another day. And, Schilling is back on the mound for the Sox tonight, so we'll see how long he can keep his fat yap shut for after the game.