Archive for June, 2009

Checking in this week

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

I’d say I’ve been slacking the past couple of weeks, but if you’ve read about my trip to D.C., you’ll know that I haven’t really been slacking…just insanely busy and then exhaustion from traveling and settling back in at home.

So, in the past two weeks I’ve done a ton of walking (2 full days of walking around D.C. – I’m talking at least 12-14 miles one day and probably 8-10 the other day), finding the hotel treadmill while on vacation, eating a salad at just about every meal while on vacation.  Then, I hit a major milestone last Friday.  I finally reached and surpassed the 500-mile mark.  And in the past year (starting July 2008) I have run just shy of 320 miles.  Can you believe that?

Can I, once again, send a HUGE shout out to the Sisterhood.  There are times when I would have given up if I didn’t feel accountable to come here and be honest about what I did or did not accomplish.  Consistency has been the key.  I have held firm since last August.  I have run/walked approximately 3 times a week for at least 3 miles.  I started out walking.  I had a bad case of chronic vertigo last summer and I was scared to get back on the treadmill with crazy balance, but eventually my medication took effect and I started running again.  I have this half-marathon coming up in October, and I have to admit I’m a little scared.  I don’t feel like I can really push myself yet.  My mental game still isn’t engaged, but I’m committed to completing it.  I’d like to even run it all.  Only time will tell.  I know I need to kick it into gear, though, this summer, before school starts back in August.  My time will be that much more precious and fitting in a good 1+ hour to dedicate to running 4-5 times a week is going to be tough, but I know I can do it.

My advice to anyone trying to motivate themselves to reach some goal is to ignore that little voice that screams at you sometimes.  The one that says “ah, what’s another cookie” or “I’m tired and just don’t want to exercise.”  More often than not, I can convince myself to NOT exercise.  There is always something I could or should be doing rather than taking the time for myself and my health.  But I have scheduled it into my life and don’t let myself out of that schedule. (My husband has done the same thing. He has scheduled himself for a 2-hour lunch so he can go to the gym.)  If for no other reason than to give my girls a good example of commitment, perseverance, healthy goals, and that exercise is a good thing.

Find what motivates you and put it on a sticky note or on your wallpaper on your computer or phone – then you will look at it all the time and that can help drive you forward to where you want to be.  All the things that have been said about diets are true.  You can’t go on a diet, you have to change your lifestyle to incorporate health into it.

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I’ve been thinking

Yeah, I know, look out.  Kirsten’s been thinking.  That can be a scary thing sometimes!  And this is kind of a whopper.

I’ve been thinking about my ties to my religion – Catholicism.  Why, when on so many levels (the whole anti-gay thing, “pro-life”, women not allowed to be priests) that I still identify and find comfort in attending mass.  And mixed with that, I’ve been trying to figure out why things like experiencing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier brings me to tears and seeing Old Glory at the Smithsonian.

And I think I have an answer.  Ceremony.  The military is fraught with ceremonies.  And they aren’t casual about it.  There is always pomp and circumstance with any ceremony no matter how small.  A Catholic mass may seem constraining to some because of all the standing, sitting, kneeling, etc.  But there is comfort in routine.  I find comfort in the routine found in ceremonies.  There is purpose to each part of a ceremony whether you believe in the purpose of it or not.  Ceremonies are a way of showing respect for those involved.

I don’t think there is enough respect for people in general in our world.  There is so much acting before thinking and not caring about the other guy.  These ceremonies in my life remind me that we are all on this crazy ride of life together.  It brings a supportive community into my life and my family’s life.   And for that I am thankful.

Finally – The Trip in Pictures

SANY3133The Rocky Mountains from the air.

SANY3141Capitol Building at night.

SANY3154The view from the east end of the WII Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.

SANY3425The White House with lights on.

SANY3187The White House after lights out – using my “night landscape” setting.  Love this picture; it was such a surprise.

SANY3202National Law Enforcement Memorial

SANY3212National Building Museum

SANY3223The pillars from inside the National Building Museum.

SANY3242Outside the Newseum – I took this picture of the newspaper from American Samoa.  I lived in American Samoa for two years when I was a kid.  What struck me was that they had this newspaper but not one from Nevada.

SANY3262The Capitol Building on a rainy day.

SANY3273Supreme Court of the United States

(with obligatory protestors out front)

SANY3292Library of Congress

SANY3294Folger Shakespeare Library

SANY3304One of the carvings on the side of the library depicting a scene from a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

SANY3338In the Ocean Hall of the Museum of Natural History.

SANY3333One of my favorites from the Ocean Hall.

SANY3341The foyer of the Museum of Natural History.

SANY3367“Thanks For the Memories” -Museum of American History

SANY3395The outside of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building

SANY3430Thomas Jefferson Memorial

SANY3440Self-explanatory.

SANY3456SANY3473SANY3481The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

SANY3488SANY3490

SANY3495Monument to the “Old Guard” who protects the Tomb.

SANY3525The Capitol Building as seen from our yacht.

SANY3530

One of the pictures from our boat.

SANY3539

The sun setting. Love the golden glow through the trees in the top left.

SANY3574This was taken in front of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  If you look closely between the trees you can see the Capitol Building.

I have one more picture from Arlington that I want to share, but for some reason it won’t change orientation, and I refuse to post it like that.

This trip was jam-packed.  It took me two days to recover.  And I’d do it all over again if given the chance.

Pictures Galore

They are a-coming.  I just went through my pictures and pulled the best out and came up with 43 pictures.  I don’t think I’m uploading all of them.  I don’t have that kind of time, but I am planning on getting my favorites up and then uploading all of them to Flickr to if anyone is interested they can look at them there.

Here, I’ll give you a teaser.

flying flagsThis was taken on Monday night looking up at the Washington Monument.  There was a nice wind blowing that made the walk very pleasant in the humidity.  The picture has a bit of time lapse, hence the translucent appearance of the flags.  I was so impressed with some of my pictures on the “night landscape” setting.  As long as I had something sturdy to put the camera on, they came out shockingly good.  Wait until I show the one of the White House.

You’ll find a recurring theme in my pictures.  I love our flag.  I love seeing it blowing in the wind.  I choked up seeing the new (to me) exhibit of Old Glory in the Smithsonian’s American History Museum.  Just the fact that it was the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry in 1812 where Francis Scott Key penned the poem which became our national anthem.  I have a soft spot for the Stars and Stripes of the USofA.

Washington D.C. recap

This last week has been full of exercise and good food.  I did my run last Wednesday like a good girl who’s training for a half-marathon.  I didn’t end up doing a run on Thursday like I originally planned, but I think I more than made up for it between Friday through Monday.  We flew in Friday evening to BWI and finally got to our hotel in D.C. about 7 pm.  After a fantastic dinner of crab cakes and salad, we decided to go for a walk when we realized that the National Mall was less than a mile away. this was my first experience of seeing the monuments at night.  When I get home, I will upload pictures because it was awesome.  We walked from the Capitol Building all the way down to the Lincoln Memorial (seeing the Viet Nam Memorial and WWII Memorial), which in and of itself is 2 miles, and then back up to the White House.  So after being on the plane all day we ended up walking about 5 miles or so.  We crawled into bed about midnight exhausted.  Saturday we were up and out by 9:30 am and walked literally all over town.  We saw the National Building Museum (which we had to go in just because, really? A museum about buildings?), National Law Enforcement Memorial, Capitol Building, Supreme Court, Folger Shakespeare Library, Smithonian Museum of Natural History and American History, dinner at a restaurant almost all the way back at the hotel, and then all the way back down to the Jefferson Memorial and then finally back to the hotel for bed about 12:30 am.  Sunday was a more low key day.  Although the morning was more emotional.  We took the metro to Arlington National Cemetery and saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – which always chokes me up.  Then I met up with Barb and Andrew, had lunch, and wandered around Georgetown.  Then I met up with my cousin for dinner and had tapas for the first time.  After dinner we walked back up to her apartment and we hung out for a bit and chatted with her boyfriend.  Monday morning bright and early we had breakfast and headed over to the conference.  The conference was really great. There were some great speakers and some interesting break-out sessions.  Last night our EMO took us out for dinner on a yacht down the Potomac River – with free margaritas.  Then we walked home from the Marina by the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Kennedy Center, and White House.

This morning I got up and went to the gym in the hotel and ran on the treadmill.  I had told myself that I was going to get at least one run in while out of town.  Today was day 2 of the conference and I learned a lot.  There was some useful information that I think I can use as a board member.

So now I’m sitting in a hotel room about 5 minutes from BWI.  Tomorrow I head home and jump back into my regular life.  It will be good to be home and see my girls and T.  Pictures will be inserted by the end of the week.

D.C.

I have been having a great time here in D.C. I have taken almost 300 pictures since I left.  That is a lot for me.  I am planning on doing a post when I get home with pictures.  We have walked all over the city.  I feel fairly confident in my ability to get around this town now.  At least the section north of the mall.  I am exhausted.  Today was the first day of the conference and we Michelle Rhee was one of our keynote speakers.  If you don’t know what Michelle Rhee has done in the last 2 years of being chancellor of the D.C. public school system, you should look it up.  This lady is full of common sense and logic and applies it to her daily work related life.  Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education to President Obama, spoke first.  Between the two speeches I was inspired even more than I already am about the reforming of public education and providing good, quality options to families in schooling their kids.

Tonight we taking a night cruise on the Potomac River that shows you the monuments lit up at night from the water.  Definitely bringing the camera and hope to get more good pictures to share.

And I have to give a shout out to Stacey for the recommendation of Jaleo’s.  My first experience with tapas and it was fantastic.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Tomorrow that is.  I’m on my way to Washington D.C.  BY MYSELF.  I am so excited, despite the fact that right now I’m exhausted, and the kids are driving me crazy.  But I get to play and have adult conversations and do the touristy thing without a stroller and see my cousin and her boyfriend and Barb (who was just here a couple of weeks ago).  And then I get to do some learning and possible networking (unfortunately not in the field I am employed in, but that’s okay) at the conference (which is the whole reason for the trip) and then take another cross-country plane trip without having to worry about naps and spilled drinks and potty breaks and anyone’s crankiness from lack of sleep other than my own.  In other words, HEAVEN, I tell you.

Since I have my new spiffy MacBook that I will, of course, be taking with me, I am planning on posting at least once while I’m gone.  I’m hoping the weather isn’t as bad as is predicted.  It’s supposed to be overcast and thunderstormy all weekend…which I love, but we are going to be walking all over D.C. and I’d rather not do it wet.  Because  I’m going to be all over the place regardless of the weather.

The only problem is that I have to be up at 3:30 tomorrow morning in order to make my 6 am flight.  And yes, I did make my own reservation.  And yes, I am totally not a morning person.  T woke me up this morning at 5 and I asked him to give me another 30 minutes.  So, if I’m not a morning person, why get up early the day BEFORE I leave?  Well, if I want to have any chance of getting to bed early enough to get more than 4 hours of sleep, I needed to make myself tired on purpose.  My goal is to be in bed by 10.  I don’t have to work today and I’m already packed except for the toiletries, so it shouldn’t be a problem.  I just have to do it.

So without further ado, I’m going to go make cookies so we can have yummy snacks on the plane and then feed the kids and continue on with my day.