Saturday evening randomness

This afternoon, I went for a bike ride.

Check out that elevation profile! Naturally, the worst of the hills came at the end along with an ever-so-lovely headwind. Yikes! Next time, perhaps, I'll do the reverse for maybe a slightly easier ride.

Other than the last few miles with the headwind, this was all on city streets - not separate bike paths.

Does anyone else feel weird about just going out for a bike ride on city streets without any particular destination or purpose? Whenever I start to go fast, I think, Why? I'm in no hurry. I still try to push myself. But, I'm not gonna lie. It just feels weird.
As I pulled up to a red light, I could see the State Capitol in the distance.
In other randomness, when you visit a blog, do you check out the sidebar? I generally try to, but I'm not always the best at it. That said, I tend to expect that visitors to my blog are checking out my sidebars. Sometimes, I add something to the sidebar without ever mentioning it in a post. Now, I wonder if maybe I shouldn't do that.

So, just in case you missed them...

I've decided to join a couple different challenges for April.

First up, I'll be joining Run to the Finish for: 30 Days of Fun

I'm super excited for this challenge! Who doesn't need a little more fun in their life? I want to laugh more and try some new things. We'll be moving soon, so I've got to do this challenge on the ultra-cheap free side of fun.

Amanda also posted a calendar with some ideas. Click on the picture above or in the sidebar to see her calendar and get more info about the challenge.

A few ideas I might try yeah I stole a few from Amanda's calendar:
  • run like Phoebe
  • sing in the shower
  • solo dance party in the living room
  • bike to a friend's for a puppy play date
  • Pinterest funny photos
  • YouTube funny videos
  • experiment with different laughs
  • organize a game night
  • read funny greeting cards
  • do a cartwheel
  • do something with a friend(s)
  • stop to take more pictures when out running or cycling
If you have any other fun free ideas of things to do, let me know.

I doubt I'll post my fun every day in a blog post, but I'll try to at least share what I do on Facebook and Twitter.

The other challenge I'll be doing in April is: Amazing Arms 'n Abs April

I found this challenge via Ali Mc at Running with Spatulas, but she found it on Domestic Diva in Training's blog. I think I'll follow over at Domestic Diva primarily because there are a few exercises on this calendar that I am not familiar with at least by name.

Hopefully this challenge will motivate me enough to actually do some core work. At this point anything will be better than what I have been doing. I think a lot of my problem is knowing what to do, so this should help to solve that.

How will you be challenging yourself in April? I'll be doing the both two challenges Feel free to join me. plus continuing with my marathon training.

Do you check out a blog's sidebar? I'm not always the best at this, but I do try to check them out at least occasionally.

Ever feel weird about bike riding with no particular purpose other than exercise? Obviously, I do.


Hunger Games

This afternoon, Jeff and I had to make a trip downtown, so we decided to hit up a movie as well.

I'd heard such raving comments about Hunger Games, and Jeff really wanted to see it, so we found a time that would work for us.

In case you're somehow unfamiliar with this movie / book series, go here to watch the trailer.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

I have not read the books - though I've heard great things about them.
However, even after seeing the trailer, I only wanted to see the movie because so many people on FB and in the blogosphere seemed so pumped to see it.

So we went.

I wasn't really on-board with the whole premise of the movie - requiring kids to fight to the death. I'm not saying it's an unbelievable premise or even one that hasn't been similarly seen in history, but it's just not something I'm interested in watching a movie about.

Just the thought of certain members of a society living in such opulence and lording that over others makes me disgusted. I know this is nothing new. I know it's been common throughout history. I know it happens today.  I just don't like it and therefore don't want to watch a movie that in many ways seems to glorify it.

Still, I tried to go into the movie with an open mind. I really did.

But, I was overly unimpressed with the movie.

I thought it was incredibly slow at the beginning. And yet, there were many details that were left out that could have helped to explain certain things a lot better. Overall, I think many things could have been developed a lot better.

Honestly, I could go on and on about everything I disliked about this movie. I especially have issues with the ending, but since I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't yet seen it, I won't go into any details in this post.

I'll just leave it at this - This is one movie that did not make me want to read the books.

Have you seen this movie yet? If so, did you like it? If not, are you planning on seeing it?
If you've read the books and seen the movie, did the movie live up to the reputation of the books?


3TT #6

Thing 1. I'm going to eke out a quick post. I don't want to miss two days of posting in a row.

Thing 2. My spring break is not going nearly as well as I'd hoped. I haven't planned nearly as many lessons as I would have liked. I haven't stayed on top of my marathon training either.

Thing 3. I eat like total crap when I'm at home all day with nothing defined to do. I've become a snacker in the worst way. Occasionally, I'll grab something healthy like carrots or a pear, but mostly it's been chips, cookies, and wasabi peas. Blah. I seem to be hungry all the time. I know that's mostly due to not eating anything of substance, but also slightly due to boredom - both terrible reasons to overeat.

Tomorrow is another day, right? I. WILL. BE. FOCUSED!


Crazy Eyes!

I don't actually have crazy eyes.

crazy eyes from Crono on Vimeo.

At least I don't think so. Jeff's never mentioned anything...and he's stayed married to me for over 7 years.

But really, I get all kinds of crazy when I consider my eyes.

Need a new driver's license? I always get totally freaked out about having to take the eye test. Seriously. My heart begins to race, and my palms get all sweaty.

Is it even possible to fail an eye exam?

Going to the eye doctor is even more stressful for me than going to the dentist or any doctor for that matter.

Yeah, I totally need a mantra for going to the eye doctor.
Stay calm.
Don't squint.
You can't fail.
You've totally got this.

Of all the doctors out there, the eye doctor should probably be the least scary.
Not for this crazy chica.

Do you get freaked out about going to the eye doctor? Any other weird phobias?


Making Life Easier

Things that Make My Life Easier, in no particular order.

Because sometimes walking or biking just won't cut it

Sure I have to use ones that are coin-op and in the basement of my building
Still, it beats lugging the laundry to the laundromat
OR WORSE, washing our clothes by hand.

My smartphone.
'Nuff said

I don't know what I'd do without the Internet.
I use it for lesson planning, running tips, shopping, information, communication, etc.

Handy 3-step stool allows me to reach even the highest shelves in my kitchen.

What are the top things/people/services that help make your life easier?

Link up over at The good life.


Training for Grandma's Week 6

Um. Yeah.

I totally dropped the ball on training this week.

Here is what it was supposed to look like:

And here is what it actually looked like:

Pathetic. I know.
But it does make the training report pretty easy to write. :-)

Mon - Fri - Absolutely nothing! My toes were still hurting pretty bad on Monday, and then the weather was so dreary and crappy that I simply didn't feel like doing anything the rest of the week.

Sat, 3/24 - I convinced Jeff to bike with me to Aldi for some groceries. If it wouldn't have been for that, I probably would have spent the entire day on my bum once again. Ugh. Well, except for the bike ride to game night at a friend's house.

Sun, 3/25 - My friend and I survived game night enough to go for a run this afternoon! I had 9 miles on the schedule, and while we stopped a bit shy of that, we did experience some pretty bad-ass hills, so I don't feel so bad. It was the perfect day and a pretty great run - especially considering it was the first time I ran since last weekend's half marathon. I finished the run with a 1+ mile easy walk home.

Total mileage
Running: 8.72
Cycling: 8.15
Walking: 1.23

I'm still struggling a LOT with incorporating core workouts.

Here's to a much, MUCH more consistent training week next week. I'm on Spring Break, so hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of that.

How do you avoid getting into a training slump...or how do you pull yourself out of one?

CP Reflection Week 8

Ugh. I was doing so well!

But then I got wrapped up doing lesson planning, grocery shopping, and housecleaning. I knew I'd need to post something before heading to game night with some friends, if I was going to post anything.

Unfortunately, time slipped away from me.

Suddenly it was after 1am, and I was tired. So...no blog post on Saturday.

This past week was Cultural Field Experience (CFE) at my school. What is CFE you might ask? It's an opportunity for students to get out of their comfort zone and broaden their cultural experience. I student teach at a private, Christian school, which probably says something about our student population. For many of the students, their lives have been relatively sheltered.

CFE is an opportunity to reach out to the community - opening their eyes to what else is out there.

From the school website...
The intentions of real-life learning are:
  • To promote an understanding of another’s life and point of view
  • To provide opportunities for students to discover their God-given gifts
  • To develop compassionate and globally-minded citizens
  • To equip students with a willingness to give of themselves in service to God and others
Seniors aren't required to participate (though some do attend the international trips), but all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors do something for CFE.

Some examples of the various site options included:
  • Assisting at a Sommali-immersion early-childhood development center
  • Assisting in an elementary school serving Spanish-speaking students
  • Preparing / serving meals and interacting with residents at a transitional shelter and food shelf
  • Working with adults with developmental disabilities at Shepherds Ministries in Milwaukee
  • Working with Urban Homeworks in Minneapolis doing demolition, construction, painting, yard work, etc during the day and participating in poverty discussion and service learning in the evenings.
  • Interacting with residents at a Jewish senior citizen residential care center
  • Visiting a variety of religious places of worship
There were also options to visit Greece (Latin class), France (French class), Slovakia (Band). I also know some students went to Florida (Choir), Colorado, or Kentucky. I couldn't really find any details on those trips on the school website.

I was an Assistant Team Leader with another teacher. We took a group of 12 students to the American Indian and World Cultures (no link because it's closing at the end of this school year) magnet schools. Our students worked, individually, in a classroom of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd graders. Since they were in a classroom on their own, I think it really forced them to step out of their comfort zone and interact with the kids. They helped in the classrooms with reading, math, and other activities. They ate lunch with the students and played with them during recess.

For the most part, I think the students enjoyed their time there, and I know the elementary students enjoyed having high school students around.

Our students were surprised by:
  • the language some of them used
  • how much energy they had
  • how smart they were but also how little they applied themselves to their learning
  • how common it was that they didn't live with both a mom and a dad
  • how hungry some of the students seemed during lunch (i.e. cleaning their entire trays for lunch, including practically eating the chicken bones one day)
I think some eyes were definitely opened.

As a leader at this particular site, it was a little dull for me. We didn't want to interrupt the classes too much, so we just made the rounds a couple times of day. Mostly we just sat and chatted, did some minimal lesson planning, graded tests, etc.

We spent Mon-Thu on-site and then had a 1/2 day reflection retreat on Friday. It was neat to hear about the different experiences the students had.

I think this is an invaluable opportunity for high school students. While they may not appreciate it to the fullest extent, I truly believe that each student walks away from the experience being impacted in at least one small way.

I think it's an excellent opportunity, and I wish it was more feasible at more schools.

What do you think of this opportunity? If you have children, would you want your school to offer / require something like this?


Walk Score

Since we don't own a car, finding alternative ways to get around has become more important. We bike. We walk. We take public transit. We've been car-free now for more than a year and a half. We love it! It's hardly been much of an inconvenience at all.

We're planning on moving this summer. We're not sure exactly where to yet, but we've narrowed down some options.

In doing some research, we stumbled upon this website: Walk Score. Drive Less. Live More.

It is such a neat, extensive, helpful website!

Here is a little info from the site on just how the walkability of a neighborhood is determined:
What makes a neighborhood walkable?
  • A center: 
  • Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it's a main street or a public space.
  • People: 
  • Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: 
  • Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: 
  • Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: 
  • Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: 
  • Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: 
  • Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

And...why does this matter? What are the benefits of living in a walk-able neighborhood?
Walkability offers surprising benefits to our health, the environment, our finances, and our communities.
Health: The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 6-10 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.1
Cities with good public transit and access to amenities promote happiness.2
Environment: 82% of CO2 emissions are from burning fossil fuels.3 Your feet are zero-pollution transportation machines.
Finances: Cars are the second largest household expense in the U.S.4 One point of Walk Score is worth up to $3,000 of value for your property.5 Read the research report.
Communities: Studies show that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.6

Here's a look at our current neighborhood. Not bad. Not great. It is the 6th most walkable neighborhood in St Paul.

There are so many great features to this site. I think I'll do another post(s) in the future.

In the meantime, what's your Walk Score?


3TT #5

Thing 1 - When we moved into our current apartment, we changed most of the light bulbs to the energy efficient type. We knew we'd be here for a couple years, and we didn't want to have to keep changing the light bulbs. These fancy ones are supposed to last for years. Well, not in this apartment! We just had yet another one burn out last night. I think that brings us to around 5. Ugh! The electrical wiring in our apartment sucks!

Thing 2 - After enjoying such a beautiful, warm, sunny weekend, the week turned gray and gloomy. I've really, really been bitten by the S.A.D. bug. As a result, I've really done nothing all week. No exercise. No lesson planning. Blah!

Illustration of seasonal affective disorder by Sarah Douglas
Thing 3 - Not to discredit S.A.D., but my lack of motivation probably has as much to do with my lack of water consumption than the dreary skies. I've been in a different setting for school, and I just haven't been drinking much water. Perhaps 1-2 cups a day. Pathetic, I know. It just hasn't been tasting good. I need to get better about this. Starting today!

What things are on your mind today?


Dumpster Diving

Have you ever been?

I think maybe I've done a version when I was much younger, but never, ever for food. That just seems wrong.

But what seems even more wrong is the amount of food that is wasted in America - especially considering the number of people who are going hungry every day in this country.

I was reading this post on a friend's blog this morning, who mentioned eating her first meal featuring food from her local grocery store dumpster.

At first I was a bit shocked.

More than that, I was intrigued.

I had to investigate this more. I still haven't had much time. I really just watched the trailer for Dive! the film, but I do plan on downloading the whole movie (also available to watch via Netflix streaming).

Dive! Trailer from Compeller Pictures on Vimeo.

Their website also has a page of things you can do. They list plenty of things, but obviously, their biggest suggestion is to get there there and DIVE IN.
An important first step to really caring about the issue of food waste is hopping in a dumpster, bringing home the food, and eating it. Eating trash is a subversive act. It goes against a culture of over-consumption and gratuitous wastefulness. Experience that initial rush, shame, fear, and exhilaration of "stealing" trash and eating it will change you in good ways.

Second, it's important to go to your local grocery store and ask what they do with their food waste. They might not tell you. Or they'll dodge the question by listing organizations to which they donate. Ask them about all the FRESH food--meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Ask them if they would be open to allowing you to pick this food up and bring it to a nonprofit that serves the needy. Do all of this with a pleasant tone, big smile, and servant's heart. Bring the Good Sam act with you!

Third, you'll need a place to bring the food, so you'll have to locate a shelter or food bank in your area that could use the food. This is where logistics comes into play. They'll need to be able to immediately use or temporarily store fresh food....shelving space, refrigerators, freezers. This step actually happens at the same time as visiting your local grocery stores. You will probably need a letter from the shelter or food bank stating their needs, requesting donations, and naming you or your family/friends/organization/church as the volunteer designated to pick up the food.
Are you in?


We've come a long way...

The other day, Jeff came across this article in the NY Times about a guy who has been a flight attendant for 63 years.

What I found most fascinating about the article was this paragraph:
Decades ago, hiring policies ensured that the ranks of flight attendants remained young. Stewardesses faced mandatory retirement by 32. If they married or became pregnant, they were out. In 1966, a New York Times classified ad for stewardesses at Eastern Airlines listed these requirements: “A high school graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 may apply for future consideration). 5’2” but no more than 5’9,” weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height and have at least 20/40 vision without glasses.”

You may or may not recall that I did some time working as a flight attendant. It definitely wasn't one of my favorite jobs. It was dull. It was long hours. It was unpredictable.

Perhaps if I'd had fun uniforms like those of days past...
I think it was a little more fun and glamorous back in those days.
But that did come with a bit of a price - sexism.


I Don't Want to Grow Up!

Reasons Why Being a Kid is Great...

1. Life is carefree. No need to worry about paying bills or buying groceries.

2. No fear. Kids seem be able to do anything. I know I get wimpier and wimpier the older I get about scary things like going fast, rides at amusement parks, etc.

3. Summer break. With any luck, I'll have this once again, but it will be different. There will still be plenty to do during my breaks - make plans for the next year, keep the house clean, possibly work a second job.

4. So much fun to do outside - parks, biking, swimming, swinging, playing with friends, etc.

5. So much fun to do inside - board games, video games, reading, creating (e.g. Legos), etc.

6. So much time to truly enjoy doing those fun things.

7. Spoiling. By parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles.

8. No aches and pains. From being a woman. From growing older.

9. Laughter. Life just seems funnier as a kid. 

10. Getting away with saying whatever pops into your mind. Kids say the darnedest things, right? And everyone thinks it's SO cute. Until, well, they grow up.

This post was brought you to by Stasha well, I wrote it at The good life.

What do you think is especially great about being a kid?


Training for Grandma's Week 5

Great week of training this week!

Here is what was on the schedule:

It wasn't a perfect week in sticking to the schedule, but I do feel really good about it overall. Here is what it actually looked like:

Mileage breakdown: Running - 18; Cycling - 23; Hiking - 3
Mon, 3/12 - Rest day. I was supposed to still work on my core on this rest day. I'm having such a difficult time making the time for it. Ideally, I would do some core work in the mornings before work, but lately I've been having to do last minute lesson prep in the mornings. I've got no lessons to give during the next two weeks, so I hope to take advantage of this lull and be very productive in planning. The idea is that if I'm productive now, I will have less to do in the evenings (and mornings) of the last few weeks of my clinical practice (student teaching).

Tue, 3/13 - I tried to meet up with a friend of mine to go for a run, but my smartphone was being dumb and not delivering my messages very promptly. Argh! It was such a beautiful evening. I simply couldn't let it pass me by without a run. I left later than I would have liked, but it was still a great run. I took Sallie with me, and she was pretty well behaved. I wasn't sure how my knee would be feeling, so I set out to do 3-4 miles. I totally got into a groove and ended up going 4.78 miles.

Wed, 3/14 - With cross training on the schedule, and it being such a gorgeous afternoon, I suggested to Jeff that we go for a bike ride. We rode out to the Scuba Center in Eagan in order to kill two birds with one stone. Jeff had a question to ask about scheduling some dive training he is interested in taking. It was a great ride. We just took it slow and easy and enjoyed spending time together outside. I remember when 23 miles would have totally freaked me out. Now? Eh. No big deal. Totally skipped the core workout, though. I need to get better about finding time/ways/energy for incorporating this very important component of my training.

Thu, 3/15 - I had parent-teacher conferences after school and didn't end up getting home until around 8:30pm. It was a super long day, so I didn't feel like doing anything besides vegging and crashing early.

Fri, 3/16 - I was gone all day at a seminar. I could have made time for the 2 miles and core on my plan, but I didn't. I knew I was running a half marathon the next day, so I wanted to save up my energy for that. Of course, I still totally should have done at least a little core work. Ugh!

Sat, 3/17 - Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I ran the Get Lucky Triple 7K. You can read my full report on this race here, but suffice it to say, it went really well. Better than I'd expected!

Sun, 3/18 - This was scheduled as a rest day, so I could fully recover from the half the previous day. It was another gorgeous day here in Minnesota, though. I simply couldn't stay inside all day! Instead, I took Sallie for a nearly 3-mile hike down by the river. It was super fun and a great way for me to stretch out my sore legs.

Self-portrait of Sallie and me after our hike.
What's your favorite way to recover after a race? Any suggestions for me on how to actually incorporate core work into my training?

Get Lucky! Triple 7K (half marathon)

There is so much I'd like to say about this race. I hope I can do it some justice.

All set to Get Lucky!
It was such a great race for me. As you know, my knees have been bothering me a bit most of the year. I started out at a nice, easy, slow pace. My sister and I ran and chatted together for more than a mile. When she needed to stop for a walk break, I kept going. I tried to maintain a slow, easy pace, but it was difficult with the excitement of the race and the crowds.

And then I saw that I'd nearly met up with the 2:30 pace group. If I increased my pace just a little, I simply *knew* I'd be able to pass them by.

I did!

It felt really great. I was just enjoying the run in the sun. It was already in the 70s, I'm sure. And pretty humid. There were quite a few people out there complaining about the weather, but I was loving it! I mean...it's mid-March!

I loved the customized timing chips!
I'd just passed mile 4 when I saw the first guy who was heading for the finish line. He. was. fast! I mean the next person was still quite a distance behind him.

It was probably a good half mile before I saw the first woman.

Just before I got to the turn-around point, I saw my friend, Anne. She looked great! So strong. So focused. She said she was zoned out. I'm still going with focused. :-)

Approaching the Finish Line
As I approached the halfway mark, I was really, really close to passing the 2:20 pace group. I passed them and did my very best to stay ahead of them for the rest of the race.

Shortly after the halfway mark, I sent Jeff a message letting him know I'd passed the halfway. If he wanted to see me cross the finish line, he should probably get out of bed.

Crossing the Finish Line
By mile 8, I was getting really tired. In retrospect, I probably should have gobbled some fuel. *sigh* I had to walk, and that dang pace group was really gaining on me.

I sent Jeff another message with an update.
And was surprised to get a response. Sweet!

Mile 10. I was ready to be done. I tried all the tricks. Only 3 more miles! You can do it! Keep it up!

Finding Jeff after the race
I was able to stay in front of the 2:20 pace group until this point. But now I just had to walk. I figured I'd be okay. I could walk and still catch up to them again, right?

I came close around mile 11.

But then had to walk again.

When I saw the mile 12 marker, I got a free high five from a volunteer, and I told myself I could certainly  run that last mile.

I didn't.

But when I could see the mile 13 marker ahead, I pushed myself to start running again.

And then when I passed it, I really kicked it into high gear to finish strong.

Even Sallie came out to see me
It was fun to hear the announcer read my name as I was about to cross the finish line.

Time on the clock - 2:24:20

I MADE IT!! I achieved all my goals for the race. Plus, I beat my previous PR by 3:55. :-) Sometimes the best races are those with lower expectations.

My favorite stat is that I passed 245 runners and was only passed by 13.
How awesome is that?
I am super proud of my sister. She ran a fantastic race and beat her PR by over 11 min. What a rock star!!

Because don't you always play a quick game of pattycake after a race?
We weren't actually playing pattycake but were trying to get into a pose,
but this picture just looks like we're having so much fun.
A couple other notes:
  • I had to adjust my race belt a couple times in the beginning, but then I must have found a sweet spot because I never had to adjust it again. :)
  • My socks, surprisingly, stayed up really well. I only had to adjust them once on the course.
  • My calves got really hot from the socks.
  • The course was a bit hillier than I'd expected. I tried to follow the example of my friend, Mary, by keeping the same pace, if not speeding up a bit to run up-the-hill. Probably not the smartest move, but it did feel good passing people.
  • Every time I stopped at a water stop, I choked on the water; it inevitably would go done the wrong pipe.
  • I carried a water bottle with me to supplement the water stops. I was glad to have it, but I don't think I'll use that bottle again. It got SO sweaty! Annoying. Plus it carries more water than my other one, so it was heavier, too. I sipped on it throughout the race, but really didn't drink very much of it until the end.
  • I'm glad I had supplemental water because the last water stop had run out of cups.
  • I thought I had to pee at the beginning of the race, but it must have been nerves 'cuz I never had to go while on the course.
  • My toes next to my pinkie toes really took a beating. They are black, blistered, and still painful hours later.
  • I may have worn my medal when we walked to the convenience store later in the afternoon.
Sporting our awesome medals.
We totally rocked this race!!
Hope you all had a wonderful St Patrick's Day! This was a great way to kick it off.

What did you do to celebrate the holiday or just to enjoy the weekend?


CP Reflection Week 7

I'll get right into it. Yet again, I did not work on this throughout the week. Ugh.

Monday, 3/12 - In World History, we continued our unit on Latin America. Mon/Tue lesson was on how culture spreads from one civilization to another. We talked about the Olmec and how scientists are arguing over their of influence on subsequent civilizations. We read, "Mother Culture, or Only a Sister?" - an article from the NY Times. We then switched to learn about the Maya who may have been heavily influenced by the Olmec. We talked about things they already knew about the Maya and things they may want to know about that great civilization. We then started to watch a movie on the Maya from Time Life's Lost Civilizations series - The Maya: The Blood of Kings.

Tuesday, 3/13 - Same lesson in World History. Worked on lesson prep for future lessons during my down times.

Wednesday, 3/14 - I really liked how my lesson in World History turned out today! We finished watching the movie on the Maya. It gets pretty graphic at certain points, so it was difficult for me to watch it three times, but I made it through. :) Luckily, I was able to work on some other things while watching. After the movie, we summarized some major characteristics of the Maya on the board - in one circle of a Venn diagram. Then the students got into pairs - half the students read a the section in the textbook on the Aztec and half read the section on the Inca. They jotted down notes of the characteristics of each civilization. When they finished, they switched to be partners with someone else who had read about the other civilizations. With their new partner, they described their civilization and then discussed any similarities and differences between the two. We all came back together as a class and completed the Venn diagram - we moved some characteristics around that the Maya shared with one or both of the other civilizations, and then we filled in more info with what they discovered on the Aztec and Inca.

Thursday, 3/15 - Same lesson in World History. I'll have to say that during this lesson on Wed/Thu, there was such a positive energy in the classroom. The students were really engaged in the lesson and had lots to contribute.  Even my quieter classes were much more active. Yay! This was the last week before Cultural Field Experience (CFE) more on this next week and Spring Break, so I won't be seeing these students in class for two weeks! I was surprised at the engagement level of the students during the week - considering the beautiful weather and the upcoming break. It was nice to see they were still engaged and not distracted.

We also had parent conferences Thursday evening. I got to participate in these as well. It was really interesting to get another perspective on the student. I only know what I see in the classroom, but this was an opportunity to get their parents' perspective on what was happening as well. Most of the parents that came were of students that were doing really well, but there were a few of some students that were struggling. Until I was sitting with the parents, and looking at the grades, sometimes I hadn't realized just how poorly the student was doing. It was good to be able to make a plan for those students on what we each could do to encourage better performance.

Friday, 3/16 - No school for the students. Parent Conferences for my Mentor Teacher. Me? I had to go to another clinical practice seminar. I would have much rather been anywhere else. Not because I don't think the seminars are useful or interesting, but rather because the people I sit with do not. We were assigned to be in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) at the beginning with others in our same licensure. None of these other future social studies teachers can see the benefits of these seminars, so instead of being able to enjoy the presentations and activities, I get to listen to things like this for six hours:
Is it time to go yet? 
This is pointless. Why do we have to be here? 
I'm bored. 
This is stupid. 
This is just busy work. 
Why are they requiring this? 
I'm just going to leave.
How much longer? 

Why are we doing this? 
If they did the schedule differently, we could be done by now. Why do we need breaks and an hour for lunch? 
Is it over?

Repeat ad nauseum. For SIX FULL HOURS!!

I always leave these seminars so frustrated. It is difficult to be around such negative people for so long. Plus, it really bothers me that these are the people who will be teaching the future leaders of the world.

They are so unprofessional, and I hate to admit, that their rude behavior makes me feel all vindictive - wishing the worst students on them. I know I shouldn't, but I think it's only fair. A dose of their own medicine, if you know what I mean.

Ok. Enough complaining about that.

It's St. Patrick's Day! I'm running a half marathon in just over an hour! I'm essentially off work for TWO WHOLE WEEKS! Though I am still going to try to be very productive during these two weeks, so I won't have as much to do in the evenings the last few weeks of CP.

What are your weekend plans? Running any races?


Flashback Friday & 5QF

All I can say is THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!


I am so ready for this weekend.

Let's start off with a little Flashback. Once again back to 2009.

Oh yeah! I'm definitely not complaining that it doesn't look like this today.

Instead, it's 77°F!

And now for ...

1. Will you run to the store or to pick up a kid looking a mess? Sadly, yes. I'll try to look somewhat presentable, but sometimes that is way less impressive than other times.

2. Do you finish a book if it's boring or you don't like it? It's rare, really rare, for me to not finish a book that I start. Or at least that used to be true. Now, it's much easier for me to put down a book and not pick it up again for months, if ever.

3. Beach or mountain vacations? Honestly, I wouldn't mind either. I just love to go somewhere new and different. I'd be very happy lounging on the beach or hiking in the mountains.

4. What thing/event says "winter will end and spring is right around the corner" to you? Oh, I don't know. Daylight Savings Time, I suppose. It's been so gorgeous here the past few days, but I still kind of feel like there will be another snowstorm before summer comes around. Hopefully mild. Minnesota certainly has been spoiling us for our last winter here. :-)

5. Would you prefer couples or family vacation? I guess I prefer couples - only because it is fewer people to manage. Not having kids of my own, family vacations would be with my parents, siblings and their kids, and that adds up to a lot of different preferences on what to do, eat, etc.


3TT #4

Here we go...

Thing 1 - Last week, I looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow. My skin appears to finally be clearing up!" Then I immediately thought, "Geez. I really shouldn't have allowed that thought to formulate." I tried to quickly knock on wood, but alas, within 24 hours, at least 5 new blemishes appeared. Ugh!

Thing 2 - Way back in mid-Feb, I made some heart shaped rice crispy treats - which left me with half a box of crisp rice cereal in my cupboard. So, I had a bowl for breakfast one morning with a spoonful of sugar added, of course. That was it. My whole breakfast. And you know what? IT FILLED ME UP and I STAYED THAT WAY FOR HOURS. Who would have guessed it would be such a filling cereal? I certainly didn't! Now, I've finished that box and nearly an entire second box. It is easily my favorite breakfast option right now.

Thing 3 - This one is going to blow your mind! I'm running the Get Lucky! Half Marathon on Saturday! heeheehee. I've only mentioned it in the past two posts. Guess I'm pretty excited about it. Here is a picture of my intended outfit except with a white sports bra and I'll likely wear my contacts.

If nothing else, it's festive, right? It might be in the 50s Saturday morning, so I'll likely be overdressed. Hopefully the shorts will make up for the sweatshirt. :-) I think this will be the most festive I've ever dressed for a race. I probably should have started with a shorter distance. The shorts and socks are obviously not running-specific attire, so hopefully they don't cause uncomfortable chafing or anything like that.

Are you running any races this weekend?


Training for Grandma's Week 4

I know, I know. I'm several days into week 5 already, but here's my training report for Week 4. Better late than never, right?

It was nothing very impressive this week anyway.

Here is what it was supposed to look like:

But I spent most of the week resting, so here is what it actually looked like:

Mon, 3/5 - rested

Tue, 3/6 - It was such a beautiful day! I couldn't resist walking home from work.

Wed, 3/7 - rested

Thu, 3/8 - rested

Fri, 3/9 - I dragged my husband to the pool. I thought swimming would be lower impact on my knee, but I could really feel my knee when I swam. It didn't stop me, so it wasn't debilitating - just uncomfortable.

Sat, 3/10 - rested

Sun, 3/11 - Let's just say restless! I couldn't stand not running any longer, so I decided to test the waters. If my knee was bothering me too much, I'd end my run early. I figured I'd probably get in 2-6 miles. I surprised myself by going over 7!

I discovered this week that if I'm not running, I find myself not doing anything. I know I should have been spending time doing core work or low impact cross training, but it's so hard to motivate myself when running is off the table.

Now, I have a half marathon in 3 days, and I think I'll be okay. :-)

What do you do when you're not running? Unfortunately, I end up being a bum - watching more TV than I should and surfing the Internet. Ugh!


Race Day Warm-Up

If you're following my training calendar, you might know I will be running the Get Lucky! half marathon on Saturday. Imagine my excitement when finding an article at Fitness Magazine with tips for race day!

And then I read the article. And chuckled a little.

It wasn't bad advice, just a little impractical.

The following three stretches are what they suggest doing 45-55 minutes before the race. If you click on any of the following pictures, you'll be redirected to the page on Fitness Magazine with a description of the stretch.

Three problems, I see with these were:

1) Obviously these were not meant for races in March or most months in Minnesota. NO way will I be lying on the ground. outside.

2) Who carries a yoga strap or towel with them to a race? It does give modifications for without the strap, but still...

3) Perhaps I'm running the wrong races, but there are usually so many people there it would be difficult to find a proper place to do these stretches - even if I were going to lie on the ground.

Still, I guess it is good advice. I can modify the stretches to not lie on the ground or use any equipment. Plus, I did like what they suggest for 10 min pre-race.

So, we'll see if I do any of this come race day morning. :-)

As for the race, I'll be sporting a cute St Paddy's Day outfit - hat, hoodie, shorts, and over-the-knee socks. None of it exactly matches, but I think that helps make the outfit. It's likely it will be in the 50s, so it's likely I'll be slightly overdressed. At least I'll look good. :-)

Honestly, I think I'm more excited about the outfit than I am the actual race.

My goals for the race are simply.


2) Do NOT Die.

3) Take it at an easy pace and don't further aggravate my knee.

Simple, right?

My last run was 7+ miles with only minor discomfort in my knee, so I think I should be okay.

Of course, positive thoughts are always more than welcome, though.

What is your pre-race routine? Any plans to celebrate St Patrick's Day?


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