Monday, September 27, 2010

#1 Bites the Dust?

Over the weekend, my mom brought me a bike my dad no longer wanted. It's a men's mountain bike, but it's the right size for me, and they figured I might get more use out of it than my dad did. The plan was for me to ride this bike to get used to riding again and then buy a road bike so I could do some "real riding," thereby accomplishing #1 on my 30 before 30 list as well as discovering a great source of low-impact cardio.

Well...I rode the bike. was scary. Yes, I am a total loser. Toddlers ride bikes. I realize this. However, Saturday was my first time since 6th grade to be on a bike, and I would like to meet the person who came up with the saying "it's just like riding a bike." It didn't seem like second nature at all. Rather, I was quite certain that if I had been on a busy street, I would have been smashed flat and become roadkill. I was wobbly, riding the brakes, and afraid of falling over and scraping all the skin off my limbs. And this was on a mountain bike with thick tread and sturdy tires...imagine how disastrous I will be on a road bike - the thin tires, the clip-in's a recipe for disaster!

So, this leaves me with the question of what to do. Do I forget cycling altogether as a hobby and just stick to spinning, running, swimming, etc? Or do I forge ahead, purchase a road bike, and hope for the best? I am just not sure. I realize that I've only ridden the bike once, and if I go out a few more times, I will most likely begin to feel more comfortable. So I do plan to do that and see what happens. But, will I ever be comfortable enough for a road bike? Jeff will support me in whatever I decide to do, but I REALLY want this to work. I want to be able to take part in one of his hobbies so we can have something fun to do together on the weekends. I could always go fishing, but I don't have the passion for it that he does, and I get bored being in the boat all day. With cycling, I hoped that I could find something that we both liked doing, with the added bonus of calorie burning. But Jeff makes the valid point that if I am afraid of it, I am more likely to hurt myself. As he explained, the sport is not for timid people who are overly cautious, because if you are overly cautious, you will fall the first time you're called to make a quick decision on the bike. I am not much of a physical risk-taker. I an annoyed with that quality in myself, but that's that. I really don't like going fast, and I don't get a thrill from adrenaline-pumping situations.

But I am not ready to give up on the idea quite yet. I feel like telling myself "oh well, suck it you fall, you won't get over it." Saying that and getting my brain to believe it are two different things. What to do?! Maybe I just need to get this lovely bike with adult training wheels! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

My 30 Before 30 List

Inspired by my good friend Rachel and all of the fabulous ideas on her list, I've decided to make my very own 30 before 30 list. I turn 30 in exactly 20 months, though I really still feel like I am 20 (except when I have a few drinks...then my age catches up to me oh so quickly)! Where is the time going? Isn't there any way to slow it down?!

My 30s are coming, like it or not. So here, in no particular order, are 30 things I would like to accomplish before my 30th birthday. I'll update the blog with my successes (and, potentially, failures) with the items on this list. Some are big-picture lifestyle changes, others are tiny goals.

1. Learn to ride a road bike without injuring myself, possibly train for/ride in some sort of race/rally. Hopefully this will not be what it looks like when I take to the roads:

2. Buy and install a new chandelier for dining room - hopefully from somewhere thrifty like the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store or a garage sale.

3. Establish a weekly house chores schedule and stick to it.

4. Learn to cook more vegetarian dishes. Not because I want to BECOME a vegetarian, mind you. But just to have healthy, fresh meal alternatives that don't always include meat.

5. Take time at least twice a week for stretching. Though I love working out, I HATE stretching and never do it. Consequently, I am one of the least flexible people EVER, and I have problems with tightness in my muscles all the time. I'm not getting any I guess it's time to do something about it!

6. Learn to use a sewing machine and also do simple hand-stitching. And maybe loom knitting...I really like this loom, and it looks easy enough even for me.

7. Run a 10k - I've done the half marathon, and after losing a toenail and acquiring persisting hip and foot aches/pains, I think I'll stick to shorter races...but it's still fun to have a goal. Maybe I'll also do a 5k with my mom.

8. Find a brand/style of jeans that REALLY fits my body.

9. Implement bi-monthly date night with Jeff.

10. Learn to cook more things from scratch - jam, pizza sauce, breads, sauces, etc.

11. Grow something in a planter or backyard garden - just one or two vegetables, to see how it goes.

12. Organize our office in a way that allows it to STAY organized...not just stuffing things in drawers/on shelves until crap overflows onto every available surface.

13. Visit a new city (or a city Jeff and I have never been to together). Maybe here:

14. Finish the book I started writing about my grandparents' lives (this needs to be done by Christmas 2010, so really I only have a couple months)!

15. Finish (ok, ok...start and finish) my wedding scrapbook.

16. Brush up on my Spanish through self-study books or a continuing education class.

17. Learn to love the body that I have, not the one I think I SHOULD have, and be thankful for each day of health I'm given. I don't think this is something that can ever really be "checked off" my list. It's more of an overall attitude adjustment I know I need to make in order to be a good role model for my children someday (especially daughters). Trying to improve my physical appearance (to an unattainable level) through diet and exercise is something I struggled with heavily in high school and college, to the point of being unhealthy at times. I want to cleanse myself of that mentality. That's not to say I can't work hard to gain greater physical fitness for health and overall well-being...that will always be important to me, and I think valuing fitness is a good thing. But as for the other the fact that I am holding onto a few more pounds than I was 10, or even 5, years ago...and that my skin is more pale and must stay that way (thanks, melanoma)...and that it's harder to tone those problem areas to look good in a swimsuit...SO WHAT? I want to truthfully be able to say "SO WHAT??" and be happy with what my mirror reflects. It may not happen by the time I'm 30, but hopefully I can make small advances toward this eventual goal.

18. Organize the zillions of pictures on my computer; copy them to CDs.

19. Create a gallery wall somewhere in the house. I love gallery walls; they bring such interest to a space in a different way than pictures alone. I like this one with family photos, but I also like mixed walls with photos, paintings, clocks, and other wall art.

20. Get CPR certified.

21. Get re-certified to teach spinning. I used to love teaching my bi-weekly spin class in college. I think picking up a spin class or two would be a great post-baby "job" for me. Not only would it help me stay fit after having kids, but it would give me a sense of accomplishment in a task I could do outside the home.

22. Landscape the yard with pretty flowers/bushes and actually remember to water them so they don't die.

23. Get a professional bikini wax. Wow, dream big, right? But I've never gotten one before, and I feel like it's something I should do once in my, surely the short-lived pain is worth it?!

24. Host a grown-up dinner party at my house where I serve a multi-course meal with wine on a nice table setting.

25. Learn something about photography.

26. Go to a driving range and learn how to hit golf balls (may need assistance of super-golfer dad for this).

27. Go on a cold-weather vacation. Maybe learn to cross-country ski or snowshoe since Jeff can't downhill ski due to bad knees. Here's my dad and I, circa 1997 (or thereabouts)...did not realize until now that we were matching ski-dorks!

28. Start (and stick to) a daily skin moisturizing regimen (face, body, hands, & feet) and nail care regimen.

29. Go fishing with Jeff more often (even if it means getting up BEFORE the crack of dawn). But only if he can teach me to catch whoppers like this:

30. Make the effort to visit my out-of-town friends and family more often. I have such great people in my life, and they are spread out across Texas - from my parents in Tyler to my two best friends, Amanda and Alli, in Spring (still jealous you ladies live so close to each other!) to my grandma in Fort Worth and my cousin/college roomie and his family in West Columbia. These people mean the world to me, and nothing would make me happier than to see them more often. I plan to make an extra diligent effort to spend more time with them in the coming years.

Making this list was lots of fun...I didn't even realize I had certain goals until I sat down and thought about things I want to accomplish. I LOVE lists and feel more accomplished already just by making one! Do you keep a list of goals for yourself? What things do you want to accomplish within the next few years?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 Years.

It's hard to believe 9 years have passed since September 11, 2001. I was a 19-year old sophomore in college on that morning. I remember my phone ringing pretty early, and my dad's voice came over the phone: "Something bad is happening. Stay inside today and be careful." I don't remember what else he said, but I do remember the stress in his voice. I turned on the TV in my dorm room and tried to understand what was going on. The news channels were filled with chaotic reporting, the confused newscasters doing their best to relay what had happened. I think my roommate, Alli, and I sat there for hours, watching as the towers fell and reports came in of more hijacked planes. Strangely, I don't remember if I was scared or not. I think shocked is a more accurate description. I think our classes were all cancelled...I don't really remember much about that either. Later that afternoon, my (then ex) high school boyfriend called me. We talked about how horrible it was, and I think I cried as he told me that if the military needed volunteers, he would find a way to go fight. I don't remember when life on our campus went back to normal. I remember prayer vigils for the people who had lost their lives, and the amazing show of support for our country at the next Aggie home game, dubbed the "Red, White, and Blue Out" (rather than our usual Maroon Out). Here's a picture of our stands during that game:

So many selfless people risked (and also lost) their lives trying to save others and find survivors at Ground Zero. As others fled, they walked into the blinding dust, burning debris, and falling metal. We can never repay them for their bravery.

A great number of people were trapped in areas that were inaccessible by human rescuers. Something we rarely hear about are the 300 search and rescue dogs that helped locate the survivors and also the remains of those who perished. Here's a very touching video about these brave dogs:

We have a book in our house called One Nation: America Remembers September 11, 2001. The images in it are horrific, haunting, and heroic. It tells a minute-by-minute account of what happened that morning and also delves more deeply into the stories of some of the fallen, and still living, heros. I highly recommend this book. We all need something like this in our homes to ensure that we, and our future generations, never forget.