Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Seminar on the Calendar

In following up on all of the information that was pounded into my brain in the Smart Runner Clinic, I was googling core and functional fitness to see if I am doomed to pilates or if there is more/better exercises I can do.  Adding Calgary to the search field brought up a website I had forgotten about: Fitness Fix

I remember reading about Denise Beatty's functional fitness videos during my vidiot days a few years back and somehow never made it over to Fitter First to pick them up.   Reading about them again made me think maybe that is the answer to my core work woes.  I am looking for quicker workouts that I can tack onto the end of a bike session and her's kind of fit the bill.   Anyway - in wandering around her website, I stumbled onto the seminar page and saw this:

June Seminar: FIX Your Posture, Walk and Run Better! Learn how to correct your posture as you move, and also get your walking and running gait analyzed and corrected! Learn more about barefoot running also! Usually $300 for assessments like these!

Register Now
SEMINAR PRICE: $30 incl gst- includes video of postural changes, walking and running technique- then we go outside and practice! Package Only: $10 incl GST

Friday June 10th, 6:30-7:30 pm

Suddenly I was presented with an affordable way to improve my running and to find out more about her workouts from Denise herself!   Needless to say - I am now signed up and ready to learn more about my own running and how to improve!  Very exciting. 

This seminar is the night before Footstock so I guess I'll be doing my package pickup on race day...but I think the time crunch is worth it for the potential in this learning opportunity!  I truly can't wait!

Techy Tuesday: Good Reads

This week I am bringing you a website review :)   For a while, I used to be a member of Shelfari - referred there by a librarian friend who was an active member, her passion for the site did little to ignite my own.  Of course, I didn't have this little blog back then, but I didn't really want to participate in the "fun" groups or clubs and adding my own books and connecting with friends there didn't really do it for me.  When I quit Facebook - I also quit Shelfari.
A few weeks ago, I finally clued in that many of the bookseller websites that I would occasionally submit reviews to were also pulling reviews from a site called Good Reads. 

I figured it was probably just another Shelfari, but thought it might actually work better for me if I could find a bookish website that would allow me to submit reviews to several sites simultaneously AND connect with other readers for recommendations.   This seemed to fit the bill.  As a bonus, they had widgets so I could automate my own blog to keep my reading list up to date.   (If you look on my "Read" page, you'll see what I mean.  Those little widgets update automatically as I add/finish books).   I still intended to post my reviews on my own blog first, but this gives me a place to move them over to for a wider audience.

Unlike Shelfari, I don't feel the push to participate in the clubs.  They have similar groups on Good Reads, but it is managed in a much gentler way.   With Good Reads, I just feel like I have a place to track books and manage what I plan to read next.  One feature I do really like, though, is the ability to just comment on a book (or on another member's comments about that book).  It makes it less of a forum and more like commenting on someone's Facebook photos.  The homepage features feeds of what your "friends" are doing and there is also a secondary tab for discussions on books you have read and groups that you follow.  

The simple interface and easy controls make this site a pleasure to play on.   I did find myself ambitiously setting up a personal challenge for myself to read X number of books in 2011.  They made it too easy by putting it on the homepage :P 
While there is a social networking component to the site - you don't actually NEED to request friends.  You can simply follow users if you'd prefer. There are also a number of authors signed up who you can also follow and interact with.

Add to this the section of free ebooks (mostly classics and amateur fiction), giveaways, lists, and a bookswap (US only, unfortunately) and Good Reads is a decent little reading community.

This review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the one thing that I feel is missing from the site.   This would be the ability to compare books with other members to see what members are most like you.  Shelfari has this functionality and I get the impression that Good Reads would like it (they actually list the development of such a feature as a "problem to solve" in their careers section).  So, maybe in time this will be added (I hope).   Though, really, I'm not a member there to necessarily connect with strangers.   I'd rather connect with my own friends to see what we're all reading.  The only time a feature like this would be handy is when I am seeing book recommendations and can see what similar readers liked.

If you are a reader and are looking for a fun way to track your reading and manage your reviews - give Good Reads a try.   Feel free to look me up over there at http://www.goodreads.com/khourianya

Happy reading!

Monday, May 30, 2011

End of May Resolution Check In

I've been pretty horrible at doing my month end check ins the last couple of months...but my flagging motivation tells me I need to kick  myself in the behind and get back on track with my goals and aspirations

1) Lose 25 more pounds (hopefully before we go to Mexico so I won't scare small children on the beach in my bathing suit) 

I'm down 18lbs since the new year and 48lbs total.   I did make it down to 53lbs lost, but then I recovered from that stomach bug and it all found me again.  Boo.  I guess all that chocolove wasn't exactly necessary to help me regain my strength.  I am now hoping I can lose the last of the weight before July 2nd, but it is going to take some concentrated effort on my part...I have my thinking cap on and am trying to formulate a solid plan for June.  

Even with only a few more pounds to go - I still have some work to do.   I am starting to look really thin through my shoulders and collar bone, but my stomach is still a far ways from being anywhere near good.   Since taking that seminar last week, I am going to add in some runner-specific strength training (mainly core and plyometrics) to see if I can't start seeing some results in that area.  Of course, cutting out the crap foods would help even more.   I also need to take progress photos since I haven't taken any since the start of the year and I am getting discouraged and am thinking I still look the same as I did Jan 1.

2) Aim for one race each month 

So far so good.   5 months into the year and I am done 6 races and am registered in 3 more plus have 3 more yet to register for.   That will bring me to 12 :)

3) Eat less junk food and aim for good nutrition 75% of the time. (c'mon - I KNOW I won't meet 100%)

Ya.  I suck.   I need to buckle down again.   As per #1 - a plan is in the works.

4) De-clutter our home considerably.  If we don't use it - we lose it.

We did pare down A LOT of our belongings, but didn't sell so much at our garage sale at the start of May.   I am planning to go through the bins of leftovers and get them all to new homes as soon as I have a moment to breathe.

5) Work on my posture.   I know I will look considerably slimmer if I just improve that.


I am going to start more core work, which should help with the ol' posture.  Looking at the race photos from this past weekend, I can see that I look positively slouchy compared to many of the women runners out there.

6) Be able to do pushups on my toes like a big girl.   100 Pushups will be my best friend.

Nope.  Can't do 'em yet.  Again - my core and strength work should help here to get me doing real pushups by the end of the year.

7) Edit my Nano Novel

Ummmm.  I don't even know where to start anymore.  I think I'll need to re-read the novel to get my brain going in this direction again.  I've been looking into self publishing options in case it turns out to be halfway decent :P

8) Complete at least one university course for my degree

Returning to work and trying to find work/life balance has kept me from this one.  I just don't know when I will have time to actually dedicate to my studies.

9) Download Garmin at least once a week 

Now that we have a laptop that my garmin works with, I've been really good at this.  Instead of manually entering my runs at Daily Mile, I've been syncing my Garmin after each run.  The longest I've let it lapse is 2 runs.

I am starting to see the need to create a better plan for myself.  My lack of work/life balance is really weighing on me (in case you couldn't tell from my responses above).  Perhaps it is time to take a couple of the things off of my resolution list that I can't attend to at the moment.   I think the University course needs to come off fo rnow.  I WILL get back to it, but it isn't likely to be this year.  It might need to be a 2012 resolution...perhaps one where I register for the course to start Jan 1...there's a thought.

The editing of my Nano Novel is something else that is weighing on me.  I spent the whole month of November writing it and now I am stuck when it comes to starting to polish it.   I almost need external feedback to help me with it.   Someone who can read it over and give their input on where it needs work.  I'm thinking aloud here so bear with me.  Maybe in another month, I'll have a different take or plan for it.

The rest of my resolutions aren't too bad.   I am really close to reaching my weight loss goal...all I need is some willpower.   I'm formulating a workout plan to help with my strength, posture and running speed so something tells me that when I finally get that all figured out, the pieces of the puzzle will finally come together for real results.  

So this is where I am leaving it for this month.  I'm in need of inspiration and perspiration, but I'm not doing too badly overall.

Official Time


Three seconds shy of sub 1hr.  But still spectacular.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Race Report: Jugo Juice 10K at the Calgary Marathon

After a week of steady rain, the forecast late in the week seemed to be looking up for race day.  And boy did it ever payout.   Sunny and warm for race day in Calgary!   I think the improvement really helped boost the spirits of everyone racing!

We were up bright and early to head into the city.  Hubby was running the 5K and I was in the 10K.  We'd dropped the twinners at their Uncle's house last night and it was a relief to not be frittering around with getting toddlers ready to go.   By 6:15am, we were parked in Bridgeland and walking to the Starbucks, where we had arranged to meet up with my Saturday Runner Girls.   They were all in the half so would be starting at 7, while my start time wasn't until 7:30.   As we were waiting for everyone to arrive at the meeting place, that half an hour started to vanish and JS, C, and I knew we'd better hit the porta-potties for one last pre-race pitstop...with 20 mins to go - we found ourselves in a GIGANTIC lineup.  OY!   Suddenly this was starting to feel like last year all over again.   By the time we got back to the rest of our group, J had shown up and went to line up.  We quickly raced over to find her and snap a quick pre-race pic:

I headed to just past the start line to try to snap a pic of them as they headed out, but my camera was too pokey and completely missed them!

Then is was my turn to lineup.  I peeled off my long sleeve shirt and opted to go in just armwarmers and a tank, since it was already feeling pretty warm in the sun.   Ducking under the tape to seed myself, I made the decision to line up somewhere between the 1hr and 1:05 pace bunnies.  My last 10K, I finished in 1:04 on icy paths after running 6K beforehand, so I figured I could probably come in comfortably around there again.  Little could I predict how far I'd blow that time out of the water...

The horn went off and we were on our way.  It was a crawling start and seemed to take eons before I crossed the mat and could actually get my run on.

We headed east and then turned north and then west almost immediately.   Running along 1st ave, the course took us to Edmonton Trail and then westbound onto Memorial.  After all of the times I have run out of downtown, it was kind of exciting to be running in such a large pack down a major road like Memorial!   The route itself was nothing special - just a nice, flat out and back that I could kick some major butt on!

Just before Centre Street bridge, I took my first walk break (I was running 15:1).  I was feeling good and feeling super fast at this point - I was almost at 3K already!   I was just finding my stride again when I suddenly realized that I probably should have made one last potty stop before I lined up.  DAMMIT!  I just kept telling myself "when you see a porta-potty - just stop.  If you don't PR, it's not the end of the world."   Well, i saw those porta-potties just past the 3K mark...but they were on the other side of the course.   I just had to hope there would be some on the side I was on when I reached the first water station.  There weren't.

The turn around was at 14th street and then I was on my way back...still feeling fast.  I knew I was in line for a PR...and it looked like it could be in the sub-1hr range.  Something I NEVER thought I would ever achieve!

As I reached the 6.5K point, I saw Mr. L (JS's dad - he was running his first 10K) coming up in the opposite directon.  I shouted out a cheer, but I don't think he heard me.  He looked happy, though.   Then I could see the porta-potties at the 7K mark.  I HAD to stop or I was going to pee my pants.  Not something I wanted to do.   Fastest. Pitstop. Ever.   In and out in under a minute and back on my way.   My garmin was reading 41 mins at this point and I thought I still had a shot at sub-1hr.

Feeling much lighter, I barely felt the ground under my feet (though funnily enough, i felt every bit of weight my shoes had in them...likely a result of all that talk about racing flats at the clinic last week).  I was zooming and I was so happy.

Around the corner onto Edmonton Trail and then it was suddenly the last kilometre...I was flying and I just wanted to kick it to the finish.  Two more turns and I could see the finish line and I headed straight for it!   Hubby was there to snap a pic of me quickly hamming for the camera

When I hit the mat and stopped my Garmin, the time read 59:29!  SUB ONE HOUR!!! WOOOT!  The Garmin had paused for a few seconds during my mid-race pitstop so I was tinking it was likely right on the hour mark! Gun time on the Winning Time website had me at 1:01:44.44, but I knew it had taken me well over a minute to cross the start line.  Can't wait to see my chip time!  Really, though, this is a PR by around 4 mins!

I carried on through the chute to claim my medal (and, bonus, didn't drool on this volunteer like I normally would)

The went to find hubby and relieve him of our stuff so he could line up for his 5K.   While he waited for his race to start, I found a nice patch of grass to stretch on (yay me - being smart for once) and then I took photos of him starting out.

Then it was off to find my runner girls and run them in!  I wandered back to first ave and waited.   JS was aiming for 2:15 so I knew I would be close if they were going to make that time.   At 2:20 post gun, I started to worry that something had gone wrong when I still hadn't seen them.  Then, thinking of my own major PR - I began to wonder if they had already passed.   It was right then that I saw JS and C coming up the road!  But where was J?   I snapped a pic of the two of them and joined them for a block.

J's hubby had had problems (he was running his first half) and she had fallen back to stay with him so we still had one more Runner girl to cheer in!   when we reached the point where the 5K runners were joining back with the crowd, I broke off to wait for Cam and cheer him into the homestretch.

Within a minute of waiting, Mr. JS was coming in on the 5K so I started my cheering and snapped his pic!

I was a bit early with the pic...he's the fourth one back...

And a minute later, I saw Hubby on the killer hill at the end of the 5K and was ready to get my cheer on!!

and early again...

Then it was off to the finish line to try to meet up with everyone there.   J had still not gotten in so we started to head out to meet her and run them in.   We were just coming up to the start of the homestretch and suddenly they were there!   I'm sure we distracted a couple seconds off of their finish time with our loud eruption of cheers!  But J's grin was worth it :)

Now came the fun part of trying to keep our rather large group all together.   In a crowd of well over 10,000 people (there were 9500 runners so I have to assume their families came out too), it was no easy feat to keep track of the 9 of us.   But finally we were all together and snapping medal pics with our big sunny smiles:

Overall - such a fun morning.  I am really happy I only did the 10K. I think I'll keep with this distance in future years.  It felt great to be able to celebrate with everyone as they came in!   :)

and then hubby and I went for a breakfast of champions :P

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Friendship Run

Today was the Friendship Run for Calgary Marathon.  Since I knew Coach Jenny Hadfield would be there and I also knew I wasn't going to be able to make it back to the Expo to hear her speak - I decided to pack up the girlies and their jogging stroller and head to Eau Claire for the Run.

Some of you might remember a few months back, Coach Jenny had put out a call on Twitter for someone to archive a large number of blog posts for her.  I applied for the job and got it . At the time, I pretty much thought that it was highly unlikely I would ever get to meet her in person.  Then, out of the blue, Calgary Marathon announced their speaker series and she was at the top of the list!  Suddenly I was going to get my chance!

I connected with her on Twitter yesterday to let her know I was going to be there, but it was apparent in her responses that she didn't make the connection of who I was.   I showed up at Eau Claire fairly early this morning and, once they moved us all outside for a photo opportunity, I had my chance to go over and say Hi.

She recognized that I was the one who'd written her, since I'd said I'd have the stroller...but she still hadn't figured out who I was...demonstrated by her asking me my name LOL.  I inwardly laughed and said "Cori - I did that web work for you a few months back!"   And then the lightbulb came on!  I didn't want to tie her up for too long since I knew there were plenty of other people who might want to talk to her so we took a couple of photos and made small talk about running with two babies...then I sort of snuck off to the side to give her some space. 

After that, the Running Room did a presentation of a large cheque to HAWC (the local police helicopter service) and we all filed back inside to hear John Stanton Jr. and Coach Jenny speak (and to meet the pace bunnies for tomorrow).   I'm really happy to have gotten to hear her speak there.   She is very much like how she writes.  No nonsense, clear and well thought out.   I tried to film some of it on my camera, but it didn't work out (lighting, crying babies in my stroller = not good video).  Took a couple of photos, though:

For some reason, I found it really funny that they would choose the bra section as a backdrop for the speakers.

After the speeches were all done,  we filed back outside to get the run underway

Not a great photo of the crowd...I didn't want to be the strange girl taking all of the pictures so I admit I didn't try very hard.  Anyway - the crowd was pretty big.  Even more amazing was that we all fit inside the Eau Claire Running Room!
This was the first Running Room friendship run that I have ever attended.  The only other Friendship run I had ever done was the one my TNT mentor had planned in San Francisco (ah, the lovely memories of running across the bridge with friends).   So, I hadn't really expected the crowd, nor had I anticipated the speaking.  Both were pleasant surprises.   

The distance was only supposed to be 3K, but it ended up being closer to 4.   I was running alone with the stroller so it was pretty uneventful.  I just ran when I wanted and walked when I needed to (it's no easy feat running while pushing twins!)   If I were to do one thing differently for future friendship runs, though, I would definitely bring a FRIEND!   So lonely out there.  Sure, the other runners were great and we joked around a fair bit along the way, but it would have been nice to have someone else there that I knew.   Ah well, hindsight...

Now that I have shaken out the ol' legs, I am excited and ready to run!!!  See you at the races!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Calgary Marathon Expo

This weekend is beyond crazy for us, so I decided to hit the Marathon Expo after work today.   What a zoo!   The lineup was crazy when me and my girlies arrived.   I was quickly ushered up to the 5K line to pick up hubby's package.  That lineup was about 10 mins long - even though it was only 3 people deep.  Then on to the 10K line...except the lines were a mess over there...I got into a line that looked like it was for my last name...and 10 mins later, discovered that it was actually a lineup for the half that had doubled back and I had to move to the actual line.   Thank goodness for free granola bars and jugo juice samples or I don't think the girlies would have lasted.

Once I had all of our packages, we turned to head into the expo itself.  First stop the wheel of discounts at the Running Room.   I only scored 10% but that was enough to get me going.  I quickly nabbed an adjustable fuel belt and my favourite orange ginger Nuun.   The guy from Eau Claire's RR was working the booth so we had a great little chat and then I paid and was on my way.

Next stop - Bondi Band!!!  Wheeee!   Tables and boxes and bags of lovely and beautiful wicking headbands for meeeeee!   Well - I only bought 6 of them, but I had fun hunting.  I resisted the temptation to buy the cleverly worded ones and focused on prints and plains.  I did buy a grey one with a sparkly shamrock on it so I'll be good to go for St Paddy's...or just for luck any other time...

The only thing I'm regretting is not having picked up a bright yellow one to match my fancy new belt!

And now for the swag!

The race shirts are the same awesome Zorrel ones that they had for the Calgary Police 5K.   I was so excited to see that.   They put the shirt and race guide into a cheapo drawstring backpack (gawd - how many of these am I going to get this year?) and my bib for this year's race is a lovely dark purple (does that mean my medal lanyard is going to be the same lovely grapey hue?)   Unfortunately the bibs are those horrible chipped bibs, but I can deal with it for a 10K.  I feel sad for my Saturday runner girls who have to run the half with them.

Beyond that - the girls were getting fussy so we left pretty quickly.  I felt bad for the people showing up as I was leaving.  The lineup was now out in the rain and wrapping around Max Bell.   Hopefully the volunteers started finding their stride after I left and could get those lines flowing.   Up note for people going tomorrow...maybe the lines will be shorter since 90% of people apparently tried to go today!

Next up this weekend - the friendship run and meeting Coach Jenny Hadfield!  Stay tuned!


Ok - as a first leap into committing to my full marathon training plan, I registered for two more races in July.

July 10 - Stampede Road Race Half Marathon (the plan calls for 19K that weekend so i am going to do a slow half instead - plus it runs the route I likely would have run anyway.  Might as well be running WITH the crowd)

July 17 - Lacombe 10K (If I run to and from the race - my parents live in Lacombe, just down the road from the start line - it will make up the 14K I need that weekend...or close to it)

Feels good to see more races on my calendar.   I'll probably be registering for more in the next week or so since the early bird cutoffs are creeping up really fast!

Friday Reads: Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse #11) by Charlaine Harris

Somehow the release of this one completely snuck up on me (this is happening a bit too much lately).  I'm a longtime Sookie Fan who is eagerly awaiting the fourth season of True Blood so this definitely quenched me for a little longer.

A brief synopsis:
Sookie is still Eric's human wife, though she suspects there is something he and Pam are not sharing with her. Nothing like an arranged vampire marriage to throw a kink into the works.  Victor, Felipe's regent in Louisiana, is opening bars to compete with Fangtasia and Merlotte's and this is causing professional woes for both Eric and Sam.  Add to this the fact that Sandra Pelt (Debbie's psycho sister) is out of jail and out to get her revenge on Sookie...well, it is definitely a busy week for our friend, Sook.   As always - everyone gets a little (or a lot) of blood on their hands and the struggle continues.

The past few Sookie Stackhouse books have felt rather anti-climactic.  I like to equate the feeling I get reading them to the way I feel when I am hearing an album by an artist who is trying to get out of contract commitments.  More of the same.   No real nail biting scenes.   Nothing super exciting.   It's still a good read - there's just not much to it.   It satisfies the need for another Sookie book, but it leaves me wondering how many more she is obligated to write to fulfill her contractual obligations.

In the FAQs on her website, Harris has the following:
Q. Are you finished with the Sookie Stackhouse series? When will the next book come out?
A. I am not finished with the series. I don’t know how many more books I will write about Sookie. The next one will be out in May.

I've talked to a few other people who had the same impression of the book as I do...so it was reassuring to see that I wasn't alone in what I felt.   Really - it was enough Sookie to hold me over until HBO can fill the void.  Chances are, if you like the other books, you'll enjoy this one :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy birthday girlies!

Two years ago today, I became a mom.   A mom to two, honest-to-goodness human beings.   I can't believe it's been two years already!  That those little teeny preemies have grown into teeny little ladies.   Since I have very little clue what I'm doing most of the time, I'm pretty sure it's a miracle we all survived this long, but survive we have. 

And now they are two.  Two 2 year olds.  *shudder* Why does that sound so much worse than the murmur of disbelief when we would say "Two babies" during my pregnancy and then through their first year?

First bubbles blown by herself. (and WOW does our gate ever look f*cked in this picture)
I can already see rumblings of the terrible twos.  I thought I would scream the first time I heard "MINE!" and the sound of somthing being snatched from the other.  I defintiely lost my cool the first time Doodle decided she wasn't going to walk and plopped her but down on the sidewalk and screamed.   I'm sure every car that passed us on Centre Street that day thought I was the worst mother ever as I walked on, calling for her to catch up.  I just wanted to yell at the cars "She's two!" in the hope of seeing the light of understanding on their faces.

Two brings all kinds of things with it that I am both eagerly anticipating and actively fearing. Just a couple of these are:

Potty Training - it's hard enough to get one potty trained, let alone two simultaneously.  But imagine the freedom when they finally are!  No more loads of cloth diapers.  No more giant boxes of disposibles.  No more heavy, twin-sized diaper bag.  I really can't wait.  

Big Girl Beds - So far they aren't able to climb out of their cribs, but I know big girl beds are not far off.  Since the girls still share a room, I know we will need to make the decision on whether to split them up or not.  I guess we'll just have to see how much of a party time bedtime gets to be when we get there...In the meantime, I am just looking forward to not needing to lean over quite so far for bedtime kisses.   My back is already sighing in relief!

And as much as I am dreading two...I remember how fun three was with my niece and nephews.   When they can somewhat converse legibly and come up with actual fun ideas.   Will three be enough to hold me through the entire year of two? 

I really hope so.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Library Memberships

When I lived in the city, I ALWAYS had a membership to the public library. Unfortunately, it always seemed to be a "try before you buy" kind of situation for me. My library membership always ended up costing me thousands of dollars a year (and a very full home library of my own!)

When we moved to Langdon almost 5 years ago, I knew I was going to need to give up my membership. This broke my heart because I was so used to working right across from the library and I could just pop over and grab or return books at noon. Luckily, whenever I am taking a course for my degree through Athabasca University (something I really need to get back at), I would qualify for an Alberta Library Card that would give me access again. Of course, I haven't taken a course since the girls were born so I've been without a library card of any sort for over two years now!

The tragedy of this is that in those two years - ebook lending has really taken off and most of the public libraries seem to have it. There are so many books out there that I would love to read, but don't really want to spend the money unless I know I like them. If I could have a public library card - I could access them and read to my hearts content that way!

Well, as of today I finally figured something out! Chestermere has a public library! Why it took me so long to google this is beyond me. Chestermere is a good sized town and it is in Rocky View County so of course any library there should be open to Langdon residents...and it is!!!! Yippeeee!!!

So, I downloaded the application and I am going to pop by the library on my way home from work tonight and get our family a lovely little membership so we can start enjoying the joys of a public library again.

All it needs is my information filling the blanks!

I can't wait to introduce my girlies to the children's section!

On a little aside note...being a member of Chestermere will also allow me to qualify for the Alberta Library Card again...so those noon hour trips won't ever need to end (of course I move to my new office on June 3rd, so I'll need to frequent a different branch than the central one I am so in love with)

Techy Tuesday: A Few of my Favourite E-book websites

I do have a bunch of tech reviews started - I just haven't had much of a chance to flesh them out for y'all so something a little different this week.

I don't know what I would do without the Internet.   Ever since I moved all of my music to digital and the majority of my books, I would be lost without it!  When it comes to e-reading,  I have a few go-to places where I get my books and my news.  I thought this rainy Tuesday (in Calgary, anyway) might be a good time to share them :)

I love the Kobo site.   They have somewhere around 2 million ebooks for really reasonable prices (nine times out of ten, they are cheaper than the Sony Reader store).   I really love that they sell in Canadian dollars, too.  No more trying to convert exchange in my head to see how the Visa will be hit.

In the past couple of weeks, I've discovered a couple more reasons to really love Kobo. 

1) e-Gift Cards - Hubby sent me an e gift card for Mother's Day and it was the coolest thing.  I recieved the email and all I had to do was click the link to claim it for my account and BLAMMO! suddenly I had all kinds of free shopping I could do whenever.  It was so much fun to be able to buy all of the fun reads that have been on my wishlist.  I tend to be a pick and choose shopper - buying the new releases and holding off on the fun stuff that I hear through the grapevine.  It was probably the most fun I've had with a gift card in a long time!

2) They accept INDIGO/CHAPTERS gift cards!  When hubby was cleaning out his work bag in preparation for starting his new job next week, he stumbled upon a gift card in one of the pockets.  It was the perfect chance to see if it would work and, sure enough, it did.  The only downside that I can see is that you can't transfer the card balance to your account like you can on the Indigo site...so you need to enter the card number and pin each time you make a purchase.  Honestly, though, it's a small price to pay to be able to use them at Kobo!  I am one of those people who tends to recieve a ton of Chapters cards so this way I will be able to use them to feed my digital library instead of my bookcases!

Mobile Read
THE BEST online community for ebook enthusiasts. Bar none.  There are forums for each type of device available which are great for helping you to troubleshoot your own device.   The discussions are also excellent if you are trying to decide on a reader to buy.  Just reading through the debates there helped me to realize the Sony was definitely the better option for me.   There is also a huge downloadable library of books that are no longer under copyright (and, therefore, free).  A great way to get some nicely formatted ebooks of the classics.  Another plus, on the deals and freebies section of the forums, I have scored many a great discount code for the Sony Reader Store and it is always the first place to look and see what publishers are offering in free ebooks around the web.

Good EReader
Fantastic site I discovered not long ago. Pretty much anything you can hope to know about ebook readers can be found on this site.  They have a blog (which is fantastic) and a radio show.   They do have an online store, as well, for Readers..not ebooks and forums for enthusiasts to discuss all things ereader.   I think I lost several hours this past weekend just browsing the site.  Of course, that's because I'm obsessed.  A  mere mortal will probably be able to hold themselves back enough and use it for the blog and research ;)

Project Gutenberg
Fantastic site for free ebooks that are out of copyright (50+ years after the authours death).  You don't need to sign up for anything and the books are usually available to download in multiple formats, depending on preference/device.   If I'm looking for a classic and cannot find it on Mobile Read - I'll pop over here.   The ones on MR are usually nicer formatting, but in the last 3 years Gutenberg has gotten much better.   I credit ePUB for that.  I remember downloading the Wizard of Oz books in text format a few years back and hating the need to scroll through about 15 pages of Gutenberg mumbo jumbo before I hit the actual book.   Free felt like free.   The books I downloaded last week in ePUB were much nicer.

So there you have it...whether you have a device or are in the market for one - each of these sites can help you make the best decision for you and help you get to the best part - the reading :)  Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Something exciting in eReader world: Kobo Touch

First - I love my Sony Reader.  For three years it has accompanied me everywhere - home, travel, work, play...it's been there.  I think I might spend more time with it than I do with Hubby!  This being said - today something new was announced that has me intrigued.  Kobo announced a new Reader for it's lineup...the Kobo Touch.

Kobo eReader Touch Edition Demo Video from Kobo on Vimeo.

I've never been much for touch screen anything.  The thought of fingerprints on my screens is enough to drive me crazy.  It's why I won't buy an iPad (though I can't deny the experience is great).  It's why I hesitate with an iPhone (though my next phone will probably be one as long as hubby gets me those anti-fingerprint screen protectors he promised).   The Sony Touch Reader holds no appeal to me.  Yet - this one intrigues me.

I don't know if it's the price point ($140ish) or the seemingly simple interface.  Perhaps it's the integration of Reading Life, Kobo's social reading platform.   Either way - I know I'll be moseying down to Chapters next month to see if it's worth the fuss.

A girl can always use a backup reader, right?

MOMday: The Petting Zoo Birthday Party

Yesterday we attended the 4th birthday party of the son of one of hubby's colleagues.  As a fun activity, they had hired Butterfield Acres to come out and set up a small petting zoo for the attendees.  So. Much. Fun.  Our girlies LOVED it (Doodle loved it most, but Buggie sure got a lot of enjoyment out of it as well)

Because we arrived at the party early, it gave us a chance to see how they set everything up.   Really, they keep it pretty simple.  One girl, a truck, some portable fencing and an assortment of small animals.   For this party, there were two goats, two sheep, three bunnies and 4 chicks.   For a party of around 10 kids, this was fairly adequate.

The girl from Butterfield set up the fence in the backyard (if it had been raining, they could have set up in the garage).  She also set up a hand washing station.  Then came the animals.  First she brought out a box with the chicks in it.  These would stay in the box for the entire party.   Then, one by one, she brought out the goats and lambs.   The bunnies were all in a cage and she took them out and let them hop around the penned area with the goats and lambs.

I really do need to give the Butterfield girl some kudos here.  She was FANTASTIC with the kids.  From gentle introductions to teaching the kids how to feed the animals or how to pick them up - she was pleasant and gentle.  Even when the birthday boy got a little overzealous picking up a chick - she was able to calmly teach him how when a baby bird makes that sound, it's time to adjust the hold.   The biggest thing that impressed me, though, was how smoothly she would clean up any of the animal waste before it could be a mess on some kid.   So quick.

My girls adored the animals...as displayed in Cancun when we visited the Turtle Sanctuary - they are fearless.  Not afraid to touch and pick up anything.  Doodle was snatching chicks out of the box faster than we could stop her...but she was always gentle.   Buggie was more reserved, but she loved to watch and pet the animals.  Considering these two have been so sick all week, we weren't sure how they would handle it.  There were several times we considered cancelling our RSVP...but we're glad we didn't.  It was the first time we'd seen Doodle smile and laugh in days.  I think this might be the thing that helps her finally recover from being sick.

All in all - it was a nice way to spend a birthday party.   The petting zoo came for only an hour (according to their website - that hour costs around $190).   All of the kids really seemed to enjoy it and it helped to pass the time and keep the fights at bay.   After all - it's much harder to fight over a goat than over a yard toy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekly Update - May 22/11

I brought it on myself. I really did.  Last week, I lamented needing a good kickstart to the ol' diet and the very next day

Stomach flu!

Not the kickstart I had in mind, but I'll take it.  In the three days I had the bug, I lost 8lbs, bringing me to 53lbs total!  Once I started eating again - I did float up a bit on the ol' poundage, but so far I seem to be using that uncomfortable time to my dieting advantage.   In BIG news, the loss while I was sick did bring me to my...wait for it...

50lb Weight Loss Milestone!!!
(and then I gained it back so I still have 2 lbs to go)

Again - I don't recommend it as a weight loss measure, but there might as well be an upside :)

The rest of my goals for the week?  *insert giant pffffffffft raspberry here and accompany with thumbs down*
  • Pack lunches and snacks for work - Did it.  Only had to do it for 1 day, though so that was easy
  • Keep my calories in check - did it.  Lose It tells me I was thousands under my allowance for the week
  • Two midweek runs - HA!  like I had the energy
  • Three bike sessions - ummm.  no. 
  • at least 3 yoga sessions - and again...ummm...no.
My knee feels fantastic now, though.  I guess the forced rest did me some real good.  After I spent all day Monday in bed, I felt like a woman with new and perfect knees!  Well, not completely perfect as I did feel the "offness" during drills at the clinic but it was definitely better than it has been.
This weekend was all about learning to be a better runner and being with my girlies (we all went to a birthday party where there was a petting zoo).  Slept in...well, maybe not that last one.   The girlies were still down with the end of this stomach bug so we just wanted everyone to get better so we could stop doing complete bedding changes at 3am!

and now for this week's fabulous goals:
  • Register for races after Footstock
  • Cook real food for lunches (sounds like a good way to pass a rainy holiday monday)
  • 2 weekday runs, 3 bike sessions - no jamming this time.  I should be perfectly healthy enough to do it
  • Start thinking about how to incorporate core work and plyometrics into my routine.   The clinic really has me thinking about this.  It may be time to dust off the P90X DVDs...  
  • Look forward to Calgary's big race weekend next week! and to hopefully finally meeting Coach Jenny Hadfield!

Vote for me!

I am in the running for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Health & Fitness Mom Blogs. I only have around 30 votes at the time of this posting, but there is still a week to go.  If you think my blog is worthy - Id love it if you could pop over there and click the little vote button by my blog!  Thanks to everyone who's voted so far (BTW - you can vote once per day so bonus karma points if you make it over there a few times)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Smart Runner Clinic complete!


Today was the Smart Runner Clinic in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuing Learning at Mount Royal University.  With my first full marathon looming in the not-too-distant future, I decided to enroll in this clinic to give me a base to training and completing it injury-free.   I certainly learned a fair bit in the 4 hours the clinic ran...very informative stuff.

This used to be called the Running for Your Life clinic and it has run since 2003.  This year brought a change in name and  a ton of new information that has come out of the research community in the past year.  After arriving and checking in, we (JS and I) were handed a little backpack containing our free travel roller and DVD plus some Mizuno swag (a rep was on hand doing shoe analysis in the lobby)

The Speakers
The clinic featured five presenters from a variety of backgrounds
  • Dr. Dale MacDonald - Sports specialist chiropractor; spoke on a variety of topics and research studies that had been done on running efficiency
  • Dr. Meaghan McCullom - Naturopathic Doctor; spoke mainly on the effects of running on your immune system
  • Andrea Kosa - Physiotherapist; spoke about the office bound runner and how to counteract the stresses desk jobs place on your muscles
  • Jeremy Deere - local running speedster and owner of Strides Running Store; spoke on dynamic stretching and led us through an interactive warmup to demonstrate various dynamic drills  runner should do to warm up before a race
  • Adam Wood - Former Canadian National Bobsleigh Champion and inventor of the Travel Roller; spoke about his background and demonstrated (including volunteers from the audience) how to incorporate the travel roller into your pre/post run routine
Suffice it to say, there was considerable knowledge on the sport of running in that room today.  From each speaker, I found at least one takeaway that would be beneficial to helping me get the most out of my running.  I found that I enjoyed listening to Dale speak the most.  He had a real knack for describing different studies in laymans terms and relating them to our own running.  Most of all, he was most excited about everything he was presenting...he truly BELIEVED it would help and that was why he wanted to share (my impression, anyway).

I did not get as much out of Meaghan's presentation.  something about her speaking voice made the microphone pop and echo and it was very distracting.  She spoke about how important nutrition was, but instead went on and on about immune systems and free radicals.  On the first break a few of us passed the comments that went along this line "We're runners...we know nutrition is important.  So tell us what to eat to improve our performance.  It's easy." 

That being said, I did find some of the studies she cited to be interesting - particularly those parts that spoke about how long your immune system is compromised following a long, intense workout. 

Andrea didn't seem comfortable with the whole public speaking thing and I didn't feel as though she had enough time to present (a thought made stronger by the fact that her powerpoint didn't seem to be over and that she seem to be cut off before we were really told anything of value.  I found the things she told us about posture and the detriment of long-term sitting periods at desk jobs, but there were no real take-aways except to get up often.  I would have expected a physiotherapist to arm us with exercises to complete throughout the day.  Perhaps that was her game plan and she just didn't have enough time.

Jeremy's presentation was definitely the most fun.   He led us outside and got us all moving.   High knees, butt kicks, bopping across the green grass in front of East Gate.   There was one move that I don't think I'll ever master and would probably fall on my face if I tried to hard, but it had me laughing out loud with my attempts.   Since the whole thing was filmed, I'm sure there is video footage of me out there flailing my long legs around in the sun.  

Adam was very passionate about his product, The Travel Roller, and quite happy to demonstrate how he uses it in his running.  When he called for volunteers to come up, I ducked behind my notebook (I have audience participation when I'm in the audience...it's the same reason I avoid magic shows).  Fortunately, there were two victims ready to jump up on that stage.   I'm just glad I didn't grow balls at that moment and volunteer myself to work on my hamstrings with him...the people he had up there, he publicly tortured.  Well, not really.  He would show them how to roll out their trouble spots and then he would have them move into exercises to strengthen their weak points.  The exercises seemed to be all about planks.  And rotated planks...that he never let them out of and then made them do clamshell movements with their knees.  The one guy seemed to do okay with it, but I felt bad for the woman who had volunteered.  I get the impression that Adam would be a helluva tough personal trainer.

To wrap up the clinic, Dale came back onstage to talk about runners over the age of 50 (at least 3 in the audience were over 70! Wow!) and then to talk about the 9 easy ways to improve your running instantly (ie: lazy mans running improvement 101).  These I will share because it was fun.  I'm not going to go into great detail because it would take all night, but google these because some of them are pretty interesting.

Nine Easy Ways to Improve Your Running Instantly
  1. Racing Flats
  2. Compression Socks
  3. Caffeine
  4. Ice Slurry
  5. Carbohydrate Mouth Rinse
  6. Inspiratory Muscle Loading
  7. Focus on flat after the hill
  8. Vibration plate training
  9. Stretching

Other Takeaways
  • Almost all running injuries are from repetitive strain and the compensations we make to our body alignment during the time we are avoiding dealing with it
  • After a long exercise session, your immune system can be depressed for 3-72 hours!
  • Dr. Dale said that in his practice, he has seen countless people injured from Yoga, but has never seen a single injury from Pilates.  Food for thought.
  • For recreational marathon runners, strenght training is vital to avoiding injury.  2 concurrent strenght sessions per week are recommended
    • 1 x high intensity lower limb ("explosive"  plyometrics, bounding, hills)
    • 1 x strength and endurance for trunk (core work, pilates etc)
  • What FEELS best for you is actally what IS best for you. 

So - did I feel like I got my money's worth for this 4 hour session?  Actually, yes.  I paid $79 (since I was dumb and missed out on the $20 off coupon I got via email because I was a procrastinating fool).  Part of my course package included a Travel Roller and instructional DVD valued at $65.   That means that I paid $14 for all of the other information and a couple of snacks.  A very good deal, if I should say so.   I think I learned a fair bit that was common knowledge (well, for a runner who reads as many running books as I do, anyway) but there was enough new information there and it was presented well and rounded out with Q & A that I had plenty to think about all day.

Would I attend this next year (or the year after)?  I'm not sure.   It would depend on if they vary the presenters from year to year and the sessions that were planned.  I certainly won't rule it out. 

This wasn't the first running clinic I have ever attended - we had several of them while I was training with TNT.  This was definitely the most intense, though, and the first I ever paid for...I'm glad I went and I defniitely recommend it for others in future years.  Who knows - maybe I'll see you there!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fuel for Life

Just saw this post on someones twitter feed...loved it so much I had to share it here...

Live authentically. Live your truth. And if you love me for anything, love me because I live mine. 
~Neale Donald Walsh

Afterthoughts on this weeks book

I figure these need a separate post from the book review as they are not really related to my liking Jean M. Auel's "The Land of the Painted Caves" - just things I noticed about myself since finishing the book...
Unfortunately, I'm not her editor (nor am I qualified to be), I just feel these things need saying.

1) I think she could have, nay, SHOULD have started this book as part three and kept going.   A couple of chapters could have explained the few years that transpired in the first two sections, leading up to Ayla recieving her calling.

This also would have allowed her to have a bit of fun and conflict with the characters Brukeval, Madroman, and Laramar that would have added some much needed colour to the book as a whole.  Instead, she only glazed over the issues and let the characters run away unfinished and unfulfilled.  Well, maybe Laramar was feeling fulfilled until Jondalar got a hold of him (hee hee - ok, I'm bad, but you can read part three and get what I mean about that)

2) The more I think about the third part of the book, the more I believe most of the first two parts were not written by her.   Maybe she did the research and had an assistant fill in the blanks.

3) I find myself wanting to read the rest of the book...even though I know I finished it.  This is a sure sign that an authour has left a work unfinished.  I'd even be willing to argue that it is a feeling as though she stopped the book in the MIDDLE.  This feeling is driving me bonkers.

hmmm...maybe it's time I made a foray into the world of fan fiction and wrote a new ending that won't leave me so "blech!"

Friday Reads: The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

I still remember that day...I was 9 years old and had just walked myself into the library and gotten myself my first library card.  Books were the only thing in the world that mattered to me and it was getting expensive to buy them all new in the drugstore of the small town we lived in.   I remember thinking to myself that if I could just read THICKER books that I could stay with a story for longer.  But YA fiction was rarely over 200 pages and I could read that in an hour or so (ahhh - to have that kind of reading time nowadays - sigh!). So, with a little excitement, I stepped around the shelves and entered the adult section.   Rows upon rows of 500+ page books, just waiting fo rme to devour them.

I realized I was too young to understand much of what was in the books with the women in bodices and the men with the flowing locks.   I just had to find something that looked like it would be a good story for me to immerse myself in.  It was then that I found Jean M. Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear.  In hindsight, not the book for a nine year old, but I thought it looked like a good story about a little cave girl orphan.  I was right.  I devoured it as quickly as I could and then headed back to the library for the next one, Valley of the Horses...and then the next one, The Mammoth Hunters.  I realized parts of the books were smutty, but my desire for a good story kept me turning the pages and glossing over the racy details.  Years later, my mother read Clan of the Cave Bear and commented to me that had she known what the books were like, I NEVER would have been allowed to read them.  

It was after finishing the third book that I had to wait a very long time for the fourth, which came out when I was in my early teens.  Then the fifth was when I was in my mid-twenties.  Finally, this one, the sixth and final in the series, was released last month.  Somehow I had missed the boat on knowing in advance and was happily surprised when I went to buy vacation reads and it was right there on the home page!!!

It took me a bit to actually get to it and I would like to say it was worth the wait, but it really wasn't.  For the finally book in the series, it was a dry and tedious read.   Much of it completley lacked the colour of Auel's other books.  I even found myself questioning often if she had even written them or if the duty had been passed along to a much less talented lackey. It wasn't until Part Three that I could pick out Auel's narrative voice.   So disappointing.

The premise of the book is that Ayla is now deep in training to become a Zelandoni (healer/wise woman of the tribe).  Her "master" is the most important of these and wants her to tour all of the sacred places in their territory.  This means that they must travel from cave to cave to experience them and see their paintings.  Along the way, there are many opportunities for conflicts and adventures - very few of which materialize and then only those that can be wrapped up within the scope of this book.  Many loose strings are left as characters suddenly "walk off" (and those are avenues I think would have been worth exploring to keep it from being the sterile and boring read it was)

The thing that annoyed me most about the book was how repetitive the writing was.   A character would have two pages of thoughts about a subject and then there would be two pages of verbalizing the thoughts to another character and then another two pages of the otehr character marvelling about how in sync their thoughts were with those of the first character.  Same goes for all of the formal introductions.  If I had to endure one more introduction where everyone's full titles and connections were given, I was going to scream!   The storyline was relatively flat...the conflicts and human interaction of the past books was gone.  Potential crises were always built up and then quietly averted.  The conflicts just weren't there and conflicts are what makes a STORY interesting.  She also went deep into the minutae of daily tasks...spelling out exactly how a tallow lanp is fueled and lit EACH TIME one was used!

I'm sure Auel, who is famous for the amount of research that goes into her books, spent a great deal of time touring ancient caves and researching the heck out of them.  She just didn't spend a great deal of time thinking out how to write about caves while giving a reader more to sink their teeth into.  For a book that was 10 years in the making, I definitely had higher hopes.  Even if I had've read some of the reviews before buying the book, I probably still would have read it to get some closure on a series I have been following for most of my life.  I do think I need to re-read the first 5 books, though, to cleanse myself of this one and remind me of the brilliance of the series.

My verdict - not worth reading unless you have been following the series and want closure.  It was disappointing at best, but now it is done.  Any book that I finish with the exclaimations "Blech!  Really?!?! That's how you're going to end the frickin' series?!?!"  is probably not a good series ender.  My advice? Read at your own risk...you were warned.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

On being vegetarian...

Yes, I am vegetarian.  Not vegan.  I still eat eggs and would probably die if I had to eat vegan cheese (ew, so gross...even the ones the vegans swear tastes "just like the real thing"  They don't.). I don't drink cow's milk because I linked it to my asthma a few years ago and, as soon as I cut it out of my diet, I no longer needed a puffer (that was before I started running...and I haven't needed one since, either)

So much of the time, when I tell people I am veg, they ask the same question:
"So you just eat chicken and fish?"

Um... No.  Neither.  People who call themselves vegetarian but still eat chicken and fish ARE NOT VEGETARIANS!!!

Those who still eat fish are called pescaterians (though, hubby told me a great new name for them the other day: vegaquariums.  I'm still giggling!)

The other one I love is when people are eating a steak in front of me and waving it in my face while they say "I'm sorry.  Does it bother you that I'm eating this?"

Um...No. Just get it out of my face.  I don't want any.  Red meat smells amazing when it's cooked but you couldn't pay me to eat it.  I haven't since I was 21. Same goes for pork.

Now, just because I'm veg doesn't mean I have always eaten fantastically.  I used to be a pretty crappy vegetarian (and I was really sick a great deal of the time because I was).  I like to call those the days when I was a Potato Chip Vegetarian.  Main course would be potato chips.  Dessert was, inevitably, a chocolate bar.   I ate more soy than anything back then and had myself convinced that a vegetarian meal had to be like a "meat, potatoes and vegetables" style meal.

Eating like that made me very sick.  I would get chest infections so bad that it would take a month to clear up...only to get another one almost immediately.   It was this level of sickness that made me force myself to go back to eating poultry and fish for two years.   My infections cleared right up and I thought it was due to eating better.  Turns out it was probably due to the antibiotics they pump into most poultry.  When I found that out, I went back to being veg again...I just did it better this time.

When I went back to being veg, hubby came with me.   Everyone around us thought I had co-erced him into it, but I didn't even ask him.  In fact, I flat out told him he didn't have to.  He responded with "How are WE going to do this?" after I shared some of my findings with him from books on the meat industry I'd been reading.  He's been veg for 5 years now and I don't think he'd ever go back.  I could be wrong...and if he wants to one day, then he is welcome to.  But I'd like our girlies raised veg.

Am I naive enough to believe that they will stay veg?  Of course not.  If a teenage rebellion of a Big Mac is the biggest of my concerns, then I will consider myself fortunate.   I'd just like to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as I have control over their diet.   I'd like them to grow up learning to try new things and to know how to put together a healthy meal before they need to on their own.   When they are old enough, I will explain things like growth hormones and antibiotic resistance and animal cruelty and GMOs and environmental impact to them so they will be able to make smart, informed decisions on their own.   They might just surprise me and wind up staying veg and making the next generation veg as well.

Most of all, I'll make sure they know they have my support no matter what they choose.  I won't COOK meat for them...they'll need to do that themselves.  But that's mostly because I think it's disgusting nowadays.  To each their own, but don't make me touch it.

With any luck, though, our teenage rebellions will have more to do with curfews and boys than with meat.  I hope.  And I'm really glad they are still many, many years away....


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The curse (or is it a blessing?) of Stomach Flu

There is a great (albeit sad) line in The Devil Wears Prada that goes a little something like this:

"I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight" (pardon my bastardizing of it...I am too sick/lazy to look up the actual quote)

Well, this week I am bringing out the truth of it. In the last 30 hours, I've lost 5 lbs. Me and the twinners are down with the stomach flu and it is a regular party in our house (*sarcasm*). Yesterday, it hit me first and then Doodle was close on my heels. My wonderful hubby, seeing how weak I was, graciously called in to tell them he was staying home to care for the babies so I could get better. A couple of hours later...Buggie got it too. He had his hands full with cleanup duty but I am soooo grateful he was here. I could hardly move all day yesterday.

Today, I have a headache, but I am mostly on the mend. The girlies were still sick overnight so I kept them home from the dayhome again. I'm hoping that by the end of the day, we'll all be as good as new.

and, as bad as it sounds, I'm hoping maybe some of that weight loss will stick :P