2013 Resolutions in Review

Now that it’s firmly 2014, let’s look back on last year’s resolutions:

1. No pants in public.
DONE. For a while, I took daily photos of my tights to prove that I was toughing it out through the Chicago winter. Then I got bored with that, and then the weather got nice, and not wearing pants didn’t seem like that much of a challenge. Then it got effing cold again, and I resumed the countdown to the end of the #yearofnopants. There were days when I desperately just wanted to throw on jeans, and there was at least one occasion of layering yoga pants over tights under a dress because I was freezing and didn’t have any other clothes available to me (thanks, unseasonably cold and rainy May weather), and there were several times when I ran errands immediately after a workout and so didn’t change out of my running kit, but I made it from Jan 1 – Jan 1 without leaving the house in pants of any non-workout type. I suspect that I will wear pants every day for the next week, and then I’ll go back to wearing skirts most of the time.

2. One really big race: either the Chicago Marathon or a triathlon.
NOPE. But I did do 7 half marathons and a 5K, and destroyed my PR at both distances, and did my first true destination race. I also plateaued halfway through the year, making each subsequent race an exercise in discomfort and frustration. I wish I’d done better, but have accepted that I didn’t.

3. Ride a goddamned motorcycle.
NOPE. No matter how often I ask the internet, no one wants to give me a motorcycle ride. Maybe this year I’ll just man up and take my colleague’s motorcycle class.

4. Get out of debt.
NOPE. But I did make progress, and committed to monthly financial accountability, and feel good about the progress that I’ve made.

5. Leave the country at least once.
DONE. Karen and I went to the Bahamas in February, and Nicolas and I went to Canada for the afternoon in May.

6. Run 1,000 miles and bike 2,000 miles.
NOPE. I ran 783.66 miles and biked 1030.84 miles. The running distance wasn’t unreasonable considering the number of races I did, but between sickness and injury, I had to cut way back in the last 3 months of the year. Had I biked as much all year as I did in the last 3 months of the year, I would have made the distance in spades, but I didn’t, and so am happy with the distances I did log. In 2014, I’d like to do more of both, but I’ll be happy with whatever ‘more’ ends up meaning.

7. Figure out this career stuff.
DONE. Well, sort of. I spent a lot of the year wracked with work/life balance angst, a lot of which resulted from a loathsome commute. I made and continue to make my peace with it, and am resolved to stay where I am for at least another year or two – which is further out than I’ve ever felt like I’ve been ready to commit to any job in a while.

8. Keep living with my heart wide open.
ONGOING. Much of the year required trusting my gut and doing my best to say yes to whatever the universe decided to send my way. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the work.

9. Be more like Leslie. Always.
ONGOING. Forever.

Race for the Cure

On Saturday, my friend Tina and I will be running in the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure.  The fundraising for this race supports breast cancer research and women’s health advocacy around the world.  If you know me well at all, you know that both of these things matter a great deal to me – which is why I’m asking for your support in my fundraising efforts.

When I was 17 and a senior in high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 44.  My brother, then barely a year old, refused to nurse from one of her breasts, so she had my dad, an oncologist, check it out.  He found a lump, and a biopsy found that it was cancer.  I remember coming home between school and rehearsal and getting the news from my dad, then going back to school and being wrapped up in the arms of two family friends – one of whom had been my dad’s patient when she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma – as the three of us cried.  My senior year of high school was overshadowed by the fear and uncertainty that goes along with chemotherapy, with watching your mom’s hair fall out, with helping to care for your baby brother because your mom is sick from a treatment.

Me and Mom at Iowa v Illinois, fall 2006

Jen and Grandma

Jenn and Grandma, Thanksgiving 2006

We are very lucky and thankful that Mom has been cancer-free for a number of years, as has my grandma, who was diagnosed in her 60s and is still healthy at 91.  With two close family members diagnosed and treated, though, my sister and I are considered to have an elevated risk.  It’s fair to say that my interest in supporting breast cancer research is a selfish one – I want there to be money for research so that if/when my sister and I are diagnosed, there will be a better understanding of the disease, leading to better treatment for patients and better education for their loved ones.

In addition to these personal reasons, I also believe strongly in helping women become advocates for their health.  Several of the Komen programs emphasize education and strengthening doctor-patient communication – both things that we worked on when I was a gyne instructor at UIUC.  I grew up in a medical household – my father’s an oncologist, and my mother’s father was first a surgeon, then practiced occupational medicine until he retired at age 79 – so medical care is something I’ve taken for granted all my life.  Despite this, it wasn’t until I worked as a gyne instructor that I felt any sense of ownership of my own healthcare.  Going to the doctor was something that I did because it’s what you’re supposed to do – not because I wanted to make sure I was getting what my body needed.  Gyne instruction changed this, and I now feel responsibility to help empower my loved ones to ask questions and get the care they need.

If these things are important to you and you can spare the money, please consider donating on my behalf – or to our team, Team Helpful Paws.  If you’re in the DC area and feel like running on Saturday, consider joining our team!  For personal, selfish, and altrustic reasons, I greatly appreciate your support.

26 September 2008

We’re in the middle of a fucking terrible financial crisis, and in the middle of the Political Season That Will Not Ever End Ever, and they evacuated the building across the street from my library this afternoon because of a suspicious package, and I read on the train that our CO2 emissions were up this year, with the end result being a prediction than in 100 years it won’t just be bad – it’ll be cataclysmic, and I’m just so tired of sad and scary news.  I’m tired.

Moving Uhgain

So, in the next 6 weeks we get to pack up our apartment and move again. The reason for the move is a good thing – the actuality of the move is going to suck as always. I spent some time this morning getting heavily addicted to Apartment Therapy. The dozens of beautiful and uncluttered apartments/homes have lead me to want to seriously declutter before this next move – well, the beautiful apartments as well as the knowledge that this time around, we’re doing most of the moving ourselves, with no handy work-paid-for mover men.

Since I know many of you have downsized, live a rather spartan lifestyle, or somehow make do in extremely tiny (Brooklyn!) spaces – how do you do it? If I wanted to make a dramatic cut in possessions – how would you recommend that I start? What have you gotten rid of that you now regret? What seems necessary but really can go? What strategies do you employ to keep the clutter from coming back?

(This is x-posted from my LJ with no regrets or apologies – only thanks for good advice!)

Voting Day!

Today I was Democratic voter #131 at our polling place – the fitness center down the street. It kind of felt like voting in a hockey rink, which was exciting in and of itself. Shane had a peek at the log, and the ratio was approximately 10:1 Democratic to Republican.

It took me two hours to get home tonight in the cold and freezing rain – 20 minutes to go four blocks in DC alone. Fortunately, when I got home there was really great news – Virginia for Obama, hooray! Fingers crossed that the rest of the year continues to look up.

What We’ve Been Up To: A Short List

Item #1: Earlier in the week I helped my best friend load the moving truck that is going to convey MOST of her family’s worldly possessions to the East Coast, where she starts a job in about ten days. It was bittersweet – I love helping people move and dispatching friends for big adventures, but it will be sad to not have her around, and I will miss her greatly.

Item #2: In the next ten days, SB will hit both coasts as he interviews for Real Jobs. He is stressed out and anxious as he’s prepping for travel and presentations while at the same time working on a class and his CAS project. I really wish I could be more helpful but (1) I can’t and (2) I have my own pile of work and applications to worry about. The only significant bite on my hunt has come in the form of extensive reference-checking – no new interviews, and a rejection letter from the one interview I did have in May.

Item #3: Last week I worked with my gyne instructor friends for probably the last time, at least en masse. The next major teaching session isn’t until January, and by hook or by crook we should be out of here by then. Working with this program was such a blessing, and I am deeply grateful for this experience for a variety of reasons.

So the big news of the day – or, rather, the big news of five days ago, except I was too busy to find out – is that my house sold. Unfortunately it sold at foreclosure, not through a realtor, but the point is that it is gone. This is such a blessing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that despite the discrepancy (mostly interest and fees) between the payoff amount and the sale amount, the bank doesn’t intend to pursue this debt. My credit is pretty messed up, but the good news is that it can only get better from this point. I have a lot to be thankful for.

Today was the first day of class for me, and I’m hoping this will be a better semester. I certainly hope so, at least. In my introduction in one of my classes, I laid out pretty much all of my insecurities, explaining that I wasn’t sure that I’m in the right place, but I’m trying to learn what I can to apply back to the work I’m really passionate about. I said that I’ve thought about quitting more times that I’d actually like to admit – and the professor was unfazed. So, I’ve got that going for me.

Between bouts of stressing out, I had a couple of nice conversations with friends, and I spent the evening on the couch with a beer and Julie and Julia, which I enjoyed. SB and I had a quiet weekend, but this week we’re back to opposite schedules, with him working late and then reading later, and me up early for work. I hope we can work out a schedule for the semester that will allow time for work and exercise and homework and meals and that will put us in bed at the same time on occasion. We’ve been living together for the better part of six months, and I’m afraid I’m terribly spoiled.