Monday, March 23, 2009


Mike posted about GoodSearch as a fund-raising search engine. I love a little philanthropy (see 3-day link in sidebar!! Walking 60 miles for breast cancer research and awareness (shameless plug to encourage donations!)) . I found my HS marching band as one of the groups you can donate to! As important as cancer research? Probably not. Benefiting the lives and development of hundreds of kids? Yes. CHS Mustang Band, you get my couple of cents per search!

I have no idea how this compares to Google, but so far so good and Mike has Zappo-ed on it, so I figure I can run everything through GoodSearch and if that's not productive, try my buddy Goog (I need to branch out anyway...between gmail, blogger, gchat, googledocs, googlereader, googlefinance...Google owns my life)

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm a winner!

I won a giveaway from Mary at Life on 19th - a lovely handmade box bag. I'm really excited for this! It will go great in my new, boring black rugby bag to hold my personal items! (Happy with the bag, but there's no appropriate pockets for my wallet, hair ties, second skin, deodorant, sunblock, etc!)

Check out Mary's charming Etsy shop!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

fit challenge?

Jessica posted this new fitness challenge. I'm entertaining it. I am definitely going to go through the steps, though committing to 20 lbs in 20 weeks? 20 lbs is my ultimate goal (and would make me 7 lbs under overweight according to the governments ridiculous BMI chart!) but I haven't gotten to losing 5 lbs in 20 weeks! heck, it took my 52 or so to gain 15, and gaining is easy :)

But self evaluating and at least entertaining a challenge is a step in the right direction, so I'll play along :) So the Ash is Fit 20 lb Challenge...

Step 1: make a plan
I'm going to keep this simple. I've been a Weight Watchers member on and off for years as I've always yoyoed a bit (from normal to somewhat overweight). I've put on 15 lbs this last year, and need to lose it. I'm actually going to stick to WW (with my friendly flex and activity points) instead of just paying them 15/mo to use their website! :)

and I'm going to stick to my half marathon training program!

Step 2: set rewards
I haven't had a pedicure in Months. I'll take a pedicure for each 5 lbs, and new jeans when I (theoretically) hit 20.

Step 3: plan
Due to the turmoil of the late spring (rugby playing + coaching, school x 2 classes, work, and because I'm crazy, half marathon training), I feel good that I plan 3-4 dinners/week. For now, I'll keep my meal planning to not grazing at the open refrigerator (which would be an accomplishment for me!)

and, of course, not being lazy and skipping out on my running program!

Step 4: measuring and nutritional info
I'm actually pretty good at knowing what in in what I eat. The bigger thing for me here is portion control, particularly with desserts (since I will not give up sweets. I have a sweet tooth and you don't want to talk to me sans cookies).

Step 5: before photos...

maybe tonight. I do have some longggg before photos from my heaviest when i gained the freshman (slash I had terrible dietary habits and a borderline eating disorder in high school) 50 (about 25 lbs over where I am now) but I'll have to find them on my laptop.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

(slight) change of plans

I'm not running the MORE half.
I didn't register in time. Since my training has been spotty, I've been putting off registering, and when I went to do it tonight, I found it was full! Bummer! The MORE is cheaper than most races and all women, and in NYC! sigh.

So plan b (developed at 11:23 tonight). Princess Charming and I are running the NJ Half Marathon instead.

10,000 total cap (I like bigger races, and this is a big but managable size). looped course, so I get to be the one abandoning the 2,500 marathoners (and feel fast outrunning so many of them who are pacing themselves for, eek, 13.1 more miles. I will try to remember their pain and remember how 13 miles feels short during full marathon training...).
free NJTransit to the start! (I think we'll drive down to a reasonable stop and do this, and have my parents pick us up!)
Loop course also means more spectators (theoretically anyway) since its easy to get to people in multiple spots. And there's bands! (this is a pretty well reviewed race)
AND there's no rugby that weekend for me to have to decide to bail on (with the other option to risk being tired/sore on race day).

Downside: $85. Normal price for a half, but more $$ than I was planning on. Oops. Hope its a tech tee at least.

Overall a win I suppose.

(and we have an extra week to train, which is good since I'm kind of behind!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

fitness and such

So...since my big "coming out" weight loss post weeks ago...

I haven't budged. haha. but that's ok. I've finally started working out again (ran 10 miles the last 4 weeks, which is low for me but an improvement over nothing! and rugby started!), and am feeling better. Working out = eating better (fuel!), so that should (hopefully) come with time. I've seen a couple of cute mileage widgets I'd love to add to my sidebar, but I've been using the same running log for almost 18 months, and I can't bear to start over!

In other fitness news, I ran the 300 m shuttle/fitness test at practice last week in 77 and 81 seconds (two tests 5 min apart). Its back and forth for 25 m 6 times...lots of turns. I'm curious what I can do for a straight 300 m sprint. One day I'll try - I'm curious how I would fare on the FBI fitness test (purely because one of my friends is training to apply, and I'm competitive and want to see how I compare!) I finished somewhere around the middle of my team, but was one of just a couple to have under a 5 second spread in times (which is indicative of good pacing and good recovery). Woot. Anyway, I'm told the athletes in the national team pool do the test in 50-65 seconds (position dependent). My goal is to hit 70 seconds...I'm not a speed demon, but I have ok endurance, and since I haven't been training - esp not for speed - I think I can do it by the fall :) 10% is reasonable, right? (actually, I have no idea, since its mostly anaerobic...)

In not so good fitness news, I haven't lifted in several weeks. I had only been lifting 2x/week or so to begin with, so this is a problem. Since its mostly a time and not a motivation issue, I Netflix-ed Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred last week to try it out. Not bad. I don't have hand weights, so I improvised on level 1 with a 10 lb weight ball and resistance bands (depending on the exercise). I might pick it up this week since its pretty unlikely I'll get to the gym with any regularity again before mid-May. Should be good for working on my core and maintenance at least! Some exercise is better than nothing. (for full disclosure, I have a rough time doing a minute of push ups, but refuse to do them on my knees...slow is fine!)

Friday, March 13, 2009


6 months after our wedding, we've finally booked our "honeymoon," a week long cruise in Alaska. Due to vacation time and $ constraints (aka, we want a new bathroom by year end), we're doing the round trip to Seattle. Denali will have to wait for another year!

I'm super excited. I haven't been on a trip over 4 days in years!!

Now, I need to find out...are cruise ship pools heated?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

flamingly liberal

According to the folks at American Progress (whomever they are) I score a 280/400 on the scale of progressive-ness (test at link), beating out, well, everyone. Everyone on average anyway. I'm only very progressive and I'm told the scale goes up to extremely progressive.

I think this is a faulty test though, since the questions are very simply worded and 40 questions doesn't really cover enough (especially when 3 or 4 deal with the Gays, which is clearly a large root of my "progressiveness"). Still amusing, though I'm also perturbed that the website's graphics indicating a New Progressive America seem to indicate progressiveness as voting democratic, which I think is completely ridiculous.

I'm curious how other "real" (non-averaged!) people score!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Save the World

ok, not really, but it is fun to save the budget for a few years. I also cut the deficit in half and shrunk the total spending by 9%!

Monday, March 9, 2009


My laptop has a virus. More accurately, I think, a Trojan. It has massive popups and redirected searches. Sigh. This is sad. Very sad. I have a computer problem, aka a minor addiction. Me and my laptop cuddle on the couch in the evenings while I watch tv. But out of necessity...
I work good hours, in the office, and tie up loose ends on my couch. I also have classes...and papers due...This is a huge, huge problem.

I dropped it off with campus computing today, in hopes they can cure it in the 3-5 business days in which they promised its return. If not, I might get a mac. Well, if I can talk my savings account into it.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grace in Small Things

Jessica at Let's Get Fit posted this, and I think its a good idea. I complain too much and forget to appreciate the positive.

6 small graces in my life right now:
1) The puppy being so tired from day care he slept all night on the bed
2) Chris is coming home tomorrow night, and we'll get 4 nights together, in a row, again.
3) The readings I forgot about for today's class are short and pretty simple.
4) My boss refilled the fridge with my favorite soda.
5) Its supposed to be above freezing tomorrow.
6) The college girls seem to appreciate my limited coaching knowledge.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Kitchen

OK, not really. But we're on our way to a new(er) looking kitchen. Since we won't be in this house more than another 2 yrs (not the 5-7 we'd planned on), we decided to forgo the bigger re-do and just give it an affordable face-lift. Inspired a bit by this reader redesign at TYH, we set out do make over our kitchen for under $1k.
Here's the before:

In the immediate months after we got the house, we stripped the lovely flowered wallpaper and painted, removed the pretty useful table for 2 people who don't use plates, got a light that wasn't too dated and room DARKENING, and removed those weird wooden corner thingies. We've also swapped out the ornate tarnished-brass colored handles for sleeker chrome ones.
(handle sidebar - These are NOT my favorite, but we have 3" holes, and I was not about the drill new ones and refill the old ones, narrowing our selection of affordable pulls at Lowes & Home Depot down to 2...this color and the same model in brass)

A couple of weekends ago, we embarked on the countertops and progress pictures below :) After we finish the backsplash this weekend (i hope), we'll have a "final" product".

Princess Charming working on unscrewing the sink so we could remove the larger piece of faux-wood-not-even-the-same-color-as-the-sorta-ugly-cabinets-edge seamed-laminate countertop. Bailey, lovely little guy, is helping. You can see the first piece of new countertop hanging out of the left of the stove (not installed yet).

The beginnings of the floor installation. The beauty of going with "luxury vinyl" tiles instead of real tile? Start to finish was under 6 hours, in part because it could go right over the yellow speckled linoleum. (We would have done tile, but our stove doesn't have enough clearance and isn't old enough to warrant replacing!)

So far so good on the budget for those who are interested. We spent $100 on countertops, $125 on flooring/materials, $140 on backsplash/materials, and $95 on the faucet & piping. I think the handles and paint came to about $200 (it was months ago). We're probably going to build a little island, and our total should hit about $900. But, for full disclosure, we're buying a fridge too (the almond 1980ish model is on its last legs, not to mention an eyesore), but we decided this is OK since we'll take it most likely with us when we move.