Friday, December 06, 2013
Attention Spark Friends ! I need your ideas !
Next week, our department is having a holiday potluck. nothing fancy. They've asked folks to bring in their favorite dishes. I had originally planned to make a chicken stew, chili or sausages with peppers/onions. However, it turns out we will not have access to a stove to heat up any of the foods we make. So, the food I bring needs to be a cold dish.
Sure, I could do a leafy green salad, but I would like to bring something a little different. I'm thinking about finger sandwiches or possibly a cold pasta salad. I had considered tacos, but who wants to eat a taco with a cold meat filling ? That also nixes quesadilla since that needs to be warmed too.
What are some of your favorite COLD dishes ? I'm open to all suggestions.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Yesterday morning, I ran my very first half marathon. How did I do ? Well, I managed to stagger across the finish line in roughly 2 hrs 35 mins. I would have liked to have been a little faster, but considering this was my first half, I'm not complaining.
Here are a couple of photos of the bling and swag.
I'll admit that I never really considered myself much of a distance runner because of issues I've had with my knees off/on for years. The longest distance I'd ever run for a race was 7.5 miles. Most of my races had either been 5k or 10ks. Those are distances that I can comfortably run. a half marathon ? That was going to be a whole new experience. I worried that my knees might be able to handle the distance.
But, I was looking for a new challenge. So, I decided to try a half. I had hoped to train for the BAA Half that's running in October, but got locked out of registration. The race filled in less than 20 minutes. That meant finding a difference race. I'd considered a bunch of others, but then I found the All State Insurance Half Marathon. That seemed like a good fit. I'd talked with a couple of friends who train runners. They told me I could probably do it, but I might not be able to run it as fast as I wanted because I didn't have enough time to train.
AND... they were right. I really could have used one more month of training. This race would be a test run. I wanted to see if I really could run that distance because in past, my longest run was 8-9 miles. So, I promised a friend that if I ran the race, I wouldn't kill myself. I was going to have some fun and I did.
I ran most of the race at an 11 minute pace. By the time I got to mile 10, I started feeling the back ache. That's also when I think I was hitting the wall. That's when I started slowing down. My legs felt like lead. I had to walk mile 11. Like I said, I promised a friend I wouldn't hurt myself. I probably did a walk/jog for the last three miles. That's slowed me down, but I crossed the finish line with no injuries. Just the back ache. ;)
I was also mildly dehydrated by the time I crossed the finish line. I was feeling nauseous even though I'd stopped at every water stop to drink. I had a sandwich with me, but couldn't only manage a couple of bits right after the race. It took another 30 minutes for my stomach to settle down. Then I ate.
Today, I'm a little achy, but that was expected. When will my next half be ? Not for a while. Definitely need more time for training. For now, I'll stick to some 5 or 10ks.
PS - Speaking of pictures. They did have photograpers all along the course taking photos. All I could think of is this,"Why are you taking my photo when I look like the insides of a goat !! " I'm running 13.1 miles, I look awful !!! Although, I did strike a pose a couple of times early in the course. Towards the end, ugh.... I could have also had a better picture taken at the end, but like I said I was all beat up by the end of the race and hardly photogenic.
AND ! those race photos are expensive !
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Someone once asked me how I choose a 5K to run. I replied,"I run some 5ks, because I happen to like the t-shirt or the charity". Today, I ran a 5K for fun. Didn't even know I was going to even run it until Thursday when I received an email saying there were less than 100 bibs left. So, I decided to do it.
It wasn't my best run or my worst. It wasn't hot hot, but it was a tad warmer than I would have liked. Also, I ran 7 miles yesterday and should have taken today off as a rest day. But no, I had to run 5K. Why ? For charitable purposes, a cool t-shirt and FUN finishers medal !!
You can't beat a finisher's medal that has a cute pig on it. Yeah, I will run 5k for a medal with a pig on it. LOL !!! Elvis even ran the race. two of them !
Now, some of you have asked me how my new job has been going. And it's been going great. I can't be more thrilled. It's been a fantastic experience so far. However, some of you have noticed that I've posted some tweets that work has been a little stressful and wondered what's up with that. Work has been stressful, but not because of the work. Work has been stressful because I've suspected (no, knew) a colleague was stealing from the company.
I can't go into specific details because there is now an on going investigation. Long story short, another co-worker and I have been convinced that a new employee had been stealing expensive equipment for several weeks. This past week, we didn't catch him in the act. But we found the smoking gun i.e. proof of his thefts. So, the investigation is in full swing and I know this much... the next time I see this person, I want it to be in a courtroom with me giving my testimony that puts him away for grand theft larceny. I'd ask him why he did it, but honestly I don't expect the truth. That's the one thing we noticed about this guy in the first couple of weeks of his arrival, he's a pathological liar.
So, that's why I've been a tad stressed out these past few weeks. This quote from Theodore Roosevelt sums up how I've been feeling about the situation,"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing."
Thursday, July 18, 2013
I've been enjoying the new contract job. I still haven't heard whether or not I'll be asked to stay as a permanent employee. However, on a positive note, there is no way the project is going to be done by the end of August. So, I know I'll be staying at least that long, if not a bit longer.
I work with a lot of nice guys in IT. In fact, I share an office with at least 3-4 of them. LOL !! I have my own little spot where I do my work. One of my co-workers is a couple of years out of college. terrific IT tech. really knows his stuff. nice kid. I like him a lot. We work well together. Back to short story, he likes telling me who's hot around the office. Some days, I feel like his mom and want to find him a decent girlfriend. LOL ! but it's nice that he trusts me enough to tell me who he considers hot and why. Well, a couple of days ago, he asks me who I consider hot.
I replied "so and so" up the hall. Great looking guy. Blonde, blue eyes, great physique, taller than 6ft. hunky. So, my co-worker agrees that he's hot, but old. I replied,"So am I" LOL !!! The guy is around my age and yes, I think he's hot even though he's old. I haven't had much opportunity to talk with him because we work in different departments. Yesterday was different. I passed by him in the hallway and we just started to talk. I can't remember how it started, I was probably complaining about the heat. but I eventually asked him if he did any running. I was telling him about a race was considering doing. Thought he might be a runner. He replied that he doesn't run because he has a bad back, but that he was considering taking up spinning. Cool I replied. I happen to be a spining instructor. And that's when he says that's probably why you're in such great shape.
To quote my young co-worker when something stuns him.
Some days, like many many Spark buddies, I wonder why I drag my butt out of bed at 5am for a workout. Why not stay in bed ? Well, folks, a compliment like that is why I continue to haul my keister to the gym !!! talk about motivation to stay in shape. All afternoon I'm like, the hot guy thinks I'm in great shape.
I suppose the question you folks all want to know is if the hot guy is married ? Honestly, I don't know. I haven't noticed a ring, but that doesn't mean he's not married. I'm working under the assumption he's married until evidence proves otherwise.
And that's why I haul my keister to the gym, along with the "health" benefits, of couse.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I need to vent and for good reason, there were big changes at the gym recently. Last week, I received an email from the group exercise manager that there was going to be a cut to our salary as well as some class cancellations. I contacted the manager and asked her what was up. I had a feeling my Friday morning cycle class was on the chopping block because attendance had been low. We were told that the class cuts would be for the summer. The pay cut was permanent. Personally I consider that a crock. I've worked at this location for several years and not once was it necessary to cut classes for lower attendance during the summer. We always had people coming in for classes. Sure, a lot of people want to be outside. However, on really hot days, people go inside to workout because of the heat.
I told my regulars that my morning class had been cut and to keep an eye on the schedule because I was told other classes would be canceled too.
Why am I venting ? I knew one of my classes was canceled, but there was something I didn't know because I wasn't told. Yesterday at lunch time, I received an email from the group manager asking if I could teach a cycle on Wednesdays. I would be replacing an instructor who gave notice a couple of weeks ago. I said no because I didn't want to have to teach an intense double after being in work 8-5. Teaching back to back classes isn't easy. I'll do it once in a while to help out, but it's not something I want to do on a regular basis especially after working an 8-5 shift. It would mean a 12 hour day.
So, I finished up my day at work and headed to the gym to teach my regular Monday class. I teach a class on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Which is another reason I didn't want to teach two classes on Wed. It would have meant teaching four classes in three days plus working full time. too much.
Okay... why am I ticked when I know all this ? This is what the manager DIDN'T tell me. They didn't tell me that they'd already updated the schedule with my name !! Hello I said NO I wasn't going to teach back to back classes. She's done this to me. She's changed my schedule without consulting me before. When I was laid off, that wasn't a big deal. Now that I'm working, there is only so much I can do.
Worse ? the cuts they talked about ? They cut over HALF the class schedule. The reason the manager put me down (without telling me) is because they canceled the Tuesday class I was teaching. Are these people insane ? I was told the reason they were cutting classes as well as our pay was because fewer people attend the gym in summer. Another instructor thought it was because membership was down and they were losing money.
NOPE. They are not losing money because I know membership is UP. I talked to the GM. They told me membership has been increasing. Well, not for long when the people who paid extra for classes find out that HALF their classes had been cut.
The fact is, the instructors have been putting up with pretty shabby treatment by the corporation that took over the gym. The stereo systems aren't working properly. We don't have working mics. The manager said that was our responsibility to bring our own mics. NO, it's the responsibility of the gym to provide working equipment for its employees to use. They don't seem to understand that if you want good instructors, you have to pay them a decent salary.
My personal feeling ? They are cutting instructor pay as well as classes to save money not because of lower membership. They're doing it because the corporation is buying more gyms. They're expanding and need the capital. This is what happened at Thanksgiving last year. They cancelled ALL classes for the entire week of Thanksgiving because they said no one would be coming to the gym. WRONG. The members were LIVID. What happened ? In December, they opened several more gyms.
Needless to say, all the instructors are upset. We've been treated badly and so have the members. Guess what ? FIVE instructors have already quit. And not only that, they've lost several members who've canceled their memberships because of their unprofessional behavior.
Will I quit ? Can't yet. Until I'm sure I have a permanent full time position, I need this money for the time being. So, I told my class that yes, I was going to continue teaching for at least the summer. I do enjoy teaching classes. I love my regulars. They are great people. I don't want to leave them out in the cold.
Several of my friends and family have said I should quit because this isn't a good gym to work for anymore. And I agree. I never liked this corporation. And don't even get me started with my opinion of the group exercise manager. They've been so clueless it's not funny. They have no idea how to properly manage a class schedule. Of course now, they don't have much of a schedule to manage. All the instructors are in open rebellion. The members are up and leaving and the corporation doesn't know what's all the fuss about. They feel this makes perfect business sense.
Talk about shooting themselves in the foot. If you PM me, I'll tell you which chain gym you need to AVOID because they won't treat you right.
On the plus side, the contract job I've been working is WONDERFUL. I work with great people. It gets busy, but it's not overly stressful. We get free food ! Basically, this company believes in treating its employees well. Which is more than I can say about the gym.
I am a bit out of sorts that my Friday morning cycle class was canceled. That was the very first class I taught there. I've been teaching that class for over seven years ! Going to be weird not teaching it. Will definitely miss it.
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