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The Desert In Your Back Yard

Monday, November 14, 2011

This just breaks my heart.

I remember hearing a similar report earlier in the year about Detroit, and how Kid Rock (who was about to celebrate his 40th birthday by throwing a free concert for his hometown at the time) was working to do something about the lack of affordable healthy food in Detroit's inner city.

Aha, found the CNN Money report -

What are we doing right here Cincinnati?

I read another article in today's paper about the new development planned to revitalize Over The Rhine (one of Cincinnati's most historic - and also one of our most economically depressed - neighborhoods) -

Which is lovely (believe me, I have a huge architecture fetish and LOVE the old victorian buildings in the area), but it just smells of more gentrification to me. Are they planning affordable housing for the people living in the neighborhood now? What about a decent grocery store? There *is* a Kroger store at 1420 Vine Street, but it's tiny, not very well stocked, and it's horribly dirty and decrepit. Are there plans to improve it if they are looking to draw more people to the area?

And even without the revitalization plans, isn't there something ELSE we can do? My immediate wish is to find this guy transportation (particularly knowing that if he wanted to go to the closer Corryville Kroger - which is just as poorly stocked and scary as the one on Vine St. downtown so I don't blame him for going to St. Bernard - he's SOL because they're closing all of the "smaller" Krogers in these depressed neighborhoods), but that's just one family. There are HUNDREDS of families in the same boat, and most have simply given up (why I applaud Mr. Smith's tenacity). Doesn't *anybody* care? I mean, there's always a big push for donations to the Freestore Foodbank during this time of year, but that's for emergency food...what about just regular groceries? Where are people supposed to find produce day to day? How can we expect kids to go to school and learn anything if their parents can't find anything for them to eat within walking or bussing distance besides junk food?

I can tell you from experience - we lived without a car for 3 years, and grocery shopping was HELL. Cincinnati is not REMOTELY designed for people without cars. There are so many sidewalks that just stop dead for no reason, or there's only a sidewalk on one side of the street. Do you have ANY idea how terrifying it is to be pushing a stroller along the Ridge Road interchange trying to get to Biggs? And the expense of a cab to bring those groceries home? And WE were lucky we were able to budget for a cab. Most people don't have that kind of leeway.

Of course, there IS Findlay Market downtown (Ohio's oldest open-air public market) but it can be pricy and overwhelming (why I use GreenBEAN Delivery service - I just go through the list of what they offer, they do the work of picking the local growers to purchase from).

Off to do some research. There has GOT to be somebody looking in to this somewhere.
Right? RIGHT?

Hmmmm...I wonder...

Yup. More reasons to love my delivery service!

Since the link is only partially working for me here (stoopid work firewall) I'm going to follow up on this more when I get home today. But hey, it's a start. It's a place to get involved.

It's something I can DO.

What about the desert in YOUR backyard?

Thanks to KKTODAY, who pointed this out to me - an organization focusing on this VERY thing RIGHT HERE! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONETRUBY 11/14/2011 5:23PM

    Sobering, shocking, saddening, maddening...I could go on, but that's a start. I know, here in the Southeast, it's nearly impossible to live without a car. If you're in a nice neighborhood, there could be good grocery stores, but in the bad ones...most probably, forget it. Much to think about, and much to do. I applaud you for taking this on, and trying to DO something. It's so easy to get worked up about something, harder to put those intentions into action.

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NETTIEDEE 11/14/2011 3:28PM

    I am proud to say we are doing GREAT things about this here in the Bay Area. There is a huge backyard gardening movement and a few non-profits who will go to a low-income person's house and SET UP AN ENTIRE VEGETABLE GARDEN *** for free *** at their home. The customer algo gets info and advice on how to care for the plants and cultivate them when they are ready. Of course, if you have money to pay, they will do the same thing at your house and take your money. It's a win-win-win really.

We also have a few urban farms who sell organic produce at a discount for low-income folks ($15 buys you a 15 pound bag of veggies and fruit) and who take food stamps as payment.

Of course, it's not nearly enough...but we are certainly moving in the right direction!

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FRACTALMYTH 11/14/2011 1:29PM

    That's astounding! Nothing like that here - but then, I've never lived in the inner city and it might be the same in there... without a car, though, it would be super difficult, but I guess not completely impossible. It's a 30 minute drive to the nearest store (huge hills, so it would take all day & night to walk it and no sidewalks AT ALL!), and only one school bus morning & afternoon... when I was in hospital and we had no car, Yeti got the groceries delivered - it made such a difference to have that service available. We do so much shopping online :D Without the internet we could NOT survive!!!

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KKTODAY 11/14/2011 9:20AM

    So I went and did a little digging... (and I do mean *little) and found out that UC Health has a group called Closing the Gap that's working to bring awareness and help to Cincinnati's food deserts. I sent them an e-mail to get some more information about a project they're working on to rennovate 3 Avondale stores to provide fresh produce. I'm hoping there's something I can do to help out, even if it's just giving a little money to help them change those 3 stores. Google Closing the Health Gap Cincinnati and you should find their website. :)

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KKTODAY 11/14/2011 8:44AM

    Wow... I hadn't even heard about a 'food desert' before. Makes me very sad and completely humbled and grateful that I'm not wanting for fresh foods myself. I wonder if there's a group taking fresh produce over to some of those neighborhoods? Thank you for sharing this! Much to think about.

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AIRPEACH 11/14/2011 7:21AM

    CInci does have issues. Hopefully these will be addressed going forward.

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FITNHEALTHYKAL 11/14/2011 5:55AM

    Eu, my backyard desert IS Detroit....Kid Rock is amazing and does amazing work. Much of what was a beautiful city is now rubble but there are some pretty amazing community gardens and in Detroit we have Eastern Market which is huge and amazing.

There is something everyone can do in their little part of our great nation. I guarantee it!

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"Welcome Back!"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Long long ago, in a galaxy known as August of 2003, my sister and I signed up to train for and walk the Disney Half Marathon with Train To End Stroke. The event was scheduled for January (in Florida), thus we'd be training for five months working up to the distance. The race being in Florida, I wasn't too worried...except for the training we'd be doing in November and December.

See, I've always had "exercise-induced asthma" (not that I had a word for it until I joined Sparkpeople and started researching this stuff). Mine has always been WORST in cold weather. Seriously, in grade school when they had us run laps in gym outside during the fall months, I'd end up in the office unable to breathe (or at least I would have had most gym teachers in the late 60s & early 70s not been Nazi drill sergeants convinced the fat girl just needed to "suck it up" - instead I spent the rest of the period attempting to "get over it" and keep going...sighs). So I was really worried about doing those long walks in cold weather.

That year, it didn't really start getting cold until the end of November, so I didn't have to worry about it for several months. I still remember the first REALLY chilly Saturday morning when I could see my breath as we walked. It wasn't until about half way through our distance for that day that it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't wheezing. At all. I'd improved my cardiovascular health enough after training for several months that I'd completely cured myself of something I'd always expected I'd just have to live with. I was AMAZED!

Fast forward to last fall - I'd been sparking since May and had started exercising again in June, so there came a day when the temperature had gotten chilly and I headed out to walk to my gym, figuring I'd probably done enough work that it wouldn't be a problem - I mean it only took 3 months the last time, right? Not so much - by the time I got to the gym (a mile from my house) it took me a good 15 minutes to get my breathing under control enough to do *anything* (and when I finished with my strength training I called my mate to pick me up so I wouldn't have to do the walk back). That's the primary reason I didn't do any winter races or even early spring races last year - my first event of 2011 was the AHA Heartwalk towards the end of March (and even *that* had me nervous, but it turned out to be a fairly warm day so I was in good shape).

So the fact that I've chosen The Flying Pig to be my first full marathon has had me a little nervous. NOT regarding the race - the first weekend in May tends to be cool-ish and usually somewhat rainy in Cincinnati, but not cold enough to really worry me. No, what's had me concerned is the concept of training for it in January and February - and knowing that most marathon training programs run at least 5 months, there was no getting around that. I'd expected I'd need to hit it hard starting on January 1st, but when I checked out the Bob Ronker's Running Spot website before heading down there yesterday (initially just to double-check the location, since I'd never been to the one in Newport before and that's closer to my house than their shop in O'Bryonville) they start their Flying Pig Marathon Training program on January 7th. Either's JANUARY people. We may not have snow (we rarely get any decent snow in Cincinnati before January) but it's going to be cooooold, there's just no getting around it.

So last week I started walking outside again for the first time since The Incident (you remember The Incident - that was when I decided to do a 9 mile walk on the hottest day this summer and didn't have enough fuel with me and thus passed out on my front stoop - doh!). Today when I got up, it was just BEAUTIFUL outside and I was really itching to get out there again, so I decided I'd take my new shoes on their inaugural run outside in the sunshine. Then I checked the temperature phone told me it was 42 degrees in Cincinnati at noon, and the project high temp wasn't going to get over 49. I almost backed out, but decided "Euphrates, if you're going to survive this in January, you'd best get out there and get used to it now," so I suited up (making sure I had my ear-muffs - seriously, as long as my ears aren't cold I don't really feel it), hit my inhaler and headed out.

And you know what? Sticking with it at the gym last winter, and getting out there through the summer apparently did the trick, because my lungs didn't bother me AT ALL!

*insert thrilled happy dance here*

Take THAT exercise-induced asthma! You will NOT derail my fitness goals!

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Yesterday's trip to Bob Ronker's turned out to be one of the best ideas I've had in a while. I knew it was time - I'd had my shoes since at least January (I'm thinking December actually), so it was far past time to get them replaced (particularly with the mileage I'd been putting on them - I'd known I'd need new shoes before the Columbus Half but that went on the back burner after The Incident). But there's always a little fear of intimidation walking into a "real running store" - would the employees laugh at the obviously overweight "wannabe"? I'd been putting it off. But yesterday I screwed my courage to the sticking place, got in my gym clothes (figuring that would make me look at least a LITTLE more "legit") and headed to Newport. And was immediately greeted by a smiling athlete who made me feel RIGHT at home. I think it helped that I could tell him exactly why I knew it was time for new shoes and what I was looking for, and he wasted no time checking out the shoes I was wearing (turns out the tread wear was "pretty good actually" so my stride is apparently okay - yes!) and knew exactly what shoes to bring out for me to try. As I was trying the two different styles (I ended up going with the same brand I'd been wearing before, just a newer style) we got to talking - turns out he is the half marathon coach. So I asked him some questions about their training program for The Pig, and considering the race entry is included it's really a good deal, so I think I'm going to do it (and have offered to pay for the program for any of my kids - several of whom have expressed a desire to do the Pig with me - interested as their Christmas presents...3 are going to take me up on it). Trust me, I know how much having a group of people expecting you to show up can help you get yer butt out there when it's your long run day and it's frigid out there (plus it makes 'Yote feel better about the whole thing knowing I'll be out with a group of people AND will have access to coaches to help me not do stupid things like not fuel enough for the long runs again - The Incident REALLY scared my mate half to death).

I didn't tell the guy at the store I'd made any decisions though, just asked questions, discussed a few things (he made a few REALLY good suggestions regarding my current run/walk intervals, and congratulated me when I told him I'd lost 70lbs over the past year and a half) and made my purchases (I got socks too). As he handed me my bag, he smiled and said "Welcome back!"

Yeah, I'm back. And it feels REALLY good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYBETH_OHIO 11/15/2011 11:22PM

    You know I am proud of you seems like anything you put your mind to you can do , I wish I could do some of the great things you do.. Good Luck in your Marathon..

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DEZZIEJAMES 11/12/2011 12:06PM

    WAY TO GO!!! That's awesome!!! I'm SOOOO happy to read this good news! I hear the Flying Pig is an awesome race, and I wish you all the best in it!!!


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KITTYWULF 11/12/2011 8:37AM

    You forgot to mention that you were running in the heat of the day when The Incident happened. I remember that.^^; Otherwise, congrats! I really need to go to Bob Ronkers myself at some point.

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FANGFACEKITTY 11/12/2011 8:16AM

    I've got exercise induced asthma too and the cold weather is a big trigger. So far I've been OK but there were a couple moments in my half in September where I could feel it wanting to start - and it was 20 degrees warmer then. That is the big thing in my way of signing up for a full marathon in 2012. I'm afraid of training outside in the winter (plus the risk of falls and broken ones from the snow/ice, I am accident prone). I did get a new inhaler last week and some people have recommended wearing a surgical mask or similar when running in the cold, which I have not yet tried. But I have a 4k race tomorrow morning and it will be in the low 40s so it will be an interesting test of how the asthma will be this winter.

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FRACTALMYTH 11/12/2011 2:03AM


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KRZYKAT3 11/12/2011 12:35AM

    wonderful on the better breathing

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 11/11/2011 10:42PM


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FIREFLUTTERFLY 11/11/2011 9:23PM

    I still struggle with my asthma and the cold and exercise (last year in NY was THE worst. But I'm noticing it's getting better a little at a time and it's taking less time to recover if I have an attack. It's encouraging to hear that it might go away.

Good luck with your training!

P.S. that picture is AWESOME!

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MZSUZANNE 11/11/2011 8:57PM

    emoticon That's awesome!!

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VINOTEA 11/11/2011 8:54PM

    Yea!!! Congrats on the asthma and new shoes, and good luck on the marathon!!!

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SHANTODD420 11/11/2011 8:44PM

    Wahoo way to go and way to go. Congrats and good luck with the marathon.

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MCCOURTT 11/11/2011 8:26PM

    I'm like you with the Pig, the months before are COLD, but there are options. This year I did the treadmill, for my long runs before the Pig. Longest run on the treadmill 10 miles, but I had read a blog, where lady did 16 miles on treadmill. The other thing I did 10+ run on an indoor track, (find the biggest track you can, I had to use a lap counter to keep count)
I'll see you at the Pig, this time doing the full Pig. Be careful cold weather running IS different!!

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MONETRUBY 11/11/2011 7:39PM

    emoticon, Eu! That is amazing!

Rock that training, woman!


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4BOYZ4ME 11/11/2011 7:03PM

    That is awesome! Welcome back indeed! You go girl!

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MYOWNHERO 11/11/2011 6:59PM


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BE-THE-CHANGE 11/11/2011 6:28PM


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DIXIENEEDLES 11/11/2011 6:24PM

  You go girl! I have exercise induced asthma, but it's the combo of high heat, high humidity, and exertion that does me in.

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AIRPEACH 11/11/2011 6:23PM

    Congratulations! That's great news.

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It's going to be a Harry Potter Christmas Around Here!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Check out what I picked up at Barnes & Noble yesterday (I swear, the HP display grabbed me as I tried to walk past, I had no choice...)

How fun is that?

Seriously, I've decided that I am totally using this book for our Christmas feast this year. Though I intend to take the recipes and Spark them (aka make some healthier substitutions).

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHEEKY1000 11/15/2011 11:09PM

    Oh wow!!! That is so very very awesome! I'll have to see if my library has this. But tell me...does it have a recipe for pumpkin pasties? emoticon

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FLUTTEROFSTARS 11/15/2011 11:00PM

    Oh my gosh that's awesome!!!!! You'll have to post some recipes for us, when you try 'em!!!

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FITNHEALTHYKAL 11/14/2011 5:57AM

    I got it when Borders was closing :::sniffling::: for $6!!!! Nimsy before you get too excited, I gifted it forward to a Harry Potter friend for Christmas!

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BLESSEDBEING 11/12/2011 7:22PM

    I didn't even know HP: DH pt 2 was out! I hope they have special features this time!! emoticon

Blessed Be, Amanda emoticon

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NIMAWEYGH 11/12/2011 6:37PM

    I am sure there is an Amazon gift card with this books name on it. WOO HOO

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QUEEN_REINA 11/12/2011 3:55PM

    Aw, the print is too small and I can't see the table of contents and stuff =(

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STARSAPPHIRE57 11/12/2011 1:00PM

    We LOVE HP--I think I HAVE to get this book! emoticon Have fun!

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RARAAVIS 11/11/2011 8:47PM

    i need that!!!

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DIANITAH 11/11/2011 7:51PM

    Awesome! I love Harry!

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AIMLESS07 11/11/2011 7:12PM

    I am such a Harry Potter fanatic. Might have to get that!

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AANGEL3 11/11/2011 6:32PM

    I may look for this book. I just picked up the Blu Ray of HP DH part 2 at lunch.

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AIRPEACH 11/11/2011 6:25PM

    You're inviting me, right? Only, kidding (unless you need extra people), but I think it sounds like a great idea! Very much fun. :)

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    If you did not buy the book, then it would be like YOUR book in a stranger's house. emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/11/2011 5:52:11 PM

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Divination Homework - Goal Setting!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Divination - What do the stars hold in store for you? Have you set up short and long term goals? Write down both your short and long term goals, rewards along the way and steps you will use to accomplish them and earn 70 points for the week. You may share this in a blog with the castle.
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I just took a look at my sparkpage, and I haven't updated my goals since April 12, so it's WELL past time I did so! (By the time you read this, it will be updated there as well).

Here's my general goal (basically why I'm on Sparkpeople in the first place):
I want to be active and healthy, feel good physically and emotionally, and be able to buy sexy clothes that I like without having to find specialty stores or "bigger girl sizes" online

Weight Goals -
*Get out of the morbidly obese category (under 220 -- DONE 11/03/10)
* Weigh under 200 lbs (DONE May 26, 2011, 2 days before my 1st Sparkversary)
*Get out of the obese category (under 160 lbs)
*Get out of the overweight category (under 130 lbs)

My more specific "SMART" (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely) goals:
emoticonWeigh 180 lbs by the end of BLC17 (the day before Thanksgiving, 11/23/2011)
emoticonMaintain at 180 lbs or lose weight (NO GAINS) over the holidays
emoticonReach my (current) goal weight of 150 lbs by my 2nd Sparkversary (May 28, 2012)
emoticonComplete a full (26.2 miles) marathon before my 50th birthday (planning on doing The Flying Pig on May 6, 2012, beating my original goal by a full year and a half)
emoticonDo the Warrior Dash in June 2012 and make it through EVERY OBSTACLE!

How am I going to get there?
emoticonI will track my food EVERY day
emoticonCardio: 5-6 days EVERY week (will depend on work schedule)
emoticonStrength Training: at least 3 days EVERY week
emoticonE25K (Euphrates to 5K) at least 2 times per week, building distance back up on the weekends
emoticonStart 18 week marathon distance training program on January 1, 2012
emoticonStart working with a personal trainer (who's done a Warrior Dash before so knows how to prepare) NO LATER than March 2012

I've also been looking at putting together a race schedule for myself to keep me on track with the training (because I REALLY enjoy doing races and it gives me mid-term goals to shoot for). Here's what I've got so far:

Girls On The Run Fall 5K (Sawyer Point, Downtown Cincinnati) - Saturday November 19, 2011 (10:00 AM Start) **

Thanksgiving Day Race (Downtown Cincinatti) 10K - Thurs. November 24, 2011 (9:00 AM start) **

Noel 5K (Lunken Airport, Cincinnati) - Saturday December 17, 2011 (10:00 AM start) **

Cincinnati AHA Heart Mini Marathon & Heartwalk - Mini: 15 K - Sunday March 18, 2012 (7:45 AM start)
(Note - I do the Heartwalk every year, and organized a Sparkpeople team last year, I intend to do so again though I personally intend to do the 15K)

Just A Short Run (Pittsburg PA) - Saturday March 31, 2012 **

The Flying Pig Marathon 26.2 mi (Cincinnati) - Sunday May 6, 2012

Warrior Dash (Logan Ohio) - Saturday June 2 (or Sunday June 3), 2012

** denotes things I'm considering but haven't decided on yet, feel free to convince me! Also feel encouraged to suggest others!

So that's where my goals and plans stand right now. I'm REALLY excited to see it all unfold!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOALSONTRACK 11/10/2011 5:41PM

    Great weight loss goals. Keep it up!

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VINOTEA 11/10/2011 12:55AM

    Good luck!!! emoticon

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MONETRUBY 11/9/2011 10:40PM

    Once again, your goal-setting skills put me to shame.

They've also lit a fire under me-I need to go back to my own goals soon, and update!

Have I mentioned lately that you rock? I haven't? Well, you do!

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AUGUST_SUN 11/9/2011 7:30PM

    Okay, back to the drawing board. Obviously I haven't thought my plans out enough.

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CINDHOLM 11/9/2011 4:45PM

    emoticonGREAT plan

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 11/9/2011 4:36PM

    Thorough, great way to get fit!

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    I love your goals!! You've inspired me to re-vamp my own goals - we've got 8 weeks left in 2011 - let's make them count!


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NSTARSMITH 11/9/2011 10:01AM

    Boy, when you finally update your goals, you REALLY update your goals! Impressive! Go for it ALL!

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CANDOK1260 11/9/2011 7:06AM


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NAKIOMA 11/9/2011 6:47AM

    WOW = ya just gotta love a lady with a plan............

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Gee, I Really AM Molly Weasley!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Well, sort of (I just redid all my math and I'm not as short of cash as I thought I was...hang on, I'll explain).

I'm having a LOT of fun with the Challenge of Harry Potter now that I've jumped back into the weekly challenges! They're a lot more involved than the challenges I remember from last year (which is a good thing - the main reason I dropped it was because it started feeling like we were doing the same thing every week and I was getting bored).

This past week we were earning Galleons, Sickles and Knuts in order to pay for our Hogwarts supplies and tuition (and extras too) - here's the list:

Hogwarts Supplies

Hereís what you will need first:
- Tuition = 4154 galleons + 4 sickles + 11 knuts = $40504.00
- Clothing:
3 Sets of Plain Robes = 15 galleons + 4 sickles + 24 knuts (x3) = $447.03
1 Winter Coat with Silver Fastenings = 6 galleons + 10 sickles + 40 knuts = $64.28
1 Pair of Protective Gloves = 3 galleons + 15 sickles + 10 knuts = $38.74
1 Plain Pointed Hat = 2 galleons + 10 sickles + 40 knuts = $26.00
- Books (The Standard Book of Spells, A History of Magic, A Beginnerís Guide to Transfiguration, One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi, Magical Drafts and Potions, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection) = 92 galleons + 50 knuts = $898.00
- Additional Supplies:
1 Telescope = 12 galleons + 4 sickles + 36 knuts = $120.00
1 Cauldron (pewter, standard size 2) = 10 galleons = $97.50
1 Wand = 7 galleons = $68.25
1 Set of Brass Scales = 2 galleons + 8 sickles + 47 knuts = $25.00
1 Set of Glass or Crystal Phials = 2 galleons + 25 knuts = $20.00

Total $ needed for required supplies = $42,308.78

Once you have earned everything youíll need for the basics, you can keep working to earn money for these additional items:
- Copy of the Daily Prophet = 7 knuts = $0.14
- Pile of candy from the Hogwarts Express cart = 11 sickles + 7 knuts = $6.41
- Used shooting star needing minor repairs = 7 galleons = $68.25
- Omnioculars = 10 galleons = $97.50
- 12-Week course of Apparition Lessons from a Ministry of Magic Apparition Instructor = 12 galleons = $117.00
- Unicorn horn = 21 galleons = $204.75
- A full set of second-hand Quidditch balls, slightly worn, with a Snitch whose wing is damaged = 30 galleons = $292.50
- Triwizard Tournament Prize = 1000 galleons = $9750.00

Here's the breakdown for earning money:
- Cardio: For each minute of cardio you complete, earn 15 galleons.
- Strength Training: For each 15 reps you complete, earn 100 sickles.
- Water: For each 8 oz glass you drink, earn 50 knuts.
- Posting in your house common room: Each day you post, earn 100 galleons
- Freggies: For each serving you have, earn 50 sickles

And the monetary equivalents of US dollars into Wizarding money:
1 gold galleon = $9.75
1 silver sickle = $0.57
1 bronze knut = $0.02

I THOUGHT that I'd only earned $41,004.20 (and still needed = $1304.60), thus I was sympathising with Ron Weasley and his hand-me-downs when I first started writing this (thus the change of the profile pic) until I decided to do all the math again because something just didn't seem to add up there (I mean, I didn't see THAT much more work being done by those who'd posted their results than what I'd done for the week). And of course, it WOULD take a Ravenclaw's template (thanks SARRA1991) for it to all add up right and make sense (that and I did it with a calculater instead of by hand).

Final tally:
Total amount of Wizarding Money earned for Gryffindor: $53,900.75
Total points earned for Gryffindor: 1200
Money left over: $2547.92 (Woohoo! Hogsmeade here I come!!)
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FWIW, 'Yote is highly amused - I was explaining all this to him in the phone a little bit ago (and how I'd figured if I got in 3 good sessions of 30 minutes of cardio I'd have all my required supplies paid for, or that plus some strength training today...). His comment was that someone was far more engulfed into the Wizarding universe than is probably healthy (I *think* he meant the person who thought up the challenge...or he MIGHT have just meant me). LOL The poet CERTAINLY can't understand doing that much math and not have it count for college credit or something.

SO, I no longer have to worry about earning money this week and can focus on taking classes (though we're allowed to earn more money for the term if we want, we just can't "double-dip" - it either counts for a class and points, or money, not both).

Of course, that means I need to go back and make a totally new plan for my syllabus this week (everything exercise related I was going to put into earning cash until I'd earned my necessities, and THEN I'd add the classes in later in the week). But that's okay - this is fun! No really - just check out what our class choices are!

Fall Term - Week 6 - Nov 7-14

You can select three of the required classes and up to three of the elective classes, but watch your time. Don't overburden yourself. You can add more of the required classes as electives if you wish, in place of the other elective classes. Each class (except as noted) will earn 10 points per day for each day you complete the assignment. Give yourself the points on Sunday for those classes that only count for the week.

If you are ready, there are some advance placement options for classes as well, but you have to have completed the basic class first. The advanced placement options will be listed with the classes that allow them.

There are also some fun activities included - 10 points for each day that you include one of the fun activities.

Required - Choose a minimum of three Classes

Defense Against the Dark Arts - We all need support as we progress along this journey - so communication with your house every day will earn you 10 points. Advanced Placement - in Addition to communicating with your house, you can communicate with the rest of the school in any of the common rooms like the library or the Great Hall and earn an additional 10 points each day.

Quiddith Practice - For each day you get in at least 30 minutes of Cardio, you get 10 points. Advanced Placement - For each day you get at least 60 minutes of Cardio, add another 10 points.

Herbology - For each day you eat at least five servings of Fruit and/or Vegetables you get 10 points

Transfiguration - In order to change we need to work on strength training - This is the only class that does not count 10 points per day. If you get at least three strength training sessions in this week, you will earn 70 points. You should not work the same muscle group two days in a row, but you should work all three major areas at least three times in the week. Yoga and Pilates can count as strength training, but then you cannot count them as cardio. And you must work all three areas three times to get the points.

Potions - Have you been drinking the right things. For each day you get at least 8 glasses of water and no caffine, and no added sweetner (sugar or artificial)) you will earn 10 points.

Charms - How are you feeling about yourself - write something in your blog (does not have to be public) each day and explain how your are progressing and earn 10 points. Advanced Placement - In addition, comment on someone elses blog and earn an additional 10 points each day.

Elective Classes (Choose up to three, or add some of the required that you did not choose)

Care of Magical Creatures - In addition to the time spent in Cardio, for each additional 30 minutes you spend out of doors doing some type of exercise or activity, you earn 10 points

Astronomy - for each day you get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, you will earn 10 points.

Divination - What do the stars hold in store for you? Have you set up short and long term goals? Write down both your short and long term goals, rewards along the way and steps you will use to accomplish them and earn 70 points for the week. You may share this in a blog with the castle.

Arithmancy - Keeping track of numbers is helpful so for each day you track your appropirate ranges (must state range to start and what you are counting - calories on Spark or something else, like weight watcher points) you will earn 10 points. Advanced Placement - Just tracking is good and it lets you know where you are, but staying within your target ranges if better. Earn and additional 10 points each day you stay within your range.

Ancient Runes - For each day you read and report on at least three articles you will earn 10 points. Advanced Placement - Read and report on and additional three articles and earn and additional 10 points each day

History of Magic - Where have you been on your journey - if you do not know how you got to this point, how can you make your way forward. Write a blog (or multiple) looking back to see how you got to this point in your life. 70 points for this class regardless of the number of blogs.

Muggle Studies - For each day that you do something increase your activity (such as take the stairs instead of an elavator or park farther from the door) you get 10 points. You can do more of these each day, but you only get 10 points per day.

Fun Things (bonus points) - You may add one each day for 10 points. It can be different each day. Advanced placement - Add a second fun item each day and earn and additional 10 points each day.

Meet new people - post on another students Spark Page and welcome them to the castle.

Encourage others - Give others in the castle a Spark Goodie as encouragement

Healthy Treats - Give yourself a healthy treat just because and let us know about it

Pamper time - Take some time just for yourself and let us know what you did

Choir/Music Practice - Enjoy making music (or listening to it). Report on the type of music you enjoy while out and about or working out

You must choose your classes and list which ones you want to take for this week. Good luck to everyone. Also indicate if you are chosing the basic class or the advanced placement option for classes/activities that have one.


See what I mean? Neat stuff right? Oh, if you couldn't tell, this is my Charms homework for today. Because I'm really pretty pleased with where I am right now - still hanging just under 190 lbs (at 189.5 when I weighed in last week) but I am pretty hopeful that all that work I did earning galleons and sickles will add up to a loss on the scale this week. I am GOING to see 180 (or lower) by Thanksgiving!

And in the meantime, the CoHP team is JUST what I needed to shake up my etch-a-sketch a bit and get me enthusiastic and looking towards the holidays. In fact, I may just break out the HP books again, particularly considering I haven't read them since right before "Deathly Hallows Part 1" came out. But not until I finish "A Dance with Dragons" by George R.R. Martin (the 5th book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, on which the HBO show Game of Thrones is based) - we are TOTALLY sucked into the world of Westeros right now. Believe me, I'm going to go CRAZY waiting for the next one to come out ('Yote took a long time finishing book 5 to try and make it last longer - I don't know if I have that kind of patience, and Martin spins a RIVETING tale).

But scenes like this just get me in a holiday mood. Don't you agree?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QUEEN_REINA 11/12/2011 3:59PM

    How fun!

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NIMAWEYGH 11/7/2011 6:51PM

    Don't cha just love this team. And last week was tons of fun. I am so looking forward to this week as well. Your earning galleons hand over fist..........woo hoo Hey just let me know when the trip to HoneyDukes is...........cause I am all in.

ps I relate best to Molly myself.

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KRZYKAT3 11/7/2011 12:55PM

    OH my! No wonder I can't keep up in the small challenge I joined!! I got lost halfway through! LOL

Glad you are having fun though! I never liked D&D either... I can do a one night transformation but am ready for reality the next day!

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MONETRUBY 11/7/2011 11:53AM

    emoticon work!

And yes, we HP freaks do tend to get a little *overenthusiastic* about our obsession. At least it's doing your body and soul good!

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AZHURE_SUNSOAR 11/7/2011 11:02AM

    P.s. If you have any ideas you can let your HoH know. I gave annie(ravenclaw HoH) an idea I had so when her turn comes around again She said she'd probably use it :D

I don't know what I'd do without the team. I'm pretty sure it can be credited with at least 10-15 of my 24 pounds weight loss so far :)

Goodluck this week :) emoticon

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BRITT831 11/7/2011 8:08AM

    Great motivation for Harry Potter fans! The team leader must really put alota work into it. Have fun!!! Gotta find what works for u !

Comment edited on: 11/7/2011 8:09:10 AM

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KAELANNA 11/7/2011 8:02AM

    Sounds interesting............but far too much like my real life for me to even think about trying that! Good work meeting your goals!

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SHAWFAN 11/7/2011 7:54AM

    Sounds like fun but too much math work! LOL Have a blast at Hogwarts! emoticon

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DMILLER33 11/7/2011 6:57AM

    Have a great time at Hogwarts!

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MOSTMOM1 11/7/2011 6:50AM

    Sounds like fun!

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    Sounds like fun.

Good luck with staying focused and reaching your goals...

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