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Falling behind

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Halfway through week 2 of travel now and I am so far behind in my work and SP. Can't be helped I suppose and I will get caught up again soon (I hope!).

I spent a week in Houston for a conference, which was interesting but overkill by day 3. And I came down with something while there, not enough to be truly miserable but enough to be completely blah.

Still got my pushups in for the week, between 4-6 sets a day for 6 days plus the extras I would have done in karate, for a grand total of 745.

I'm still feeling kind of blah and coughing but still doing the darned pushups. We are staying in a bed & breakfast in the city of Compiegne, France. It is a beautiful place and located in an older part of the area so the roads and sidewalks are all cobblestones. There is no way I'm going to try running on cobblestones, walking is dangerous enough. Today and tomorrow we go around with the relocation company to look at housing and school options. Friday we are taking a day in Paris before coming home on Saturday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAFARIBABE 4/6/2012 6:46PM

    Safe travels!! Shame the weather wasn't better last week. I know what you mean about falling behind on Sparking! Between the lousy wi-fi connection at the office and not getting in til almost bedtime I found it impossible to keep up! Will be going back in July tho! Maybe then we can meet up!

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MCJULIEO 4/6/2012 9:43AM

    Way to GO!
Hope that you feel better soon!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 4/4/2012 11:53AM

    I wanna goooo!!!


feel better :o)

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RUSSELL_40 4/4/2012 11:10AM

    If you are going to feel blah, I'm sure it feels better in Have a great time, and hope you feel better by the time you get home.

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DOODIE59 4/4/2012 9:43AM

    Hold on a minute! I missed the fact that your job transfer was to take you to FRANCE!! What an experience:) Hope everything goes well.

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DEZZIEJAMES 4/4/2012 8:59AM

    WONDERFUL!!! Thanks for checking in!!!! I hope you are able to enjoy your trip (no pun intended on the cobblestones....)

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LODESTONE 4/4/2012 7:11AM

    Sounds like a fantastic trip and experience. Wish you were feeling better than blah to enjoy it. Agree with you about the cobblestones. Enjoy!

Awesome on the push-ups!

Comment edited on: 4/4/2012 7:11:33 AM

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Pavlov's Bicycle

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Or "Why I'm a runner, not a cyclist"

Warning - Possible TMI ahead.

There is a reason I run instead of bike. Well, several reasons, primarily because biking is not part of the black belt test and running is, but I have another reason.

I typically exercise at night, after I get home & have dinner.

This is my routine on running days: Use the restroom, change, drive the 1.7 miles to the gym, run for an hour, use the restroom, go home, shower.

This is my routine on biking days: Use the restroom, change, use the restroom, drive the 1.7 miles to the gym, use the restroom, bike for 15-20 minutes, sit there red-faced and fidgety for 2-3 minutes until I can walk really fast to the restroom without an accident, bike another 20-30 minutes & repeat, finish the hour on the bike, use the restroom, go home, use the restroom, shower.

Pavlov trained his dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. The bike is my bell, only I'm not drooling.

I blame my mother. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCJULIEO 4/6/2012 9:44AM


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FUSCHIA6 3/31/2012 10:51AM

    I think you should blame your kids for this one!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAFARIBABE 3/30/2012 2:22PM

    ROFLMAO!!!! Might I make a small suggestion...Are you sure you have your seat set at the right height? I can go 90mins without stopping -- well without stopping other than to reset the time cause the ones at my gym only allow for 60min sets. Have you considered the elliptical for cross-training?

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RUSSELL_40 3/30/2012 10:13AM

    If Pavlov's dog had this response, we wouldn't have heard of Pavlov, or his

May be time for a differnt kind of exercise on non running days. The pools will be open in a month.

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RUNNER4LIFE08 3/30/2012 9:27AM


I actually have more bathroom issues when I run.

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ODAYSKI11 3/30/2012 6:59AM

    I agree that that is hilarious and I also don't get it! emoticon

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VYVIENN 3/30/2012 3:06AM

    Heehee... um... heeheehee... emoticon

Personally, I haven't been on a (real) bike in almost 15 years, and I don't believe in that whole once-you-know-you-know hoopla... also, I hate it when my butt falls asleep.

Otherwise... have I said heehee yet?!

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RETRACING-STEPS 3/30/2012 2:08AM

    Woah. I never have to use the bathroom, so I cannot imagine. And there's no such thing as TMI!


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INIT2LIVEIT 3/30/2012 1:58AM

    ROFLOL, I don;t get it, but I cracked up anyway (Bell?)

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GETSTRONGRRR 3/29/2012 10:32PM

    Note to self.....don't ever take a spin class with you!

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HOPEFULHIPPO 3/29/2012 10:15PM

    WHAT?! LOL

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Phe Phi Pho

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This week I am in Houston for the World Petrochemicals Conference and visiting two of my new (to me) raw materials suppliers. As of January I took over responsibility for my company's North American raw material purchasing, a commodity I know nothing about. So I am down here to learn and rejoin the ranks of Road Warriors.

My SP friend GETSTRONGRR has talked about number of times about the Vietnamese dish pho, a noodle soup to which one can add beef, chicken, shrimp, etc. He has made it sound extremely good.

Alas, where I live there are no Vietnamese restaurants so I have despaired of trying this tasty new dish.

So back to Houston. This is a major city, I am somewhere that looks like a downtown with lots of big buildings and sports centers, surely, I thought, there will be every type of imaginable cuisine. Finally I shall try this magical pho.

Apparently no one in this area eats anything but uber expensive steak after approximately 4 pm though because there are NO visible open restaurants within walking distance of the hotel (other than Benihana's, Morton's Steak House, etc.). The places I saw were all closed for dinner. On my wanderings I did come across a place called Bouray's which is a combination Mexican-Vietnamese place (I don't quite understand that particular combination but whatever). It is only open from 11-2 on weekdays. emoticon

How that is possible I don't know, but those are the posted hours and they were closed when I went by Monday evening.

So today I skipped the conference lunch and went for a brisk 10 minute walk to order myself a bowl of pho. Not quite realizing just how big of a bowl this would be I also got a shrimp spring roll with some funky looking thick brown sauce. Not a fan of the brown sauce, it was kind of sweet and I like sweet in fruits and desserts, not in real food. The spring roll was kind of bland by itself - note this was not a fried spring roll, it was fresh and wrapped in something clear. I am drawing a blank on just what it was wrapped in, kind of like a seaweed wrap on sushi only it was clear.

Then came the pho, in a bowl larger than my head. I got the chicken kind since they did not offer shrimp as a pho option. Into the bowl went the plate of cilantro and bean sprouts and I was ready for my first taste.

I think I should not have put in so much cilantro. It looked like miso with rice noodles and bean sprouts and had a taste I wasn't expecting. Kind of salty, kind of...something else. Maybe a little sweetish. Not a bad spit it out fast kind of taste, not unpleasant, just...different. And not enough to stop me from finishing the bowl. emoticon

Overall it was pretty good, although I'm not in love with whatever that other taste was. I am thinking it was the cilantro, there was quite a lot of it. So I shall give it another shot another time (without so much cilantro) and see if it will grow on me. The first time I tried wasabi on my sushi I didn't much like it (because my lunch companions did not warn me what it was and would do) but now I add extra. And I shall someday try some of the other dishes as well, although I think if I go back tomorrow I will probably try the Mexican side of the menu. A fresh shrimp burrito with hot salsa sounds yummy. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CK-DUBYA 3/29/2012 6:02PM

    I work with a gal from Vietnam. She has made us pho a couple of times and it is delicious. She didn't serve it with any cilantro. That must be the Mexican half of the restaurant. I love spicy foods so I dump in a good amount of chile sauce. I think the bowl size must be pretty standard. I couldn't believe how much food she served us! Did the restaurant give you chopsticks? I couldn't believe that she expected us to eat soup with chopsticks and a flat bottomed spoon :). She was a master of it and just laughed at the rest of us.

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HOPEFULHIPPO 3/29/2012 10:02AM

    It was def the cilantro. Too much can overpower a dish :o)

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MCJULIEO 3/28/2012 10:04PM

    OK, the conference is in downtown Houston (Hilton Americas, right?) right next to the Convention Center? The old China town of Houston is very near there - ask your hotel concierge, maybe not such a good place to be out after dark on foot... but the newer Vietnamese part of town is SW of there, towards Sharpstown, south about 8 miles on Hwy59. I grew up out that way, towards Memorial, and the Asian markets are wonderful out there...

I wish I could drop everything and join you in Houston, FFK! Would love to show you the sights... isn't it funny that Houston has a Major Thoroughfare called "Buffalo Speedway"?

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SAFARIBABE 3/28/2012 9:56PM

    I'm no expert on Vietnamese food so I was thinking the brown sauce might be a re-fried bean derivative -- it being a Mexican/Vietnamese restaurant and all! LOL HTH do they stay in business only being open 3 hours a day? What is it a city law that all non-steak places must close at 2PM to make way for the cows coming in for the slaughter! LOL Glad you enjoyed your Pho! Have a great night!

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NINJA_SMOO 3/28/2012 6:10PM

  Perhaps I'm being overly stereotypical, but doesn't steakhouses everywhere sound very... Texan? I guess such limited food choices aren't really what you'd expect for a major metropolis but still... :P

The clear stuff was actually the same as the covering in the fried ones except it wasn't, well, fried. It's a sort of rice paper thing. You can actually find them in super markets, in the Asian specialty section, if you wanted to try your hand at making spring rolls at home. I bought some of these rice sheets a while ago but I just haven't gotten around to trying them yet. Maybe tonight!

At least, here you can find them, but there is a fairly high Asian-to-everyone-else ratio here so it makes sense that we have lots of Asian food options. Might be that you won't be able to find it when you're home.

MMmmmmm... now you've got me thinking how long it's been since I've been for Vietnamese food. Might be about time!

I'm having a major mental block trying to remember what that sauce is called right now. Sorry! I had hoped to shed some light on it for you.

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CODEMAULER 3/28/2012 6:02PM

    Spring rolls and pho are among my favorite foods. I add a bit of rice vinegar to the roll dipping sauce to 'sour' it up a bit.

C'mon out to the Twin Cities anytime you want Vietnamese food. We've got tons of great choices out here!

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GETSTRONGRRR 3/28/2012 5:44PM

    Ahh, well done grasshopper! Cilantro is good, basil is better. I like to spritz in a little of the spicy red sriracha sauce for a nice hot chile taste.

The vietnamese spring roll wrappers are made from rice and the fillings can vary. Bottom line is they're about 150 calories a pair. The sauce is a vietnamese staple....I mostly like the crushed peanuts it contains.

Pho for me is all about the's filling & tasty and the whole damn bowl (yes, as big as your head) is less than 500 calories.....noodles included

try getting the Yelp app (or TripAdvisor) for your android phone.....they can usually help you find good eateries within a few miles of your current location.

And yes, i do have trust issues with airlines....and I'm very proud of those trust issues....they save my skin on a regular basis!

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ILOVEMALI 3/28/2012 4:38PM

  I think that you need to try the pho in my hometown! It's WAY better than you've described! LOL! Enjoy your shrimp burrito -- I imagine that Texas has great Mexican food! xoxo Deb

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The headline on Time magazine right now is that women are overtaking men as the country's breadwinners. According to the article in 40% of households women are the primary breadwinners, earning more than the men.

I am one of the 40%, even though I am not married currently. I fully support myself and my two children without alimony or child support from the ex. While I was married I gradually caught up to my ex's wages and then surpassed him. It was one source (of myriad) contention; he was not able to handle the fact that I earned more than him, although he was happy to let me pay all the bills so he could use his $ for whatever. For my part (and I am generally pretty good about being objective) I do not believe I ever made an issue of who made more or threw it up in his face; it honestly doesn't matter to me who would be the primary breadwinner. More important is that it would be an equal partnership, where both people contribute what they have and can do, equality being defined by effort and involvement and not by a numbers game.

But I find that a number of men in my acquaintance of various ages are intimidated by a woman who earns as much or more, and even some women who feel that monetary support of the family is the man's "job". I'm not saying that viewpoint is wrong, as long as it works for both people in the relationship. For myself I just cannot conceive of being wholly dependent upon someone else.

For curiosity's sake, how do you feel about this situation? Are you, or would you be, comfortable if your wife made more money than you? Or, women, would you be comfortable earning more than your husband?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRI_BABE 3/28/2012 4:03PM

    When I used to be a computer engineer moving toward management, I did not think I felt comfortable if I made more. I don't know maybe I still wouldn't.

Then I changed careers and moved into journalism and then the field opened WAY up, LOL, as far as that was concerned.

My last boyfriend, though, I made more money than him, and yeah it was kind of weird. I didn't like how we were limited on things we could do or if not I would have to pay. I wasn't even making THAT much money.

Then again, who knows WHAT he was spending his money on... that's part of why he is now my ex!

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GETSTRONGRRR 3/28/2012 12:43AM


SWMBO worked for the first few years of our marriage. Then #2 son was diagnosed with some pretty hefty special needs requirements and we decided it was best if she transitioned over to the stay at home mom role, especially since my job requires me to be gone so much.

I do pretty good for all of us and we've got some pretty good long term plans.....

Comment edited on: 3/28/2012 12:43:52 AM

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CATS_MEOW_0911 3/27/2012 12:25AM

    I have never been married, but I earn quite a bit more than my boyfriend. It does not seem to be an issue. He seems to appreciate my self-sufficiency as a single homeowner. I don't think it should matter who earns more, as long as the overall household responsibilities are split however it works best for that household.

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RETRACING-STEPS 3/26/2012 7:49PM

    Someone who would be intimidated about the swapping of a cliche gender role isn't someone I would ever want to be with. My husband is working now while I am not, because I'm finishing up school. I'll be done before him, and once I'm done I'll go straight to working, and if he needs to focus on school he can stop working. We do whatever works for us. We've talked about it before and how absurd it is that people would be threatened by a woman making more. Terribly sexist and old fashioned. It shows a level of disrespect to be so jealous of someone being 'better' at something than you. You shouldn't be bitter about your spouse's success, as long as there is no cost to the relationship.

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REBECCATKD 3/26/2012 6:56PM

    I am also one of the 40%; my husband just resigned in January after 19 years in the sales industry. He's taking some time as a stay-at-home dad while I teach 8th grade. We both love it! He get time with the kids that he's missed out on, and I come home to a clean kitchen and completed grocery shopping.

My mom always said, "I don't care what you and your sister decide to do as a job as long as you can support yourself. I don't want you to have to get locked into a relationship because you need the man's money." Hear, hear!

Way to be the role model of a financially independent woman!

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DRAGONCHILDE 3/26/2012 3:45PM

    I'm the primary breadwinner in my family. In fact.. I'm the sole breadwinner. My husband's a stay at home dad... and I work from home. He has chronic health issues, so it works for us. He's way better at it than I am. I think he really misses working, and would prefer it, but we're coping with the hand we've been dealt.

I used to be a SAHM, but after he started getting sick, I went back to work.

He isn't threatened by me; as a matter of fact, we take great pains to make sure that he has control of as much as possible to help offset the fact I make the money and manage the finances. He doesn't mind that part... he sucks at handling money. For example... he's always in control in the bedroom. ;)

He doesn't mind that at **all**

Comment edited on: 3/26/2012 3:47:51 PM

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DOODIE59 3/26/2012 3:38PM

    That is one of my -- well, it is my ONLY -- regret, but it is a big one: That when our first child was small, we both agreed that I would stay home with our children. At the time, my husband's future looked golden and I was underpaid. Now, I have no marketable skills and when you add in the factors that I am in my 50s and overweight, the odds are not good that I could get anything other than a minimum wage p/t job working the shifts no one else wants.

If I could do one thing differently, I would have kept working in the field either through time-sharing or by going freelance. (I was an editor). The two-pronged argument for doing that being that editing paid enough p/t to make a difference in a household's finances, and second, (and more important) that I would have been continually upgrading and keeping my skills current. My advice would be to tell young people to always keep their feet in the door:) Also, there is not much support for stay at home parents, so it is very easy to lose your sense of self and worth. Those two characteristics are very hard to get back once they've gone:)

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to post my thoughts on this subject.

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KJDOESLIFE 3/26/2012 2:30PM

    I've made more than my BF for the 6 years we've been together. He stands a chance this year to pass me - if he doesn't this year, he will pretty shortly! He doesn't care (and calls me his "sugar momma" - jokingly, of course) and I might pout a little when I get surpassed, but it benefits both of us (planning on getting married), so does it really matter who it comes from? Men may get mad if they feel like their time has less value than a woman's.

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LPETRO119 3/26/2012 11:54AM

    My hubby and I have flip-flopped over the years with which one of us were the one with the bigger paycheck. Now we earn almost exactly the same amount. We never made a big deal about it, as we both understood we both had good earning potential. When I was the one who brought home the bigger check, seemed like OTHERS who found out made a bigger deal of it, though.

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KKINNEA 3/26/2012 11:45AM

    I'm comfortable with it up to the point where spouse doesn't save any money because he's trying to cover equally. I think we'll need to re-evaluate again.

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NINJA_SMOO 3/26/2012 10:46AM

  Currently, I make quite a bit more than my boyfriend. I don't think anything about it - like you said, so long as we're both contributing what we can the actual amounts aren't especially important - to me. I know it bothers him sometimes that I am the primary breadwinner, but I just tell him the same thing - contribute what you can.

At the same time, his career has much more potential for growth. Without further training that I fund myself, I'm going to hit a ceiling fairly soon. He can progress way further through on-the-job training that is covered by his employer. Not to mention, kid(s) will happen within the next ... less than 10 years for us, and when that point comes, I don't want to be working full-time and my current occupation isn't a position I can keep on a part-time basis.

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CODEMAULER 3/26/2012 8:54AM

    My husband has been a full-time student for quite a while, so any 'bread' I'm making is more than he is contributing (in fact, he COSTS me, LOL!). Even when he re-joins the work force, it's likely that I will out-earn him, at least for a while. He is fine with it, but a lot of his friends give him grief about it.

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WE_PA_FIT 3/26/2012 8:47AM

    excellent points russell38! It usually is deeper than the 'apparent' issue, i.e. money.

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WE_PA_FIT 3/26/2012 8:42AM

    I too earn more than him, and like you- I'm kind of glad that I do. Gives me independence. Sure I wouldn't mind extra help so I can live more comfortably. And he does help out. But knowing that I can take care of things on my own, by myself gives me relief and makes me feel proud. especially after bouncing back from a previous divorce on my own, I'm really protective of finances and my 'things'. No one can do it like we can!!!! and on his part-- yes, the fact that I earn more, makes him very insecure. And like you I never make it an issue yet he still let's it affect him, which ultimately affect us.

Comment edited on: 3/26/2012 8:45:10 AM

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RUSSELL_40 3/26/2012 8:37AM

    I think if you are making more money, it is because you have more marketable skills. Especially if you are a woman. So if I had a wife that made more, I would be proud that she was good at her job. Maybe guys get mad because they realize they aren't the smart one in the relationship?

Some might wonder why you would want a spouse that couldn't help with the bills. I wonder why you would want someone who lacks skill at their job. People who excel at what they do have more confidence. Maybe men don't like the confidence.. don't want women gettin' uppity! Third, if you marry someone who makes way less than you, who is not good at their job, and lacks confidence, could it be because he/she is below you in the brains dept? You have to actually talk to this person for years to come. Nothing worse than trying to converse with stupid people.

I think that besides the money issue, there are other issues the men really care about.. all of them part of their real goal, a wife who is inferior. Sounds like a dependent to

I do think that it would be difficult to maintain a relationship if the pay gap was large because of these reasons.. whether the man or the woman made more( if they both worked full time ). I don't think it should matter who earns more, but a lawyer, and a 7-11 cashier probably won't be a good match. One would either feel inferior OR superior.

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REDSHOES2011 3/26/2012 8:20AM

    I also earn more then my deceased husband and present boyfriend.. My present boyfriend is also a cheap skate- he can't comprehend my share of money keeps the roof over his head.. I only work part time but I earn more then him, because of the job I have- I work as a free lance resthome helper and with this job comes a cart load of stress..
He can't comprehend cars don't say ouch- my clients moan if I am late, complain if forgotten and this makes me a perfectionist to avoid my boss getting pissed off..

Comment edited on: 3/26/2012 8:21:05 AM

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LRK4CHRIST 3/26/2012 8:02AM

    WOW! Good information. Its just the truth anyhow.

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Tugging on Superman's cape

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Last Saturday Master N was in town and came to karate. He is a 5th degree black belt in our style and also in tae kwon do, and in jujitsu. I spent some time during class working with him on creative one steps - basically he throws an attack and I have to block and counter attack. On the first one he smacked me in the face. So, yeah, tugging on Superman's cape and all that class left me feeling like a rank beginner again.

Monday I received the internal job offer, which will involve relocating in the next 2 or 3 months. So Tuesday I updated Sensei B and told him we will need to talk about the demonstration requirement since I won't be here to practice with the people who would participate, and that I would be back in July for the test. He said no problem, we'll just test in May before you leave - two months earlier than I had planned. emoticon

Today I finished week 3 of the push up challenge - 714 total pushups. 5 sets per day on Sun / Mon / Wed / Fri and 4 sets plus extras in class on Tue / Thu.

Today I also an the Mud Dogs Half Marathon in Mt. Pleasant. It is the 3rd HM in the winter series and my qualifying run for becoming a Half Fanatic. I finished in 2:18, and although not a PR it is 2 minutes faster than the HM in February and 8 minutes faster than the one in January. I'll take it.

This afternoon I had to meet with my ex to have some papers notarized for the kids' upcoming trips. I wore today's race t-shirt and the notary asked about it. My Psycho ex butts in to the conversation, "I don't know why you keep doing these things, it's not like you're ever going to win, it's stupid."

Yes, he said it. Yes, he is still alive (there were witnesses).

I contented myself with a mere "I do it because *I* can" with a very heavy implied subtext of "and *you* can't".

My turn to be Superman!

Say, Jack, hey don't you know
You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with [FFK]!
(Jim Croce)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRI_BABE 3/28/2012 4:06PM

    You are so awesome. Great job on the running too! I don't know if I would have been able to restrain myself like you did with a comment like that. I would have probably said similar but thrown in a lot of insults, etc, so good on you!!

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KAYZAKCX 3/26/2012 2:56PM

    Ah, those pesky witnesses...congraulations on the half marathon times.

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SAHARASUE 3/26/2012 8:18AM

    emoticon emoticon Congrats on a great day!

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LRK4CHRIST 3/26/2012 8:03AM

    Yes! U can do this. LOL! With the physical capability u have and the motivation to be better in life, u will be fine. Many blessings to u. Stay focused!

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DOODIE59 3/25/2012 11:06AM

    There is no doubt in my mind you will own your new job, respond to the sped up time frame re your May test, and get on top of every other challenge that comes your way. You personify Just Do It:)

FFK just does it.

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    Congrats on becoming a Half Fanatic. emoticon emoticon I hope to become one myself one day.

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SAC-6582 3/24/2012 11:53PM

    Awesome blog! Congrats on your time in the Mud Dogs Half Marathon.


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GETSTRONGRRR 3/24/2012 11:21PM

    Well, looks like you better start doubling up on the high kicks and the board breaking!

Congrats on the job, the push-ups, and the HM....sounds like dumbass ex doesn't really get the whole fit lifestyle thing at should be nice to see how he fares in about 20 years!

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SAFARIBABE 3/24/2012 11:15PM

    emoticon Sounds like an awesome day all the way around!! Can I be like you when I grow up??? Love the knife to the ex! So...give with the details....what's the job and where are you moving to? NYC by any chance? LOL You ROCK FFK...keep kicking butt and taking names!

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JANUINE 3/24/2012 10:06PM

    Wow! What a day. I applaud your cool. And I love Jim Croce.

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