Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Have a great New Year!

When did chocolate get so smart?

A good message for the New Year. Hope you all have a great celebration, i'm intending a quiet one, watch some fireworks, maybe a G&T. See you all in 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Food Inc.

Anyone else seen this movie? I just saw it on Netflix (it's on instant download) - Food Inc. - and would recommend everyone watch it. It is very "in your face", but I promise it does get over animal farming (with some pretty horrific images) and into crops.

I learnt some (many) things about soy that I never knew - Roundup Ready beans resistant to Roundup pesticides, so are used extensively (86% of all US soy in 2005 was Roundup Ready beans), alongside the pesticide Roundup, both to the detriment of consumers and farmers (farmers are not able to self seed because the beans are patented, meaning they have to buy seed every year or risk being sued by Monsanto). Looking on the internet after I found there are quite a number of Roundup ready crops out there too - wheat, maize, sugar beet and many others.

Definitely will make me look harder for the non GMO crops.....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

North Shore Christmas - in Pictures!

Our little shack on the beach!

Decorating the shack! Inside was a platform which fits two sleep mats and a good space in the middle which we used for playing games, eating (when it rained!) and a few presents we each brought with us.

Some nighttime scrabble!

Christmas day! A walk in the beach with some other friends who were at the same campsite.

The weather was a little on off, so we drove down to Pipeline to watch the waves. These are 25-30ft.

Watching the Pipeline with a picnic.

The weather cleared up and we went for a swim in the afternoon, followed by a few G&Ts and then a full Christmas dinner cooked on the BBQ! Roast potatoes, parsnips, sweet potato, courgettes, peppers. The only slightly different thing for me was no turkey, we had Tofurkey (Laura is a veggie), but it was pretty good when covered in Bisto gravy!

Boxing day sunrise.

Looking back towards our cabin. We literally were, right on the beach!

On the way home we stopped by Haleiwa and looked for turtles.

And there were a few surfers out enjoying the waves...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka!

Merry Christmas everyone, and have a great New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Another post today? Can you tell i'm at home today with my feet in the air (I still have a sore foot from the marathon so am giving it a little TLC today) and doodling on the internet....:0)

Furoshiki - japanese way of wrapping up objects in cloth squares either to carry them or to gift them. I just discovered this and can't believe I haven't seen it before! What a wonderful reuseable gift wrapping, and you know how much I love cloth giftwrapping!

Here are some instructions from Mommy Cooks on how to make your own Furoshiki cloths

Here are instructions on how to wrap your Furoshiki to fit over many objects

Good article on overpopulation

From the BBC - Overpopulation: The elephant in the room - it's an older article, but I thought a good one.

This is a subject that I had to address in my undergrad class, under Anthropogenic Impacts, and similar to evolution I was worried at how it would come across (especially here in Hawaii where large families are pretty much the norm). Surprisingly they were very receptive to it and most actually got this question (one from a previous exam rather than a new one from me) right on their exams.....:0)

"Ultimately the only solution to environmental damage and climate change is"
A - To stop dumping trash into the ocean
B - To stop moving oil by tankers
C - To reduce population increases
D - To increase coral reefs

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Love mince pies! I'm so happy I decided to challenge myself to make my own mincemeat last year, totally worth it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Plans

It's Christmas week, and i'm finally feeling more in the festive mood. It's definitely weird seeing all the snowman and icicle decorations up, I much prefer the festive palm trees and Santas in hibiscus shorts, but I am afraid to say I have not decorated my own place. But plans are afoot.

My friend Laura and I are headed to the North Shore for Christmas eve and Christmas day to camp in a "little grass shack" right on the beach. We've planned a "stocking exchange", decorations, roasting a Tofurkey (Laura is a veggie) on the BBQ, hammocks, G&T, maybe a swim or two and some quiet time!

The campsite is pretty cool, it's luxurious camping compared to what i'm used to, but we decided on a shack just in case it rains (as it does in the winter on the North Shore) so we have some space, they have outdoor hot showers and even Wi Fi. Neither of us have been there before, but we've heard good things from friends. Can't wait!

Until then, enjoy a Christmas Honu!


They sent the letter in error apparently. I'm not sure I believe them as yet, but will see. I looked it all up and I have a year to appeal, so as long as they don't send me a bill in the next year, and I rechase this up in a month or so just to be sure, all should be well. Thanks Blue Cross for making my weekend so stress free.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


So just when I was breathing a sigh of relief that all the canada hospital stuff was over and done and dusted, I just received a letter of Denial from my health insurance. I'm totally confused as they've already paid me a check for what I paid out of pocket, and paid off the Canada hospital for the treatments they billed for, so how can they deny me now? Can they now try and charge me what they've already given me a check for? And of course their offices are not open today to talk to someone about this either, which leaves me stressing about it all weekend......

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Marathon Pictures

For the record I think the price of these pictures is a complete scam. However you can see I got sucked in. I didn't pre-order thinking i'd wait and see if they sucked, but enough of them came out well I went for it. Still a scam though. I need to become an "action photographer" to supplement my science....

The start. 5am at Ala Moana. I'm somewhere in the bottom left hand corner (I started near the back having no illusions of grandeur). There were 23,000+ people out there with me. Quite a spectacular site.

Mile 6. Still running. I actually pretty much ran for the first ten miles, walking only for around a minute at each of the water stops (3 of them). After that I fell back to my run between water tables and then walk for 5 minutes routine. Did me well, I didn't feel like death at all. I need to find a better running short combo (the compression shorts stop chaffing, so i'm not running without them!), I wish they made longer running shorts for women, not all of us have legs we particularly wish to show off.

Mile 16. I'm actually amazed I look better than mile 6. Not sure why. Delirium maybe?

The final stretch. I swear the park got longer, this 0.5 mile stretch seemed to take FOREVER.

Crossing the finish line within my 6hr goal!

My hero shot. Definitely looking pooped now. Just beyond this they had these large showers you could stand under to cool down. Which I did. For about 5 minutes.

Goals Booklet

I love this - thanks to Ronny for sharing -

Print, cut, fill in and carry. Tick off those goals as you go through the year. I'll be filling one in!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good day!

1 - Legs feel way less sore, foot aches, but better

2 - FINALLY have all my insurance and everything out of the way for my Canada hospital visit. Only took 5 months....

3 - Final exam done! The TAs are working away downstairs marking as I type. Better go down and check on them. Had so many nice comments from the students as they were leaving too, still waiting for my evaluations from the students, but I feel better that they don't hate me....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yearly Goals 2009

Last January I set myself some goals for 2009, and I thought now was a good time to revisit them and see how they went, in a run up to writing a new set of 2010 goals in a few weeks. I called them baby steps as I knew some would be harder than others and I think everything in life should be done in baby steps - that way you're more likely to stick to it in the long run. So here is my 2009 update, 2010 list to come in January.

Packed Lunches
This i've been relatively successful with, some weeks more than others. When i've had the time (and the right kind of food) making 5 days worth of lunches on a sunday works the best for me. It's still a challenge for me, and mainly a time challenge and having the right food in the house or at work to begin with.

Terrapass my car
I'm going to admit to not doing this yet! Guess it's going to go on my 2010 wish list. My car is now nearly 2 years old, and only has 9000 miles on it. So in the grand scheme of things i'm not a huge driver (flying though......I hate to think of that carbon footprint!), but I still do need to do this.

No more buying soap/shampoo
Success! I have not bought any soap or shampoo this year and have made all my own! And i'm super happy about it, and so is my skin (it's never been so soft). The only skin issues i've had this year have been when i've used other ("fancy", expensive) store bought products and soaps I had left over - all my abscesses seem to have come about when i've been using deodorant, and in Canada I took some store soaps with me rather than my homemade (and had such dry skin for it). This just solidifies this goal for me to be a lifetime goal.

I do admittedly still have a large stock that i'm also sort of going through, but the challenge in this was really to stop using products with all the chemicals in them and even those "fancy" soaps and products in the stores do tend to have nasty preservatives in them. Unless it's homemade and preservative free, I don't want it near my increasingly sensitive skin. The question is what to do with those other soaps I seem to have? I am slowly regifting and giving them away, but do feel the guilt in giving away something i'm not prepared to put on my own skin. What would you do?

Only using natural cleaners
This i've been doing for a while now, but it's good to keep this one up. I have used bleach more here in Hawaii than in other places which I don't feel great about........and by more I mean maybe a teaspoon every 2 months to get rid of mold!

Spend less on gifts/make more gifts
This has been going pretty well. I still find it hard to resist when I see something perfect for someone. But i'm trying. Being on 75% salary is making me a little better at this.....

Get more exercise (run a half marathon)
This goal seemed to take a life of it's own! This year i've done over 400 miles. 0 in 2008, 400+ in 2009. I've run a half marathon, a 5K, a 10K and now a full marathon. I've lost 15lbs, I've also put back on 10lbs, so it's been a bit of a bounce. But I feel better, fitter. I'm not there yet. Even with this last week I wouldn't consider myself to be a "really fit" person. I would like to feel "really fit" again, and it's been quite a few years since I have. But I took the baby steps to the toddler level, 2010 is time for some teenage to adult size strides.

Buy less stuff
This has been somewhat enforced by my salary reduction, but it's a good thing, and to be fair to myself I was doing really well at it before the salary hit. My main buys still tend to be gifts, and this year plants, which I haven't had much success with. I still find myself needing to purge on a regular basis, and i'm not sure why since I don't buy anything....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some Stats

Finish Time - 5 hrs 53 minutes and 26 seconds
Pace - 13.6 minute miles

Place - 11,060 (out of 20,304 finishers, 23,469 entrants)
Place in all Women - 4454 (out of 9921 finishers)
Place in Women 30-34 - 800 (out of 1732 finishers)

Number of Gus eaten - 4
Number of Gatorades drunk - 15
Number of Hammerite Perpetum drunk - 2
Best snack - Chex mix from the crowd
Number of potty breaks - 0 (well 2 pre-race)

Favorite Mile - 10 (downhill!)
Worst Mile - 15 (hot, no shade!)

Favorite Moment - seeing the first three male competitors, and the first wheelchair competitor coming over Diamondhead in the other direction from me. Man they are FAST!
Worst Moment - none really, miles 15-20 were super hot and gatorade started making me slightly nauseous, but really, there were no worst moments, I never lost sight of my goals.

5hrs and 53 minutes!

Within 6hrs!

And a) I had fun; b) I ran more than I walked and c) I came in running! How about that, 4 out of 4! I really did have fun, this was a far more relaxed experience than my half marathon, I wasn't nervous, just went for it, and didn't stress about the time. Admittedly I probably could have come in sooner, but at 4 miles to go I knew I was going to make it in under 6hrs walking, so relaxed and slowed. But thats okay, next year maybe i'll try for a time. :0)

I'll blog about this more later, maybe when the pro photos are available, but here are a couple from today. Right now I have 3 ice packs on my leggies and can feel my eyes closing needing a nap.

Yay - I did it!

Leaving my house this morning, all bundled up. I was so glad it didn't rain today! It was 70F down at the start too, so nice and cool.

At the end! And at 86F, the last ten miles were HOT! It felt so good to get those flip flops and calf supports on!

And my awesome support team - Laura (back) who met me at the finish line with my flip flops and food, and Jenny (front) who came and collected me at 3am this morning to take me to the start, and even picked up this afternoon with pizza!

Friday, December 11, 2009

My goals for Sunday

Runner Tracking System

My Number - 8867

On sunday there will be a tracking system at the above link, so you'll be able to follow my progress as i'm crawling through the course. At the start, 10K, 1/2 marathon, 30K and finish line there will be electronic mats that will record me as I go over, pretty cool!

The start is at 5am. I predict i'll be finished somewhere between 10.30 - 11am.

My Goals

- To have fun!
- To finish!
- To finish in under 6hrs (Considering my on off training i'm not sure this is realistic, but we'll see)
- To run more than walk (see above)
- To cross the finish line running

Some simple goals, if i'm here next year, then i'll ramp up the time!



I like this one this morning.

"When choosing between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before."

Mae West Claire A. Murray

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Help me..

Finally got all my periferals plugged into my computer today (i've literally not had the time since I moved offices). I both love and hate this photo. Love it because it's one of those nifty powercords that turns everything in my office off when I turn off my computer. Hate it because, well, just look at it! I also keep trapping cords in the wheels of my office chair. It's not a good situation. I wish there was a better way.

Sorry about the lack of good photos recently. I can't figure out how to download my pictures from my camera onto my new laptop (thanks old laptop for deciding to die one week into teaching....). I don't know why the program isn't working, but it's driving me crazy. This photo is from my phone.

Oh, and 2 days and counting. I'm eating my fill of pasta and potato chips right now.....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cake Wrecks

This site always cracks me up. This post though, takes the cake. I'm still wiping tears out my eyes.


Teaching that is.......look out for a post of the same name on Sunday or Monday! Phew, teaching over, last lecture done, all I have left is the final exam next week to give and that's it, my first, and not my last, experience with undergrads. I'm still waiting to find out my "grades", will let you know what I get, I hope it's informative.

Monday, December 7, 2009

5 days and counting...

The weekend flew by so fast I didn't have time to post! Sorry about that, I hope you all had a good one. The end of the week went well, busy with teaching, but the lectures went great. Today was my penultimate lectures, final on Weds - phew! Then it's just oversee the exams next week and i'm done!

Saturday I slept in, oh so nice, it's been a week of insomnia, and even though my idea of a "sleep in" is to wake up at 6am, get a cup of tea and go back to bed on the computer until 9am, it was wonderful! A trip to the postoffice and a short 3 mile run around the valley (at an extremely slow pace!) and then off to a Christmas Party for families on welfare (as part of the family programs group I volunteer for occasionally) really started off the holiday feeling for me. I got to guard the presents, not the most exciting thing to do for 3 hours, but it was fun doling them out after, all be it to awaiting other volunteers rather than the actual families. It was fun, 385 families got a meal, some entertainment, craft tables and presents for all the kids from Santa (and some nice ones too - footballs, body boards, dolls and lots of playdough!). After home to laundry and then a nice dinner with Alison and Jenna.

Sunday was busy but productive - unloaded a cruise that just came in in the AM, wrote my lecture for Monday (oops), did a few more loads of laundry (some for Jenny as their washer went down, and babies are not known to wait for washing machine delivery to get dirty), cleaned my bathroom and kitchen, finished a bunch of craft projects, boxed up all my xmas presents and then went for an 8 mile run - joined by Jenny and little Hannah in her jogging stroller for the first 4 miles. After that I ran back to Jenny & Dougs house while they picked up pizza on the way home and had a nice relaxed dinner with my friends. Nice sunday or what!

So now we're 5 days till the marathon next sunday. Let carbo loading begin!