Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three Things Thursday: Fun Things I Found On the Internet Lately

1. This equational limerick. 

I actually found it from this post by Leah on Good Night Cheese; it wasn't the point of the post (though it was a good read otherwise), but it was the aspect that stuck! It's not the only math limerick, here are a few more. 

2. This Washington state map corn maze, that I found via this post by Mellzah. There are some things I don't like to put in type on here to avoid being googleable in certain ways, but I will say that I find it awesome that my hometown is one of the starting "cities" - the southernmost one. 

3. This video of tattooing in slow motion. 

I haven't decided yet if this makes the tattoo I want to get more or less scary - but I think less scary! I'm seriously considering getting it done sometime this winter, before triathlon season starts back up (since I'm pretty sure you have to stay out of the pool for at least a couple weeks after). I'm pretty sure that my current idea is what I want, and will be ok with for the rest of my life, but not 100% yet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wedding Crap: Invitations

(See introduction to this series here, and other posts in the series here.)


1. This is merely a hobby, so I'm not going to great lengths of research to find the most accurate information possible about the history of these traditions. I am trying to verify information to some degree to avoid continuing the spread of non-facts, but mostly this is a summary of the general consensus I've heard through out my life. Ultimately, I think how we treat these traditions has just as much to do with what we believe to be the origin of them, as the actual origin.

2. I am not trying to demean anyone who has chosen to partake in any of the traditions discussed. My goal is to spark discussion about what the history of these things mean to us today, how changing our language and treatment of traditions can affect our culture now, and, ideally, encourage anyone who wants to follow wedding traditions to do so as a conscious choice, not merely as a default that honors our patriarchal past.

What is the tradition? 

According to proper etiquette, wedding invitations should be written in a standard format, using formal language (or, if you want to be casual, you can elect to not write out the date and time in full words), and "proper" addressing of the parties involved. For example:

Mr. and Mrs. Father HerName
Mr. and Mrs. Father HisName
Request the pleasure of your company 
at the marriage of their children

Bride Middle HerName
Groom Middle HisName

Sunday, the Twenty-Seventh of July
Two Thousand and Fourteen
Two O'Clock in the afternoon

The Village Ballroom
700 North East Dekum Street
Portland, Oregon

This is usually printed on high quality, thick stationary, often with pretty floral or swoopy designs to accent it. One is also supposed to hand write - nicely, i.e., in calligraphy - the addresses on the envelopes (yes, two envelopes! the outer one for mailing, and a nicer one with the specific addressees written on it).

What is the origin of the tradition?

The format of wedding invitations - stationary, envelopes, wording, etc. - is based on the format that all social correspondence followed once upon a time. When was the last time you sent a hand-calligraphied note on crisp linen stationary to a friend to invite them to your house for a dinner party? Oh, about 100 years ago? Yeah.

Despite all the advances we've made, both in technology and cultural norms, some of these "etiquette" rules have stuck around as etiquette when they were just reflected social norms at the time, and have no bearing on how we otherwise relate to other people today.

Why do people still follow it?

A wedding is one of the largest and most expensive (even if you aren't extravagant, it's expensive because it's so large!) events that most people ever host, therefore it's fairly understandable that they want it to be impressive. Since they don't normally host such events, they're willing to believe what others says they are "supposed to" do, or even things that are "required". 

Why is that crap? 

Of all the things to take issue with in regards to weddings, many people would probably view the invitations as fairly innocuous. I disagree!

At the most surface level, the fanciness of invitations that doesn't show up anywhere else in our modern lives; much like the white dress, it has this bizarre hold on our expectations, one that I think makes us want to be wealthy and privileged - and I don't think that's healthy, whether it's held consciously or unconsciously.

Regardless of the paper it's printed on, the wording, is oh so gross. The formal language, spelling out the date and such, is again like the fanciness issue. It's not a clear reflection of who we are these days. Sure there are different levels of formality, but "Two thousand and fourteen" isn't formal - I would never write that in a business memo - it's merely antique. Even the most casual wedding is probably special even that it warrants more than a mere facebook event to invite guests (although - that would probably be most akin to the town criers who once upon a time issued wedding invitations, so that would make a facebook invite the ultimate in following tradition, would it not?), but you can raise the level of formality without contradicting your normal sense of self.

And, I'm sure you knew where this was ultimately heading. Wives have first names too!!!!!

This wikipedia entry even states that the addressing of the parents in this manner is "as they use them in formal social contexts". Uh, no. First of all, there are virutally no "formal social contexts" in two thousand and fourteen, and even if there were, the majority of women, if they gave it any intelligent thought, would balk at the idea of "formal" = "my husband's identity". IT IS NOT OK TO ERASE A WOMAN'S IDENTITY!

What am I doing with this tradition?

We used this Offbeat Bride post to inspire our invitations (and our programs - "So you've arrived at the..."). I thought the pamphlet style not only allowed best expression of our personalities, but as a bonus was super ridiculously cheap to create - I mean, you can't use anything fancier than copy paper to make this look authentic. :) 

We did splurge for pretty envelopes, but they were addressed via printed white mailing labels.

Absolutely nothing in our invitations mentioned our parents; although they all assisted in various ways with money and/or planning, ultimately it was our - mine and Abe's - event, and we were the hosts. We're almost 30, getting married, we don't need our parents to host this event for us.

We didn't follow any special "wedding" wording, we merely created an invitation that reflected our personality and provided the relevant information about the event to our guests. And more importantly - it gave a sense of the vibe and what to expect at the event itself, which is also an important goal of any invitation.

Inside flap, back, front.

Inside of pamphlet.

How did/will you handle this tradition?

I would love to have a lively debate and conversation in the comments! Please join in!

Dissenting opinions (from the post itself or other commenters) are welcome, but I reserve the right to delete any comments that personally attack me or any other commenter.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Giveaway: Doctor Who Yahtzee & Tote Bag for 10,000 Doctor Who Views

Despite the overall purpose of this blog being about running, with perhaps a secondary theme of feminism, my most popular post - by a virtually exponential amount - is the one about my Doctor Who birthday party. It not only has tons of repins on Pinterest, but has also shown up on stumbleupon, plus I've seen links from facebook and other social media sites - this type of sharing is a pretty big deal for a small blog like mine! 

Over the weekend, it hit 10,000 page views, so I'm celebrating with my first ever giveaway!

The winner of the giveaway will receive a Doctor Who Yahtzee game and a tote bag. Winner will be selected randomly from the Rafflecopter entries; if you win please respond to my request for mailing information within 48 hours, or I reserve the right to select a new winner. The giveaway is open for two weeks, from October 27th through November 9, 2014. This post and giveaway is not sponsored in any way - just products I bought myself to celebrate and share with you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seattle Half Training Week 3 (with incredibly verbose commentary)



Monday: Easy run 2.3 miles (13:46 pace)

Thursday: Easy run 2.7 miles (14:03 pace)

Sunday: Run 5.0 miles (13:46)

Total running: 10 miles

Oy vey. This was an unexpectedly busy and stressful week at work - we're taking advantage of the typical lull from mid October through mid December (after the October 15th extended due date until we do year-end planning) to fully implement procedures for the new repairs regulations that are required starting with the 2014 tax year, and try to front load as much of the work as possible before busy season. I'm on the committee to come up with our policies and procedures, and be a point person for my team as we start the processes. 

We had an internal training on Thursday - I only had a small assigned part to present, but was also a bit behind on fully learning the rules myself. I ended up working more than ten extra hours - totally normal to happen at times in our industry, but this was the week after a tax due date, so it was quite unexpected! Also more stressful, as I was also doing some reading and studying at home - different kind of pressure than merely a finite amount of work that had to get done.

But - that internal training is now over! Apparently I succeeded in well preparing myself, because out of the four team-point-people on the committee, I got picked to co-present at a training for our clients in a couple weeks! Definitely the type of thing that's beyond my comfort zone, but absolutely a great opportunity. And fortunately I have some time to continue studying the regs!

Anyway, long story short (too late!), I ended up with very little time and even less energy to do any running. I'm already feeling much more motivated; today's "long" run was cut short by some intense rain, but otherwise I felt ready to go farther. 

I've realized that the goal pace that the training plan predicted is waaaay too much of a stretch now that I've missed so much of the work; it was a bit of a reach even if I had met all of the workouts. But that was really quite an ambitious PR, I have plenty of room to get back on track and still set a nice PR even if it's not quite as fast as I'd hoped.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Toastmasters: Table Topics - Today In History

One thing that happens during each Toastmasters meeting is "Table Talks". The Topicsmaster facilitates brief (1 - 2 minutes) impromptu talks by a handful of members. They select in advance speaking prompts, usually tying it in to the day's topic chosen by that meeting's Toastmaster. On Wednesday I was the Topicsmaster and the theme was "Today in history" (that day was the 90th anniversary of Toastmasters!). 

Assigning prompts can happen deliberately (for example, if you think someone would have a good answer for it, based on their knowledge or experience), or randomly. I did it by asking them to pick a year in the 1900s, and then gave them the prompt for the year included in my list closest to it.

I didn't have to answer them in the meeting myself, but thought they'd be fun to think about anyway.

On October 22, in:

1938, Chester Carlson demonstrated the first Xerox machine. What do you think is the most useful piece of technology in use today?

I'm actually going to steal the answer of the member who answered this prompt during the meeting: the internet. Pretty much all other technology that makes life convenient today relies on the internet. Even though it wasn't truly ubiquitous in the first several years of my life, I can hardly imagine living without it. 

1939, the first televised pro football game was telecast from New York (Brooklyn defeated Philadelphia 23-14). What sport is your least favorite to watch?

My least favorite sport to watch is football, primarily because it's so stop and go - two minutes left on the clock can take hours!

1949, Emil Zatopek set a then-world record for the 10k race in 29:21.2. If you were forced to race some running distance, what distance would you pick?

Well, let's see, what races do I usually torture myself with? I tend to go back and forth on whether I'd rather focus on speed or distance, but currently I'd lean towards a 5k - painful but fast (obviously that'd be my preference at the moment, since I just registered for a half marathon).

1975, the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Are you rooting for the Giants or Royals in this year's World Series?

I'm rooting for the Royals, because Abe is and I wouldn't otherwise have an opinion (his real team is the Cardinals, but since they didn't make it, the Royals are the next choice). He roots for them because he grew up in Missouri.

1978, Bill Rodgers won the 9th New York City Marathon in 2:12:12. What was the hardest thing you've attempted in your life?

I would the marathon! Even though it took me a smidge more than 2:12. 

1979, Walt Disney World welcomed its 100-millionth guest. What is your "most magical place on earth"? 

Haramara Retreat where I've been twice for vegan yoga retreats. It's an absolutely stunning escape from modern reality. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Three Things Thursday: Currently Making Me Happy

1. This blazer from Target. It's knit, so it basically feels like wearing a sweatshirt and pulling it off as business professional wear. The fit is short (even the sleeves aren't excessively long) so it seems flattering on my shortness, and I love (1) the buttons on the sleeves and (2) that the sleeves can be pushed up (I really don't like sleeves on my forearms). I'm even 98.62% sure that no one can tell just by looking at it in normal usage that it's not actually made out of suiting material.

2. I found my barrette! To keep things easy without being sloppy, I wear my hair half-up pretty much every day for work (with the very occasional deviation when I'm feeling adventurous). But this is the only barrette I've found - and trust me, I've looked for backups - that holds just the right amount of hair and has just the right amount of tension. About a month ago, I couldn't find it. :( I've had to make do with a small hair band to do my hair, and it's just not the same. But yesterday morning I had to dig a bit deeper into my main container of toiletry stuff to find my eyeliner sharper, and I found the barrette (and the pencil sharpener).  

3. The cats are making significant progress in coexisting. Ok, they're not exactly cuddling with each other yet. But this situation is starting to happen on a regular basis, where Imogene is willing to come sit on a lap even when Hera is already somewhere on the couch, and/or stay put even when Hera joins us on the couch. 

There's still some hissing and swiping going on, especially when Hera seems to be getting ready to pounce on Imogene (I think in a playful way, not an aggressive way?) and Imogene is rightfully annoyed, but she's allowing Hera to get pretty close before being too expressive. They just might become friends yet!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Seattle Half Training Week 2



Monday: Swim 1,200 yards + easy run 2.55 miles (14:02 pace)

Tuesday: Easy run 3.1 miles (13:20 pace)

Have you seen articles about how we have a limited amount of willpower, and that's why it's harder to stick to healthy habits when we're using our willpower up for other things? That's why I didn't do a strength workout Tuesday morning - I'd used up my willpower making myself go swimming the night power (though I am totally glad I swam, and enjoyed it, but I didn't want to beforehand). I had to skip ballet that evening due to working late, but at least still squeezed in a run!

Wednesday: Treadmill run 2.0 miles (13:03 pace) 

After meeting a friend for dinner, I got home after dark so I thought I'd go to the rec center and do this week's mile repeats workout on the treadmill. Nope. Didn't even get through the first interval before remembering how boring the treadmill is, especially at a constant pace. Just going to count it as some bonus miles for the week.

Thursday: Interval run 6.0 miles (12:38 pace)

This was also after dark, but otherwise very lovely running conditions, so went ahead and did it outdoors, with a headlamp, on some neighborhood loops I'm very familiar with.

1 mile warm-up - 13:45
3 x 1 mile - 11:08, 11:02, 11:06
2 x 0.5 recovery - 14:36, 14:16
1 mile cool-down - 14:2 

Sunday: "Long" run 6.4 miles (14:07 pace) 

Long run fail. So many reasons - not sure to what extent they're actually reasons versus excuses, though: I started too late in the morning and it was an unusually warm day, not enough recovery time since this week's speed workout, not sleeping well, etc. In any case I was tired and my legs felt heavy. Only kept myself going as long as I did so I would at least meet 20 miles for the week. Oh well, there's always next week, right?

Total swimming: 1,200 yards
Total running: 20.05 miles