Three things — 9/18/13

Three things I’m loving this week


1.  Honeycrisp apples. At nearly a $1 a piece, they are a pricey piece of fruit, but they are the tastiest apples in the produce section.


2. Kayak lessons. Lauren wanted a kayak after trying one at Discover Presque Isle for all of 10 minutes. I’ve wanted a kayak since before Lauren was born. It seems a shame to live so close to a lake and NOT have some kind of boat, but I didn’t really know anything about it or what kind of a kayak to buy. So, when I saw that the canoe & boat livery at Presque Isle was offering kayaking lessons, I scheduled Lauren and I for a 3-hour tour (lesson).  The instructor – Kathleen Ryan  (403-1393) was really great. She went over safety, gear, what kind of kayak to buy and more before we hit the water and learned how to get in, paddle and do three kinds of turns. If you’ve ever wanted to try kayaking, definitely sign up for this class. Call Kathleen at 403-1393 ($50 for a 3-hour lesson that includes kayak rental).


3. Marcus Buckingham’s Career Intervention. I don’t hate my job (see Career Intervention description below), but this is still an awesome series worth listening to (or watching) because there’s a lot of food for thought.

“Are you stuck in a job you hate? Feel like you just don’t have enough to give to your professional life and your personal life? You’re not alone. Career coach Marcus Buckingham met with a group of women just like you to help them figure out how to reignite the passion in their careers. Now it’s your turn! TakAKe Marcus’s step-by-step workshop and use his lessons to change your life.”


4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. For some reason I really, really, really want one of these adorable puppies. But the closest AKC breeder is nearly 100 miles away…and how can I justify buying a dog when so many need a home?

Three things I’m not loving this week

1. Goal setting. Biggest waste of time ever.


2. “The Giver.” I finished the book two weeks ago & saw the movie last Friday and I really enjoyed both. While the movie was slightly different from the book, it was still interesting and well done. If you held a gun to my head and made me choose which one was better, would be the book — it always is, right?

Worth Reading — 9/17/14

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

Money: 5 High Paying Jobs that Will Make you Miserable (Picking any career based on salary is foolish)

Atlantic: 100 Books Facebook Users Love

Marc and Angel Hack Life: 9 Signs it’s Time to Take a Step Forward

Atlantic: Dramatic Photos of California’s Historic Drought (This is just….disturbing and scary.)

Wellspring: 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

Huffington Post Stop Telling Women Their Bodies Suck (Amen. Seriously…stop. I’m so done with it. All of it. Including “women’s events” in which they do nothing but try to sell you things to fix all the sh%^ that’s wrong with you).

If they stole my phone pix

After what happened to Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities who had their iPhone photos stolen by someone who got into their “cloud,” I started thinking what would happen if someone hacked into my cloud and got a hold of my phone photos. What would they find? (Spoiler: no nudies).

Here’s what they would find:

1. Blurry running photos, taken from behind. I clearly have some fascination with ass shots as I have several photos of my running friends from behind. But…then…hey…if you run faster than me, then I’ll find other ways to “get” you.




2. Sunset/sunrise galore. I love me a colorful evidenced by the 10+ sunset/sunrise photos in my cloud: DSCF1597



3. Proof. Yes, I did run 15 miles…so I must take a picture.  IMG_2655

Yes, my kid did make pancakes for me…so I must take a picture. IMG_2695

Yes, I did complete that speed workout myself…so I must take a picture.


Yes, we did score Steelers tix….so I must take a picture.


4. Cat, cats, and more cats. You’d think I was single and didn’t have kids based on the number of cat photos I have in my phone. Note to self: photograph actual humans — especially the ones you gave birth to —  more.



Oh…’s a cat WITH my kid…that counts as a picture of my kid, right? (Cat beard!)


5. Weather reminders. Lest I ever bitch about it being too hot in August, I keep lots of winter photos on my phone to remind me it’s all temporary: IMG_20131216_073428 IMG_20140202_110135 IMG_20140205_155415

Oooh….a sunrise AND snow:


6. Suicide prevention. And, reasons to hang on in the winter.



7. Hair pix.  I had short hair forever and now I’m obsessed with my long hair.

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8. Food shots. Because some meals — like cupcakes & coffee — are worth remembering.


9. Boredom Selfies. Time to kill even AFTER scrolling both Facebook and Twitter? What’s a bored middle-aged Smartphone-owning mamma to do? Take selfies.

Waiting for the Erie Civic Center Box Office to open:


Waiting for the kids to finish their stupid hotcakes & sausage: IMG_20131231_104507

Waiting for the school bus:

mom & lauren

10. Random shit. Figure this one out….


It’s a testament to my miser nature, inability to make decisions, and blatant disregard for opinions that I solicit.

This photo accompanied a text to my husband: Can you see any use for these (in the garage, maybe?) or should I burn them? He told me to burn them…but, of course, I put them in the garage and filled them with gardening supplies and toys.

I should take a picture, eh?





Worth Reading —9/10/14

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

New York Times: A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat (No lie. It works & I felt like I had my life back. Then, I trained for a marathon & had to start eating carbs again & it all went to hell again. Trying to get back off that carb/sugar train — it’s hard.)

BlogHer: Why ‘You Look Like Your Mom” is the Worst Thing to Say to a Teenage Girl

“Until the day that you are her and you realize that it’s not such a bad thing after all. You hear her words come out of your mouth and you see her hands in your own hands and it’s all good.”

Atlantic: Wine & Exercise: A Promising Combination (Well, there you have it …)

Scary Mommy: Glitter is the Devil: And Other Things Moms of Girls Learn (True…all true, especially No. 5 & 6)

Time: Why I Don’t Eat With My Kids (We rarely do either..and for many of the reasons stated here)

Outside: The Pursuit of Happiness: 14 Simple Habits that Will Change Your Life

Just Write 107 ~ Teamwork

If there’s one photo among the hundreds (literally) taken of my team at Saturday’s Beast on the Bay that sums it all up, it’s this one:

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With a team 70+ strong of different abilities, it was all but impossible to stay together for the entire 10+ mile obstacle race. We started together and then broke into smaller groups based on pace. Those who ran a similar pace ended up running together and helping each other over the obstacles and up to the crest of that last dam#$@ hill to Waldameer where we all stopped — every single one of us — to wait for the rest of our team members.

On Saturday, time meant nothing. Team meant everything.

I never played sports in school. It’s one of the few regrets I have in life. Though, I seriously doubt it would have been anything like this. Supportive. Inspirational. Fun. Encouraging.

We cheered for every person slogging up that hill, not just our teammates.

Some of us ran down to meet up with the last members of our group, which meant doing the Peninsula Road hill twice…and I seriously didn’t care. I’d have run it 10 times for them.

Then we finished together….just like we started.

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Join us! Learn more about Team Adrenaline (which is how most of this group met) here.
About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”

Put the Beast on your must-do list next year


I said I’d never do another Beast on the Bay after last year’s race – 16 miles on sand. But, then, I also said I’d never give birth again, I’d never drink again, and I’d never do another marathon and I’ve got two kids, party photos, and marathon finisher medals that say otherwise. So there I was on Saturday…running the Beast on the Bay again — this time with a team TWICE the size of last year.

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And, you guys, it was awesome.

Here’s what I am most impressed with: The Beast organizers listened. I’m a race director and I can tell you, that it’s not easy to do that. Your tendency is to get defensive immediately (do you know how much work I put into this!?!), but….props to the Barber folks & race organizers because they were nothing but gracious for the feedback (even negative) that they received. AND THEY FIXED IT. ALL OF IT. They fixed every single thing I — and others — complained about last year.

And, for that,the Beast has earned my love & loyalty. I’ll run the Beast as long as my body and schedule allows and I’ll recruit as many other runners as I can. So…with that full disclosure (read: I’m not impartial)…let me tell you, dear reader, why you should do the Beast next year:


Sister versus sister: Beast & Beauty’s team captain — Karen “Kenyan” Groshek, left, and her big sister (and my high school classmate) and Krazie’s co-captain, Eloise, right. Their hilarious, awesome, and colorful mom is in the middle.

1. It’s for a great cause. All fun, joking, and shenanigans aside…the benefactor of this race is one of the very best reasons to do it. True story: I work with a member of the Barber family and recently visited the Barber National Institute with her for a story I was doing. She said: “You know, a lot of people think this is a sad place, but, Heather, this is a happy place. It’s filled with joy and love and people who truly care about these children and their futures. Do you know what would happen to these kids if not for this place? They’d have a very different life.” I’ve never forgotten that. It makes me tear up every time I think about it. The fact that one of my team leaders & our rival team leader (they are sisters) both have children who have benefitted from the Barber Center, makes me all the more weepy. I’m glad they are here. I’m glad they have the love & patience for those children that few do. I’m glad my race entry fee helps them accomplish their mission.


That’s me…second from left…going Loco

2. It fun! The obstacles were much improved this year and were waaaaayyy more fun than last year. My fave: Go Loco — the G.E. sponsored & created obstacle. Leave it to the engineers to come up with one of the most unique obstacles I’ve seen at an adventure race. I was thankful I’d worn my hat, which shielded my eyes from the lake water cascading down at eye level for us shorty girls. ;-) There was a backlog at this obstacle…particularly in the later waves. I know some of our later team members skipped this one because the wait was reported to be an hour or more. Room for improvement for next year, I guess. Maybe have two “trains” going?

3. It’s cheap, compared to other adventure races. If you sign up early, the Beast is only $50…and it’s money well spent. You’d pay twice that (at the earliest bird pricing) for a Tough Mudder and you’d also have to pay for gas & a hotel, so…it’s worth $50 to do one in your own backyard. Hint: Friend the Beast on the Bay on Facebook and you’ll be alerted to “sales”. Also…I believe you get a discount if you’re on a team, which leads me to….

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4. It’s a great team event. Teams are not required…and you could get through this event without them (the obstacles aren’t “impossible” without help), but…being a part of a team makes it that much more fun.

Don’t have a team? Join mine…Krauza’s Krazies welcome participants of any age or ability. There are pre-Beast training sessions led by Dr. Steve Krauza ($5 donation per workout…all money goes to the Barber Center!) and we finish as a team (small groups of participants ran at their own pace, but everyone waited at the top of Peninsula drive to cross the finish line together).

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This year, one of our team members even got a SPONSOR for our team! Fireball Whiskey bought our shirts — for the ENTIRE team! How awesome is that?! Why? Well…let’s just say that some of us “stoke the fires” before we go beast slaying. (Oh….don’t worry…we’re not stupid — one shot only before fighting the Beast! After? Well…hey, now…you work up a thirst slaying beasts for 10+ miles…don’t judge.) ;-)

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5. It’s a workout. Marathon schmarathon. Yeah, I’m going there. I’ve done the old 26.2 more than a few times and I truly think the Beast is more physically demanding. It’s also WAAAYYYY more fun. JMO, of course…take it for what it’s worth. (I will say I think the marathon is more mentally challenging, but..that could have to do with the marathon being a singular pursuit and the Beast being more of a group thing).

6. You can get all competitive, if you want. The Beast organizers offer a timing option. I’m not sure why anyone would want to be timed because you can’t control the backup at obstacles (and other variables), but if you’re into beating the clock (or your friends)…it’s an option for you.

If you want more information on the race…or on Krauza’s Krazies, feel free to email me at zipdang22 at aol dot com (spelled out to avoid those dang spammers!). I’d love you have you on the Krazie train!

* Here is a GoPro video one of my Krazie teammates (Jon Wolff) made of the event in which you can see many of the obstacles …and if you watch closely you’ll see the husband an I taking on the half pipe (2:54 mark). I basically ran like hell and threw my arms up and the guys on top yanked me up onto the platform (tip: Recruit some tough guys for your team). Yeah…you can find us where the party’s at.

* Here is a blog & slideshow that another teammate — Captain Eloise — put together -- she and her sister (Beauty & Beasts team captain) had rival teams. We had a lot of fun teasing each other in the months leading up to the event. Read all about it here and here.

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