Difficult Decision

It has taken me a long to time to reach this decision, but I’ve decided not to renew my Runner’s World subscription this time around.  [*sob*]  It’s not that they placed a renewal order with themselves in my name, months before my paid subscription expires.  But as I’ve pondered whether to renew this time around, I’ve gotten too many notices like this, via mail and email, that make me feel like a deadbeat when I’ve done nothing wrong.

RW notice

I’ll miss the “yay” moment of seeing the magazine in my mailbox every month or so, and then reading it cover-to-cover; the good articles and the mundane and repeated stuff, and yes, even the ads.  But I’ve been contemplating for some time, whether or not to renew, because I guess I’m looking for content geared more toward my running interests, and it seems that RW has been trying to go a different way lately.  Or maybe it’s me; I don’t know.  So now that I’ve made this decision, I’ll start my search in earnest for my RW replacement.  I know it’s out there somewhere.  But in the meantime, I feel like I’m severing an old friendship where the cold realities of business crept in and caused us to forget all of the good things we once had in common.   And it hurts.

Disgrace

Don’t be fooled by the cover.  It is a compelling story, with substance and depth.  It is an authentic description of life in London in the Swinging 60s, as two sisters grow up and leave home, at first setting out on dramatically different paths.  The story is set primarily near Notting Hill, Sloane Square, and King’s Road, among other iconic London locations.  Parts of the story also take place in Paris, Nice and St. Tropez.  The story spans the time frame from the 1920s to the 60s, with flashbacks to World War II.  I’m convinced that the cover was so wrong for the book that it suppressed sales.

The author is also the founder of Biba fashion boutique.  She published an autobiography in 1983, titled, “From A to Biba: The Autobiography of Barbara Hulanicki.”  I’m going to have to read that one, too.  It comes in Kindle format.

Disgrace book cover--fronta

Disgrace book cover--backa

“Disgrace,” by Barbara Hulanicki, published 1990.

I stumbled onto the book from a review at this website, http://dandyinaspic.blogspot.com/ and I’m glad I did.

Grocery hike

Today before it got too hot out, I walked to the grocery store and back,

using the trolley I bought in Amsterdam,

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wearing my other new pair of Xeros barefoot sandals,

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and listening to a library book on my Kindle.

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The entire trip took 90 minutes, and was as enjoyable as an errand can be.

Train-ing

I’ve run under this cool trestle a gazillion times, but tonight was the first time a train was passing overhead.  It was a bit unsettling to run under a bridge with a train moving by just a few feet above.  The trestle floor is not solid; you can look up from underneath and see the underside of the cars passing overhead.

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I also love the railroad bridge that crosses the river. 

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It has a nostalgic feel. 

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The artwork on the train cars is captivating.

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Another perfect Juneathon evening, when I can run at almost 9pm and it is light out. 

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Another 2 miles in the fitness log book.

I’m reading The Appeal, by John Grisham.  It’s a good one.

Infinite Snow

We are deep into Part II of the Blizzard of Oz of 2013.

3WD

So, what did I do on my latest Neos-wearing run-walk in the snow-slush?  I took pictures of snow forts and snow men I saw along the way.

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The snow has also caused me to make more headway with Infinite Jest.  The book becomes more captivating the farther into it I read.  The various POVs used by the writer are fascinating.  Today’s reading was on how Marlon Brando’s slouches were meticulously calculated and practiced to appear totally casual in a disarming sort of way.  This was all explained by a father to a son, as to why his mother, a bit-part actress, was wrong to become entranced by Brando’s charm.

Lungs and Abs

I wonder what it will take to have the female equivalent of these abs when I’m 69.  The crowd singing, "Won't get fooled again."

And these lungs.IMG_0213a-RSR IMG_0242a--RSR

Or this genius when I’m 68.IMG_0216a-RSR

Incredible support from my peers will certainly help.IMG_0170a--RSR

Come back again soon.IMG_0237a--RSR

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For music lovers, the book, Who I Am, by Pete Townshend, was an excellent and informative read.

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

I finished reading Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.  It was a fascinating and emotional account of Elizabeth Keckley, the former slave who purchased her freedom, became a respected professional dressmaker in Washington, DC, and served as Mary Todd Lincoln’s modiste during her husband’s Presidency.  The book is based on historical fact, but the author did fill in certain gaps in the record, with her perception of what might have happened.

The stories of Mrs. Lincoln’s instability are well known.  This book supplied details and perspective.  The life of Mrs. Keckley was tragic and inspiring.  Stories about how she grew up a slave were interwoven throughout the book.  Her son was in college when the story began, but he soon joined the military to fight for the Union.  Before the war began, one of Mrs. Keckley’s clients was Mrs. Jefferson Davis, the eventual First Lady of the Confederacy.  Particularly compelling and poignant was Mrs. Keckley’s journey to visit the family who had owned her as a slave.

I love Jennifer Chiaverini’s writing style.  It is relaxed and inspiring.  I’ve enjoyed her Elm Creek series, but I hope this won’t be the last time she departs from that series to write a historical novel.  This book left me wanting to know a lot more about Elizabeth Keckley.

I pasted two images below of Mrs. Keckley, plus a video about her quilt which according to legend, was made from Mrs. Lincoln’s dress scraps.  But that is where I’ll stop with the links and images.  The book itself will compel you to do your own searches to learn more about Mrs. Keckley, and see the dresses she made.

Elizabeth Keckley

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One of those days when you try to catch up on everything

JUMPER PROGRESS

I’m fighting with the front collar placement.  Then I will tame that standup collar attitude in the back.  I left my camera somewhere last weekend, so until I get it back this week, I’m stuck with my phone camera.

B&W front pinned-a  B&W back pinned-a

B&W collar pinned-a

B&W back collar pinned-a

I’m using this pattern again, but making a jumper that I can wear with tights, boots, and a long sleeved shirt underneath.

JANATHON

Janathoon 2012 Participant Logo

I ran 2.5 miles today in gorgeous sunny, warm weather.  I should have done a long run, but am still catching up on office work.  I’m going to try doing a long run mid-week.  Those mid-week plans often don’t materialize, but I’m going to try nevertheless.  I’d give an update on my pre-holiday weight, but my scale needs a battery.

Some more excellent Janathon blogs:

http://needtojoglovetorun.wordpress.com/  Marathon training, and trying a personal trainer at the gym, and weights.  *scream*

http://stickchickmeredith.blogspot.co.uk/  Someone who makes a lot of her own food; as I do.   My favorite line:  “I was janathoned, showered, breakfasted and ready to go by 07.30am.”

http://www.fatgirlrunning.co.uk/ Describes a nice Christmas morning run.  Go, girl!

http://6hourmarathonrunner.blogspot.co.uk/  Fun talk, and then a tough decision to cut back on running.  That has to be hard.

http://borntoshuffle.wordpress.com/  Lovely cover photo of a long beach with palm trees.  And “running buddy” = ruddie.  I love it.   Hope the cold is getting better.  Ugh.

http://markxspot.com/  Best. Cover. Photo. Ever.  Inside, little short posts showing daily progress.

READING

I’m reading Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini.  It is an interesting, fast read so far.  Stay tuned.

Reading

Infinite Jest.  I nearly always have a sewing project that I work on only periodically and therefore takes months or years to be finished.  I’m reading a book that way now.  The book is Infinite Jest, written by David Foster Wallace and published in 1996.  I love reading it, but I keep getting distracted by other books.  Usually the other books are shorter and more contemporary fiction.  Once I finish the “distraction,” I return for more of Infinite Jest.

Infinite Jest is a 1000+ page saga that requires concentration to absorb every detail.  It is on the Time 100 best novels written since 1923 (aka the beginning of Time).  http://entertainment.time.com/2005/10/16/all-time-100-novels/#how-we-picked-the-list 

The book is set in North America in the then-not-too-distant future.  Some of the future projections made by the author have eerily become true since the book was written.  Example:  “Entertainment cartridges” that are inserted and played through the TV, are delivered to households, watched, and then returned via the mail service; i.e., a 1996 vision of what now looks remarkably like Netflix.  Other projections are not far out of the realm of possibility, especially to a cynical thinker.  Example:  Calendar years come with corporate naming rights as opposed to chronological numbers.  “YDAU” is the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment.   Memorable scenarios that play out in the early part of the book include an awkward college entrance interview; and a dad who sends his son to a conversation consultant (ostensibly to help him develop his conversational skills).  The son realizes on the first visit with the conversation consultant that the consultant is actually his dad in disguise; it is a plan the dad conceived in order to trick his son into having a conversation with him.

There will be future updates as I continue to make my way through the book.

In the meantime, I’m reminded of the book every time I go for a run.  Last year Infinite Jest was gifted with its own awesome tribute song and video–by The Decemberists.  I have added the song to my running mix on my mp3 player.  It’s an excellent, fun running song, so it will probably stay in my running mix for a long time; possibly through the Year of the Chewable Ambien Tab.