Archive for ‘Travel’

July 2, 2012

Healthy Camping

When we returned home from camping Saturday night, I cut up a watermelon, made a big salad, put out a bowl of cherries, and cooked a Pesto Pizza (Trader Joe’s) for the fam.

our campsite on Fire Island

One thing I don’t like about camping is the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. Maybe someone more clever or more prepared than I would’ve come up with a way to pack watermelons or grapefruits. But the fresh fruit I packed, bananas, got mushy and brown before we even hit the campsite.

Any time I travel, I try to eat healthy, yet making hot dogs and S’Mores just seems easier and more fun at the campfire. I’ve got to work on this.

The other downside in terms of my health in the summer is that I don’t mean to get a tan and with my history of Basal Cell Carcinoma, I definitely shouldn’t. But I do.

I apply sunscreen early in the day and then fail to reapply. I’m just too lazy or uninterested. At the beach, inertia sets in.

Yesterday I bought a long-sleeved SPF waterproof shirt. I hope that helps. It was expensive ($50), but then, so is skin cancer.

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June 3, 2012

Runner from Botswana

I have found my Olympic athlete to watch!

On the shuttle bus ride in Portland on June 3, I met this future Olympian, Amantle Montsho from Botswana. Ms. Montsho was very sweet; she had just competed in the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon the day before and came in second. She was departing our van and looking for Delta; I think she was heading to Europe. I was looking for my rental car as I was heading for Eugene to meet my college roommate and spend the day. (So much fun!)

I learned about this runner on the New York Times cover sports story about Amantle Montsho. I am usally ticked off that every story in the sports section (of every newspaper) is dedicated to men’s sports so I was surprised and happy when I saw this article about a woman Olympic hopeful. I thought, “Way to go, NYTimes! Way to go Botswana!”

The kids and I love Botswana, ever since we hosted two young women for a week in New York from Botswana a month or so ago. Lolo and Rati were beautiful, smart, talented! We became fans of this land-locked country, north of South Africa. And especially the people there. I wrote about our awesome experience hosting these high school musicians at Our High School Students from Botswana.

Lolo told us that the whole country of Botswana is rooting for Amantle. They all know her personally as Botswana is small country (almost as big as Texas, according to Google).

When Amantle walked away from me at the airport, she seemed hardly to touch the ground as she walked. It may be cliche to say, but she was extremely light on her feet. Like a ballet dancer in New York City coming from class, you can tell by the way she walks, she is a special kind of person who really lives in her body. She is lithe and strong. She also seemed quite young and innocent.

And I’m rooting for her!


Official Results – Women – 400 Metres





1 Sanya Richards-Ross USA 49.39
2 Amantle Montsho BOT 49.62
3 Novlene Williams-Mills JAM 49.78
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August 24, 2011

Sink or Swim

A week ago my youngest brother and I were in a boat on Lake Champlain.

I asked my niece, the driver, to slow down and drop us in the middle of the lake. My brother and I could swim ashore. I love the sink or swim mentality. I’ve never been on an Outward Bound excursion, but sometimes I think my life is an Outward Bound adventure. Before we even took a moment to rethink what we were doing and if we could do it, we dove in. The boat sped away.

I love the urgency and immediacy of putting  myself in a pressure cooker and seeing if I can handle it. This is probably why I’m always running late. I love the adrenaline rush of making the train just as it’s about to pull away. (I know, I know, there are many people in my life for whom this style of operating does not work!)

Back on shore, we couldn’t decide how many miles we swam.

Yesterday I signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in my office building. I am excited for the fall to start and the kids to get back in school (Kids, how are those summer reading assignments going? Not so good? Get reading!) so I can go back to daily fitness and healthy eating.

Maybe I will actually implement a healthy daily routine and not have to put myself in pressured situations in order to make it to shore.

May 8, 2010

St. Louis Run

In St. Louis I ran to the arch. It was only like a ten-minute run from the convention center. I knew I should get to the Press Room. (This is a common theme in my blog posts about St. Louis — always running to or from the Press Room. See my blog at about my walk on the Labyrinth on my way to Press Room.)

Any way, back to my run. It was kind of clammy that morning. But I really wanted to run. I tried to do the interval training that I was so excited about last week. I ran for five minute and walked for one. I did this about three times. Then I stopped to take a picture of the arch. And I kept walking. I didn’t feel like running again. But I saw a guy in a yellow shirt ahead of me. And just seeing someone else run makes you feel a little guilty if you’re not running. So I ran one more interval.

Then I took my headphones off and listened to the music coming from the riverboat casinos. It was like 9:00 in the morning on the Mississippi.  A school group was heading into the arch. The teachers were permissive and let the kids jump off a bench into the air. I liked that.

I thought about how hungry I was. This seems to be a theme in this blog. I start running and then I start thinking about eating. I wonder if the pros get sidetracked with thoughts of food. Maybe it’s just the boredom of running.

So I did get a run in. But then I stopped for an egg sandwich. And a homeless guy chatted me up — he told me “With some cream and sugar, honey, you’d sure taste good.”

People in St. Louis were very friendly.

April 10, 2010

Lakeshore Run


Haven’t run in a while so this morning, in Chicago, I told myself you don’t have to run for long, you just have to run for 12 minutes and I did.

I slowed down to take this photo. I walked for 2 minutes. And then I ran for 10 minutes until I found the Dunkin Donuts. Just like in the TV commercial, the idea of a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter and a hazelnut coffee really inspired me. That goal made the morning run fun. And I am not a paid sponsor.

January 7, 2010

Horizontal and No TV

1/1/10 A vacay that is mostly horizontal is very nice. I had planned yesterday to walk the length of the beach as I had with Joanna on that first (or was it second?) morning in Akumal. But inertia sets in.

Instead, I lay at the pool, arguing with my brother in law about why my little family could not blow up our TV, as he advised. When raising their boys, Jeff and E did not have a television.

I said, “Chris and I both work or worked in television. It’s disingenuous to give it up.”

“That’s like, if your mother worked in a brothel, you shouldn’t keep your kids from working in a brothel,” Jeff argued. I don’t think TV’s as bad as a brothel.

My kids sat on our lounge chairs piping in, “But what about Glee? If we gave up TV, we’d have to give up Glee and American Idol.” But the kids were much more on board with the idea of “No Television” than I would have thought. They’re more on board with it than I am.

Hayden listed all of his friends whom he plays sports with outdoors.

Catherine agreed with Jeff — we should take the television out to the field in front of Skenewood and simply shoot the TV. Charlotte just stared at the surf.

January 7, 2010

Snorkeling in Akumal

Big fish, little fish. Big coral, little coral. Brainy coral, waving fan coral.

The sound underwater. The tick tick tick of the fish eating, spitting out rocks. Silly fish.

The gift from the sea (to borrow Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s brilliant phrase) is the sheer existence of it all. The vast ‘what it is-ness’ of the reef on the Mayan coast. Like the turtle.

The turtle lives its life. It doesn’t ask, ‘Am I a good enough turtle? A hard enough worker? An excellent mother? A good writer? How come I haven’t won the Pulitzer? A Fulbright?’

No, the turtle asks, ‘Is that food? I will go to it.’ Or it says, ‘Is that danger? I will stay away from it.’

This is a lesson in simply existing. Being. Going towards the good. Staying away from the bad. If the turtles in the bay can do it, I can, at least try. Go to food. Stay away from danger.

While I worry about my husband’s health, my kids’ education, politics, the environment, my career, there are turtles – and I saw about five on each of my brief snorkeling forays in the Akumal Bay. The turtles are living in the wild, unaware of the new airline regulations between Mexico and Florida. They are citizens of the world. Love that.

And so long as there are turtles that are part of the incredible diversity of the Mayan coast reef, then all is still all right with the world. And I can just stop worrying.

Instead just ask Is that food? I will go to it. Is that danger? I will stay away from it.

September 5, 2009

Today’s a Day for Packing

The kids and I have had an extended summer road trip — a few days in Long Beach Island, New Jersey; the kids at Quinipet camp on Shelter Island, Long Island; I went to Dillard University in New Orleans and then the New Age Spa in the Catskills; the kids and I to School of Christian Mission in Danbury, Conn; a week at Chautauqua Institute in Western New York with my sister and her kids; almost two weeks in and around family in Chicago; back to the Adirondacks in Westport, New York.

The kids and I have done extensive lugging. When they returned from Quinipet, I went to our apartment basement and emptied each suitcase, then when their laundry was clean, I refilled each suitcase. The next day we left again. They have been living out of those big, bright suitcases for two months now.

On this trip, we also invented the ONO bag, the “One Night Only” bag. (And whenever we mention ONO, we sing that song, “One Night Only”.) In the ONO bag, there’s a toothbrush, a bathing suit, PJs, and a clean change of clothes for the next day. This is the bag you take into a hotel after a day on the road, like at those hotel stops in Binghamton, New York; Toledo, Ohio; and Erie, Penn.

When the kids and I went to Italy almost three years ago, each child had their own backpack. We checked no bags on the flight. By the end of our ten days, Charlottte’s light blue sweat pants were streaked with mud. We so needed a hot laundry cycle and I had hoped for that when we finally visited my cousin in Ravenna. But the electrical wiring in her house probably couldn’t handle our filthy loads. Any way, I felt it was an imposition to ask. Note to self, pack dark pants next time instead of light.

It is necessary to unpack, do laundry, and pack when you travel. Sometimes when I return from work travel, I leave the rolling bag untouched for days – even, yes, weeks. Maybe I hate to say good bye to a trip.

After you pack, eventually, you have to unpack. I don’t mind the former, I don’t like the latter. Because that means the trip is over. The only consolation is that soon you can travel again. I hate to end a trip without having another coming up soon.

I will go to the Taize community in the South of France in October, the whole family will go to Akumal in Mexico for Christmas. These are good trips to anticipate.

Because the upcoming trips are international, I have to return to the one bag travel, just the necessities – dark pants, toothbrush, layers.

I have to enlist the children today. They have to help pack and unpack. They have to carry the load.

Summer is almost over.

I hate it, but we have to do it. We have to pack up and unpack this summer road trip before we can pack for the next.