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(Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

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(Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

Saturday, May 28, 2011

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Die, Zombie Becky!

As a kid, I was steeped in a broth of James Bond, with a heavy dose of Dirty Harry mixed in. I also have a weirdly defective startle impulse and routinely scream during benign situations if I am surprised. People think I’m kidding, but I really can’t control it. 

So it was with a mix of excitement and dread that I headed to the shooting range to fire a handgun for the first time. I got a safety lesson first from Jordan, a friend of my husband’s whose Baer 1911 .45 I would be firing.

The .45 is a big gun. I was scared and let out a yelp from the big kick during my first few shots. I was surprised how quickly I got used to it, though. I started by loading just one round at a time so that I wouldn’t have live ammunition in the gun during the kick.

Once I settled in, I fired three rounds in succession, since that is a better method for shooting at zombies.

I stayed alert and cautious throughout our session. A man a few lanes away was firing a cannon that I felt through my feet every time he shot. It’s hard to relax around that, but I did get more comfortable.

The three of us only fired about 50 rounds, to the surprise of the man at the desk. Once I finished, I was itching to get out of there quickly, feeling like I didn’t want to press my luck.

I took care of Zombie Becky, but Zombie Roxie may be coming for me in my nightmares tonight.

#4. 101 things in 1001 days. Shoot a gun.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still stepping

I love a good streak.

I am on day 232 of walking at least 10,000 steps a day. Now, I know this is a little feat since it’s the minimum recommendation for movement in a day, but it has taken a lot of effort to be this consistent.

I have felt myself going through these phases in adopting this habit.

  • Enthusiastic Beginner. I started last fall, walking around my neighborhood when the weather was nice. There was enough daylight after dinner to take a pleasant stroll. I listened to new music podcasts, and the miles just flew by. It was only when it was raining hard that I had to get creative and do things like walk at the mall before dinner, after ordering, and after dinner to get the steps in.
  • Struggling Beginner. The days grew short and cold. It was hard to always get the steps in. I don’t have sidewalks in my area, and I tried walking the narrow, snow-filled roads only a few times before I decided that was too dangerous. We were having our basement done with plans to get a treadmill, and I just had to hang in there. There were delays, and delays, and delays. These were the dark days of keeping my streak alive.
  • Intermediate Habit Former. Once I hit 100 days in a row, I told myself I wouldn’t obsess about whether I got 10,000 steps or not on a particular day because its an arbitrary goal that doesnt really matter. Yeah, that didn’t really happen. I wanted the steps, and I did anything to get them. I took laps around my living room/kitchen/dining room circuit while my family was watching TV, which meant that about every eight seconds I walked in front of them. Sorry! On the day of a road trip down to D.C. after work, I walked the streets in clogs during my lunch hour and then had to walk a Virginian parking lot during a dinner break on the road. On a bitterly cold and windy night, we rushed down to New Haven to meet people when I still needed another mile or so, and I ventured out of the restaurant on my own for a chilly jaunt.
  • Habitual Walker. Once the treadmill was up and running and the habit was in place, walking just became a regular part of my day. Some days I get up a little early, some days I walk before dinner, and some days I finish up before bed. It just feels right to get at least that much activity in every day, and I love a good walk to clear my head after a stressful day. 
I keep a pedometer in my pocket, and the common advice that’s shared all the time really is true. Tips like taking the stairs, parking farther away from the store, and getting up from the computer periodically all add up. I have a pretty sedentary job, so I usually only have about two miles in at the end of a school day. That leaves about three miles to get in on the treadmill or during a walk after school.

I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of a person (About), so I worried that if I ended the streak, I would instantly become a couch potato again. Now, though, I think the habit is well ingrained. One day my streak will inevitably have to end, and the next day will be day number one.

day2day joys

#32. 101 things in 1001 days. Walk 10,000 steps a day for an average of six days a week.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Connecticut Hot Dog Tour

I won’t be eating another hot dog anytime soon.

On Saturday, I completed the Connecticut Hot Dog Tour. A group of men, including my husband, organized a tour of 10 famed hot dog joints in the state (a bonus eleventh one was thrown in spontaneously). These guys don’t mess around. They had an official tee-shirt and soundtrack, and we traveled in style on a party bus. And we had hot dogs. Lots of hot dogs.

Janice, a woman on the tour, agreed to split dogs with me. Most of the men ate all of the full dogs, with some “tapping out” when they needed to.

1. Rawley’s Drive-In, Fairfield

The Order: Works, with “mustard, relish, kraut, and bacon,” $3.00.

The Verdict: Delicious dog, with a good contrast between the tangy kraut and the crunchy bacon. This was a great start to the tour.
(Click on a picture to view it larger.)

2. Super Duper Weenie, Fairfield

The Order: Georgia Redhot, a “¼ lb. spicy Southern sausage with sauerkraut, mustard and our own sweet relish,” $4.25.

The Verdict: This big boy was delicious too. The sausage was split and grilled and served piping hot with excellent toppings. We were on a roll.

3. Danny’s Drive-In, Stratford (Spontaneously inserted)

People insisted we had to try Danny’s nearby, and it was inserted into our tour.
The Order: Bull Dog, with spicy chili and fried onions, $3.95.

The Verdict: I liked this all right at the time, but I soon started worrying about the spicy chili not sitting so well with a long day of half-dogs ahead. The group’s mood seemed to lag on the way to the next stop. The consensus seemed to be that we should not have  inserted this extra dog into the tour!

4. Glenwood Drive-In, Hamden

The Order: Hot dog, with mustard and hot relish put on at the counter, $3.95.

The Verdict: This was the winner of the day, an excellent char-broiled dog with a toasted bun and great hot relish. Many people on the tour voted this one the winner.

5. Top Dog, Portland

The Order: Orleans Dog, with “a hot and sweet relish,” $2.70.

The Verdict: My husband, a Portland native, tried to warn the tour against this stop. It was not a favorite. The owners were very sweet and friendly, and you can’t beat the décor, so that almost made it worth a visit.

6. Doogie’s, Newington

The Order: The Doogie Dog, “One of my Best Ever Creations. Caramelized Onions & Dijon Horsey Sauce,” $3.59.

The Verdict: A nicely-charred, delicious dog, and the toppings were a refreshing change after having a lot of spicy chilies and relishes. One member of the tour ordered—and put away—a two-foot dog.

Interlude in the Park

We were all greatly restored by a visit to the lovely Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain and a walk around the pond.

7. Capitol Lunch, New Britain

The Order: Hot dog, with mustard, onions, sauce, $1.75.

The Verdict: I liked it, and I remembered it fondly from my college days. The group, though, seemed unnerved by its strangely black sauce. And I didn’t remember it looking like that.

8. Blackie’s, Cheshire

The Order: Hot dog, with corn relish and mustard at the counter, $1.75. 

The Verdict: I had been here before and had liked its famous relish. It didn’t disappoint.

9. Frankie’s, Waterbury

The Order: Hot dog, “French with spicy cheddar cheese,” $3.49.

The Verdict: Nice dog, nice sauce. This was a tasty hot dog, and there were a lot more varieties that looked promising. This late in the day, though, people sort of slouched when they saw the size of it.

10. Al’s Hot Dogs, Naugatuck

The Order: Hippo Dog, “cheese, chili, kraut, bacon,” $4.49.

The Verdict: Pretty good, but enough, already. I think this bad boy would have been more appreciated earlier in the day.

11. Merritt Canteen, Bridgeport

The Order: Brutal Dog, “Georgia Red Hot with Chili,” $4.00.

The Verdict: This was so hot, so spicy, such a brutal end to the night. I suspect it was good, but my lips are still burning too much to tell.

End of the Night

This was a great tour with a great group of people. The men had a much tougher time than the women, who were splitting dogs. This end of the night quote by Chris P. summed it up well at the last stop: “Don’t touch me!” On the way home, he explained: “I feel like E.T. at the end of the movie when he was all gray and his heart was fading.”

As for me, I’ll be going vegetarian for a while.

A footrace? Really?

The Route

The Soundtrack, by Randy S.

#69. 101 things in 1001 days. Visit at least three “Road Food” places I have never been to.

(Almost all were on Road Food's site, with good info and photos: Rawley's, Super Duper WeenieGlenwood, Top Dog, Doogie's, Capitol Lunch, Blackie's, Al's, and Merritt Canteen.)

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Photography challenge: Laughter

I have a new digital SLR camera, but I am stuck shooting in auto mode. I had a photography class way back in high school, but remember nothing. I am thinking of taking an online digital photography class, and I stumbled upon this adorable challenge.

Boating Bliss

Planks challenge

I am excited to join the Planks Challenge for the next six weeks. I am still in the midst of the push-ups challenge, so I plan to alternate days.

FitBlog Chats

For my pre-test today, I held a plank for one minute. I started shaking at about 20 seconds in. I felt it the most in my lower back. My teenage son tried it too, and he went 90 seconds. He's going to do the challenge with me.

day2day joys

#80. 101 things in 1001 days. Complete at least one other athletic challenge.

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It's About Time

I have put up an About page. Check it out.