Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter Jam "Jam Nation" interest

Winter Jam is a Christian music concert featuring what seems like dozens and dozens of bands at the Civic Center.  I’ve been two times with varying levels of success.

We went several years ago with the entire family, but our younger kids really had trouble with the extremely loud music.  So until they are teenagers and wanting to go, they probably won’t go.

There are pros and cons to attending, the major cons for me being the super loud music, and the late night ending on a Sunday night (I think we got out after 10 p.m. last year, but anyone can certainly leave early--we left very early our first year attending).

Here is the line-up for this year--an impressive group of acts, many of which you've heard on WCIC.

Last year, I went as a chaperone with my teen and the student council group from grade school, and we had a great time. We went very early to wait in line and get a good seat, and I brought earplugs along to save my hearing (and could hear the music great, without getting a headache. Genius!)  We also discovered the excellent group Group 1 Crew, and some other bands we were only dimly aware of.

This year, we discovered there is something called “jam nation,” where you can pay an additional fee ($30 versus the $10 at the door) to have reserved seating and get in ahead of others. There are other perks listed on this website.  You have to have 10 people in a group.  (note there are other “levels” of this, but it didn’t seem worthwhile to add on those, as I’m not interested in the t-shirt)

I consider this an excellent value for getting to see this many top-notch acts, as well as the perk of getting to go in early and have the Q&A with one or more of the acts.  I also prize getting to pick a relatively decent seat without having to wait in line for hours.

As I mentioned in my e-mail to you, if you are interested in this, please leave a comment here on this post.  I will NOT publish any of the comments; it's just a way to keep track of who would be interested in being part of a group so we can get the perks.  You'll get a message that "your comment is awaiting moderation" but it won't show up here.

Since keeping track of e-mails regarding this would be more complicated and I'd be concerned that I wouldn't  I would like, this seems the best way to capture the names in one place.  In your comment, please let me know how many Jam Nation tickets you would want for parent(s) or teens in your family.

I would like to wrap this up this week if possible, so please leave a comment before Wednesday, January 9.  I will let any commenters know via personal e-mail (as a group) what the status of this is by Thursday or Friday.

Thanks for considering it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Quote for Monday: Betsy Was a Junior

"Our lives can hold just so much.  If they're filled with one thing, they can't be filled with another.  We ought to do a lot of thinking about what we want to fill them with."

Julia makes this statement in the middle of Betsy Was a Junior, and it prompts Betsy to muse about how she's been spending her time during her junior year of high school, and what she might do differently.

As part of the Maud Hart Lovelace reading challenge hosted by A Library is a Hospital for the Mind, this month's Monday quotes are from Maud Hart Lovelace books.  I am so enjoying re-reading the high school Betsy-Tacy books.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Quote for Monday: Betsy Was a Junior

"I never knew, until I went away from home, how nice we all are!" Julia sobbed.

All this month, my Monday quotes are from Betsy-Tacy books in honor of the Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge, sponsored by Sarah at A Library is a Hospital for the Mind.

Julia, Betsy's older sister, surprises the Rays with a visit home from the "U" midway through this wonderful book.    She is somewhat homesick, and her family misses her, so the visit is especially emotional.  There's something so delightful about this quote, about being part of a loving family and only realizing it when you are away.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Marathon

Yes, this is my totally "all about me" post about finishing my first marathon.  Those who would be bored to hear all about my thinking, my training and my actual marathon are free to move along to much more interesting stuff elsewhere around the Internet.  I'm just glad to get this down so I can remember it, and to share with family and friends.  (Note: I can't get photos to upload at the moment so my race recap will be in another post, sometime in the future).

I had a goal of running four half-marathons this year, but schedules and life this year left only one "official" one:  the Oak Brook Half Marathon in September.  This summer, I looked around for some other fall half-marathon to do nearby, so when I found the Des Plaines Trail Races, I suggested it as a late fall trip for our family to Chicagoland.  I also began thinking privately about signing up for the marathon in this series.  After a few weeks training and some longer runs, I felt that I could probably finish the race, so I signed up for it.  In the meantime husband's work travel schedule and other events around home helped us decide that I would go up by myself for the weekend--my birthday is close so it would be a birthday present for me--I could enjoy some time away for reading, running and just relaxing.

Here was the weird thing for me:  I didn't tell anyone I was training for or going to attempt a marathon.  I don't know why I was shy about telling people, as I've been telling all my friends and family for years I want to do a marathon before or when I turn 50 (still several years away, so I'm glad to have that checked off "the list").  I have love, truly loved, cheering people on as they accomplish their marathons and halfs and such on blogs or Facebook.   I didn't think I wouldn't finish, but for some reason I just wanted to prepare on my own.

I finally told my husband the week before the marathon as I didn't want to have a secret from him, even a nice one like this, and I was getting more excited about it.  He was super excited for me, and so supportive.

Meanwhile, in the months after I signed up for the marathon, marathon news kept popping up, especially in the last few weeks:

*This season, every contestant on the Bigger Loser, my favorite and only reality show guilty pleasure watch, will get to participate in the BL marathon (and I'm so glad they brought the marathon back, incidentally).

*The "marathon mom" completed the Chicago marathon, then gave birth just hours later.  I put on Facebook that at first I got kind of sad that she finished in 6:25, because that's about what my time would be in a marathon, but then I saw she was only 27.  Since I'm more than 2 decades older than her, that about evens things up.

*Just last weekend, a 100-year-old man finished the Toronto Marathon, and his time was more than 8 hours.  By this time, I had told my husband, and so I joked with him that my goal was to finish in a time between the marathon mom and the 100-year-old man, and hopefully closer to the mom.  He smiled.

So, how did I train for a marathon?  I kept with my regular workout schedule, and then added increasingly long runs, of 15, 17, 18 and 20 miles, in the weeks before the marathon. Saturday mornings, my usual long run day, have been taken up with soccer, puppy class and other things, so I traded my long run day to Friday.  Surprisingly, I really like that change and will stick with it.  The day I ran my longest run, 20 miles, I thought it would just be goofy to be running the vast majority of the time my kids were in school (I wanted some recovery time), so I asked my husband to get the kids up and off to school, and I started my run at 5:30 a.m.  That worked great as I had plenty of time for running, getting cleaned up and recovering before kids got home.  Keep in mind this was before I told him about the marathon.  But he didn't ask how long my "long run" was, and our puppy, Tacy, who saw me come home for several water/banana/bathroom breaks and finally finish more than 5 hours later, wasn't talking.  She's a good puppy.

My taper started two weeks before the marathon, and it was pretty steep, as I had some writing deadlines, appointments and sick kids off and on.   I just wanted to make sure I kept my body moving, but that didn't happen on too many days before the marathon--less than half of those days, and my runs were really shortened, like 2 or 3 miles, with one 6 mile "long run."

Okay, I'm having some weird glitch with either iPhoto or Blogger because I can't seem to locate any of the photos from the weekend, even though they are right there in iPhoto.    This is probably good, as I should save the race recap for another post.

The short version is that I didn't really enjoy the marathon as much as I thought.  I finished in just over 6 hours, besting the times of both the Marathon Mom and the 100-year-old man :-) , but even if I hadn't, the important thing is that I finished.  The race was well-organized and staffed, the weather was beautiful, but I don't know about this distance for me.  I can do a half-marathon, and while it is difficult and long, I'm not completely wiped out afterwards or the next day.

Today, the day after the marathon, I'm really sore (even with Aleve) as well as just exhausted.  It is taking me longer to do anything (even write this--I couldn't even think about writing last night).  I think I would like to do another marathon or a even few just to be sure, but I'm pretty sure I will eventually be happy to stick with a couple of half-marathons a year for fun, fitness and travel goals.  But no matter what, I've run a marathon!  In a few days I won't be so tired and I'm sure I will enjoy the accomplishment more.

I've wanted to run a marathon since the 1970s, I was 13 or 14 years old, and our family saw the finish of the Boston Marathon outside our hotel (where my Dad was attending a medical conference).  Dad bought us all running shoes when we got home, and we all vowed we'd run the Boston Marathon the next year.  Or not, as it turns out...  I'm the first one in my family to complete a marathon, and this is 30 some years later.  But most of my family has enjoyed running off and on over the years, including my Dad, who completed a lot of local races and was very much a slow runner like me, until Parkinson's Disease forced him to make the switch to walking with my Mom.

I so wish I could share this marathon accomplishment with him, and of course with Mom, because they were both so supportive and encouraging of whatever we wanted to do.  They are both gone now, so I can't.  I know they would be proud of me, and I am proud of me.  I'm so glad for the e-mail and phone call kudos and kind words from my family (both my siblings and my nuclear family).   And I can't wait to be home later today for some hugs from them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Quote for Monday: Betsy & Tacy Go Over the Big Hill

"There was a crowd of people, and teasing could be very hard.  But this was serious.  If it was against the law to write to kings and they were going to be sent to jail, their mothers might as well know it.  Their fathers would have to get them out."

I just love this quote from near the end of Betsy & Tacy Go Over the Big Hill, when the girls receive a letter back from the young King of Spain after writing to him and offering Tib as his bride.  The girls, 10-year-olds, are worried that perhaps they broke the law by writing to him.  So dear!

All this month, I'm doing quotes from Betsy-Tacy books during The Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge, sponsored by Sarah at A Library is a Hospital for the Mind.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Quote for Monday: Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill

"You have two numbers in your age when you are ten. It's the beginning of growing up."

Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill.

As part of the Maud Hart Lovelace reading challenge hosted by A Library is a Hospital for the Mind, this month's quotes for Monday will be henceforth from her books.

I love this quote from the third in the Betsy-Tacy series, which opens with Betsy turning 10 and being the subject of a surprise party.  How great to turn 10 and have a party like Betsy's, as well as all the adventures she, Tacy and Tib have

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To Do With a Book: participate in the Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge

I am so eager to participate this year in the Maud Hart Lovelace reading challenge, hosted by A Library is a Hospital for the Mind.  I jumped in very late last year but I hope to be part of all the fun this time around.

What do I plan to read for the challenge?  Well, we have been reading some different Maud Hart Lovelace books recently, and listening to the great audiobook of Betsy and Tacy.  I wish there had been more in that series.  What I plan to do is start with Heaven to Betsy, which is the start of the high school books, and see if I can finish that and maybe one other this month.  Thanks for hosting this great challenge, Sarah!