September 30, 2005

Word of the day


1. To give a sketchy outline of.
2. To prefigure indistinctly; foreshadow.
3. To disclose partially or guardedly.
4. To overshadow; shadow or obscure.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000 Houghton Mifflin Company.

September 29, 2005

I see

My job decision has come down to a list of pros and cons, on paper. No wait, make that a weighted list of pros and cons. One of the fringe benefits at one of the firms is a shower and group of runners. This means I could run at lunch or other time during the day, return to work sweaty, shower, and resume working with a fresh perspective. It also means I'm more likely to be able to keep up my running.

I was weighting this as a nice perk, but pretty far down the totem pole, all things considered.

The other day, I mentioned something about maybe not being able to run when things got hairy at work as an attorney. The following conversation ensued:

E: Oh Great. [laugh]
BT: What?
E: I think that running is the only thing that keeps you from going completely bat-shit.
BT: [laugh] What do you mean?
E: Exactly what I said. I think that running keeps you from going completely bat-shit.

Perhaps the shower/running culture needs a slightly higher weighting...

September 27, 2005


The people I spoke to several times a day in junior high and high school became the people I spoke to daily, or every other day in college. New people in college became the close friends that I spoke to daily as well. After graduation, many of the daily conversation friends (both those from before college as well as those acquired at school) became the people I now email or talk to once every few months. I still feel close to them, I just don't know every single detail of their life, nor them, mine.

But, unlike most people, despite people moving away and vast differences in life experiences, until recently I still managed to maintain a teenagerism in my relationship with some of my earliest girlfriends. This was only possible through a heavy reliance on the telephone.

Lately, in a change that must be shocking to everyone who knows me, I find that I'm tired of the phone. If I must communicate via long-distance, I prefer email. And over that, I prefer to sit and relax in person.

Keeping up to date on the details of people's lives is very time consuming. I have trouble finding time to keep E completely up to date on my life and staying on top of what is going on in his. To go through the same for multiple friends, many of whom are several hundred miles away has become impossible. In fact, I've actually gotten it wrong a few times recently, by trying to fill in the gaps with what I think makes sense. Turns out, I've grown far enough apart in space, time, and life experiences that I don't know what is going on day-to-day with my closest friends from childhood and my best guess estimate is filled with all sorts of ill-informed conjecture and personal assumptions.

I think it's normal to reach a point where you respect and love your closest friends from childhood but acknowledge that you are not part of the group who knows them best anymore. If you don't live in the same town and see each other on a regular basis, you have to make time for phone calls almost every day, or you just won't have the information you need to understand what is going on in their life, and in particular, how they feel about things.

It's sad to lose the teenager umbilical cord connection to your closest childhood friends. But, it's probably inevitable. And, for me, it's probably been a long time coming. In the last month or so, I've been so busy that I've had to choose between regular phone calls or my running schedule, regular phone calls or wedding planning, regular phone calls or studying, etc. Add that the phone currently represents my confusion over career choices and the stress of wedding orchestration and it should be no surprise that I keep choosing other things over the phone.

So, yeah. I'm finding it bittersweet and liberating to finally be getting over my phone addiction. We'll see if it sticks...I do, after all, have almost two decades of the habit to kick.

September 23, 2005


Busy, busy, busy.

Do I go with option (A) or option (B)? That's the theme in my life these days. It plays out in every facet: career, wedding planning, social life, food, even deciding to answer the phone when a good friend calls while I'm trying to catch up on my studying.

I'm happy to report that I've been cooking more, I'm spending more time with E, and my running is on track. Unfortunately, the trade off is that I'm behind on wedding planning (did you know that DJ's are typically booked up more than 6 months in advance? Yeah, me neither.), haven't spoken to close friends and family as much as I need to, and am also behind in the reading for all of my classes.

I'm pleasantly overwhelmed with my todo list. I realize this juxtaposition of terms (pleasantly overwhelmed?) makes no sense to most people. But to me, it's doable. I'll figure it out in the next couple of months. I'll sort it out. The chaos is required for the calm that I want. I've just got to push on through. Today was a 5 mile run and 8 solid hours of studying with H. I'm not any further ahead than I thought I was last night. I only managed to clear things from my plate that I hadn't realized were there. Rad. Tomorrow, maybe I can make some visible progress. This should be a weekend of much studying, running, and not so much fun (we've only got a housewarming and wedding... which, in my crazy social schedule, is an *easy* weekend).

The best thing that's happened in the chaos so far is that a *ridiculously* gifted musician friend has volunteered to play divertimento piano at our wedding during the cocktail reception. I can't even explain how excited I am. This musician is of the caliber that does *NOT* play the wedding circuit. And, it's a close friend. I'm so honored and excited. Now if only I can manage to find a way to schedule the wedding pictures during the cocktail reception so I can hear some of the music...

Such is my 3L. I am NOT bored to death yet.

September 19, 2005

Book 18

You may think it's cheating, but I'm taking every possible point I can get. It's coming down to the wire, and I'm concerned that I may have trouble nearing a respectable end to my approximately 25 book challenge.

So, book 18 is Nigella Lawson's How to be a domestic goddess. I read all of the non-recipe text and skimmed each of the recipes. I think that counts. I now feel like I have a much better understanding of baking.

This better understanding is partially because the first recipe I tried from the book was the almond cake. It was amazing. But more importantly, it was a fun expansion of my food knowledge when I realized that marzipan is not cheese. I am amused to say that I actually left Safeway with a bit of a gourmet chip on my shoulder when the deli clerks hadn't heard of marzipan cheese. From there, I headed to my local gourmet grocer, who, of course, laughed at my idiocy and directed me to the baking aisle. Right...

So, clearly, I needed to learn a thing or two about baking. This book has been very informative and I look forward to making many of the recipes it teaches.
Not Alone

Today, I got up an hour early and tried to finish my reading. Didn't happen.

Instead of finishing my reading, I spent the weekend with E2 in San Luis Obispo, visiting my grandparents. E2 and I had a fabulous time hanging out with the old folks, relaxing, eating, shopping for $4 bathing suits (yeah, that's right, one-piece, zebra print, strapless -- it's on!), sitting in the hot tub, and running in the valley.

I was the first person called upon in my last class of the day. I passed. I felt kind of guilty. Key word "felt." Half an hour later at least five people passed in succession with the excuse, "I'm sorry, I didn't read." Ahhh. Company. Thanks guys!

September 15, 2005


I'm 1/3 done with 1st semester. Only 10 weeks to go 'til first semester classes are over (less than 1/5 of a year).

I'm also about 1/3 done with the year prior to graduation. Only 248 days to go.

The wedding is about 1/3 paid for. I suspect it's also about 1/3 planned.

If I can pull off another 3 day week for second semester (which I will do my best to do), then I have about 1/3 of a year's days left in the classroom and/or finals until I graduate.

And, statistically speaking, I'm probably about 1/3 done with my life.

There's so much to do in the world. And so little time. Sometimes I get frenzied with scooping up life and trying to experience as much of it as possible before my time is gone. And yet, when I catch myself, I try to slow down, because there's the difficult, but imortant reality that *doing nothing* is sometimes the best way to cherish the time you have. This weekend, God-willing, I'll go visit my Papa, who's still hanging in there. Whenever I speak with him on the phone, I'll inevitably say something like, "have a good day," or "have a good weekend." He always responds, "They're all good days, honey. They're all good days." He's right, of course. The trick is remembering it.

September 12, 2005

Assumption of Responsibility

Is it just me, or does it take a particular kind of person to flush the toilet and leave the stall without checking to see if their feces, toilet paper, and/or urine has actually left the bowl? I mean, there's a feeling of entitlement, and then, there's the honest belief that your waste will be cleaned up by some unidentified shit-fairy assigned specifically to you.

What is it about law school that attracts people of this type in such high numbers? Or what is it about my particular schedule of classes? I mean, I'm all for flushing on behalf of these people, because, hey, that's how I make the world a better place. I flush for them and for me. But really? Is this necessary? Wouldn't the world be an even better place if we all just took care of our own?

In all seriousness, though. I find that the people I like the most are the ones whose first questions are, "How can I take care of the problems I create?" "What did I do wrong?" "How can I do better next time?" "How can I improve?" "What am I missing right now?" But I have trouble relating to people who complain about how others are keeping them down, or how they don't have options, or how they are just "stuck" and are forced to wait it out 'til things magically "get better."

I feel like they may be the ones too preoccupied to flush their own toilets.

[laugh] well, if this isn't a rant by me blaming others, I don't know what is...

September 10, 2005

On Being a Statistical Outlier

Before she went off-line Sua Sponte posted about her heart rate jumping into the 170's during her workout, and how this was evidence that she was posing as a Californian, never truly one of us.

This prompted me, a fifth-generation Californian, to finally post about yet another wonderful thing I've learned from my heart rate monitor (great birthday present E! Thanks!). Sua, you too can belong here in the sunny land of awesome produce. Your skyrocketing heart rate doesn't even have the right to exclude you.


The standard logic about heart rate training zones is all derived from statistical means for groupings by age, sex, resting heart rate, weight, BMI, etc. The experts fight about the importance of many things, but, most of them agree on one thing: what really counts is that you train at the proper percentage of YOUR max heart rate. So, if your heart rate jumps to 170 during workouts that you perceive to be of medium intensity and you are otherwise healthy, then your max heart rate is probably just an outlier on the high side.

The best measure of your max heart rate is to actually max it out. That is, take a stress test in a lab, or buy a heart rate monitor and wear it whenever you exercise (eventually, you'll notice where you typically max out and some day, you'll do something stupid like go too far uphill in the heat or something and see a number that is probably right around your max).

After exercising with my HRM for the last couple of months, it looks like my max is around 200-205. What this means is that I regularly hit the low 170's (85% of my max) during most workouts, but it's nothing to be alarmed about. Before I got the HRM, I ignored the predicted heart rate max calculations (which all take averages for my age, sex, etc. into account) because I couldn't get a good workout if I followed them. Depending on which formula I use, my heart should max out somewhere between 176-196. Given that I hit 199 on my last 10.5 miler and easily lived to talk about it, this is clearly not the case.

Basically, if you are an oddball like me, you need to do all of your own personal calculations based on my measured (not predicted) HRmax.

But, say you don't want to go the HRM route, and don't want to get a professional max stress test, so you aren't going to have a "measured HRMax" regardless of how sloppy the measurement is. What then? Well, according to those in the know, the next best thing is to take one of the Sub Max Tests. I haven't taken either of them (perhaps I will in a follow up post), but I believe that if I were to walk a mile as fast as I could, my heart rate would level out somewhere around the mid 120's. This would put me at a calculated max of 185. So, anecdotally guessing (could this be any less scientific?), the mile walk test could provide a low prediction if you're a high-heart-rate outlier.

****Training Zones:
The general rules about targeting zones haven't changed in the last 30 years (50% warmup, 60% easy/fat burning, 70% aerobic fitness, 80% anaerobic fitness, 90% VO2max). But the old [(220-age) * Zone Percentage] formula isn't preferred anymore. Today, the Karvonen formula is the favorite. It multiplies the zone percentages against your Heart Rate Reserve (HRMax - HRResting) and then adds the percentage of your HRReserve to your resting heart rate to give you the target for the zone. So, if you have a high resting heart rate, you'll have higher Zone calculations under the modern formula, whereas in days past, your resting heart rate was not given a moment's thought.

For those of you still reading, you can try the Karvonen formula here.

Finally, if you'd like to read some reassuring writing about variance in max heart rates from someone who didn't just read a pile of running books and take a few exercise physiology courses in college, I recommend this article.
Summer Salad

When summer ends, E & I have a habit of taking about two weeks to stay home and be ridiculously healthy and chill. Ordinarly, summer, for us, is a wine-soaked, culinary storm of social events. With the addition of summer associate madness, this summer was perhaps the most ridiculous yet.

So, when we returned from Labor Day, we began our 15 day recovery period. We spend almost every night at home, just the two of us. We eat home-cooked, simple, vegetable laden meals. We avoid all alcohol (which is, in and of itself, an interesting social experiment. It's amazing how many times you have to say "no thanks" in two weeks, and more amazing how many people want an explanation for your refusal.) We use the downtime to talk to each other each night and become more involved in each other's lives than we have been in months. We (and by we, I mean I) try to remember to jointly do yoga, pushups, and/or situps before bed.

Two nights ago, I made a bulgur wheat salad. The original came from Food and Wine, but it called for Mint, which didn't sound good to me. It also called for toasted almonds, but we have a ton of pine nuts laying around, so I decided to use those instead. Lastly, if there's one thing better than summer tomatoes, it's more summer tomatoes, so the ratio in my version is skewed from the original. The final result: One of the EASIEST and prettiest healthy summer salads I've ever made. It keeps very well in the fridge (it's now 2 days old and I just had a delicious bite as a snack).

2 cups boiling water
2 cups medium-grind bulgur
1 pound green beans
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped italian parsely
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Pour boiled water over the bulgur in a large metal or glass bowl. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes (roughly how long it takes to prepare the other ingredients).

2. Add enough water to cover the green beans to a pot. Bring water and a few dashes of garlic salt to a boil.

3. Wash and trim green beans. Chop into 1 inch segments.

4. Blanche green beans 'til bright green (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and rinse with cold water.

5. Wash and cut cherry tomatoes. Chop parsely.

6. Juice lemons. Mix lemon juice with olive oil. Toss mixture into Bulgur wheat with a fork after the Bulgur has absorbed all of the water.

7. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Toss with a fork. Serve at room temperature or chilled (better chilled).


September 9, 2005

This Probably Isn't Funny

But I just can't stop laughing at the name of the martial arts school that shares space with the local JCC:


Am I wrong?

September 7, 2005

You know you're a 3L when...

You've done all of the reading for the first few weeks of non-profits class. But you still haven't figured out that "tax-exempt" for 501(c)3 organizations means exempt only from corporate income tax (and tax-deductible in some cases via the operation of 170, but I digress).

A good way to make sure that you, the professor, and all of the other students are convinced of your inability to concentrate on school this year is to raise your hand and ask about the importance of the employment tax exemption in the context of the problem the professor would like to move beyond.

Oh. There's no such thing as an employment tax exemption for 501(c)3 orgs. Tax exempt doesn't mean completely tax exempt. The professor knows this. The professor's response to your question will make it clear that the book has explained this. Your classmates' embarrassed silence will show that they, too, knew it.

And the great thing about 3L is... you'll laugh at yourself. Out loud.

Hypothetically speaking.

September 6, 2005

Back In the Swing

The holiday weekend was a wonderful vacation bridge between my crazy summer and my student life. I put in 19 miles of running over 3 days, and in the hot North Georgian hills, no less. At the end of my run every day, I jumped in the lake. We slept in every day. We took a "booze cruise" every afternoon, where the entire household loaded onto the pontoon boat and slowly crawled around the lake while sipping wine, eating hors d'oevres, and watching the sunset. We ate well at all meals, but the culinary star of the weekend was the homemade lemon ice cream every night.

And then, after braving the Atlanta Hartsfield airport on Labor Day, we were home.

Today, I caught up and focused on being a productive student. I got my car washed, finished the laundry, mailed things that needed mailing, scheduled various appointments, and replied to emails.

Then, I happily bought $50 worth of groceries at the hippy european market. Make no mistake that's a TON of vegetables et cetera for two people to consume. I made a menu plan that uses the majority of what I purchased over the next two weeks. Because guess what? For the first time in at least 3 months, we're going to be home and able to enjoy home-cooked meals for two straight weeks. I'm in heaven. Who knows, the house may even get cleaned.

Much to my surprise, I am caught up in my reading for all my classes, save one. That's what I've got to do right now. Read taxation of corporations and partnerships until I finish the assignment, or more likely, until I fall asleep.

Tomorrow, I'll wake, go for a run and sit through classes only to come home, cook dinner and read until I fall asleep. Rinse, lather, repeat. I'm actually looking forward to being back in this grove. It's oddly relaxing.