Memorable Migraines

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Yep… had one of those today. No bueno. Total disruption of the day – no work, all day in bed, no light, no sounds, no TV but somehow so starving even with the lack of activity. Hm.

Fellow migraine sufferers know the drill and we know that one of these babies is going to do nothing but mess up the day (or days for severe suffers). Luckily I’m not in the severe category – however my day becomes almost completely useless minus the sleeping part.

I can barely look at this picture because I hurts my head, but this creeped me out when I saw it because this is what I see!

I can barely look at this picture because I hurts my head, but this creeped me out when I saw it because this is what I see!

For some reason people think you can just drink some coffee or take an Advil and power through the day. Not so. I feel like this is one of those times when you can say, “if you’ve never had one – you have no idea”, kind of like those times when a mother, a single woman or a teacher says that.

So anyway, this post is not about the signs and symptoms of migraines, how to feel better, or about how my day ended up. It’s about the memory of migraines past. Because as much as I’d like not to remember these times, these monsters become etched in all of our minds (um, and kind of literally).

My first migraine: In the spring of 1997 after a break-up. I was with one of my besties in Banff for some away time. We were watching David Letterman and I told her that the screen was looking weird, like I couldn’t see it all. She told me what was happening…. I had joined the Migraine Club. Thank goodness I was going to sleep anyway.

My most recent (besides today of course): This past April, when I was reading the directions of the Math State Exam to my group of students. I suddenly couldn’t see most of the words on the page, so I had to get the hall proctor to relieve me… Tried to sleep through it at school in the Teacher Resource Room, but it really only got worse. Worst symptoms I’d had.

And the following experiences are not in order…

Got one while driving to a lake in Jasper where Brett was going to do his advanced diving class. Good thing he was driving. While he attended the class, I slept in the car.

Got one during a kick-boxing class. I really tried to kick my way through it. Had to wait until I could see before I could drive home… fast.

Got one a few blocks from home when Brett and I were walking to the park to go running. Went home.

Got one last December after running the Rock n’ Roll half marathon in Vegas. Literally got to the hotel, had a bath and saw the aura.

Got a quite few while at school over the last few years – usually one in the fall and one in the spring. Thankfully I can usually leave right away.

After a day of darkness, my eyes hurt. Thank you computer.  Anyway, share your migraine stories or otherwise. Night night.

Bronx, You Hilly Beast

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This morning was the NYRR’s Bronx 10 mile race, one of the 5-boro race series. I’ve never done a 10-mile race, but I’m proud to say I kept my pace under the 10-minute mile I try to keep on a longer run (notice the title… and you’ll understand more when you read about the course :/).

Getting there: Had to take the 4 train up to Yankee Stadium, then walk a few minutes to the start on the other side of Joyce Kilmer Park. No big deal, the train was packed but expected that.

Walking to the start was easy. Lots of bathrooms near the start area. Great spot for bag check and easy to line up.

The Course: The race began at 164 Street on the Grand Concourse. The first three miles were a little boring because it was along the Grand Concourse heading north. Nothing special there…. minus the constant change of incline! Lots of rolling in the road, wow! The up and down was almost constant – long gradual inclines and declines – tough nonetheless! Really had to monitor my breathing.

Between miles four to six we made a turn and headed around Lehman College. More decline and incline! Despite that, it was nice because of park-like landscape. The road was a little torn up so it was important to watch our step at this point. After running through some treelined and park-like areas, I enjoyed listening to the music the DJ played as we came around the loop between miles six and seven to head back down the concourse.

The final three miles were great – this was what I was looking forward to. From miles and miles away, the Empire State Building makes its unmistakable appearance. And a little farther in the distance, the Freedom Tower. That was a cool moment. Made me feel really small and reflective, because clearly none of us realize how small we are when we stand beside such mammoth skyscrapers ahahaha, not to mention the history! The sight from such a distance was really inspiring.

So as I approached mile eight, I grabbed my one Gu pack and savored it, to fill the hunger I was starting to feel. I was looking forward to that bagel at the end. I only had another 18 minutes to run! Once I passed the mile nine sign, I pushed myself again – despite a slight incline – knowing that I had made good time.

The End: Glad NYRR kept the finish line area clear, setting the water, Gatorade, apples and bagels down the way. I do have to say, that it was a bit of bummer not receiving a medal for this run. Ten miles is no piece of cake. But…. what do you do? It’s still another bib, T-shirt and an online finisher’s “badge” to add to my collection of running memories.

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Humpback Whales ‘Hanging Out’ Near The Rockaways

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CBS New York

[worldnow id=9342087 width=420 height=266 type=video]

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Humpback whales have been spotted just a few hundred yards from the Queens shoreline, CBS 2’s Tamara Leitner reported.

Mike Leonard, his brother and his father were boating off the Rockaways on Friday when they saw four whales, they said.

“It was literally like five feet away,” Leonard said. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in life. It was pretty cool actually.

[cbs-audio url=”http://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/whales1.mp3″ size=”340px” download=”false” name=”Humpback Whales ‘Hanging Out’ Near The Rockaways” artist=”1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports.”]

“The big 40-footer went underneath our boat, and our boat rocked a little bit,” he said.

Dennis Suslak said he has seen whales from his fishing spot in the Rockaways almost every day for the past two weeks.

“It sat there just eating fish for about a half-hour, and he went straight up in the air and breaching…

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Wait a Minute… Part 2

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Hold the phone.

thehiphopdemocrat.com

thehiphopdemocrat.com

I don’t know how you feel about giving money to the homeless, but I don’t do it anymore and haven’t for some time. There are a few reasons why, and here is one…

If you have your cup out and you are sitting waiting for people to drop some change, or bills if you are lucky, I’m pretty sure you are sabatoging your plan by taking out your cell phone.

Number 1: If you are texting and panhandling, you shouldn’t be panhandling. I can’t believe I even had to say that.

Number 2: Even if you are pretending to text or having a fake conversation; even if you have no service, you know you can take that phone in for some cash right?

Do you know how many times I’ve seen homeless people on their phones? Too many. Do you know how many times I had given change to those people in the past? A lot. No more obviously.

In recent years I have chosen to buy food for people instead, which I’m sure many people do. Seems like a better idea, right? Usually… but I have some stories about that too. I’ll save those for another day.

Wait a Minute…

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called “Half-Assed Runner” – and of course I was talking about myself. Well some time has gone by and I’ve participated in a few races and now I think I might almost be a little more than half-assed runner.

I didn’t really think it mattered if I ran a faster mile and it never even occurred to me to try to run a negative split on a longer run. I thought compression socks and taping up your knees was meant for a kind of special attention. But the more longer races I run (5ks no longer count at this point), the more competitive I get – with myself.  I’m getting more serious about how I run a race. While I start a race the same way – with merely an intent to finish, get some food at the end, and maybe a medal, my attitude now changes as I progress along the route.

My internal monologue at the start of a race is simple – just thinking about getting my pace set, perhaps a little slower than my usual pace when I run my usual loop at the park. I start out a little annoyed because the course is congested and I need to do some weaving and find my place. I need to find my comfort zone.

As I reach about the halfway point, physically I find myself inside a large gap in the middle of the group. The fast people are way ahead and the people who just want to finish are behind me. Mentally, I start willing myself to pick up my pace slightly to make up for my slower pace at the beginning – when everyone was so gung-ho to run. Some people are taking a little walking break, but I keep running. I start feeling proud of myself that my breath is controlled despite feeling some tiredness in my legs, ankles or knees. I’m nearing my mind over matter zone.

As I see the marker for the last 2 miles (whether 10k or half marathon), my thoughts no longer focus on a little pain. I keep running – maybe kicking up my feet to stretch out my knees and quads or extending more through my hip flexors.

At that last mile, I put on my boosters. I’m thinking – I only have 1 more mile! I need to make it count! I’m almost there! My stride and pace change with my somewhat crazy focus and last-mile intensity. I start to breath a little harder because I am racing myself to the end.

Why have I decided to race myself? I used to be happy to be half-assed! I don’t know what it is exactly – maybe it’s the endorphins, the runner camaraderie or that I ran my best half last weekend in Philly and my best 10k at Roosevelt Island yesterday. Those time improvements are definitely motivational and they may be short-lived – but I know I like it. And I want to keep doing it. So, no more half-assed for me.

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If You Only Knew

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If you knew all the things teachers have to do, your head would spin.

We teachers in the United States are in the midst of a massive education reform. Is it needed? Yes! Is it easy? No, not at all. Not for anyone. Not even close to easy.

Let’s examine what we are doing. If I can even think of all the bits. And this is just the new stuff, not anything to do with grading, parents, workshops, etc!

1. Newish standards. While the Common Core standards have been available for a couple of years, this year the state tests are aligned to them. We are full on Common Core. Makes sense, except we don’t have the Common Core curriculum yet…

2. New reading and math curricula. Awesome idea. I’m extremely excited about this, but it would be great of we had all the pieces so we could dig in.

3. NYC instructional shifts. These shifts are tied to the standards and the curriculum. I call the shifts new old ways to teach. good ways to teach too. Makes sense. Lots of info on the DOE website, not sure how much it gets used outside of PDs.

4. New teacher evaluation system. Again, an idea that make sense. Teaching is a profession just like medicine and law and the standards for who can teach should be high. After all, teachers are the foundation for every other profession. Tons of paper work? You bet. Do I like it? Not particularly, but it’s necessary.

5. New mayor for NYC. Monumental event for the teaching profession. A mayor who supports teacher may be elected! Imagine that!

Oh my gaud! This little snapshot makes me crazy! Why am I a teacher!

Why am I a teacher?

A lot of days I forget, but then I remember when I hear the kids talk about how someone needs to “improve their conventions”. Or I have kids staying back from gym to quiz on math literature by choice. Or the parents tell me that their child is excited to go to school.

Oh ya, that’s why. Forget all the other stuff.

Philadelphia Rock n’ Roll

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Weekend recap: Loved it! Perfect weather for a race too.

Packet pick-up – Easy and well-organized at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Easy access and to find.

Expo – Awesome. Great shopping and fun times. Samples and products to meet all your running needs.

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Race morning/Getting to Start – Super easy. Kristine and I have great timing for when to show up for our corrals and where to enter the race.

Heading to the start line

Heading to the start line

Route – Beautiful and flat. Great music and cute inspirational quote signs at every mile. Plenty of water, Gatorade and bathrooms.

End of  Race Festivities – Fun and plentiful. Bag check is well-organized and easy to get to (although I didn’t check a bag). Plenty of post-race foods and drinks, including an ice cold beer which sooo delicious after all that exertion. Nice medal.

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This series of races is one of my favorites. It’s well worth the cost and the experience is really fun!

Philly Half!

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Last year I registered for this race – the Philadelphia Rock n’ Roll Half  marathon, that is – but didn’t make it because of a change in plans. So I’m really excited to participate this year with Kristine, my one of two friends who will run long distances with me! The race is sold out so it should be pretty crazy!

The race is tomorrow morning, so I’m hopping on Amtrak with Kristen (our official running cheerleader!) this morning.

Will post tomorrow night, post-race!

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Remember the Moment?

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I’m sure we all remember the exact moment when we heard the Twin Towers had been hit by commercial jets. This moment obviously changed millions of lives forever, near and far.

Although it’s been 12 years, those wounds are still fresh for those directly affected by the day that changed the world. While there are many different versions of what happened that day and who is to blame, innocent people’s lives were forever changed. So on this somber day, embrace the moments that make you happy.

Those moments for me today were:

  • feeling the 92 degree Fahrenheit heat and humidity of a September day (although it was kind of hard to bear)
  • my delicious iced coffee
  • the little old black dude dressed in the peach-colored suit
  • a man taking a work break in his foldable lawn chair, listening to his boom box
  • listening to the intelligent ramblings of an 8 year old
  • the guy chair dancing on the subway
  • knowing I made my family excited because they got the treat package I sent 😉
  • and this…

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Tell me this didn’t make you smile!

Shine On Award :)

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A few days ago, Stephanie who writes the fun and cleverly-named blog Stephanie-isms, nominated me for my third award! Thank you so much Stephanie!

This award is the Shine On Award and apparently was created by senior bloggers. It’s an award for fellow bloggers to celebrate and promote what you’re doing on your blog and show you appreciation for it by nominating you. Once you are nominated, you’ve received the award.

THE RULES ARE (much the same as other awards):

1. Display the award logo on your blog – DONE BELOW

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2. Link back to the person who nominated you – DONE ABOVE

3. State 7 things about yourself – SHOOT, GOTTA THINK…

  • I have difficulty sitting still.
  • I used to be anti-iPhone.
  • I can’t believe I don’t have our next trip planned.
  • It kind of feels nice to not have the next trip planned.
  • One of my favorite things to do is make up stories about people I watch.
  • I have so many ideas, I wish I could focus on one.
  • I used to love red wine.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them – BELOW

5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award requirements – DONE AFTER POST

Thanks again Stephanie! I appreciate the honor!