31 October 2007
Okay, so I tried to get this on my sidebar using both M's and Mrs. K's instructions and I can't get it on there...so I've decided I'm just going to put this at the bottom of each entry beginning tomorrow.
On a better note, I at least figured out (i.e. remembered from my high school days) how to make charts off a spreadsheet today. WOOHOO!
30 October 2007
Ah yes, NaBloPoMo begins in a day or so...depending on when you're reading this. (Sign up if you dare!) And I have no idea how to run html so the badge at the right is from last year (thanks, JB!) and will have to suffice for this year as well.
The ironic thing is I'm running out of things to write about. I'm sure I'll come up with ideas but right now I'm feeling pretty empty.
So a few things that I have in my head now that don't really matter, are basically inconsequential but I will put here:
- I took one of my many course exams last week and passed. I was initially upset with the score until my boss reminded me that GPA doesn't matter in these cases anymore, it's just pass/fail. Works for me. At least for right now. Today my other boss said we should have a party to celebrate my passing, and I asked for a stripe instead. It took him a minute to figure out what I meant, but I found it funny.
- I had the joy of watching my niece and nephew on Saturday. Jake and I decorated cookies (lots of frosting and sprinkles) and Ava's almost walking solo. So much fun. I have pics, but I forgot my camera at work. I'll save those for NaBloPoMo.
- I've been doing more Sudoku lately. It's supposed to work your brain, right? Well, the difficulty it's taking me to complete these lately is making me wonder just what is going on with my head.
- I've also become slightly addicted to Free Samples. (I like getting mail.) I found the site The Bargainist and they have freebies listed where you can sign up and they'll send you stuff. It's kind of fun, because it takes 4-6 weeks for delivery so it's like a surprise in your box! One word to the wise, if you decide you'd like more mail too, get a generic email address so you don't end up with a bunch of spam.
Okay, so that's all I have right now. Hopefully more will come soon.
27 October 2007
Anyway, I am so not here to plug Wal-mart because God knows I hate that place. And today I was given yet another reason. I was standing in the supposedly faster checkout lane for those with 10 items or less and looked to my right where I saw something so very appalling. There was a woman with at least a dozen bags in her cart all filled with maybe one or two items (three tops, but those were small). And she was still adding more. Now this isn't completely her fault because the cashier probably could have packed more into each bag, but no.
I, however, had brought my own bag, which initially freaked out the cashier but once I explained it was a bag so I didn't have to use the Wal-mart plastics she thought it was the coolest.
One another story, I had brought in one of my bags to Target one day. I told the cashier that I had brought my own bag and after she watched me packing everything in them (which by the way annoyed me a little that she wouldn't use my bag to sack my stuff but made me do it, when if I had been using the plastic Target bags she would have sacked everything, but that's another story) she asked a little cynically and like I was crazy, “Why did you bring your own bag?” When I explained that I didn't need 37 Target bags at home after each trip and that I was trying to save the environment, she just shrugged and said, “oh.” whatever.
So here's my plug to help save the environment and cut down on all the damn plastic bags at various stores which don't think that you can pack them with more than 2 items: Buy Envirosax!
These sacks are funky, foldable, and reusable! They hold the equivalent of 2 plastic grocery bags, however I've found I can fit quite a bit into one as long as you bag it yourself - regular baggers don't always understand. You get 5 in a pack and they fit in this little holder that is just slightly bigger than a VHS tape (remember those?). They are great and fit into your glove compartment, handbag or pocket. They also have organic ones if you'd prefer.
And please forgive me for going to Wal-mart.
21 October 2007
Maybe I am a jinx. I thought maybe I had gotten over that finally. I used to feel I was truly a jinx because anytime I rooted for a team they lost, but I thought maybe this year I had fixed it. Here I was rooting for one of the lowest ranking teams ever, the ever-fabulous Cleveland Indians, so why would my jinx-iness matter?
And the Tribe was winning. Until the last few games. And it's killing me! I'm so sad they didn't make it to the World Series this year. They would have been damn awesome. But alas, now the Red Sox are going instead.
With one good thing – they did kick ass this year and they showed what they can do. Next year is going to be freakin' incredible. The entire club should be back next year, stronger and better. Eric Wedge did a great job this year and I know he'll do awesome next year too.
Guys, I'm sorry you lost tonight but you're still number one in my heart. Still lovin' you, Tribe!
19 October 2007
That's a line from a recent Private Practice episode, and because I've just been recording shows lately I have no idea which week it is (the Indians have been taking precedence over my television shows). I love this line though. Paul is trying to get out of dressing up like a fairy and playing with little girls to find out what is making their sister sick. Dell, in his young wisdom, explains how men have to figure out what women want, no matter what their age is, and then give it to them. “Commit to the cake, man.” It's brilliant, really.
If only men could really do this, all the women in the world would have thinner waists, better skin, beautiful hair, a perfect weight of 125, and legs and pits they'd never have to shave ever again, all thanks to the men who have figured it out and delivered. But women want the impossible, much to the chagrin of men.
I'm no different. I'd love to have a thinner waist (or at least my paunch gone), better hair, and legs and pits I'd never have to shave again. But in reality I'd love to just have a to-do list that actually is doable during the workday and doesn't continue to grow with every moment that passes. I'd love to have all these courses completed so I wouldn't have them held over my head anymore. I'd love to come home to a loving man every night. I'd love ... well, a lot of things.
But until that happens I'll survive. I'll make the to-do list, study my notes, and after shedding tears of stress I'll suck it up (not the list physically) and I'll get it done. I'll come home alone every night with the hope that someday I won't have to. And while I'm not a cake girl, I do love M&Ms, strawberry wafer cookies and Diet Lipton Green Tea Citrus flavored.
At least with those I know I'll make it.
18 October 2007
So I did it. Yesterday after a lengthy email conversation with JB I did it. I signed up for the Brookings Marathon next May.
Why? Well, I am insane...yes, we've established that. But I'm better with a goal, which is ironic since I used to, and still kind of do, hate making goals. I'm a planner, but goals seem a little too final, maybe, or too optimistic and with my fear of failure goals are just downright frightening. Plus there's the completion factor. If you make a goal, you're supposed to complete it and if you don't, well then you've failed. But a list...well, a list of things to do, there's not a true time limit on those. At least not in my head. Yeah, there are higher priorities (A's over B's in the category world) but there's still not a time limit. And yet, I like deadlines. I'm very strange. As I write this I'm more confused than ever so maybe I'll just stop.
SO anyway...another marathon. Yep. My running buddy (RB) called me yesterday morning to talk about our run time/plan for the day and he asked how I was. I said, “Crazy.” He was immediately concerned and, thinking something was wrong with work, said, “What's going on?” I told him that I had just signed up for the Brookings Marathon and he busted out laughing. I had been lamenting The Race ever since I 'finished' and had spent the last couple weeks contemplating running again, so this wasn't really a new topic.
And to top it off, I have decided that no matter what (barring injury or death) I will be running TC next year. I have to officially complete that course. Please start praying now for cooler weather!
Today's run was awesome. I haven't been out in a week, and I really shouldn't count last Thursday since it was only about 1.5 miles. Today it was raining, not just drizzle, but rain, and it was great. My running gear was completely soaked, I squeezed water out of my hair, and my shoes won't be dry for a week. It was great. I felt good. We ran all the hills without stopping at the top, conversation went smoothly – didn't feel overly tired, and we went 4 miles at an easy 12 min pace. Granted we walked a little in the middle but the rest was running. I loved it.
I know a lot of runners don't like the rain, which I'm not sure why. It's cooler. I know the wet isn't always good since it can chafe in places you'd rather not chafe. And there's always a chance you could slip. But maybe this love of the rain just goes with my insanity.
16 October 2007
Crazy drivers: I have always said SD drivers are insane, especially around 41st St, but Sunday I was proved ever so slightly wrong. Suddenly a MN driver played stupid. Near Le Sueur, the unfortunately named town, there is some construction going on where the 4-lane highway goes down to 2, with a small section where the westbound lane has a temporary 2-lane coming off the exit (so those folks can merge). I'm driving along, following a truck, paying attention to the lane so I don't hit those nice big cement dividers which would do awful damage to Morty if hit, and suddenly the car behind me speeds around me to pass me (and would have passed the truck in front of me too had the lane not run out). Normally I wouldn't care, but did I mention this is on a bridge? Over a river? With at least a 50 foot drop, if not more? In the dark? Can people be more dumb?
Good tunes: I heard one of my favorite songs on the radio Sunday. “Tan shoes with pink shoelaces” This is an old tune from the 50s, maybe 60s. I haven't heard this in forever but I love it. And one day while I was driving to work the radio station I was listening to actually played Chase, “Get it on”. I couldn't believe it! I didn't think anyone knew about this awesome band from the late 60s/early 70s. I have CDs of their music but have never heard it on the radio. I cranked that baby up and sang the whole way in. It was awesome.
Naked wizards: I went to the Guthrie on Sunday to see the Royal Shakespeare Company's rendition of King Lear. So freaking awesome, especially with Ian McKellan playing Lear. Could it be any better? I don't think so. I had also completely forgotten about the naked scene where Lear tries to be as the 'madman' and strips down. Not only was it impressive to see the former Gandalf buck naked, but the self-proclaimed Q-tip next to me had the best reaction ever: “(gasp) Oh my!” with just a little bit of wonder, awe and appreciation herself. I wonder what her husband thought to her reaction. :)
Yummy snacks: I'm enjoying these now because soon I need to get back on a real eating plan and drop the white flour and sugar snacks and subsequently a few pounds. But until then: Tostitos flour tortilla chips – YUM. I'm so addicted to these. And I've been sucked back into the Twizzlers. They make mouths happy but man, I need to stop those. But for now they are yummy.
Getting back into running: Okay so I haven't done this completely yet. I did go out once last week and man it felt great. I really have grown to love running. The freedom, the strength, the power. It's great. But I'm easing back into the big runs. My blisters are finally gone. My two toes that were bothering me aren't as much anymore, though still a little (under the nail and I'm afraid I'll lose those). But I'm looking for the next marathon. Debbie wants me to do TC again, and I probably will (I have to prove to myself I can complete that damn course) but I'm thinking I need to do another one first, to get my confidence back. Brookings has one in May which is apparently flat and fast (I love when courses are described that way – flat and fast - whatever) but it's also apparently windy (shocker!). So we'll see. That one would be nice to do: USATF certified, still a medal and t-shirt, runs by my brothers street so I'd have cheerers and May is a doable month, even if I take the next three months and just sort of run, I'll still have 4 full months to prepare, plus a little). So we'll see. I have to complete a marathon officially. I have to prove to myself that I can do this, because I know I can. I now know what to expect, so I have a leg up on it. I can do it.
Guilty pleasure: playing solitaire on the computer, winning and watching the cards cascade down.
11 October 2007
I keep starting and restarting this entry. I'm not sure what to write...it's like my life has reached its culmination, but yet it hasn't. I've been hobbling around the last few days contemplating my next step – literally and figuratively.
Step one was to start running again. I did that today. I had read an article yesterday that a marathoner needs to get out running as soon as possible but that often they will feel like they can run hard and can go hard core. But that's the wrong idea because it'll just cause a longer stretch of recovery. So I ran ¾ mile and then walked 1 ½ miles and then ran another ¾ mile.
This felt good but unfortunately my blisters from Sunday didn't enjoy any of it. Nor did the part of my foot just above my arch. (I really should learn anatomy) So tonight was step two – performing a little bit of surgery – popping the blisters. The worst part is having a blister under one of my toenails. The others I can handle...those are nothing new.
But now...what next? Do I move on to another marathon right away? Or do I wait a year and do TC again? I'm not sure. I don't know that I want to put off a marathon for another year. I got bored training for this one and it was only 9 months of training...what would it be like to add 3 more? So maybe I need to find one sooner. There is one in Florida in February but you add the registration costs, airline, hotel, etc. and it just seems too much.
But maybe I just need to take some time. Today I discovered that I enjoy running. It's nice to run when I don't have to think about mileage or time. And I am doing World Run Day in November. Fellow runners, sign up! Pick your own distance! Pick your own time! Get a t-shirt!
07 October 2007
Not trying to compare myself to Jesus here. I'm just glad it's done. The marathon was today and boy what a day it was.
The day started not so good – it should have been a sign. First I had to wear my purple shirt because my long-sleeve, pretty, light blue top would have been too hot. I hate purple though (at one point someone cheered me on and said, Way to go Periwinkle! - yeah, that helped. Not.) But I got in my car to head to the Park-n-Ride and my power steering was out. I didn't see a puddle so I'm a little confused and annoyed because now that's one more thing I have to take care of tomorrow before I head home. At least it happened while I was in the cities instead of back home.
JB and I met at the Park-n-Ride and took the light rail to the Dome. We met up with some others, peed, and walked to the starting gate for a picture. Probably a good thing since I doubt any of my pictures will show up anywhere...more on that in a minute.
We were in Wave 2. And let me tell you it really does feel like a wave. You hear the starting gun but you don't really start to move until a few seconds later, then it's this mass of people slowly moving forward trying to not trip over anyone until they get over the start pad. Then it's running.
The first 5 miles were okay. We were pretty close to on pace – 62 minutes at mile 5. But then the heat really started to get to me. I walked way more than I thought I would have. I'm sure JB was annoyed though she was gracious enough not to say anything. Finally I pushed her ahead because I knew she could do better.
The heat was just overwhelming. A lot of people were pulling out and pulling out early. Hindsight – I probably should have too, but I didn't – mostly because I'm stupid, insane, crazy, idiotic, whatever adjective you'd like here.
Long story short, I ended up walking most of the race, was passed by the sweep bus at mile 18, hit the last chip time I could at mile 20 and finished at 6:27:36 off of my watch (estimated time was 6:29:18 – fairly accurate I would say). I walked most of it, but ran in the finish.
I now have a better knowledge of what it takes to run a marathon. I admired those who did it before but now I really do. It takes a lot of endurance, stamina, guts, and just a bit of craziness. My next one will be better. I really do feel I could have been an “official” finisher (under 6 hours) if it hadn't been so blazing humid and hot. If it had actually been what TC usually is this time of year, I would have kicked ass and taken name...or at the very least finished under 6. :)
The rest of the day has been ups and downs of emotion. At times I'm elated I finished and just amazed I actually finished even though it wasn't official. Other times I break down crying for no reason, just overwhelmed with it all – especially when friends and loved ones tell me how proud they are of me.
That's the tough part – the latter there. I'm proud I finished. I did complete a marathon. But I didn't RUN a marathon. Not that I would have run the whole way anyway, but I would have ran more than maybe 13 miles total. And I would have run it faster. That's part of the emotions – I feel in some ways like a fraud, then I step on my feet and feel the blisters and feel the intense pain in both ankles and think – well this stuff came from doing something! So then I start bawling again. It's crazy...I don't know what to do. God bless my brother who was so concerned when I started crying on the phone but I couldn't really explain how it was just emotions, not anything he did.
Tonight my friends and Debbie went out for a celebratory supper – Bonfire Grill which is so yummy – they have the best veggies and a Drunk & Dirty Sirloin that was like butter. *sigh* I had my Guinness, which was on my list to do tonight, and made it through the evening without falling apart. Until now.
So I'm done. I have finished the marathon. I have no medal to prove my progress. But I do have this link from the web and pic (below) to go with it. (Click the photo to see it bigger) The blue line is where I made it on the chip marker. The red is the rest of the race which I did finish, just not officially.
Hugs and love to all who were there and weren't there to support me. I couldn't have done it without you.
06 October 2007
It's 8:03 p.m. As I type this. Twelve short hours from now I'll be lined up with Wave 2 and gradually moving forward toward the start line to begin running 26.2 miles.
I'm nervous but trying to stay calm. So I'm writing...nonsense probably, but this helps me cope.
I gave Debbie my bag o' stuff and just because I need to sort out in my head of what I gave her I'm going to list it here: big towel, small hand towel, short socks and long socks (depending on my mood), a blanket to cover her car seats for the ride back to my car, Ben Gay (yep – that minty smelling cream), fake Advil, band aids with antibiotics built in, a container of water pre-measured (K&E made fun of me for this) and another container with Endurox measured in with instructions for Debbie to mix the two and shake on her way to the finish line for me, and flip flops. She's going to pick up an orange and banana for me so I have something sugary to eat to get my sugar levels back up and then when I get back to my room I'm going to have my leftover chicken.
See – I have to plan this out or I'll go insane. This helps me stay focused and calm. I have to have a method to my madness or I'll be crazy. And what's funny is people already think I am because I'm planning this out.
I'm also visualizing. I'm trying to picture the beginning though it'll be something I've never seen before – thousands and thousands of people lining up to run. Craziness. Some will finish in just over 2 hours. More will finish between 3 and 4:30. The rest will come in hopefully before the end. And then you have the spectators surrounding the course. And bands. And people. And water breaks. And did I mention there will be people?
It's all too much to comprehend and yet I'm excited. I'm doing my best to stay calm. I'm breathing deeply, I'm preparing everything for the morning. I'm trying not to dwell on the miles or the pain which will inevitably arrive during and after the race. I'm just trying to dwell on the experience and what this is going to be.
I am going to complete a goal tomorrow. A goal that up until 9 months ago I didn't know I had in me. A goal that a year or 5 years or anytime before this moment I never would have thought possible. I've never been a runner...yet here I am: a runner.
And a runner I will be.
05 October 2007
JB informed me today that the local radio stations for the marathon are saying that if there is thunder and lightening (esp. the latter) on Sunday they'll cancel the marathon. Uh, hello? I don't think so. I haven't put this much work and stress and sweat and tears into training and preparing for nothing! Though as my brother said, at least I get a weekend away. Which is good but bad. I want to do this. I'm almost mentally there. I'm almost physically there. I'm as close as I'm going to get and I want to do it and have it done.
Then I can go on to the next.
Yes, I said the next. I'm probably thinking too far ahead now, but I don't think this'll be my last one. But who knows. My friend AS ran one, this one in fact, and the other night he said he'd never run another one. And HE was the cross-country star in high school. Interesting.
But whatever...I need to do this and I want to do it now. Then I can figure out what I want to do afterward.
Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in a little, but not too much, then see Keith for my pre-race massage. JB and I are going to pick up our packets after and then Debbie and I are having supper (I think). Then bed early because I'll need my rest and I have to get up slightly earlier than normal.
Of course as I type this, there's a bit of lightening in the area. Great...
This makes me laugh. (Click on the picture to read it better) Weather.com has a calorie calculator you can look at when you check weather. It's a nice feature -you know, you're checking the forecast, seeing the hours it's going to rain and when it's not, planning your workout so why not check how many calories you can burn in a set amount of time?
So I did...I figure 5:30 for the marathon Sunday AM, put in my weight, which yes I'm showing everyone here - I do need to lose some but now is not the time to be thinking that (a little late, moe!), and calculated how many calories I will burn. Nice! Over 3000! Sweet.
But note the Tip below that calculation: I could burn twice as many if only I'd run 11 hours instead of 5:30! Wow! Why didn't I think of that?!Ha! Like that'll EVER happen.
04 October 2007
That sounds almost sexual...but it's not. Unless your name is “Stress” and then I ask, “Are you busy later?” HA! Not.
Tonight is a crazy night – not only is it Thursday night TV - Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, and, of course, CSI! - but it's also Game 1 between the Yankees and Indians. What a crazy game. This has been incredible.
But not to jinx that, let's talk about the obsession that is mine. Tonight I'm packing for The Weekend.
I'm doing laundry to make sure I have clean underwear, clean socks, clean bras, clean shorts, and clean shirts.
I'm hard boiling eggs so I have protein to take with me for breakfasts.
I'm making chicken breasts so I have protein for suppers or lunches.
I'm gathering and measuring amounts of Accelerade and Endurox for before and after the run, respectively.
I'm packing clothes for the rest of the time I'm in the cities.
I'm trying to keep my head on straight and not forget anything before I leave. Not that there aren't stores in the cities, HA!, but I'm trying to avoid buying more than I need to. I tend to spend way too much when I go to the cities and this weekend will be no different, but some things I can control.
And spending will be high. Right away I have the hotel bill, which luckily I have a great, inexpensive place to stay (it's not cheap, truly it's a great place), but it's still $100 I don't readily have. Then there are the inevitable meals – one of which will be deserved Sunday night provided I finish. But they add up. And then I tend to go shopping – because I just have better luck in the cities finding things.
But with the stress of packing and cooking and making sure I have everything, I also am finding myself making my ever often list of what the plan is.
I like to plan, at least, the bigger things out. I'm flexible and often I end up changing things but it's nice to have some idea of what might go on. If I have a plan, then I don't have to worry or think about what may happen. I have a post-run plan set up with Debbie. The times aren't set but the basic understanding of what's my idea to happen is: she knows where she's going to park, we have a plan where we're going to meet, she will have a bag of what I have pre-packed for what I want after the race (another plan), then she's taking me back to my hotel, I will ice bath for ten minutes, nap, shower, and then we're going to meet up at a TBD restaurant for a celebration/TY dinner.
Knowing this is the plan helps me to relax. I know that seems odd, but while I'm running I don't want to have to worry about how I'm going to get back to the hotel, or if I'm going to have all my stuff in my sweat-drop-off-bag (since I'm not dropping it off), or if I'm going to have someone to share in my joy of completing this stupid goal I set for myself. And I don't have to. I have a plan set.
I know I'm weird. I have a lot of weird traits that some people just don't understand and I'm okay with that. This is me. That's all I can say.
And since the Indians won (12-3 baby!), and my packing is better than it was when I started this writing, I'm going to continue my packing and then go to bed. 'Cause I'm getting more relaxed as my plan comes together. :)
03 October 2007
For beginning runners, those who have set a goal and are striving to meet it for the first time, numbers can mean everything. (Well, pain means a lot, too, but that's another writing all together.) Numbers represent setting and meeting the goals - the first time you run 1 mile, the first time you run 10 minutes without stopping, the first time you run a 5K. Even that first time you say, “I don't want to run far today, maybe just 6 miles.” That's one of those amazing goals. Not to mention the training that goes in: running 10 hours in a week or 20 miles, doing 60 crunches, completing 40 pushups, staying in your target heart rate zone, etc.
It all comes down to numbers. And these numbers can keep a person motivated. I first ran the 5K and completed it in 34:56 with an 11:15 pace. Then I ran a 10K in 72:47 with an 11:43 pace - my pace numbers dropped but I was also going farther. The numbers reflect that. So I would try to push my time and I would run the 5K for fun and drop my time down. Monday I ran it in 33:02. That's dropping almost 2 minutes off my time and that's after not running for 3 days.
2 minutes doesn't seem like a lot, but in running, even the seconds count and every second does count.
All these numbers can keep the fuel alive, keep pushing a new runner to do better, to keep going, to try to one-up themselves.
That is until the curse of the numbers falls upon them.
The curse is when a race is approaching and suddenly there aren't enough days to prepare, or the days are just stretching so long that you just wish they'd speed up so the whole thing would be over. You find yourself counting down - 15 days to go, 10 days to go, 3 days to go - and you just want it to be over. The joy has been lost because it's just been looming over you for so long and it just.needs.to.be.done.
And then the curse of time comes back to haunt you. You are a beginning runner. You've never run a marathon before. You're 5'5" with short, stubby legs that just don't have a great stride so it takes longer to get where you want to go. And you want to get to the end of those 26.2 miles, but you only have 6 hours to do it, preferably 5:15. Can you do it? Or will the curse of indifference come to haunt you?
I'm in between these stages right now - I really want the marathon to be over but I still wish I had a few more days to improve my time, not that it would with just a few more days - I need months. So I'm just focusing on the experience. I will complete the marathon. I will complete it in under 6 hours, barring injury or whatever. I have a goal to beat a time of someone I work with who finished a downhill marathon in 6:21:05. And I will finish. And I will finish under 6 hours. Those are three redundant statements but very important to repeat. Despite numbers, despite elements, despite being short and stubby, I will finish.
And the curse will be broken.
02 October 2007
01 October 2007
I read this post today on Overheard. I do feel a little better that at least I know the distance for a marathon and a 5K. I'm not a complete running loser.
On a better note, I've been reading – like, for fun! - which I shouldn't be doing because I do have tests I need to be studying for, but since I have very little focus this week with the upcoming event, I'm going to read to my heart's content (and hopefully finish them both).
So the first is Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips. This has really been an awesome book. My mom saw it today and wondered if there was something she needed to know. I said, no, I don't have cancer, which confused her as to why, then, I was reading the book. I heard about this one via Andrea's post and have to agree with her. It's really not just for those with cancer. It's about so much more. I could see myself in some of the writings – dealing with different stages in life, trying to explain your situation to others, hearing the wrong things back because people don't know how to respond, etc. It's really been a great book.
The other book is Eat, Pray, Love. I swear I first heard about this via Andrea but I can't find the post. Oh wait... there it is. (It helps to search). Anyway...this is a book about a 30-something woman who travels to “I” lands in search of herself. It's been great so far and I'm only in Italy. (India and Indonesia to follow). Again, she's dealing with situations I've never been in but I really find I can relate with her. It's scary but motivating all at the same time. I love this book. Like Andrea says, “I recommend buying this, reading it, then re-reading it immediately.”