2013: Pretty Well Done

Perfect? No

Well done? Absolutely

From the end of January through January 1, 2014

From the end of January through January 1, 2014

That graph is from when I restarted through today. Was the year perfect? Nope. But I ended 2013 17.3 lbs less than where I started it. That’s good.

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

I was very good with mini goals and quarterly goals this year. Time to look back at 2013 and set some new ones for 2014:


  • Blog. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes. But when I was losing, I was blogging. So we’re going to try it again. I wasn’t very good with it this summer and fall but I was thinking about blogging even if I never got to writing.
  • On the writing theme, I’m tracking. I was a master at tracking way back when and it’s time to go back. I don’t see what my road block is here. I face the foods when I see the number on the scale, it’s time to face it in my tracker. I tracked today. Including the m&ms. That’s a start. I have been very good at tracking. I’d say 95% overall, when I don’t it’s not because I don’t want to face it, but rather because I leave it too long and don’t catch everything. But I still give myself an A- here. ETA: I almost didn’t track Christmas but then felt guilty. So I went back and tracked it. It wasn’t pretty but I dealt with it.
  • Money. I joined Run With Jess‘ DietBet challenge at the instigation of a Hive friend. It cost me $10 but I will lose my 4% and if I do that every month it won’t cost me another cent I don’t think. AND if I hit the 4% goals each month (a big if, I know), I’ll hit goal by July, which gives me plenty of breathing room if I have an off month. Well I didn’t hit it in July or September, and I got bored with DietBet partially because I wasn’t losing at that rate. I ended up buying the iPad I was thinking of anyway and I love it. ETA: thinking of starting a DietBet again to kick start me.
  • #GoTheDist. I gave up on tracking this a chunk of the way through last year although I continued to track my workouts in MapMyFitness. But the challenge is a great motivator and it gets me to the gym when I don’t want to go. A+ here. I beat my goals and tracked throughout the entire year.
  • Smoothies. Yep, back to smoothies for dinner. They help with the salt retention and they give me my chocolate fix when I otherwise eat things I have no business eating when I get home. This didn’t last, I lost my appetite for them. Do I miss them for my chocolate fix? Yes.
  • I’m not giving up soda. Not yet, at least. I was the queen of fake lemonade last time and while I’m contemplating getting a soda stream, I’m not ready to make the switch off soda. I’m afraid I won’t drink enough until it’s warmer. But it’s diet soda so that’s a partial win. I’m drinking too much soda, and probably too much coffee, but that’s not changing right now.
  • S is for Spark. as in the Spark to get to goal. As in SparkPeople. If I do what I did with Weight Watchers online, I can make it work with Spark. There is no difference in the foods I’m eating. I love LoseIt, and as  I mentioned above, I’m tracking.
  • I’m going to get my knees to the point where I can do more than one squat, or I’m going to quit putting off knee surgery and get it done. This one is still up in the air, but my knee isn’t holding me back too badly.


  • Exercise everyday. It doesn’t have to be the gym, and my 64 stairs a day probably count anyway, but with the weather getting nice there’s no reason not to spend some time outside walking, etc. Especially because I’d really like to finish the Great Manhattan Loop. One thing I realized when I was home for about ten days in July is how much I walk by default when I’m here. There are sloth days, but I think I’ve been good on this step. And I finished the Loop and have started on another goal with the bridges.
  • Eat better. Not just within the calories, but more fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect season. Eh, sort of. I give myself a C here. ETA C-, but I’ve been a B+ of late so I’m getting back.
  • Diversify my breakfasts. I’m getting sick of Cheerios. I think there are better options to keep me fuller too. Straight up D here. It’s coffee, cheerios or both.
  • Set a goal. Maybe even a Goal. Time to figure out what I’m working toward. F. F – if possible.


  • Stay on track and finish strong. Fall is crazy at work, but that’s not an excuse to undo all the progress I’ve made this year. I wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty good. I didn’t gain over my birthday, Thanksgiving, the gala or vacation. I’m happy with this.
  • #GoTheDist Q4. Detailed yesterdayDetailed above. Nailed this.
  • Better food choices. Goldfish aren’t dinner and coffee isn’t breakfast. No comment.
  • Set a Goal, goal, oal-gay or what have you. Time to stop this ridiculosity and just do it. Um, I plead the 5th

So mixed results, but I’m overall happy because I kept thinking about the goals I’d set and why. So, with that in mind, here are some ones to start 2014.


  • Meet or exceed my #GoTheDist goals.
  • Specifically, exceed my Q4 2013 GTD totals.
  • I’m not sure LoseIt’s 147 days is realistic, but 2014 is the last year I will start overweight
  • Learn to cook. I’m already laughing at myself for this one, but I really wish I could. I think it would make some food choices better.
  • Get back to a regular gym schedule. It sounds cliche, but I feel good when I go. So I need to GO
  • Relax. Keep doing what I did last year. It (mostly) worked and I’m on the right track.

#GoTheDist 2013: Went

I did it, I did it.

Yes, you should read that in a complete sing-song voice since I am wearing a pink tiara.

Been a good #GoTheDist year, despite a rough start after which I revised my original goal of 750 miles down to 500. Then, in July, I realized my initial goal was doable and in September, vowed to beat it.

So how did I do?

I finished* 2013 on a high note:


  • 205,116 steps
  • 87.2 miles walked
  • 47.48 miles biked

Totals for 4Q

  • 641,913 steps
  • 269.41 miles walked
  • 55.16 miles on the bike

Totals for 2013

  • 1,889,696 steps **
  • 948.09 miles walked
  • 335.83 miles on the bike


I also hit my Q4 goal (barely, pathetically on the biking side) and with 87.2 miles walked, I hit my last ditch goal that I set Friday.

Inspired by that, I’m setting my walking goal at 1100 miles. 1,000 seems to little of a bump from ~950 even though I know that’s lower than real, but 1,200 seems too high. So 1100 it is. I still need to do some steps math, so I’m not sure which is primary yet.

ETA: 1100 miles, 2.5m steps is my goal.

More to come on 2014. For now I’m going to bounce, that burns calories, right?

* there will be more steps tonight but it’s too cold so I don’t expect them to amount to much

** since May, when I got my Jawbone

Bookworm nerd alert

Since I don’t foresee myself finishing Rogues’ Gallery (at all, never mind by tomorrow) or Do You Speak Shoe Lover, I think I’m going to finish 2013 with 35 books read (and 5 unfinished). That is short of my goal, but not bad at all. Huge shout out to the 6 I read while away this month.

2013 was a lot of fiction. But it’s reading, so it counts. I definitely took to reading on my iPad and had no preference between iBooks or the Kindle-I do not like the Nook app. I do love my tags for cataloging books.

Past years:

  • 2012: 16 books, that’s just pathetic. It’s what spurred  my goal for 2013 as I love to read and there was no excuse for barely more than one book per month especially with ~5 being in one week. While I think I was bad at tracking, <20 is still a bad total.
  • 2011: 26 books, so much Patricia Cornwall as I tried to read her entire series. I didn’t finish it though. I did manage to catch up on James Patterson. This is also when I got my first eReader.
  • 2010: 21 books, many about  my WLJ.
  • 2009: 20 books, football and grad school (although I was done)
  • 2008: 24 books, not bad for being in grad school. An eclectic mix, to say the least.
  • 2007: 28 books, thank you European and Australian travel time. You made up for the time in class when I had no time to read.
  • 2006: 29 books. I think 99.99% of those were Jan-August while in Japan and before I started grad school.
  • 2005: 116 books! I miss Australia and Japan, and limited internet and cable TV.

I didn’t track 2004 in Library Thing, and I’m not sure 2005 is accurate per my notes here. Alas, the true totals are lost to time and not even the wayback machine can help. :-(

So what’s my goal for 2014? I want to say 45. I think that’s doable especially if I have a week’s holiday again. However I wouldn’t be disappointed with 40. Below 35 is not acceptable.

Random other reading notes:

Thanks to web archive, the list of books I wild released in Australia in 2005 remains as does the partial 2007 list, which includes one of my favorite reading spots.

#GoTheDist: 4 days left in 2013

and at 36.55 miles biked (28.87 in December!) I’m 15.95 miles from my goal of 52.5 miles on the bike.

Can I do it? I don’t know, but I think so. I wish my gym was closer to go this weekend, but I think I can go Monday and Tuesday.

Walking wise, I’m all set. Goal was 102.7 miles and I’m at 256.01! Wow. New mini goal, beat November’s mileage. I don’t think weather will cooperate to hit October’s 99.11 miles, but 83 is within sight as I’m at 73.8 miles through yesterday.


#GoTheDist Q4: Two months in

Whoops, I’ve been bad here since I discovered Tumblr.

My Q4 goals were:

102.7 miles walking and 52.5 miles on the bike.  My comment on that was that I hoped to have hit both by the end of November.

I nearly hit that in October, walking wise, with 99.11 miles walked but fell short on the bike. November was more (less?) of the same: 83.1 miles walked. None on the bike. I will remedy the bike this week but while happy with the miles in mostly unsuitable weather, I need to get to the gym more.

December sneak peak: 42.5 miles walked through yesterday.  Yes, I just caught up on tracking.

Red Square in the East Village

every time I do a tour with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, I learn things that have nothing to do with Judaism and/or the Lower East Side. I attribute this to the diverse range of guides they use, each of whom bring their own flavor to their tours. This bit of history might actually be Lower East Side related, depending on whose definition you use of the Lower East Side.

As we stood on the southern side of Houston St. headed from Congregation Chasam Sopher to Angel Orensanz, Marty pointed out a new building on the northern side of the street. On the surface, there wasn’t anything special about the building, aside from it being newer than some of its neighbors and decidedly not a tenement. However, Marty encouraged us to look up to the top where we saw a statue of Lenin and a clock whose numbers were backwards.

Welcome to Red Square, on Houston Street.

The rental apartments, on land that was a gas station for 25 years, were designed by Michael Rosen and the statue of Lenin, which points toward Wall Street, was added later following the fall of the Soviet Union when it was discovered in Moscow. The building’s clock is said to come from a design in MoMA’s store.

Some of the building’s neighbors are just as eccentric as Red Square itself and all add some flavor to a street that is adding too many chains and strip malls for my liking.

Crossing Delancey

with photos.

on a day where crossing 1st Ave. due to the marathon was the bigger odyssey. Luckily, the m15 was (sort of) running and I was able to make it down for the Jewish Heritage Festival.Before I made it to the Festival, however, I caught a peek of a broken-down synagogue on what I realized was Norfolk St through the Seward Park playground. With time to kill, I walked down Essex to Delancey and back up Norfolk for a better look. It turns out it was Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, formerly the Norfolk St. Baptist Church/Alanson Methodist Episcopal Church, now a landmark in some serious disrepair. Sad. While it appears it is no longer in immediate danger of being torn down, it appears that another piece of living history is gone.

From there it was a hop-skip to the Conservancy’s visitor center where, by virtue of the numbers, I did Crossing Delancey with Marty of Manhattan Walks, the guide who I loved from the Upper West Side and Jewish Harlem tours. I was pleased to be joined by Jeff Dobbins of Walks of New York, Howard Teich of the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, among others familiar faces from the Conservancy’s tours.

Because I hadn’t planned to go today or put much thought into the tour I was going to take, I hadn’t done my homework. I was pleased when the first stop was the Stanton Street Shul, one of the LES synagogues by which I am most fascinated. Although its congregation was mostly LES immigrant poor, a ton of love and detail was put into this tenement shul, especially the mazalot. There is an amazing amount of history in this 20′ x 100′ space.  While Eldridge St. remains the crown jewel of synagogue restoration, others like Stanton St., Beth Hamedrash Hagadol and Emory Roth haven’t yet been as lucky. I hope that tide turns soon. Stanton St. is amazing as one of the last remaining tenement synagogues (from a high of 700), all which had an interesting role in NYC history.

After Stanton Street, we headed to Clinton St. and Congregation Chasam Sopher, one of the oldest buildings whose continuous history was as a synagogue. It was originally built in 1853 by Congregation Rodeph Sholem, now located on the Upper West Side. Yes, more congregation musical chairs. Chasam Sopher has an interesting history, both in its continued existence as a free synagogue, but also how it suvived the down turn of the 1970s-80s and is now thriving due to the  influx of young Orthodox families on the Lower East Side.

Although the tour continued down Orchard Street, my final stop was at Angel Orensanz, a cultural center whose work I love. I had no idea that it was (one of) the previous homes of Anche Chesed, nor that it was the oldest surviving building in New York City built specifically as a synagogue, and the first synagogue structure built on the Lower East Side. It is now a venue that is available for rent (especially weddings!) and has been home to some amazing cultural programs. I hope that rental income allows it to thrive because this architecture cannot be lost to history.

I was sad to leave the tour, but it whet my appetite for even more exploration of the Lower East Side, which will hopefully come soon.

#GoTheDist Q4: One month in

In addition to way too much candy, October 31 marked the end of the first month of Q4. My Q4 goals were:

102.7 miles walking and 52.5 miles on the bike.  My comment on that was that I hoped to have hit both by the end of November.

October activity: 99.11 miles walked and 7.68 miles on the bike.

I’m over the moon with the walking mileage especially with some really lazy days but know I definitely need to get to the gym more often.

Baby steps.

The difference being a fan makes

Manning Baas pregame warmups

Manning Baas pregame warmups

It’s no secret that I’m a Yankees fan. I also happen to be a quick hop from the stadium via the 4 train. Makes going to games easy peasy. Although I’m a Yankees fan, I don’t particularly dislike the Mets, but I find myself declining tickets more than I go. Why? Not because of their poor play, but rather because there is no easy way from Flushing to the Upper East Side. I’m 8.1 miles as the crow flies from Citi Field and a 25 minute dive from the stadium. Via mass transit, it’s 50m in a best case scenario, which has maybe happened once in the 5+ years I’ve lived in this neighborhood.

On the other hand, I’m a die-hard Giants fan. Met Life is 11.2 miles and a 28 minute drive. Last night’s game ended at 12:02 AM. Luckily most had left early and my seats were near the Bud Light gate (and therefore the train) so I made relatively good time and made the Secaucus connection by 12:4x. Of course that wasn’t direct. It was 2:03 AM by the time I walked into my apartment after NJT to Penn, the E to 50th, the A to 86th and the m86. No better and honestly, probably worse than Citi Field.

Despite being exhausted at work today, I’m pretty sure I never turned down Giants tickets and certainly not free.

That’s the difference being a fan makes.

More photos from last night here.


A walk down Wall Street

I had only vague plans of what I wanted to do after finishing the Trinity Church tour. Walk up to the Lower East Side and explore more of my adopted home? Walk down to Wagner Park and read while taking four million photos of the Statue? Walk the last section of the #GreatManhattanLoop that I did via bike earlier this summer?

The answer, unsurprisingly, ended up to be none of the above. I’ve been talking about exploring Lower Manhattan a lot and I decided when better to do it then when I was already down there. So I left the church yard and headed across Broadway and east on Wall Street. I had of course seen the Stock Exchange and Federal Hall previously, but never in day light. Come see the vampires of New York! Federal Hall was a miss (aside from a pair of crazy OWS protestors calling the reopening of the Statue the work of Communists) due to the Shutdown as it’s a National Park. Additionally, George Washington is behind scaffolding. What is it with our 18th century historic figures hiding behind scaffolding? The Stock Exchange, however, is phenomenal. I really had no idea how big the building was and I love its grandeur when compared with the more pedestrian American Stock Exchange building.

Intrigued by their Fed at 100 exhibit, I continued down Wall to the Museum of American Finance (48 Wall, former Bank of New York Building). Pleasant surprise: free admission. The exhibit is awesome and not just because I’m a ridiculous banking & economics nerd. It’s really well laid out and accessible to all segments of the population, no matter your level of comfort with the Fed. Plus it has figured of Hamilton and Burrr mid-duel. The museum’s shop is small but good, especially its collection of books.

Speaking of the Fed, I don’t know how many Money & Banking classes I took in school, yet I’d somehow never seen the New York Fed. I wasn’t even entirely sure where it was until I read the release for the Museum’s exhibit.

20 Pine, the Trump Building, Chase Manhattan Plaza and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

20 Pine, the Trump Building, Chase Manhattan Plaza and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

It’s a relatively unassuming building from the Liberty St. side with the only indication of what the building is a plaque on the southwestern corner, but from the Eastern side and Maiden Lane? I actually didn’t realize I was looking at the same building. If you think the NYC skyline is boring or the same throughout, I’d argue you’re really not looking. I love the architecture of the Fed and many of the buildings in this area and I definitely need to find time to explore it more. Ideally after I read a guidebook so I know what I’m looking at. I didn’t recognize the infamous 20 Pine in the photo above until someone mentioned it.

Random thoughts:

  • No. 37 Wall, now home to Tiffany’s has a fascinating history and I love the facade.
  • I had forgotten what a big deal (NYT, Metro) the Duane Reade at 40 Wall was when it opened. The space is still amazing even if the fare (aside from the stock ticker) is the same as all the new locations.
  • Love the Liberty Mural, but it too is a victim of scaffolding and you can’t get even remotely close.
  • The Chamber of Commerce building (and its history/current use) is intriguing and a fun read. The building itself looks like it’s a better fit up by City Hall rather than with the Wall Street area architecture.