What I’m Reading

books, reading

I always have four or five books going. I have been trying to spend more evenings reading instead of tuning out with some Netflix (life is too short). So, after the kitchen is cleaned, I pour myself some tea — actually, real talk, after Bruno cleans the kitchen and pours me a cup of tea — I have been sitting on the couch and reading until bed.

Not included: books on Rousseau, books I’m reading for my upcoming Constitution 101 class. That I’m always reading Rousseau should be a given.

Homer’s The Odyssey. I had full intentions for 2018 to be an epic year. I read the Iliad the other month. I plan on going through them both twice, because I am more than sure I missed plenty. Afterwards onto the Aeneid and then Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Iliad and the Odyssey, by Eva Brann. Eva Brann is my Virgil into the world of Homer. And she is right, she does offer up learning Greek as a great temptation (I passed my Ancient Greek reading comps, but even I know that means I only graduated from not reading Greek to barely reading Greek).

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker. I do not love this book. I do not even know if I like it, but I also do not think it is as terrible as some of my compatriots are saying. Do I think he gives too much credit to what he is advancing? Yes. Do I think he is right that living now is better than living several hundred years ago? A hundred years ago? Fifty years ago? Yes. Pet peeve: When Pinker quotes Enlightenment thinkers, he rarely quotes from the actual works themselves, but from other people quoting the works. Conclusion: Pinker does not really know much about the Enlightenment.

Your First Triathlon: Race Ready in 5 Hours a Week, by Joe Friel. Possible goals to come? We’ll see how this half-marathon goes.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, by Leslie Jamison. I am only two chapters in and loving it. I can already tell it is not the typical memoir. She wrote her dissertation on alcohol, recovery, and writing — looking at authors notorious for their drinking and what happened to their art post-recovery. I love the use of memoir and stories of writers throughout.

Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace. In full disclosure, I’m not so sure what to make of this one yet. I am only about a hundred pages in, so I have barely started. But views are to be determined.

What are you reading?

xo, Ali



And the Waiting Continues


A brief update post-endoscopy…well, several hours post-endoscopy.

The good news? I have no ulcers and no cancer. My stomach, according to the doctor, actually looks pretty good. All of that is a relief.

The bad news? They still do not know what is causing my eosinophilia in my blood. They took biopsies of my stomach and intestine to check for celiac disease and eosinophilic gastroenteritis.

And so, once again, I’m waiting.

xo, Ali

The Ice Cream Run

health, running

I have all sorts of arbitrary rules for myself. Examples: I can only run well in the morning. I can only have a productive day if I wake up at 4am. I can only call to cancel appointments after hours when I can reach voicemail because I’m afraid of disappointing the receptionist (what…only me?).

All this to say, if things do not happen specifically when and how I think they should happen, most likely I will not do them. It becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Wake up late? Well the day is shot (I am working on that). Morning run not done? Well, try again tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day. A new day for a perfect day.

Well, we drove to Michigan from Connecticut today. I have an endoscopy and biopsy for my stomach tomorrow and I have no idea how I’ll feel the rest of the day. This could on mean one thing: I had to run today.

And boy did I fight it. I mean this is against everything I stand for. Running? After five? Are you kidding me? So. We went and got ice cream instead. Yes. Yes. I know. I’m supposed to be avoiding those eight allergens, but I took a break (I mean…I needed a break after like three days…) in Philadelphia and I declared to Bruno, “This. This will be my last treat.” At this point I declared the run was not happening and enjoyed a decadent ice cream treat made with real milk, not from the almond or coconut variety (ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby).

And then get this. I actually went for a run afterwards. I drove to the rec center after seven. And I ran, not after five pm, but in the actual evening — when usually I’m reading on the couch and getting ready for bed. I ran five miles, not just five miles. No. No. Five really good miles where I felt great. I mean if I can have a great run with a stomach full of ice cream, who knows what else I can do?

I’m glad I did it. I ran off some nerves about tomorrow (am I going to be awake and feel this thing in my throat and stomach?). And so, now I can hydrate like a camel for the next few hours, and be satisfied that even though most of this day was sat doing nothing in a truck, I still accomplished something.

But even more important than all that, I learned something about making stupid rules for myself. They are stupid. I can run later in the day. I can run after eating ice cream (or whatever noble lie ice cream is replaced with). I can quit being precious about my time being exactly how I want it to be.

Tune in next week when I have to learn this lesson all over again!

xo, Ali


Monday Miles : April 2 – 8, 2018

monday miles, running


Independence Hall


A dud of a week. It started out fine, but with traveling to Connecticut, then to Philadelphia, then back to Connecticut, then back to Michigan, a conference, finishing up my third chapter (or chapters three and four?…more on that later) — it just did not happen this week. I know. I know. Excuses, excuses. But look, the dissertation comes first. Does that mean consequences for running? Absolutely. I’m ok with that.

That said, after two weeks of haphazard running, these next two weeks need to be consistent. April 28 is drawing near. And. I’m. So. Excited.

But, also, I’m so scared. My hamstrings are cranky. No worse than before — which I guess is good news. I have no idea what is going on. They actually do not bother me at all while running, but afterwards they feel tight. But then, the internet keeps giving me different information. Stretch them! Don’t stretch them because they are probably overstretched! Strengthen them! Don’t strengthen them! I just want to say, “Come on, dudes. We’ve made it so far. You both have been so great. We are going to run in the woods and it is going to be such a good time. You will not want us to miss it! So buck up!”

4 / 2 : AM – JasYoga Hip Mobility; 3 miles; 4 x 45 s planks; 50 x clamshells; 50 x Jane Fonda’s. PM – Yoga with Adriene True Day 7.

4 / 3 : PM – 5 miles. The last mile was a complete downpour. It was awesome. Am I the only one who loves running in the rain? Yoga with Adriene True Day 8.

4 / 4 : Drove to Connecticut. Approximately 12 long hours. Can you just feel my hip flexors tightening? I know I could.

4 / 5 : Finishing that third chapter. Turned in.

4 / 6 : Drive to Philadelphia. Conferencing.

4 / 7 : Conferencing, but also Philadelphia-exploring. 3 miles.

4 / 8 : Museum exploration and back to Connecticut.

Total : 11 miles.

I am going to try not to panic for the next two weeks and you are going to try not to judge me for flopping on a long run this week.

xo, Ali



Favorite Things : March 31 – April 6, 2018

favorite things

Greetings from Philadelphia! Here are this week’s favorite things.

I like this idea from Cal Newport on “slow” social media.

C’est pas vrai! Cheeseburgers are now apparently more popular in France than the classic ham and cheese baguette. They show some people who argue this is not exactly true, but Jonathan Fenby notes at the end of his book, France: A Modern History from the Revolution to the War with Terror, the decline of French food in France. He notes, “Eighty per cent of croissants were reckoned to be made in food plans in the early twenty-first century” and that “in 2014, France exported more vodka than cognac.”

When making your to-do list: schedule life first.

And when living your life: run your own race.

On the #metoo movement. Can we enjoy the art of monstrous men?

Advice for life: be prolific.

Amelia Boone’s race report from the Barkley Marathons.

I spent way too much time on this article.

I like the idea of reading Joan Didion more than I actually enjoy reading her, but this article was interesting.

xo, Ali

A Good Day

daily life, dissertation

I have been up since around 4 this morning, working on edits for my third dissertation chapter, edits for a professor’s article, and a little bit of French for good measure. It is after lunch and I am still wearing what I slept in — after I type this up, I am going to go for a run, head to campus and sign some papers (because I have a fellowship for next year!), and crank out about another three hours of editing for my chapter which will be it until Thursday — because we are driving to Connecticut tomorrow. The plan is to have very little to do on the chapter, beyond one last read through, on Thursday when I plan on doing it in no matter what. 

I like days like today. They do not happen much, these moments like I feel like I am in the zone. I may still be in these ridiculous looking leggings that were hand-me-downs (confession: I don’t get Lularoe, plain black leggings for life), but I am mostly packed for our trip east, food is in the crockpot, and editing is going well. Really, that is all I can ask for.

It is strange what can make for a good day. I’m going to go enjoy it.

xo, Ali




Monday Miles : March 26 – April 1, 2018

health, monday miles, running

This week was kind of a wash. I was having some pain in my right hamstring. I felt exhausted (probably due to missing some nutrients from whatever is going on with my stomach  — I mean you should see my eyes right now, I look haggard).

Plus, I’m trying to get this damn third chapter edited to a place where I am satisfied with it and can turn it in to my advisor. That is basically all I did today. How many pages did I edit? Around four. I did not even get distracted by facebook or Instagram. With almost thirty pages left to go through, at this rate I’ll turn it in the end of April. Good grief.

But I digress. It was a good week. I missed running though and was happy to get back at it today. I added some evening yoga to basically signal: ENOUGH. You are done with the day. CHILL.

3 / 26 : Did I do anything today? I seriously cannot remember. I need to start to write these things down…

3 / 27 : 3 miles with Bruno. I mainly vented about my chapter. He listened. It band & Core strength. I decided this day that I was exhausted and decided I would not run the rest of the week. PM – Yoga with Adriene True Day 1.

3 / 28 : AM – MTV Pilates, JasYoga Hip Stability; Yoga with Adriene True Day 2.

3 / 29 : AM – JasYoga Hip Stability; 100 clam-shells each side, 50 Jane Fonda’s; 30 x single leg deadlifts; 5 x 45s planks; declining sets push-ups, 10, 9, 8,…etc. Throughout the day – Around 100 squats. PM – Yoga with Adriene True Day 3.

3 / 30 : Short pilates session with Kristin McGee — this was no joke. PM – Yoga With Adriene True Day 4. Throughout the day – Around 100 squats.

3 / 31 : JasYoga Hip Stability; 100 clam-shells each side, 50 Jane Fonda’s, ?? 45 s planks. PM – Yoga with Adriene True Day 5. Throughout the day – Around 100 squats.

4 /1 : Yoga with Adriene True Day 6.

Total : 3 miles. Yes, that makes me nervous, but I know that as long as I hit my runs this week, I should be fine for April 28.

xo, Ali