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The Lent Project: Day 16

It's the Mystery of the Missing Furniture!

Someone stole our patio furniture. It's a weird, long story that I'll condense this way:

A day or two ago I thought it was odd that all 4 of our heavy, wrought iron patio chairs were gone. Ok, let me clarify, they're not "ours" but are in the common sideyard of the building for everyone to use. But they belong to our neighbors who moved out when they got married.

So we assumed they'd come to take them back. Very odd that they'd want to take back their patio chairs in the middle of winter, but whatever. Well, yesterday, the matching table is gone, too. I mean, this stuff is heavy enough that I don't think I could carry more than one chair at a time and I certainly don't think your average person could lift the table without help.

Apparently there has been a wave of patio furniture crime in our neighborhood...some people even take to chaining it down/together a la sidewalk cafe. The married couple does not have the chairs.

Now, add to the mystery that the gates to the sideyard have been open for weeks during the day because the construction workers working on a unit in our section have been propping it open for easy access. And their trucks have been parked out back several at a time. Clever thieves...nobody would notice if they just came and carried it off looking like a worker.

It's making us evaluate our bikes and such in the basement...perhaps it is time to chain them together to a pole now. Even if the doors are usually locked. You never know, I guess.

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Title IX for our boys

Those of you who have been reading long enough know that my writing about gender issues specifically tackles the role of boys/men in our culture. Especially how we need to do more to help boys not be left behind if we want fully involved men.

This is an interesting article from USA Today that I have mixed feelings about. I like the idea that we need more male teachers and more male-oriented classrooms. We need to better cater to the interests of all students...just today, NPR had a story on how computer classes aren't even taught in many schools.

I take issue, perhaps, with the tone of the author though. He comes across as sounding like female teachers intentionally stereotype and discriminate against boys. Which is why I hesitate to to label this social problem as a War Against Boys. Because it's not that overt, in my opinion. Whereas the War on Women is more of a very deliberate attempt to legislate counter to the interests of women by officials. How our culture treats boys and men is more subtle. I don't think there is a nefarious plot by female teachers to intentionally be more harsh to boys and grade them lower.

Awareness is growing. Which, I think, is the best method to solve the problem. I'm a moderate on the issue...I don't favor gender-specific classrooms, for instance. But I do think we need to make sure boys don't get left behind, are not treated differently, or singled out more frequently for being different. Or counter to the more female stereotyped needs of a "sit still and be quiet" classroom. Learning methods vary.

Going forward, given all our education difficulties in this nation, it will be difficult to create learning environments that are safe and effective for all students. The gender gap is no exception.

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Yesterday I wrote that the running boom may be ending...could the minimalist shoe trend be ending as well? There's this study about Vibram FiveFingers showing an injury risk--more so than users of traditional running shoes (who were also able to run more miles). Hardly a smoking gun, but more of an "I told you so" from those of us who have been rolling our eyes at the barefoot people.

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In the pool last night I felt sluggish and struggled through my workout. It happens. I did my time and got out--you have to not dwell on good or bad, just know that it all goes towards having you prepared for race day. I've been exclusively in the pool for almost a month now and it feels weird to be adding other training to the mix.

Next week officially starts my training plan for my race in June. Technically, it is supposed to be a balanced 2-2-2 schedule with 2 workouts per week in each discipline. So 2 swims, 2 bikes, 2 runs. But I think that's going to end up being 2 swims, 2 bikes, 1 run. We'll see. I generally like extra rest and running is already a strength.

Yesterday, I found the weather tables for March/April trying to figure out when I'm going to be able to get outside. Until then, I'll be in the basement on the trainer or at the gym hitting the pool/treadmill. I'm not putting my bike in the trainer--too much work to go back and forth--so I'm keeping Kelly's road bike in there to use for my indoor rides. So while the kids were napping, I went downstairs and pumped up the tires, adjusted the saddle, adjusted the tension on the trainer. It's been since Oct since I've been on a regular schedule, been on a bike, etc. so next will be an adjustment.

But it will be good to be back. I'm starting to get excited and a little anxious about my race. Not nervous because it is my first tri, per se. More like little butterflies about finally putting it all together and hoping it is smooth from racking my bike in transition until I cross the finish line.

Race day is 16 weeks away!