Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Random Ramblings

So, I am currently wandering aimlessly about my house. This is where I settled, so I figured I'd ramble a bit. I'm good at that. I am a touch blue and trying to make myself feel better.

Sister in Law in expecting twins. I am happy for her. They've been trying for awhile. It's very happy, exciting news. And it just further points out that I will not be pregnant with anything. I'm usually (mostly) okay with that. But sometimes I get a little down about it. Like now.

Hey Ladies by the Beastie Boys just shuffled in. That makes me feel a bit better....

I am wearing jeans today. I really do not like how I look in jeans. I'm more of a skirt girl. Because it hides things like thighs. Jeans do not. But I just didn't want to have to sit properly in a skirt today. I want to sit like a lazy slob and read books, then bake cookies. So I'm wearing jeans. (I have high hopes for the cookies. They'll be chocolate fudge dough with dark chocolate covered peanuts and almonds. )

My digestive system is being very sluggish these days. Which I'm sure you were wondering about and really curious to know. I have IBS, so some days are all fine and dandy. Some days are not. It's a "not" time right now. And I haven't really been making the best of food choices to help myself out, either. Like the spaghetti I had for dinner last night. I can't eat much pasta, but I LOVE IT. And it sounded so, so, so, so good. Just regular old spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatless balls (Insert your own joke here.), sprinkled with blue cheese. YUM!!! And today I'm paying for it. So what am I going to do? Um, that would be make cookies. (And like I'm going to make them and not eat any. I have no will power.) My genius can be astounding.

I'm a raging hypochondriac. Every ache, pain, bruise, pimple, sneeze, etc. I'm sure is something awful. Even though it's not. Any suggestions on how to overcome this? It really adds to my stress level (which I have been told by multiple sources, both medical and not, that I really need to lower). And I react to stress physically. Do you see my problem there?

I just drank this tea that smelled just like prepubescent sweaty children coming in from recess on a hot day. Which I sadly have a vast knowledge of. It pretty much tasted like sweat, too. It was vile. But it's supposed to be "good" for me. Does it really do anything at all? Could I have had the strawberry vanilla tea and gotten the exact same (apparently non-existent) results?

Now Mellowship Slinky in B Minor by Red Hot Chili Peppers shuffled in. When Anthony Kiedis sings "kiss me right here on my tattoo" I just can't help but think "um... okay!"

I must think of things to lift my mood now.....


Today is the official start of the U2 360 tour! It opens in Barcelona. And granted, I'm not in Spain to see it or anything, but hey, the tour is on! And now I'll be able to see set lists, and footage, and all kinds of fun stuff like that as I eagerly await their arrival in Chicago.

The new Pete Yorn album, Back & Fourth, came out last Tuesday. It's fantastic. And as if on cue, Pete just shuffled in. But it's Just Another which is from his (equally amazing) first album musicforthemorningafter. If you don't know Pete, you really should give him a listen. He's an amazing singer/songwriter. Kind of in the tradition of Bruce Springsteen. In fact, Social Development Dance (from the new album) is very, very Springsteenesque. And made me a little teary, but that's besides the point, I suppose. So, yeah, check out Pete.

For dinner tonight, I am making sandwiches, which is one of my favorite foods ever. I have green leaf lettuce, olive oil mayo, Havarti cheese (a.k.a. the best cheese EVER!), tofurkey, sweet potato chips (Hubby will eat his jalapeno Cheetos, and trust me they are all his....), and I'm going to brew some orange tangerine iced tea (It's Celestial Seasonings, which is awesome stuff. Did you know that because they do not have string, tags, staples, or individual wrappers on their tea bags, they save 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills every year? That rocks.) So dinner will be yummy.

The live version of REM's Leaving New York just shuffled in. Michael Stipe's voice lifts me. Always. I heart you, Michael Stipe.

I bought the Inkheart DVD when I was at Target. Because Dustfinger takes off his shirt and plays with fire. Yes, I can use it for work and it was a good movie and blah blah blah. But really, it's because Dustfinger takes off his shirt and plays with fire.

Hubby will be home from work stuff soon. That will be good. Maybe I can get him to take off his shirt and play with fire.....

I'm actually feeling a bit better now! Thank you for helping me with that!

I think I'll make some not gross tea and finish my book before cookie making.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Days

So, sometimes the fun just comes to you. This week has been like that, in unexpected ways.

Hubby works from home and his supervisor was visiting on Monday (on super short notice), so for several reasons, I needed to spend the day out of the house. I went from wondering how I was going to fill eight hours to enjoying the time on my own. I took my book and sat at a cafe with some tea reading for a few hours. (This was, like the trail race, a little step outside my comfort zone. I've always thought I'd like to take a book to such a place and sip a warm beverage while reading, but I've never done it. I was afraid I'd feel like a loser who had to sit by herself because she's a total pathetic friendless loser. But, turns out I wasn't a self-conscious loser at all! I actually liked it a whole, whole lot! Maybe someone else thought I was a loser, but um, oh well. I liked it.) I did a little shopping (Slightly decadent stuff like new towels. Do you know how wonderful new towels are? They're a bamboo / cotton blend. Fabulous.). I hung out with Mom for awhile. It was lovely.

Tuesday was the total opposite. Hubby was gone doing work things with Supervisor all day long. (Even shorter notice) He had to be on his way at 8:00 A.M.. And I had the house all to myself. This never, ever, ever happens. Ever. (Because Hubby works from home.) It was fantastic! I finished my book (It was the third of the Wicked Lovely series. It's all about the world of faerie. Apparently faeries are not cute and sweet, like Tinkerbell. They're naughty. Very naughty.). I cranked up my ipod and baked cookies (With regular chocolate chips AND mini morsels. I love mini morsels.) while singing and dancing. (Did you know that I sound just like Cher? I do. Really. It's uncanny. Cher is a goddess, by the way.) I also did mundane things like put the laundry away and washed the dishes. But I did them in an empty house. All by myself. While singing and dancing. (Because it's not often that I can bust out my Proud Mary moves. And I know the whole routine. Because as a child, when people asked what I wanted to be when I "grow up," I said "Tina Turner." Okay, I still want to be Tina when I grow up. She, too, is a goddess.)

Wednesday it just so happened I had multiple things scheduled that I find rather fun and relaxing. Like acupuncture. Which is awesome enough, but Acupuncturist also decided I need some cupping and gua sha. (My qi was stagnating. It tends to stagnate in my shoulders a lot. Cupping and gua sha releases it. And leaves big red marks, but I feel so much better afterward that it doesn't even matter.) Then I headed off for a pedicure. I hadn't had a pedicure in a long time. I actually can't remember my last pedicure. It was heavenly! Plus I got to catch up on useless celebrity gossip as I flipped through back issues of People Magazine, which is good fun in and of itself.

Now today, I had a Pirate Adventure with Work Friend. How much fun was that?! I love pirates! We touched actual pirate treasure. We got to experience what it was like on a pirate ship. We saw lots of way cool pirate artifacts. Oh, it was awesome..... Doesn't this just say it all?

It's been such a week! And there's still Friday ahead of me!

You Capture - Summer

I'm late with this post because today I was out IN the summer! There's more summer at Beth's.
This always means summer to me!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Trails

So, I ran a little 5K trail race Sunday morning. I've done the trail race thing before. Annually, actually. And I've grown to love hiking them. The tougher the better. I very much enjoy being in the woods and sunshine and all. But this was something else entirely.....

It's rained a little here lately. Okay, maybe more than a little. Kind of a lot. I knew this before I left the house Sunday morning. But, somehow, I didn't put two and two together. Like that if the grass was a bit spongy, the trails might be a bit damp, too. Especially the completely open, no tree cover kind of trails. No, that didn't occur to me until I was on the actual trail that I would soon be running, heading to the starting line. That's when I saw the "puddles." The first one I encountered had a crawfish swimming in it. Seriously. A crawfish. That's when I started to wonder what, exactly, I'd gotten myself in to. I'm not the biggest fan of aquatic type creatures. Or really water in general. Except, like, to drink. Or bathe in. (That might be the biggest understatement you'll see today, okay.) And I generally don't really like mud. Especially on me. I'm kind of a neat and tidy person. Sweaty is okay. Dirty is not.

People (me included) were trying to make their way around the puddles (okay, small lakes) to get to the start. And pretty much everyone seemed to be trying to make their way around the puddles (that took up the ENTIRE width of the trail) once we were running, too. That made for some pretty tight squeezes. Too tight for my liking. So after the second pack-moving-around-the-puddle maneuver, I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to do this right. I moved out of the pack and charged right down the center of the trail toward the puddle.

I entered the puddle with all my might. And the splash was a thing of beauty! The wake was about knee high and seemed to pause briefly in this graceful arch around me before gravity regained control of the water. It looked a bit like I imagine it looked when Moses parted the Red Sea. The water was just a touch more than ankle deep. And it didn't smell very good. And it was a very odd color. And I don't even want to know what all was "in" there. My feet were submerged. My shoes lost all trace of newness. My socks made a kind of sucking noise as I left the puddle. I was wet kind of all over. But, damn, it was fun!

So I took the rest of the puddles the same way. I encountered (in addition to the crawfish) a few frogs, countless bugs, and one absolutely beautiful box turtle. (He also looked a bit frightened. But wouldn't you be, too, if suddenly hordes of very large and imposing creatures totally unlike yourself went storming though your yard? I had to stop to make sure he was okay before I could proceed to the finish.) By the time I was done I was covered in mud and muck and grime and things I don't even want to think about. It never occured to me to look at my time (I still don't know what it was.) And I had the biggest smile on my face.

Driving home I realized that for someone who tends to be a little cautious and likes to maintain control and stick to her routines, I took a nice, big leap outside the box. And it felt really good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Capture - Emotion

So,Cat and me have a very, um, interesting relationship. Mostly due to the fact that I don't really like cats. But sometimes he's just so darn cute that I forget that and hug him anyway. At least, I find myself reaching for the camera a lot. He's one expressive little guy. But he doesn't offer a lot of set up time; more of a point and shoot kind of thing.....

People wonder why I'm so in love with farm animals. Well, doesn't this just say it all???? I wish I could reach such a level of contentment, too.

There are plenty more takes on emotion at Beth's site. Enjoy them!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Best Laid Plans

So, the best laid plans don't always work out like you think they will. I was planning a totally selfish week. But Hubby decided to take the week off, too. So my plans became our plans. Still, much fun was had. In list form, here is what happened....

1. There were two days of sleeping until I woke up. NO ALARM AT ALL. I wasn't actually sure that was even possible. I thought the alarm would just go off anyway. But it didn't.

2. There were three days of going to Coldstone. They have a new flavor - Butterscotch Jello Pudding ice cream. I'm pretty sure it is the best ice cream ever made. I got it with chocolate chips mixed in. Three times.

3. Went hiking here (That's sand. Going up. Far up.):

4. Went hiking here:

5. When hiking here:

6. Went hiking here:

7. Rented movies. And actually watched them. I'd forgotten that you could do that. I'm so used to renting them and just taking them for a little vacation to my house, where they generally sit on the counter until I take them back to the store. But this time, we watched them. Ghost Town, which was really funny (like, laughed till I cried a few times), and We Are Marshall, which required tissue. Because I was just actually crying.

8. Went to the actual movie theater. We saw Up. It was kind of an ambivalent choice. It was playing at the time we had available to go. But it was one of the best movies ever. As in, ever. I'm not even kidding. I cried three times. I was not prepared for that. I didn't have any tissue. I hadn't even grabbed any napkins in the lobby. But the tears were flowing anyway. Go see it. Take your significant other and go. There's plenty of cute and funny for the kids, and yes I laughed out loud, but it's really about love and commitment and promises and living life to the fullest. Just go see it.

9. I baked.

10. We made multiple trips to our favorite local place to eat. Their new garden veggie soup is amazing. And I can never resist these.

11. We ate at our other two favorite places, too. Ate things like California Ruben sandwiches. Veggie and cheese salads. Sweet potato fries. Churizio burritos. Cocoa mousse cake. Hot chocolate gelato. Sugar cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Baked potato skins. Tri-color tortellini. It was a good eating week.

12. I ran. Three times. With minimal pain.

13. I took the new bike out for some riding.

14. I read one book (I was hoping for more, but....). It was The Sorceress by Michael Scott. It's the third book of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. It was SO good. I highly recommend the whole series, especially if you're a history nerd like me. Although I truly believe that if you're a writer and you're going to write a series, you really shouldn't publish the first book until they're all written and ready to be published. Because I just don't have the patience to wait a year or two for you to write more, you know? Especially when there's going to be six books in the series. I'm just saying.

15. Spent some quality time with Hubby.

16. Paid too much money for a massage that was worth every single penny.

All in all, not a bad week, I suppose. Tomorrow Hubby goes back to work and I plan to do some serious sitting on my butt and reading this week. I can see the next round of commitments peeking around the corner, but I think I can hold them off for a few more days.....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Capture - Nature

So, I'm taking a break from my week of doing nothing but what I want to make a return to You Capture because, um, my mom told me to. Okay, so I also had some good nature type pictures from my doings so far this week, but still.....

Here's some rural nature (from a place that totally made me feel like I was in the novel Tuck Everlasting):

And some urban nature:

Have fun looking at everyone else's pictures! I'm going back to doing whatever I want now. More on that later......

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Reality

So, today (the first day of summer break), I got up at 3:00 in the morning to go run a race. My first since the Big Race at the start of May. Exactly one month ago.

I was nervous for a lot of reasons. My activity level has been lower than normal for a lot of the past month. I've only actually run twice since Big Race. This was my first real test of the "new race philosophy." (You know, that whole "I'm running because it's fun" thing.) I wasn't sure what would happen with my knee (this was it's first real test, too). And, hell, I get nervous before every race, every time, anyway.

Standing in the dark after the alarm went off, I couldn't help but think it was stupid and pointless to even go. I was getting up this early (on the first day in months that I technically didn't have to get up) and driving for an hour to run a 5K. Three miles. That I wasn't even sure I could get though. But I knew I needed to do it. I knew I needed the "test." I knew I would hate myself if I didn't try. I knew I would hate myself if I missed this race for the first time in a decade. Plus, I'd run every other distance offered there, so why not complete the set?

And then the sadness set in as I realized that my original plan for this day, the one I made in secret back in January, was to run the marathon. It was supposed to be my "fun" marathon; just to run it with no pressure or overriding goal. But..... Anyway.

The rest of the morning was rough, and I have very mixed feelings about it all.

I loved being there. That unmistakable feeling of being at a race; of getting ready to run - the anticipation and excitement of it. Getting my packet. Pinning my bib number to my shirt. Putting the chip on my shoe. Checking out the "competition." Even standing in line for the bathroom! But it was like starting over for me. I didn't know where to position myself on the starting line, because I didn't know what to expect of myself, or what I'd really be able to do. I knew I couldn't race like I have previously, but where did that leave me?

I knew as soon as the starter said "go" that I'd started too far back. I was instantly aggravated at the inability to move. Granted, I come from a cross country background and know how to use my elbows (and feel no compunction about using them), but still. There were a lot of people around me taking their sweet time. And I was not happy about that.

Once I got some space and was able to stretch my legs a little in the race itself, I got happier. I was keeping myself in check, not pushing too hard. But it felt so good to be pushing myself even a little bit. Even though the people traffic was irksome, it probably helped to keep me from overdoing it. When there are several thousand people all moving through a three mile stretch at the same time, unless you are up front, the crowd never really thins out. And maybe that was good for me today. I got to test myself a little, but didn't push as hard as I most likely would have if there hadn't been so many people. And this race has a finish line that just never gets old. It's always thrilling to "run through the tunnel" and on to the field. Gives me chills every time.

But then, as I crossed the finish line and saw my time, I got all mixed up again. There's the part of me that's just so pleased that I did it. And then there's the part of me that knows I'm capable of more. And those two parts are having a hard time co-existing right now. It didn't help walking backwards on the course after the race (to get back to the car) and seeing all the runners in the longer distance races making their way over the course. Especially those in the front packs. That used to be me. And it made me want to cry.

So, tonight I'm trying to focus on the reality of today. I ran a race. In a decent time (even if it's not the time I'm used to, it's still decent. And I know the important thing is that I even finished at all. But, I'm still me. And, apparently, time is still something that's important to me at this point.). And I felt pretty good. A little stiff in the knee afterward, a few twinges of pain, but nothing too big or unmanageable or hindering. And a month ago, I thought I would not be able to run at all, ever again. All in all, that's a pretty good reality.

And, I'll see where it goes from here. I have my "training plan" for the summer all set to go, and it's more diversified than ever before (and I am excited about that). As of right now, there are only two days of running per week. I feel like I'll be able to bring my mileage up a little bit. And maybe even add another running day. But I guess I'll just have to see. As of right now, my only goal race for the summer is a 10K in July. The goal being running that far with minimal knee issues. After today, I feel like I'll be able to do that. And I guess that's a pretty good reality, too.

School's Out

So, I'm giving thanks to God/Buddha/Krishna/Allah/Insert-your-higher-power-here because I survived another school year! Without hurting anyone! Including myself! Yea!

Somehow, this school year was rougher than most (for a lot of reasons), and I didn't have the usual end-of-the-year mixture of sadness and happiness. I was just relieved for it to be over. I was able to walk out with my room completely packed; everything but the big furniture moved into my new room. No going back to finish up little odds and ends. No going back until August. That's never happened before. I've felt like I've been on a treadmill, going at full speed, non-stop for months. Walking out the door yesterday felt like I was finally getting off.

Lately, it seems there's been a lot of "stuff" to do and a lot of "stuff" happening. Not all bad stuff, just lots of it. Some of it has been my choice and some of it has not. But it's all kept me up late and gotten me up early (or more accurately, just not let me get up without the aid of an alarm for the last two and a half months straight), made me much busier than usual, killed my good eating habits, and sent my already precarious digestive system into quite the tizzy. So, as of 3:00 this morning, I'm going to be completely selfish for the next week. That might sound horrible, and I know there are those around me who will judge me harshly for that, but I don't care right now. I am in desperate need of a little "me time," and by gum, I'm going to take it! I'm not sure yet what I'll be doing, but I know it's going to be what I want to do.

I can actually feel the icky-ness draining out of me as we speak. I'll breath a sigh of relief now.