Archive | December 2013

It is Resolved

2014 is going to be phenomenal! If 2013 is any predictor, there is so much ahead that I couldn’t possibly predict. Does that make me a determinist? I don’t know what will happen, but I do know I have the power to shape some parts. I resolve to accomplish the following things.

1. Run a 5-race series, including two half-marathons. I will probably run about 10 races total this year.
2. Lose 20 more pounds by April. Secondary goal would be to lose 10 more than that by the end of the year.
3. Register and train for the Walt Disney World Marathon in Jan 2015.
4. Run 1,000 miles in 2014.
5. Get my 5-mile pace down to 9:00/mile and my half-marathon pace to 10:00/mile.
6. Complete all of my nursing school courses with B’s or better.
7. Clean out all of my closets. Perhaps one a month until I’m done? And then… the office!
8. Organize what remains so that all things have a place for reasonable access.
9. Repaint and recarpet the upstairs.
10. Dress up, celebrate, and take adorable pictures at every major holiday.

I’m not sure if that list is too ambitious or perhaps too superficial. I was going for measurable goals…things I could revisit a year from now and know I had accomplished.

2013: The Luckiest Year to Date

I can honestly say that in 2013, more positive changes have taken place in my life than at any other time.  Perhaps a close second would be 2006, in which I graduated in the top ten of my high school class, worked my first real job, started college, and made a whole bunch of new friends.  I tend to be a pretty easygoing person and overlook the negatives in life in favor of focusing on the positives; that being said, 2013 was an especially good year to me.  Let me break it down.

January: I started my RN program, joining a group of passionate and talented individuals, many of whom became fast friends, and all of whom are supportive colleagues.  We look out for each other in Nursing School, sharing study guides, having get-togethers, and generally being kind and caring towards one another.  It’s a great group that I am proud to be a part of.
: I also began a journey to take my personal fitness more seriously.  I had been running casually for the past two years, so the next step was to get a trainer and set some more ambitious goals.  The first goal was to run a half-marathon, by which time I would lose 30 pounds.
: Alyssa came to visit! We did some local historical tours.
: Celebrated Ben’s 1st birthday. What a cute little goose!
: I also established a new group of friends at the dog park.  I talk about my ‘dog park family’ a lot, and those are people whom I’ve known for 5+ years.  This new group is from the ‘big dog side of the park’ and mostly comprised of 20-somethings.  The five of us (Zach, Steve, James, Anna, and me) started going out to dinners and movies, etc.
: Hosted a baby shower for one of my dear friends and her first son.  The theme was “Welcome to the Jungle.”

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February: I really started to open up with my nursing buddies when I particularly hilarious incident happened to me at what started out as an innocent housewarming party.  I don’t drink often, and this was not a “bad decision related to drinking.”  This was simply a circumstance that involved drinking, and I have no regrets, only a smile and a slight shake of my head.  In any event, it was a turning point in a number of ways.
: Super Bowl party at Regan’s, and other random social events, still managed to fit in to my busy school schedule.
: Epic road trip with Carlie down to go to her sister’s wedding reception and stay with our friend Beth.

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March:
: Megan came to visit!
: I visited Jabote for a couple days.  Met some of her grad school friends, also met her new dog for the first time.
: I also visited Emily for a day trip.  She took my to my first ever Thai restaurant, and an obsession was born.
: It was my spring break.  Some of the girls and I enjoyed leisure activities such as running together and taking a boat to a restaurant.
: We had a pretty epic easter egg hunt for Henry and Ben and baby Haley. It involved a trick egg hanging from a ceiling fan that Henry had to figure out how to retrieve!

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April: Expanded my new dog park friend group with more get-togethers, including a party for Steve’s birthday and a dinner in honor of John’s elective surgery.
: Little came to visit!  We had tons of fun, despite the fact that she could only stay a few days.  We saw my Little Little as well.
: Roomie came to visit!  We got up to lots of hijinks that were sort of similar to reliving our college days.  It’s fun to be nostalgic.

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May: With my last final, my first semester of Nursing School was complete!  Dee and Rose hosted a BBQ to kick-off summer.  It was great fun, and we partied well into the wee hours.
: Lyds graduated! There was much celebration all around!
: Visited my aunt and uncle a few states away.  They took me to all the great local spots, including a cool outdoor club and a small zoo.
: Kayaking adventure with Carrie and her family.  It was one of the prettiest days of the season.
: Ran in my second ever 10k with Jabote, Regan, and Kaitlyn.  Also, started my official half-marathon training.

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June: Kicked my running into high-gear with my first 7-, 8-, and 9-mile runs this month.  It was a challenge to beat the heat and built the mental and physical endurance for this task, but as the miles got longer, things actually seemed to get a bit easier.  Getting started was the biggest challenge!
: Had lots of funtimes with Steve before he did us all the disservice of moving a few states north of here.  All of this culminated in a goodbye party for him where the whole extended dog park group got together.
: Ran in an 8k with Regan and Carlina.  The weather was surprisingly cool for June, for which we were grateful!
: Hosted a pool party for many of my ‘friends with kids’ which was tons of fun.
: Dealt with a bathroom remodel, necessitated by water damage.  It turned out great in the end, but getting there was a ride on the strugglebus.

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July: Started dating James. Most momentous moment.
: Ran my first 10 mile run, but afterwards I was plagued with what turned out to be an ‘overuse injury.’  I had to take some time off to rest and take short course of anti-inflammatories before I got back on my feet again.
: Katrina came to visit!  We did fun things like kayaking and exploring local historical sites and generally reliving the summer she was my housemate.
: Bid farewell to Lydia and Molly, two more friends moving away.  I tried to give them each a meaningful send-off.

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August: Henry’s 4th birthday party and their family’s moving-away weekend.  Carlie and David elected to stay with me so they could pack up and move out without traumatizing the kids too much.  It was a hectic weekend and one of the saddest “see-you-soons” I have ever experienced.
: Went to see MatchBox Twenty & the Goo Goo Dolls with Heather.
: Ran my first 11- and 12- mile runs, having recovered from the hamstring strain.  Needed to get those in before the half.
: Epic travel plans: visited my grandmother, then visited Carlie & the family, also attended Josh & Abby’s wedding reception, and then headed back home to see James.
: Tumultuous start to my second semester of nursing school.  Also started online classes working towards my BSN.
: Helped James pack up his stuff and move into his first house!  He moved a bit further away from me in the interest of no longer renting, but his new neighborhood is beautiful and the drive is scenic.

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September: First thing…ran 13.1 miles with Regan!  I also ran 75 total miles this month, which blew my previous record out of the water.
: Went to see Maroon 5 with Olga.
: Ran The Color Run 5k with Carrie, Dee, Tina, Rose, Leah and Erica.
: James and I went on an epic 2-hour kayaking adventure.
: Ended the month on a high note (sarcasm) due to a minor car accident that, while no people were hurt, kind of smashed Fifi the Fit.

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October: Turned 26!  James and Zach took me out to dinner at our favorite restaurant (where I met James back in January).
: Did a lot of scrambling for rides this month.  Janet was especially helpful because she’s my neighbor and she works from home, so she let me borrow her car a lot.  Also James spent much of the month visiting me because I only had vehicular access for short periods of time, not enough to spend days at a time out at his place.
: Ran in a Zombie-themed 5k and my favorite Halloween-themed 10k!  Both with Regan!
: Carlie and the family visited.  Got most of the dog park family together for a delicious dinner at Jimmy’s.
: Hosted Katrina and Emily for Homecoming, and also got together with Gabby and Heather who were in town visiting that weekend.
: Pumpkin carving party with the dog park family.
: Finally got MY CAR back!

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November: Started the month out with a visit to James.  No car accident this time!
: Voted.  For the winner, obviously.
: Visited Jabote, during which we accomplished some epic running, baking, shopping, and painting.
: Special outing to see Catching Fire with Lara and Rebecca!  Also that weekend, Haley’s first birthday party and the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special.
: Traveled to spend Thanksgiving with Little & her family.  It was warm and cozy with quite a lot of lovely food and company.
: Total miles for this month: 80!  New record!

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December: Finished my second semester (and first half) of nursing school with a whimper rather than a bang.  But that’s okay, because either way, most of the month was completely school-less!
: Holiday scrub party with nursing school buddies!
: Took an adorable Christmas Card photo with James, and mailed out almost 50 cards this year!
: Joined the local Y and worked out with Carrie!
: Walked in a local parade with some dog park friends.  Bonnie and I both had a blast!
: Ran in a Christmas 8k with Regan, very hilly but also quite pretty.
: Celebrated Asher’s first birthday and Carlie’s visit with the kids.
: Hosted a gingerbread-decorating party, or just a holiday party for those who did not want to be crafty.  Lots of local friends in attendance to eat and be merry.
: Traveled out of town for the holidays.  First to see Lynne and Norma, then to stay with Carlie’s family.  The trip was filled with lots of love, good food, and a little bit of snow!
: Alice came to town for a visit!  We spent some time “downtown” and otherwise just hanging out.
: Celebrating the New Year with James at Kim’s party!  Without the dog park, I would have so many fewer meaningful relationships, and I am so grateful for those that I have found as a result.
: Total miles this month: 82.5, another record.  Total miles this year: 536.9.
: Total weight loss this year: 50 pounds!

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Here’s hoping that 2014 is as full of memorable moments!

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Christmas Travels: Part 2

It’s been a wild adventure since I arrived at my northern holiday destination. I ended up leaving my grandmother’s place after dinner on Friday. I did not get in til after 11pm. I was greeted by snow, a beautiful tree, and good friends.

Started the next day out with a beautiful 4-mile run through town. Then we went to a nearby science museum where we passed many amusing hours with 4-year-old Henry and almost-2-year-old Ben.

After arriving home, David made us a delicious caprese pasta dish. So good. It was funny because I mentioned it and he had also been thinking about it all day too! Along the way, we also made up our own new words to the 12 Days of Christmas. So amusing*.

We rounded off Saturday with some cleaning, a walk to the store, and a viewing of 4 Christmases.

Sunday I did some yoga because it was rainy outside. Then we headed on another adventure to IKEA and then the train station to get the kids’ grandma. On the way home we stopped at the “good” grocery store and then used those ingredients to create our Hanukkah celebration dinner. I love that we celebrate both holidays here, despite the mismatched timing this year.

Monday morning it was pouring, so I drove to the Y to run indoors. I only did 5 miles because I was bored and my headphones weren’t working (so, no music). We had a chill morning, and right after lunch we took 4-year-old Henry to his first movie…Frozen! He had lots of fun and was so well-behaved.

Shortly after we arrived home, the kids other grandmother (Nonna) arrived. We ate a dinner smorgasbord of leftovers and also the clam chowder David and I made.

After dinner, I helped Carlie wrap some gifts and we ended up having to take a last-minute trip to Kohl’s to exchange some things that were all wrong with some better gift options.

Tuesday was cool and crisp and beautiful so I went for an 8-mile run around town! It went pretty well, just a bit slower than my recent long-distance runs. Then I got treated to a delicious breakfast of cocoa and sticky buns. Mmmmm.

The rest of the day passed in a flurry of cooking, cleaning, and water squirting. David made his chocolate cookies and we each were allowed to have one, warm from the oven. For dinner we got a pizza and in the process of the dining experience, Grandma squirted liquid out her nose and Carlie and David each threw water at one another. I made my famous french toast (recipe adopted from a friend of mine) and David made his strata. Eleven gourmet dishes total.

Christmas morning dawned with some sleepy adults and impatient children. But all presents were eventually opened and appreciated! Brunch was uber delicious. Rest and relaxation followed, watching Christmas programs and kids playing with toys. Then other friends (Ryan, Kathy, and Charlotte) joined us for dinner. It was absolutely amazing from the brisket to the steamed spinach. We also enjoyed a rousing dinner conversation that ranged from affirmative action to contraception and everything in between. In the evening we watched The Last Holiday.

The day after Christmas gave me an amazing gift… A powder of fresh snow! I had never gone for a snowy run before so I bundled up and bolted out the door while there were a few flakes still falling. My 3-mile plan turned into 4 miles because it was too beautiful to head back indoors right away.

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The rest of the morning we spent hanging out, cleaning up, and coming to terms with the reality of our impending separation. I hit the road around 1pm and made it to James’s place around 5:30. I had minimal traffic because I took more back roads, but it did take a bit longer. And that concludes my travels. I head home later today to greet my houseguest, so the festivities continue.

*On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A boogie in a pear tree
2 happy boys
3 barking dogs
4 dozen cookies
5 hours of sleep!
6 loops of garland
7 people stockings
8 nights of hanukkah
9 comfy chairs
10 full bellies
11 gourmet dishes
12 dozen presents

Christmas Travels: Part 1

This whole week so far has been a ramp up to the first leg of my holiday travels.

Monday started out with frustration, but ended in success. I was supposed to have something installed in my home, and the guys came and got all set up before realizing they ordered the wrong size. I was also on the phone all morning with the furniture store trying to figure out what time my new bed frame and mattress would be delivered. In the mean time, I had lunch and exchanged gifts with Cathy and Brian. That was fun. But I forgot my wallet and thus had to limit the other errands I could accomplish. I had to use my emergency car cash to get a haircut. Tragic.

Finally I got an answer on the bed…between 4-5pm. So I rushed home . They didn’t arrive til 6:01. And the broke the ear off my Gaudi giraffe (you know, the one I got in Barcelona, not exactly replaceable). But, the bed frame is great and fits well in the room.

Tuesday was much more productive. Went for a run (did Monday also, but that didn’t save my day). Baked my Christmas sugar ‘n’ spice cookies that I included in all the packages I mailed, got those all packed and dropped off at the VERY efficient post office. I dropped off clothes at Goodwill and books at the public library. I had yoga and delivered Lara’s present. And I even ran my little errands at Target and the grocery store.

And then the day really kicked off! Met my neighbors for Frozen (SO GOOD), pizza, and fro-yo. A whole evening of laughter and delicious food! James was transporting my twin bed after work, so I went out and did all that and still beat him home. It was our last night together before holiday travels, so I was extra attached.

Wednesday morning James helped me pack two chairs into my car before heading off to work. Then I went for a run which felt good but made me late leaving. I still made it to my destination in time for lunch though. It continued as a fun day of games, Christmas traditions, and having a great time with Lynne and Norma.

Thursday morning Lynne did my recorded yoga class with me, which was a really fun experience to share. Then I took her to the airport, ran a few errands, and headed back for lunch. We spent the afternoon relaxing, went to dinner down at the cafe, and watched Crossfire (Duck Dynasty controversy) in the evening.

In general when I travel, I find I have a lot of time to be alone with my thoughts. I am wondering things like… Am I happy with the way I look and feel? Am I moving in a positive life direction…if not in all areas, in some? What do I want to do differently to change my future…or do I want to keep things status quo?

All I know is that I am at my best when I am surrounded by people I love. No matter what else, taking care of those relationships is of the utmost importance to me.

Pre-Holiday Week

I’ve been working on holiday projects all week! Cleaning, card writing, decorating, and preparing for Sunday’s holiday party.

Wednesday I went to the gym with Carrie and we made an afternoon out of it by hitting up Tropical Smoothie and then Ross for Christmas shopping. How productive. James was here all week and we spent the evening together playing cribbage and cleaning up after my sick dog. How romantic.

Thursday I had my formal introduction to the Y, including a strength test and set up on their ActivTrax system. I may not use it much, but it’s an interesting tool! Then I jetted off to yoga. Got back in time to get ready again for the evening’s outings. Met an old professor for coffee and she wrote me a letter to help me get transfer credit for her speech class. Funny story…we both sat there for about 20 mins before we realized who the other was. It had been about 4 years and I am about 50 pounds lighted than when she knew me. We had a nice chat and I was only a little late getting home.

James and I met Regan and Matt at one of our favorite restaurants. We had a slight travel snafu but resolved it by pushing the reservation back an hour. Dinner was delicious and everyone seemed to have a good time! We got back home and crashed because I had to be up next day at 6am for work.

Friday I pulled my first day-evening double since the summer and it went much more smoothly (and quickly!) than expected. It definitely helped that I worked with awesome staff and got placed on a unit with kids I can have fun hanging out with.

Saturday was full of good times! I had a delicious interactive brunch with dog park people (one of our holiday traditions), attended Asher’s first birthday party, spent the day with Carlie and the kids, picked up Marty for dinner at Noodles & Co, and then spent the rest of the evening doing Christmas prep.

Sunday dawned bright and early as I met Regan for an 8k at a local park. It was absolutely perfect weather (compared to last weekend when it was supposed to be held). We made decent time and enjoyed all of the decorations!

I hung out the rest of the day at home, getting ready for the party. Carlie and the kids stopped by. James arrived before the rest of the guests to help me finish getting ready. Then…we partied! My menu included trail mix, sausage/cheese platter, meatballs in BBQ, crab mango salsa, baked brie, veggie plate, and chocolates. Plus random decorating candies. I also had graham crackers and icing for the kids to decorate and eat.

Again, everyone seemed to have a good time! It was a high energy event, lots of kids, music, and mess. Janet, Cathy, and Brian stayed after to help James and me clean up and chit chat. That was much more low key. I am lucky to have such great friends, a wonderful boyfriend, and a clean house.

Rain, Rain: Go Away

A legitimate problem with having planned a weekend full of outdoor activities arises when a wintry storm arrives that just won’t quit. We did have a brief break early on Saturday, but it has been raining nonstop for over 48 hours.

I decided at the last minute to walk in the Christmas parade. A group from the dog park registered us to walk with our furry friends, and we all know much I love my dog park related activities. The weather was looking dodgy when I awoke, but I had committed at that point so I kept calm and carried on.

But luckily the weather cleared up and it turned out to be a really fun morning. We had a decent turnout, all the dogs behaved, and the kids in the crowd seemed to get a kick our of Bonnie.

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At the conclusion of the parade, I headed across town to pick up Regan’s and my race packet for the 8k. They assured me it would take place rain or shine. So I made plans accordingly. I also caught the tail end of the brief dry spell with a chilly 6-mile run.

Later that evening, Dee invited our classmates over for a “holiday scrub” party. Basically she has lots of ingredients – sugar, salt, oil, peppermint, vanilla, etc and we used them to make body scrubs! It was a lot of fun and she had some pretty delicious food.

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That’s me with Linds! Both of our scrubs turned out really quite well. Also, I made a “wrecking ball” cookie because that affront to humanity should be parodied at every possible opportunity.

So that pretty much wrapped up my Saturday. I was supposed to go to bed early due to the Sunday morning race, but thank goodness it got postponed a week due to the gross weather. So, I did some organizing instead.

I started my Sunday off with yoga and Christmas decorating, which I still have not finished because James arrived and distracted me. We had a cozy day indoors due to the weather.

Monday was much more busy! He left for work, and I worked on Christmas cards. I wanted to go for a run at that point, but I simply could not bring myself to go out in the cold AND rain. So I took that as my cue to join the YMCA, which I had been contemplating for some time. I need a dry haven in which to run even when the weather won’t cooperate. I distinctly prefer running outdoors to on a treadmill, but on the bright side, I was able to push myself and complete my 5-mile run at a 9:56 pace! New PR!

After a quick un-drenching, I met Linds for lunch and some Christmas shopping. I got about half of my list checked off, and did a bit of grocery shopping before heading home.

It took some prep work, and a little bit of girlfriend obligation, but I managed to get James to take a Christmas card photo with me. I had it all set up, and Janet came over to snap the photo. Never have I ever been happier to have a phone with an awesome camera.

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Aren’t we adorable? He wore the Santa hat and everything! And it only took 2 attempts to get good smiles on both of us.

Today I am on a mission! Finish the decorating! More Christmas cards, which requires me to get those photos of us printed! Yoga! Sports massage! Make a delicious dinner! And stay dry! Can I do it? Only time will tell.

NBC Sound of Music

My thoughts, while watching:

– The nuns sing beautifully, especially in “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
– The scene of Maria singing “The Sound of Music” is awkward because it looks SO FAKE
– Why is Maria singing “My Favorite Things” to the Reverend Mother? I don’t remember that…
– I love that Reverend Mother is not caucasian.
– Why is she singing “My Favorite Things” again??
– The dialogue is so heavy-handed at the Von Trapp house.
– Where is the scene of her leaving the abbey and singing “I have confidence”??
– How would she get away with teaching them to sing in the house? That’s supposed to happen on an outing. The Captain would totally have heard them in the first 2 seconds!
– Is that maybe how they do it in other live performances? Maybe I am being too critical, but doesn’t make sense, and they are not limited to one stage here. This is live TV. They could have left the house before starting the song…
– Enjoyed the Rolf and Liesel scene, as well as the Liesel and Maria scene
– Why aren’t Maria and the children singing “My Favorite Things” during the thunderstorm….oh right, cause they’ve already done it twice during this production! Just not where it is SUPPOSED to be *rolls eyes*
-Elsa Schraeder is beautiful, talented, and a great actress… I also really like Max Detweiler (who also played Emmett in Legally Blonde: The Musical!!!)
– Love the scene of the Captain and Maria dancing
– Children’s goodbye is great! Loved Kurt’s high note.
– Mother Superior is just stunning!
– Maria is back! She and the Captain are in love! This is beautiful.
– The wedding was lovely as well.
– And the music festival.

Overall, a solid 90%, points off mostly for reordering the songs unnecessarily.