Monday, October 31, 2011

Pizza Overload

My husband and I decided to clean up our eats in a big way Jan. 1, 2008, and we've generally stayed in that pattern ever since.  We both mix it up and eat different stuff in different quantities when on vacation (like eating til we feel sick on Easter in Italy, eating dessert every day, eating pizza almost every day), but generally at home, we pretty much stick to our routine. 

My job probably has slightly more free sweets than my last job did, but it's still not overly frequent. 

One of the bigger restrictions on our healthier eating plan has been to limit pizza to once a month.  That's more my husband's limitation than mine, but he really, really loves pizza.  So generally I stick with pizza about once a month too, but I don't put the month's pizza day on my calendar the same way he does.  And sometimes I'll eat one of those Lean Cuisine pizzas for lunch, or very rarely, get pizza elsewhere besides on our monthly pizza night.

Oh, and he/we eat pizza a lot on vacation.  We love trying new pizzas (or pide, as it was called in Istanbul). 

Anyway, for October's pizza, we went out to a place in Milwaukee for lunch on hubby's bday. 

And then this past Friday night, we had a little dinner party at home and decided to do make-your-own pizzas on the grill.  The dough recipe made 8 individual pizzas, but there were only 4 of us for dinner -- we each ate one, then the guys split another one. 

That left us with 3 leftover pizzas.  Hubby tried to make one for lunch on Saturday but spilled it into the grill, so then he made another one, leaving us with a single remaining dough.

Sunday was my godson's third birthday party -- and pizza was served for lunch.  So I ate my third pizza serving for the month of October yesterday.

Then I was home Sunday night and we decided to have the last pizza for dinner, plus monster huge salads.  So I consumed pizza for a fourth time for the month.  And I thought I was in the clear.

But today is Halloween of course and my office is really, really into it, so there was pizza for lunch.  And I ate it.  FIVE PIZZA MEALS in October!  And my plan is one per month!  Oops.  No wonder I'm going into the San Antonio marathon a bit heavier than I've been the other couple years I've run it. 

As of today, the marathon is officially less than 2 weeks away.  But tonight is trick-or-treating with my godson and his sister, and tomorrow is probably leftover sweets.  But Wednesday I'll be back on track and that should give me 10 days of good eats (and no alcohol) before the race.  Better than nothing I guess! 

BTW, I decided to go as "Aurora" today -- our office theme is Disney.  Who knew Sleeping Beauty had a first name?  When did that happen?  Or does she actually have that name in the movie?  I have no recollection of it...  Anyway, I'm mostly telling people that I'm sleeping beauty, and not using the name Aurora. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quiet Saturday

I wanted to go run today, but it just didn't happen. Instead I made some major closet-cleaning progress, which is huge for me. I pulled out about a dozen t-shirts and one dress to donate, threw out a couple pairs of shoes. But the big accomplishment was pulling out all my sleeveless tops and moving them to the upper rack of the closet.

This is going to be insanely boring, but all I have the inclination to write about for some reason.

I should post pictures (that could make it mildly interesting) but I'm too lazy to go get my camera and go back upstairs.

Basically, if you walk in my closet, straight back is a dresser that comes up to about mid-chest height. Top drawer is mostly bras and random stuff (cassette tapes!?!, etc.), second drawer is underwear and slips, third drawer isn't very deep and it's just socks, fourth drawer is running clothes for the top half of my body but short-sleeve or sleeveless only (long sleeves are elsewhere), and the bottom drawer is shorts -- running and regular. On top of the dresser are some folded sweaters and sweatshirts.

Then the right side of the closet has two hanging racks. The lower one is all my pants and skirts. The uppper one is all my tops other than t-shirts. And at the back of that rack, near the dresser, which is basically inaccessible is a drop down hanger with all the sheets for the bed and some beach towels.

Then the left side of the closet is hanging around shoulder height. Mostly dresses toward the front, then ideally a big gap, then all t-shirts toward the back half of the closet, and my wedding dress at the very back. Then above that, way up at the ceiling (so inaccessible without stepping on something), is another hanging rack that's half-height. I have a bunch of t-shirts that I don't really wear but am keeping for one reason or another, another bunch of tops I don't really wear (some don't really fit, some are just special occasions, travel, whatever), and then the rest of the space is pants and skirts that I need to get altered, and a hanging rack that hubby keeps some stuff on.

Well, that big gap that should be there on the left side is supposed to be where I hang dry cleaning before it gets put away, and where I set out all my outfits for the week ahead. And there's a chair in the closet where ideally (though it's never happened), I'd set out my workout clothes for the week ahead.

Basically the left side of my closet was completely jammed full. For no good reason. Between being out of town two weekends ago, and then being sad for my friend and sick last weekend, I just hadn't gotten organized lately. So I put away all the clothes that were jamming up the left side. Then I realized the right side was just too tightly packed.

So I went to the top left rack and pulled out some stuff that I don't need to keep. And then I pulled from the upper right all my sleeveless tops (except a couple that are only worn as layers), and moved them to the upper left. So happy to have that done!

I should head up now and set out some outfits for the week, then I'd really be on the ball!

But now the day has mostly slipped away from me (I managed to organize my recipe book a bit). I may still try to do it, but I want to make a decent dinner and take some over to my local bestie's house for her and her husband -- I don't have a great way of helping someone with a death other than hugging and cooking.

Anyway, I love weekend days like this sometimes!

Updated: phone call from my bro just back from almost 2 weeks of Hawaiian honeymoon, so I figured I'd go upstairs and pick outfits while we were in the phone, then took some pics when we got off.

So, from outside looking straight back, upper left, lower left, lower right, upper right. Realistically, I should get rid of about 30% more at least. At least. I need nowhere near so much stuff.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I don't write much about work, but I am working on a case now that is absolutely fascinating.  There has been so much exciting stuff happening in the last day or so.  The basics are that some police departments and others are seeking reimbursement for some expenses.  Well just before I started eating lunch today, I finally got documents relating to what they're asking be repaid and it completely floored me.  It presents about a million legal questions (some of which undoubtedly have no real answers because this is an obscure statute). 

I took these documents to my supervisor and basically said, can I go full-time on this case for the next month?!  I love it so much!  He laughing said of course I could b/c the numbers would justify it.  I know realistically that I can't just neglect my other cases, but this one just makes me want to start working and never stop! 

I can't help but think how different this feels from where I was a year ago.  Or 5 years ago.  Or 10 years ago.  This is my third job as a lawyer -- first a big firm, then a small firm, and now here.  And I love it so much more.  At the big firm, I got some really interesting cases, but the lifestyle as a whole was such a beat-down.  At the small firm, there was a huge sacrifice in terms of the quality of work but I had a much better lifestyle (to me, it's no coincidence that my husband didn't propose while I was still at a big firm).  And now I've found the perfect balance.  Cases I love, amazing colleagues, great hours, etc.  It was completely worth paying my dues for more than 10 years after law school to end up here. 

So with that, I think I'm done eating lunch and will dive into esoteric reimbursement statutes and maybe do some eminent domain research!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Heavy Heart

Aye, it has been a long few days, starting Friday afternoon.

We've known for some time that my local bestie's younger sister Kelly was sick. But Friday I got a message that my friend was on her way to Kelly's in Nacogdoches (not sure of the spelling, a town about 3ish hours from Dallas). And she was on her way because it was "time."

And then later on Friday, I found out that Kelly had passed away. 29 years old, leaving behind a husband and young daughter (who is her spitting image), her loving parents, and two sisters. And as I've seen, many friends, colleagues, students, etc.

I spent most of the day Saturday on the couch -- half the time crying, half the time napping. Hubby and I had finally gone to an urgent care place Saturday morning, admitting that we were both very sick. We got steroid shots in our "hips" (meaning upper @ss), and antibiotics. As of today, Wednesday, the combo appears to be working. Hubby feels much better, and I also feel better, though it's harder to tell b/c there are still so many tears, and that seems to make my head and nose and lungs feel worse.

I did my LONG run on Sunday. 22 disasterous miles. I was bummed that it went so badly and hubby said, really, you spent all day yesterday on the couch being sad and sick, were you honestly expecting a good run? He was right. I was okay through about mile 16, and I had a friend meet me for the last 6, and we slowed down a lot. We saw a guy who needed emergency medical attention. I offered my CPR skills, but there was already another doctor who'd been out running or biking and had stopped. One of my other running friends sprinted ahead to direct the fire truck that was clearly lost. After that excitement, I slowed down a lot. It was a slow jog the last 4 miles, but at least I got the 22 done.

Then I got lucky at work and managed to have a case settle out from under me, so I was in the car and headed for Nacagdoches.

They had a visitation on Monday night. Open casket, which I'm not to used to. That was hard and I really wish I hadn't seen her. I was better off keeping my last memory intact. I didn't know her very well, I was really there for my friend and her family. Monday night we all went out to a bar. Drinking, laughing, sharing memories. We went back to the hotel, I was staying with my friend, her husband, and her baby sister (Kelly was the middle of the three), and her little sister really broke down. It broke my heart. I wish so badly I could ease their pain, or better yet, have done something so they never had to deal with this in the first place. The funeral yesterday was heart-breaking. After that, we went to the cemetary, and then to a lunch at the church. Then I drove home.

One odd story from my drive home. I was in a hurry and not paying enough attention while driving too fast so I got pulled over. Thankfully, I got a warning and I was so careful the rest of the way. Anyway, on Friday, Kelly's husband's parents and Kelly's own parents all were speeding toward Nac when they got the calls that it was time. Hours apart, both sets of parents got pulled over by the same state trooper. First, it was her husband's parents. They told him what was happening, their daughter-in-law was dying. Then hours later, Kelly's parents got stopped and told the trooper they were getting to Nac as fast as they could because their daughter was dying. He said he'd already heard that story that day, that a daughter-in-law was dying in Nac. Kelly's parents asked if the last name of the family he'd stopped was X, and the trooper confirmed. The good news is, even with the stops, everyone made it. Kelly's parents, both of her sisters, her husband, her daughter, and her in-laws were all there in her final hours.

But I keep coming back to it all being so unfair. She died of lung cancer, but as a young non-smoker, it wasn't caught until it had spread to her bones (it was hip pain that finally led to the bone scan that resulted in the diagnosis just over a year ago). The priest said things about her going to heaven and not being alone, but it echoed in my heart. I believe all that for someone who's older, but at 29, who is waiting for her in heaven (you know, besides Jesus and all that)? Everyone close to her is still here. She's just too young. I'm glad she's not in pain anymore, but she's left such a hole behind her. I wonder how her husband will get by with their 4 year old daughter. Will her parents get through this? I don't want to get into the details, but my family knows all too well how hard it is to survive the loss of a child, even an adult child. Parents just aren't supposed to bury their children. Kelly's parents are strong, generous, loving people, but I hope they're able to lean on others and get through this. In some ways, having had the time to prepare, and losing their daughter to cancer, it may be easier in that there's no blame, but I just can't fathom how hard this is for them. And it made me so glad Kelly's parents had three daughters -- my bestie lost her sister, but she has another sister to lean on. And of course a husband who loves her, and lots and lots of friends (including me) who will help however we can, but I just don't know how. I told hubby I want to make some meals to take over for dinner, but I wish there was more I could do.

It's just so unfair.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Still Alive, just under the weather...

We had an absolutely amazing trip to Milwaukee.  We didn't end up doing the fun stuff in Chicago that I'd planned for my hubby's bday b/c it was a rainy day and he was in the mood to lay low and nap a lot, but we still had so much fun.

We did the wedding charity event (packing meals to send to Haiti), a big family dinner on the night of hubby's bday, lots and lots of time with family, a run from the home where I lived after I was born to the home where my dad lived after he was born (where my grandpa still lives!), a bridal party mass mani/pedi, a bridal luncheon, a rehearsal, a rehearsal dinner, a wedding day beautifying, the wedding, the reception, a bar, lots of frozen custard, and lots more.

Of course the trip meant lots and lots of time with my insanely fun and adorable nieces and nephew, and several hours on airplanes. 

So which do I blame now that I'm officially sick?

Being the non-breeder that I am, I have to blame the kids.  They're just such germ magnets (though of course none of them seemed remotely ill).  Couldn't be just the time of year I always get sick.  Must be the kids...

Anyway, I started feeling it on Tuesday, and ended up skipping my workout on Wed.  I ran yesterday, b/c it was the first speed session of the season and my marathon day is coming up FAST, but it was at the track, and there's no easier place to run with friends and still be able to sit out a little if necessary than the track.  I ended up running the repeats (just a little slower than I should have), and maybe it flushed some of the sickness out of my head. 

I'm working from home today, and I went to boot camp this morning, and I think I still have a lower lung capacity, a bit of a runny nose, and now it hurts when I cough (waaaayyy too many ab exercises this morning), but maybe I'll make it through this.

Just in time I hope -- I have my one and only very long training run of the season on Sunday and I really need for it to go well! 

Anyway, just a quick update to say I'm alive, and my brother is married off and happily honeymooning in Hawaii right now (where I heard they had an earthquake yesterday or the day before).  All's well, just a bit sick...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding Festivities Begin

We fly north in a couple short hours! I’m actually pretty much ready to go right now, just finishing up breakfast and waiting for hubby to finish packing. He’s been working like crazy lately and last night I dragged him to dinner with a former colleague, so it ended up being a late night starting to pack last night for him, and now a very busy morning. I’m hoping to leave for the airport by 6:30 or so.

Today after we land, I am going to have to spend most of the day working remotely (again, that whole “used all my vacation days for Italy in the spring” thing). Hopefully though my nieces and nephew will either come by the house or we’ll be able to go visit them at some point. No idea what the plan is for tonight for dinner, probably will involve my next youngest brother and his family though. And I really want to go out for dessert – my favorite frozen custard place in the world is in Milwaukee. Supposedly it’s the place that served as the inspiration for the place in Happy Days, but I don’t really get it – this place doesn’t have any interior space open to the public, just short lines for custard, then everyone hangs around the parking lot eating. There are even lines most of the time in the winter. It’s just crazy, but it’s so good. When you’re ordering, the choices are vanilla, chocolate or the flavor of the day, but they have more choices if you buy a pint to take home, but I’ve actually never done that. I’m an old school “4 dips in a cone” kind of gal when it comes to Leon’s custard. I’ve done 5 dips occasionally, but I have to be honest with myself – I got to visit this place for custard just over a month ago. I am trying to reserve 5 dips for times when it’s been more than 6 months since I’ve had any. Haha.

Tomorrow is hubby’s bday, so I’m using a personal day at work (the veep I report to approved this, he just said I’d better hope I don’t get sick!). Assuming the weather is good, this is our plan (I hope he doesn’t suddenly decide to start reading the blog today!): we’ll get up and run locally – I’d love to run to my grandpa’s house again. Then we’ll drive to Chicago after morning rush hour should be dying down. Then we’re going to take one of the architectural boat tours on the river. Then I’m planning a pizza lunch but not sure where yet. Pizza is hubby’s favorite food, but he likes traditional Italian style pizza. Not exactly Chicago-style. I keep thinking he just hasn’t tried the right Chicago pizza yet, but he just might be old enough to actually know what he likes. Anyway, my primary choices are Lou Malnati’s or Gino’s East. After lunch, I’d like to go to Millennium Park b/c hubby has never actually seen the bean as far as I know. From there, we’ll head to Navy Pier for their Oktoberfest celebration, then we’ll drive back to Milwaukee. Hopefully we’ll be on the road heading north by 4:00 and we won’t hit too much traffic.

That’s going to be a very busy day, but the evening will be busy too. We’re going to the wedding charity event that night – they have arranged for all of the wedding party, family, out of town guests who have arrived, etc., to do a meal-packing thing. The goal is to pack 216 meals in 90 minutes, and then the meals are sent to Haiti. After the meal-packing, we’re going to dinner at a famous Milwaukee restaurant that serves Serbian food. Hubby has never been there, and I haven’t been since after my aunt’s funeral in 2002, so I’m really looking forward to it. We have reservations for 12, which will be quite the crowd. Some brothers with their wives/fiancées, folks, bride’s parents, bride’s brother, etc. I’m excited for hubby to open what I got him. Besides the two things he really wanted (running sunglasses and an audio book), I made him a photo book from our second anniversary trip in the spring (Boston, Italy, Paris). I think he’ll love it.

Friday is going to be interesting – lots of wedding events, but I’ve only taken 2 hours of personal time. So I’m going to have to get up early and get cracking! I’m planning to go for a morning run with the bride, then work for a few hours, then I’m meeting the bride and all the other bridesmaids for pedicures at 11, then we’re going to lunch. Then I guess I’m going to try to work for a couple more hours, and then the rehearsal is at 4:15. Yikes! Rehearsal dinner afterward of course, which will be wonderful since that will be the first chance for me to see some of my uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.

Saturday morning I’m hoping to get one more run in, then I’ll head to the hotel for hair and make-up and to get dressed. I tried on my dress last weekend and it still fit, so that’s a relief. It is strapless (navy blue with like a crepe layer over it), and it has a built-in bra, but I didn’t feel too secure in it, so I had my favorite strapless bra sewn into the dress and then I’ll be able to carefully rip out the stitches afterward so I still have the same bra for the next time I wear something strapless (pretty much never). The wedding is at 2, then pictures, then the reception.

Sunday we’re going to brunch with my family I think, then there’s an open house for the newlyweds at a historical society home, which should be really nice. Then we’ll fly back to Dallas around 5:00, and likely won’t be seeing my family again until Christmas.

I’m so excited for this wedding, and I’m very nervous that I’m going to be too emotional. I am probably closer to this brother than to any of my other brothers, and I know his fiancée better than I’ve known my sisters-in-law, so this wedding has been a long time coming. I want them to be happy forever, and I’m just so excited for them!!

Okay, time to go nag hubby. I want to leave in about 20 minutes!!

Sorry, had this all written and tried to post this morning, but not sure it worked.  It was early...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trip to the Texas State Fair

So the weekend before last, we made our annual trip to the state fair.  I shudder to think about what all I ate.  There is always a fried food competition that is voted on before the fair opens, and when I go, I like to make a point of trying all the vegetarian, non-nut, non-banana entries.  As much pain as it might wreak on my intestines and arteries, I love the fair. 

We went to see a few shows -- a marionette show, a horse training show, and a Cirque Shanghai show (acrobatics, like most Cirque shows).  They were all really awesome. 

A few shots from the shows:

The Cirque show was crazy and amazing.  Those people are so strong, balanced and talented, it was shocking. 

And of course we got to see lots of animals, a fair staple:

Can you tell I really liked the pigs?  They were so cute, even that huge one.  Why I don't eat pork in a single photo.  And I've heard pigs are smarter than dogs!

And we also saw dancers of various kinds:

And we rode the big feris wheel, called the Texas Star, which always yields a great view of downtown Dallas:

And we went to the Hall of State, which had a special Texas exhibit, but all I photographed besides the entrance were the cool murals, and some minutes from the Republic of Texas constitutional convention:

And we spent some time checking out the Dallas "mounties": 

And one of the highlights for me, the butter sculpture (and yes, it's exactly as the name implies -- a sculpture kept in a special cold enclosure made entirely of butter): 

And of course that leads to fried butter, my all-time favorite fair food in Texas.  Only 4 bites all year, but probably enough to stop up my arteries eventually.  Thankfully I've only discovered fried butter the last few years, so I probably have a few more decades of enjoying it before it causes me to croak:

And some other fried foods that I sampled (or photographed the signs for): 

Hubby is not a vegetarian (though he doesn't really eat beef or pork), but he said he wasn't even mildly tempted by that fried chicken skin advertised above.

This is the fried autumn pumpkin pie (a new fried food this year that I tried):

And back to more signs:

The fried upside down pineapple cake (another new entry this year that I tried):

And the fried bubblegum (winner for most creative fried food this year, which I tried):

Overall, the three new fried things I tried this year (the fried pumpkin pie, the fried pineapple upside down cake, and the fried bubblegum), I wasn't too impressed with any of them.  The pie and cake were good, but not particularly special, so not something I'd seek out to eat next year.  The bubblegum was downright disgusting -- the center was basically a fried marshmallow.  I'd heard it was too sweet but I didn't believe it, thinking nothing is ever too sweet for me!, but yikes, they were right.  Way too sweet.  Not good at all.  Yet somehow I ate all 3 bites.  Never again. 

The fried butter remains my favorite and I can't see anything beating it anytime soon.

But another year, another set of fun fair memories...

Monday, October 10, 2011

FMM: Taboo Topics

It's Monday and since I had a chance to post about my run on time yesterday, I'm going to do another Friend Making Monday.

Now it’s time for FMM! If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
FMM: 8 Taboo Topics

How often do you read/watch the news? Way too rarely.  I got frustrated many years ago feeling like the political establishment was controlling too much of what was reported, and I've been less interested ever since.  I watch the local news for a few minutes most mornings, and then the today show (though I hate the new host), while I read blogs and get ready for work in the morning.  In the evenings if we're home, we record BBC news and will watch that sometimes, or we'll watch the Italian equivalent to CNN, RAI international, or occasionally Euro News if we want something in English and have already watched the recorded BBC broadcast.  I rarely read the news. 

What is your opinion on beauty pageants? Aren't they called scholarship contests?  Haha.  I've watched Toddlers & Tiaras a few times.  Sad as it is, society seems to be very superficial, so it makes sense that there would be beauty pageants.  But of course I've never been in one or really known anyone who competed, so I guess it's hard to say.  It seems very fake, but that's not much different than flipping through a magazine or something. 

Would you date/marry someone who has different religious views than you? Probably not.  Initially, before I was married, I think I would have said yes, but the more time I spend in this relationship, the more I realize it's very important to me to be on the same basic page.  I think a different denomination isn't a big deal (actually, hubby is Catholic and I'm Episcopalian, so I know the diff denomination doesn't bother me), but I think it would be hard for me to be with someone who really was an Atheist, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.  Though I sometimes wonder if I could be a Buddhist.  I don't know enough about it, but I know my views about the needless killing and eating of animals could make me more open to that.  But bottom line is if I'd dated and really fallen in love with someone who was a completely different religion, I don't think it would have worked for me unless one of us converted.  Odd, since I don't consider myself a super-religious person and I am very uncomfortable with Jesus talk in most situations.  I grew up thinking religious beliefs were fairly private, fine to discuss with your family, or at church, but not something you really talk about outside those circumstances (though anyone seeing your life should be able to tell). 

Do you follow politics? I follow it, but I lost a lot of interest in 1996 when I was living in Italy and excitedly watched a debate between Clinton and Dole on tv b/c it was not dubbed into Italian.  I had been so passionate about politics until then, and it was like a sea change had occurred while I lived in Italy.  They were having elections there too, and I couldn't help but feel like those elections mattered a lot.  There are really different parties there, from a far right Alleanza Nazionale, to the far left Rifondazione Comunista.  Suddenly I felt like it didn't really matter if Clinton or Dole won, not much was really going to change in the US.  In some ways I guess that's a good thing, the whole stability and balance of power thing, but it made me care a lot less.  I still hate political arguments and I hide or unfriend people who strike me as narrow-minded and opinionated on facebook. 

How often do you talk about sex in your daily life and/or on your blog?  Pretty often in my daily life, but that's more in the context of work -- rape or sexual harassment.  And it seems to come up with running friends fairly often, and of course with my husband you know, at night.  But I don't think I've ever talked about it on the blog, and it's not something I discuss with friends too often, at least not in a serious context. 

Does it make you uncomfortable when someone asks you about your salary/income? Does it ever happen? Oh my yes!  I hate it!  And my husband isn't even mildly offended and I think brings it up and discusses it way too casually with people.  It drives me crazy and is something I wish he wouldn't do, but we just grew up differently.  In my family, it wasn't until I was doing college applications that I actually found out our family income, and even then, my mom told me it was not something I was supposed to ever discuss outside "the family."   I pretty much hate talking about money. 

Do you tag friends and family in pictures that you post on FB, or do you seek permission first?  If it's a flattering picture, I tag friends, unless it shows alcohol or swimwear.  I don't think I've ever asked permission -- if it's not flattering and I post it for some reason, I don't tag it.  And if there's alcohol or swimwear, I just won't tag it.  Even though most my friends are well into their 30s, just don't want it to look unprofessional for anyone. 

Can you be friends with people who have opposing views on ‘taboo’ topics? Yes, definitely.  I can always untag myself in pictures, change the subject, etc.  Even if I found out one of my friends was a former Ms. Texas or something, I don't think it would really matter.  But I also don't find that many of my closest friends have diametrically opposed political views, and I don't have any good friends who are a different religion completely (different denominations, but not tons of diversity here, though I would guess I know a few Atheists, and I know some really preachy Jesus people).  I do have lots of friends who are news junkies though -- including my husband -- he's the reason we record BBC and watch RAI news. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to link up in the comments of the blog!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Running 2 Miles for the Sake of the Blog

Today was an exercise in What Not To Do for a long run. 

I had a relaxing dinner and ate my now routine Sat night meal, whole wheat pasta with tomato basil sauce, accompanied by 1.5 pieces of garlic bread and a salad.  All good.

Woke up on time and started getting ready and then checked my email -- group run cancelled due to thunderstorms (we run in rain but not lightning).  Shoot.

And no access to a treadmill today until 1:00, which did not fit into my plan for the day (I'm about to go visit my godson). 

So I ate my normal long run breakfast and decided to head out solo from home since it wasn't actually raining at my house and I didn't see any lightning.  I figured I'd run the trail just over two times, and stop early if I got caught in bad weather.  Worst case scenario, if storms hit when I was at the absolute furthest point from my house, I'd only be about 3 miles from home. 

Since my schedule was 15 with 6 at race pace, I grabbed one pack of shot blocks and decided not to carry my water bottle since there are fountains.  Basically, all was well to that point.

Around mile 3 or so, I decided to mix up the route a little and run around a bit near the end of the trail instead of heading back up the trail.  Cool.  I know the area well, so I ran our boot camp loop and at one point set out on a street I'd never really run but I knew exactly where I was.  By the time I got back to the bottom of the trail to head up, I was at 8 miles. 

Sometime during those 8 miles, I'd decided I didn't really want to do race pace alone for 6 miles.  I wasn't feeling fast.  So somehow I decided to do 18 miles slow and easy. 

If I had another pack of gu or blocks, that may have been an okay decision.  Or some gatorade or something else.  But I didn't. 

I ate my pack of shot blocks at mile 8 and headed back to the top of the trail.  I got there and made the u-turn and something odd happened in my mind.

I was running w/o music (safety thing, but also didn't want to short it out if I got caught in a storm), so I was just thinking.  I was thinking about this blog.

I was thinking, wow, my total training is going to peak out with two 18 milers, one 20, and one 22 (which I'm doing in 2 weeks).  That's exactly what my schedule calls for.  And I was thinking that I'd have to write that it was perhaps the least prepared I've ever been (if not ever, at least in recent history) for a marathon.

So somehow, I hit my u-turn at the top of the trail and headed back south as planned.  But when I hit the bottom of the trail around mile 15, I kept going to do the boot camp loop again. 

Somewhere in that time, I'd decided it would be better to write that my training peaked out with one 18 miler, two 20s, and one 22.  And actually, I agree -- not just to write it, I actually think running two 20 milers will help me on race day.  And I also recognize that part of my logic was thinking about being on vacation this week.  I found out I'm going to my brother's gym in Milwaukee one day to do my long run -- that was supposed to be 18.  But if I did the 18 this weekend, then I'd only have to do 15 at the gym, including some race pace, so it would go a lot faster. 

But what kind of idiot am I????

I should know much better.  20 miles is fine, but I have to plan for 20.  I feel like I can wing any run up to 16 miles.  But if I'm going over 16, I have to take things seriously.  I have to think about what to wear, what to eat the night before and then during the run, etc. 

I had headed out ill-prepared for 15 (I really should have had 2 gus to eat), and I ended up running 20 and being even less prepared.

I think I blistered on the bottom of my left foot, and my collarbones chafed, and I was starving, and I slowed down a lot.

But either way, I got my 20 miler in.  And a dry 20 at that.  It sprinkled on me a little bit around mile 8, but I wouldn't call it rain.  I could definitely see drops on the pavement and feel it, but it never actually rained.  It's pouring now, but I'm so proud of myself for getting it done. 

I'd toyed with the idea of adding 2 miles to the 18 miler to make it a second 20 mile run for the season, but it never entered my mind to do it this weekend instead of next. 

I hestitate to say it may have worked out okay.  Though it was slow, long runs mostly don't need any speed, it's just time on your feet.  I got home and drank a recovery drink, bandaged my blistered foot, took a shower, and walked to Chipotle to get a monster "recovery" burrito.  I'm laying low for a few hours now but should be okay to hang out with my godson for the afternoon.

Maybe no harm, no foul, but being prepared to run about 12 (in terms of fuel and non-chafing), being scheduled to run 15, and actually running 20 will lead to disaster for me (and probably most other people) at least 90% of the time.  I am very lucky to have eked that one out.  Very lucky, and I know it.  Stupid, stupid decisions, and I'm lucky I didn't pay the price with major blood sugar issues, a crash and burn, or possibly worse. 

I spent much of my recovery time tracking friends who ran Chicago this morning.  What a $hitty race day.  I feel so bummed for them.  I've posted before about the fact that the Chicago marathon sucks (actually, mostly about my $hitty race there the year they cancelled the marathon mid-way through b/c they were so unprepared).  They have bad weather now 4 years out of 5.  I had friends aiming for times ranging 3:05 to 4ish.  3:05 finished 3:23.  3:20 finished 3:36.  3:30 finished 3:48.  3:40 finished 4:04.  You see how it goes.  All my pals seemed to finish about 15 minutes behind schedule, about 30 seconds/mile slower than planned.  They all made the smart decision to slow down given the heat, but man, why does anyone still sign up for this race?  The director is awful, and the weather rarely works out.  Well, I'm very glad I'm not running it again, and I'm glad all my friends had a good time, despite the disappointing times, and they'll all race another day...

Saturday, October 8, 2011


First attempt at blogging from my phone. I took a picture of my inner thigh to show myself that I have to clean up my eating. I've been carrying some extra weight since we were in Italy about six months ago. And I've adjusted to that, but now when I have a heavy few days, it puts my weight at the very top of my usual range, and that shows up in so many ways. Not only do my clothes not fit well, and I feel constantly out of breath when I'm working out, but now sometimes my thighs will chafe on a random weekly eight mile easy run. Ugh!

But I went ahead and tried on my bridesmaid's dress for next weekend and it still fits. Thank goodness. She chose some shoes that are ridiculously high heels (at least for me), but they do make me look taller and my legs look better. I'll take it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bachelorette Bash of the Year 2

One of the blogs I read regularly, NewlyWed, NewlyVeg (though it's changed names since she's no longer newlywed or veg, I like the old one and the link works) posted a few days ago about how she's getting ready to head out for a bachelorette party, and this quote struck me:  "There’s just something special about a bachelorette party weekend—a certain magic that only penis straws and “bride-to-be” sashes can conjure up."  Indeed!  Since my middle little brother's wedding is now less than two weeks away, and the bachelorette party was nearly a month ago already, I figured it was high time I finally get together a few bachelorette party pictures to capture the weekend.

It's hard to express how excited I am that this woman will soon be my sister.  My younger brother is 28 and they've actually been dating since they were 19 or 20.  And since I'm really close to this brother and she gets along with everyone so well, I feel like she's been in my family forever.  I even feel like I know her family pretty well, which is how I always imagined it would be when one of my brothers got married. 

I have gotten to spend so much time with her, and I've loved travelling with her.  One year we were in Seattle and Portland together (family wedding), one year we were in upstate New York together (while my brother, her boyfriend, was playing professional ball there), one year we hung out together in Germany and Paris (she and my bro studied abroad together and I went to visit), she's been to Dallas numerous times, she of course was in Italy with me for my wedding, and there has been tons of time hanging out together in Chicago and various places in Wisconsin where she has lived or various people in my family have lived. 

She's going to be a beautiful bride, and more importantly, a beautiful match for my brother. 

She wanted to do her bachelorette party in Miami, but she's a real people-pleaser and she didn't want to burden a couple strapped bridesmaids, so she chose Lake Geneva instead.  Midway between Milwaukee and Chicago, and one of the cool things about it was that we just got a single hotel room, dual level with 3 beds and 2 bathrooms, so we were able to all stay together. 

The weekend entailed lots of time at bars, hanging out at the hotel, and walking around the town.  Yet somehow, looking at my photos, it appears we were primarily at bars! 

The bride with "Pretty Boy Mike" (it even said that on his business card):

The bride with Megan, one of her friends from high school?  college?  not sure.  Another bridesmaid: 

Making random friends at a bar:

A bar where the drinks were really really strong (see Megan's face):

Her maid of honor inflating the bride's date for the evening:

Pin the torpedo on the sailor game...:

Bridesmaid uncorking some champagne:

The bride getting to know Frank, her date for the night:

 Maid of honor affixing the bachelorette tiara:

Bride opening some "honeymoon" gifts:

Getting ready to head out for an evening on the town, with Frank of course, and random guys:

The bride's mom came down to join us for dinner one night, which was so sweet:

Maid of honor, double fisted:

The bride, being such a good sport about being stuck with Frank:

At another bar, trying to make me dance while I was trying to capture the evening on film:

And of course there were penis straws, as with many bachelorette parties sadly enough.  Makes for some funny pictures though: 

Coincidentally, there was a bachelor party at the same bar we were at one night, this was the bachelor.  Originally from Vegas and getting married there, but he and his fiancee live in Chicago, so his bachelor party was near there. 

Classic buzzed bride dance move.  She has a very amusing drunk personality!

With a whole bunch of guys from the bachelor party, including one wearing the pig-head that they passed among them for most of the night:

More of the bridge being a good sport, handcuffed to various guys during the course of the night: 

Bride dancing:

And at the end of the night, Frank had company.  These girls were able to sleep anywhere.  Oh to be so young again! 

Oh, and did I mention we were at the lake?  It was so pretty!  Lake Geneva: 

Pool time:

Weird guy who was talking to us while we hung at the pool -- he kind of looked like something was wrong with his abs or his back, like you could just bend him in half like a sandwich or something:

One of the bride's former co-workers was wearing a sequined bikini top and this little guy was fascinated by it -- so much so that he reached out and felt her up at one point! 

So there you have it, my second 2011 family addition's bachelorette party.  Wedding is in just under two weeks so I will be sure to post about that!  So happy to be adding another wonderful sister to our family.