Friday, December 29, 2017


Something nice about being on vacation:  All alarms off!

It is kind of hard to describe exactly how nice it was to turn off each and every one. I flew alone to Milwaukee on Monday (Dec. 19), then my husband came up on Wednesday and we drove up north on Thursday.  So Tues and Wed mornings I was solo, with no alarm, no one snoring in bed with me or getting up 4 times overnight to pee, or waking up due to his "natural alarm" at 7 a.m.  And I slept until almost 10:00 both days!  Even though I'd gone to bed before midnight both nights before (even if just barely).  I sometimes think I could easily sleep my life away if I had the option. 

Up north was lovely and snowy.

But it was also very cold.  I was going to go for a run outside Saturday morning (and just wear my mom's yak trax since they don't plow there), but the temp was under 5 degrees, and the wind chill was -26, so I opted for the treadmill. 

Fairly proud of myself for running 11 on the treadmill on vacation.  I have the scars on my inner thighs to show for it -- I either wore bad shorts or I gained weight in all the wrong places.  Oh well, 11 miles is 11 miles! 

Hope everyone else is enjoying the holidays and getting to relax a bit! 

Saturday, November 18, 2017


My husband and I have concluded, in our own expert medical opinions, that we are depressed.  We seriously both have the post-vacation blues.  First world problems, right?  But I'm writing here because it's actually real this time.  It has never happened like this before, despite the fact that we've taken foreign trips lasting at least two weeks for at least the last decade. 

We are both in a rut right now.  I'm usually firing on all cylinders at work, very immersed in my job, staying late, fully engaged.  And I'm just not.  I'm going through the motions and getting stuff done, but it feels very mechanical and I feel distant.  It doesn't help that one of my biggest cases settled and there was a lot of horrible publicity about it (national news and People picked it up, which made my job so much fun since everyone was so pissed off; not pissed at me, because I just did my job, but I feel like I was the fall guy, since technically, I was the one who reached the deal, even though I did it with everyone's blessing).  Anyway, so my work just kind of blows lately.  I feel like I'm just doing it for the paycheck, which has never been my style.  My husband is having the same issue.  He has an official work "end time" (5:00) but for the last several years, since he's been in his current role, that has been largely meaningless.  We've both stayed at work on average until 6:30, sometimes much later.  But he's just punching the clock lately, walking out the door at 5:01, not really engaged or caring about what more he could do, just leaving it to pick back up the next day.

But even since we're home early, it's not like we're doing anything great.  It's dark so early, we don't really want to go biking (we both left work at 3:30 one day this week and were on our bikes by 4, so that was fun, but that's not a common occurrence). 

And we're not going out for drinks or fun dinners.  I desperately want to lose the weight I gained in the 6 weeks.  So being hungry much of the time certainly isn't helping my mood.  Our usual at home routine is pretty healthy.  I certainly can't eat and drink like I'm on vacation or I'd be 200 pounds in a heartbeat.  Our healthy routine is certainly good for us, but it's just not as much fun as a cheese plate and bottle of wine in a little Armenian hole in the wall in the middle of the afternoon. 

We're back into the routine of working out, but that's not exactly going well either.  First, boot camp is leaving us exceedingly sore again.  I know, it's just a matter of persisting, getting back some of the strength we lost, but it's certainly not fun to always be sore and feel like it's all just so hard.  And second, running isn't coming easily either.  The extra weight doesn't help, and my best running buddy, CW, has been traveling a lot for work lately.  There's pretty much no chance I can do the marathon in San Antonio in a couple weeks as planned.  I ran 15 miles last weekend and it was a total $hitshow.  Usually at least we have great running weather when we come back from vacation, but yesterday morning it was 71 degrees at 5 a.m.  WTH??  We've had a few cool mornings, and I actually did have a fabulous run one day last week, but in general, it's just been hard, slogging along, not really enjoying it, just going through the motions.  I'm of course happy to see my friends, but I don't even really feel like talking lately. 

We've also made half-hearted attempts at planning things with friends, but even that hasn't worked well.  Either we claim to be too tired and cancel plans (which I basically never do, I pride myself on my reliability, but that hasn't been the case in the last few weeks), or we don't even make plans because we know we just want to sit at home and do nothing except watch TV and sleep. 

I don't know what's different this year.  It's very grey outside lately, which doesn't help.  And we both were sick when we came home and only feel like we've really officially kicked the crud out in the last week or two. 

One thing we usually do that keeps us engaged and happy is to start planning our next trip.  That usually helps, but we're holding off a bit on that this year, so maybe that's bumming us out more than usual.  Next year's plan is southern Africa, but that whole "bloodless coup" in Zimbabwe has us feeling more non-committal about planning.  But hey, I heard the current administration is going to let us kill elephants for trophies if we go!  So I guess there's that?  (Just to clarify, that is definitely not the plan and is perhaps a disincentive to go...)

Maybe Thanksgiving and gearing up for Christmas will help.  I've been fairly on the ball about shopping and planning, and have even gotten started on cards, but my heart just isn't in it. 

Not looking for sympathy.  I really don't feel like I have a right to feel this way.  But I do.  And I thought writing it out might help. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 ideas

It's certainly the time of year to start thinking about resolutions, where the past year has gone, where the next year is going.  This year I feel like I'm thinking about it earlier than usual.  Maybe it's because I'm kind of on my Christmas game but I'm dreading the thought of gaining weight with any of the upcoming trips, parties, etc.  Perhaps because I gained A LOT of weight on vacation and in an insanely stressful (work-related) first couple weeks home, I'm pondering a lot of food-related ideas for my 2018 resolutions.

I had a significant list of 2017 resolutions (that I really should review again), but the new and challenging ones for me were both work-related this year.  First was to check my voicemail every day I'm in the office and there's a message.  I've failed at this a few times (less than 4 I think), and there have even been a few times I've checked my voicemail when not in the office.  So I'm counting this as a huge success, but man, I can't wait for January 1 so that I can be done with this.  I hate voicemail so much.  Second was to do "more" of my own filing.  It wasn't a well-defined goal, but I basically have decided to file any emails I send right after I send them, and to file any emails I receive if I deal with them that day (if I deal with them later, then they go to my assistant to file).  I haven't done filing when it's a flurry of emails on one case sometimes, but this has also been a smashing success, and is something I will aim to continue.

My ideas for 2018 so far, and I'm just thinking:

Trying vegetarian whole 30. 

Trying to meal plan and meal prep a vast majority of Sundays we're in town.

Cutting out all non-pizza or non-dinner party cheese consumption at home.

Stopping drinking all espresso.

Grateful journal. 

Some of them I've done before either as a resolution or during Lent, but some are totally new.  Good thing I have many weeks to still consider. 

Monday, November 6, 2017


Quiet couple months in the blog world for me lately.  Not for any particular or good reason. 

We went on vacation at the end of September, and then both started feeling crappy on the last day of vacation.  Just bummed to return to the US I guess? 

Unfortunately, we came home on a Sunday night and I had to go to Philly for work on Monday morning.  Of course all my suits were clean and ready since I didn't need them on vacation, but I was kind of doing a sniff test with my underwear -- like can I get by with wearing this again or do I actually have to do laundry in my 14 jet-lagged overnight hours at home?  Laundry was most assuredly required. 

It totally sucked to go to Philly, but if I hadn't gone, my coworker would have had to go in my place, and that wouldn't be fair to her.  It would be like I was on a 4th week of vacation if I wasn't willing to do whatever it took for work, be that travel or anything else.  So Philly it was. 

Philly last week was pretty much a disaster.  Biggest case of my career falling apart all around me.  But fortunately, statistics were on my side.  Almost no civil cases really go to trial, and sure enough, right on the eve (literally) of picking a jury, everything finally came together yesterday.  But it's been a stressful 12 days back in the US.

Finally getting over whatever crud we got.  My husband actually took a sick day, which is crazy for him, especially after more than 3 weeks of vacation.  Work was actually less crazy for him coming back since all cases that came in while he was gone were assigned to other people, so it actually took a week or so for him to be fully back in the swing of things.

The other big change since August...

I got a bike on Labor Day weekend for my birthday!

It was the perfect weekend to buy a bike since Dallas had a weird illogical fuel crisis right after the hurricane.  Slightly less than the usual amount of fuel available, slightly higher demand (people filling boats and cans to go to Houston to help), and then suddenly a major run on the pumps with everyone filling up their car and almost all stations running out of gas completely!  My husband was on call for work and was almost out of gas in his personal car (planned to buy it on the way home on the day all the stations ran out) so he had to drive a work car for a while so he'd be able to get back to work if needed.  Crazy.  So buying a bike was perfect since my office is close enough to ride (or run) to work.  Gas crisis basically started on Wed night or Thurs morning, and was over by the following Monday, which was Labor Day.  I was glad because my car was on a quarter tank, which is usually plenty since I don't drive a lot, but of course I had to fly for work on Labor Day and needed a full tank to get to and from the airport.  Uber wasn't even an option -- no one was driving.  Crazy.  Anyway, the bike was the news -- I'm clearly distracted. 

So my life according to Garmin has looked like this: 

A bit of running here and there, boot camp roughly as usual, and tons of biking! 

It's been fun.  I don't have clips yet because I'm afraid of falling and I'm not good at biking yet, but it's just cool to be able to cover so much distance so fast.  Very unlike running.  It's also nice because it doesn't feel quite as warm when there's a breeze from your speed.  Much less exertion than running, at least the way I've been biking.

But there you have it.  I've broken the seal now, so maybe I can get back to regular writing, or at a minimum, regular reading of my other favorite blogs, which I really miss! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Training stats

Losing my running commute this past spring has had a massive negative effect on my weekly mileage.  It's such a bummer.  Not enough that I'd go back to my old schedule and have to suffer through the reason my schedule changed, but a bummer nonetheless. 

I usually have the most success with a marathon when a vast majority of my training is at a weekly mileage of about 45 or higher, including a bunch of weeks over 50.  Historically, when I've had at least three weeks in a row at 55 or higher, something has started hurting, so that seems to be about my breaking point, and I'm usually rock solid going back and forth between 45 or 50 and something around 55.  But I can't tell if that pattern holds true because my mileage never got there this year. 

This is how it broke out (I'm cheating a little on my counting.  I usually do my long runs on Sunday, but on weeks I had to do a Saturday long run instead, I'm counting as if I did it on Sunday instead, so there aren't any artificially high mileage weeks that had two long runs):

Low 20s:  2 weeks (it rained and I totally skipped my long run the week before Memorial Day, plus this week of tapering)

Mid 30s (I'm saying about 33 to about 37.5):  3 weeks

About 40 miles:  4 weeks

Mid 40s (again, about 43 to 47.5):  4 weeks

50 miles:  1 week

Yow.  Usually writing out my training miles is a confidence booster for me, but not so much this year!  14 weeks of training, counting taper.  All my weeks in the mid-40s and higher were in July and August.  And no weeks over low 50s. 

Not a recipe for success! 

If I were still running to work, I'd be adding at least 7 miles to each week, usually more like 14 and occasionally 18.  That would have pumped those numbers up perfectly. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Over the hump

So I breathed a little sigh of relief when I finished my run yesterday.

I finished up my last really long run and I was pretty sure there was a chance it would all fall apart the week after.  Two years ago, that was when it happened -- ran my 22 on Sunday, ran my 9 on Tuesday, and then two years ago, I was supposed to be running 5 in Philly, converted it to 6 (ish, probably more like 6.5) because the weather was so nice, stepped on the biggest rock that had no business in the road, and broke my ankle. 

It was kind of funny because Tuesday, I ended up running on two particularly crappy streets that I very rarely run.  Dallas has some serious funding issues right now, most of the press coverage relates to our police pension fund, but streets need repair, water mains are old, all kinds of stuff like that.  Anyway, while on the particularly crappy streets this week, I was certain that was going to be it for me.  I didn't have a light with me, and it was dark later than I realized.  I survived the 9 miles without tripping and having it all fall apart.

So then I thought it would be Wednesday.  I was just doing boot camp and for most of the running, I stayed with my friend Megan, who also wanted to take it easy that morning.  Survived again!

Yesterday was my last run of substance.  8 miles, with the last 2 slightly faster than MP.  Ran on the usual streets but that doesn't give me any immunity from falling.  I was frustrated because for some reason, my watch hadn't charged.  I got my first mile split and it died about a minute later.  My friends were calling me a data mooch since I (and they) became painfully aware of just how often I look at my watch during a run!  I kept asking where we were in the mile and how fast we were going.  I tried to minimize the number of questions, but in the last mile, I asked for the first time (thinking surely we were past .6) and we were at .45.  Asked again when I was sure we'd be right around the mile split, and we were only at .79.  Asked again thinking surely we'd hit the mile and my buddy just had neglected to tell me what the split was -- but we were only at .91.  Yow.  But it's done!

Hills this morning, but super easy pace and decent streets that I'm very familiar with.

Tomorrow is volunteering at a back to school festival with Megan (giving out backpacks and lunch!), and then a belated birthday celebration with a friend in the afternoon, probably just doing a puzzle together, or going to see a movie, then grabbing dinner. 

Sunday is my last "long" run -- 12 miles.  Then brunch with friends and nothing else all day.  I'm hopefully going to get some stuff done around the house, and ... if things go according to plan ... try to lay out most everything I need to pack for the race and trip. 

Then just a low-key mileage week.  It might actually work out, which will be two years in a row of getting to the marathon starting line injury-free!  I'm so pissed that 2015 broke my ten year streak before that...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I mentioned a few months ago that I ordered a new passport with extra pages, and I'm getting excited to start filling it up next month.  (By the way, I was worried that government issues could delay obtaining a new passport, but mine came in about the usual time (which I considered fairly quick).)  So the passport renewal step is crossed off my list of things to do.  Next up on that front is visas.  Filling up the pages.   

But it sounds like we'll only need one visa for our trip this year, and it's an electronic visa (for Azerbaijan).  And per the last paragraph of the photo below (in Notes), this electronic visa is not "sticked" in passport. 

Errors in English often make me laugh (pinesapple on a menu), but I always appreciate the effort.  Heck, I certainly don't speak Azeri!  But for some reason, an English error is particularly funny when it's in an official governmental document (even though of course, English is not the official language, it's just included as a courtesy for foreigners I guess).  So I have printed our Azeri visas and have not sticked them in our passports. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Vocab for Corridori

I read a fun post about running in Paris on another blog (, and she included a section about French running vocab.  Since I'm getting super-excited about our Fall trip, and the only country we will visit where I have extensive experience running is Italy, I thought I'd do a similar vocab post to help with anyone running in Italy. 

I would offer to share running routes, but I highly doubt anyone reading this will ever be running in Lamezia, where most of my running has occurred.  My bestie even made a heart-shaped route that a few of us ran the morning of my wedding (well, heart shaped if you blur your eyes a lot, but I knew what she meant!).  As for my running in other Italian cities, I haven't run anything someone else wouldn't figure out. 

Anyway, here's some Italian running vocab! 

Runner:  Corridore (m); Corridortrice (f) (but most women just use the masculine, much like with jobs (such as lawyer or doctor))
Sprinter:  Velocista (m.); Scattista (m.)
Harrier/off-road runner:  Corridore campestre (m.)
Road runner (person, not the animal):  Podista (but this can also mean walker, or race walker)
Road runner (the animal, just for kicks):  Corridore delle strade (literally, runner of the streets, but it means the animal, Geococcyx californianus, uccello della famiglia dei cuculidi (bird of the family cuculidi))
Track (the sport):  Corsa su pista
Track meet:  Gara di atletica leggera
Track and field:  Gare di atletica
Distance runner:  Corridore di lunga distanza
Marathon runner:  Maratoneta (m.) (so, il maratoneta)
Jogger:  Persona chi/che fa jogging OR Persona chi/che fa footing
Runner's high:  Sballo del corridor (m.)
Track (the place where we run ovals repeatedly):  Pista (or Pista da corsa) (see above, track (the sport) translates roughly as "running on a track")
Track/path of a race:  Percorso
To run:  Correre (see translations below)
To run (to travel or cover a distance):  Percorrere (see sample sentence below)
Do not run (at a pool, in case of fire):  Non correre
To run a race:  Partecipare ad una gara
Race (noun):  Gara
Run (noun):  Corsa
Runs (noun):  Corse -- there's no worry about using this term and having someone thing you mean "the runs" in any bowel sense, there's no translation of that slang as far as I know, to say "the runs" in that sense, your choices are diarrea OR dissenteria; no false friends here! 
Warm-ups, tracksuit (clothing):  Tuta
Start:  Inizio
Starting line:  Linea di partenza
Finish:  Traguardo
Finish line (if you're emphasizing the line part):  Linea del traguardo
Marathon:  Maratona
Half-marathon:  Mezza maratona
Bib:  Pettorina (not the same word as is used on a baby, bavaglino)
Stride (as in gait):  Falcata
Stride (as in footstep):  Passo
To train: Allenarsi
I am (in) training:  Sto allenando (same if you're male or female)
To stretch:  Allungare OR Fare stretching
To cross-train:  Allenare/allenarsi in diverse discipline (somehow, my gut says maybe Italians don't use this expression, maybe they say "cross-train" or  their translations of "bike" or "row" or "lift weights" or "swim" or whatever)
To warm up:  Riscaldarsi
Warm-up (noun):  Riscaldamento
Cool-down (noun):  Defaticamento
Sports drink:  Bevanda isotonica
Water:  Acqua
Wine (since we're speaking Italian):  Vino

A few sentences pulled from 

The marathon runner collapsed from exhaustion as soon as he crossed the finishing line.
Il maratoneta svenne per la stanchezza appena passata la linea d'arrivo.

Track-and-field athletes include runners, sprinters, and pole vaulters.
Tra gli atleti di atletica leggera ci sono i corridori, velocisti e saltatori con l'asta.

We're organizing a run for charity this weekend.
Questo fine settimana faremo una gara di beneficenza.

Those greasy tacos I ate at 2 in the morning gave me the runs.
Quei taco unti che ho mangiato alle due di notte mi hanno fatto venire la diarrea.
(Sorry, the translation sentence made me laugh, I had to include it for you.)

The marathon race is one of the highlights of the Olympic Games.
La maratona è il clou dei giochi olimpici.

He runs three miles every morning.
Percorre tre miglia tutte le mattine.
Fa tre miglia tutte le mattine.

I need to stretch my legs before I run the race.
Ho bisogno di allungare le gambe prima di correre in gara.

And for extra fun, conjugation of "to run" (correre) (in Italian, you customarily omit the pronoun, but I've included it anyway): 
I run:  Io corro
You run: Tu corri
He/she/it/you (formal) runs: lui/lei/egli/Lei corre
We run: Noi corriamo
You (pl) run: Voi correte
They run: Loro corrono

Past (for these other tenses, I'm only including I/we, most likely to be useful):
I ran:  Io ho corso
We ran:  Noi abbiamo corso

I will run:  Io correr√≤
We will run: Noi correreremo (this word is just fun to say, and always makes me think of San Remo, a big Italian music festival)

I would run:  Io correrei
We would run:  Noi correremmo

I am running:  Sto correndo
We are running:  Stiamo correndo

Run (telling you, informal):  Corri!
Run (you, formal):  Corra!
Run (us, let's run!):  Corriamo!

Now any runner is set to go to Italy and communicate the basics!  Prego! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Getting ready

Getting ready for the marathon.  As I said (but am now proving by photo), I bought my shoes for race day and enough gu to train for some time.

This season has gone quickly, but mostly because it's been quick.  I've followed a more abbreviated training plan than usual, and I'm not expecting any great results.  A PR is out of the question (going for one would just be stupid and would result in a very painful 20 miles after that first 10k).  But I'm going to be happy with a solid run where I feel relatively strong for relatively long.  I don't have a right to expect anything more with a 15 week training season (that's 15 weeks total until the race, counting taper weeks), my current weight, and my current paces.  I might even be asking too much to hope for a solid run, but it will hopefully be possible if I pace smartly and the weather is on my side. 

It's in Washington state, so hopefully we'll get at least a 20 degree temperature break from my usual running weather to race day highs.  Since I run at the coolest part of the morning (usually about 5:00 or 6:00), it's usually only in the low 80s when I run, although I got a run in the low 70s once each of the last two weeks in Philly, which was a treat.  Just to offset that, I got in one evening run last week in the low 100s, which was the opposite of a treat.  But hopefully race day high will be in the low 60s, although I haven't actually looked at the weather.  Low 60s would feel amazing. 

The best part about this race I think will be that I'm driving after the race to Bend, Oregon, to stay with my brother and his family for a little while.  I'll be there for the eclipse, which will be special.  I'm going to have to work most days (I am taking a half-day of vacation though, for the day my husband arrives), but working in Bend near one of my sweetest nephews (Willard!  Age 2.4 when I'm there) and one of my sweetest nieces (Ava!  Age 0.7 when I'm there) beats working in Dallas!  And my folks will be coming out as well, and we'll have a fun weekend together celebrating my birthday and my niece's baptism.  I think my brother's in-laws are all coming too, so I think it will be a big crowd, which will be so fun.

We come back from Oregon on August 29 very early in the morning, then I've got a few weeks with a fair amount of work travel (more Philly, more Pensacola, and a trip I'm excited about to Denver), and then we'll split for our real vacation on September 29!  Woot, woot! 

Just keep swimming!  I've only got one really, really long run to do now, then one sweet weekend taper run.  I can totally manage that! 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


I have no idea how I got distracted or what happened this morning, but I think I failed to thoroughly rinse the conditioner out of my hair.  It felt kind of goopy when I was combing it, and I probably should have just re-rinsed it then, but I forged ahead.  It doesn't look terrible I don't think, but it definitely seemed kind of heavy/yucky as I was drying it.


Maybe it's just indicative of the fact that I don't seem to know which end is up lately.  I'm finally recovering from whatever sinus infection or upper respiratory thing that I assume I got from my husband, and I'm actually in town all week this week, so I am kind of catching my breath, but it's just feeling like a beat down lately.  I'm quite content and things are going well in general (although I got my @ss kicked last week in Philly in court; to say we busted at the settlement conference is an understatement, they walked out after my opening offer, which they deemed "unreasonable").  Running is ticking along.  I bought my marathon shoes and tested them out for 8 miles this morning.  I only have a few more long runs -- a 16 with 4 at pace this weekend, and then I think a 22 the following weekend.  My husband is getting over the same cold thing.  He actually went back to the doctor over the weekend and got a steroid shot, which was the push he needed to turn the corner.  But between work and social stuff, plus running, it just feels like there's way too much go-go-go for me lately.  The end result of which is apparently unrinsed hair.  Oh well, no complaints.  We're local for the next couple weekends, which will be good (ignore the fact that I packed the calendar for this weekend...). 

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Trader Joe's is out of steamed lentils for three straight weeks!!!  It's my standby dinner staple and I'm having trouble living without it.

I get in ruts with my eating.  I've eaten the same breakfast for years (smoothie) and for years before that, it was an English muffin and veggie breakfast sausage.  

Dinner is less of a rut, but my standby meal is lentils and pita chips.  

My husband asked me if I could just steam my own.  I told him no, so please don't let anyone burst that bubble.
One of my friends gave me a recipe a few years ago that I'm addicted to.  Steamed lentils (cold), feta, raisins, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper.  Mix and eat with a spoon and/or pita chips.  I'm addicted. 
And I might be going into withdrawal soon.  I've emailed the store.  Let's hope they respond.  Or more importantly, let's hope they fix the issue! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lamb Jam Log-jam

FYI, there were protestors at Lamb Jam in San Fran!  Lots of them according to my husband.

I asked my husband if he thought it to be at all ironic or amusing that if I were more of an activist type, this is the kind of event that I'd be more than happy to protest as a vegetarian and lover particularly of cute animals.  He ignored my question. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017


So I was hoping to magically transfer my husband's cold to me so that he would be better for the weekend.  That plan didn't work.

Instead of taking some of the sinusitis symptoms (or whatever it is) off my husband so he could enjoy his weekend away, I just got the symptoms myself and he still has it.  So we're both down for the count.  He's toughing it out and trying to enjoy Lamb Jam.  I'm laying low.  Did some volunteer work with a friend this afternoon, and hoping to be able to hammer out a slow 20 miler tomorrow morning.  We shall see...  I feel awful.  My throat hurts to swallow, so I'm barely drinking any water.  That's not going to mix well with 80 degrees and 90% humidity! 

In other news, my search for a car dealership that does NOT steal all the coins out of my car continues.  I took my new car in for service the first time on Friday, picked it up on Saturday.  I did an exact count of the coins in the armrest when I dropped it off -- 4 quarters, 2 dimes, 1 nickel.  It was the first thing I checked when I picked it up.  1 quarter, 2 dimes, 1 nickel. 

People are such $hitheads.  I'm beyond irritated.  I even told my customer service advisor that the reason I drove all the way to the dealership in Plano was because the Dallas one had stolen change from my car.  I didn't tell them it happened again because it just wasn't worth it (and of course, my customer service rep was off today). 

Seriously, who does that???? 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sicko sympathy

My husband has some kind of cold/flu/upper respiratory illness happening right now and I'm so miserable for him.  I wish more than anything he could transfer it to me for a 5 day spell.  This weekend, he's had long standing plans to go to San Fran on a guys trip.  He leaves Friday night and will come back Monday.  I actually have a late flight out on Monday for work that week, so hopefully we'll get to cross paths in the airport for about 30 minutes after he lands and before I board.  But anyway, he has been so excited about this trip for so long.  It feels so unfair that he'd get sick right before it. 

When we first started dating, he spent a lot more time dealing with the general public and I felt like he used to get all kinds of illnesses, and often transfer them to me.  It felt like once a year, we'd both get a horrible upper respiratory infection (usually him first, then I'd be a few days behind).  But since he changed jobs a few years ago, he spends more time at his desk and deals with fewer people (though still way more than me).  And since then, we both seem to get sick very rarely.  I've actually never taken a sick day in more than 6? years at my job (though that's misleading, because I have been sick, just never too sick to be unable to work from home).  But I haven't even had a sniffle in ages, and he really hasn't either.  The timing sucks for him. 

In San Fran, the primary plan is to attend this event called Lamb Jam.  Tickets were actually way more expensive than I'd ever have guessed, and are already purchased.  It's 100% not my thing.  From what I understand, it's a music festival put on my our nation's lamb farmers, and a bunch of chefs come from all over and cook dishes featuring lamb.  Exactly the kind of place I do not belong as a vegetarian!  I'm also not really a music festival person.  I'm sure they're fine, but it's not even close to the top of my list of things to do in the Bay Area. 

My husband will gladly eat vegetarian things, but he will also readily add meat to something I make -- usually chicken or tuna.  He's never been a big eater of beef or pork.  But unfortunately for my animal-loving self, he loves "the weird meats" the most -- rabbit, lamb, stuff like that.  And he's also way more musical than me.  Lamb Jam is right up his alley! 

He's been so excited about this weekend, he's even made up a song about it that he has been singing at least every other day for more than a month, sometimes many times per day.  Technically, I suppose I might be exaggerating to call it a song -- it's really just melodic repetition of the phrase "Lamb Jam."  But he gets so excited about it when he sings it. 

We've both been getting killed at work lately, and he's been super stressed.  Summer is always a rough season in his job, and for some reason, this summer is particularly bad.  Lots of really hard stuff for him to deal with.  I'm trying to convince him to talk to a professional about it, because it's really getting to him sometimes, to the point where he has been having trouble sleeping, and this week, he's had an upset stomach. 

Not clear yet if the insomnia and upset stomach are related to all this nasal/coughing stuff he's got going on.  I'd guess not, but who knows.  Anyway, to add to not being able to sleep because of work stuff, for the last few nights, he's been waking up coughing horribly.  Tuesday night, he was actually coughing so hard and suddenly stopped that I jumped up from bed and was tearing through the bathroom to find towels, I was so convinced he'd just puked all over.  He was practically crying after the coughing spell and was very confused when I came rushing over with towels and was trying to figure out where/what to mop up in the dark. 

So he went to the doctor yesterday.  He managed to avoid the chest xray and got meds (cough stuff, z-pack, prednisone, nebulizer meds), so hopefully those will kick in today and his long-anticipated trip won't be a miserable mess.  Fingers crossed for him! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Deleted Scenes

Dirty Dancing is probably the movie I have watched more than any other.  Pretty Woman is second.  And whatever is next is way, way, way down the list.  I can't even begin to guess how many times I have seen Dirty Dancing.  Actually sitting down and watching it, maybe only 10-20 times?  But having it on in the background of life or work?  More like multiple times per year, probably every year since about 1995 or so?  Let's just say, if I see that it's on TV, it's hard for me to NOT turn it on. 

I wouldn't say it's my favorite movie, and it's probably not even in my top 5, but I love it in a very special way.  I of course own it, and I own the Italian dubbed version -- Balli Proibiti.  I've even watch the version with the directors' commentary -- lots of discussion about where scenes were filmed (most of the scenes were split between two states).  As an aside, one of the most interesting parts of the directors' commentary was discussing the translation of the phrase "a real MD" into the French version of the film. 

Anyway, the movie came out when I was 12, I think I saw it when I was 13.  And I remember very clearly that I didn't understand what "knocked up" meant.  I asked the friend I was watching the movie with to repeat the phrase 3 times, and then I faked that I had heard and understood.  My other clear memory of the movie is Patrick Swayze stealing my heart, and learning who the first woman in the Cabinet was. 

I feel like I know the movie by heart.  In terms of movie quotes used in every day conversation, mine are about 80% Dirty Dancing, about 18% Pretty Woman, and about 2% other.  And since my husband is pretty awesome (and is often doing his own work or travel planning or random internet browsing while I do the same and have Dirty Dancing on in the background), he is pretty darn good at quoting it too. 

So yesterday, my husband was running errands, and I was laying on the couch at home.  Recovering from 18 miles that morning (it was so insanely hot I really thought I might melt, summer has officially arrived in Dallas).  Just starting to do some work after taking all day Saturday off (super super busy at work these days).  And I was looking for something to put on TV in the background.  Saw Dirty Dancing, automatically chose it.

And the movie was going along like normal, when all of a sudden, I snapped my head toward the TV. 

Deleted scenes!!!!!

Words I do not know!!!!

This has happened a couple times before, but usually, if a deleted scene is included, it's one specific scene, occasionally two.  This one had about 9 of them! 

For the benefit of anyone else who loves and/or knows this movie, here they are:

1.  When Baby is getting ready to walk to the staff quarters (before she gets her watermelon), she sees Johnny in the woods making out with Vivian.

2.  When Baby is about to go to the Shelldrake and she is asking Lisa to cover for her, it's the usual line, "just tell Mommy and Daddy I have a terrible headache, and I'm in bed, and check on me once."  Lisa says she doesn't have to just do anything -- same, same -- then Lisa says no!  She says she will talk to Mommy and Daddy, they should know Baby's been coming and going at all hours and there's something fishy about it!  Baby then says that she will tell their parents that Lisa didn't stay with her as instructed while their parents were at a wedding in Washington.  Lisa is appalled because she did, but Baby threatens to lie and knows that she will be believed. 

3.  After the love scene in Johnny's room, they cut to a scene of Lisa and Baby walking, and Baby is telling Lisa that she wouldn't have really lied.  Lisa says she used to think Baby was weird, she walks funny, and she's better than Lisa.  Then back to the usual scene at the breakfast table where Jake announces they're going to leave early, before the final show.

4.  After the breakfast table, Lisa's contemplating which song to sing.  It cuts to Baby going to Penny's cabin.  But as she's walking up, her dad is walking out of Penny's cabin, telling her to finish taking the pills until they're all gone, even if she feels better.  Baby hides until her dad walks off, then walks up to Penny's cabin, back to the usual movie.

5.  When it's raining, just before the Acapulco line, Lisa is standing in the mirror and complaining about how frizzy her hair is, she says she's a frizzball, her mom says it's not that bad, she still looks pretty.  Then back to the line about remind me not to take my honeymoon here.  Then -- best deleted scene ever -- it cuts to Baby and her dad working on a puzzle.  (That's visible in the real movie, but there's no dialogue between them.)  Baby gets a piece and says, "I am a genius, a jigsaw genius."  Her dad says, "and where do you think you get it from?" 
-I'm not sure how I feel about this scene.  I love jigsaw puzzles a way lot and I told my husband that my new Dirty Dancing quote will be "I am a genius, a jigsaw genius," and told him what the appropriate response to that is.  But it doesn't fit the movie real well.  There's supposed to be distance and strain between Baby and her dad, not jokes about how proud he is of her jigsaw skills.  As much as I love the "jigsaw genius" phrase, I'm glad they cut this.

6.  Immediately following the jigsaw genius part (so maybe technically a continuation of the same scene, but I was so into the jigsaw genius line, I'm counting it as separate), Lisa finds a lipstick smooshed into a towel among her make-up.  Mrs. Houseman asks Lisa what happened.  Lisa says "it must have been that stupid, stupid maid," and wonders what she was doing in Lisa's drawer in the first place.  Her mom says maybe she was trying to straighten it up.  Lisa says she should report the maid.  Her mom says, "Lisa, you wouldn't want someone to lose their job over this," and Lisa says it's her only iridescent beige, "she should lose her job."  Baby tells Lisa to shut up and calls her a spoiled brat, and says "I did it."  Lisa questions Baby, and Baby insists she did it.  Lisa says "of course you didn't, what would you be doing with a lipstick?"  Dr. Houseman jumps in and says that if Baby says it's true, it's true, because Baby doesn't lie.  Then Baby goes off to join charades -- just like in the real movie.

7.  When Baby and Johnny are walking and Johnny's telling her about being offered the union job, they see Dr. Houseman walk out of the dining room with his arms around Lisa and Robbie.  Baby and Johnny duck down.  Exact same scene as usual.  But there's dialogue!  We hear Lisa saying that she's been thinking, "when Vietnam falls, is China next?" 

8.  Baby confesses to management that she knows Johnny didn't steal the wallets because she was with him in his room.  Then we see Baby standing on their cabin's porch and her mom comes out.  Baby says her mom doesn't understand.  Marjorie says that she knows, she really knows.  When she was Baby's age, she was in love with someone else, before Baby's father.  And when it ended, it hurt so bad she thought she'd die of it.  But she didn't, and she didn't wreck everyone else's lives in the process either.  Then cut back to the real movie, Dr. Houseman sitting and looking out over the water while the loons are calling.

9.  Johnny goes to say goodbye to Dr. Houseman, "I guess that's what you would see."  Same as normal.  Then Johnny is packing up his car, putting stuff in the trunk and Penny is there, standing with him.  She wants to go with him, she just wants 5 minutes to pack.  Johnny tells her to stay and keep the gig.  Penny says Johnny is always saying that this place is like a dinosaur, Tito gave her a new record and she and Johnny can learn a new tango routine.  Johnny tells Penny she's the best.  She calls him an @sshole and tells him not to make her cry as they hug goodbye.  He tells her that he'll see her in a few weeks.  Then he's closing the trunk alone -- when Baby comes up in the real movie. 

So I'm sure no one else in the whole world will find this interesting, but wow, I was amazed! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Why I haven't blogged recently.

That picture is actually probably almost a week old -- the bottom left corner is now completely done, and about 3% more of the sky/sea is done.

The puzzle's only half the reason, I've also been on the road like crazy for work.  I'm sitting in an airport now in fact, going home from Florida and then no travel until after the Fourth! 

I committed to a marathon on the west coast in just under 2 months, which is scary.  I've done a few long runs 12-10-15-16-17, and the 16 and 17 were not wretched.  I'm not running enough miles during the week to expect any decent result, but I should survive, and it will be an excuse to watch the eclipse out there and go visit my brother and his family. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mystery solved

So this past weekend, I tried to get organized. One task I accomplished was to finally put away our tax documents. I couldn't resist looking again, trying to see where I went wrong.   My numbers were almost exact on the entire return except for one line:  Line 44.  Tax computation.

This is the sheet on how to do tax computation.

Pretty straightforward, right?

There are four main sections based on filing status (single, etc.), and so you go to your section, and then figure out which income line to use, and then calculate. 

I made a very simple mistake and it was 100% clear in my notes.  

I took our joint income (we are married, filing jointly) and then pulled the tax calculation portion for married filing separately.  The base percent calculation for married filing separately is way higher than married filing jointly.  I guess they assume you have half the income and so the tax rate is very similar to single.  Oops.  

I think when I looked at the headers on the sheet, I saw "married filing jointly or QUALIFYING WIDOW(ER)" and kind of skipped over the first part.  We're not qualifying widow/ers, so on to the next section.  "Married filing separately."  Again, not reading very carefully, just saw the word "married" and must have decided that was us. 

It's a shame that tax calculation is at the end of the form, when you're very "not fresh" from working through the first 43 lines...

Oh well, at least the mystery of what went wrong is solved in my mind.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Yesterday I had the STRANGEST experience at work.

I had an accounting question on one of my files, so I sent an email to my accounting buddy to ask her to look into it.  I didn't get a response within a few minutes, and I didn't want to move on to another case without resolving this, so I walked down to her office.

Did I mention we have those dreaded glass walls between our office and the corridor?  (Real walls in between the offices though.)

So I could see that another attorney was in my buddy's office, working on his own accounting issue with her.  But she could see me waiting my turn.  And of course when she looked out at me waiting, he turned and saw me, so he knew there was a line.  He got done, I went in.  She pulled up my email, then opened the file on the system.

I walked around her desk so I could look over her shoulder at her computer and show her where I thought the entry issue was.

-- As an aside, I always think of that as the "sexual harasser position."  Too many workplace videos on preventing sexual harassment in the office I guess.  In those videos, things often go south when someone crosses the desk line in an office.  The boss looking over the employee's shoulder starts giving a shoulder massage or something.  Haha. 

I was looking at the screen and my buddy and I were talking about how the funds posted, where, etc.  We'd been working on the issue for probably 60-90 seconds, when this new secretary walks into my buddy's office.  Just hired in the last month (I've never even been introduced to her actually, but I'd assume she knows I'm an attorney, given that I have an office, not a cube, and only attorneys and my accounting buddy have offices).  She just walked right in -- not waiting outside the office for me to finish (with glass walls, this kind of "lurking" is very common in our office). 

And then the new secretary says something like, "Gene [one of the attorneys she handles] is out of the office this week, and I'm trying to set up his new files and his instructions aren't very clear and I don't know how to enter the location code." 

I kind of just stood there in stunned silence.

My accounting buddy sat for a second, also pretty surprised, then she called out of her office to her assistant, who sits directly outside, and asked her to walk the new secretary through location codes.  The new secretary said something to my accounting buddy like, "oh, sorry, does she [accounting buddy assistant] know more?"  My accounting buddy said something like, "uh, well, she can help you with location codes, I'm working on something else right now [and kind of nodded her head toward me]."  And then the new secretary followed my accounting buddy's assistant back to her desk to figure out how to enter location codes.

I was like, "am I invisible????"

It was so weird!  It wasn't like the new secretary poked her head into my buddy's office and said, "sorry to interrupt," or "I just have a real quick question."  Both of those would have been fine, and understandable, particularly if my issue was going to take more than 5 minutes.  But no, she just came in and started talking, like I wasn't there.  My friend agreed it was certainly the weirdest office event of the month, maybe longer.  We laughed for a while and were again joking today about whether or not she can actually see me. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Movie Tonight?

Short notice, but if you like running and you don't have plans tonight, see if the Boston movie is showing near you!  It's in theaters for tonight only.  I'm going with a group of about 20 running friends and am so excited.  To add to the excitement, our office lets us buy a one-day jeans pass in exchange for a $100 contribution to a particular charity, and I bought one for today (since taxes and deductions are on my mind anyway!).  This way I get to wear jeans at the office today (which seriously feels like a huge treat), along with my Boston t-shirt!  And I'm hoping it will be super air-conditioned in the theater so I can wear my jacket too!  Haha.

Anyway, if you're interested in the movie, here's the blurb from AMC's website:

BOSTON: An American Running Story

2 hr 20 min

Fathom Events, in partnership with Runner’s World, bring the first ever feature-length documentary about the world’s most legendary running race, the Boston Marathon, to select cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, April 19 only. BOSTON: An American Running Story tells the story of the oldest annually contested marathon in the world from its humble origins starting with only 15 runners to the present day. Following the tragic events of 2013, BOSTON records the preparations and eventual running of the 118th Boston Marathon one year later, when runners and community gather in support of one another for what will be the most meaningful race of all. BOSTON is more than a running documentary, it is a timeless story about triumph over adversity for runner and non-runner alike. This special one-night event will also feature footage of the Boston Symphony Orchestra recording an original score composed by 4X Emmy Award®-winner Jeff Beal (House of Cards).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fake Working

As is my usual Marathon Monday tradition, I will be "fake working" pretty much all morning and early afternoon today.  I will be sitting at my desk, watching the live coverage of the race and tracking all my friends, same as I do pretty much every year.  In 2014, when Meb won, multiple people came to my office because I was ... ummm, not quiet.  I was so excited when I realized he was really going to do it. 

The first time I got a BQ was probably the proudest moment of my running career.  Happened at Twin Cities in 2010, and I promptly registered to run Boston in 2011.

It was my favorite marathon by leaps and bounds -- the history, the involvement of the entire city, the runners in town wearing their jackets, and the race itself.  Totally amazing.  I think I've qualified a total of three times (?), but I only ran it once, primarily I think because that day was so perfect that I don't really want another Boston memory.  I don't think it could ever be topped for me. 

Good luck and Godspeed to all the runners today.  May the wind be at your back and the memories among your favorite of all time.  I'll be at my desk and not working. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


So after weeks of austerity measures, we finally got our "real" taxes back (as opposed to my preliminary estimate).

Remember that Monopoly card that said "bank error in your favor, collect $xxx"? 

Essentially, that's what we got! 

Instead of writing a check for our usual insane amount PLUS $10k, we only have to write a check for our usual insane amount.  Which we were 100% prepared to do (we've owed about the same amount beyond withholding for about the last five years, maybe longer).

I looked over our return to try to see where I went wrong.  I was pretty much dead on through the entire calculation of income and our schedule A and deductions, but it looks like I made a significant error somehow in calculating our tax.  No idea how that happened, but that was the only line that seems to be significantly wrong on my draft compared to our pro. 

Oops!  I guess if I had to make a mistake, better to be implementing austerity measures and living lean for a month rather than going along as usual and then finding out two weeks before the money is due that we have to pay way more than we expected. 

Either way, sweet, sweet relief. 

I'm making a list in my head (well, no, it started in my head, now it's going into writing on the blog) of things I'd spend a "free" $10k on:

Travel!  Trips to see my brother, trips to San Fran, trips overseas, trips home.
Crown molding.  Our neighbors renovated a unit in our condo complex and I saw the finished product mid-Feb and I've been coveting crown molding ever since.
A bike.  Right now I'm only running to work one day a week.  If I had a bike, I'd definitely ride one day a week, and maybe I'd even use it on the weekends.
Lasik.  My eyes I think are almost done with the "age 40" change (as in, I probably need to get readers soon).  I've worn contacts at least 20 years, and I think I'd like to stop.  Not sure if they can fix my original issue (can't see far away) as well as my new issue (starting to not be able to see super up close). 
Mattress.  We got a mattress for our guest bedroom about a year ago, but we're still sleeping on a mattress older than our marriage (8 in a week!).  I think it's probably time for a new one, since I can't even remember when I got the mattress we have.  Anyone tried Casper?  I've heard a few people mention it.  Anyway, anytime I have a restless night lately, I blame it on the mattress.  But the "if it's over 8, it's time to replace" is probably just "big mattress" trying to keep us hooked...
Fridge.  Our fridge is fine, but it has lately started to kind of "hum" louder than before.  We should proactively replace so we have ample time to shop and we don't end up with a melted ice cream tragedy. 

But umm, actually, there's no "free" $10k and I have zero bonus money to spend.  Instead of having to take it out of savings, we'll just leave it there.  And the whole point of savings is to save it for when we need it, not to spend it on fun things like we would free money. 

Oh well, it was fun to dream! 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Large Book

My passport expires this summer, so I'm in the process of getting a new one.  I fully intended to do it last week on my day off, but that didn't happen.  And knowing that we are about to buy international plane tickets for the Fall (after my passport will be expired) is starting to majorly stress me out!  What if the State Department staff all gets fired, or they stop renewing passports, or renewal suddenly starts taking 6 months instead of 6 weeks?  Those are all fairly remote possibilities, but the idea of having to eat a couple thousand dollars of air fare because of the US government is not appealing.  So finally I got on the ball this week, and started doing the application in order to renew my passport that expires in a few months. 
Aside from all the usual background stuff, I saw  something very interesting at the top of the application:  a choice between a regular book and a large book passport. 


Having that option kind of boggled my mind.  I have no idea what is true about this large-book option:
  • Fees have changed (and I'm cheap), or
  • I never read the choices fully, or
  • I didn't think I'd travel as much as I do. 

For whatever reason, I've always just gotten the standard passport in the past. And I've traveled enough on each of my last two passports that I've needed to get extra pages (which is a moderate PITA).  This time, I'm going for it!  The large passport book will be mine in about two months!
Unless of course any of the out-of-my-hands governmental failures occurs. 
So now, assuming I manage to get this application into the mail within a few days (another pain because I can't just mail it, they recommend sending it in some track-able form), the question is:  do we go ahead and book plane tickets for September, banking on having a passport again in my hands in less than five months?  Or do I wait 6-8 weeks, see if have my new passport, and then book tickets, and risk that the price will be higher?  And what do we do if I wait two months and still don't have it?  Hmmm....

Monday, April 3, 2017

Useless list

Recently, I took a vacation day and stayed at home.  I literally don't think I have ever done that before.  Since we take one big trip per year, I usually use all my vacation for that, then finish off any extra days around the holidays.  But in 2016, I hit my five-year anniversary with the company, so my vacation increased by one week, but I didn't know exactly how that would work -- did I get one full week on my anniversary, or would it be a pro-rated part of the week, since I started the job mid-year, not Jan. 1, when vacation starts.  And it wasn't until late January that HR advised that I had three remaining days that I could use by March 31. 

So March 28, I stayed home!  And I had big plans for the day.  The week before, I jotted down a list of what I hoped to accomplish:

Sorry for the grainy pic.  But I had four things on my to-do list:
Renew my passport 
Organize my drawer with running shirts 
Order a cake for our rehearsal dinner anniversary party 
Register for a race

I also had a few other things in my head that I was going to aim to do, including cooking a somewhat ambitious dinner.  But instead, as of 5:00 on my big day off, I had accomplished zero things on the list.  Gah!!!!! 

Instead I filled my day doing the following:
Supported a friend for a medical thing (but I was home by 9:40 a.m., so don't think this is a good use of my day).
Watched bad TV (Hoarders mostly, and it's true, watching that does make you feel like your house is so clean!!)
Read a magazine
Made lunch
Organized a pile of stuff on my dresser (mostly greeting cards, programs/ticket stubs, race bibs)
Dusted my dresser
Organized the jewelry on top of my closet dresser (I seriously had about a dozen necklaces piled up, instead of where they belonged)
Organized my hanging clothes
Organized a drawer in my husband's dresser

Wrote results on the back of old race bibs (I have grand notions of someday doing a race-bib-wallpaper type thing)

Since my husband had a meeting that night, I abandoned the idea of cooking anything that took effort for dinner and instead just ate whatever.  Finally at about 7:00, I realized that I hadn't really gotten anything done, so I decided to work on organizing my running clothes.  Purged exactly one shirt, but managed to rearrange sufficiently so tanks and shorts share a drawer, and all short sleeves are in a drawer.  Works much better, and I'm glad I got it done. 

So one thing done off my list.  So defeating! 

I feel a little guilty though because when I got to work the next day, I saw my to-do list, and immediately proceeded to order the cake and register for the race -- basically doing at the office things I fully intended to do at home, which pisses me off because I prefer less time in the office as opposed to more time, but each of those tasks seriously took less than five minutes.  Still mildly frustrating that I didn't just do them on my day off.

Anyway, the day off was a very nice treat, even if it was wasted in many ways.  Man, I love napping!!! 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Serious austerity measures

When I told my husband we should not engage in any discretionary spending until our tax mess is resolved, I think he took me more seriously than I intended.

I got home from work this week and turned on the TV to this message:

I'm locking down the spending, but I might have a different definition of discretionary -- I'm still paying bills at the same amount I was paying before (like I round up on my new car payment so it will be paid off sooner, and I'm not stopping that practice during our "austerity measures" two month period), but I'm trying not to go out to eat or go shopping or pay for any fun plane tickets.  Maybe my husband took "no discretionary spending" as don't pay anything except groceries, car, gas, tolls, boot camp, dry cleaning, and phones. 

I think it's more likely he forgot to pay this bill than that he thought we shouldn't pay it pending resolution of the tax issue, but I can't honestly say I'm sure that's the case. 

In any event, we're paid up now and can watch TV again.  Which is good, if we're staying at home and not going out to spend money...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Pain in my ginocchio

I've had tons and tons of times I thought I was injured in the last 10+ years of running.  Usually random pains that go away after a few days off, usually coinciding with peak weeks or taper time.  I've also had a few falls, resulting in a couple sprained ankles.  Plus I've had two legit injuries -- a pulled muscle back in 2005, and then I broke my ankle in 2015 when I stepped on a rock.  Those are the only two times I've been off running for over a month. 

Oddly enough, in all this time running, I've never had real knee issues that I can remember.  It always seems to be my feet, ankles and calves that get hurt. 

But suddenly, knee pain! 

Oh yeah, the Italian word for knee is "ginocchio."  (Pronounced -- jin -OH -kee -oh, which is odd, because occhio means "eye.") 

Well, somehow my left knee is about the size of a softball right now.

Here's the chronology:

Sunday:  half marathon, pretty slow.  Well, 5-7 miles as planned, then a very slow slog to the finish.  It got into the upper 80s that day, super sunny, not fun.  No pains. 

Monday:  boot camp, less than one mile of running included.  Quads somewhat sore for no clear reason. 

Tuesday:  5 miles, mostly about my average pace from Sunday (so I'd say medium effort).  No pain.

Wednesday:  boot camp, including probably 1 mile of running, and then about 28 flights of stairs up and then down (Mount O) (not something we do often, but probably once a month?).  No pain.  Came home from boot camp, had breakfast, then ran to work.  No pain.  Walking through the lobby and noticed my left knee hurt.  Like hurt.  Went to my desk, went down the stairs to shower (8 flights).  Showered, took the stairs back to my office.  By then my knee really hurt.  It was popping at times, especially at angles, and it felt pretty swollen.  Almost screaming pain when I tried to move my leg certain ways while seated at my desk (so no pressure on my foot).  Wasn't sure how I was going to run home.  Considered getting an uber, but decided to set out after work.  Did a very slow run-walk thing to get home, no pain while running or walking.

Thursday:  5 miles, again, no pain while running.  But my knee was so swollen other people could tell something was horribly wrong.  Again, crazy pain when bending it at certain angles, very painful pops.

Friday:  rest day.  Maybe getting less swollen and painful?  Laying on my back, trying to bend my leg all the way and get my heel toward my butt, I feel like I can't get within 12 inches on the left side, my knee hurts and is so swollen. 

Planning to rest today, and maybe skip my planned "long" run for tomorrow (only 7 miles since there's no race on the calendar now). 

What the heck? 

Part of me thinks it could just be sore from the stairs since yesterday I seemed to feel pain mostly when going up stairs at home.  Maybe it will blow over with a weekend off?  I really don't want it to be anything real. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baby Names

Not that we are planning to have kids, but we still can't help but pick names.  Just in case, you know?  Within the last few months, we have added two names to the list.  It's hard to say why, but I guess it's a good idea because at my age, if we wanted to have kids, we'd probably have to do in vitro, and they'd probably have to implant a whole bunch of them, and maybe 7 would stick?  Then we'd be all set because we now have 7 names selected:

For boys:

Rubicon Julius Caesar Winston.  Rubicon just sounds so strong.  Especially if we had this boy, our first-born, in Texas.  Couldn't you just hear the football announcer talking about Rubicon?  And since he'd be the first born, we'd want him to be a leader, so we added some solid leader names.  We chose this name more than a decade ago, and for the longest time, it was the only baby name we had.  And since there's a chance that if we had kids, we'd only have one, and since it would probably be male (given my husband's family history of 4 straight generations on his father's side with only male births), we would probably use our "Bennifer" last name (a combo of my husband's last name and mine). 

Mario.  No middle name, just Mario.  It might be hard to explain this to our second son with straight faces, but technically, he'll have been named after a Russian monkey.  When we were in Red Square in 2010, there was one of those guys who had two monkeys.  Kind of looked like this:
Image result for rhesus monkey

But the male monkey (the one I held) was wearing an Italian soccer jersey.  And his name was Mario.  And when I was holding him, and he was squirming instead of looking at the camera, the handler kept doing a low volume shout "Mario!" to get his attention.  The female monkey didn't seem well, she was wearing a little dress but laying in the cart, kind of listless.  After I held Mario, we walked around Red Square some more and had lunch at the cafeteria in GUM (the Russian department store).  We had grapes with our lunch and my husband saved a handful of them and fed them to Mario and his sister when we walked by them again.  So our second male child would be named after a monkey, but my husband has an Italian last name.  So this child would have my husband's name. 

Lamarte Siegfried.  We added this name in mid-2016.  Lamarte was the first name of someone in a case I had at work.  It's pronounced la-MAR-tay.  The name just stuck with me, so I asked my husband if we could use it for our third male child and he agreed, but he wanted to pick Siegfried as the middle name, after one of his cases at work.  We both felt like we spent a disproportionate amount of time at work dealing with Lamarte and Siegfried.  It would make sense to give the name to a later child, to remind us that he probably needs a lot of attention, rather than just letting him get away with stuff like lots of younger kids do.  This one would have my last name because, given the middle name being from my husband's work, he doesn't want the name Siegfried anywhere close to any part of his last name. 

Baron Bush.  Yes, after Baron Trump.  And after W.  If we get up to four male children, we will certainly be super-wealthy, and if we're not, we live in Texas, so at least we'll live like we are!  This will make the late-born child feel very special, entitled, privileged, all that stuff.  And it's a good Texas name -- we'll never be pegged for the liberals we are if we have a child named Baron Bush.  Baron will have our fused last name since it's alliterative. 

Leroy Elmer.  After my grandfathers.  We just added this name in the last couple months (my grandpa Lee died in September).  My husband said in some random conversation that he had never met a Caucasian person name Leroy until he met my grandfather.  That just seemed weird to me.  I'm all about breaking down any racial stereotypes I can (incidentally, my college roommate did the same thing with her son).  I guess sometimes I associate a race with a name, but I don't to the extent some people do (my husband pegs some last names as Jewish for example, and I never would have considered it and usually can't say whether the person is Jewish or not, and I can't even say if I agree that last name is usually Jewish or not).  Living in Texas, I encounter a fair number of Spanish-origin first names (and I learned that Jesus (who I meet a few days per week to run) and Jesus (who is depicted in lots of church art) aren't pronounced the same), but I don't speak Spanish, so if I have to guess at pronouncing a name that's unknown to me, I defer toward an Italian pronunciation.  Anyway, to break down barriers or stereotypes held by anyone besides my husband, our final male child will be named Leroy.  And middle name for my other grandfather.  Glue shouldn't get to monopolize the name.  Nor Bugs Bunny.  It's a very nice name.  But given the glue association, best suited to be a middle name I suppose.  So Leroy will have our fused last name -- he can't have my last name since my grandfather had that exact name and early in my legal career, I defended a credit reporting company, and I learned having two identical names in the same family can cause a lot of needless headaches. 

It's been less pressing to pick girl names with my husband's family birth history.  But of course I had a name that I'd used for my egg baby in high school, and there are family names and other pretty names to consider. 

So, for girls:

Tilapia Sleven Emerald Mafalda.  Our first girl will be Tilapia because that name is way too pretty to be only used for a fish.  Even though I'm allergic to seafood, I've had an affinity for this name for a long time for some reason.  I had pretty much forgotten how long until Mardi Gras last month, when my best friend reminded me about the original Tilapia in my life:  about 20 years ago, I had a freakishly long forearm hair that I named Tilapia.  Tilapia on my arm died (just like the egg that could be fertilized to be a female child Tilapia will probably die inside of me, but just in case...).  My husband actually encountered a real person at work named Tilapia.  It wasn't a good experience for him, but he likes tilapia the fish enough that he was willing to agree that we could use Tilapia as our first female child's name.  As for middle names, it's a random combination that we liked.  Sleven was a movie and it just sounds cool.  Emerald was my high school choice for my future daughter's name, and I used it for my egg baby.  Mafalda is for my husband's grandmother.  It's one of those old school Italian names that you just don't ever hear anymore on anyone under the age of 80 (and very few women over 80 even!).  For unknown reasons, whenever we talk about Tilapia, we assume she has my husband's last name (even though Mafalda did not, she was on his mom's side). 

Florence Genuvia.  Florence is after the city in the country that has our hearts.  And it's one of those pretty names you just don't hear very often.  On my list of things to do when I take over the world is to rename cities in foreign countries (and the countries themselves) so that they're pronounced basically the same everywhere.  It's crazy that we say Paris instead of Pa-ree, Florence instead of Fee-ren-zay, and Germany instead of Deutschland.  It's just as bad in Italian -- they say Monaco instead of Munchen (and we say Munich, also not Munchen), and then they have to distinguish the principality of Monaco by using its full name.  So we really shouldn't have picked Florence since technically, I think everyone in the whole world should know that city in Italia as Firenze, but it's still a pretty name and not too common anymore.  As for the middle name, yes, it's chosen after the prescription drug, but with an Italian spelling.  If we're not doing the first name the proper Italian way, at least we can spell the middle name an Italian way.  Drug companies are really picking all the good names. Given the Italian connection, this daughter would have my husband's last name. 

So if we have septuplets, or I have seven individual births, or some other multiple birth combinations adding up to seven kids, we'll be all set as far as names go! 

But yeah, we'll keep taking precautions to prevent that. 

So really, I don't lay claim to any of these names.  Feel free to use them for your own offspring.  Or suggest them to anyone you know who is pregnant.  However, if the person is having male twins, please join me in pleading that they be named Jesus (not the Spanish pronunciation), and Lucifer.  It will just be so interesting to see how that plays out!  Are people inherently nicer to Jesus?  Or does Jesus do bad stuff and blame it on his brother?  Or is Lucifer the naughtier one? 

Friday, March 17, 2017


Long, largely pointless entry to follow.  But at least I'm writing! 

I had a run-in with the law in January.  I had gone to the movies with a friend.  I got to the movie and looked for my wallet, and realized I had forgotten it at home.  I had my bigger wallet, which contains random stuff I rarely use (my bar card, my insurance card, my ATM card, a Sears card and a credit card I don't like).  So I was able to pay for the movie.  After the movie ended, my friend and I chatted for a few minutes and I went to my car because I was supposed to go to the airport to pick up my husband from a visit with his parents.  I should have been fine on time (airport is about 20 minutes away), but when I got to my car, my husband texted me -- "Surprise!  We landed 25 minutes early!" 

So instead of getting there right around the time he landed, he was going to have to wait.  Incidentally, this was day two of round one of the travel ban, so there were hundreds of protestors at the airport here in light of the detainees.  My husband doesn't like being around demonstrations like that, particularly when he's unarmed (as he is about 90% of the time when flying), both because of a fear of violence breaking out around him, and because of a fear of repercussions at work if someone thought he was a protestor or something like that (his supervisors are largely what you'd expect in Texas criminal justice...). 

So I got on the highway, and it was pretty empty.  I got in the express lanes, which have very few entrances and exits, and at this time on this day, even fewer cars.  I maybe passed 4 cars in 10 miles?  The speed limit was 75 and I was probably driving about 90. 

Then the express lanes ended.  Speed limit drops to 65 or 70 I think.  I merged in and there was more traffic, but still not too much.  I was sailing right along until I got pulled over.  Yow.  The first thing the officer said to me:  "I've been out here all day, and you get the prize for being the first car over 90!"  I was horrified, and then even more horrified to have to say, actually, I don't have my driver's license with me -- I do have my insurance card and multiple "other cards" in my name, and I know my DL number, but uh, nothing with my photo and name. 


Since then, I've tried to be better about carrying my license when I'm driving.  I've also obviously tried to be more careful about my speed.

I'm least likely to have my license with me when I'm going to I work out, since I don't need a credit card or ID or anything, and it's such a pain to put it in the trunk before I leave the house (my husband has trained me well not to put something in my trunk after I park, and never to leave something of value in the car).  So anyway, this week, I went into my trunk to get my wallet so that I could then drive somewhere and use a credit card but not take my whole purse with me. 

I reached into my purse for my wallet and came out with (clean) underwear.  It was like a flashback to single life especially if I'd been particularly promiscuous (I was definitely more of a serial monogamist, but yeah, I'm sure I still had underwear in my purse on some random occasion). 

So last week I had my most feared commuting crisis.  I ran to work as usual and rode the elevator to my office as usual.  When I got to my office, I checked my email, filled my water bottle, and got my stuff to take to the locker room:  my bag that lives at work (makeup, deo, hair stuff, flip flops), and the contents of the garment bag I'd brought from home for the week (outfit, shoes, underwear, jewelry).  It seemed to all be there, so I went down to the locker room.  Showered, dried my hair, and started to get dressed.


No underwear.  I sent a text to the only person in the office I thought I could ask to look for clean underwear in my office (my accounting buddy), but she wasn't in for the day yet.  I pondered my options:

1.  Text my coworker.  She has kids, she'd probably have no objection to handling a colleague's clean underwear, but yeah, that just didn't feel right. 

2.  Wait in the locker room, half dressed, until my accounting buddy came in for the day.

3.  Go commando up to the office and search the bottom of my garment bag myself. 

I sat around in the locker room half dressed and in a towel for about 10 minutes.  A few more texts and I realized my accounting buddy wasn't even close.  I was leaning toward option 3, and I started packing up my workout clothes, when I suddenly realized that in an outer pocket of my bag that lives at work, there was clean underwear for just such an emergency! 

It was a pair I hate (which is why they stay at work) (much like the hideous black pumps that live under my desk for the commuting emergency I've encountered a few times -- no dress shoes).  But clean underwear nonetheless! 

I got dressed and went back to my office.  Sure enough, my packing system had not broken down, I'd brought clean underwear, they were just overlooked in the garment bag.  So I put the clean good underwear in my bag that lives at work until I could wash and replace with the pair I was wearing that I hated.  I washed the hated pair and put them in my purse to execute the swap -- and then apparently forgot. 

I'm just kind of glad it's austerity measures and I'm not pulling out my wallet in front of anyone with any frequency -- I can imagine some acquaintances would have been concerned about the state of my marriage if they'd seen me carrying underwear around...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Austerity Measures

For the first time ever, my husband and I are under austerity measures for two months.  We're fairly conservative spenders for most things, but we also both have jobs and get paid enough (especially since we don't have kids, tuition, etc.) that we spend money if we want to.  I feel like our spending usually lines up pretty well with our priorities.  We mostly spend on travel, which is our favorite thing, but of course other discretionary expenses add up. 

Early in March, we did our preliminary look at our taxes.  We usually run the numbers ourselves before getting them done, and usually, the number we get is exceedingly close to the final number. 

And we ALWAYS owe.  We both withhold at 0, so I have no idea how this is the case, but it always happens.  And most years, in addition to what has been withheld, we have owed roughly the same amount.  So we budget for that and it is what it is.  I guess we could ask that additional amounts be withheld so we don't owe so much or so we actually get a refund, but we're pretty good at setting aside what we usually need to set aside, so we just leave the withholding at 0 and then write a check in mid-April.

Well, this year, our preliminary numbers indicate we need to write a check for about $10,000 MORE than we usually do. 


I have no idea how or why that happened.  We each have one employer and we each withhold at zero.  And we have "the usual" deductions (a mortgage, real estate taxes, charitables), and this year we even got to add the purchase of my car to the usual sales tax deduction (since there's no income tax in Texas).  I was thinking maybe we got screwed because we don't have kids, but my coworker said hers were much worse this year too, and she has three kids.  So that's good, I don't need to have a kid to ease the tax pain. 

(I should note here that we're definitely not arguing for a lower tax.  I mean, I get that our President doesn't have to pay taxes, but we firmly believe we should.  We like living in a country where there are schools for kids, roads for us, a military to defend us, police to keep us safe, courts to adjudicate cases, jails to hold bad people, agencies to provide licenses and permits, inspectors for our food, checks for the elderly to keep them off the streets, emergency rooms that treat emergencies, etc.)

We're obviously fortunate in that we can swing the payment as we've presently estimated it, and we're also lucky to have more than a month until we need to make the payment, but we've decided to implement austerity measures for the months of March and April in hopes of having that big check wipe us out a bit less than it otherwise would. 

Austerity measures are nearly killing me.  And we're only two weeks in! 

No fun trips for us.  Especially tough since I've been dying to make another trip to Oregon to see my brother and his family.  And since we were planning to go to French Quarter Fest in New Orleans (but wow, plane tickets were over $500 each! definitely not allowed under austerity measures).  This is probably the biggest sacrifice.  We're also considering using miles for our Fall trip, though we'll defer that decision another month or two anyway. 

No shopping.  I'm not a big shopper, but trying to be a non-shopper is a little more challenging than I expected.  My husband somehow got the elbow of one of his favorite dress shirts caught at work and it tore.  No new blue dress shirt for him (until May).  He's also waiting an extra week for a haircut, so maybe there will only be 2 cuts during austerity measures instead of 3.  No renting movies.  No going to the movies.  But we have Netflix and Amazon Prime, so this really shouldn't be asking a lot.  No extra races -- but I'm planning to register for next year's half marathon since it will be cheapest next weekend, and in this instance, there's no point in saving money now only to spend more later.  But no signing up for races just because. 

No entertaining, aside from what was already on the books -- we hosted a "breakfast party" this past weekend, which was fun.  At the store getting ready for the party, I was picking out flowers for the bar between our kitchen and the dining room, and my husband said they didn't come within austerity measures, but I said we aren't heathens, so we got the flowers anyway.  And we'll have our usual rehearsal dinner anniversary party next month.  And we have a houseguest this coming weekend (visiting for our local RNR half marathon), but she's low maintenance. 

Minimal eating out.  We went out for dinner this past weekend with people we'd usually treat (younger family who just moved here), but we split the check (they are nearly 40 and gainfully employed...).  We have brunches out planned the next couple weekends, we have a "dine at Chipotle for charity" type dinner one night, another dinner out with the new-to-town family, and we'll go out for our anniversary, (and we'll probably each end up going out for lunch on our own during the week once or twice) but I'm hoping for a total of less than 10 meals out (on our own dime) in the two months.  (I'm not counting meals out on my expense account when I'm traveling, or when my coworker takes me out to lunch (using up a Christmas gift card to a restaurant her husband hates), or when visiting attorneys take me out for lunch...  That should ease the pain a bit!) 

I'm sure there are other categories of spending that I'm not thinking of, but regardless, general austerity measures.  Bah humbug!