Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thankful Thursday #5

After last weekend's horrific scene in Virginia, I'm definitely thankful for friends who won't back down when idiots think they can instill fear in our communities.

But for the basic thank-yous of the week ...

Absorbent desk blotters ... because coffee and gravity aren't always the best of friends

Healthy pugs -- but what's up with Frannie being a senior now? Time flies ... pugs do not. Word to the wise. Just kidding, it was only Frannie's annual checkup and Spade's bordetella booster and nail trims for both because it takes 4 people to hold Spade down. #bigboy

Frannie -- happy as can be ... but still trying to escape.

Spade ... this is his normal face. I think he's happy here.

Big salads - I'm trying the mason jar salads this week. Apparently, a quart jar is the equivalent to Elaine's Big Salad on Seinfeld. Best day was when I used fresh garden salsa as the 'dressing'. Also thankful for coworkers with gardens and sharing their fresh-made salsa.
Looks are deceiving here. This is a BIG dinner plate. Big.

The Last Tycoon - watched the first episode and I'm hooked. Also want to reread the book, because that's what I do. Fun fact - F Scott Fitzgerald books were my reading choice every time I had to fly. Not sure why I didn't want to read anything else but I would always take a paperback of his to read on planes. Weird.

Running - thankful I can keep doing it. 11 weeks (and 2 days) till my birthday marathon and I'm trying to remember how to fuel to prep for long runs, as well as what to fuel DURING the long runs.

Public school - Very thankful that the kids have access to quality education in the public school system here. But we went to the high school's open house last week and it was shocking the difference of this year compared to last year's open house. When Will was a freshman, it seemed like each class was full of parents. This year, I think all of his classes had no more than 3 or 4 sets of parents in attendance.

Also thankful for texts of concern received during and after the open house from friends who saw both of us there and couldn't believe what they were seeing. Thankful I can usually put my anger and bitterness aside for the sake of the kids. Key word: usually

Personal/bittersweet note here - thankful for August 15 and what it will always mean to me. Just because I'm going through a divorce doesn't mean I want to forget this day or the past 19 years ...

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thankful Thursday #4

Keeping it simple this week - just wanted to get this posted before I forget! 

Family mealtimes 
Coffee (told you it'd make a frequent appearance on these lists)
Downtime with the kids 
Sunrises during morning runs
Sunsets during walks with the kids and pugs
Fresh eggs
Texts, calls, emails, and IMs from friends near and far
Lotion and lip balm - really.
Cinnamon toast (and the 15 year old who asks me to show him out to make it the way my mom taught me)
Games with the 13 year old (and that even though her phone was blowing up with texts and notifications, she said "it's Mom/Allie time right now")

Many more ... but saving for another week :)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Reading! Books! -- Show Us Your Books (link-up with Steph and Jana)

This is my first time linking up on the SUYB posts, but I recommend going to Stephanie's and Jana's link-up and checking out everyone else's suggestions/book lists. My list isn't very interesting ...

Here's my thing ... on days when I just don't want to do anything, I still read. I have to read. Well, I try to read. Life circumstances have had a way of sapping me more than I realized. So ... I miss reading as much as I used to, but I'm getting back to it.

I don't read fast and I don't read a lot, but I do have to read something daily and definitely right before bed. It helps push out all the busyness going on inside my head and lets me relax - no matter how exhausted I may be, a few paragraphs and I'm ready for sleepytime. Can't get that with TV or staring mindlessly at my phone before bed.

What I've actually been reading thus far this year (pretty pathetic list, actually) ...
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling - 4 stars - took me a bit to get used to the script format but I enjoyed it.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - 4 stars - read this one as part of the Andrew Luck Book Club. I'd read The Giver (loved it) so I was looking forward to this one. 
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - 4 stars - also part of the Andrew Luck Book Club. This was the Veterans selection. I'd had it on my to-read list anyway so I was glad to have a reason to select it. Very good read. Get it.
  • The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond - 4 stars (What can I say? I'm consistent.) Also a good read. Received as an ARC from Netgalley. Although, now that I think about it, I probably would just give it 3 stars, maybe 3.5. It was an enjoyable read but once I have time/months to think about it, would I go back and read it again? Probably not.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - 5 stars and rates high enough to be read on an annual basis. Unfortunately, this time around wasn't good for me and there were parts of it were really hurting me during this season. I still love it.
  • Drawing of the Three by Stephen King - not going to rate since S King isn't everyone's cup of tea. You either like him or you don't. If you want to read the series though, start with The Gunslinger (it was a re-read in 2016).
  • The Waste Lands by Stephen King
  • Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
  • Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
  • Song of Susannah by Stephen King
  • currently reading: The Dark Tower by Stephen King to finish up this series in prep for the movie that was just released (**see note below)
  • also reading: Zorba the Greek - just picked up from the library so haven't really gotten too far into it yet
  • and also: Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald (one of my favorite authors)
  • and also: All the Little Children by Jo Furniss (discovered on Kindle First)
  • and also: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (still ... I mean, I've been working on this one for a LONG time)
  • and also: ... well, there are a couple other books that I'm reading, but this "and also" section is getting ridonkulously long. Suffice it to say that I always have a book on me - either a 'real' book or I pull out my phone and read on the Kindle app whenever I'm waiting or stuck in traffic. It's MUCH better for my sanity and a better use of my time than scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.
** I hate getting sucked into a series and then getting burned out on it ... but I feel like I have to finish it or I never will. The only reason I started it was so I'd remember what's going on when I see The Dark Tower movie and now that I haven't seen any good reviews, I probably won't even see the movie. At this writing, I'm nearing the end of The Dark Tower and it's getting to where I'm skipping over parts because I just. want. it. to. end. The end is near though. The end is near.

Yeah, when this happens, it's time to put the book down and turn off the light.

A few years ago, I noticed I was reading the same books over and and over and wasn't really getting anything new in my brain -- hey, you find something you like and you want to go back to it ... again and again apparently. So I tried to switch it up with a rotation of a new book, then a classic (either new to me or a re-read), then a non-fiction new read, then a re-read 'modern'. I stopped that rotation for whatever reason and might need to get back to it -- mainly so I'm reading consistently again and not getting bored with what I'm reading. And ... I guess it'll help show the kids that reading is fun! In their minds, reading for fun doesn't exist now that they're having to read for school. I've been there kids ... boy, have I been there. And I've also been reading books that I should have read for a highschool or college class, just to see what I missed. Believe me, no one reads The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka for "fun".

Who else has gone back to read books that they were supposed to have read in high school or college but had skipped to the Cliff Notes version or watched the movie instead? Tell me I'm not the only one here, please. 

Do you read more than one book at a time or do I need to see a doctor about this?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

What's New With You ... that You're Thankful For #3 (what?) - Aug ed.

Well, I was planning on doing the monthly What's New With You linkup with Kristen and Gretchen -- but as I need to be more intentional about gratitude and being thankful during this time, I'm going to adapt the WNWY items with Thankful Thursday with Rebecca. Deal with it.

I can't figure out how not to cut off the Thankful Thursday pic ... I guess I'm only 60% thankful today? 

First of all, realize that this is basically a chance for me to bore people with what's going on with me. Honestly though, I'm thankful for the posts and comments and texts/e-mails I get when people read what I write - but I'm not a pro at this and am just doing it more for an online diary to keep track of my life. When I see a link-up of any topic, I want to join in just so it gives me something different to write about other than marathon training. It also gives me something else to think about other than what's going on in my personal life.

What I'm eating ... we have a biometric screening coming up at work next week. The better the results, the lower my health insurance premium. And since I'm all about saving money whenever possible, I've been cutting back on meat-products and sweets (yay for high cholesterol and high blood sugar!). I *should* be eating like that year-round, but I'm human and there's bacon and chocolate and life-stressors. So I mentioned before that I'm back on a quinoa kick and also try to keep one of these in the freezer at work for when I don't have time to put a lunch together:

Thankful for - a job that provides decent health insurance and the motivation to monitor my own health so I'm not reliant on pills or doctors to keep me alive. 

What I'm reading ... Gah ... when you're stuck in a series and you just!! I'm on the last book of the Dark Tower series (finally) and I'm just ready for it to be done. My Goodreads to-read list is so long ... oh, but wait! Andrew Luck (QB for the Indpls Colts) has a book club and he released the next books to read! Wonder by R.J. Palacio for the rookies/kids and Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis for the veterans/adults. I've already read (and highly recommend) Wonder, so I might try Zorba the Greek next ... unless another book catches my eye when I finish what I'm reading.

Thankful for - books and reading and parents who encouraged our reading and education.

What I'm watching ... finishing up Gilmore Girls on Netflix with Allie. This is her second go-around watching the series so we usually watch a few episodes while playing board or card games. I remember trying to watch it when it was on regular TV but since I didn't know the history of the characters, I couldn't get into it. Glad I finally got around to watching it from the beginning and is it weird that it's also helping to give me closure/advice on this divorce thing? Relationships (broken or not), trying to be "friends" for the sake of the kids even when someone does what he did, moving past things, and keeping my sanity ...

Thankful for - unexpected laughter when I'm frequently down lower-than-low. I mean, when I realized I was laughing during a game while we were watching an episode, I stopped quickly because I hadn't heard that sound coming from me in a LONG while. Then I started crying because I was mad I had thought he took my laughter/joy from me along with my trust. Not today, Satan. Not today.

What I'm listening to ... my car radio is funky. As in, very temperamental. I'm used to it though. The car I had to drive for several years didn't have a working radio for most of that time. I don't have a long commute so it wasn't a big deal (7-10 minutes, tops). The radio in the car I drive now barely picks up local stations and the volume control jumps from high to low to blasting to silence ... so I'm trying to get into podcasts. Looking for recommendations ...

Thankful for - short commutes (except when a bridge is closed). Memories of Shermaggedon ...

What I'm planning for August ... I'm not sure how this will work out but after school supplies and clothes wiped me out in July, here's hoping for a no-spend or low-spend August (except for gas and groceries ... oh, and I think I need new running shoes - but that's it!). Have a vacation coming up and I need to pinch my pennies now so I won't be relying on the credit card.

This is exactly what it felt like school supply shopping by myself with the kids. 
I definitely felt nauseous afterward.

Thankful for - an abundance of everything so I don't have to purchase things unnecessarily. Also thankful for some minimalist blogs/websites that have given me motivation to gradually whittle down our possessions to where there is enough. Still have a long way to go but I've been dropping off bags of clothes and household goods at Salvation Army and The Mustard Seed

What I'm running ... since the majority of my other posts are running-related, NOT going to do a running recap here ... except to say that I had the best 9 mile run last weekend. Weather was cool, met up early with some running peeps, and had a good pace even with the chatting.

Thankful for - continued good health and a patella that has chosen to cooperate through all this running. I dislocated it (or rather, it was forcibly removed from my knee ligaments) during a youth ski trip 20 years ago ... I was one of the leaders, so that was fun.

What's new with you or what are you thankful for right now?

Friday, July 28, 2017

My Second Virtual Race ... coming up!

This is a guest post (my first!) from Kristy at Runaway Bridal Planner. I'm registered for this and will be incorporating the virtual race in with my marathon training. For the most part, my runs aren't anything more than 'get the mileage in' or 'get the time in'. Using a race for a long run, even if it's a virtual race, will hopefully help me change my mindset for that particular day and see how much I've improved since my last race.


Have you considered a Virtual Race to help you with your fitness motivation?

What are Virtual Races? They are Runners, walkers or hikers who sign up for a distance they want to conquer for their goal. Come race week participants pick a course of their choice, race any day during the race week, and go any pace they'd like. That is the best part, time doesn't have to be scheduled away from other things in life, day or night what is ever best works!

Efforts and completion as in a regular road race, are provided with a race t-shirt and beautiful unique finishers medallion to show off your accomplishments and add to your race bling collections.
In fact Run Sea to shining Sea has created a unique finishers medallion you can earn for all your hard work here is a glimpse of the design. (Note: the actual medal will be a nice quality heavier nickel metal about 3 inches wide with a navy blue splash of color.)

Sound like something you’d like to do? Join up today!

Registrations spots for the Sea to Shining Sea Virtual Races are filling up fast and prices go up August 1st. If you register today, you can use discount code FUNRUN and save 15% off the registration price. HINT: If you are willing to share you signed up on Facebook during registration you can save an additional 10% too. If this sounds like something you'd like to do, don't wait! Secure your spot today!!

Are you a parent? Are your kids telling you they are bored this summer?

Run Sea to Shining Sea has group discounts available so feel free to register your entire family for some fun competition.
Your kids will love the finisher’s medal they can earn by participating and will be fun for them to show off to their friends about their accomplishments!

It Doesn’t Have to be on a Treadmill or Neighborhood street

With a virtual race you can take yourself to the course of your dreams. Mountains, Valleys, National Parks, Beaches… Your choice!

Need a Few More Reasons to Enter Run Sea to Shining Sea Virtual Races?

* Use it as a training run for a fall race you are gearing towards.

* To motivate you to stay active or to become active.

* Compete against yourself. Or grab some friends for some healthy fun competition.

* Compete in your own way with no restrictions, run during the time of day and day of the week that works best for your schedule.

* It supports American small businesses, medal creation, and t-shirt screen printing all done by American based companies. In addition, the event project itself is for a college thesis project so you'll be helping a runner get her Recreational Management degree!

* To earn a new medallion to add to your race accomplishment displays.

Want to give it a try? You can REGISTER HERE today before registration prices increase.


Have you done any virtual races of any distance?
How do you keep motivated for those long runs in training?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thankful Thursday - #2

This has been a crazy week ... and so many things to be thankful for.

Church camp - picked Allie up from camp on Saturday and it always brings back great memories of going to Camp Tippecanoe as a camper, then a counselor. And also Camp Woody in Alaska ... as a counselor, then program director. The friendships that formed in those short weeks, exchanging addresses and writing letters back and forth, seeing them again the next year, the songs, the games, the chapel times, the getting-closer-to-God times ... all of it. And now, well ... I doubt physical addresses are exchanged anymore, but Allie had loads of names to add to her Snapchat and Instagram and was asking how far it was to various towns so she could make plans to visit new friends.

Car repair - trying to be thankful for this one ... but it cost more than I was expecting and I'm hopeful that it means this car will be good to go for me for at least another 5 years.

Starbucks - thank you for being next door to my car repair place.

Some Peach Green Tea Lemonade as I wait for my car to be finished.

Friends - never underestimate what a random text or phone call or e-mail throughout the day will do.

Essential oils - I'm gradually getting into this essential oils craze and the more I find out about them, the more I like them.  Diffused some cedarwood and lavender last night to help all of us sleep better before the first day of school ... I don't know about the kids but I slept better and they were both up early and in pleasant moods this morning.

School supplies - I will always love shopping for school supplies and I'm glad my daughter shares this love. :)

Long-term care facilities - This is a tough one. I know there are nursing homes out there with horrible reputations. My mental image of a nursing home is based on what I experienced growing up and going to visit relatives in their nursing homes -- everyone in bed all the time, never seeing anyone walking around or happy, the smells ... and this is why we always said we'd never let our parents go into a nursing home. Well, after my dad passed away in 2012 and my mom's dementia started affecting her motor skills, it was too much for my sister to continue home care and we moved Mom to a long-term care facility down here rather than in Indianapolis. This place is amazing and I really am thankful for all they do for the residents. It's not a "nursing home" -- it's more an assisted living facility, but it IS a nursing home. It's just that the residents there are kept active and are happy. There are visitors there all the time, lots of groups coming in to lead games, church services, etc. and it really is the best place for my mama. Plus, it's not too far from me so I can visit regularly. She might not know me or the kids or him anymore (and with what's going on in my life, that is currently a blessing) but to see her laughing and participating in activities makes my heart smile.

Mom claimed she didn't want to play "balloon bop" ... yet she was participating and laughing with everyone. 
So good to see her smiling and alert.

Public schools - thankful to live in an area where my kids get high-quality public school education. Today is the first day of school and whereas both weren't too excited to start this week, this morning had smiles and laughter in the car ride to school. Praying for a good year for both of them.

There are many more for this week but I'll stop here. :)

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Training Tuesday (life update, etc.)

OK ... while I missed a weekly update, my training continues. I had to cut myself some slack because I only ran 4 miles instead of the recommended 6 miles on one long-run-Saturday. I so hate this heat. It wasn't even very humid out, so I should be thankful for that. But when I'm dripping sweat and creating my own little cloud of humidity ... it's just not all that much fun.

Yeah, this is my hair. Thank goodness I got it cut so it's much easier to rein in on these summer days.

The runs for most of the other days have been on target though and were completed with minimal complaints (except the heat ... dear Lord, the heat ... ).

I need to put this out there as a result of some comments I've gotten ... whatever you think of as "fast" is not me, nor is it any other person. "Fast" is a relative term -- and really shouldn't be used in comparisons AND you shouldn't be comparing yourself to others anyway. I have never considered myself a runner. Still don't. But what helped me start to enjoy this hobby is the realization that I'm just trying to improve my time based on how I did previously. I'm only competing against myself.

It used to be that when I'd read blogs from other runners, I'd see their times and know in my heart that I could never be that fast. Then I'd start to think ... why even try? And then I get stuck in a downward spiral of comparison.

Want to see some of my training times? Keep in mind that I'm still at the interval setting of run 3 minutes/walk 2 minutes so these times include those walking minutes.

Distance Time min/mi
7.21 mi 1:30 12:29
3.3 mi 40 12:07
3.7 mi 42 11:21

This is not what I consider "fast" ... but I've improved greatly from when I first started almost 5 years ago. 

So ... other updates for those who care to read about the minutiae of my life ... 

Back on the quinoa kick. This is a quick dish that is good for multiple meals for me -- mainly since no one else is willing to try it. I usually make it with tomato sauce but saw the fire-roasted tomatoes and thought it'd add a different flavor. It did, but not as much as I was hoping. Added some salsa and that was better.

House projects gradually getting done. Not sure what we were thinking when we purchased this monstrosity/money pit. Plus, while I'd been juggling basic housecare, kidcare, bill-paying duties, while working full-time -- it led to neglect of basic home maintenance/updates that I just couldn't do on my own and I didn't want to be known as "The Nagging Wife". Funny how it turns out ...

Anyway, not much else to update. School starts this week so I've been spending time with the kiddos.

What's up in your world? 
When does school start in your neck of the woods?