Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters and Sunday

So obviously I read a bunch of SSSM yesterday. Sorry Jane Austen fans, but even an narwhal attaching Sub Marine Station Beta (aka London on the bottom of the ocean) couldn't make me care any more about lame-o Edward Ferrars and the rest of the crew. At least with PPandZ I was engaged in the actual story line, but I just don't see it ending very well for anyone in SSSM. Poor Dashwood sisters... sigh.

In other news, I had a good 10 mi run on the treadmill. I think this is going to be my new long run distance for a little while. It was enough that I was feeling fatigued at the end but not so much that I struggled to keep a good pace. The gym was busy yesterday but there was just enough turn over that no one kicked me off. I think I might try to do my long run on Thursday or Friday next week so it's less crowded. Hopefully after that our treadmill will be fixed, and I won't have to worry about jockeying for a treadmill at the crowded gym (which is the whole point of having our own).

So this brings the weekly workout totals to:
Run: 34 mi
Spin: 1x
Yoga: 5x (planning to do it today)
Pushups: 3x

Otherwise I got everything done on my list except yoga yesterday, but I decided I needed a nap instead. The concert last night was good. We saw Jim Hurst, who I guess you would call a folk guitarist, play at a tiny coffee shop on the East Side. We were the youngest people there by 30 years (since when is that new?), but the music was good, and it was nice to get out and do something different.

Today is another church-filled day. I also need to practice piano and do some yoga, but otherwise all the urgent chores have been finished.

Hope you all have a relaxing Sunday.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday

I don't think he reads this, but just in case, here's a Happy Birthday shout out to my little brother. He's 24 now- and 6'4" - so I guess he's not so little. This picture was taken before my wedding, but it's one of my favorites of us from the "modern era".

Last night's dinner was very good. The surprise hit of the evening: escargot. Neither one of us had eaten it before, but it was really good. I expected it to have a chewier, grittier texture more like some shellfish, but it was very tender. It really tasted like a mushroom more than anything else (D called it a cross between shrimp and a mushroom). So ceviche and escargot have both been moved from the "slightly scary" food list to the "very tasty" food list.

Today will be busy. Starting with getting ready to go so I can hit the grocery store when it opens at 8. Then I'm running 10mi at 9 on the gym treadmill (hoping our treadmill parts get here soon!). After that is family phone calls, dust/vacuum/mop, dealing with the mail and paying bills, practicing piano, hopefully going to hot yoga (or doing it here), and going to a concert this evening. Actually, now that I have it all written out, it doesn't seem like that much. Plus many of the things (running, piano, phone calls, yoga, going to the concert) are things I want to do rather than have to do. And the things I have to do are not that bad (i.e. not laundry).

Well, I guess I better get moving here. I love being the only customer at Trader Joe's when it opens. No stress about getting all your stuff bagged AND swiping your card by the time the cashier is done ringing you up. Ah, so nice. Have a good Saturday, all.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm not trying to *complain* about winter because I said this year I wasn't going to *complain*, but I am going to state that it was really cold out yesterday and it's really cold out today (-2 air temperature) and I would prefer that not to be the case.

Yesterday I had to go to the computer science building to get some paperwork signed with D, and when I tried to take the bus back, it was so packed with lazy undergrads (the ones who just take the bus up the hill- you know who you are) that I had to walk all the way back to my building. Yeah it was only a mile or so, but a mile or so when it's 4 degrees out (or whatever) is a long way to walk. I spent the rest of the day at work chilled, and when I got home I had to get in the shower with the hot water cranked up until I could thaw out enough to put on my yoga clothes. Okay, okay, rant over.

Despite having a darn good week of running so far, I'm planning to do the elliptical today. I really want to run, but I'm really paranoid about doing too much too soon (especially since I'm trying to more speed work) and getting hurt. So elliptical it is. (BTW, when I did my "speedy" session at the end of my run yesterday, I got all the way up to 7.9. Maybe one of these days I'll venture into the "8s", haha. Definitely uncharted territory.)

Tonight's restaurant week dinner is at Ocean's Grill. I've been there once before for a restaurant week lunch, and it was very good, so I'm looking forward to going back and trying something different. I've been cooking, too, but nothing very photogenic. We made a hash brown/egg casserole on Monday evening (needed to use up eggs and potatoes) that would have been better if I'd used packaged hash browns rather than trying to make my own like the recipe suggested. Wednesday we had pizza, and last night we had chicken tamale casserole.

I got my abstract okay-ed at work, and I hope to get it submitted today. The submission deadline is Monday, but I like to do it a little early just in case something weirdo happens. This turned out to be both good and bad. I'm super glad to have it done, but my brain got that "I'm done" signal and wanted to start the weekend yesterday. Not good. I still have a lot of stuff to get done today, and I want to feel the happy "done" feeling on all that as I go into the weekend.

TGIF, everyone!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guess I need to pull out my warmer pants

Because it's "feels like" -13. So obviously it's another treadmill morning. I'm planning to do 5.75 (yeah, goofy, but I did 6.75 on Tuesday and I want a round number for the week) with a little fast stuff thrown in at the end. Spinning yesterday was great. So so so nice to do something different. The workout wasn't too hard, but I'm sure it will get there soon.

I'm feeling much better about my two big projects at work, too. Today should *hopefully* be about finishing up the details and getting things approved for the final (or second to final) time. If all goes well and those things are finished today, I have a couple easy routine things that I need to do that will be slated for tomorrow so I can have a brain chillout day.

My first piano lesson was good. We talked about my music background and my goals for the lessons. The teacher didn't have any music picked out for me to start practicing (we are going to do a lot of left hand stuff) so we just started with scales and good playing technique. I think it will give me plenty to do because it's been a long time since I've played a B scale.

This should be a pretty chill evening filled with yoga, piano practice, and trying a new recipe for a chicken tamale casserole-type dish. Oh yeah... and Bones and 30 Rock! Although maybe I need to stop watching Bones. The rerun we saw last night was so scary I made D go get the last of the laundry because I was too afraid to go back down to the basement, haha. Yep, I'm a wimp... and lazy.

Have a good Thursday, everyone. Stay warm out there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I need something to warm my heart

Because it is 6 degrees air temperature (-8 with windchill) right now. And in 25 minutes I get to stand out and wait for the bus. I got spoiled by the balmy spell in the 30's over the weekend, but this is a helpful reminder that we still have a lot of winter left to go.

And that something to warm my heart is that it has been confirmed that we have spinning! today. YAY! I do the spinning workout with the triathlon club so it's always HARD. And it will be especially hard today because I haven't done it in probably 6 weeks. One thing you can say about Wisconsin is that they/we are experts at making outside activities fun inside. My run went well yesterday. I did 6.75 mi with 20 min of faster running at the end. I'm always scared to move the treadmill up into the 7s, but lately I've been pleasantly surprised that "scary" paces aren't actually that bad after all. Hopefully this will translate to faster running outside when that day finally comes.

Last night's dinner at Inka Heritage was really really good. I had ceviche for my appetizer, a lasagna dish with yellow pepper sauce for the entree, and a churro with chocolate sauce and lucuma ice cream. Lucuma, which I had never heard of before, has a maple/nut flavor and was maybe the highlight of the meal. Unfortunately it only grows in subtropical climates so there goes my idea to add a tree to the garden this summer. So good. So looking forward to our other restaurant week dinner on Friday. So worth blowing 2 months worth of dining out budget on two meals, haha.

Work is kind of stressful right now, although I'm trying not to let it get to me. I have two big projects that have to be finished by Monday (and Friday would be better), and little things keep getting dropped in my lap. Plus I'm having problems with an Excel file that gets corrupted every time I try to open it with SAS. Fun stuff. But I'm making a deal with myself that I'll get as much done as I can during normal hours today and tomorrow, and if I have to stay late to finish tomorrow evening, I'll do it.

I can't stay late today because it's my first piano lesson! So excited about that. I played the oboe for about 10 years (6th grade - senior in college) and I miss playing music. The problem is that I'm in a weird place for learning to play. I'm great at all the "right hand" stuff and can read treble clef really well, but I can't read bass clef at all (actually I usually start reading it as treble clef, which obviously sounds horrible). So I'm hoping some lessons will help me figure out what to do to balance things out and give me some inspiration to practice.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Still with the 'mill

Sorry MarathonMaiden, I didn't run outside yesterday. I probably should/could have- especially since it's going to get COLD again later this week- but my love of being warm and my (somewhat) irrational fear of black ice won out. Is it really that bad if I don't run outside again until March or April?

I feel like I've handled this winter much better than last year, but still I'm getting pretty sick of it. One of my co-workers said she considers Feb 1. the be the middle of winter and every day after is a day closer to spring. In that case I guess it's not so bad. We only have a few more days left in January, and I remember there being a few nice days sprinkled in March.

This morning will be 6.5 on the treadmill and tomorrow is (hopefully) spinning!!! again. Woohoo!

This evening is our first restaurant week dinner at Inka Heritage. I went there for lunch during restaurant week last year, and it was tasty and very different from normal Madison restaurant fare. Not sure what I'm going to order yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, January 25, 2010


I spent a good 45 seconds trying to come up with a better title that, but there you have it.

I don't have much to report. Between membership class and youth group and actually going to church there wasn't time for much else. I did get up and do a 5 mi run on the treadmill, but that was it for me exercise-wise. I was going to do yoga, but instead I took an hour-long nap.

I'm having a mental debate about running outside this morning. It's not super cold out, but we had a big melt yesterday, and it froze overnight, so I'm not sure what the conditions are like. So it will either be 6.5 outside or on the treadmill.

I've also given myself a deadline of noon today to finish my abstract so I can get co-author approval. I ended up having to change around my idea at the end of last week, and I'm still not exaaaaactly sure what I want to do, but I'm a lot closer than I was. Just when I think I know what I'm doing, I get a nice reminder like this that I'm still clueless about a lot of things. Oh well.

Have a good Monday, all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Melt, melt, melt

It's been raining for about the last 24 hours, and I'm hoping by the end of the day all the ice around our car will be gone. Unfortunately today is our last warm day for the week, and we're headed back to highs in the low 20s and teens for awhile.

Our youth leader retreat this weekend was fun and productive (at least I think so). We drove up to the Dells Friday night after stopping for dinner at the original Culvers in Sauk City (which is exactly like every other Culvers you have or have not been to). That night we had talks about the direction of the program and various high school related issues. Some people stayed up to play games and goof around, but at 11:30pm on Friday I was ready to crash.

Saturday morning we broke into groups to discuss what we liked and disliked and brainstormed about different aspects of the program. I think this was the most productive aspect of the trip. It was nice to share some of the things I'd been thinking about during the year, and a few of the leaders had some tips that I'm looking forward to using in my group. All in all, I think there was good discussion, and I'm glad we went. Plus I really enjoy the other leaders. Everyone is friendly and no one is clique-y, which can be the case at these things sometimes.

We did the water park on Saturday afternoon. There were only 6 slides and not much in the way of lines so we had all the fun Kalahari had to offer us in about 2.5 hours. Sorry Wisconsinites. I'm a jaded Orlando girl. Your theme parks will probably never impress me.

I made myself get up at normal work-day time today so I could run before church at 9 and try to get myself back on schedule for the upcoming week. The plan is 5 mi on the treadmill because running in (almost) freezing rain has absolutely no appeal. Hope you all had a fun/productive/restful weekend.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fun Times

I'm thawing out at the Kalahari Indoor Water Park today. See you tomorrow!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Things that make you go, "Yay".

I got tagged by Morning Runner so here is my update in "10 things that make me happy" form.

1. It's Friday (woohoo!).

2. I got my abstract finished. Now I just have to slash about 200 characters from it.

3. Mystery fish turned out pretty good last night. I made cornmeal crusted tilapia, except we had one salmon fillet and one talapia fillet left. It was tasty, and D. said he's pretty sure he's never had fried salmon before, haha.

(mmmmm... fish + veggies in the Buddha bowl)

5. I've made some good meals this week. I used to be a terrible cook, but I'm definitely getting better with practice.

6. I had a good, strong 9mi yesterday on the gym treadmill. I didn't die of boredom, and no one tried to kick me off.

7. My mileage build-up is going well. None of my aches and pains (both mental and physical) that I had this time last year seem to be raising their ugly heads.

5. I'm feeling good for my 5mi run this morning. I rarely run 5 days in a row, so I was a little afraid this would be too much. I'm excited to have all my miles for the week in now because...

8. We're going to Kalahari Indoor Water Park this evening for a youth retreat and staying to play tomorrow.

9. We have reservations for restaurant week next week.

10. I enjoy all your blogs too much to pick 10 to tag. Plus by the time things like this get to me, everyone else has already done them. But if you want to share 10 things that make you happy, well, make yourself happy :).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Excited for work

Yep. I'm actually pretty pumped up for going to work today. I spent all day yesterday getting from the very broad "My SER (Society for Epidemiologic Research) topic will be visual quality of life" narrowed down to something really specific that I can work with. While I'm pretty adept at crunching numbers at this point, I had no experience with literature review or scientific writing before I started this job, and I find both of those things HARD. I actually like writing- or at least blathering on about whatever shiny thing has my attention- but when I sit down to do scientific writing I get writers block.

The cure for it, I know, is lots of reading on your topic. So I spent about the first 6 hours of yesterday reading lots of papers and exploring a similar analysis that was done with our data back in 2005. Then I spent the next 2.5 hours trying to write an introductory sentence or two. Ugh. My problem is that I still know so little about medical things that it's often hard for me to understand why my topic matters. And that's the whole point of the introduction. To convince someone your poster or whatever is interesting enough to look at/read. Anyway, I got a flash of insight right before it was time for me to go home, and I've been mulling things over and think I'm ready to go 100% with my analysis today.

Last night's dinner was barbecue chicken pizza brought to us by D.

Tasty as aways and super easy because we just use a pre-made crust from Trader Joe's. Tonight's dinner is mystery fish because we have two pieces of fish wrapped in foil in the freezer. I don't remember what kind they are, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them.

I'm planning for 9mi on the treadmill this morning. The gym was super busy yesterday so hopefully no one will kick me off. I'd do it at home, but it's hard to run that long when going so slow feels so like I'm going so fast. I put in a service request for someone to come out and look at our treadmill, but I haven't heard anything back. It's still under warranty so we are at the mercy of this particular service company.

Hope you all have a good Thursday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lab Assignments, Tuesday 6/23

Don't you love it when you're trying to fill in a box and the computer gives you all kinds of helpful suggestions? I had no idea what I was going to title this post so I decided to let good old HP take this one.

And that sets the mood for this entire post. Not much to report. 6mi on the treadmill yesterday. Today will be 3.5 with some elliptical to round things out. Tomorrow is *hopefully* 9 and 5 on Friday. Normally I don't try to cram so much running together, but D and I are going to a retreat for youth leaders this weekend, and I know I'll have no opportunity to run when we're there. I was hoping to get outside for my longer run tomorrow, but the forecast says "icy" so I'll probably be back on the 'mill. I'd do it today, but I don't have time because we have a staff meeting 1st thing in the morning.

To the people who suggested I do some quality TV watching when I'm treadmilling: I'd love to, but I'm totally at the mercy of what is on at 6am (mainly infomercials, the news, and reruns of Landscape 911) because we don't have TIVO/DVR, my MP3 player only plays music, and my phone only makes phone calls. I guess I could try to figure out how to hook the computer up to the TV so I could watch things on Hulu, but honestly that sounds like a gigantic pain because the computer and all its wiring are in another room. Okay, everybody feel sorry for me now ;).

After 3 good recipes from Real Simple, last night's dinner was a flop. I don't think it was the recipe's fault. It was for meatloaf, and I didn't do a good job mixing the ingredients thoroughly and spreading it thin enough on the pan. It tasted okay, but it didn't cook evenly and it looked pretty gross. I'm not planning to keep this one because we have a slow cooker meatloaf recipe that works well, and how many meatloaf recipes do you really need?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ths switch has flipped

In the last week I've made the transition from "Ugh, I don't want to run on the treadmill" to "Ugh, I don't want to run outside." Although I definitely remember this happening last year, I think visiting Tennessee and Florida are partly to blame. When I'm here I can ease into the winter and it doesn't seem *that* bad, but when I get a little taste of what it's like to run somewhere that's so.much.nicer it's hard to go back out in the deep freeze.

Last night I put out both my outside and inside clothes hoping that I'd psych myself up to go outside. I just checked Weather Channel so I could say, "Well, it's 20- I can handle 20" and go out, but it's 8 (air temp) so I feel justified treadmilling again. I just need to find something to watch besides Haiti and Ted Kennedy's senate seat election commentary.

Since I posted kind of late yesterday I don't have much more to update. The recipe we tried yesterday was binder-worthy. It was another one from last month's Real Simple: Huevos Ranchers.

I probably let the eggs cook a little too long and the beans and salsa not long enough. Overall, it was a winner though. And so easy and fast. We ate it with tortilla chips and green salads.

Well, off to the hamster machine.

Monday, January 18, 2010

101 in 1001

First off, a HUGE congratulations to Jess on her awesome marathon finish yesterday. Can't wait to read the race report!

Second, I realized I've made some progress on my 101 in 1001 list, but I haven't documented much of it.

I've taken (and loved and gone back for more) a hot yoga community class.

We built a snowman on our snow day.

When we were in Tennessee, we talked to a financial advisor who got us on the right track with our mutual fund and making regular contributions.

We've made and canned marinara sauce for Christmas gifts (and syrup!).

And yesterday I put together a recipe binder.

I subscribe to Cooking Light, and- up until yesterday at least- I had a cabinet full of magazines full of perfectly good recipes that I never looked at because they weren't the latest issue. Plus I have a lot of recipes that were either given to me or I printed that were just kind of hanging out. So I devised a strategy to deal with the magazine and paper clutter. I can't take complete credit for this because I saw a similar strategy on Simple Mom, but I did think of it on my own before I saw it there.

The process goes like this. Take your cooking magazine and tear out all the recipes you are interested in trying and put them in a box. Other printed recipes go in there, too.

Each week, when you do meal planning, rifle through the box for things that interest you. If you hate the recipe, pitch it. If you like it, put it in your recipe binder.

I used dividers to separate the pages into sections like breakfast, meat, poultry, seafood, etc. Each recipe goes on a plastic sleeve so you can remove it easily and it stays protected from splatters. Plus because it's BIG, you can save any size recipe, and you don't have to take that extra step of writing it on a little card.

This project has its roots in a Christmas gift when my brother put together a few "family" recipes for me to take to college. It gave me a smile when I saw it, and I didn't think there was any reason it should be left out of the second edition.

I'm trying a new recipe tonight so we'll see if it's recipe binder worthy.

On the running front, I did 6.5mi with some 1 minute speed bursts on the treadmill today. Otherwise I'm chillin' after a morning of errands. I got my teeth cleaned (hate) and my hair cut (love) and did some other random stuff to get ready to go back to work tomorrow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lazy Sunday

It's so hard to come up with creative post titles. I'm sure I've used "lazy Sunday" at least a few times in the past, but it truly does describe my goal for every Sunday- to have at least some lazy time.

I had a hard time getting up this morning because I stayed up too late watching season 2 disc 2 of 30 Rock. When the alarm went off at 6am, I hit the snooze and lay in bed listening to the radiator make noises. Sometimes it sounds like someone playing the xylophone. Other times the whole apartment creeks and groans, and I imagine that I'm living in a giant Transformer that's changing into from into its robot form.

But I had to get up because I needed to get two loads of laundry done before we have a marathon church day. We're going to early service because we're starting our 5-week church membership classes. Then we have to be back at 5pm for youth group. And the church is about 30 min away so there's also driving time to factor in. So other than laundry, a little house cleaning, and maybe some 30 Rock watching not a lot else will get done today. No workouts unless I decide to do some really easy, non-arm-related yoga.

Also, I'm going to brag here and say I rocked out my tempo run yesterday. Truthfully the pace wasn't hard at all. What was hard was the mental part of running for 3x19 minutes at tempo pace on the treadmill while watching infomercials for the Beach Body Insanity DVD workout system. (The gym really needs to get their TV situation fixed.) The first interval and first half of the second interval weren't too bad, but the rest of the time was a mental battle to just.keep.going. So even though it wasn't a tough workout physically, I was feeling pretty BAMF for sticking it out mentally. I just kept telling myself that this was the part that was going to make me a better runner, and it seemed to work.

D and I also went to hot yoga yesterday evening (speaking of things that are difficult for me). My arms and back are super tired. I'm trying to keep a yoga streak going, but if I do anything it will be more like easy stretching (ie NO chair pose).

Last I wanted to give a shout out to Jess who is going to rock the Houston Marathon today. Good luck!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I could get used to this 3-day week thing

Three day week... three day weekend. Sounds good to me. Actually I've always thought that a 4 day work week with 3 days off- either 3 in a row or broken up so you would work M,T, off W, work R, F, off S, U would be perfect. Not that I don't like my job, but it seems like I need both days off just to get all my "around the house" stuff done. Three days off gives you one day to VEG. Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters won't read itself, yo.

Due to overdosing on dinner I went to sleep fairly early last night, so I'm trying a schedule experiment this morning. I'm going to go to the grocery store right when it opens (at 8am), then hit the gym when it opens at 9am. It's colder than the inside of our fridge out right now, and I have an insulated bag for the freezer stuff, so everything should be cool (both literally and figuratively) while I squeeze in a tempo run.

While I had no problems running yesterday morning, there is still enough ice that I'm nervous to run fast. I have to spend too much time concentrating on the ground to do a good tempo run. Also because running on our treadmill (I need to keep looking into this) is so much harder than running outside (and the gym treadmill is a lot closer), I'm going to go to the gym to knock this one out.

Last night for our Friday night out we at dinner at Lombardinos. Even though it's close to us and has gotten rave reviews, we'd never eaten there before because a couple of my coworkers had panned it. Not sure why because we both thought our meals were delicious. D had the Caesar salad and the antipasti plate for his entree. I had a gorgonzola, pear, and walnut salad and the fig and ham pizza. The salad was huge and would have been enough for me by itself, but I ate a couple slices of pizza anyway so the waiter didn't think I was unhappy with it. Well, I overdid it for sure, but I still have a ton of leftovers for lunch/dinner this weekend. Mmmmm.

Friday, January 15, 2010

We're going outside!

Yep. I'm running outside in Madison for the first time in... I'm not sure how long. I think it was before we left for Christmas vacation. We've warmed up to a balmy 27 degrees, and- at least from looking out the window- it doesn't look like the road and sidewalk are iced over too bad. This is the part of winter I really dislike because it warms up enough for some snow to melt, which gets the sidewalks wet, and then it freezes in a sheet overnight. I remember last year I was constantly afraid of falling (and did slip a few times). Anyway, it doesn't seem like that's the case today. Plus I'm doing an easy run so if I have to stop and walk to navigate some kind of iceberg that could sink the Titanic it's fine by me.

Let's see... more regular life. My interval workout yesterday was rockin. I picked a speed for my 1/2 mile repeats that was hard but I felt great about sticking it out. I did 30 minutes of yoga and (gasp) walked home from work yesterday. Told you it was warm out. I bet it was at least 30, haha.

Last night's dinner was another winner from Real Simple: Mediterranean beef pitas.

Again, my food photography is not so awesome, but these were so simple and turned out so good. I'm on a tear here ;). Ah well, the good cooking streak will be broken by Friday night dinner out... not sure where yet. TGIF!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back in Action

It was hard to think of myself as being really back into the swing of normal life last week because I knew we were going to go out of town again, but this time it's for real.

Almost everyone was gone at work yesterday because they took a field trip to meet with a collaborator at another university so I had some time to review everything I have in my queue. It was frustrating, though, because I'd make some progress on one thing only to have to stop because I had a question that had to be answered by someone who was out of town. Oh well... I'm 80% done with a few things, and hopefully I'll get to check a lot of mini-projects off my list today after a little discussion.

Although I did a good job running and walking over my vacations, my normal strength training, push-ups and yoga, were nonexistent. So I got in my am pus-ups and 30 min of yoga after work yesterday, and I'm pretty sore.

I also got back on the cooking wagon with a smoky fish chowder recipe from the Real Simple magazine my mom (thanks, Mom) bought me for the plane ride. This turned out really well, and I managed not to over- or under-cook any of the various parts. If mine had turned out looking like this

I would have taken a picture. But alas mine looked like red stuff with blobs in it so no picture from me. It tasted as good as that looked, though. And we have tons of leftovers for Saturday lunch.

Now it's time to get it in gear to run on the dreadmill. It's actually pretty warm outside, but when we do this freeze/thaw thing it makes the sidewalks and roads incredibly icy, which makes it impossible to do 800m intervals. You either have to stop all the time to navigate the sidewalk glaciers or you risk slipping and breaking a wrist or your brain. Maybe tomorrow or Saturday I'll get back outside.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I want a refund on the weather we got with our trip to Florida

I think it felt warmer when we got off the plane in Madison than it did last Saturday in FL. It wasn't... but something about that damp cold really gets you.

Otherwise we had a great time on our trip.

We got in Thursday night without too many weather-related delays (it snowed about 5 inches in WI).

Friday we visited my grandparents and had a delicious lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I'd only been there once- about ten years ago, I think- so it was fun to look through the humongous menu. My aunt flew in from NM that evening.

On Saturday a large part of my mom's family descended on our house. It was the first time I'd seen many of them since my wedding in 2006. We're really lucky because pretty much everyone has a good sense of humor and gets along. I think the highlight, though, was my cousin's 9-month-old. He was such a sweetie and very cute. I said I would have one next week if I could guarantee it would turn out like him. (This statement was redacted after flying back from Orlando with a plane full of screaming kids going through Disney withdrawal).

Sunday we got up early for church and went out for brunch at the White Wolf Cafe. We split a gigantic cinnamon roll and I ordered an omelet stuffed with cream cheese and strawberry jam (sadly it doesn't look like the breakfast menu is posted on their site). Another cousin who couldn't make it the day before stopped by on Sunday afternoon with his three elementary-school-aged kids.

Sunday evening brought even more food adventures when we met an old friend of mine and her husband out in St. Cloud for dinner at The Catfish Place. I ordered catfish (of course) and also turtle, which I don't think I'd ever eaten before. It tasted like deep fried, but good deep fried, unlike the oysters (sorry, Dad :) ).

On Monday we took a tour of the "real Florida" and had lunch at a bakery in Yalaha. The rest of the day as spent visiting, playing cards, and getting ready to leave. Because we don't have a lot of local fresh fruit going on right now in Madison we stopped or some navel oranges to pack in our suitcase. I'm glad we did, because you could buy 7 navels in FL for $.99. In Madison they were 9 for $7. I think the cold weather scared a lot of the growers so a ton of fruit was picked before the big freeze, and now they are trying to unload it quickly.

Tuesday was spent flying, treadmilling, and grocery shopping. I was sad to leave FL, but after two vacations in 3 weeks, I'm ready to get back in the swing of things. Exercise was good over the trip. My mom likes to walk so I got plenty of those in in addition to running.

Well, it's about time to get ready for the gym. Back to life, back to reality.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Leavin on a Jet Plane

At least I hope so... We got an inch or two of snow last night, and it's continuing to fall. Our flight isn't scheduled until 3pm, and right now it's hard to tell if that's bad or good. We have a layover in Milwaukee, which seems okay compared to say... St. Louis... but who knows. I've never done the whole flying in snow thing before so it's a little scary. Fortunately we have lots of reading material and trail mix to keep us occupied should we get delayed.

Going to head to the gym this morning for 3x1mi slightly slower than 5k pace. I re-calibrated our treadmill a few evenings ago, so hopefully I can get it to feel more like running outside, but I'm going to wait for an easy run to check and see how it's doing.

My mom called last night and sounded pretty excited about our visit. She planned a get-together for relatives on her side of the family, and it sounds like a lot of them will be able to make it. Even though I felt a little bad taking more vacation right after I got back, I'm really glad I'm able to go. I haven't seen many of those people since my wedding, and who knows when I'll be able to see them again.

Posting will be sporadic if at all because- well- I don't like using the computer on vacation. Stay warm out there, everyone.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Looking forward to the elliptical

Which is a little sad, actually. But I'm tired of the treadmill, and I need to do something different. Only a few more weeks before my beloved spinning class will start again.

Not much to report other than I made the best looking omelet of my 4-week omelet making career yesterday. So good that I was actually motivated to get the camera out, take a picture, load the picture on the computer, and load it onto the blog. (I give you guys who do lots of pictures so much credit).

No tears anywhere- oh yeah.

I'm going to cut it off here before this gets any more inane. Happy Wednesday, all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Treadmill Fatigue

Another day of - - - - showing as the outside temperature on our digital thermometer; another morning on the treadmill. Probably 5 or 6 miles with some bursts of speed. I'm counting down to Friday when I'll be able to run outside again (in shorts! in FL!), and next week is looking much warmer with highs in the upper 20s. (I can't believe I just wrote that!)

My first day of work after the break went smoothly. I have a lot of stuff to do, but I feel confident that I can finish everything that needs to be done before I leave again.

After work I tried out one of my Christmas gifts for the first time- the Dave Swenson Yoga Short Forms DVD. I did the 30 minute practice, and it was great. You do sun salutations, standing postures, seated forward bends, twists, back bends, shoulder stand, and a couple strength poses. This is a great DVD for people who know how to do yoga but are super inflexible anyway. The only thing that's a little weird about it is that there's no music- just him talking.

Well, I've got to run... I'll be living vicariously through all of you who get to run outside this morning.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Other than the days of our drives to and from TN, this is the first time I've gotten up at 5am in a week and a half. My brain is starting to kick in and remember that- oh yeah, I have this thing called a job that I have to go to, which means I have I get up early to exercise.

After a restful vacation, I feel ready to use my brain again and think that- unlike some vacations where I need a vacation to recover from my vacation- I was able to do a good bit of recharging in the last week and a half. It seems like I've been away forever, and I feel some anxiety that I'm going to be incredibly behind, but I need to keep reminding myself that- between the holiday and furlough days- I actually only missed 3 work days when I was gone.

We worked on some kitchen improvement projects yesterday, including replacing our old food processor that was really hard to use and putting up a magnetic strip to hold our knives rather than having two huge knife blocks taking up precious, precious counter space.

Also, we watched 10 episodes of 30 Rock season 2 and I made my second to last Christmas ornament. YAY!

Well, it's about time to get ready to head to the gym. After two days of treadmill, I'm going to zone out on the elliptical for awhile. Here's hoping the battery on my MP3 player has enough charge!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Treadmill Redux

It's 1 (feels like 1) outside so I'm back on the treadmill again. I think all the people who get out and run when it's close to 0 are totally BAMF, but I appreciate my nose and fingers too much to do that to them.

I got in 8mi on the mill yesterday, which was more of a mental feat than a physical one. Today will be about 5, mostly because I've been procrastinating on it and we need to get out the door for church.

I'm still working on getting everything organized and ready to go back to work tomorrow (and ready to leave again on Thursday). Most of the mail has been dealt with. We have plans to take the car for repairs. Closets and bookshelves have been examined for give-aways, which will be taken to St. Vinny's today. I read a few personal finance blogs, and a lot of people talk about getting a high from buying stuff. I'm actually the opposite and get a high from cleaning out clutter and giving unused things away.

There was also some relaxation done yesterday. We watched season one disc one of 30-Rock and did the Inner Fire Flow community yoga class. Even though I'm pretty terrible at it, I love how relaxed and loose yoga makes me feel when I'm done. I got a great new yoga DVD for Christmas (Dave Swenson's short forms) and I hope between that and catching the occasional Saturday class I'll be able to improve my strength and flexibility a lot this year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I'm back! It's cold!

After a very early morning and a long drive, we arrived home in Madison a little after 4:30 yesterday. We were blessed by the weather, traffic, and "right way on the interstate" gods, and it took us 1.5 hours less to get home than it did to drive to TN.

We had an early dinner, grabbed some necessities at Target, and headed home to unload the car and check the mail. After everything was looked at and put away I collapsed in a puddle in front of the TV to watch the Sugar Bowl. About 10 minutes later, I decided I could leave it in the Gators' capable hands and went to bed. Plus I'm not sure I could have listened to 3.5 hours of Urban Meyer speculation and Tebow worship (his own camera... seriously???). But I'm glad I woke up to find we'd trounced Cincinnati.

As a side note, I grew up a Florida State fan so it was nice that Bobby Bowden won his last game. It was time for him to step down, but he had a lot of amazing years there.

In a few minutes I'm going to hop on the treadmill for my first run of 2010. I pulled out all my warm weather outdoor running gear, but it's -5 air temperature (feels like -19), and I'm not crazy so treadmill it is. Plus this time next week I'll be in Florida!!! running outside in shorts!!!!

I did a little blog reading while I was away, but I like to make my vacations as much a detox from the computer as I can. I'm looking forward to catching up on all of you and hope you had a great holiday season.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I looked back to see if I had written down resolutions for 2009, but I only discovered a few, and those were more than a little too optimistic. I think the only resolution I kept was getting a bike and riding to and from work when the weather was nice.

Now it's time for Resolutions 2010. Although a lot of "experts" caution against making general resolutions, that's my intention this year. The problem with making really specific resolutions is that you don't know how realistic that particular goal is or if it will change somehow over the course of the year. So this year's goals will be less about things I can cross off a list and more like ideals to work toward. Also, a lot of these overlap.

Without further ado and in no particular order, they are:

1. Put away EVERYTHING after I use it. This means folding/hanging up my work clothes rather than setting them on a chair, washing the dishes immediately after I use them rather than allowing them to sit in the sink, and keeping my work files in order and put away when I'm not using them so papers stay where they belong. It takes 30 seconds to do small tasks as needed. It takes hours to clean a messy house/office. 'Nuff said.

2. Focus at work. Do one thing at a time. Work thoroughly through a task. Ask questions. Ask more questions. Be calm when it feels like I don't have enough time to finish everything. NEVER open a Web browser unless it's a designated break time.

3. Consistently push myself beyond my comfort zone in all things fitness and healthy eating. Try new vegetables. Try new workouts. Try to push the speed up just a little higher on that interval and the gear up one more on the spin bike. Do not think that something "wont work for me" until I've really tried it.

4. Have more fun with more people. I enjoy socializing, but it seems like I always have a "good" reason not to plan my own outings/events. I just wait around for others to do the planning for me. No more! If it sounds like fun for D and I, it's better with company. (Okay, this could be taken way the wrong way ;) )

5. Take more pictures. I've never been a big picture person, but I'm always jealous of the huge albums people display on Facebook and the like. Someday we're going to want to look back on this period of our lives, and if I don't start taking more pictures, it's going to be harder to remember.

6. Stay in touch. With frequency. Call my brother, my grandparents, my aunt, old friends, etc. We usually don't talk more than 15 minutes or so, but, in my experience it's frequency of contact that improves relationships more than trying to have a deep conversation once a year. That sort of thing just doesn't happen. You get a surface 15-minute conversation, but only once a year.

7. Music. Most people who know me now don't know that music was a serious part of my life for awhile. I played the oboe from the 6th grade until I graduated from college, and there was a time when I was pretty good at it. I don't have any urges to pick up the oboe again, but I've always wanted to learn to play the piano. We have a nice keyboard, and my Christmas gift this year is a semester of lessons from a UW music student, so I'm really looking forward to making music again.

8. Waste less time. I have a project list a mile long, but there are too many evenings when I come home from work and collapse in a blob of trashy-novel-reading worthlessness. I know how much better I feel when I spend my evenings and weekends being productive, but too often I don't. I don't work an 80 hour week, and I don't run 80 miles a week, so I have no excuse not to get more done with my extra time.

9. Read real books. Not Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the like. I also want to post synopses on Goodreads so I actually think about and remember what I read.

10. Do a better job on the blog. I need to spend some serious time working on the header and side bars and posting everyday. A long time ago I tried to join BlogHer and they rejected me (I guess- I never heard anything from them) because my blog is so sorry. I like the blog community, and I think it could be neat to look back at this blog as a record of my life in my mid 20's, but I'd like it better if it looked nice.

So there you have it. I'm marking out four month intervals on Google Calendar so I can reflect on how I've done with these goals periodically throughout the year.

Wishing you all a blessed 2010!!!