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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: Modest Goals Set And Happy Times Ahead

Wow.  It's here.  2012.  I remember when people freaked out about 1984 and Big Brother.  Now it's way past that, Big Brother is still probably out there, and I'm ready to start fresh again.   I am big on beginnings and endings.  The end of the calendar year is time for me to refocus, clean out the junk and plan to start afresh with enthusiasm and, perhaps, some misplaced optimism.  But it's there for a few days, anyway :P

I've written myself a goal sheet that takes me to June of 2012.  My goals for this year are modest since I've decided to stop putting so much pressure on myself.  That doesn't seem to work, so I'm backing off.  I'm going to run for fun, take my health and eating habits and work to improve them, and get my financial house in order.  All this, and cleaning out the junk in my house--which may be the toughest job of them all!

So here's to a new year; another year to spend with my sweetie--which means the world to me--and focusing on my houses--the one I live in, my body, and the mental house.  Keeping them clutter free, peaceful, smelling like lavender, appreciating everything I have, and working to make them all a better place.

Oh--you didn't think I'd forget about books, did you?  I'm not setting a specific goal this year.  I'm going to read like I always do, and read what I want.  I plan on reading some great stuff, and keeping track of it all.  And setting my book reviews and podcasts out into the world for more people to see and hear.

Happy New Year, everyone!  May you have a safe and happy night and a wonderful 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Signing off for a few days as I get some much needed sleep (!) and relax on Christmas Day before the fun of January returns and bored people with nothing to do (even though they've just been given mucho gifts) make my January goals of relaxing and getting back into working out a lovely dream.  Hope everyone eats too much sugar, has a bit o'drink, and enjoys the lights!

get it here

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Great Stocking Stuffer For The Aspiring Writer

We've been selling these little gems in our store for months, and now we've found out they are great stocking stuffers.  I just bought some myself (for myself, naturally) and can't wait to get  the creative juices flowing.  They can be used as a game, or as a way to start yourself on quick writing drills.  All you do is toss the cubes, and whatever pictures come up, you use to create a story.  Teachers use these in class, parents use them at home, and I can't imagine a better gift for someone who either wants to start creative writing, or already does and needs a little kick in the pants to get moving.  Pair these with a journal and some pens, and you have a great gift to give.

I've decided that this is going to help me start writing again in 2012.  Who knows? All I know is that this is going to make the cold winter months a great time to stretch that imagination and start writing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Demand A Christmas Where No One Has To Do Anything Ever

It's the week before Christmas, and I have found myself once again floundering under the weight of Christmas prep.  Considering that I don't have kids, or a hubby, and a boyfriend that lives at his own house, you'd think I would have nothing but time and not much prep to do.

You would be wrong.  When you don't have kids or a hubby, you fill your time with other things that soon become vital to your well being and make your life sometimes a scheduling crisis.  For me, that's reading waaaaay too many books, working and then thinking about working when I'm not, thinking about buying presents, saying I'm done buying presents, then buying more.  

Then there is the "what shall we have for Christmas Eve dinner this year?"  question.  Each year I generally have to work until 6:30 on Christmas Eve, which leaves me a short evening to spend with Bud.  I am usually tired and only want to relax , drink and eat something that has too many calories to count.  Usually I've had a lasagna ready, and Bud comes to my house, puts it in the oven, and has the place all cozy for Christmas when I get home.  This year I dithered over whether to have lasagna again, or maybe a beef tenderloin, or something different.  Bud and I have decided to have snackies.  Various cheeses, dips, dipping things, and booze.  And a movie.  And Christmas lights.  And maybe I can talk him into opening one present that night.

Now that that is figured out, my all consuming thought is how to get my homemade booze presents to my friends and when to make cookies (which are a requirement for Christmas.  Christmas does not exist without cookies.  Sorry Jesus.)  If I make them too soon, we will eat them all.  If I wait too long, I won't want to make them, since I will be working purely on robotic mode, and not human mode.  Must hit the perfect time--perhaps next Wednesday?

I'm not even trying to think about our family Christmas, which won't take place until January 7th.  Thankfully my niece has offered to host it at her house, so now it's just a matter of calling (nagging) everyone to tell me what food they are bringing and making sure we have plenty of carbs, meat, and desserts.  And someone must make the family cheese ball, or all hell will break loose.  We simply cannot gather together without our beloved cheese ball.  

And exercise?  Ha!  Many plans to go to the gym, and many times not going to the gym.  As more than one customer has so brilliantly told me "You sure get your exercise running around here, don't cha?"  Yes I do.  Thank you for coming in  and asking me about books that are in each corner of the store.  Thank you for the sweaty brow and the aching feet.  Working out would probably make that smile plastered on my face actually look genuine and sincere.   

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies: A Bite of Heaven

With just Bud and I it is unnecessary for me to bake dozens of cookies, even though I would love to do it!  My mom would only make homemade cookies at Christmas:  chocolate chip, sugar cookies (using a special glass to dip into the colored sugar), and decorated cookies, too.  It's hard to make enough cookies when you have 8 kids at home, dying to chow down.  

Bud would eat all the cookies I make, but be filled with self-loathing while enjoying them.  So to save him from feeling guilty for not being able to withstand the cookie temptations I could throw his way, I only make two types of cookies the week before Christmas:  chocolate chip, and chocolate crinkle cookies.  I must admit, the choc chip cookies are just the slice 'n bake variety (which Bud just loves), but the chocolate crinkle are homemade.  They are like little bites of heaven! Click for the recipe courtesy of are very easy to make.  You even get a few hours to sip some mulled wine or a hot chocolate in between mixing and baking!  Or if you're really ambitious--go work out at the gym so you can enjoy some without the guilt. 

I'll be making some of these this week, along with pumpkin bread, banana bread, and who knows what else?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What The Heck Is That?!

My niece took a picture of her dog Jack on Sunday at her house.  I was there, as were my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew.  None of us saw anything usual, but if you look behind Jack, you will see something odd that none of us can explain.  What do you think it is?  And no, nobody was wearing white that day, either.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Something Happened to the Snowflakes

One day the snowflake background was here, the next it was black.  Try as I might to fix it and return the snowflakes to my blog, they refuse to budge.  This may mean I have no snow coming my way, or it may mean that my blog doesn't like the snowflake background.

In either case, here's my new background for the season! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prepping for Christmas

Like my blog background?  I love it!  Makes me happy, and will see me through the holiday season and into March.  It's one of the first things I have done today, my day off--the Day of Doing Stuff at Home.

Did I go to the gym this morning?  No.  Instead, I got up and gave myself 15 minutes to clean out the top drawer in my kitchen.  Time to toss all those Hammer Gels from my marathon training all those years ago.  Don't think they were meant to last this long.  I immediately felt lighter cleaning all that garbage out, and straightening my drawer.  Now it's off to washing the inside windows, rehanging the curtains I washed yesterday, then getting in a quick dash for holiday shopping before I go to the gym this afternoon.  Yep.  Going to hit the gym after the lunch crowd, and before the after school crowd shows up.  

I am pondering what changes I'll make to my blogs next year, and what I will be focusing on as I begin 2012.  I am not a computer brainiac, and quite honestly I'm amazed I've figured out this much so far.  I am one of those people who will just hit a button to see what happens.  This has not turned out to be a bad thing :P  

Wrapping myself in Christmas cheer, burning the candles, and plotting my cookie baking output.  And really, just how many cookies can I eat? I think probably a marathon's mileage worth of cookies.  Which calculates out to maybe 2.5 cookies.  
Dang it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Will This Weekend Never End?!

I woke up this morning thinking it was Monday.  Yesterday I was convinced it was Sunday.  I cannot take these 4 day weekends!  Seriously, I think my brain has aged at an unnatural pace since turning 45.  I am looking ahead to this week and getting back to a "normal" routine.  How normal it will be, 4 weeks before Christmas I don't know.  I'm thinking the Christmas decorations will go up next weekend and writing out greeting cards will happen earlier this week.  

Mother Nature has swept in with winds and really cold weather for the past few days.  I think we have run out of mild days for the year.  Crossing fingers that any bad snow storms hold off til after Christmas!  Then I can thoroughly enjoy a good blizzard and a foot of snow by staying home and eating soup.  

The workouts just didn't happen last week, so I'm resetting the workout clock this week and telling myself that getting to the gym 3 times this week is the goal.  Should be a goal I can make.  I feel like a fatty Mcfatty and miss running each week.  Treadmill, here I come!  And some weights.  

Just found out drinking wine can help lower your risk for diabetes.  Not that I need any excuses for drinking wine....but nice to have a back up.  I'll raise a glass to that!

I'm entering my last month of my Reading Challenge for the year.  Can't believe it, and I'm planning a celebration at my bookstore at the end of January for everyone locally who took part in it.  Can't wait to see who shows up, and what and how much they've read this year.  I'll have a recap of my favorite reads in a few weeks.  And more podcasts are coming!  I am sadly behind in this--love to do it, but haven't had a moment to gather my thoughts.  Lots of books to talk about so stay tuned and I'll post those podcasts.  Hope to have two this week.

Are you ready to get back to your routine?  Or did you never leave it?  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week in Review--Yes, I Know It's Monday, But It Feels Like Friday

On my other blog, Bookalicious Babe, I talk about being exhausted from only two weekends of holiday retail work.  I still have about 6-8 to go.  I will get through it, as I always do.  I will endeavor to work out, take my vitamins, and get enough "I just have to be alone" time where I can do nothing at home, or splurge on a lunch during the week.  The exercise and the vitamins may not happen, even with my good intentions.  Sometimes finding that sweet spot in bed--you know, the place where all the pillows are just right, the covers are perfect, and you are simply in a blissful place that you don't want to get out of anytime soon is waaaay more important than getting on a treadmill and running in a stuffy gym.  A close second is drinking a cup of really good coffee!

Anyway, the past week has certainly been a busy one for me, and I was reminded just how many great people I have around me.  Like Regina and Amanda.  Two co-workers--and friends--who surprised me with a lovely gift that will continue to feed my book obsession.  And another Amanda--another co-worker--who gifted me with a signed copy of a kid's book from a local author who was in our store for an author event.  Another wonderful surprise from a very sweet lady.  She also loves to read and is my go to person for kid's books.  

And then there's my sweetie, Bud.  He gave me flowers, took me to dinner, and gave me the most wonderful card.  I will add it to all the others he has given me over the years.  Sometimes I look through them and can see the progression of our relationship from newly dating to where we are today.  Can't imagine loving anyone else like I love him.  It really is an indescribable feeling to look at someone and know they are "it".  What a calm, steady, anchoring feeling that is--and those are the easiest words I can find for that overwhelming love.

So here comes Christmas!  A slight freak out on my part a few days ago about decorating for Christmas.  I somehow managed to block out any decorating memories from last year, so I am mentally recreating what I did so I can do it again!  Probably next week, I think.  Gotta clean the house tip to toe before decorating, and buying a few holiday scented candles is on my list, too.  Love to have them lit all during December when I'm home at night.  And sometimes during the day, too.  Gotta put my Christmas music play list back on my Peapod, so I can listen to sappy Christmas tunes while I'm at the gym.  

Get it here

And food?  Hello! The limoncello is in the basement, busy working to make a delicious beverage.  I may make another boozy gift this week--we'll see.  Chocolate crinkle cookies, date bread, and homemade chai applesauce are also on the menu.  I'm narrowing down my Christmas Eve menu for Bud and I--may be going with a beef tenderloin this year.  Quick to make, and perfect for two on a special occasion with a really good bottle of wine.  

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is this week, and Christmas is around the corner. Let's hope the blizzards hold off til January!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Throwing in the Towel--Does This Create More Laundry?

My NaNoWriMo experience lasted all of approximately 580 words.  Yep.  That's all I've managed since November 1st, and I am throwing in the towel!  No time to sit and type.  Last year I really worked hard, and accomplished my goal.  This year, I just can't get a story to flow out of my tiny little brain.  And I just don't have extra moments to write.   Kinda knew that going into it, but thought I would try anyway. I am gracefully bowing out.  It's getting easier, as I get older, to walk away from stuff without much angst.  My days of endlessly pondering things, and feeling so worked up about them are coming to a close.  Phew.  That feeling is priceless!  If I can't do it, I can't do it.  Case closed.  I'll try again some other time.
It's here

I still have detrashing to do after my trip, and this is my first day off in 7 days, so I am busy finishing up a ton of laundry (how can one person create so much?!)--and yes, I will actually fold it all and put it away today.  I have a horrible habit of putting it in laundry baskets and walking down to the basement to pick through for clean clothes to wear to work--everyday.
This is what I wear when I run out of pants

I did use the leaf blower yesterday to create a ginormous mound of leaves in my back yard for the city to pick up in a few days.  I am a lawn person who waits until everything is down before raking up the leaves.  Why spend every other day out in the yard, when I can just do it all in one shot?  My forearms and hands are feeling it today.  If it gets windy today, I will be pissed.  

find it here

I also ran yesterday for the first time in over a week.  Just simply didn't have time before then, and it was such a beautiful day!  I managed 2 miles and my body was happy, but in shock.  I don't have any races planned, and nothing much planned for the winter except to keep running some miles every week (mostly on the treadmill) and working out at the gym to build some muscle.  My goal is to burn off enough calories so that I can still eat the good stuff with no guilt!  

How is everyone coping with the hour turn back?  I am still adjusting.  I keep thinking it's so much later in the early evening--it's getting dark here by 5 pm.  I just makes me want to build a cocoon and sleep.  And eat.  And read.  Not good when you have lots to do.  Today is "makin' liquer" day at my house!  Limoncello production starts today.  Heading off to the store to buy mucho lemons and begin the juicing.  See, basements are good for something--a cool dark place to let the booze mature.  As long as the creature under the stairs leaves it alone--and folds my laundry--I will be a happy camper.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Did I Do Besides Run In Savannah?

Rode the Ferry to the Expo
Rocked out with Elvis 

Pretended I could run really really fast

Saw the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile!

Walked up very long flights of stairs

Took pictures at Colonial Cemetery

Ate some awesome pizza!

Drank lots of beer
Ghost tours, haunted taverns, historic homes, lots of fun shops, and a great vacation with two of my sisters.  I think we are going to try and plan a vacation every few years or so for all five of us--this trip has given us all the travel bug--and what is a better way to see new cities and places than with your sisters?  I just wish Debbie and Michelle (my other two sisters)  could have gone on this journey.  Next stop--New Orleans 2012?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Savannah Recap While I Remember Some Of It

I had so much fun in Savannah.  Loved it.  Great hotel, great free breakfasts in the morning (hello, biscuits and gravy), and wandering around with a beer in my hand while shopping all combined for a great vacation.  Oh.  And running that half marathon--what to say about that?

Lots of well wishers in town
Well, I'm trying to remember a lot of it.  I got up early, and left my sisters sleeping at the hotel.  It was very chilly out--around 40-45 degrees, and a breeze off the river.  I walked down to the start of the race and stood in a porta-potty line for 20 minutes.  There were so many people around it was kinda overwhelming. By the time the race started, my feet were completely numb from the cold.  I kept getting my Garmin set up, but it would go into 'save' mode because I was too anxious to just wait til I was closer to the start.  I had my cell phone with me, so I could call my sisters when I finished.  I was pretty sure they would never find me, and sure enough, I did not see them until after I had crossed the finish line.  

They were watching the start of the race from the hotel--it was live on TV.  The gun went off at 7:30, but I was in corral #19, so it took almost 25 minutes until I got to the start line.  After a brief bit of panic that my Garmin wouldn't start (it did, phew) I started running.  I've never run a race with so many people before, and pretty much the whole time I was just concentrating on passing people.  A lot of weaving in and out; hitting the gas pedal to pass annoying groups who all had to run next to each other, blocking the way for those of us behind them!  I just kept running and running and running.  I hit the 7 mile mark and grabbed a water and ate a bit of my snack.  I had to walk through that water stop, cause they weren't filling the cups fast enough.  Plus I couldn't chew swallow and run at the same time.  My sisters and I had agreed on a spot where they would watch for me, and I told them to be on the right side, since I tend to run on the right side of the road.  Well, I kept running, and never saw them.  I think they were behind me.  By mile 10, I was running out of juice.  I started drinking Cytomax at the stops, hoping it would help kick start me.  I had to take walk breaks, and I was a bit annoyed that I just wasn't going to make my 2:15/2:20 goal.  Towards the end, it was crazy.  I wanted to pass the slow pokes in front of me, but there was no room to pass, so I had to be happy with running behind a man who was jumping and skipping down to the finish line.  He made me smile that last little bit.  And once again, I managed to look like an idiot kinda half-raising my arms in a lame victory sign as I crossed the finish line.  And a minute later remembered to shut off my Garmin.  I heard Patti yell, and saw her and Pam on the side, but I couldn't get to them.   The runners were given medals, and told to keep moving along the line as we grabbed snacks, water, warming blankets, and stopped to get our official photos taken.  

I did not need this during the race

We forgot to take more photos after the race--duh
Then I couldn't find my sisters again.  I called Patti, and she didn't answer her cell phone!  Dammit!  I wandered around for a while, then spotted them standing by the end of the line, looking for me.  We finally met up, and they got a few shots of me and my medal. I called Bud since he was following my race via texts from  He was so happy with my time and even though he wasn't there to see me run, I knew he was cheering me on and willing me to keep running. Official time:  2:23:59.

 But no more race photos!  So I'm glad the official photo turned out.  I'll post more photos in my next post and more recap on our trip.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Did It!

Oh Savannah, how I love thee.  Just a quick post to say "I did it!"  and an official photo.  More to come later!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Sucked Me In

It's November 1st--that means the beginning of NaNoWriMo.  Last year I took the plunge for the second year in a row and actually finished my "novel".  This "novel" that I haven't looked at since I hit 'save' last November.  

I wasn't going to participate this year, since I will be starting almost a week late, but the annoying tug of my inner voice is making me cave.  I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, after all!  It just means I will be frantically typing like a fiend when I get back from my half marathon next week.  I plan on pondering my story while I'm wandering around Savannah, camera in hand.  I'm hoping to capture some images that will fire up that old imagination and plant an idea in my head.  I'd better take a journal along so I can jot down ideas.  

Are you going to write a 50,000 word novel this month?  You can do it!  It's like vomiting up your brain onto the computer.  It's a stress-bringer and a stress-reliever all at the same time.  It's fun.  It's a great way to wake up your brain, fire up your imagination, and prove to yourself that you do have a creative bone in your body!  Just do it, already!  Go to NaNoWriMo to sign up and get started.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Whoopee!

Happy Halloween!!

I will be handing out goodies and watching ghost shows Halloween night.  Have Fun!  And eat some chocolate for me :P

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tick Tock Tick Tock


The bad thing about planning a trip 7 months in advance is that you forget about it for months at a time, then realize it's getting closer, then forget about it again until OH CRAP!  It's coming up really fast, and I am unprepared.  As in running around trying to put together a small wardrobe to fit into carry on baggage, buying small airline sized beauty products, and remembering all those damn print outs that I need to get my race packet and my shuttle pass.  

I had planned on running a 6-8 miler this week, but the one day it was really warm I was too busy with yard work and a gazillion other things.  When I did try and do some hill work, I ended up sucking air and feeling horrible, so I stopped.  There was no improving that workout, so I gracefully stepped back and decided to try again today.  

So today it is 30 degrees colder than yesterday--43 outside and gloomy.  Nope, not going to run outside today.  I went to the Y instead, and was pretty happy with my treadmill run of 2.5 miles that included hills and speed work; then I walked the track to hit my 3 mile mark.  I got the ugly sweat on, and my face is still beat red.  But it felt good, and the shoes are feeling good, too.  Since the rest of my time before the trip is so jam packed with work and other activities, I'm focusing on visiting the Y for short runs on the treadmill and keeping the speed up.  I figure short hill and speed workouts for the next few days are better than nothing at all.  

Soup, soup.  It is calling me.  I have a sack of potatoes to use up and a craving for green chiles, so I'm going to make a green chile/potato soup.  I can't imagine this will taste nothing short of spectacular.  My stomach is growling just thinking of it.  A sale on potatoes (.99 for a 5 pound bag) has kept me making au gratin potatoes, german potato salad, and "hobo" potatoes.  I am potatoed out!  But the soup can be frozen and will be a great supper this winter.  I'm also craving some date bars, so I may have to make those sometime soon, too.  And bonus--Bud doesn't like them, so I get to eat them all.  Sweet.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I"ve Got Nuthin'

I realized I haven't posted anything since last weekend.  Why?  Cause I got nuthin'.  Zippo. Zilch.  Boring.  Ran 12 miles on Monday in the 48 degree weather and froze my tushy off as soon as I stopped running.  Made me realize I really did need the new Asics Kayano 17's and that the 16's were done.  The other shoes I bought just aren't working for me when I ran. So now I have a pair of shoes to wear just for kicks.  Tested the new Asics this morning and was happy with them--and more importantly, my feet were happy.

Here's a picture of Halloween mirth.  I have a pumpkin on my front porch, but it's not carved.  Sad little pumpkin; I feel like it's getting pissed at me cause I haven't done anything to it.  Maybe Bud will help me carve it sometime next week.

Gonna get in one more longish run next week--hopefully around 8 miles.  Then it's working up until the day I leave for Savannah, so I won't have much time to run after mid-week next week.  I feel pretty good this time about being prepared for the half marathon.  The speed work and the hill work has certainly helped--I can run right up those hills now!  

That's it.  No more.  Have a great weekend!  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yum Yum Ribs

My ribs turned out great!  I used a dry rub recipe I found in Paula Deen's new cookbook Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible and it was sweet and spicy with a nice back heat to it.  My family chowed down on those ribs and they were gone in the blink of an eye.  I have never made "the real deal" ribs before, and I will certainly make them more often after this experience.  It is so easy to do, and I especially liked Paula Deen's option for oven cooking, since I did not have time to watch them over a grill for hours.  Just put 'em in a roasting pan with a little bit of water, cover, and bake for a few hours.  

I neglected to take pictures because I was running around like crazy making food in my kitchen for our cookout.  My house smelled sooo good with the ribs in the oven.  I'm not a big handler of raw meat, but I managed to not gross myself out Friday night while preparing the ribs, and I rubbed the dry rub mix over them so it had a very long time to sit and "mix" with the ribs before Bud put them in the oven Saturday afternoon.

Saturday was one busy day--working at my Mom's house to get a few things done for the winter, and meeting some resistance.  Bud once again came when I called, and using his charm and boundless energy saved the day and got things done.  I am used to his drive and energy, so I'm not surprised at what he can accomplish, but it was the first time some of my family saw him in action, and they were speechless.  He is a whirlwind!

Today is gutter day. My brother-in-law is coming over to help hold the ladder while I climb and clean out my gutters, and finish putting the gutter guards on them so I don't have to climb that damn ladder again!  It is a two person job due to the angle of my driveway and where the gutters on the front of my house are located.   I feel like I should have mountain climbing gear when I do this.  The driveway looks awfully hard from up high.  I'm hoping to get in a quick run this afternoon if the gutter cleaning goes quickly.  Otherwise, I'm going to do my last long run either Monday or Tuesday.  I took a 3 mile run on Friday in my old shoes with the new insoles and they felt great--no aches and pains.  

What Fall food are you making this week?  I would love to make an apple cake.  I made apple crisp again yesterday, and it was delish.  Perfect with a cup of coffee.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Getting Closer, Getting Nervous

I've never attended a race where there were 23,000 participants, and I've never gotten on a plane to fly to one, either.  And very rarely has Bud not been with me.  But all that will happen in just a few short weeks, and I am getting nervous!

I found out a few days ago that the start line appears to be much farther from my hotel than I thought.  And Savannah has shuttles that will take runners to the area near the start line.  It is kinda crappy that I have to pay $18 for a one way ticket there, but at least I know I'll get there in plenty of time to find my corral and wait for everything to begin.  Needless to say, I will not expect my sisters to wake up and go with me at 6 AM.  I will be on my own until I see them somewhere along the route (hopefully).

This means printing off lots of maps, turn by turn directions of the race, and where the "family" meeting area will be.  Plus making sure we all have our cell phones on!  And setting up a text message so they can see where I am along the route--and so can Bud from home.

I received my lovely YMX blue tribal running shirt the other day, and they very kindly included running sleeves that match.  It's a beautiful shirt, and I can't wait to wear it.  Thanks Bobbi for picking my name in your giveaway!

I am having issues with the shoes I bought a few weeks ago--and the insoles that I bought with them.  After a few runs, my legs, hips, and feet were really sore.  My feet always hurt after around 10 miles, but this was happening after only 5 miles.  I went to a local running store to get the insoles I usually have in my running shoes, only to find out they don't carry them anymore!  Aggh!  Panic!!  But they directed me to a local pharmacy that did carry them, and I was able to purchase a pair.  I'm going back to my old shoes, which still have plenty of miles left on them.  I just have to somehow repair the two small holes my toes have managed to create in the tops of my shoes.  Hey, no one will be looking at my feet, right?

This month has been incredibly busy, and my work schedule has been kinda all over the place.  It's made it difficult to get in much running.  I've only managed one 3 mile hill run, and a 5 mile "speed it up" run this past week.  I hope to get out today with my old shoes and new insoles and get in an 8 mile run before work.  Then one more long run next week--maybe Sunday, since on my other day off the high will be 49 degrees and a 40% chance of rain!  Eeek.  I would like to have this long run later in the week, but I work the rest of the week and won't be able to get in a very long run after work without running in the dark--which I can't do thanks to my horrible eye sight.  Oh, and fear of running alone at night!

I've entered the world of podcasts.  I have one posted, and I will soon be on iTunes!  You can check it out on my other blog bookalicious babe.  I hope to have a new podcast every two weeks.  It's about books and what I'm reading.  Another reason to stop training for races--I will have time to do this and so many other things I've been putting off for a long time.  I will still run, just not as much and no big races--local 5k's and anything else under 10 miles is my plan for next year.  

What's on your agenda for this weekend?  I am seeing family this weekend, and cleaning out gutters.  I know--I can hardly contain my excitement over those gutters.  I'm also making a bunch of food for a cookout on Saturday night.  My first experience with ribs--if I remember to take pictures, and they turn out, I will post 'em!  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

100 Book Challenge Met!

I have managed to somehow reach my 100 book challenge for 2011 today, just before I had to leave for work.  And I read a wonderful book as my 100th book, too.  It's late, I'm tired, so I will post a review of the book soon.  Suffice it to say, I am very happy to have actually kept track of all the books I've read this year--it is a first for me.  So when people say you can never learn or improve, well, I just did.  I am horrible at starting lists and then dropping them after a few weeks.  This is why it is impossible for me to keep a journal, and why a blog is much easier.  I will keep reading, since I still have a large backlog of books. Bud, who hasn't read a book since high school, is oddly proud of my achievement.  Someday I may get him to slow down enough to read something.  Some women want their better half to lose weight, learn a new skill, or just be home every night.  I don't want any of that--I want Bud to read a book!   I've still got a few decades left to wear him down, and since he's such a fan of the late Steve Jobs, I may have found just the book for him--it's out in a few weeks.

And for those who are still reading towards their goals this year, bravo to you!  Keep reading!  I am your biggest fan and so happy you've taken up the call to make time to read.  It has been such a huge part of my life that I can't imagine how colorless and gloomy my life would be without my beloved books.

Off to have a glass of wine to celebrate, then bed with a new book--one I think will make me yearn to go back to Ireland again.  More later! 

Get it here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Running and Fish Tacos

Today running and fish tacos went together for me.  I set out for my 12 mile run today in perfect weather, with two Imodiums in my gut, and my watered-down orange juice bottle firmly affixed to my belt.  I stupidly did some squats and other random leg exercises yesterday, and that left me with painfully sore legs to run on.  

I ran pretty well and felt good through most of the run.  I got to 11:30 miles before I just couldn't run anymore.  I had slowed down considerably in the last few miles, and even took some walk breaks.  My feet were freakin' killing me!  New pads in my shoes, too.  I have to find other pads for my shoes that  have a bit more cushion for the balls of my feet.  And of course, my right foot hurt more than the left.  I don't get it.  But I made myself feel better about my run by realizing that on my 1/2 marathon, if I do have to stop and walk, or take extra water breaks (right now I plan on 1 every 4 miles), that I can still hopefully be very very close to making my time of 2:20.  By the grace of God, I will have wings on my feet and be so preoccupied looking at the scenery that I will run faster.

No poop issues!  Woohoo!  

So to treat myself for getting out there, swallowing my fear of failure, and making almost 12 miles, I took myself out to lunch at the Londoner, a British pub that serves some good food.  I have been thinking about their fish tacos for weeks!  I am not a fish eater, mind you--hardly any fish at all.  I like my cows.  But, they have great fish tacos--deep fried battered cod on a soft shell with corn, tomatoes, and a slaw that has the most incredible sauce--sweet and spicy.  Two of these tacos are usually too much for me to eat.  I also treated myself to a cold pint of Strongbow cider.  Yum.  But I couldn't finish the tacos or the cider.  Shame on me for not finishing that cider--a crime.  And I spent the whole time reading from my Nook, so I had a very lovely lunch all by myself, in a noisy pub where I didn't pay attention to anyone or anything while I mowed down my lunch and read a book.  Bliss.  

I'm extremely sore in my legs--those muscles have some rebuilding to do!  But the rest of me feels fine.  I feel that I will be ready to go in a month, and have one more long run--I'm attempting 15 miles in a few weeks.  Til then, I will continue to run hills and do some speed work.  I know  those have been a huge help in maintaining a faster run and cruising up hills without a thought.  Now to just get some comfy pads for my shoes!  And I also found another place on my body that needs my anti-chafing stick.  Delicate lady parts got rubbed raw and made it very painful to sit in the tub!  Lesson learned.

Friday, September 30, 2011

That Nagging Voice That Won't Shut Up

I've decided that I don't need any one else on this planet to tell me what I should do ever again.  I have that annoying, irritating, high-pitched voice in my head telling me instead.  Yep.  My brain just won't shut the hell up.  
Zip it, Lady!

NaNoRiMo is coming up in November, and I have been having the battle to end all battles in my head over whether I should attempt it again this year.  My issue is this:  It starts November 1st; I am running my half-marathon on November 5th, and probably won't be able to even make a stab at it until at least the second week of November.  This means being waaaaay behind from the start.  And of course I have no clue what I would write about.  I won't have a clue until I get back from Savannah, which I am sure will leave me overwhelmed with sights, sounds, and memories that I could use for a story, and do  plan on using for a story--someday.  

This is the same voice that is asking why the heck I haven't done the dishes either.  Or mowed the yard.  Or cut down the garden.  Or put away my porch furniture.  Or basically done anything to ready my home for the cold weather.  
She's a real hard-ass.  Sticking my fingers in my ears and singing "La La La" has not silenced that voice.

So I have this weekend off.  Lovely weather, two whole days off in a row!  What shall I do?  Can I manage to pull off all those tasks in 2.5 hours on Saturday morning, leaving the rest of the day to visit an apple orchard and putz around town with my nephew, Cole?  Dare I hope to make banana bread and catch up on all the TV shows I have missed in the past two weeks?  Take a nap?  Run?

Yep.  This is my plan.  I will be come Jamie Sommers, and whirl around my house and yard, occasionally lifting cars and catching criminals in between chores. 

I always thought she was a sharp dresser!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So Annoying!

Stupid guts.  Hate them.  Gotta get the intestinal situation back on track!  But good news--I got a sweet little belt to use for my half.  It has a nice expandable pouch that will hold my cell phone, a snack, and TP for my race, but isn't big and bulky so I won't look like I'm carrying a backpack around my middle.

Gonna shoot for a 12 miler (that I didn't do last week) this week either Thursday or Friday before I go to work.  I anticipate that I will be gingerly moving around at work either one of those nights--pretty sure the feet will be aching.   I could wait for the weekend, but I'd rather be done with it so I can spend the weekend working in the yard.  Can I say I have completely disregarded my yard in the past few weeks?  Yep.  Ignore.  Not even a peep when I walk out the back door and drive away.  One more good mow, then getting out the clippers and cutting everything down.  Putting away the patio  furniture.  Maybe climbing up the ladder and trying to get the gutters in shape.  Getting that f****ng bird's nest out of the gutter that has been there all spring and summer.  Of course it's in the worst, most dangerous part of the gutter.  The part that hangs near my front stairs, on an incline, with no where to safely put a ladder.  Requires two people to get it done.  Any takers?  :)

Another exciting week for me!  I may even finally get to watch the last three episodes of True Blood.  and read a few more books.  I have done it again, and started 4-5 books, so now I'm in the midst of mayhem trying to move ahead on those.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spur of the Moment Long Run

I got my work schedule messed up yesterday, and found out when I went to work at 8 AM that I didn't have to be there until noon.  I quickly drove home and decided to try and squeeze in my long run (12 miles) before I went back to work.  I have been very antsy the past few days thinking about this run, and had planned on doing it Saturday morning.  Oh, the books were calling.  I  wanted to just plop down on that couch and read for a few hours!  But annoying nagging Sue made me run instead.

Not having a run in mind when I got up yesterday morning, I proceeded to eat a bowl of Wheaties with milk and drink a couple cups of coffee.  With my track record on gut issues during long runs, I was a bit worried that I would have problems.  Popping a faux-Imodium so soon before my run was the only option.  Since I had already eaten, I didn't plan on snacking during my run, either.

To play it safe, and be near a bathroom, I ran in the park near my sister's house.  The only problem with this is that it is a circular 1 mile route.  When you do that 10-12 times it gets a bit boring.  I decided to just run as long as I could and went into it planning on hitting my 12.

Well, I ran 10 miles.  I didn't walk.  I consider that another good thing.  That's twice now I have run 10 miles with no walk breaks and only one water break.  It was cool, slightly windy, and cloudy yesterday, so after breaking out into a sweat the first 5 miles, my body adjusted and while I was plenty warm, I wasn't pooped out from it.  I did have to run over to Walgreen's and use the bathroom after about an hour.  The faux-Imodium just didn't kick in soon enough.  I so wanted to hit that 12 miles, but time and lack of preparation weren't on my side.  I ran slower than I did two weeks ago, and am definitely more sore than I was then.  

I called Bud to tell him, and he was full of wisdom, as always.  He told me not to be upset that I didn't hit 12, that running 10 was great, considering it was not a planned run, and I had eaten cereal and milk an hour before.  And my supper of chips, salsa, and cheese quesadillas the night before probably didn't do much to help me be fueled for the morning. As Bud said, knowing I can run 10 miles with all those factors is a good thing, and shows I can do it.  

So, long run done for this week.  I plan on finally hitting that 12 miles next weekend!  And keep on working on speed.  Just 6 weeks to go and two long runs left:  a 12 miler, and a 15 miler.  And new pads for my shoes.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reading=Stress Relief

Get this poster here

In times of stress, reach for that wonderful book.  It will relax you, take you away, and keep the stresses of everyday life at bay for a few hours.  If you can sit in a hot bath with lavender bath salts and a cup of tea, even better!

Don't know what to read?  Try my other blogs for book ideas:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ikea Meatballs Equal Happiness

 I tapped into my massive stockpile of Ikea meatballs last night and served them up with gravy and roasted red potatoes.  Bud came over, took one look at the potatoes, and said "Where are the noodles?"  

My mind went completely blank, then I realized I usually serve them with egg noodles.  But I could only think of serving them with potatoes, so I had to crush his dreams of Amana egg noodles and gravy.  I, however, inhaled my food (along with a fall salad of apples, lettuce, walnuts, blue cheese, and dried cranberries) and drank two beers.  I think at one point I would have popped the button on my jeans-- but I thought ahead and had my sweats on, for maximum food digestion.  

Needless to say, I made too many meatballs, so I had more for lunch today! It did slow me down during work.   And there are more tucked away in the freezer for a super quick supper.  Or maybe a supper for my Mom next time I see her.  

Mmmm.....meatballs.  Happiness is knowing there are more bags in the freezer.  And the latest Food Network magazine has the recipe for Ikea meatballs in it!  Woohoo!  Hardware comes extra.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Okay--Time to Confess My Puzzlement/Confusion/Hey--That's Great--But Why?

As a woman in my 40's, I am well aware that while we can start our life and go through the first 20 some years as thin as a rail, at some point the body stops working with us, and begins to work against us.  As in Me:   "I am getting comfortable with myself and my place in the world.  Amen."   Body:  "Okay--that means we get to make you gain weight in all the wrong places, and never get it off!"  

So this has been my dilemma for the past 12 years, and it's been horrifying.  Now I haven't gained 40, 50, or even 100 pounds, but what I have gained has made me feel like I have no control over my body and what it should do.  I blame it on a lack of sleep at night, changing hormones, and a work schedule that has me working either early mornings, or a second shift that lasts until 10:30 at night.  It all has combined to make me eat for comfort and eat at times when I never ever ate before.  Like after 7PM.  I come from a family where we ate at 6PM at the latest.  I liked that.  It didn't give me a chance to snack before supper, since supper was only an hour away.  If I am home alone, I will eat earlier.  If Bud is coming over, it's usually 7:30-8PM before we can eat.

I have become puzzled over the last 6 months about the body I inhabit.  At first I thought it was just that beginning of the beginning of the end.  The female body shifting gear and preparing me for that wonderful thing--menopause.  I'd like to think I'm a few years away from full blown menopause, but we all know stuff starts happening waaaay before that.  Like mysteriously feeling warmer all the time; not hot flashes, just warmer.  Breaking out in a sweat when everyone else is chilly.  Feeling a bit like a freak when you go out to run in shorts and a tank top and pass people wearing hats, gloves, and jackets.  This is why I bitched all summer at the horrible heat.  I don't like it anyway, and never have--but this summer it just felt intolerable.  

Along with this gift of extra body heat, I have strangely enough had a shift in my eating.  As in not eating as much.  After Googling this strange phenomena--thinking it was maybe part of something that happens that we aren't told about by our mothers and older sisters--I discovered that the opposite is true.  As the hormones go down, we begin to eat like a horse with a feedbag attached to it's face.  Not one thing said appetite decreases.

I have lost a bit of weight--very very very very very very slowly.  I was surprised at this, but happy.  It hasn't been from running, cause I'm not running nearly as much as I should be.  I can only wonder at this bizarre occurrence in my life.  I keep thinking I will wake up one morning and feel the urge to consume a whole box of cereal, followed by an dozen eggs and a pound of bacon.  But nothing yet.  Instead, I continue to suddenly feel full, leave food on my plate, and not have seconds or thirds.  

I have been passed by my medical scene, and I feel good except for this weird thing.  It makes me think I won't be able to chow down in Savannah on all the stuff I so want to eat.  That will really piss me off.  How can I possibly cram weeks of Southern food into a long weekend?  Can I take a cooler home?

So I guess what I am saying is "What the hell is going on?  Can it continue so I can lose 15 pounds more?"   

Bizarre--strange--a Ripley's Believe It or Not:  "Sue G is actually  not hungry all the time!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nesting Has Kicked In

This happens to me every Fall:  the desire to hunker down, bake, wear warmer clothing, and read until my eyeballs fall out.  Ok, I know you're probably thinking:  "Doesn't she already read til her eyeballs fall out?"  Yes, but I do other stuff.  In the Fall, I just want to read 24/7.  And smell wood smoke, eat pumpkin bread, and feed Bud until he bursts.  Thankfully, he won't let me make that much food for him, and he has some control.  If I could eat chili, lasagna, potato soup, and apple cake all in one day, I would try.  But then I would weigh 500 pounds and feel a little sick.  

I kinda got this feeling a few weeks ago, when we finally got some cooler weather and I could run without passing out.  After this weekend with Bud--an impromptu weekend vacation; well, driving in a truck for 9 hours can give you time to think.  And think I did!  Oh, gosh--all the food I want to cook--applesauce, banana bread, pumpkin bread, green chile sauce, green chile stew, soups to freeze, and a zillion other tasty things I haven't eaten since last winter.  It's been probably 6 months since I last made lasagna.  I think it will be on the menu this weekend.  

And then there's all the books I love to read at this time of year:  namely, spooky stuff.  True ghost stories, thrillers, and just fun creepy stuff.  Oh yeah--Fall housework.  Forgot about that.  All the cleaning I didn't do this summer (thank you Mother Nature for the horrible heat!) that I really should do now:  wash the house, clean the windows, curtains, and the basement.  I have to make room for all the limoncello  and homemade Bailey's I'm going to make for Christmas gifts. Plus it's just a big pit that needs straightening and organization.  Once again going through clothes, seeing what I need for the cooler months, and sending old clothes to a donation spot.  Cutting down everything in the gardens.  Sighing over what didn't grow, and how I didn't put the work in to make them sing this year.

Oh--can't forget about that trip in November with my sisters.  Gotta get together with them, and plan some things out.  Gotta keep training for another 7 weeks!  That's at least 3 more looooong runs-- a 12, a 13, and a 15.  Saving saving saving so I can eat my way through Savannah (except for Friday night--gotta be smart and eat well before the run on Saturday).  I can't wait to try some Southern food.  And there may be some Christmas purchasing while I'm there, too.  

Tomorrow is my day off.  What will I do?  Run early in the morning, laundry, hair cut and color, maybe just maybe make green chile sauce, and take Cole to a Lego event at the bookstore in the evening.  If the timing is right, maybe we'll be able to whip out some banana bread before the event, so Cole can take some home and I can mow down on my own loaf.  Hopefully see Bud and get a chance to hug my sweetie.  

And you didn't really think I would let a day go by without reading, did you?  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Runner

What can I say?  I'm still happy about my 10 miler on Tuesday.  I had a quick run this morning--only twice around the park--a whopping 1.6 miles--before I had to get home and get moving on other things.  I don't want to curse my running, but all I will say is that I think I've turned a corner, and I am happy with my running for the first time in months.  I hope this continues, and when I'm feeling down, I will pull that awesome satisfaction of finishing that long run out of my brain and remember that I can do it and did do it.  Until I do it again in another week--a 12 miler.

On another note, the Rock 'N Roll Savannah Marathon/Half-Marathon is completely sold out.  I am a bit freaked out, since this means I will be running with 23,000 other people through the streets of Savannah.  It also means I probably won't be the last one across the finish line.  And apparently the City of Savannah is freaked out, too.  I got an email from the hotel where I have a room reserved, asking me to call/email if I need to cancel my reservation.  Um....NO!  I think this experience will be one that I will not soon forget--and as long as I take my faux-Imodium, it will be a very happy event!

Fritz my beloved truck has had a minor operation, courtesy of Dr. Bud, and will be on the road to recovering his butt this weekend.  Can I just say how lucky I am to have my sweet guy?  He really does look out for me no matter what. He even lets me kiss him every once in awhile ;) 

My silver fox

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One Happy Camper: 10 Miler Done!

I so dreaded going out today.  I have to do a 10 mile run this week, and I haven't run 10 miles in so long (seriously--at least a year) that I just wanted to cry.  I thought about putting it off until Friday, but then I would have all week to think about it, and dread it even more--until it was this huge monster sitting on my back:

Monster ridin' my ass!

So I got up this morning, and after dithering around, I finally got my gear together and drove out to a new place to run.  It's another trail in town, and this one winds down by the Cedar River, the town dump (thankfully hidden), and out into the country.  I haven't been on this trail since before the flood of 2008, and it has definitely been worked on--what a fantastic trail!  It's just beautiful; all black top, and winding around wildflowers, trees, and beautiful bridges overlooking the countryside.  There was a lot to look at, and the weather was perfect:  cool, sunny, and no major wind.
I began my run.  I had a water bottle with a very weak orange juice/water mixture in it, and part of an energy bar, along with my trusty iPod.  I was pretty much alone out on the trail, and it was very peaceful.  I felt pretty good, and here's my times by each mile:
Avg Pace

Yep.  I ran the whole damn thing.  Even got a little faster on the way back.  I briefly stopped at mile 5 to grab a sip and chew a piece of my energy bar, and then started running again.  NO WALK BREAKS.  Yeah--hold your shit together--I ran the entire way.  I wanted to be able to call Bud and tell him I didn't walk.  I was pretty good until about mile 8, and I started feeling sore and tired.  My feel hurt like hell, but otherwise I am so pleased and happy.  It gave me a huge boost to know I can run that far.  Now, less than 2 months to go to the half-marathon in Savannah.  Speed workouts will continue and hills, too.  And my longest run will be 15 miles, so I know running 13.1 can be done!
Now off to eat something.  I am sooooo hungry.  And no gut issues to report--thank you, faux-Imodium.  You are my new best friend.