Saturday, August 29, 2009

5K learnings

~ugh! that is how I explain today's race in one word. it is apparently the area's newest Certified course and it was a doozy. I have a few complaints about this one and so I thought I'd put together a little "tip" sheet for future race organizers, so here goes...

~if you describe the course as "area's newest scenic certified course"...the course should not include passing by the local hospital's sewage treatment facility. Stink-a-rama!!! We also passed by some horses and cows, but I do realize I'm in I guess I just have to deal with that one.

~when you post the registration form, please include the course description and disclose the fact that the course has 75 freakin' hills!!! Yes, folks, this "newly certified & scenic" course is crazy a$$ hilly. I was not the only one walking ALOT. I have a feeling they did not disclose this so as to have more participants...after all, it was a fundraiser. But at least maybe mention it's not an ideal course for beginners, or something along the lines of it being a "challenging" course. Yes, that would be nice. and courteous.

~I guess those are my only two complaints...i finished around 37:40 or so...times will likely be posted later today or tomorrow morning. I really don't care that I didn't get a new PR. As soon as I saw the crazy hills, I knew there would be no PR today. On the bright side, I still finished 2 minutes faster than the race I did on July 3, 2009.
~we did get these cute little LaraBars though, which are pretty good.

~and I don't know why in the world I was smiling in that post-race picture that I Tweeted earlier...there was hardly anything to smile about after this one....well, except for the fact that I was still alive. Phew!!

ETA: I finished in 37:26 and finished 12th in my age group. There were a total of 24 in my age group. The gal who finished 1st in my age group had a time of 25:50....yeah, that is SO not going to be me...ever.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stats Report

Thank you to all who took my little blogging/twitter survey the other day. I appreciate your help.

Here are a few interesting facts that I found based on your answers:

1) more of my blog readers (or the 47 total survey participants) are in the 30-39 age group. 26 vs. 21 in the 20-29 group.

2) The average (mean) # of hours per week spent on blogging for 20-29 age group is 11.095 while the 30-39 age group reported 10.961 - pretty close on those.

3) The least # of hours reported spent per week blogging was 3 and the most was 35!!

4) 23% of respondents don't Twitter. 11/47 people reported ZERO Twitter use!

5) The highest # of hours reported spent per week on Twitter was 60! That equates to 8.5 hours per day across a 7 day week!! I'm skeptical on whether that was a typo and should have only been a 6, but I have no way of knowing, so I've left it in there. The next highest was 30 hours!! That's ALOT of Twitter time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

random thoughts

~when I surf running blogs, I look at their best times posted and if they have finished a 5K in 25 minutes or less, I refuse to follow them or read their blogs...they are clearly an ADVANCED runner and it's too depressing for me to read. right now anyway.

~i refuse to buy songs on iTunes that cost 1.29!! What the heck is the deal with that anyway? Why aren't all songs .99? What is so much better about these songs that they are charging $1.29 for them? That's just wrong.

~i've been going to Sonic just about every morning before work to get a Diet Dr. Pepper...the best part, besides that they are cheaper than ChickFila...they are giving out satisfaction surveys and if you call and do the survey, you get a FREE Route 44 beverage. I haven't paid for a single beverage this week!! Yesterday I turned in a survey for a FREE beverage and the receipt she gave me had ANOTHER survey on it. How awesome is that? I used that survey today and well, today's Diet Dr. Pepper was lacking...either missing the Cherry flavor I asked for or something because it just didn't taste right. Can't complain though considering it was free. :)

~the in law visit is going fine. the only "issue" to arise so far is that after repeatedly mentioning to O last week that I will be working Monday to build up a bank of hours, last night he springs on me that his mom and dad are going to be tourists on Monday "since I'll be home"...when I reminded him that I was working, he nearly flew off the handle saying that he didn't want his mom stuck in the house the whole time. I am TOTALLY fine with all of that, but it would have been nice if he actually told me that last week so I wouldn't have to look like a complete moron in front of my boss this morning when I tell her than I actually cannot work on Monday as planned. Why did God give men ears? Clearly they DON'T use them.

~oh I guess there is actually one other issue. I have two 5K races this weekend. Saturday morning & Sunday afternoon. I've been registered for them for quite some time now. Turns out that on Sunday O and his parents are going to some museum that is at least one hour away and, well, you guessed it, they certainly won't be back in time for my 2pm race. Thankfully my mom is not busy and she can come watch E while I go do the run. Have I mentioned my great dislike for last minute changes and such? I am a freakin' planner people!!! Tell me ahead of time.

~I wish I was a fan of motorcycles because I would go out and buy one TODAY so that I could park within 30 seconds of my office building as opposed to the ridiculous 8-10 minute walk I have now!! And I'm all for walking & exercise but really, I don't want to be all sweaty upon arrival at my office at 8am!!! no thank you.

~I am fortunate to have a healthy little boy and I am thankful for that, however in exchange for his health I apparently received "the little boy who wouldn't sleep"...if you've been reading for anytime at all, you know all about our sleep "issues"...after the weaning, things were going well, we went into the bedroom at 9pm, read a book & layed down to sleep. Well, there has been a drastic son is a rebel. He pitches the biggest fit about going to bed now, doesn't give a hoot about the books he used to LOVE to read and instead walks around the house crying @ the top of his lungs pointing to the fridge or other things he thinks he wants, but then when you open the fridge, he doesn't want anything. It's rather say the least. He was waking at 1am-2am and doing this same thing or wanting to go lay on the couch to fall back asleep...thankfully that has quit (for now anyway)...but this bedtime routine is killing me folks. And to make matters worse, I'm so worried about him waking in the middle of the night and having to go through all of the screaming again, that I am afraid to roll over or move in any way during the night, so guess who is constantly waking throughout the night due to extreme discomfort...or being whacked in the face by a little hand or foot?!?! Yay me! Oh and my 18 month old son is the biggest freakin' bed hog. ever!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Want Wednesday...

Installment #2 of I Want Wednesday...this is what I want THIS week....Oh and I still want everything from last week because I didn't get ANY of it for my birthday, which was not a surprise to me.

I love music and over the years have spent WAY TOO MUCH $$ on to offset my out-of-pocket expenses, I would love for an iTunes gift card to fall out of the sky and right into my lap.

This is one of E's fave bedtime stories and as a result it is now in TWO pieces...a replacement is now warranted.

Happiness. I'm going to try to follow this little mantra/phrase (whatever it is) and see if happiness all of a sudden appears on my shoulder.

Lastly, I want a little more time in the get my school reading done, to scrapbook, to relax and just be. I'm tired of rushing all.the.freakin'.time!


Haunted by these lyrics lately...

"do you wish it was me" by Jason Aldean

When the sun slowly chases the moon from the sky
And touches your face as you open your eyes
What are you thinking? Do you like what you see?
Is it all that you dreamed of or do you wish it was me?

Is the life that you've chosen free from regret?
Or it's what might've been just too hard to forget?
Has the glitter all faded? Do you get what you need?
Are you satisfied, baby, or do you wish it was me?

I know that you did what you thought you should do
It was safe and secure, so completely thought through
But you sacrificed passion and abandoned your dreams
Baby, was it all worth it or do you wish it was me?

'Cause each kissing closer to the first or the last
Is the fire still raging or has it burned down to ash?
Do the memories haunt you? Do they beg and they plead?
Are you satisfied, baby, or do you wish it was me?

Is the life that you've chosen free from regret
Or it's what might've been just too hard to forget?
Has the glitter all faded? Do you get what you need?
Are you satisfied, baby, or do you wish it was me?

Are you satisfied, baby, mmm, yeah
Or do you wish it was me
Do you wish it was me?

Oh, do you wish it was me?
Do you wish it was me, yeah?
Do you wish it was me, yeah?
Do you wish it was me?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

data collection - help a girl out!!

If you've been reading for a while, you know that I have a STATS class this semester. Well, along with STATS goes RESEARCH and along with RESEARCH goes DATA get the point...

I've decided to do my first little research project on Blogging Activity, so please be a dear and click on the link below to fill out my survey. There are only 3 questions!!

So appreciated!!

Click Here to take to take my 3 question Blog/Twitter survey

Monday, August 24, 2009

20 Questions

1. If you had to could you take a vow of silence for 48 hours?
it would be a challenge, but I think I could do it.

2. What is your favorite kind of soup?
Tomato. with a TON of saltines crackers.

3. How often do you cut your hair?
normally every 5-6 weeks, but lately it's been VERY sporadic.

4. If you had to could you do your own income taxes? And have them be correct?
nope. i don't even want to try.

5. What is your method to reading a magazine?
typically front to back, but I occasionally will skip around to certain articles if they peak my interest.

6. How many magazines do you subscribe to?

7. What is/was your paternal grandfather's name?

8. And your maternal grandfather's name?

9. I know I'm tired when:
i'm asleep.

10. What color(s) do you associate with Spring?
light blue. pink. yellow. the typical pastels.

11. What color are your eyes? Did you inherit them from or pass them on to anyone in your family?
light brown/hazel. i imagine i inherited them somehow but my mom's eyes are a darker brown and my biological father has blue eyes. the LEAST he could have given me was blue eyes!!

12. What do you have in your glove compartment?
tons of napkins. proof of insurance. car manual. pen.

13. Who are you in 6 words?
fat. conflicted. miserable. determined. loving. consistent.

14. What is your favorite current tv drama?
Grey's Anatomy.

15. Who do you think is NOT funny, but others think IS funny?
South Park or The Simpsons.

16. Three things you've been meaning to do, but haven't gotten around to yet:
read more. finish my December Daily 2008 album. begin designing/creating my December Daily 2009 album.

17. What is your noodle of choice?
i like them all.

18. What commercial are you so sick of?
wow, there are so many to choose from, i cannot possibly narrow it down to one.

19. If you gave birth today to octuplets (OMG!) and had sole naming rights, what would you name them? You can assume four of each sex, or make your own mix-up.
Riley Alexis. Samantha Jane. Adriane????. Emma ????. Jacob Anthony. Jackson Thomas. Blake Matthew. Gabriel Nicholas.

20. Is there something hanging over your head that you need to do right now?
just alot of school reading.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

the good, the bad & the ugly

Good: it's Saturday.
Bad: it is a run-day.
Ugly: I have been in a funk & sluggish today which killed all motivation for running.

Good: tomorrow is Sunday.
Bad: tomorrow I'm going to be REALLY old.
Ugly: tomorrow I will DEFINITELY have to run, especially after cake & ice cream.

Good: E & I went out to run a few errands together (and so he would nap in the car).
Bad: my husband annoys the shit outta me, more often than not.
Ugly: Instead of taking advantage of being child-free & getting all kinds of crap done @ the house that he wants to do before his parents arrive, O camped out on the couch the entire 2 hours E and I were gone.

Good: the yard has been tended to and looks pretty good despite the ugly grass AKA weeds.
Bad: I cut the grass (but that's not why it's ugly).
Ugly: Despite the noise, cutting the grass is a sort of 'getaway time' for me.

Good: I love Oreo cookies!
Bad: there is a package of them in the house (and I did NOT buy them), and I'm going to enjoy a few (or ten) right now with a glass of milk.
Ugly: that will prolong this lovely plateau I've been on forever now. Oh joy!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

plinky prompt

~I could not pass up this Plinky Prompt considering that Sunday is my the question was "What would you like to do on your next birthday?"

~I'm not sure if I should answer this with a "reasonable/practical" answer or a more dream-like, money-is-no-object type of answer....heck, it's my blog, I'll give both answers!!

~So my realistic/practical answer would be something along the lines of a nice breakfast (in bed maybe?) of fresh fruit w/yogurt, OJ and an egg or two followed by an uninterrupted day scrapbooking at the local scrapbook store. Considering the tight budget and options for things to do in this crapola town...that would be quite fun and very affordable.

~My dream-like, money-is-no-object answer would be boarding a flight quite early in the morning bound for ORLANDO!!!! I would take the fastest vehicle straight to WDW where I would get in for FREEEEEEEEEE....(where Dawn would be waiting to join me) did you know that WDW is offering free admission to everyone on their birthday? Yep!!! I would LOVE to be able to take advantage of that offer. I believe that's a $79 savings!!

Note: neither of these options will actually happen, so I guess both answers are sort of dream-like.

conflicted & RWP encounter

~classes started back up yesterday. because of this, I now have to leave my house AT LEAST 10 minutes earlier so as to not have to park in BFE. I really enjoyed my "close" parking spot (not really *that* close, but closer than what I have now) over the Summer.

~i ordered the book for my Stats class through Amazon. It was a bit cheaper and shipping is FREE, so why not? It still cost me $90, which is INSANE.

~when I went to class last night, I discovered that the book for THAT class is $130!!! It's paperback and about 8.5x11 in size. It's $104 on Amazon. Someone asked if we could use the 3rd edition instead as it is only $40. The prof said we could, however she has never used it so hard to say how much difference there will be. I've always bought the EXACT book needed for classes, I'm a bit obsessive that way. So my dilemma is that I have quite a bit of reading to do already and need to start right I hurry & order it on Amazon and hope it arrives by Monday (which is unlikely unless I expedite & would off set any savings) or do I just truck over to the campus bookstore today and fork out the $140?!?! Damn that hurts!! Oh and on Monday I paid $162 for a freakin' parking pass which is only valid through May 15, 2010. Damn this week has been expensive...which is why I take my lunch EVERY DAY!!!

~RWP Report: this report is based solely on last night's class. I still have a new class this morning @ 9:40 and there is bound to be someone in there, in fact, I already know the same RWP will be in there because she is in the School Counseling program as well. Oh joy. So basically there was only 1 other gal in class last night that I knew. She flagged me down and began to chat with me. RWP did not like that this gal was chatting with me. What? Did we just transport back to high school? You must be kidding. She wouldn't look at me and when she talked to the gal I knew, she blatantly made a point to not include me in the conversation. Awesome. Whatever. I'm too old for that shit. Well because my luck sucks, I ended up seated next to her and then had to do class introductions with her as we were told to pick someone we didn't know. It was so obvious that she really didn't want to talk to me and would have rather introduced the girl she already knows. Get over it!! So turns out she is getting married in February, to a guy in a band, who is on tour. Oh and she also sings in a different band, named after her favorite p*rn movie (wth?) and then she said they aren't really any good but they may be having a show on August 30th or something. Many of her comments throughout class were beyond immature. Oh let me tell you the class is "Psychology of the Exceptional Child" and while I am a doofus and thought that meant "exceptional SMART" kids, it actually means those with special needs. She was so childish in her comments, often laughing or making off-remarks while we watching a couple of DVDs....are you kidding? I was almost embarrassed for her. And she wants to be a school counselor? Oh no! I'm not sure I can come up with a funny list of questions or comments for her like the Optimistic Pessimist did for the Gold Tooth Girl, but I'm sure I'll have more reports on her unbelievably immature behavior as we move along through this class. I just hope I don't get teamed with her for the group project - the teacher is assigning our groups. Gasp!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I want Wednesday...

~i love Travel & Dive Girl's I Want Wednesdays posts and decided to swipe adopt the idea here...there's ALWAYS something I want so we'll see if there's enough to do this EVERY might end up being a Monthly post...but THIS Wednesday I want....

~this sweet Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch, for running of course...and then I can sync it up with this fun Running Ahead program!!

~a lifetime supply of the Berry Pomegranate Luna Cookies. I received a FREE sample in the mail last week and bravely tried it, as I am NOT a fan of the Luna Bars!! This cookie was scruptious and now I have a guilt-free snack for after those evening runs that inevitably leave me hungry!~I really NEED the Oakley Half Jacket Sunglasses in Root Beer for my outdoor running and especially for the Disney Princess 1/2, although I imagine the sun won't be out at the crazy-early hour of 6am when we start the race...I'll need them shortly thereafter however. :)
~this awesome Detroit Tigers sweatshirt...even if I only get a few months each year to wear it and those months NEVER fall during baseball season. I still want it!

~and did I mention that Sunday is my birthday???

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


~somehow I forgot to post this picture in my vacation picture's my favorite from the trip!

20 Questions

Another installment of 20 Questions swiped from Dawn's blog...

1. Where did you go on your first airplane ride?

I'm not certain, but it was probably to Florida - WDW to be exact.

2. What is your earliest memory?
kindergarten graduation. i was sick to my stomach with nerves.

3. What was your second grade teacher's name?
I have no idea.

4. What was the last thing you watched on tv?
Handy Manny

5. My uncle once:
helped me land a job, which i accepted & then later turned down. i still harbor feelings of shame & embarrassment for it today when i think about it.

6. How long was your longest relationship?
ten years.

7. What do you want to be?

8. What was the last thing you received in the mail?
a whole bunch of stuff. a week's worth to be exact, so that means a mixture of bills and junk.

9. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
that people would not take advantage of each other. or how about 2 things...there would be no pressure or situations in which a person HAD to do something they didn't want to do.

10. Would you prefer 10 inches of snow or 100 degree weather?
i'll take the 100 degrees if there is little to no humidity involved.

11. What is your homepage set to?
my iGoogle page.

12. Last 5 websites you visited:
Gmail. Google Reader. Facebook. Amazon. Local Track Club.

13. Were you a planned baby?
nope. my mom was 3 months pg when she married my (biological) father, which probably explains why he ended up being more a sperm donor than father.

14. What do you believe is the meaning of life?
to survive the daily crap.

15. What bill do you hate paying the most?
i like Dawn's answer of car insurance. I must agree.

16. How many schools did you attend through grade twelve?

17. The Cosby Show or The Simpsons?
how about neither!

18. Three signs Summer is here:
sunshine. heat. sunburns.

19. The last time you had your feelings hurt:
lately it's just about a daily occurrence.

20. Who was your first best friend?
Laura. she lived 2 houses down from me. she is exactly 6 months younger (to the day) than me so we always celebrated each other's 1/2 birthdays. Silly huh!?!

Monday, August 17, 2009

back to reality

~in order to ease myself back into the blogging routine, here is a picture post from our vacation at the beach...while the weather was still cooperating.

~my work schedule changes this week to tues-wed-thurs so today E and I are off to his 18 month check up.

first glimpse of the ocean and he makes a mad dash...

fun at the pool

the newest krispy kreme baker

me & my #1 at the pier

Saturday, August 15, 2009

thank you

just wanted to send out a big THANK YOU to all of my guest posters. I hope everyone enjoyed their fantastic stories!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

How I Score Free Haircuts and Rarely Pay for Drinks

Today's guest post is brought to you by Rachel @ It's a Hero...she is a fantabulous blogger and hopefully will be par-taking in the "joy" of running the 1/2 marathon with me in March 2010. She just moved to NY and had to leave her BF in Ohio, I'm sure she misses him terribly so please visit her blog and show her some love...

I've never considered myself to be frugal. I often drop money (money I don't have, mind you) on things that I don't really need (for example, my recent purchase of two Starbucks Iced Coffee Tumblers). I wish I could be one of those people that prides themselves on being a bargain hunter. BF can sniff a deal out of anywhere. It's amazing. I, on the other hand, see a messy discount rack in a store and I turn the other way. You'll find me paying full price before you'll find me digging through piles to find my size for $2.99.

This being said, if a good deal falls into my lap (as in, I don't have to search for it) I'm all over it. I guess I should start with my definition of the term "good deal." Good deal = Free. Free as in no money. No bartering. Nada. I love me a good steal deal. Good deal does not mean tiny shampoo bottles from hotels and other minature sized samples. Thanks but no thanks. A good deal is a free deal. Not a 'crap-I'll-never-use-but-will-take-up-lots-of-space' deal.

The good deal that I favor most is my free spa haircuts and treatments. I am very picky about who does my hair. I only go to Aveda salons (for real, probably the most and only semi-high maintenance thing about me). They just treat you like you should be treated.... Royally. :)

So how do I score the royal treatment at my local Aveda salon, you ask? Easy. A lot of these salons take recent beauty school grads and put them through an apprenticeship process. Which basically means they work for free for the salon, practicing and building a clientele. This means Rachel gets free luxury haircuts. Free!! These free haircuts come with complimentary Starbucks coffee, desserts, and a head and hand massage. Heaven...

Is it risky trusting a newbie? Sure, but they made it through beauty school, right? And these girls have a teacher looking over their shoulders for the entire 2 hours. Yes, I said two hours. Part of the process is for them to learn so it takes a little longer than your average haircut. But this haircut also saves you eighty-bucks. Worth. It.

If your hair is long enough, many of these salons will have their more experienced employees cut your hair for free if you will donate twelve inches to locks of love. I have done this before and it was, again, the royal treatment. Cut. Style. Pamper. Love.

So which ever way you get your free haircut, you'll then want to show it off. So why not get someone to buy you free drinks when you go out with your girls that night. Impossible, you say? Nope. Entirely possible I assure you. I generally go out for karaoke nights with my best gals, so it really sets things up for me. I'll sing a song. Scope out the bar for a man that is at least 20 years my senior and with a group of other older men (obviously this doesn't work if they are there with a group of women who could either be: a) their wife, or b) their daughter). Say hello. They'll say something about the song you just sang. And you say "Buy me a drink." Nothing more. Nothing less. This. Always. Works.

Even if they don't particularly want to, they will because they are surrounded by their other older male friends and they don't want to be "that guy" that doesn't by a younger woman a drink.

Ahhh the perks of being a woman. Free haircuts. Free drinks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Christmas in Cabo - not so merry!

Today's guest post is brought to you by Amy, who has a private blog, but if you want to read it you can email her below. She is a new mom to triplets and lives in Alaska!!! She is a great writer and always find some humor is her daily routine with her sweet little girls...or maybe it's the sleep deprivation.
I have no title or intro, and if anybody is so thrilled by this that you want to become a faithful reader (or check out my blog to see if you want to become a faithful reader), you can leave me your e-mail address in the comments or e-mail me at and I will send you an invite.

It was Christmas 2003, and my parents had generously offered to take me, my younger sister and David, my boyfriend of three years (now husband) to Cabo San Lucas for Christmas. Who could - or would - turn down an offer like that?

The fact that my sister, who for reasons unknown even to her was upset with me for having broken up with an ex for David, and thus hated him, should have been the first clue that it may have been wise to decline the generous offer.

My father yelling "Amy, don't start with me!" at the airport gate after I misplaced my boarding pass should have been the second clue that we maybe should have taken a cab back home.

But instead we boarded the plane, where we took the stewardess up on her offer to sit in the exit row, which in hindsight was most likely the smartest move we made the entire trip.

Our arrival at Cabo was relatively uneventful. I had already prepped David for the fact that, despite the fact we'd been dating for three years, and living together for two, my parents would NOT be allowing us to share a bed. So all 6'4" of him, along with his bad back, had to spend a week sleeping on the pullout sofa, while my sister and I shared a bed. David wasn't very receptive to this idea, but I told him he had no choice but to shut up and live with it.

The only excursion we'd had planned was a semi-expensive deep sea fishing trip, that everybody except my mom would be going on. My sister, David and I weren't expecting it to be smooth sailing. But we also weren't expecting to spend an hour on extremely choppy waters just trying to get to the destination where we would cast our lines. Oh no, wait, there was no actual destination. We just trolled in the choppy waters at what seemed to be breakneck speeds, after that long ride out.

My sister was the first to spew her guts over the side, about 1/4 of the way in. I managed to hold out longer, but a short nap - which I'd taken in the hopes of quelling the ever growing nausea - did me in. As the Mexican guides laughed at us (and offered us Vicks to either ease the nausea or erase the barf taste from our mouths, I'm still not sure), David lost whatever resolve he'd had left and leaned over the side of the boat.

Unfortunately, David is the ever-typical "Oh my I am SO sick, somebody help me as all I can do is lie on the couch and moan in pain!" man, only times 1000. And that is apparently increased by 1000 when somebody else is puking. So after 30 seconds of actual puking, and 10 minutes of forced dry heaves, he asked my dad to have the boat turned around, when we still had 1/2 of the trip (and not a single fish on the line) left. Needless to say, my father was severely unamused, and David was pissed at me the rest of the day for not backing him up in his request to turn around. And from that day was born his new motto, "I'm not doing anything I don't f***ing want to do."

Later that afternoon, we thought my sister's hatred for David had passed, as we bonded over lunch about the fact that we had no idea that deep sea fishing involved no leisurely cruising on the ocean, enjoying the clear blue skies and the dolphins leaping aside our boat.

But the nausea apparently coddled my sister's brain for only a bit. Later that night, exhausted, David wanted to turn in to bed early. My sister, however, was sitting on the couch, i.e., his bed, watching television. He yawned a lot. He said he was tired. He did his bedroom routine and put on his pajamas. And still my sister sat on the couch. Finally, my mother intervened.

"Jennifer," she said, "I think you need to turn off the tv and let David go to bed."

"Why do I have to stop watching tv just because HE wants to go to bed!" she screamed, slamming down the remote and stomping off to our bedroom.

Where she climbed in to bed and watched the television that was in our room.

The damage was basically done after that. David wasn't speaking to me, my dad wasn't really speaking to David, my sister wasn't speaking to me or David. The only person that everybody spoke to was my mom, who you could hear saying, over and over, "I can't talk about it now" or "I'll call you when we get home" to her sister (who she spoke with every day), wanting to tell her the horrid details, but not wanting to discuss it in front of anybody. Because the funny thing was, as horrible as it was, nobody wanted to admit it was horrible.

Until my parents dropped us off at the airport for our flight home to Alaska. As I hugged my mom goodbye and thanked her for the fun trip, she laughed.

"It wasn't fun," she said. "You don't have to lie."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

empty ATMs, volcanoes & fruit barges, oh my!

The lovely MJ is posting today as I am either at the pool or beach soaking up as much sun as I possibly can before the week is out...she's got quite a story for you about her adventure in Nicaragua. I'm not sure I would have been as calm as she was in this situation. Hang on tight....and make sure to check out her blog if you already haven't!!!

I spent the spring semester of my junior year at la Universidad de Costa Rica in San José, Costa Rica. To do this, I took a leave of absence from my regular university and applied to “la U” as it’s affectionately called and to Butler University’s study abroad program which handles the credit transfer and housing arrangements. My classes were all in Spanish and included such exciting topics as Photography, Costa Rican Literature, History of the Industrial Revolution, and Art History of Latin America. (Cleverly, I had planned ahead and held off on fulfilling my elective requirements until this semester.)

There were only three of us who had come to la U through Butler University, and we were all placed with families nearby one another in San Pedro, a suburb of San José. Anne, Chaunty and I stuck together a lot in the beginning—three gringas in an exotic, tropical land.

For Semana Santa, the week before Easter, the three of us decided to take a trip across the border to Nicaragua.
Our first stop was Granada, a gorgeous colonial town to the north of Lake Nicaragua. While there, we went to the open-air mercado, marveled at the elaborate, gold-embellished basilicas, which stood out starkly in this impoverished town, and smoked hand-rolled cigars while lying in hammocks.

After a couple of days in Granada, we decided to go to la Isla de Ometepe, an island in Lake Nicaragua. In preparation for our trip, we purchased some snacks and stopped by the ATM. Empty. The banks were closed and wouldn’t refill the machines until after Semana Santa, according to the locals.

Oh well, we thought, we’ll get money on the island, and we hailed a taxi to take us to the dock where we could catch a boat to Ometepe. The scene around the dock was unlike anything I had ever seen before—there were hundreds of nicas, wearing tattered clothes, wading in the water, most fully clothed.

Once we docked on the island, Anne, Chauntay and I took a public bus—a dilapidated, old school bus—to our hostel. I found myself in a three-person seat with a man with his two grandchildren and a woman with a sack of limes. There’s no such thing as personal space in Latin America. I watched out the window as we traveled down a dusty, bumpy road, passing by single room homes, with windows without screens or glass, dirt floors and no running water or electricity.

Our room at the hostel was a rugged cabin with bunk beds and an outdoor shower. On our second day, Anne and I decided to hike one of the two inactive volcanoes on the island. There was a guided group hike, but Anne and I insisted on hiring our own guide for the hike. Presumably as punishment for our superior, we’re-not-like-those-stupid-tourists attitudes, the guide took us up the more challenging trail to the top of the volcano. Parts of the trail were practically vertical; we had to climb using tree roots and vines as hand and foot holds. One part actually was vertical—we had to scale it using a rope attached to a tree at the top of the ledge. At a certain altitude, we entered a new micro-climate—a cloud forest. The mud was almost knee deep, and I slid, falling on my ass several times. When we finally made it to the top (panting), we were disappointed to find that the view of the island was completely blocked by the clouds in the sky, and garbage and funk had collected in the pool of blue-green water that had long replaced the fiery magma from the volcano’s active period.

Muddy and tired, we descended the volcano and hitched a ride to our hostel on the back of a pick-up truck. We met back up with Chauntay at dinner and she informed us that she had talked with the owners of the hostel, and we wouldn’t be able to pay our bill with a credit card and that there were no banks or ATM machines on the island. Luckily, we were able to scrounge our bags and scour our pockets for just enough U.S. dollars, Costa Rican colones and Nicaraguan cordobas to pay the bill. We didn’t have enough money for the ferry back to Granada though….

Defeated, we asked one of the hostel workers what we should do. He said that there was a much cheaper way off the island, a lancha that we could walk to if we had to. So that’s what we did. We bummed a little bit of cash from a fellow traveler and set off on foot down a dusty road, carrying our monstrous packs on our backs with the hot sun beating down on us.

We got to the docks where the lancha was supposed to leave from and found a surprise. The lancha was not a passenger ferry at all, but instead a big, rickety commercial fruit barge. Young men with dirt under their fingernails and sweat rolling down their foreheads were heaving huge sacks of naranjas, limones y más onto the boat. We were not only the only gringas at the docks, but the only women too.

I timidly approached one of the men working and asked how much for a ride to land. He looked at me funny and told me the price. We had just enough money for the lancha and to buy two cokes to share!

The boat ride was slow and the accommodations were minimal at best. Religious sermons in Spanish blared through the speakers, and the young workers, covered in grime were lying, napping among the sacks of fruit.

Anne and I figured “when in Nicaragua, do as the Nicaraguans do,” and we laid side by side, using the fruit sacks as pillows. Spiders and other insects crawled on our skin, and the humidity was close to intolerable, but we slept. Chauntay on the other hand just stood around looking nervous for the entire trip. When we finally reached the shore, I think she actually kissed the ground.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

cocina mexicana a la Beatriz

To stick with tradition, the lovely Senorita Andaluciana has offered to guest post for me today with a Spanish lesson via a wonderful traditional recipe. Enjoy it!! Visit her blog too - she is funny, interesting & has some very blog-inspiring roommates.
Ya que K13 esta de vacaciones me toco a mí el martes conocido como “Te Amo Tuesdays”. Translation! Please! Well K13 is on vacation so I get to impress you all with my language skills! *insert eye-rolling smiley face*

Today’s lesson is going to revolve around cooking! Thus today’s recipe and lesson will be on how to make Mexican Rice, aka Red Rice, aka Spanish rice but that last one doesn’t really apply I guess. The recipe has different variations but all of them are delicious! I am providing a version of the instructions in Spanish and in English but no pronunciation for the Spanish, for me it’s very difficult to give that. My brain just goes huh? Hope you all enjoy this!

Arroz Mexicano (A-rrrrrrr-os Mehikano) Mexican Rice

½ taza de arroz blanco (med-ya taza de a-rrrr-os blan-ko)
½ cup white rice

¼ cebolla (sa boy ya)
¼ onion

½ lata de salsa de tomate (med-ya taza de salsa de toe-ma -tay)
½ can of tomato sauce (8oz)


Consume de pollo (Kone-sue-meh de po-yo)
Chicken Bouillon

1 cucharada de Aceite (ku-cha-rah-da de A-say-tay)
1 tbsp oil (olive, canola, corn)

1-2 tomate (toe-ma-tay)
1-2 tomatoes (optional)

3–4 tazas de Agua (trace – quattro tas as day agua)
3-4 cups wáter

En un sartén caliente el aceite, aunque a veces se necesita mas de una cucharada, así que agregue suficiente aceite para que todo el arroz quede cubierto pero que no haiga exceso. Cuando el aceite este caliente, mezcle con el arroz y freír hasta que este un color oro/marrón.

Ahora agregue la cebolla – esto es al gusto si prefiere mas agregue mas o menos si no le gusta – y freír hasta blanda pero que el arroz no se ponga completamente marrón.

Agregar salsa de tomate para dar color y sabor a tomate, si prefiere no agregar salsa se le puede agregar 2 tomates para dar suficiente sabor pero no tendrá el color rojo. Si usa los tomates corte en rebanados o rodajas.

Agregar agua, que cubra el arroz completamente y que haiga una pulgada de agua arriba del arroz. Cocinar a fuego mediano, si se cubre entonces estará listo dentro de 30 minutos o menos. Cuando este caliente el agua agregue sal o consume al gusto, ya que el consume dará muy buen sabor y tiene sal. Si no quiere usar consume use sal pero no los mezcle porque estará demasiado salado. Si se deja destapado tendrá que agregarle mas agua y cuidar que no se pegue al sartén.

El arroz esta listo cuando este florecido o expandido y no haiga granos que se vean blancos en el centro.

In a large to medium sized skillet heat up the oil. You may need to use more than one tablespoon to make sure the rice is completely covered but do not use so much that you have the oil pool. Once the oil is hot add the rice and sauté until it is golden brown.

Once the rice is golden brown or close to it, add the onion. Sauté until soft but do not allow the rice to turn a dark brown color. The amount of onion is up to the chef as some prefer a stronger flavor than others so you can modify this.

Add tomato sauce to give the red color and tomato flavoring but if you prefer you may limit it to just tomatoes 1 or 2, although it will not be red. If you choose to add tomatoes instead slice them or dice them before adding.

Add water to where it covers the rice completely and at least 1 inch above the rice itself. Cook on medium heat and cover the skillet, the rice will be done in 30 minutes or less. When the water is hot add the chicken bouillon or salt, but if you use bouillon do not add salt as it will be too salty. You may choose to not cover but you will probably have to add water later on and watch it so it doesn’t stick to the skillet.

The rice is done when it looks like it’s flowered or expanded and there are more rice grains that have a white center. They should be almost see-through and fluffy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

betel nut, anyone?

Greetings from the beach!! Hopefully it's crazy warm and sunny right now and I'm working on my tan with my nose stuck in a good chick-lit book. In my absence, the amazing Travel & Dive Girl has offered to fill in with a great story about her attempt to embrace a new culture and a "legal" narcotic. Enjoy!!

While the lovely and entertaining K13 is off partaking in the sand, sun, mini golf, shopping, the all-you-can-eat buffets and many other things that Myrtle Beach has to offer, she’s given me the opportunity to guest post in her absence. I’m honored by the opportunity and hope to keep you entertained with my post recounting my perceived near death experience while on a scuba diving vacation in Micronesia.

In 2007, I was fortunate enough to visit the tiny Micronesian island of Yap. Yap is located in the Pacific Ocean, 800 miles east of the Philippines and is known for it’s stone money, manta rays and is also “once in a lifetime” destination for scuba divers (hence my visit). I was determined to dive with the supposed “devil fish” so that I could cross it off of my list of things to do before I die. Little did I know; death was closer than I had imagined and believe me when I say - the Angel of Death has bad teeth!

Upon our arrival in Yap, we were greeted at the thatched roof airline terminal by a handsome, well groomed young man who was holding a sign with our group name on it. Being my friendly self, I stride over with a smile on my face to say hello and to introduce our group. When the young man returns the smile and opens his mouth to return the hello, I am horrified, mortified and shocked by the state and color of his teeth and gums. How can he be so beautiful on the outside, but his oral hygiene be so nasty?

As I’m contemplating the situation before me and trying not to stare, he lets a gigantic spit ball fly from the corner of his mouth, which lands squarely in a nearby bucket with a splash. *ewww* I’m trying my damndest not to offend this man with the look of repulsion on my face, but seriously, I couldn’t figure out WTF was wrong with him?

When he realizes the stunned woman before him is staring, he smiles once again and offers me some of his “stash” and apologizes for not offering me some sooner. I graciously decline and quickly move along, so that my friends can partake in this new, visual cultural experience.

I soon learn his “stash” is a local narcotic delicacy called betel nut and it is chewed like tobacco; however it’s made of the nut from a palm tree, wrapped in betel leaf and seasoned with ground limestone, cloves and ground tobacco. Chewing it provides a mild euphoric feeling, heightened awareness of your surroundings, tingling limbs, increased body temperature and even a sense of arousal. Hmmm, as interesting as that concept may be, I could not imagine sharing a French kiss with a betel nut chewer. I would rather lick the shoe of someone that cleans horse stalls for a living. Prolonged use however causes red teeth, red gums and eventually tooth decay. Beautiful…

It soon became apparent that betel nut use was widespread – everywhere we turned, we were greeted by warm (slightly high), welcoming individuals, both young and old, men, women and children - all with nasty smiles.

When in Rome

As part of our visit to Yap, we were taken on a cultural tour of a local village. As part of our tour, we were able to partake in local food and beverages, watch village elders make handicrafts and they shared with us the history of their village. As part of our tour finale, we were asked to partake in some betel nut, while watching the village youth perform a cultural dance on our behalf.

As I’m not one to back away from a challenge (or a dare), how could I possibly pass up the chance to try some mild narcotic? How bad could it be - all the locals are doing it? They wouldn’t offer it to tourists, if it could kill them right? Four year olds are doing it – what’s the risk? Turns out – only 3 people in our group of 16 were up for the challenge. “Chicken-asses”, I said. In hindsight, they were the wise ones and I was the dumbass.

Moments before the ceremonial dance was about to begin, the etiquette of betel nut chewing was explained to us – basically chew it, but do not spit it out during the performance or you will be considered disrespectful. Easy enough, right? No, I was absolutely wrong!

I pop the betel nut in the side of my mouth and begin to chew, but the instant I do I have an overwhelming urge to spit the thing from my mouth, as the taste is revolting, my lips are becoming numb and I no longer have feeling in the inside of my mouth. As we are seated within a mere 2 feet from the dancers, spitting it out is not an option, so I try to focus on videotaping the experience while holding the disgusting wad inside my mouth – all while red drool is escaping my lips and running down my chin and onto my white t-shirt.

In addition to not being able to feel my lips, I suddenly realize that my ears are ringing, my face is burning, my heart is racing, I could no longer successfully move my arms or legs, my vision had become blurred and I could feel my consciousness slipping away. “Shit”, I thought to myself, I’m going to faint!

In my semi-conscious state, I realized that if I didn’t get rid of that betel nut immediately, I was going to pass out. Without trying to draw attention to my perilous state, I slowly begin lowering the video camera to my lap. My husband leans over and asks “what are you doing? Why aren’t you videotaping?”

In my impaired state, I think that my husband is an absolute idiot for not caring about me, but that’s a discussion I couldn’t possibly have with him at that moment, so I manage to whisper in a slurred voice, “I’m going to die”. I then lean over and spit the wad between my feet. Unfazed by my distress, he whispers back “If you do that, the village Chief will most likely try to give you mouth to mouth. Look at him smiling at you.” *shit*

For the next hour 10 minutes, I fought to maintain my consciousness, with one stubborn thought - “Screw you Angel of Death. I’m not prepared to die in the middle of nowhere and I’m certainly not prepared to be given mouth to mouth from anyone on this damn island”.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

yes i am a pirate, 200 years too late

~i'm off to the land of sun and sand.

~the plan was to be on the road by 7am, so hopefully that is where we are by now!

~hoping to come back a few shades darker.

~plan to sing jimmy buffett tunes the.entire.time. i'm @ the beach.

~see ya' in a week~

Friday, August 07, 2009

friday randomness

~first & Etsy store is OFFICIALLY OPEN. Check out the button/link over there to the right. (Thank you MommyGoneWild for the button help)! I hope to post more card kits in the coming weeks.

~less than 24 hours 'til we set out on our (likely painful) road trip. i'm still excited though, even if the drive is 'challenging'

~my "to do" list prior to departure is quite long and includes things like: cut the grass, trip to walmart, install DVD player in car, laundry, pack my stuff, pack E's stuff, polish change on the toes, trip to babies r us....yeah it just goes on and on. good thing I have ALL day today to work on everything.

~i had an appointment to take E for his 18 month pictures this morning, but yesterday he somehow managed to get a big 'ol scratch on the side of his face. i have no idea how he did it. so i canceled and hopefully can get an appointment on 8.17. I cannot believe E will be 18 months old on Saturday!

~my last four runs have been just over 4 miles each. that's the good news. the bad news is that the last TWO runs have resulted in some funky (left) leg pain that shoots up the back of my thigh and into my bum. not good. it's not a tight muscle feeling though, more of a pinched nerve feeling and that is definitely NOT good.

~i have set up some guest posts for while I'm sunning myself at the beach, so I hope you enjoy them. i've decided to take the laptop but really want to avoid using it and just enjoy the sun, sand, E and some books....oh and getting all the sand off of E because I'm certain I'll be spending ALOT of time doing that. :)

~i received my 100 mile award from Nike after last nights run. Check it out!

~i WILL be running while on vacation but I don't have iTunes on my laptop so there will be no updating the Mini --- she better not get lazy on me!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


~i may be a skeptic, but I seem to be encountering a lot of blogs with posts that just sound a shitload bit off from the truth. that's all i say about that. it's no one I've been following for a while, but just a few random blogs here and there. strange.

~i often feel inferior (or stupid) around those I work with mainly because they all are much younger than me and already have their Masters degree. (i have age issues, I know)

~i'd rather be comfortable than fashionable.

~i wanted to punch this gal in the face the other day. she recognized me from a recent 5K race I did. (which freaked me out since there were 1200+ people there!) she proceeded to say how she's never been a runner, but just went out one day about a month ago and ran while her mom rode her bike and before she knew it, she had ran 2 miles. then she said she came in first in her age group and she runs at a 7-8 minute mile pace. and then she said she has a 10 month old. and then i wanted to punch her. it's not fair that running is SO *&^%$# easy for some people. I freakin' hate that. and she was so non-chalant about it, like it's just a walk in the park -literally for her.

~i'm putting together a few card kits which will include all you need to create 3-4 cards (with instructions) to sell on Etsy. I fear no one will buy them. but i'm still gonna try (again).

~i do not have a bathing suit for the beach next week. well, i do have one that fits, but it's black and I only bought it to go swim laps @ the gym way back when E would tolerate being left at the gym child care. I was hoping to wear the pair of super cute pink/brown surf shorts that I have, but I tried to pour all my fatness into them last night - to no avail. they don't fit. yet. despite all the running. it's too late to order a suit now and besides, I'd just frighten everyone away with all my fatness all over the place.

~i may drop $100's at the Margaritaville store/restaurant next week and I really need all of you to say it's "ok" despite that I really shouldn't...I just can't help it...I'm ADDICTED to all things Jimmy Buffett.

~i had an awesome dream last night. well part of it wasn't awesome, but the part where I was making out with a friend from high school was indeed awesome. and i liked it! i'm tempted to call him (we still talk) and tell him, he'd get a kick out of it. but maybe I'll just savor it for myself instead.

Monday, August 03, 2009

post by numbers

0-pounds i've lost since beginning my running. sucks!

2-classes left to finish off this mini-semester. woohoo!

3-guest posts I could still use for next week if you are interested.

4-miles i've ran each of last two workouts. yay some progress.

5-days 'til we are on the road to Myrtle Beach.

5-days 'til E turns 18 MONTHS OLD!! Holy moly did the time fly!!!

7-hours Google says it will take us to drive to Myrtle Beach.

7-more miles to run 'til Nike gives me my virtual "100 Mile" award.

8-weeks into my running routine and still going strong.

9-hours it will actually take us to drive to Myrtle Beach considering (1) my husbands driving and (2) the 18 month old in the back seat.

12-days to enjoy reading for FUN. no textbook reading allowed.

445-miles from my front door to Myrtle Beach.

3000-close to the number of calories I consumed yesterday in my failed attempt to fight off a sweet tooth all freakin' day long. that baklava sure was good though.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

being crafty

~i'm so excited to report that I've actually had time to scrapbook lately...thought I'd share a few things I've made recently...
this first one is a fun little mini book with pictures of E all taken in April 2009
the "boys rule" mini album contains pictures taken in July 2009

and this last one is still in progress but will be a collection of my (sad, pathetic & unsuccessful) attempt last year to take a picture-a-day. i did not take a picture everyday but I did manage to take one on 275 of the 366 days in 2008 and i will house them all here. i'm just gluing the pictures back-to-back between these chipboard covers, anything else and it would have been 10 inches thick and I don't think binder rings come in that size.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

i need a day

~to myself.

~to LEISURELY shop and/or window shop. or just do things that are best enjoyed alone and UNrushed.

~I want to do some thrift store shopping. I keep reading about it on other blogs and surely there are some great things to find around here, but I never have time alone to go searching.

~I had plans to hit up the scrapbook store last night (with coupon in hand), the one I never go to and which recently re-located. O was to arrive home at 4:30ish and my plan was to bolt out the door as they close at 6pm. Instead @ 2pm, O's company decided that he needed to drive back to the job site 2 hours away on emergency and work possibly 'til midnight...there went my free/alone time.

~You see I cannot even go window shopping with E because over the past couple weeks he has developed a strong (and I mean STRONG) dislike towards his stroller and shopping buggies, in other words, he WILL NOT sit in one and it's quite the battle to get him in it and then buckle him in and then listen to him scream while all heads turn my way. Yeah, I'd just rather avoid it altogether.

~So until this child comes to terms with the fact that shopping is a part of his mother's life (albeit mostly grocery shopping), then I won't be taking him to any stores.

~In addition to the stroller & shopping buggies, he is also not interested in being in the bike trailer! Yeah, the BRAND NEW BIKE TRAILER that we JUST got and have used only TWO times! Great!! He better get thru this phase and quick.

~That means I'm virtually home bound when I'm alone with E. Kind of sucks cuz I like to go places, besides the drive-thru.

~The only time I ever get a sitter for E is when I'm going to school/work. I've never had a sitter come so I can do anything fun, but I think we've gotten to the point where I'm going to have to do that.