Monthly Archives: October 2013

Throwback Wednesday #3

October 10, 2010 – 11:19 am

I have no pets, so WHAT WAS THAT?!! You know how sometimes you are dreaming, but you don’t realize you’re dreaming? Yeah? Well, that happened to me Saturday morning. Let me begin my saying that I may or may not have been under the influence of alcohol the evening before all this took place. It was about 5 am and I’d mustered up the energy to get up and grab my trusty bottle of water to encourage hydration in my body. Shortly after this my nonexistent alarm clock started playing low music and I didn’t have the energy to shut it off. As I lay there in my hung-over stupor something grazed my neck. It took me all of 5 seconds to remember that I don’t own any animals. Typically most human beings would flip on the light right away, but a fear took over my body and I laid there motionless waiting to hear it for some indication of what it was and where it was. After a couple minutes of not hearing anything I turned on my lamp. There was nothing there, but I wasn’t about to look under to bed to be certain. After I laid back down (with the light on) I realized that the music had gone away. And, I didn’t have an alarm clock that played music. And, it was probably just a dream. Or at least I really hope it was… I may get rat poison to sprinkle around my bed just in case.

I lisp when I drink alcohol. Most of you probably know that my two front teeth are fake. Well, unlike real teeth they are not made of enamel and dentine, but rather porcelain, and they take up more room in my mouth because there’s a bump at the back where they meet my gums. Since I’m sensational at talking and do lots of it, I have adjusted for this so that people don’t notice the bathtub in my mouth. However, I have found my kryptonite – booze. Apparently after a couple of drinks the alcohol works as Miracle Grow for my front teeth, making them triple in size. One would think an easy way to remedy this would be to stop drinking, but binge drinking with water just isn’t the same. Instead I’m just going to stop using words with ‘th’ after the second drink.

If you tell me to do something I’ll do the exact opposite. Sometimes it’s intentional because I don’t like to be told what to do, and other times telling me to not do something somehow subconsciously makes it happen. For example, my boss has only once told me what to not do at a specific training: make sure no one sees your tattoo, don’t tell them your age, no sexual references or dirty jokes, and don’t use the Lord’s name in vain. (Makes you wonder what my trainings are normally like, huh?) Needless to say, there was only one of those things that didn’t happen. (I’ll let you ponder which one you think I succeeded at.) I was set up for failure. And, he’s never again given me advice for trainings. Since being single there have been several people encouraging me to throw all my inhabitations to the wind and have one night stands. Not going to happen. I’ve never done that before in my life, nor do I understand how any human is capable of doing that. I can’t even kiss a guy on the first date, for heaven’s sake. Obviously I know they’re joking – I don’t hang out with friends that would give that terrible of advice. But, to make a point I’ve set a new goal in my life – I have taken a yearlong+ vow of celibacy. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “What happens if you get into a relationship with someone before that year is up? Are you not going to date too?” Yes, I am still going to date. Here’s my thoughts on the situation – el sexo complicates things, especially when it’s premature. And, I’d rather date someone who’s with me for me, rather than my gymnastic talents. (That’s a joke, Mom. Stop clutching your chest.) So there. It’s set. And, no one is allowed to harass any future suitors about this. Maybe they’ll want to play a lot of Scrabble in the evenings anyhow.

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Mint Jeans ModelMint Jeans, Navy Gingham Shirt, Tan Sweater

Inspiration

Sweater: Old Navy; Shirt: J. Crew Factory; Jeans: Gap; Shoes: Lands End Canvas

Marathon

I ran a marathon on Sunday. Typically when I have a terrible experience with something I’m dying to blog about it. For some reason I wasn’t that way with the marathon. Maybe because it wasn’t as terrible as I imagined. Maybe it was worse than I’d imagined. I’m not quite sure. But, there are a few things I learned from running it that I wanted to pass on.

My Advice For Running Your First Marathon

  1. First and foremost, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. If you’ve ever had surgery I think it’s a fair thing to compare training for a marathon to. You know how when you wake up from surgery feeling groggy, super nauseous, and in a lot of pain? Now imagine feeling that way and trying to run. And repeating this same feeling every other weekend as your miles build up. (Granted, it only really starts when you get to 14+ miles and as you’re building, but that still seems to be enough times to never want to run again.) Oh, and while you’re feeling horrible on a bi-weekly basis, imagine not drinking or hanging out with your friends anymore on Friday nights. Or really Saturdays either while you do your runs and then feel like crap. If you’re really ready to make that sacrifice and you’re being honest with yourself, then maybe a marathon is in your future.
  2. Don’t expect that training for a half marathon is even going to be comparable to training to a full. Yes, I ran 5 half marathons before doing a full and thought I was a stud. Well, there’s nothing like an extra 13.1 miles to kick you on your ass and remind you that you’re not. I don’t remember ever having the same exhaustion, pain, or necessary discipline when I trained for the full marathons.
  3. Find a buddy or a training group to run with. (Or even a generous friend that’s willing to bike or roller blade alongside you.) Yes, it’s nice to have someone to keep you company for the runs, but it’s even more important to have the accountability to make sure you don’t skip your runs just because you don’t feel like it. Because you won’t feel like it a lot.
  4. Pick a race with a flat course. Yes, it was great to do one in San Francisco and I saved money on not having to pay for a hotel. But, when your split for the half is slower than any half you’ve ever done and your calves are burning by mile 10, you know it’s a tough course and insanely hilly.
  5. Don’t expect the impossible from your sig other. When they give you their blessing to train for a marathon they don’t really know what that entails because you also don’t know what that entails. They don’t realize that you signing up to run a marathon means you’re both signing up to train for a marathon. You’ll have a regimented schedule, but you can’t expect them to change their diet, their workout routines, their weekends, and their social calendar to ensure you’re successful at your training. They didn’t sign up to run a marathon for a reason.
  6. Get a personal trainer early on in the training to show you how to strengthen your IT band, legs, and core. Then, stick with the suggested muscle building techniques. Your knees and hips will thank you. (Yes, your knee pain is really from a lack of muscle not bad knees. Or in my case – both.)
  7. Always have enough water for your runs, even on the day of your marathon. Always. It’s worth carrying the extra weight to not get thirsty during a run or to drink too much water if you come to a water fountain or a water station on the course. Not having enough and having too much can make your run miserable. And a slight wind or 5 degrees can change your water intake for a long run.
  8. Don’t schedule anything for early in the afternoons on Saturday because otherwise when you get started later than expected or your runs take longer than expected you’ll find yourself in a predicament the first time…and then making excuses to not run all the subsequent times you have afternoon plans.
  9. If your second toe is longer than your first toe, determine your shoe size off the second toe, not your big toe. You’ll look much better with toenails.
  10. Don’t start eating crappy foods just because you’re burning loads of calories. It’s really easy to do and justifiable. But you’ll quickly learn that junk in = junk out. If you want your body to feel well during the runs you have to treat it well.
  11. Don’t stop exercising just because you’re tired of running. After 5 months of running it’s inevitable that you’ll be tired of running. Even if you want to skip your shorter runs during the week, make sure to still do some sort of cardio.
  12. Scrape up the money to get massages after each building run. It’s amazing what it does for recovery and your body will thank you for it.
  13. Foam roller. If you don’t have one, buy one. If you don’t know how to use it, look it up on YouTube. You’d be amazed at how many sore spots you have and you don’t realize. Oh, and it’ll hurt. But it hurts so good.
  14. Have bags of ice in your freezer for an ice bath after your long runs if you want to function later that day. (If you don’t, you can skip this step.) When you get home from your runs start your bath with cold water while you grab the ice. Set your timer for 8 minutes and relieve yourself from all the pain you just endured. Then wrap yourself up in a blanket to warm up and take a nap. You earned it.
  15. Make sure your workout gear fits. There’s nothing worse than always pulling down your shorts, chaffing, blisters, readjusting your headphones, tying your shoes, etc. during the course of your runs. You’ll be spending a lot of time running, so put forth the money.
  16. Figure out the food situation early on – both before your runs and during your runs. Figure out what you should eat before you run and how long you need it to settle in your stomach before you head out the door. I found apple slices were wonderful for during my runs but took up a lot of space; Shot Blocks hurt my stomach, but they tasted good and I didn’t like Gu. Can you drink a sports drink or will it mess up your stomach? Know what to pack: antacids, salt, ibuprofen, caffeine?
  17. Plan how you’re getting home from the race before you start the race. There’s nothing worse than finishing a race, being sore, and then having to wait for a bus or a taxi to arrive. Or, worse yet, having to walk a long distance.
Laughing

This was around mile marker 16 or 17 when my friend Jenny was making me laugh.

Marathon Exhaustion

And, this was me after I finished. I think the picture displays exactly how I was feeling.

Red Pants, Striped Tank, Gray Sweater, White Converse Orange Chinos, Denim Jacket, Blue and White Striped Shirt

 

Left: Sweater: Gap; Tank: Gap Factory; Jeans: Express; Shoes: Converse

Right: Jacket: The Limited; Shirt: J. Crew Factory; Pants: Gap; Shoes: Lands End Canvas

Leggings

I’m so tired of blog articles saying leggings aren’t pants. They are pants! However, I’ve now find myself self-conscious whenever I wear my leggings and only wear them to run errands. Here’s my look from last Friday for errand running and then for happy hour. 

White Sweater, Herringbone Vest, Black LeggingsWhite Sweater, Herringbone Vest, Black Jeans

 

Vest: J. Crew Factory; Sweater: Lands End Canvas; Shoes: Lands End Canvas; Leggings: Target; Jeans: Mango

Kale Minestrone

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a book club meeting at my house. Since it was a Friday evening one I decided to make dinner for the group. My friend Jenny is a vegan, which is why I specifically picked the recipe. It’s so delicious you won’t even notice that it’s missing meat! The only modification I made was that I found the original recipe a little bland, so I added some salt, pepper, and oregano. Below is the updated recipe. Be warned it makes a lot, so you may need to modify it. I made it in an 8 quart pot.Vegan Kale Minestrone

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 6 small Yukon gold potatoes chopped
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 bunches of kale chopped
  • 15 oz can chick peas
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a large pan, saute the onion and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add broth, water, parsley, potatoes, celery, carrots, basil, bay leaf, oregano, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the veggies are tender.
  3. Add chick peas, kidney beans, kale and pasta.  Simmer another 20 minutes.   Add salt and pepper.

Visitors

One big difference between San Francisco and Madison is the number of visitors. When we were looking at apartments my KISA insisted that we get a two bedroom for people to stay when they came to visit. I thought he was crazy.

When we lived in Madison we had my KISA’s brother come up from Chicago to visit, my family (that lived 1.5 hours away) visit, and J-Lu visit after they moved from Madison to Chicago. And, that’s about the extent of it unless it happened to be that some person in our network had a work trip to Madison. Since moving to San Francisco we had more visitors in the first three months than we did the entire time we lived in Madison.

After working at my last job that required me to travel sometimes 3 out of 4 weeks a month I got pretty burned out on travel. One of my favorite things about living in California is that you don’t have to leave the state to feel like you’re on vacation. It’s pretty fabulous. Another thing I’m learning I love is the excitement and pride of showing someone your new city. I find I now get excited when someone is coming to visit in the same way I used to when I was the one traveling. And today is no exception! (Hence the reason I’m blogging at 5 am on a Thursday instead of sleeping!!)

When I was in Australia a couple of years ago I met this sweet French Canadian, called Miss Mondaine. Unlike a lot of the friends I made during that trip, her and I kept in contact and actually grew our friendship more after we returned. When she got back to Quebec she decided to start up her own company (yes, she’s ambitious) and has not had the luxury of traveling ever since. Needless to say, I couldn’t be more flattered when she picked her next trip, two years later, to be San Francisco. And, judging by the airport picture she took this morning and the picture of her grinning, she’s as excited as I am for the adventure that ensues over the next two weeks!

Airport

I Stand With Boston

My KISA is from a city outside Boston. The Boston Marathon is run on a holiday that I’m aware is only celebrated in the state of Massachusetts: Patriots Day. On Patriots Day the schools don’t have classes and many employees don’t have to work, so a lot of people watch the Boston Marathon and some even go down to support the race, even though they don’t know anyone running. Boston is a very proud city and they take great pride in holding the elitist of all marathons in the world – The Boston Marathon.2012-04-30_1335746894

When the Boston Marathon attack happened I selfishly thought first of races where I used to watch my ex cross the finish line. I remember specifically for the NYC Marathon standing at mile marker 25 and then again at the finish. The fear that the attackers hoped to instill in many had worked on me as I reflected on the “it could have been me”. As I heard about the deaths and casualties it became even more real, my heart went out to them and their families. You heard all the heroic stories of the people that didn’t run away from the bomb, but rather towards it to help the victims. Something that is not the reflex in most people.

As most of you know, I started training in June for the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon. The race is now on Sunday, October 20th. For anyone that has not done a marathon, you cannot fathom what it’s like to train for one. Even having done 5 half marathons I had no idea what I was in for. First, the sheer number of miles that is expected for you to run is insane. And, multiply that by 5 months and you’ll realize why I’ve been burnt out from training for over a month. I don’t think there’s anything in life I’d want to do for as many days and hours as I’ve run, including running. Then, there’s the pain that ensues from doing your long runs. Every week knowing that you’ll be in pain and have to push through it is daunting. It made me dread ever having to do any of my long runs. Many weeks I procrastinated and had to somehow make up time during the week or else modify my training yet again to get the distances in that were required. I also had to adjust my lifestyle to make sure I got proper sleep, hydration, carbs, clothing, shoe fittings, etc. to prepare me for the runs each week. There were a lot of sacrifices of fun that were required to get my long runs in, both the night before and the morning of my runs. And then after the long runs, faking that I felt great when the last thing I wanted to do was stand or go anywhere that day.

As I’ve been training, I’ve realized that there is one other group of people that were affected by the Boston bombing that people don’t often think of as victims as well – the runners. I could not imagine, first of all, not being able to finish a marathon I’d trained for over the last 5 months, which happened to many. Second of all, thinking of all the supporters that graciously came to watch you run, and now knowing that you may have inadvertently put them in harm’s way. For some runners, the fear of not knowing where your friends and family were, if they’re safe, trying to find them, etc. when they heard the news. I couldn’t imagine. I pray all those runners get a chance to cross the finish line at another point in their lives and that they don’t have to live in fear during their next race.

Because of all this, I’ve decided to dedicate my marathon to Boston. And when I say “Boston”, I mean all the people that participated in the Boston Marathon, all the victims and their families, and all my loved ones that are from Boston and now are forced to have a dark memory to go along with all the other great memories they’ve had with the race held in their city.

South Dakota

I know a lot of you that read my blog don’t come from an agricultural background to understand that magnitude of the storm and loss in South Dakota. For those of you that have not heard about it, unfortunately the media hasn’t given it a lot of exposure, there was a blizzard that unexpectedly hit South Dakota the 3rd-5th of October. I’ve read a lot of articles about the storm and its devastation and my heart breaks every time. I’ve heard it’s predicted from 20,000 – 75,000 head of cattle have been lost and anywhere from 5%-20% of the cattle in the state.

Let me start from the beginning to give you some background.

Beef cattle spends its time out to pasture (grassy fields), even in winter storms. A rancher will have acres and acres of pasture for the cattle to graze – typically a summer pasture and a winter pasture. The winter pasture will be closer to their farmstead and normally has a shelter, natural or man-made. The summer pasture can be miles and miles away as they just let the cattle graze and “beef up”. Because the Midwest doesn’t normally see winter storms, especially blizzards, in early October, most ranchers had their cattle in a summer pasture, far away.

Some people have questioned “Why, when there was talk of a winter storm, did they not move the cattle or bring them indoors?” The first thing to know is the sheer amount of cattle in South Dakota. It’s said there are 5 animals per person on average in SD and per Wikipedia (US Census Bureau is down with the shutdown) there are 833,354 people in the state. Rough math skills would make that over 4 million head of cattle. And, with only 15,000 cattle producers, that’s about 266 head of cattle per rancher as a general idea for you. The logistics to get that many animals moved in a very short amount of time is very difficult. And, how would you fit 266 head of cattle into a barn? And, would the barn be able to withstand the storm? What happens if the animals get scared and stampede in a small enclosed space?

Also, the storm was predicted to be 10″ – 24″. Cattle have a chance withstand that. However, that’s not all the storm delivered. Instead they got 12 hours of rain and hurricane force winds, to make the animals super wet and cold. Then the temperatures dropped even more and produced 48 hours of snow with continual winds up to 60 mph. Anyone that has lived in a place that gets snow knows that even if it’s 6″ of snow, but with strong winds, it’s terrible conditions. Well, they got averages of 30″ of snow and up to almost 5′ in some areas. And, this is without the cattle’s winter hair, since it’s only early October.

Are you getting an idea of the devastation?

In addition the loss of animals, the other things to wrap your head around are the emotional and financial loss to the ranchers. The thing most people don’t understand is that it’s your business in addition to your livelihood. Generations are spent working on the genetics of the cattle to get them to the quality they want. (Unless you’ve worked in the genetics or agriculture industry I don’t think you can fathom the time and money that is spent to grow your herd through genetics.) You work from sun up to sun down to make your cattle the best they can be and to work on your ranch or farm. It’s difficult to think about anything besides your cattle.

Also, a lot of the cattle that were lost were to be sold in the coming weeks/months. Typically in that area a calf is born in the spring, eats its way through summer, and is sold in the fall to feed yards. A calf would normally sell for $1,000, while a mature cow would bring $1,500 or more. Not only did they lose those calves, but also any of the cows that were pregnant with the calves for next year. Could you imagine getting out after the storm to see your cattle dead and scattered throughout the pastures, knowing that you just lost your livelihood and something your family has probably been working at generations to create? This is why it’s heartbreaking to me.

Another unfortunate part to point out is what the ranchers are able to do to regain their financial losses. Many don’t have insurance on their herds because of the sheer amount it costs to insure them. They used to have a government disaster program to kick in when these issues arise, but that program has expired. This would require congress to pass a new farm bill, which unfortunately is probably not at the top of their list right now.

My heart breaks for South Dakota. Let’s pray the numbers won’t be as high as predicted.

Halloween Costume, Part I

My KISA and I have a work Halloween party for him on the 30th. On the 31st everyone in my company dresses up…typically as a team/group costume. And then on the 2nd we have a friend throwing a Halloween party. The last time I dressed up for Halloween was 2008, so I decided it was probably time I get back into the spirit. 

I mentioned in my last post that I bought some material for a costume. That’s always the easy part. I’ve spent a couple of nights this week working on it and have so far finished a collared cape and a belt! Any guesses yet what I am?Cape Front

Since a collared cape isn’t very common, I wasn’t exactly sure how to make it. So, I found instructions on how to make a collar. I cut out the collar portion of it and sewed that to step 6. As I sewed the collar stand I made sure to sew some thin black elastic in a loop on one end. I then sewed a button on the other side to have something to fasten it to as I didn’t want it to be too tight. 

I took the rest of the material and sewed a gathering thread at the top (essentially a really long stitch that makes it easy to gather the material). I gathered it enough to make the top of the cape the same size as the collar stand and then sewed them together.

For the belt, I bought a cheap, plastic buckle from the fabric store. I also bought black ribbon that was the same width as the middle of the buckle. The sewed one side of the ribbon to loop it through the buckle. The other end of the ribbon I just sewed back a little seam.Cape Detail

When I tried it on I realized the extra ribbon at the end of the belt had no where to go…I needed a belt loop. I then took an extra piece of ribbon sewed two of the sides together length-wise with the right sides facing each other. I flipped it right side out, pressed it, and then sewed it into a loop to put on the belt. 

Now for the next few pieces…

Cape Back