March, In A Nutshell

 

  Okay, I admit it.  I’ve been a blogging lame-o, but here is a run down of some things that have been going on.  The first two weeks of March I participated in two 5ks; the first one I did my second worst on.  For some reason when I crossed the start line my body was telling me it just did not want to run.  Plus the cute little running skort I purchased only a week before chafed my thighs until they were raw.  Note to self: do a test run after purchasing any new work-out gear.  The second race was the following weekend and I did a bit better.  My timing was 30 seconds quicker than the weekend before and this run included a few hills. 

After that last run I drove down to meet our blogging buddy Maureen in Tucson.  We did a photo shoot which was so much fun.  As you might know, Maureen is a wonderful photographer and I got to meet a few of her favorite subjects; the horses.  Maureen’s home is a desert dream with a spectacular view of the nearby mountains.  There is a southwest print in my kitchen by the artist Downe Burns.  Everytime I look at it I think of Maureen’s home in the desert. 

Ana came out for two weeks.  We had a wonderful time which included many dinners out and some great chats over a glass of wine sipped in the evening on the back patio.  We hiked in Sedona and also here in Phoenix.  It was a pretty full two weeks.  Ana must have really enjoyed herself because she came back with her son this past Monday night.  What can I say?  She is the ultimate house guest.  I’d arrive home after work and the dishes would be done, along with a bouquet of fresh flowers on the kitchen counter. 

Athletica and I went to Carlsbad, CA for the race at the very end of March.  Carlsbad is this small seaside town that was a really fun place to visit.  We flew into San Diego, rented a car, and then drove up to Ocean Beach.  We walked the boardwalk on a very chilly day.  There were surfing lessons going on and people out getting some exercise.  At one point a tough looking bunch of guys road by on low-rider bikes that looked custom.  They wore shades despite the cloudy weather, however the tough guy image was soon diminished as soon as one of them rang their bell to get our attention.  Only in California.  We had breakfast overlooking the ocean and then headed up to the hotel in Carlsbad.

The race was pretty good and the course stretched along Pacific Coast Highway.  There were five 5ks altogether and they started us ‘old folks’ (40 and over) first.  The men went and then the ladies.  That is the first race I’ve done where they’ve arranged things that way.  There were lots of hills so there was a bit of challenge there.  What I really liked about this race was that at each mile marker they had the time listed.  I did 11 minute miles for the first two miles and then by the third my legs felt like they were locking up.  I was having pain in my left knee and hip.  I walked a good portion of it but decided towards the end that I would run despite the pain.  I passed a woman walking who said to no one in particular, “I don’t know why I do this.  I sign up and I get to it, and then I hate it.”  While I don’t hate running by any stretch, my sentiments at the very moment were quite the same.  However, I laughed and kept going.  I arrived only a few seconds later than my last race so I wasn’t too disappointed with my time, especially given the size of the inclines on this course. 

I limped over the finish line, met Athletica, and then headed back to the hotel to shower and change.  We hit up the beer garden afterwards and chatted with some of the other racers.  After two beers we were really feeling it.  I admit I probably should have stopped at one but hey, too late to take that back now.  As Ana says, you don’t buy beer, you rent it.  That being the case we needed to find a bathroom and the only thing available were the typical race port-o-potties.  Unfortunately there were no hand sanitizers available.  We headed over to the expo which was still in full swing.  We happened across an unmanned booth that contained a table with some a container with a pump on the top which I naturally assumed was hand sanitizer.  I was just about to squirt some of the liquid into my hand when a 30-something woman came over and said she’d be happy to help me, miss.  I’ll admit I gave her brownie points for calling me miss and not ma’am.  She then went on to explain that her product was not hand sanitizer at all.  It was the equivalent of what marathon runners refer to as ‘Gu’.  It comes in a small packet and contains sugar and caffeine to help stimulate energy.  Runners will take this when they need a boost (and not when they need their hands sanitized).  I felt so dumb, but as Jamie Foxx sings, “blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-al-cohol.”

Later in the day we could hear drumming.  We followed the sound to a drumming circle where a very pregnant lady with dreadlocks and a peasant skirt invited us in to dance.  The group had gathered on a small patch of grass above the beach.  She took our hands and lead us in where one couldn’t help but move to the beat.  It was one of the neatest and most randomest things I’ve ever stumbled upon. 

We stayed one more night and then visited an old mission that was built in the late 1700s called San Luis Rey de Francia.  I love places like that.  We drove down to San Diego and had lunch on the water before visiting the USS Midway which was decommissioned some time ago. 

Like I mentioned earlier, Ana is back.  She, her son, Athletica and I will be heading to Tucson this weekend.  Myself and Athletica have a race and then we will meet up with Ana later to hang out by the hotel pool. 

So, that’s really been whats going on here.  Work has been completely crazy.  My breaks have been at a minimum as of late so I haven’t been able to get on here to post or read other posts.  I’m hoping to soon though!

One More Race On Tap & Cheers to the Weekend!

 Today I decided to officially sign up for the Carlsbad race.  At first I was going to be a spectator but after being caught up in the energy of the whole experience in Sedona between hanging out with other runners, to the award’s ceremony, I knew that it would be so much more fun to participate.  They do get expensive after a while so I’ve had to pace myself (no pun intended) on registrations.  My closet is also getting filled up with t-shirts!

Athletica has also filled me in on the best places to grab a post-race beer.  As a desert dweller I also get the added bonus of seeing the ocean.  Can’t wait for that!

Thank goodness it’s Friday!  Between some late nights this week with a meeting with my women’s group, to church stuff because of Ash Wednesday, and then attempting to get my taxes done again last night (the first time they ran out of time and last night the Internet was down) I am ready for bed!  Then of course the workouts at 5am and getting used to a new eating plan are somewhat wearing me out.  Next week should be a calmer week and I look forward to hitting the hay at a decent hour.

Do I look 68 to you?

For Lent I decided to give up Facebook.  This has already proven to be hard because I’m somewhat of a social creature by nature.  My best friend texted me yesterday that she caught me on it already.  I actually hadn’t been on it but I guess it showed me as on.  Not sure what was up with that.  It’s going to be a long 40 days!  Regardless, maybe this will actually be encouragement to pick up the phone and call someone instead of Facebook. 

My cousin, who I thought had long left for Afghanistan, saw my post and texted me asking why I was giving this up.  It turns out he is still in the states for a few more weeks.  He will be shipping out shortly though.  I said that hopefully the time will go by quick and he’ll be back before he knows it.  His response: “Hopefully. . .lol. But we never count on hopefullies.”  I found it a bit chilling but real.  I don’t have the best feeling about his being away.  Its something I can’t place my finger on but I really hope this just stems from my own worry and nothing substantial.

Tomorrow I will begin the day with another work out.  This time I can sleep in a bit as it doesn’t start until 8am.  My endurance must be improving because I no longer feel like I’m going to hurl at the end.  After this I scheduled a day of beauty and will get my hair cut and colored.  My eyebrows also need to be waxed.  I’m looking forward to this. 

Well, here’s to a great weekend! 

 

More Tales from The Gym (& a Mysterious Scale)

So last Friday I arrived at the gym at 5am to see that neither Athletica or Brian (the trainer)’s wife were there.  I was the sole candidate for early morning torture and Brian let me know I was in for it.  Where the heck was Athletica, I’m thinking.  I pictured her sound asleep in her warm bed, with her little chihuahua dog curled up next to her.  I was tempted to call her, laugh maniacally, and then hang up.  That will teach her to leave me on a killer solo workout. 

I will be honest.  This has been quite far the toughest workout I have ever done.  Slowly though, I’m starting to see some small changes, mainly in my arms.  Of course no one is exactly asking me for directions to the gun show yet but hey, that’s not why I’m doing this.  I am sore.  Each day something different hurts but it is a good kind of sore.  The other night I had no difficulty opening a jar of olives without the former other half’s help (now about that parallel parking thing. . .just kidding.  I grew up in a city so its second nature).

Just to give an idea of some of the exercises, one of the sets involves flipping a tractor tire up and back the length of the gym.  Here is a picture that shows the tractor with said tire.  It is the bigger tire, and man was that hard!

 The true test will be how my endurance is for running.  There is a run coming up on 3/10 that I’ve started training for.  It looks like my trainer is going as well.  Athletica and a few other people from the gym are doing that one race, too.  Monday morning we did lunges, squats and push ups (no girl push ups allowed, ugh).  In between we sprinted on the treadmill for 2 minute intervals.  The cool thing about all this is that I know I would never have pushed myself as hard as Brian pushes us.  When I looked down at the treadmill speed and realized how fast I was actually running I thought, wow, I can do this.  I can really do this! 

Running really is mind over matter at times.  I think that sometimes in a race I will stop myself and just start to walk when I know I could really be running. 

Brian has this special scale he uses which measures body fat, bone density and dehydration.  You basically stand on it like any other scale and then you hold onto these two handles that come up out of the scale.  This was rather an interesting tool.  Here I am thinking I am in such good shape and then I got a harsh dose of reality.  Although I’ve lost 45 lbs in the past couple of years, the scale showed my body fat being much higher than I thought.  My body also thinks it’s 68 years old (I’m 43).  Hmm.  I wondered how accurate it was.  Athletica stepped on and although she is in her mid-50s, her body shows as being that of a 28-year-old (hence why I call her Athletica).  So…I guess I have some work to still do.  At least my bone density is good and I’m not showing a lot of fat around my organs, which is important.  I can only imagine what the scale would have said if I were still 45lbs heavier.  Yikes!

The scale here is similar to the one Brian uses but the handles are on the sides.

 

In addition to this new workout regime, I started a new eating plan that was provided with the gym membership.  It is sooo much food!  Yesterday was the first day and I wondered to myself if this was correct.  My boss is a fitness guru so I asked him about it today and he said that sounded about right.  There are five meals a day which contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Certain fruits and veggies are counted as carbohydrates, as well as some dairy, too.  This is all very interesting.  I’ll be curious to see what the results will  yield. 

 

New Beginnings, Great Food and a Veritable Ending

Friday night Athletica and I went to a group activity at a local bar & grille that featured a classic rock and blues band.  The singer in the band was the host of the activities group that sponsored this event.  It was fun but a bit loud when trying to speak to people.  We ordered a small pitcher of beer and sat with the rest of the folks in the group who were all from back east.  I met a girl from Virginia who is a hair dresser and a guy from Florida in his 20s who flashed open his sweatshirt revealing a Dropkick Murphys t-shirt when I mentioned I was from Boston.  It was really fun getting out that night.  We didn’t stay all that late.  When the band finished up their set we decided to call it a night.  Athletica had a race the next afternoon and we had plans to meet at her gym that morning.  We said goodbye to the group and the activities leader and band member, Steve, came over to say goodbye.  He shook my hand a little longer than necessary and I just got this strange feeling by the way he was looking at me that he was interested.  On the way home Athletica called and said, “That guy likes you.”  I let her know that I had figured that out.    Its becoming increasingly clear that what’s looking for me and what I will eventually be looking for are two different things.

Saturday morning I joined Athletica’s gym.  We were both riding the stationary bikes to warm up when Brian, our trainer, announced that we were to go directly to the bulletin board to read something he had posted.  Apparently he had seen my Facebook check-in at the bar the night before and wanted to brush us up on how alcohol works as a detriment to fat loss and weight training.  Note to self; either don’t friend trainer or stop checking in at bars.  😉  I thought it was kind of funny actually.  I guess I won’t be posting anymore pics of my exotic martinis either.

I made a six month committment to this gym.  This will require 5am workouts at least twice a week.  Tomorrow will be my first pre-work workout.  Wish me luck!

Saturday night was the Chinese Hot Pot dinner.  I drove out to the east valley and I was actually thinking of backing out.  I’m so glad I didn’t.  I sat at a table with three other ladies that I had never met.  We were given slips of paper to fill out what we wanted to add to the hot pot.  The 4 of us had to decide what broth we wanted in the pot.  We could choose 2.  In the center of the table was a small burner for the hot pot. 

 I chose udon noodles, tofu, Korean pumpkin and taro for my dishes.  The restaurant also provided two different types of soy based dipping sauces.  It was absolutely scrumptious!  I felt like I was talking to old friends rather than three ladies I had just met.  One of the ladies was from Cuba originally and another was from my home town.  That was really fun.  The other lady was so into food.  She talked about some of the more sumptuous meals she had and she described them as ‘orgasmic’.  We split a piece of Japanese green tea cheesecake which was so good that it almost brought tears to my eyes.  The owner of the restaurant has them flown in from a Japanese bakery in San Francisco. 

Food has long been a topic of discussion in my family.  We love food.  I felt like I was with them.  It was so wonderful.  I can hardly wait for the next event.

 I sent DGF an email today ending my friendship with him.  On Thursday evening I received a text from him that was completely inappropriate for someone who had a supposed girlfriend.  I asked him if he were really ready for a relationship.  He responded back that he probably wasn’t.  Shocker.  The more I thought about it over the weekend the more I knew I just needed to put an end to all this for my own well-being.  I told him that I cared very deeply for him but this is where the story ends.  My gosh, wasn’t it only a little over  a year ago that we were making plans for he and his wife to go out with me and my husband for dinner?  Sometimes I feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone.  Or maybe Alice through the looking-glass?  Nothing is what it seems, or at least what it was.

He didn’t respond right away and I figured he must be out with Miss Unaware canoodling somewhere for the Valentine’s holiday.  He emailed me back and suddenly he is single.  Go figure.  Being true to my word that this would be the last time I contacted him I let it go.

Classic Rock, Red Rocks, and a Little Race Called the Sedona Marathon

 Friday morning we left to go to Sedona for the race Saturday morning.  Classic rock tunes seem to be our soundtrack for the weekend.  Before checking into the hotel we headed straight to the expo at Tlaquepaque (tah-lak-ah-pack-ee) to pick up the bags and bibs for the race.  Vendors were set up selling everything from socks for runners to skin products.  What caught me right away was that there was just this energy among everyone there.  From the vendors to the fellow runners, everyone seem to be brimming with this energetic camaraderie. 

Athletica and I stopped at this one booth for a local fitness club.  The owner of the club spoke with us about a different technique he uses when training his runners.  I learned so much this weekend.  Running is so much more than slapping a pair of sneakers on and hitting the pavement.  He spoke about proper gait, etc…  The tent was decked out in exercise gear with a rope hanging from the front.  After speaking with the owner and one of his trainers (who were both highly attractive men, I may add) we went to leave and I walked headlong into the rope that was hanging from the tent, smacking my forehead.  I am still so socially awkward.  It’s a wonder I was ever married at all.  Yep, charming ’em all one at time!  (Or in this case, two at a time).  Athletica and I went to lunch and had a good laugh over it.

We checked into the hotel which we were pleased to see had the Comfort Number beds.  That was an interesting experience as it fills with air when you increase the dial numbers and then deflates the lower you go.  It doesn’t take much to amuse me sometimes.  Later we went to find the race route and then over the spaghetti dinner at the Elks Club. 

So many people from all over the country were there.  Many of them had traveled alone.  We met a woman from Seattle and a man from Dallas.  There was a couple from Maryland that had a goal of doing a race in every state.  So far they were 4 states in. 

We were up and out early the next day and man, was it cold!  Athletica always told me she did better in the cold than the hotter weather.  I’ve only raced in the heat it seems so didn’t know the difference.  Her race was first.  She did the half marathon.  I did the 5K.  I ran in a crowd of tutu’d women and a man with a giant fake moustache.  People were pumped and their energy was infectious.  What was really cool were the number of kids running.  Dads with their young sons and daughters were clearly at the head of the pack.  With the obesity problem for so many kiddos these days it was nice to see this.  Even the announcer brought it up before the race.

After the count down I was off.  The air was so cold that I could barely feel the tips of my fingers and toes.  Athetica was right.  Running in the cold seem to be better.  The sun came up right about that time and struck the red rocks.  What can I say?  It was absolutely beautiful.  No words can describe it.  The first 1.5 miles was pretty much uphill.  The half way point seem to come up awfully quick.  I wondered if the course was correct.  Athletica confirmed later that it was.  I did my absolute personal best on this race, even breaking my record from the first 5k I did back in my 20s.  I think there may be a 10k in my future. 

While running I remembered a dream I had a few years back that I was in a race and was moving effortlessly uphill.  I was on the edge of this mountain looking down into the valley where snow was melting into lush green fields.  It was an incredibly peaceful surrounding, much like Sedona.  At the time I had that dream I wasn’t even really running.  I’ve been told a couple of times now that when you increase your body’s strength that it also increase your mind’s strength.  So maybe I really owe it all to running for being able to make some tough decisions as of late.

  After the race I walked back to the car.  All participants got the medal above which I was so proud of!  They are shaped in wedges and will form a perfect circle after the next three years of Sedona races.  How cool is that?  I headed back to the hotel, showered and threw on some yoga pants and sweater.  I was grateful for such a hot shower with plenty of pressure.  After I picked Athetica up and we went to lunch at a funky little diner that is decked out in space ships and aliens.  Despite the kitschy decor they have the best burgers and beers.  They are also open later than any other place in Sedona. 

Later we attended the awards ceremony.  There was a beer garden which we partook in.  There was dancing, too.  Yeah, I couldn’t help myself.  It was very fun. 

The mayor of Sedona handed out the awards.  We didn’t stay for the whole thing but it was pretty impressive to see men and women in their 70s still out there running the full and half marathons.  We went back to the hotel and had dinner there.  Then at about 6pm we got in our p.j.s and watched several episodes of The Big Bang Theory.  I laughed til I cried.  Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in so many different engineering departments through the years that I could relate to the characters.  We were asleep by 9pm.  Party animals are we.

  Sunday morning we packed up and then went hiking.  We drove back to an area Athletica had seen the day before on her run.  We hiked up to the top of this butte following Dow Trail which consisted of many switchbacks.  We were breathing like we were oxygen deprived due to the altitude.  We stopped to take a few pictures and felt a bit light-headed.  Best to stay away from the edge which was fairly sheer and dotted with cactus.  Ouch!  We made it to the top of the butte which also contained a very sheer drop and sat to have a snack, avoiding getting too close to the edge.  It was such a wonderful day for a hike.  The sun warmed everything quite nicely and there was a gentle breeze blowing.  It was so incredibly quiet. 

After our hike we stopped for lunch and then hit the road.  We had just gotten into the Phoenix city limits when Athletica realized she didn’t have her purse.  I pulled into a gas station parking lot and we searched for it.  No, it wasn’t there.  I called the restaurant in Sedona and sure enough they had it.  I put some more gas into the car and turned north back onto the I-17.  We headed back to Sedona.  The staff recognized us from a few hours earlier.  We decided to stay for some warm sopapillas and honey before heading home.  We ended up missing the Superbowl and all the illustrious commercials but all in all, I would not have changed a single thing about this past weekend.  When we left Sedona, the almost full moon illuminated the giant rocks below.  There is no show that can compare.  The adventure continues. 

 

Off To The Races. . .

Tomorrow Athletica and I leave for Sedona.  I really can’t wait just to be away.  In my mind I have prepared a mental checklist of all the things I need to pack.  It’s going to be chilly with the high of only 32 degrees Saturday morning when the race starts. 

 The former other half will be taking care of the dog while I am away.  In all honesty I wish he would just take her permanently.  She’s developed a few bad habits and I think she is on a mission to punish me for his leaving.  My livingroom set is something I worked very hard for and the livingroom is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Lately I have seen the tell-tale signs that she has been sleeping up on the couch.  This is a new habit of hers and no matter how much I threaten with the paper and yell, she continues.  Oh, she’ll roll over submissively as if she is promising me she’ll never do it again, but if they ever gave out academy awards for dogs, she would definitely be in the running. 

A few weeks back she jumped up on the bed and was rolling around maniacally.  At first I watched in amusement, until, that is, I heard the unmistakable sound of fabric ripping.  I lifted up the comforter to find that she had completely stuck her through the sheet and was sitting there as if wearing a poncho giving me that goofy dog grin.  I have yet to replace the sheet and woke up one night with said sheet looped around my shoulder.  I guess she thought I needed my own version of the Snuggy.  Little bitch.

Today I got up and decided to treat myself to a little more care than I have been.  I picked out an outfit that I haven’t worn in a while, flat-ironed the heck out of my hair and put on a little more makeup than I am accustomed to wearing.  I gave myself a parting glance, thought, okay, I look good, and then headed out the door.  Gradually moving forward, I am. 

 A cousin of mine called the other night from the Boston area.  I have not seen him in close to 20 years but we were reacquainted back when I was home visiting over the holidays.  He is in the army now and is due to be deployed to Afghanistan any day now.  He is three years younger than me and I always considered him my little cousin.  It was nice that he called.  I was expecting him to be long gone.  He and his girlfriend were at a bar and all of his friends had been treating him to drinks not knowing when he’d be getting the call that he would be shoving off.  My cousin was somewhat wild growing up.  I do recall there being lots of trouble and in my grandmother’s later years she confessed to me that she really didn’t care for him that much.  I always thought that was so sad.  My cousin lost his Dad, my Uncle Bob, late last summer. 

I find it so interesting sometimes how paths cross over and over again in life.  When my cousin and I spoke at my Mom’s party I felt this familial connection with him that I hadn’t remembered feeling since we were little kids.  I remember my grandmother sitting with her latch hook rug kit and out of all of us kids she was babysitting, it was just my cousin and me who asked her to show us how this was done.  I remember her purchasing kits for each of us and the three of us sat in the livingroom of her little apartment while the rest of the kids played games or watched an old Elvis movie on tv.  My cousin’s rug kit was of Snoopy and his dog house and mine was of a sunset scene with a palm tree in the foreground (go figure).  I meant to ask my cousin if he remembered this and completely forgot.  At the end of the conversation, over the din of the bar noise I could have sworn he said “I love you.”  I was taken aback by this and think I responded with an “Ok” but it was nice to hear it from a family member who means it.  I will worry about him every single day he is away.  He’s such a tough guy though.  If death were to approach him I have a sneaking suspicion that death would get the surprise of its life with a swift kick to the teeth.  Such is my cousin.  Always was, always will be. 

I talked to the former other half last night.  He said he never saw himself as a divorced person.  I said I never saw myself married to someone who could do the things he’s done.  There was nothing he could say. 

Well, I’m pushing it a little harder today.  I feel the need to keep things organized and clean, more so than usual.  From my office to my home I feel the need for order.  It keeps me calm.  Yesterday I saw the following picture on Facebook and thought it was so true.  Enjoy!

Just A Quick Update

Spring has finally arrived here and temps have been hovering around a glorious 80 degrees.  I’ve still been working on my fitness goals and am now officially down 32 lbs.  There is a 5k race this weekend and I’ve signed up for it.  Luckily it is early so the heat should not be an issue.  I will be curious to see how I do timewise compared to the last race back in November.  Friday evening I purchased a new pair of running shoes (finally!).  My old ones have got to be more than a decade old.  I honestly can’t remember when I purchased them.  It had to be in Boston (I think).  The new ones are Asics which I haven’t worn before.  They were like running on two clouds.  My body felt so different and I wasn’t nearly as sore.  Running in my old ones was probably much like running in bare feet.  And to think I was blaming my soreness of old age!  My Mom, the athlete of the family, said that you should replace your shoes every six months.  Oh. (or should I say d’oh?)

Since my co-worker was laid off last November, the job of answering the phone has fallen on  me.  While it hasn’t been too bad managing the other tasks that I’ve taken on, the phone is just one of those things I can do without.  We run an ad on TV so while most of the calls are either clients or potential clients, there’s been a fair share of nut jobs that call.  When they can’t get their way and get something mailed to them which is something we’ve never done, they immediately assume that we must be a scam and make no bones about telling me so.  A lady called today and of course asked for the mailing.  I explained we had a website and she responds that doesn’t have compter.  I then explained that she was more than welcome to come down and visit us and she said she doesn’t have a car.  So therefore where we don’t do any mailings we must be a scam.  *sigh*  Then she hangs up.  I try not to take it personally when one of these idiots calls but man, don’t waste my time or yours if you already have it your head that we are a scam.  I for one would certainly not be here if that were the case.  Seriously, get a life. 

Next Friday I’ m  taking a half day at work and having my hair done as a treat.  Woo-hoo!  Since making the appointment late last week I swear I’ve been counting down the days.  Its going to be such a treat.  😀  8 days to go!

My best friend lives on the gulf side of Florida.  I haven’t seen her since her wedding over three years ago.  My Aunt has a beach house on the Atlantic side just south of St. Augustine.  I stayed there years ago and have a tattoo on my ankle as a reminder of that trip.  I asked my Mom over the weekend if she thought my Aunt might let us possibly use it for a long weekend.  She seem to think that she would be fine with it.  I emailed my best friend and asked her if she would be up for a girl’s weekend this Fall.  Of course she said yes.  It’s a six-hour drive from where she is at to my Aunt’s place but getting there is usually half the fun.  We’re thinking late September.  Man, that will be so much fun!

Hubby wanted to try a buffet restaurant over this past weekend.  I wasn’t sure what they would have there or how it would be.  I haven’t had the best luck with buffets.  This particular restaurant was the exception though.  I was quite impressed.  They had a huge salad bar and with lots of healthy selections and also various food stations featuring steamed veggies and broiled chicken.  There was of course generous amounts of fried foods, and other things that taste great but aren’t particular great for you.  Even the dessert bar had sugar-free options which was quite impressive.  It was called The Golden Corral.  I had never been there and I know we didn’t have them back east.  All in all it was really good and I think I’d go back.  It was clean, too.  Always a plus.

Friday, in a nutshell

TGIF!

I for one am happy that it is Friday.  The week did go by pretty fast though which is always a good thing.  Now if we could only get the weekends to pass a little more slowly. 

Low Class

Today I tried to sign up for a Personal Finance class and yet again this class is canceled due to low or zero enrollment.  So now this is 2 for 2.  What is up?  Are people not signing up for classes anymore?  I’d think this would be an important one right now.  Anyways, there are two other classes on the same topic in a different location that start at the end of March.  Surely someone will sign up by then.  Hopefully.  So much for personal enrichment!

Weasel Update

The Weasel goes to the vet tomorrow.  Again I stand in amazement of her recovery.  I think she may even be getting some of her eyesight back.  The other night I could tell that something on the kitchen floor had gotten her attention.  When I went to inspect I discovered that she had caught a beetle and was eating it.  I’m not sure if she saw its movement or maybe she heard it as her other senses may be making up for the lack of eyesight.  Last night I picked her up and moved a shiny piece of jewelry in front of her face.  She seem to follow it.  Gosh, I hope she is at least getting some of it back.  We’ll see what the vet says tomorrow. 

Let’s Make It Rain!

We are expecting rain all weekend.  Hooray!  Outside the sky is clouding up with thicker gray clouds moving in from over the horizon.  In a place that only sees rain about 14 days out of any given year, this is a good thing.  Any desert dweller will tell you the same thing.  Here is what we do in the rain:

  • Walk, never run.
  • Wonder where the heck we placed that umbrella thingy.
  • Cancel any appointments because it is just too treacherous to drive.
  • Sit and listen to the sound of it hitting the Spanish tiles on the roof  –it makes such a wonderful sound.
  • Watch the birds play and the palms sway from the safety of the kitchen window.
  • Thank God for the free car wash because everything outside here is usually coated with a fine layer of dust at all times.
  • Forget where the wiper switch is on the car because they are seldom used.
  • Realize that the wiper blades need to be replaced because the sun has long since destroyed them.  Also recall that the last time it rained (6 months ago) that you said you needed to replace them before it rained again.
  • Grab a good book or magazine and spend the day inside.

An Arizona State of Mind

 We are in the midst of planning a couple of weekend getaways.  One place we’ve never been to together despite its close proximity, is the Grand Canyon.  We found somewhat of an all-inclusive that includes a train ride to the Canyon as well as hotel stay and a few meals.  This will be to celebrate our 5 year anniversary.  Friends of ours have wanted to see Monument Valley before they move out-of-state so we have been trying to coordinate plans to go.  This time I will have a much better camera.  Speaking of Monument Valley, I happen to be perusing through the latest issue of Arizona Highways magazine and lo and behold there was an article on no one other than Susie, the 90-year-old Navajo woman I met last summer while visiting.  Apparently she had been in several old westerns and even had her picture used on a snack food bag that came in a southwest flavor.  The article detailed her life.  It was quite amazing.  Here is a shot from last summer:

Running With The Nuns – Take 2

On the fitness front, Athletica and I are running another race in a few weeks called The Nun Run.  We were supposed to do this last year but just never got around to signing up.  I don’t think I would have been in any shape to even think of running this then.  Right now I am 1.5 lbs away from having lost 30 lbs this past year.  Wow.  A whole year may seem slow but this wasn’t so much a diet I’m doing as much as it is a lifestyle change.  

High Yield vs. Low Yield – Who Knew?

We had a minor hiccup at work this week.  The main printer I use seems to be on the blink.  We’ve had it serviced now three times in the past couple of months.  I noticed that we seem to be going through an awful lot of toner the past month or so.  I do massive amounts of printing but it still shouldn’t be running out at the rate is has been.  So yesterday ladies and gentleman, I learned the difference between low yield and high yield toners.  I switched toner suppliers because of the great price they could give us over the old supplier.  Little did I know that we were only receiving less than half of what we were getting thus costing us more in the long run.  So now we are back to using the old supplier.  Unfortunately in my ignorance I thought we had plenty of time with the cartridge that had just been installed.  Not so.  Luckily the old supplier has offered to drop one off at my place of business.  I am at a stand-still without this printer working.

And finally I leave you with a picture of Pee-Wee Herman for no other reason than I like Pee-Wee Herman.  Have a nice weekend all.  😉

Days of Warmth, Weasels and Will Power

The cold snap seems to have left us for now.  Temps over the weekend gradually increased which was great.  The temp on my computer reads  69 F.  I’ll take it!  Last week I only left the house to go to work.  I did not go to the gym or anywhere else.  I was just too darn cold!  When the ice formed on the side of the house I did a double-take.  I’ve never seen ice here.  Sure, some chilly mornings there may have been frost on the windshield but nothing like this.  A lot of people in this area have running fountains in their yards.  These froze over too creating icicles off the sides.  A client of mine told me she had people stopping in front of her house to take pictures of her frozen fountain.  In her 50 years here she had never seen anything like it.

The Weasel seems to be doing better.  She constantly amazes me with her sheer will.  Having a beloved pet is somewhat like having a child I’ve heard, accept you watch them grow up and get old before you do.  Her hind legs some days seem to want to give out and other days she gets around just fine.  Last week while making my lunch in the kitchen she came in to explore.  I could tell she was having a bit of difficulty this day with her hind legs.  They would stretch out behind her as she walked.  Yet this didn’t stop her from exploring.  Keep in mind that she in now completely blind.  She could feel the cool wrought iron of the wine rack and the smoothness of the bottle within it’s holdings.  Her whiskers guided her around the base boards.  I kept thinking that any minute now she would head back to her sleep area but no.  She had too much to do.  She even chased the dog out of the kitchen!  Not too shabby. 

The Weasel 'Watering Hole' - aka: The Shower

Yesterday she hoisted herself into the shower stall to get a drink when I was done in there.  Then she poked around the bathroom cabinets trying to find her way in.  Let me tell you, I stand in awe of this animal.  With everything she has gone through she shouldn’t still be here among us, but she is.  She is such a little fighter.

Lately I’ve been really making an effort to cook for myself at night.  Hubby sometimes will work nights so I had gotten into the rut of preparing a can of soup or something else equally easy but boring.  Its been a bit of a challenge.  I’m more into baking things.  I did some of that, too.  I had a recipe for these oat muffins too, where you soak the oats in buttermilk.  These made a great healthy breakfast last week.  This week I’m trying my hand at baked sweet potato chips.  Its been kind of fun to search for different ingredients at the grocery store  and to try more things.  In some ways I feel like by doing this I’m really taking care of myself.  It’s like a gift I give myself.  Every day I go to the sparkpeople.com website and record what I eat.  I love to see the report at the end of the day and I’m constantly fine tuning it.  One of my new favorites is Greek yogurt.  It has such a creamy texture.  I mix it in with kiwi and some artificial sweetener. 

This week I’m going meatless for dinner and have been eating Morningstar Farm’s black bean burger.  It’s actually pretty good.  If nothing else this new eating regime has gotten me to expand my menu.  That’s never a bad thing. 

Bootcamp was supposed to begin this past Saturday but when I called last week to sign up they told me that the class had been canceled.  Bummer.  In some ways I was relieved though because Saturday was still pretty chilly and the class is outdoors.  I’ve become a big wimp when it comes to chilly weather.

Well, I’m off to give a data base class.  Hope you are all having a great week so far!