Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And free samples wouldn't hurt either.

I promise to write about something other than running, but I will give y'all a quick update.  

After last week's incident with the pit bull, I decided to run the entire 2.4 miles without stopping the very next day.  No pit bulls were around.  I was just crazy.  I made it, but within minutes there were muscles that began to hurt that I didn't even know I had.  And I took Anatomy and Physiology I and II.  By the end of the day I was walking (if you want to call it that) around like a cowgirl who had gone on a long cattle drive without a saddle or a brain. 

But, by the next day I felt much better and Hubs was quite impressed. I think the word surprised would be more appropriate.  As of this morning, I ran about 3 more mailboxes past the last point.  I am sorry to speak in mailbox measurements but the metric system has always been confusing for me.

So that is my update. I'm about three weeks ahead of schedule.  I guess that would be ten or so mailboxes ahead.

Other than the running, I've been doing the usual things like housework and laundry and taxi service and grocery shopping and watching Rachael Ray while writing terrible run-on sentences. 

I have just one question.  Really, I have many but y'all are kind of enough to read this far, so I won't bore you. 

Who cleans up all the salt that Rachael tosses over her shoulder?  She tosses salt in the corner of her kitchen every single time she cooks. There must be a least several inches of salt in a little pile by the end of the week. Does she do this at home?  I don't know about you, but I would throw luck to the wind if it meant I had to clean up salt off the floor.

See, this is what I spend my time thinking about.

This and the new Ellen JCPenney commercials.  They are a hoot.  They make me want to shop at JCPenney just so I can return an item. 

Seriously, I have fond memories of shopping at JCPenney.  Before malls even existed Mama and I would go shopping at JCPenney in this little shopping center in what they called midtown.  To me, the store was huge.  It had two floors and I loved riding the escalator. 

The very best part of it, though, was the candy counter.  I felt like I was in New York City or Atlanta.  The candy counter had shiny glass shelves displaying fancy chocolates.  Mama always let me get chocolate covered peanut clusters and I can remember the lady using the silver scoop to pour them onto the scale.  Then she put them into a white paper bag and handed them to me. I probably finished them before we got out of the store.

I can imagine how sticky my fingers must have been and how much chocolate I must have smeared on the merchandise. Chances are Mama made me clean my hands as soon as I was done because she always had Kleenex in her purse.

When the store moved to the mall, they no longer had a candy counter.  I was so disappointed. 

Now that's an idea, JCPenney.  Forget no hassle return policies.  Bring back the chocolate covered peanut clusters and I am so there.

Only then I'd have to run like a million mailboxes...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

And I ran. I ran so far away.

After over a week of no running, I decided to jump back on the proverbial treadmill. 

When Hubs got home from work the other day, he asked if I wanted to run.  I said a firm, "Yes," and turned off the taco meat.  (See, I told you our dinner menu is full of boring. However, I am thankful for the suggestions so far. Keep them coming!)

We have a timeline of goals that we are trying to meet.  To be honest, I am the one with the goals since Hubs is already capable of running a 5k.  Hubs keeps saying "we" because he is kind and considerate and doesn't want me to feel badly about the fact that one of my first goals was .25 mile.  (That's about 3 mailboxes.)

This is why I love him.

That an the fact that he was the cute one in my sociology class and he makes me laugh.

So, WE have goals that Hubs has set for us leading up to the 5k in May.  I mean, you can't go straight from watching the Amazing Race on the DVR to actually running a 5k.   There are like a hundred mailboxes in between.

Needless to say, with the allergies and the sickness, WE are behind our goal.  I had some catching up to do.  So, we ran the other day with the idea in mind that I would run as far as possible. Considering the time we have been off our game, I didn't think it would be very far.

At a few points, I did have to stop and walk a few steps to catch my breath. Hubs is always kind enough to stop with me and pretend he is tired, too. (More reason to love him.) I did keep going and at one point I seemed to get my stride.

Then we rounded a corner and out of nowhere my motivation came running at me. 

Two stray pit bulls ran toward us out of nowhere.  Let me tell you, when I joked around about only running when something was chasing me I did not expect for something to ACTUALLY BE CHASING ME.

The moment of panic turned into a moment of relief when we realized the pit bulls were friendly.  One of them ran away but the other one decided to join our pack and stayed with us.  We kept telling him to go home but he was determined to stay.  Maybe he liked us.  Maybe he thought I needed to run a little faster.

At one point along our run, he decided to visit another dog in a neighbor's yard. The dog was not happy about it, but there was no confrontation. (Whew.)  Our new canine friend left the dog alone and continued to run with us.  Hubs called the police to connect us with animal control, but they would not respond after hours. (Not only we were concerned about the dog being loose, we were concerned about the dog.  He was obviously friendly and we didn't want to see him hurt.)

The pit bull followed us all the way home.  I called a local shelter number and was also told they wouldn't come pick him up due to budget cuts unless it was an emergency.  As concerned citizens and dog lovers, we considered it an emergency, but what do we know? We only pay the taxes.

After all the running hoopla, I turned the taco meat back on and we had our tacos.  Dinner turned out to be exciting after all. 

We cleaned up the kitchen and Hubs mapped out our run.  I managed to run (with a few walking breaks) beyond our goal. I'd like to say it was because of my awesome coach, but the fact is that the closest thing to a lion motivating you to run is actually a friendly pit bull.

The next day, however, I had a different kind of motivation- stubbornness.  That part tomorrow...

Edited to add: The friendly pit bull left our porch and was found by another friendly neighbor who apparently found his home. I love happy endings. Don't you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On the menu: Sunshine and Tacos

Yesterday was pretty much the first day I have seen a cloud-free sky.  Hello, Florida, The Sunshine State.  We've had rain and cold and rain and cold and more rain.  It is nice to finally see the sun.
However, I can't really see the sun as well as I would like because my eye is killing me. It is all red and painful.  I'm pretty sure it is conjunctivitis also known as pinkeye.  Mine is allergy induced, so I am trying to wait it out before going to the doctor.  I am allergic to hay, so my guess is that I rubbed my eye while at the barn over the weekend during Daughter's horseback lessons.

Good times.

Later today I have to grab a few groceries and run some errands. I need new ideas for dinner. My poor family is probably tired of baked chicken, roast, and tacos. Sometimes I spice things up and make spaghetti. I know! I am such the Iron Chef.

So, any ideas out there for family dinners?  Any great recipe sites that you love?  I am open to some new menu items.  Can't wait to hear!

Edited to add: The good news is that I started this post on yesterday and since then my eye is better. I am happy because vision has always been helpful when one is trying to blog.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I think the science fair kids should predict the weather.

Well, I don't know about y'all, but I do not believe that groundhog for a minute.  According to my sinuses, spring has already arrived.  I wish the pollen would just crawl back into a hole, like Mr. Punxsutawney Phil himself.

I had to look up Punxsutawney.  I always thought it was Pox-hutawney, as in the chicken pox. It is actually Punx-sutawney as in "You punks get off my lawn!"

I like Punx much better.

But I still think he is a terrible weather man.

I have neither run nor walked this week. It is partly because of the rain we are having, partly because of the crud I am having, and partly because I have just been lazy.  Once I get out of a routine of exercising, I tend to get into a routine of being on the computer and making trips to Target.  As much as I love me some Target, I love the feeling and effects of exercise much better. 

I do think I need to be cautious when I return to running. I am new to the whole exercise thing, but so far  I have found that there are a few critical necessities when exercising. One is a good pair of shorts that doesn't ride up and the other is you know, breathing.

I find the breathing part to be even more important than the shorts, but that's just me.

(Besides, it doesn't really matter how cute those shorts are if you are gasping for air. That's not cute at all.)

There have been some exciting things that have happened this week. Daughter received Honorable Mention in her category at the regional science fair.  We are so, so proud of her.  I  have to say that I was a bit disappointed that they didn't hand out a special award for parents who survived the science fair, but since they probably don't have awards for oyster shucker or dead crab panhandler, I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

If y'all ever want to feel inadequate or average,  just go to a regional science fair. Those middle schoolers and high schoolers are little geniuses in small sport coats and heels (worn by separate people, of course.)

The questions from the judges were tough, too.  During the judging,  Daughter overheard one of the judges ask another contestant nearby, "Where did you get your cobalt nitrate?" 

Those were my thoughts exactly.

Those science kids are smart.  By the end of the awards ceremony last night I realized that I pretty much slept through high school physics and that I should give up on my dreams of becoming either an astronaut or an engineer.

And we all know NASA will miss my contributions.

This leads me to my last point.  (Were the rest of these random thoughts points?)

I took a test last night to see whether I was a right brain or a left brain.  In case you were wondering, I am completely a right brain.  I'm pretty sure Hubs is a left brain and Daughter is a right brain.  My guess is that most of you are right brains, too.  If you've never taken the test, just Google it and tons of little quizzes pop up. Let me know your results.

I'll be right here looking up cobalt nitrate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I blame my lack of fitness on all the germs.

Wouldn't you know it? The minute I posted all over the Internet that I am preparing for a race, I have not run one step, not even walked. It is pitiful, really. I blame it on being busy because lazy is less flattering.

Last week, Daughter competed in the regional science fair.  We won't know the results until this week. My nails are about bitten off with anticipation. We had a brief but dramatic moment (kind of like a heart attack) when her logbook had gone AWOL.  It was lost, but now it is found, so she was able to compete with all of her data and notes about how vinegar breaks down crab shells more than chicken bones. And we all know how much we needed that data.

We picked up her science fair board on Thursday and as I popped it into the car, I let out a sigh of relief. Some people will say that science fairs aren't stressful, but those people are also probably the parents of children who choose projects like growing tomato plants or building a volcano out of a Coke bottle. Not my child, no. She wants to help the world learn why acid breaks down exoskeletons faster than endoskeletons in an effort to cure osteoporosis.  And, yes, I realize I should be proud (I am,) but I am also tired.

In addition to all the science, Daughter has been sick with a cold/sinus infection/ear infection, although I believe the pediatrician's official diagnosis was "The Snot."  Daughter is much better, but from the looks of things on my sofa this weekend, Hubs is coming down with it, too. He had the sniffles and sore throat one morning and he was camped out under the favorite family blanket.

As of this morning, I have this stuff, too.  My throat feels like little elves were working on it with sandpaper all night and I really would love a nap. But, it is Monday and things need to get done.

Too bad Daughter's science fair project didn't involve throat gargles and Mucinex.  We'd all be much better by now.

There's always next year...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Run, Forrest, Run

I have always told y'all that I am not a fan of running. And by not a fan, I mean, I hate it.  I have never understood, to save my life, why anyone would choose to run unless someone or some thing was chasing them. 

When I picture the perfect world of the Garden of Eden before sin entered into it, I don't envision Adam and Eve lacing up their shoes with some kind of lightweight vine and jogging circles around the Tree of Knowledge.  I picture them sitting around eating Reese's cups and sipping whole milk lattes.

Hey, don't judge me.  You have your Eden; I have mine.

The reality, of course, is that Adam and Eve would have been dining on fresh fruits and veggies and drinking pure water without the use of a filter, but one can dream. ( Reese's weren't invented yet.)

A little over a year ago, I had some health issues which were brought to my attention.  Okay, full disclosure.  The doctor pretty much told me if I didn't do something to be a little more healthy, that I was on a path to a stroke or a heart attack.  Well, he didn't really say that...oh, wait, yes he did.

Up until that point, doctors had always said,"You know you need to lose weight.  Your blood pressure is creeping up.  Your cholesterol is borderline."  They said all those things, and I knew all those things, but it wasn't until someone bluntly and honestly said "All those things are true and this will be you in twenty years if you don't do something about it" that made me think.

If I could choose a word for how that made me feel it be would this one-  UNCOMFORTABLE.

Since I had Daughter, the baby weight didn't really go away and actually kept creeping on.  I went through phases of trying to lose weight and get healthy. I tried everything I knew how, including the crazy protein diet which just made me absolutely hate bacon. Anything that makes you hate bacon is just wrong.

So, with that doctor's blunt encouragement and a whole lot of determination, I decided to get healthy.  The goal was health, not weight loss. I wasn't so much worried about how I looked but I decided that living was much better than the alternative.

I started walking several times a week with a great bunch of ladies who have all become lifetime friends. (One of them already was.)  I started eating better, drinking water, and doing a lot of what Adam and Eve probably did in the garden, except for the fact that I had to get my fresh produce from Albertson's.

I am here to report that I feel much better. My health is better, even though I still have to take medicine.  I am not saying this to be all preachy and tell you to put down that Reese's cup (I had some in my Christmas stocking)but I have changed my mind,at list a little bit, on all the fitness and exercise.

We moved back to Florida and I started walking again.  It is not the same without all my BWBFs (Best Walking Buddies Forever.) I told Hubs that I was bummed and that I needed a challenge.  I started running short distances, as in from one mailbox to the other.

Hubs said,"You should run a 5K. It could be a goal and I will help you."

Let me stop right here and tell you that Hubs has never suggested that I run.  It is like him suggesting that I go to the post office or the library. He knows what I hate doing and what is way out of my comfort zone.  Even in my twenties, I loathed running.  Walking made sense to me.  Walking is pleasant.  Running is not. 

However, in an ironic "Well, I'll be!" moment, I agreed to run a 5K in May with Hubs.

Yes, people.  I choose to run.

Don't get me wrong. I still don't really like it and at the half mile point, I have to imagine a roaring lion lunging toward me from behind the community mailbox to keep going, but when I am finished, I feel great. 

The best part is that when I am done I stop and say to myself, "Hey. What do ya know? I can do this!" (I say this to myself in my head since I can't really breathe at that point.)

Now that it is all over the Internet, I am fully accountable to the one or two of you who read this.  I will keep you posted on my progress. So far, I have gone a little over halfway without collapsing in the road.

5K is a long way to run when you aren't actually being chased by a lion.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Short Recap of Boring, Except For All The Cute Puppies

Well, it's Monday and where do I begin?

It feels like last week was a blur, so we will skip right over that update and go straight to the weekend.  

All day Saturday we worked in the yard, pulling weeds, cleaning out Hubs' garden spot, and feeding the turtles in the pond.  Jessie (our dog) loves hanging out by the pond, but she always require a good foot washing when she comes inside, or at least a paw washing. Saturday it required a full up bath.

After all the yard work, Daughter and I worked together on the floors.  We made sure Jessie stayed outside for that.

That evening I decided we would go out to eat since all my muscles were sore and I honestly didn't feel like cooking.  We went for Italian food at a new place and it was yummy.

Hmmm... come to think of it, the yard work idea may have been a good plan.

On Sunday, we had church, a few errands, and then the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Hubs is not a football fan (unless you are referring to the kind of football that requires soccer cleats) so we watch the Puppy Bowl as a family.  It is a hoot.  We were able to watch most of it and then headed off to church in the evening.  It is a good thing we have the DVR. We can watch the second half tonight. Shhh....don't tell me who won and spoil it!

How was your weekend?  Did you watch the Super Bowl?  The Puppy Bowl?  A TLC marathon?