Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hopefully over the hump

With this stupid running thing I hit a big ass wall. A big ass 'It's freaking cold and I don't want to do this anymore and I hate this and this is stupid and why am I doing this again' wall.  I haven't successfully done a long run since before Thanksgiving. It got crazy cold then it was Thanksgiving and then Icepocalypse and then... then I just didn't want to. Two weekends ago I got up, got dressed and drove out to the place I've gone on the super long runs before and just couldn't force myself to do it. I think I might have done 2 miles and then I just couldn't. I cried. I stood out in the cold and cried about how I didn't want to do this anymore and it is stupid and it was stupid I was crying and then I went home defeated. This week has not proven to be hugely better in the running department because the holidays are screwing with my gym schedule. I tried to run in the little exercise room here at the apartment and the treadmill scared me. The belt didn't seem it was on right. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.  Christmas Eve I did go and do 2 miles and it felt okay and I didn't hate it and I felt glad I went. Tomorrow I'm going to go for my 13 miles but I think I'm going to stick close to home and just do my 2 mile distance 6.5 times. We'll see how that goes.

I'm still struggling with putting too much pressure on myself over this. I think it psychs me out. I get in my head and then I over think the whole thing. Plus I just don't like to do hard things. I said that to my trainer recently. I don't like it... it's hard. (hee. that's what she said!) (Oh wait, that IS what she said!) (Wait, what am I saying about myself?)  (ok I'll shut up about that now). 

I've been meaning to sign up for a few more races to get the practice in. There's a 1/2 marathon here in Irving three weeks before my Disney one. I think I may sign up for that. It has the same time requirement that mine does and it will help me, I think, get an idea of how it will be for the real thing.  Then there's  a funny zombie one that if I can finish in under 35 minutes (I will not I already know) my medal will say "I survived the Zombies" and if not it says "I got eaten by Zombies."  That's funny to me.

I did hear one thing that is reassuaring, there are 'balloon ladies' on the course for my Disney 1/2. They are the very end. If I fall behind them - bam golf cart of shame. If I can keep ahead of them I'm good. I like that because I like the visual of where I need to be. I've been really nervous that I would just be going along and have no idea and BAM, golf cart of shame. But that won't happen. I'll have an idea of where I stand. So that makes me feel better. (Unless my sister is wrong and then I will kill her.) :P

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Upping the Ante - A stupid running update

There are 13 weeks remaining until the 1/2 marathon. I have 13 more weeks to be positive and strong and think good thoughts (and then NEVER RUN AGAIN!) (Unless I decide to do a 1/2 in Disneyland so I can get the coast to coast medal. But probably that won't happen). (Probably).

(Unrelated to running, I really like how in The Hunger Games they screw with the sound after Katniss blows up the cornucopia so for those brief minutes it sounds just like it would sound to her)

Anyway, I've decided to do a couple things to help this practicing along. My gym has a deal that for $40 you can do small group training with a trainer on Tuesday/Thursday nights for about a month and a half. I think this would be a good idea so I can do some weight training and build the strength I need to run better. The other is that I'm going to increase my run days. Currently I'm following the Jeff Goolsey method of training which is two days a week for 30 minutes and one long run one day a week, but I'm still concerned I'm not improving enough, so I'm going to up my running days to Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday but keep Saturday and Monday exercise free. (Well, Monday night water aerobics but that barely counts.)

I was diagnosed with Exercise induced asthma (this isn't a new diagnosis. I was actually diagnosed a long time ago, but it has never really bothered me until I started running). So now I have a puffer to use before I exercise. I also was given some daily heartburn medicine since I do have regular heartburn and that can cause asthma problems. We'll see how that goes. I've only been using it for a week.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pintesting - German Glass Glitter Ornaments

So for this round of the Pintester Movement we've been instructed to make Christmas tree ornaments. Now I live alone. I have no kids. I rarely put up a Christmas tree (although I do have a lovely one I bought back in the early 90s from the Pick & Save in Fairbanks. I think it was $19.95.  I'll let you translate that into an appropriate level of "lovely." I think it is 4 feet tall.)  Anyway, I don't usually put up a tree because who will see it except me? So once I have made my lovely ornament (something about Christmas requires multiple uses of the word "lovely.") I'm going to try to send it to Jodee who blogs over at the Cheeseblarg for her first ever Christmas tree. Why? Because I love cheese. And honestly I don't need a lot of Christmas tree ornaments. Also, I wonder if I could compete with her cheese love. I think I could.

I opted for the German Glass Glitter ornaments for the combined reasons of glitter and theoretical ease of the project. Except I can't make projects easy. I must complicate them in some way. In this way I didn't re-read the instructions that would have let me just do scribble designs and I actually attempted to create designs of actual things. Also, I don't know what the hell German Glass Glitter is and so in the great tradition of the Pintester, I just used what I had which was normal glitter.

So here are the ingredients. The basic instructions do not mention mod podge and the big paint brush but since glitter is the herpes and I don't want it all over the place I theorize I will seal the glitter on the ornament with the mod podge.
I started out with making holly. Holly is so easy to draw with a pen. It should be easy to draw with glue. See the first dot. 

Look! Three little holly berries. They will begin to drool almost instantly. Don't use this much to make your holly berries.
Note the blob o' berries and the outline of the holly leaves. This is good, right?

Sprinkled the green and red glitter carefully onto the holly and berries. 

 Then I had to take a fine paint brush and dust off all the glitter because glitter sticks to the whole glass ornament whether or not there is glue on the ornament. 

I also tried a snowflake. It was easier by far.
I carefully sprinkled white/clear shiny glitter on the snowflake.

You can't really see the glitter, but it is there. I promise. I wouldn't lie about this. (Would I?) No, I probably wouldn't lie about that.  

So because I don't want glitter to eventually get everywhere I sealed the ornaments with mod podge. My theory is that it will seal in all the glitter.

 Luckily the mod podge dried clear. I was briefly worried about it. But it is shiny mod podge (modpodge mod podge modpodge mod podge say it a bunch and it loses all meaning) so it enhances the snowflake (in my opinion)

So I hung several to dry. I did stripes which was much easier. I also had a finer glitter I used on some ornaments. Also, if doing stripes or covering the whole thing with glitter, it is much easier to use the mod podge to coat everything than it is to use the regular glue. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

16 Weeks Left

Subtitled 10 miles down 3 to go.

So today's long walk was 10 miles. I did run a little bit of that 10 miles but mostly walked. I did run down a couple hills and even ran up a couple hills (technically since it was on the way out and back it was the same hills down and up). The up hill almost made me die. But I felt really accomplished when I got up those two steep hills. Even though I wanted to die. :) In two weeks it is supposed to be 11 miles, but I may just jump up to the 12 miles. This way I can keep practicing the 13 miles for more time.

The wind was brutal today. I swear every time I turned a corner I was running into the wind. You'd think eventually the wind would be at my back, but it didn't seem to happen. I did get distracted for a few minutes studying some graves in the Grapevine Cemetery. There were 4 children graves around their parents. I got distracted because all 4 children died around the age of 2. How brutal that must have been for that family. They were all in the 1800s so it isn't like they had the kind of medical services that we have now. It makes me wonder if there was something wrong with one of the parents' genes. The nice thing about today's run (walk) was that it went past several parks so I had ample opportunity to hit water fountains and at the 5 mile mark go to the bathroom. (all the water breaks.) :) 

I had been feeling really really discouraged about my running. Really discouraged. Open enrollment at work didn't help because I was constantly at meetings (and really exhausted after them) so I missed a bunch of opportunities to run. (And really a bunch of opportunities to go to the gym in general). I've also been feeling like I am not going to succeed. I'm trying to reframe my running and be more positive since I think I need to up my mental game. If I always feel like I'm going to fail, I will definitely fail.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I'm like Percy Fucking Jackson

I take a ridiculous amount of water aerobics classes - 5 classes a week. Our old instructor had to leave the Y because her husband got a promotion which would have possibly made him her boss sometimes and that's against the rules. Our new early morning instructor is a young guy who has been a lifeguard for awhile. This morning he had us run suicides in the water. A suicide, for those unaware of this ridiculous activity, is to run as fast as you can to a certain point than run backwards back to your start point then back forward then backwards then forwards and backwards... On land I presume they're hard. In the water they're hard, but I liked them because they are hard. As much as I gripe and groan, one of the reasons my old water aerobics instructor was my favorite was because she pushed us.

Oh so the point of this whole post, this morning's water aerobics class was very complementary about my mad skillz in water aerobics. I use the largest "weights" (they're foam and so they want to float while I have to keep them underwater. I'm frequently the fastest at doing the different exercises back and forth across the pool. But on land... not so much. I know that the biggest part of that is my size. Fat floats and it is lighter to be in the water. So that's definitely something I'm having to overcome.

In place of one of my ridiculous number of water aerobics classes, I've picked up a turkey trot training class. For the next 8 weeks I will be training with a group and a real instructor on better running techniques. I'm hopeful this will really help me get where I want to be.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Asphalt Block

One thing I'm having a hard time with regarding all this running junk is running on asphalt or sidewalks. This seems odd, no? I've been doing long runs every Sunday and that's on asphalt. Except I start out running and then walk the whole rest of the time. I don't do well on the asphalt running/walking interchangeably. I can do it on the track or on the treadmill. I think it might be the how much harder the asphalt and sidewalk is compared to the treadmills or tracks. I'm going to try to get up early on Tuesday mornings to practice running on the road. I really hate the road.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pintester Movement- gluten-free chocolate brioche

For my latest post as part of the Pintester movement I'm making Gluten-Free Chocolate brioche found on The Culinary Life. I do not recall ever having gluten-full brioche let alone chocolate brioche but the picture looked delicious. Had I read the full recipe before I started I probably wouldn't have done it but, that makes it even better, right? (Good thing I had nothing else to do this Sunday afternoon)

For this test I decided to make gluten-free chocolate brioche. It just sounded delicious. It also requires about a million ingredients, many of which are expensive (xanthan gum is $14 for that little package). Oh and it also required oil which I didn't photograph and didn't need sugar which I did.
I sifted together the dry ingredients. This is a testament to my commitment to this project. I NEVER sift together dry ingredients. I did have a bit of a xanthan gum explosion which ended up getting it all over the place. Xanthan gum, when wet, is slimy. Seriously slimy. Kind of grossly slimy.  
Next added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. I really love my stand mixer.
Go mixer go!

Then it had to rest for 2 hours. This project took a lot of resting. Please try to not notice my khaki capri clad legs reflecting in the bowl. That made me giggle just now.
Next up - chopping chocolate. Yum chocolate. I love chocolate. That's the whole reason I wanted to do this. Chocolate. (I do have 5 toes even though this picture makes it look like I only have 4).
Using a new bigass kitchen knife I cut up the chocolate to put inside the buns. mmm... chocolate.
I had to buy a new bigass kitchen knife because one of my other ones broke. The blade flew out of the handle while I was using it.  
This is the rested dough. It is SUPER sticky. I thought I put down enough corn starch. I didn't. At least not in the center. I had too much in the edges. It seemed a difficult balance. But seriously it takes a lot of corn starch. Oh and here's where I remembered that the texture of corn starch freaks me out. Something about it. It's just so... weird. This part was difficult for me.
Rolling out the dough with my rolling pin coated in more cornstarch. This is nothing if not a seriously messy project.
You sprinkle the chocolate onto the rolled dough and then roll it into a log. Theoretically this is tightly done but it was seriously sticking to the counter so it probably isn't as tight as it could/should be.  
Once you cut the roll into 6 pieces you roll them into balls and put on the parchment and let them rest again for 45 minutes. This project took the whole afternoon. It is hardcore. Also I'm concerned about the quantity of cornstarch still all over the rolls. Plus they are HUGE. Seriously huge.  
Here's the finished product. I cut one open and ate it. It was DELICIOUS. Seriously. Delicious. I have no idea what gluten-full brioche tastes like but these are very good. Almost worth the 4 hours it took me to make SIX of these. (Wow that's not a good effort to result ratio is it?)  

Friday, September 20, 2013

There's no Crying in Running (Well maybe there will be)

I just finished the book The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women. In it the author describes her training . It is a fairly hysterical read. One thing that has made me a little ... nervous maybe... is how she describes crying while actually running her marathon. Now I am not doing a marathon. I'm only doing a half marathon so maybe I won't cry - at least not about the running itself. Since I am a big marshmallow I'm pretty sure there will be some tearing up. Here's where I expect to tear up a little (or a lot)

1. When I see people cheering. I know they won't necessarily be cheering for me specifically but I know that when I cheered for people while watching them do their marathons they were all total strangers. The people out there cheering us on will make me tear up. I'm a sap like that.

2. When I finish the run. I'm not sure I will cry then but it won't surprise me if I do. See above about being a marshmallow.

3. If I don't finish the run. If I get picked up by the damn golf cart of shame I will cry. I may be inconsolable. I'm actually working fairly hard to train for this. If I can't do it, this will represent a HUGE fail for me and I'm not sure how I'm going to react to that.

4. If any music plays at just the right time. When I first started training my calves were killing me while I was running. During one of these bouts Carry On by F.U.N came up on my iPod. So because I'm a weirdo when the line "but my legs are fine, after all they are mine" came on... I totally teared up. And then the lyrics move on to "We are, we are like shining stars, we are invincible..." Seriously. F.U.N can't be on my running on the big day playlist.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mayor of Excusesville

After I ran my first 5k I felt like my left knee was less than happy with me. It's been bothersome enough that I bought a knee brace. It's also been bothersome enough that I didn't run last Sunday. I felt like I wanted to let it rest or heal or whatever it needed to do. I have kept up my short runs. Yesterday I didn't run. I woke up in the middle of the night with stomach issues and decided that running was not going to be the correct answer. That instinct was correct. Although by mid-afternoon my stomach had settled down and I could have run except it is TexAss and I wasn't going to run in the middle of the day here. So I thought this morning I would go before work. Except I woke up at 3:00 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. So no running today either. Tomorrow I'm back on the exercise wagon although tomorrow is water aerobics in the evening and I don't know what in the morning (maybe nothing).

I am a lazy exerciser. I go to classes because I know left to my own devices I tend to not work out as hard as I should/could. I feel concerned that I'm not pushing myself as hard as I could/should. And this knee trouble provides me with plenty of excuses to keep easing off.  On the flip side I have managed to improve my single mile time. I'm down to 18:11 for a mile. So I am pleased with myself for that. (That seems like a contradiction - I'm pleased with my mile time but don't feel I'm working hard enough. It isn't. I am pleased with my single mile time right now but this isn't a single mile run and so far I can't move far enough past the single mile)

On another positive note, I went back to Zumba last week. I still like it and I feel like I was able to keep up with the pace of the exercise although not the actual steps because damn I can't dance.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

First 5k out of the way

I ran my first 5k on Monday. Running outside is very different than running inside. It's unreal how different it is. It's the same air. How can it be such a different experience? (I understand the treadmill vs regular ground running) 

On Friday I went to the gym in the morning like always. I've become a treadmill convert because I can control my pace and watch the time. For the first time ever I ran more than I walked in my 30 minutes. Unfortunately it was actually a slower pace than I usually run but the endurance is important. This isn't a sprint but a long run. Unfortunately this still means I have to improve by 6 minutes by February. I'm still very concerned about that. I have no doubt if given an unlimited amount of time I could walk the 13.1 miles (in one day). Because I know this, it is always in the back of my head that I have to meet a time requirement and I think that forces me to focus on the wrong thing. I need to focus on improving endurance and the actual running and the time will come. I'm just not that patient. Also with Open Enrollment coming at my job, my whole exercise schedule is going to get screwed up completely so there's that to look forward to. 

So back to my first 5k. My sister came out to run it with me. I was glad to see her. I don't think I run well when I'm with her, though. I think because her pace is so much faster than mine I try to go faster than I can/should and get winded too soon and then can't recover from it. Which is what happened on Monday. I think on my next one I'll go on my own and may not do a lot better but maybe walk a little less. As I said on FB, I walked probably 99% of the damn thing because any time I tried to start running I just couldn't breathe. It didn't help that it had been raining much of the night and was raining much of the morning. I think it stopped while we were on the course but now the air was hot and wet which is a breathing nightmare. I was not the very last person to come in on the 5k course. So there's that. Although we were one of the very last people to cross the starting line because I knew I would be slow and in the back of the pack. I did cross the finish line. I did run/walk a 5k. 

In order to try to facilitate my improved lungs, I'm going to be adding more exercise to my days. Currently I do water aerobics Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Wednesday and Friday mornings. I then do my 30 minute runs on Wednesday and Friday mornings too and my long runs on Sunday. I am going to try (emphasis on TRY) to get up early Tuesday and Thursday mornings and adding either lap swimming (crawl only no more breast stroke which I find easy) or this machine at the gym called the ARC trainer. My water aerobics instructor says this is a hard machine and will improve my lungs. It seems like a hybrid between an elliptical trainer and a stair climber maybe? I don't know but she says it is an ass kicking machine and is easier on my joints than true running (which I'm looking for). 

In December I'm going to try a 10k. I feel like in October/November I need to do one more 5k. I have to get used to doing this outside and under the running specific conditions. Plus I kind of want to do one of those color runs where you get doused with flung colored powder. :)  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Hunger

Since I've begun this regular running program, I've found I'm hungry ALL THE TIME. I only run 3 days a week. I do not run 7 days a week. I do not understand why 7 days a week I'm STARVING. The other part I don't understand is that it isn't like I've gone from complete and total inaction to exercising 3 days a week. Prior to starting the running program I was doing water aerobics (which I'm still doing) 3 days a week and swimming laps 2(ish) days a week. Swimming actually burns more calories than my walk/run does. What the hell is going on here? I don't get it. But damn I want to EAT it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Training - Week 5

As of today I've been working the program for 5 weeks. Today I felt like I am going to fail big time at this. Like completely and totally fail. Like why am I even bothering. Like if there was any way to get my money back I would. (There isn't and that's probably a good thing since I would and be disappointed in myself forever) (Ok well probably not forever) 

Anyway, this morning I felt like I was failing completely. But to back up, for the past few weeks I've been doing my 30 minute runs barefoot.  I've found that I really enjoy running barefoot. In the gym on the track I can feel every board in the track. I can feel the nuances on the ground as I put my feet down. It also seems to make my calves hurt less. Now if I'm being positive I've shaved 1 minute off my mile time and am able to legitimately run 50% and walk 50% of my basic mile. That's huge for me. but this isn't a 1 mile run it is a 13.1 mile run.

This evening I'm back to a little more positivity. Mostly because I have no soreness in my legs. I bought a new pair of shoes yesterday that are minimalist running shoes. I bought a pair of New Balance which have a 4 millimeter drop.  They are almost perfectly flat - with no extra padding under the heel. Now had I been on the track I probably would've done better. Instead I decided to try the road near my house. It is 1 mile long. It is also completely hilly and I've apparently never noticed it when driving it almost daily. It was also 85 degrees out this morning. The combination of those two things made me give up after only 2 miles instead of the necessary 3. I'm like a goddamn flower in the heat. I just don't take it well. Last weekend I went to Alabama to visit my sister. I had to cut a mile off that Sunday's run as well because of the heat.

Fortunately the average in Florida in February is in the 70s and according to my old man running friend that's ideal running temperatures. And I'm going to presume that since we're running at the ass crack of dawn we'll be closer to the 50 degrees than the 70s anyway. That makes me happy. I have 28 weeks left to train. With one weekend exception I'll be doing a long run every weekend. Maybe I got this.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


One of the things that has been a struggle for me with all this running shit is that I don't feel like I'm improving fast enough. Now in reality I've been "running" for all of 3 weeks. (I use running in quotes because a - it is fairly slow and b - it is still mostly walking). My knees and outer calves are killing me. And for fun, my lower back has thrown itself into the mix. This is all muscular pain not joint pain. In my knees it isn't IN my knees but the part that runs on the interior of my knees so I don't think that's the joint that's causing me pain. I bought new shoes and I'm wondering if they aren't part of the problem. On Tuesday when I do my 30 minutes I'll wear my old ones.

So I've been working this program for 3 weeks. Going from the total couch to "running" I probably am doing just fine, but it feels like I should be able to do more. (I don't know why I think that. Honestly there's no reason for it whatsoever). I guess I keep thinking back to my first long run which I was able to do despite the rain and the wind. I think I've taken a step back with the last two long runs which is where my frustration lies. Today I pulled off my shoes and finished my last 2 laps (or 1/2 mile) barefoot because my back and legs were screaming. Barefoot was much easier. (related, the track is more cushiony than I thought it was. I thought I was running on regular road asphalt but when I was barefoot I discovered that's not the case). It does make me ponder minimalist running shoes. I prefer to be barefoot in general. For people who are regular runners there's a huge length of time to make the switch, but since I'm a new runner I wonder if I could just start out that way. Something to consider. (Except I will never ever ever wear those ugly toe shoes. Never. Ever. Ever)

According to my calculations I should be hitting 13 miles in December. Since I have a long time I should be able to do this but damn if I wasn't feeling like I can't this morning.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Two Weeks Down - A training update

I've done four 30 minute runs so far and one long run on the weekend. I seem to be consistently doing a 20 minute mile. My long run on last Sunday took me an hour to do 3 miles. I've got a 4 mile run coming up tomorrow. I have 6 months to shave 6 minutes off my time so that I can get to a 14 minute mile. Have I mentioned I've never in my life run a 14 minute mile? I'm pretty sure I have. (mentioned it that is not run a 14 minute mile). But a 14 minute mile is my goal which means that by August 20th I need to do a 19 minute mile. I can do that. Maybe.

I bought new tennis shoes yesterday. The running shoe store took video of my gait and figured out what kind of shoes would be the right ones for me. It seems the pronation I used to do is no longer happening. My new shoes are lighter in weight than my current shoes. I hope they'll help with my calf muscles. The outer muscle has been getting tight and painful when I run. I've also been adding some stretching to target those muscles because I need them to not do that every time I run.

I feel all athletic and crap now that I have a regimen and I've bought protein powder that I drink in orange juice before a run. Oh and I bought protein bars which are delicious because they are basically nuts held together with something yummy and then dipped in chocolate.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pintester Movement - Bisquick Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since I love the Pintester's blog, I have joined her Pintester Movement. This is my second Pintester Movement experiment. This task was to take a pin she's already done and do it myself. I opted for Bisquick chocolate chip cookies. She found the original post here on Plain Chicken's blog. Since I'm gluten-free I miss the old chocolate chip cookies I used to eat. I like them to be a little doughier because that's what I grew up with. GF cookies tend to be super crispy.
Here are the ingredients. The bottle of peppermint and green food coloring are not part of the ingredients. They were part of another experiment. So the ingredients are 1 egg, 1 stick butter, 1 c brown sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 3/4ths c of Bisquick and 1 c chocolate chips. After I experimented with my peppermint chocolate chip cookies I decided that it needed more moisture so I added 1 egg white too.    

I creamed together the butter and sugar. I remember that from the olden days of cooking. I don't know why you cream things, you just do.

 Then added the egg and vanilla. I love vanilla. It smells so delicious.
Look! Gluten-Free Bisquick. I bought it at Kroger. I can buy it in the regular grocery store! I didn't have to go to Whole Foods or Sprouts or another health food store. It is ridiculously exciting.

I added in the requisite 2 3/4ths cup (the entire package of Bisquick for me) and mixed.

But it was dry y'all. Dry like the desert. It was not bonding together well which is why I opted to do 2 things. 1 I started mixing with my hands because I always feel like I can really get things well mixed with my hands and 2 added the extra egg white.
Now I knew I was bringing in these cookies for my coworkers that were stuck at work with me on the Friday after the 4th of July. Seriously. There are 9 people in my department and there were 4 of us stuck there on Friday. That just isn't right. So to be all patriotic and supportive and good "go to person" (that's the euphemism for in charge that my boss uses) I brought them cookies. Don't worry, they know I'm gluten free AND they knew this was a cooking experiment so they were well prepared.
I've totally digressed. To make these patriotic I decided to color them with a little food coloring. But I didn't mix them so well together that it made purple cookies, just read and blue swirled cookies.
Look! See the swirls? You might have to look closely.
Finished product! The instructions didn't require parchment paper but I like to use it because I'm lazy and it is so much easier to clean up if I use parchment paper.
I'm not sure how I felt about the cookies. They were super dry which is a GF issue. As a result of the super dry cookies they are very fragile and tend to fall apart easily. I think if I do this again maybe a full egg extra instead of just the white. Otherwise I liked that they were doughy and not super crispy. My coworkers loved them. They thought they were great and I was being silly. They're good like that. :)
1 egg
1 stick butter
 1 c brown sugar
 2 tsp vanilla
 2 3/4ths c of Bisquick 
1 c chocolate chips
Mix the ingredients altogether. Bake at 375 for 8 - 10 minutes. I did add an extra egg because they were just too dry for me but that could be a gluten free issue.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Marathon Whoaman

My friend Lyday made a mistake recently (and by recently I mean YESTERDAY) and posted a link to this half marathon indicating that she wants to do it. By it I mean the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Walt Disney World in February of 2014. Now what Lyday didn't know is that I've volunteered for marathons before and I always find them so oddly inspirational. In 2004 when I volunteered for my first I pondered doing a half marathon then but didn't have any... motivation to do it.

So like an idiot I say if she wanted to do a team I'd sign up with her. And like an idiot she agreed. And then I did it. I signed up for a fucking marathon. What was I thinking? I'm not a runner. I don't have a runner's body.
This is me.  Well technically this is me like 3 years ago, but you get the picture. This is not the body of a runner. This is the body of a Polish field worker (which I know because I am built like my grandmother and as I've heard many times over from my mother, who rants about this after hearing a news story about slavery reparations or the atrocities visited upon Native Americans, our people were still plowing away in fields in Poland during the time all that bad stuff was happening in the states so a Polish field worker I am). (At least I think that's what she says, I tend to tune out)
I will say that although this is me 3 years ago, this is still pretty much me now since I can still wear both that pair of capris and that tank top. So this is me.
This woman, now she's a runner. She may eat cupcakes once in awhile, but you can be sure she's earned the damn thing.
(Image pilfered from Ultimate City Fitness website who probably pilfered it from someone else.)
But I have now committed to doing a marathon. And since I have paid a ridiculous amount of money and it doesn't even include park tickets or a hotel room I'm doing it. I have a training program downloaded from Disney's website. It is a 19 week program that, theoretically, should have me up to 13.1 miles by the end of it and at a pace that won't get me stuck on the golf cart of shame. I actually have more than 19 weeks, 32 by my count, and so I am hoping I can improve time and endurance during the part after I get to running 13 miles.
Let me repeat that in case you missed it: RUNNING 13 MILES!
Well, I don't have to RUN all 13 miles. All I have to do is have a 16 minute mile and I won't get picked up by the golf cart of shame. (Really I need to shoot for a 14 minute mile. I feel 100% certain I have never in my life run a 14 minute mile) (really)
So  my goal in all this is to complete the damn race and not end up riding in the golf cart of shame. Organizers of a marathon have a time you have to finish by (we get 3.3 hours for this 13 miles). If you are not at a pace to complete that in time they will pick you up. I've seen it at the marathons I've volunteered for although those are usually vans of shame because we're out on public streets. I want to finish. I just want to finish.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A $400 lesson

Two weeks ago I put an offer in on a house. It was a nice enough house, small. In a location I had no desire to live in. On paper, though, it was perfect. It had a newer roof, heater and water heater. It had nice floors throughout. It was weirdly laid out with the laundry room in the living room. But it was in my price range and it was the size I wanted and because I felt like every time I was turning down a house I was being picky or ridiculous I put an offer in on it. And I immediately felt regret. That night I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep because I wanted to back out. I wanted to back out desperately.

The next day I got a call from my realtor and here was my out, they wanted to split the difference between the house price and my offer. I could have backed away there but I kept thinking that I could make this house my house. I kept thinking this might be as good as I can get. I kept thinking I should settle even though I don't love the location at all (ok I hate it) and I didn't like the kitchen or the weird layout. So I agreed to the price change.

I scheduled the inspection and actually attended the inspection because I was curious. It needed a new AC unit and there were some wiring issues that would have to be fixed. Nothing big enough to warrant me backing out completely even though I kept thinking "please let there be something that will let me back out of this deal."  So we put it back to the seller to fix a few issues and I was hoping the seller would balk. He didn't. But on the last day of my 7 day option period I pulled out. It wasn't my house. I didn't love it. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

After I pulled out I started second guessing that decision. I still don't know if I made the right decision. I think I did. But I keep thinking if it had been the right decision in the first place I wouldn't be having near panic attacks at the thought of it. Or maybe I would. I didn't have a panic attack about the house I lost. That one I knew was the one I wanted. The worst part is that now I have to wait a few months before I can house shop again. We're entering our busiest time at work and I'm going to need all my free time to work more so no house hunting until February. Hopefully by then one I will love will be out there waiting for me. Or maybe I'll move to Wyoming. :)

The Greatest Story Ever Written (or plot holes are a scourge)

I've started reading The Bible. Already I have questions. I feel that even though I'm an atheist, I should know what this book says since so many people quote it all the time. I've tried to read it before but I usually just get so bored. Clearly it isn't going well this round since according to my Kindle I'm 0% through.  In case it matters I picked up the English Standard Version since it was a free download on my Kindle.  Maybe one of the others would leave me with fewer questions. Hard to know.

So I've started The Bible (First question, it is big T in The Bible not little, right?) and I'm just past the story of Noah and just read about Abram going to Egypt with his wife. So here are my questions:

1 - Abram goes to Egypt and lies about his wife being his sister because he's worried about the Egyptians killing him because she's so beautiful. That logic I don't even understand, but whatever. Here's the question - Since Abram and the Egyptians are all descendants of Noah, why would the Egyptians be a threat to Abram's wife? Has that much time passed? Shouldn't they all still have some of the same values? Does that mean a guy with a super attractive wife who came into Abram's territory would be killed so Abram could have his wife?  (Completely unrelated each time I read Abram I think of the guy off The Real World/Road Rules challenges so I completely picture a blonde kind of dumb surfer dude as Abram)

2 - Noah repopulated the planet so the Egyptians are part of Noah's family. Shouldn't they be covered under the "covenant" made with Noah? Why would God curse them since it was Abram who lied. It isn't like the Pharaoh knew the wife was married to someone else.

3 - If the Egyptians are not of Noah and therefore not of God, where did they come from? It was pretty clear that there was a flood and everyone and everything in the WORLD was wiped out and Noah repopulated everything. So where did the Egyptians come from?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pintester Movement - Pretty Wire Garden Art

As a Pinteste, I look forward to the crazy things the Pintester tries. I she cracks me up.  She is doing this thing where she is having her readers do their own Pintesting. Be a part of the Pintester Movement.  I came across several pins that I wanted to try and decided this Pretty Wire Garden Art project by Jen Goode would be fun. I am buying my first house this year and this way I could make my own yard art. Isn't that exciting for me?

So these are the supplies. I had to buy wire coat hangers because I didn't have any and because apparently I never go to the dry cleaners. The fine craft wire and the little glass things I bought at Michaels. I had the wire thingie but I didn't actually use it.

Step one was to straighten out the wire. The cat decided the wire was something fun so we had to take a break for a few minutes to play.

I did my first bend following the pictures on the website. I wanted to make a dragonfly because I love them. See, it is taking shape! A wing!

Look, it is working so far! I have two wings and a head! I also have the picture up on my Kindle Fire so I could follow along.
Well, it starts to fall apart around here. I couldn't bend the 2nd wings the way they needed to go. Seriously. Not in the least. I could not bend them with my thumbs. I tried and tried until they were numb. I could not bend them with a plier. To say I succeeded would make me a liar.  But, hey this looks kind of cool right? No. No it doesn't. So I straightened it out and started over again.

 So I went back to the drawing board and just did a simple spiral flower. This I could do. This worked well. I also had a needle nose pair of pliers to help me out with the little bend. (Completely related, as I type this my right thumb is numb with pain and discomfort since the wire bending is HARD)
Next step is to decorate with decorative wire. I also included some small beads.
So here's the completed flower with the red decorative wire and little beads wrapped in. Not hideous. 

I had an extra little part that I wrapped with green decorative wire and then glued to the stem.  Gluing wasn't part of the project but it was necessary to make the leaf hold. 

And then I stuck it outside in my flower pot. I think it looks pretty. It was difficult to do and seriously my thumb hurts. A lot. I have enough hangers to do a lot more if I wanted to. I think I'll use them to hang up some clothes or something. Maybe jackets in the closet.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dating Dissonance

So I've been doing the eharmony thing for a few months now. I've had two dates (with the same guy) result so far. The guy was niceish, but so blah. He had no opinions on liking things and was just so blah. He was also, and I KNOW this is unkind of me, very unfortunate looking. I really want to believe that people become more attractive when they have great personalities and maybe that was the problem - he didn't have a sparkling personality.

I'm trying to be as open minded as possible while reviewing my matches and all that jazz, but the reality is that for the most part guys are who they are on the dating sites. If they are a conservative guy who indicate they are a conservative guy, there's no real reason for me to think otherwise and since I am not a conservative girl this match won't work. Giving him the 'benefit of the doubt' isn't going to work. And, as always, I'd rather be alone than miserable with someone. (Or alone with someone). I think I tend to respond, especially if they contacted me first, because I'm so excited someone - SOMEONE - is interested in me. I guess I get worried that might be the only one. Because the way things have been going, that MIGHT have been the only one. I've been alone a very long time. I frequently wonder if I will even be able to maintain a long term relationship, especially as I spend more time alone and dig deeper into my own ways of doing things.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


So my words for this year were Home and completion. One of the other things I'm working on this year is dating. I am actively doing eharmony - going onto the site, initiating communication, working the program, responding to anyone who was not completely repugnant. Which leads me to this ponderence... if I'm working on buying a house in less than 2 months, am I somehow defeating the whole dating thing? Since, theoretically, my goal is to find a husband and get married, am I just assuming the whole thing won't work out by buying my house? Given my track record with men, this is a reasonable assumption. Should I spend another year as an apartment dweller just in case? And see, that's the real reason I'm going forward with my house buying - I don't have more time to waste waiting for my life to happen the way I want it to. I just reread Jonathan Tropper's book "This is where I leave you" and a quote from the book really resonated with me - "I'm too old to have this much nothing." I feel like that a lot of the time. I'm almost 40 and what do I have to show for it?

Father's Day vs. Mother's Day.

Sunday was Mother's Day. While I was out at breakfast, a place I've eaten almost every Sunday for the past 3 years and have had people join me MAYBE 7 times, and I was wished, by a waitress who has been there 3 years and knows my order without me even saying it, "Happy Mother's Day." In the few days before Sunday, I heard that from several other people. I commented on Facebook that the next person who said that to me was going to get punched, or at the very least a scathing look and explanation that not every woman of a certain age is a mom. A FB friend commented on my sense of humor. Except I'm not kidding. It's painful to be told Happy Mother's Day when you're not a mom and want to be one and so far plans haven't worked out that way. Don't get me wrong. I have not managed to make the types of decisions that would enable me to adopt. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way as Amy at The Peevery peeved about this very topic.

More than that, though, and the part that bothers me is this presumption that women of a certain age are moms in a way that would not happen for dads.  I'd wager that when I go to my breakfast place on Father's Day the waitstaff will not be wandering around wishing random guys at the tables "Happy Father's Day." At Wal-Mart or Target the checkers won't be wishing the guys in their lines Happy Father's Day. In fact, I'd wager most men would be uncomfortable with people randomly wishing them Happy Father's Day. So why is it acceptable to do it to women when it doesn't happen to men?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Adventures in online dating

I've rejoined an online dating site. I'm pretty upfront with who I am I think. I have self identified as liberal. I have indicated I want kids. So one guy who starts communication with me is a self-identified conservative. When one of the questions I used said something like "tell me about your political beliefs." his response was "conservative." What does that even mean? I mean besides conservative. Plus once we got to the "open communication" stage all he said was I want to know more about you text me. So not happening dude. I'd consider emailing but texting involves me giving you a phone number. No, just no.

Another indicates he "might want kids" but in our email communications indicates that ship has sailed. So why bother. I very clearly say I do want kids. I DO want kids. So I replied with I can't have kids, but I do intend to adopt some someday. We'll see how that goes. Probably nowhere fast.

There's a 3rd who looks vaguely like a serial killer. Like the serial killers on TV not like Jeffrey Dahmer or anything. There's an actor he reminds me of but I can't think of the show he's on. He's an accountant.

I also don't understand those that post that they don't have kids in one section but then talk about their multiple children in another. Are they just stupid or did the change in the site design affect their answers. That one I don't get.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Are We There Yet?

I'm talking with a new Realtor next week. The first one will do good things for me and I have no doubt in his negotiation skills. And I'm totally willing to pay the minimum fee he charges. BUT I don't like financing games, which he proposed and I feel like he doesn't ... I dunno I feel like my price level may be beneath him. The potential new realtor sells home in the bracket I'm planning on spending. She's a woman. She's older. We'll see.

My biggest problem, though, is that I want to just be done. Both realtors agree that I'm starting too soon. I can't start looking yet because there's still a lot of time before I can move in. I just want to be in the process. Or done with the process. Or anywhere along in the process. Because if I think really hard about the fact that in 3 months I should be in the process of moving into my new house it seems like I should be somewhere along the process right now. Right? Maybe that process should be working on packing up this apartment.

I have a theory (ok it isn't a theory it is a thought I literally just had while sitting here) that if I give myself so many days of overlap than I don't have to REALLY pack... I can just use the same boxes and unload at the new house to refill here. Now having helped a friend move in that exact fashion, it is actually a ridiculous process and annoying so I won't do that, but it is a very tempting idea as I look around my apartment and think about having to pack all this shit up.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Trying for empathy

I have a coworker that I'm not fond of. She's pedantic. She's unpleasant. She gets away with murder. She's kind of a bitch. In reality, very few are fond of her. Nobody wants to work with her. Even our boss gives me assignments that based on our 'areas of focus list' totally should be hers. Since I'm the one who says 'no problem' when asked to do something (and then actually does it) I get asked to do things that infringe on her territory.

I realized recently that I kind of feel badly for her. It has to be hard for her that more of my coworkers like me. I may sound conceited with that, but really they do. It isn't a hard formula to get people to like you - don't be a bitch, help out when needed, do nice things for people.  She never does any of those three basic things. After a year in the department, I can now kind of see how she's threatened by me. It has nothing to do with my knowledge and everything to do with my personality and in some respects I'm not sure that personality is something that can be easily changed. She's probably 10 - 15 years my senior so her brittle personality probably isn't going anyplace.

 So I feel badly for her. It has to suck knowing, on some level, that most of your coworkers don't want to work with you, or laugh with you or eat lunch with you.  It has to suck when people stop asking your for your expertise in matters, and your new, younger coworker gets all the attention. And the thing is, I don't really think she gets why people like me better. She commented to me once about some stuff I did for the wellness fair, how did I know to do this kind of thing. And here's where the big difference between her and I shows - I just think of what I would like someone to do for me in a similar situation and do that thing (it does help that I can remember random factoids about my coworkers like she can't eat chocolate and likes carrot cake, vegetarian coworker loves things with fruit... blah blah blah). It doesn't have to be fancy, just think about what someone else would like. It would never dawn on her to do that. And that's a bit sad for her.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Putting the pieces together

While at my parents' house I picked up a few things I had owned since childhood. One of those things was a telescope I thought I had lost years ago in all my moving around. Once I buy a tripod, I'm going to bust that out and use it. The stars here in Texas are amazing.

Something else I found was a pair of Okinawan Shisa dogs. They are similar to the Fu dogs of China. I bought them in Okinawa when I was there many many years ago. When I shipped them to Texas, I did not pack them well enough and one broke much more than the other. The other broke into 3 pieces and was fairly easy to put back together. The other... not so much. It will probably not stand solidly once I'm done gorilla gluing it together. It also will have some chips missing. I do feel badly that I have broken them. I could try to be all profound and say that broken things can't be put back together the same way, but we all know I'm not profound. :) Luckily it is the one who keeps his mouth open to ward off evil spirits as opposed to the one whose mouth was closed to keep in good spirits. Maybe the cracks will confuse the evil spirits.

Galentine's Day

On my favorite TV show, Parks & Recreation, Leslie (the main character) celebrates Galentine's Day on February 13th. She goes over the top with presents for her gal pals, but basically the gist of the holiday is to celebrate your friends and what you love about them. I love the idea of this non-existent holiday. Romance comes and goes but hopefully friends are for as long as possible.

I have been lucky enough to know some really great women in my life. I've already sung the praises of Michelle. (Well I sung her praises a long time ago. Apparently this is a clear example of my 2nd word completion because I had intended to say a lot of nice things about a lot of nice people and managed to finish 2. Also, please note that here we are in the middle of February and I still don't have my 3rd word for the year.) (Also, note that this post is actually being finished in APRIL, I suck.)

It's amazing to think that I am where I am today because of the people who I've known along the way. My parents are odd birds. They don't have a lot of friends. And by don't have a lot I mean my dad has none and my mom's best friend died a couple years ago.  I don't really make a lot of friends either. I have a hard time with it. But, for the most part, the friends I make are long term and lasting. Since I have such a hard time making them, I hold on tightly to the ones I have. Luckily, they hold on to me too. :)

You can't spell debacle without acle?

So on spring break (about 2 weeks ago) we descended upon my parents' house in an attempt to help them with the chaos that reigns there. I underestimated the true amount of crap and overestimated my mother's willingness to part with any of it. As in, she has no willingness. None whatsoever. Not even an ounce of willingness.

Now I should say that I have given her an out. They could have said no at the beginning. AND about a week before we went, I emailed them and said look if you don't want us to do this, tell us NOW and we'll adjust our plans and expectations. No answer.

I also seriously underestimated the level of mentally ill my mother currently is. I say mentally ill, not to denigrate those with mental illnesses, but because she has to be (albeit undiagnosed). There can be no other explanation for her complete and total unwillingness to part with any of her treasures. Even when faced with things that are obviously trash. OBVIOUSLY trash, she can't bear to part with them. As my sister and I discussed one night, it isn't as though these are things that have sentimental value because of our childhood or even her own... these are OTHER PEOPLE'S treasures. She buys all this crap at yard sales.

We unloaded the maybe 50% of the living room. That was the only room we could even really work in. But since she wouldn't get rid of anything we mostly refilled the room when we were done.

So on the positive - My sister resealed the roof, which took almost a day. My niece and nephew found a box that contained stuff from my sister (their mother) before she died. It had photos of them from a period of time they didn't have any photos. They were very glad to find those. My nephew and I got rid of a bunch of yard debris. We got some family photos taken before my mother completely and totally melted down on Saturday.

I guess the biggest positive that came out of this is that I don't have to feel badly about it and we don't ever have to go back to try this. I do feel concern about it when they both pass, but that will be so much easier since we'll be able to throw away so much without them stalking us.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Odd House Things I'm Excited About

When I buy this house this fall this will be the first time I've ever owned property. It'll be the first time I'll get to decide what I have on the floor and what colors on the walls (the time I painted my walls in Seattle don't count since I paid through the nose for that...).  I did get some choice in my current apartment. They let me pick an accent wall color from a list of about 5 approved colors, so there you go a lot of choice. But that's not even what I'm excited about since I'm rather meh on wall colors. I've lived for almost all my adult life with variations on the shade of beige or ecru or offwhite and I mostly cover up the walls anyway. They are blank canvases for my other stuff. What I'm really excited about picking out for myself (in the long haul obviously)...

Faucets. I hate the short little stubby bathroom faucets. I don't understand why bathroom sinks are designed with these huge basins but the faucet is almost against the back part of the basin. It isn't like I'm washing my unmentionables under the faucet. I want faucets that extend quite a ways over the basin.

Floors. Eventually I'm going to have either ceramic tile or concrete floors. I'm buying a house in TexAss. It is hot here like 85% of the time. I think ceramic tile or concrete floors will help keep the house cooler than carpet. Plus I don't really like carpet. It is a pain to deal with. It usually looks flat and dingy. It's nice under the bare feet (which I always have bare feet) but I just really dislike it. And wood floors are nice, but I don't think they'll help with the heat factor as much as ceramic tile or concrete. A high school FB friend redid his floors in concrete. They are beautiful and more practical I think than carpet. I can always put down throw rugs or buy a nice area rug. I did have one coworker point out that with tile or concrete floors I'm pretty much guaranteeing anything I drop will break. Good to consider. :)

Shower head.  Almost all apartments and the gyms have the same style shower head. Most of the hotels I've stayed in (except the fancy ones) have had a similar too. It has two settings - awful and awfuler. I want one of those that have the big head and are more like a rain. I know Michelle had one that I loved (and she hated). I will have one of those in a bathroom in my house.

Honorable mention goes to window treatments. In every apartment I have lived in I've had mini-blinds. I hate mini-blinds. Give me a roman shade. Give me a regular shade. Give me a curtain. Just no more metal mini-blinds. This will probably be the first thing to deal with since I'm pretty houses don't come with window treatments. Haha! Since my mother and I are currently doing the 'dance of the birthday present' I may have something for her to do for me.

Taking the "high road"

My current employer is looking at beginning talks with my former hell employer about a partnership for a project to benefit employees. I've been trying to stay out of these conversations because just because I hate my former employer doesn't mean I should make those that work for them suffer. The project would be good for the revenue of my former employer. But as I've thought more and more about it, I'm not taking the high road. I'm doing my current employer a disservice by not being honest about my former employer. To wit, I genuinely feel that the upper management team is not proactive in dealing with problems that arise. They let bad things slide for far too long because they are so focused on their expansion that they can't fix the issues currently in the organization. Their employees are not motivated by anything other than fear. Their expansion appears to be unfocused and they end up with offices they don't know what to do with. And a quick google search tells me that their CFO, the one person I thought was reasonable on the executive team, is gone. Big shocker. It won't be up to me whether we do this partnership. If I had that power, I'd totally go with another group who is larger. But I'm definitely going to bring my concerns to the table.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Organized Atheism

In general, I'm a fairly laid back atheist. I don't care that other people believe. I don't care that it says in god we trust on money. I don't even really care if there is a moment of silence in schools. But as part of my building a community here, I decided to go to an atheist meet up. I've avoided them in general because I find it odd to sit around and talk about atheism. But I figured I'd try it out.

I found the group I found because there was a sign on the highway that advertised that they picked up litter along that stretch. I found that today was the day they clean up the highway and volunteered to do road clean up. I cleaned with two guys, one was new to the group and the other an old timer. The road clean up was fine. It is just road clean up which is no big deal.

They do a Wednesday night gathering and then apparently have business meetings once a month. After we cleaned up the road we went to lunch at a new Chinese food buffet

Anyway, I'm digressing. It was nice to meet new people and I'll probably try another event they do, but.. they're far more militant than I am. Apparently I am right to avoid atheism groups. I don't get a kick out of going where the believers are and engaging them in atheistic banter. I've never been persecuted for my non-beliefs. I don't feel the need to march or protest. Maybe I'll look for a different group that does activism that I'm more passionate about. As soon as I figure out what I'm more passionate about. :)

 I did like talking books with the young daughter of one of the members. She's reading Twilight and I gave her a bit of a hard time. But she's also read Hunger Games and HP (of course). I suggested the series I'm currently reading the Lorien Legacies.

Oh... and one of the weird guys I was picking up trash with messaged me about wanting to get together and chat sometime. Uh, no. Just no.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Word number 2 - Completion

There are 32 uncompleted posts on my blog dashboard. There used to be more but I've deleted some since then. I feel like this is emblematic about me. I feel like I tend to not finish things. I think I get involved in the research and the process but can't push the button. This year I want to work on that. I would like to finish things and feel like I can say look that's done. Shortly after I moved here I 'started' putting together what I needed to make a scrapbook of my scout years. That's in a box by the closet door. Last year I started on a project for Lyday. That might actually get done, but mostly because she's waiting for it. So I want to finish things this year. I want to complete my homebuying goal. I want to finish Lyday's blanket. I want to finish some of the work projects I start that I don't want to do. :)  So word number 2 is about finishing what I start - everything I start (well probably not EVERYTHING, let's be realistic) and not getting sidetracked by inanity. Except for brownies. It would probably be better if I didn't always finish the brownies. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Extremely Stubborn And Suspicious

There's a line from Mary Poppins where she measures Michael Banks with her magical tape measure and it says he is extremely stubborn and suspicious. I am extremely stubborn and suspicious. I've heard from someone with a vague link to my past recently. My first thought was not, wow, how nice to hear from this person. It was 'what does she want?'  Now that we're exchanging pleasantries I'm still thinking this way. I'm afraid she's going to ask me things I don't want to answer or I don't know how to answer.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Long Term Goal/Mid term goal

So I downloaded an app that is helping me track my debt repayment. Theoretically, if everything goes well by 2016 I'll be debt free except for my house. When that happens I think that's when I'll start looking for a library job. I won't be paying a huge chunk of cash out of my budget each month and I think I can take the pay hit that I'll take as a librarian. Luckily I'll be able to stalk the people I worked with at the library for my internship to see when they'll be retiring.

At my gym they have a website mymobilefit. Today I enrolled for their lifestyle challenge. I won't be as hardcore about somethings as I could be but I'm interested in the way the website can create workouts for me and help me with meal planning.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Correct Career Path

I've been working on researching for my home purchase this year. I might be enjoying this research phase a little too much. I love looking at all the houses online. I love thinking about all the possibilities and researching to find the best information. I've queried my coworkers about mundane topics like their electric bills and water bill. This morning I emailed my current insurance provider to ask about things I should look for in a home to lower my homeowners insurance (well and to find out how horrifically much more it would be if my delightful new (to me) home had a pool). The research part is so much fun! I'm sure the actual moving in and settling down may not be nearly as awesome. :) (Or it will be but the possibilities are just so damn exciting!)

Also, I like playing the "what the hell is wrong with this house" game. (Like the one I'm currently looking at which is $59,000.  It looks like it is perfectly normal. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

Fiyah! - Apps Apps and more Apps

I won a Kindle Fire in a drawing in December. I lurve it far more than I thought I ever would. (Oh wait I had it before I went to CA so I must have won it in November).  I love the ease of use. I love the ease of downloading crap. I love the portability. I love that I can find free wifi almost everywhere so I don't have to have a data plan. (It isn't fancy enough to require a data plan, it has to connect to the world on wifi only.) 

So the first thing I did when opening the Kindle Fire - Apps. Now whatever Apps that I talk about are ones I've purchased of my own volition and not because I have received any renumeration for anything I may say or not say about their awesomeness or lack of awesomeness. Additionally, the fiyah uses Android platform (is that the right word) and you mostly have to get the Apps from the Kindle Store so I may have a bum app (which I do) which may actually be perfectly normal in the real App store but since I'm limited to the ones from the fiyah store I'm stuck.

First apps I downloaded were the mail, twitter and facebook app. Yahoo mail and twitter work just fine and mostly how you'd expect. They work just like the ones on your phone. The facebook app is a waste of time. It has some weird bug that limits what you can see to only the top 6 or 7 items in the newsfeed. Since I have zero reception (for anything cell phones included) in my office, I can't check facebook 400 times a day and can only do so at lunch in the breakroom or at the end of the day. Thus, when I use their facebook app I can see 6 events and that's it. Totes frustrating. I just use the web version of the facebook.

The next thing I downloaded were a bunch of games I'd heard of but never got to play... Oh and those group games that everyone likes. Sadly, for me, many of those have already been abandoned by all my friends who used to play them. :)  BUT I did pull down Hanging, Words and Scramble with Friends. I like all of them. I also grabbed Draw Something which I play with my mother of all people. Neither of us has very good artistic skills. But all those apps work just fine and the way you'd expect them to. No surprises there.

I also downloaded (and here's how you know I'm behind the curve) Angry Birds. That game IS addicting. I've completed almost the whole thing, but several times I've had to consult YouTube for assistance.  (Now there's an app the fiyah doesn't have - a good YouTube app, perhaps because it doesn't have a camera and recording capability?)

Netflix and Hulu Plus are both available. I'm currently a member of Netflix (although maybe not for long) and not a member of Hulu Plus (although maybe not for long) so we'll see. The netflix app works just fine and is easy to use.

I do love the pinterest app. I'm not sure why but I like the interface and how easy it is to see all the pins. I don't like that it seems like (and I could be wrong) that in the attempt to save space on the screen (or something), when I'm repinning I can't see ALL the boards I can pin on so that can get frustrating for me.

While I was visiting M's kiddos in CA (oh that sounds like I go there just to see the kiddos... ) While I was visiting M & the fam in CA, I downloaded several kiddo apps. What bugs me about kid apps (which is what I'm sure kids love about kid apps) is the need to add on to the app. I downloaded some free coloring apps and those were fine, but any of the dress up apps you had to buy up for more stuff. I have smartly turned off in-app purchasing so I did not get a $600 bill from Amazon for my in-app purchasing. Oh unlike the iphones (and my droid phone) Amazon provides me a receipt for any app I purchase. (Even those that are free) Since those are automatically sent to my email I would see it much quicker if I had kiddos doing in-app purchasing that I was unaware of.

The app I just recently downloaded (and the actual reason for my app posting) is called Erase Debt. I put in my debt situation and give it some variables such as how much extra I can put toward debt and it calculates for me my debt payback schedules and how long it would take and how much I'm paying over the purchase. I'm hoping this app helps keep me on track to become debt free in the future. I like that I can adjust how much I want to put towards debt repayment per month and it will readjust the repayment schedules. I also like that it isn't tied to anything so there's no sharing of data between that app and my card companies or anything.

And let's not forget the Fiyah's original use - books. All my already purchased books hang out in 'the cloud' and I can pull them down or remove them from the device anytime I am hooked up to wifi. (Well I can delete them anytime but I can only pull them down when I'm connected to wifi). I like that the fiyah is back lit so I can read in the dark. It is probably bad for my eyes or something but I like reading in the dark. My local library has books for me to check out and since I can access the internet from the fiyah I can do it all on the fiyah and not have to go back and forth from computer to kindle. If I decide to join Amazon Prime (in consideration), I can also check out books from Amazon Prime's lending library so that's nifty too.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Vastly Different

For most of my working life I've worked for companies or a private university. Now I work for a governmental entity. What fascinates me is how public everything that we do has now become. There was a payroll issue today, which was a pretty big deal but I recognize that this is the first time this has happened in 30 years so that's pretty damn good. I have been at least one other (maybe 2 actually) places where this issue has happened before.  The big difference - this was front page news in my hamlet. Apparently once a year my employer will publish the salaries of pretty much all of us. I'm not sure if they do it by job title or specify salary by person. Under the Freedom of Information Act, people can request all sorts of information (and in fact I had to sign off on a form so that they couldn't release my SSN). 

The result of this is that everything we tell people (including employees) is fairly calculated. I went over to a notboss (if you will recall a notboss is what I refer to as someone higher on the food chain than me but not over my department) to ask what I needed to tell employees when they called and he couldn't believe employees would call my group on this. The man has no idea. We get called for everything - in fact I frequently hear "I don't think this is your area but..." JFC if you know I'm not the right persno why are you calling me?