Monday, October 15, 2018

Meal Planning with a Marathoner-in-Training

For the first time in a long time, Jeff and I are not coordinated with our food.  Back when I was actively dieting, he was happy to eat whatever I made because he liked eating lighter - and if he was still hungry after dinner, he'd grab some fruit for dessert, along with a couple of Dove dark chocolate Promises.  It made my life easy and I didn't face the challenges that other dieting bloggers did with a husband and/or family who weren't quite on board for making the switch to healthier meals.

But now, we are at different places when it comes to meal planning - mostly dinners, because that's when we eat together most often.  He's already running a lot and as a result, he's hungry.  I get it, I do - I remember that hunger toward the end of my half marathon training.  For perspective, he'll be running a half marathon on Sunday...and his mileage will continue to increase from there.  He's trying to figure out fueling for his long runs and that includes what he's eating in the days leading up to them.   For the last month I've made spaghetti with meat sauce for Thursday night's dinner, and he takes those leftovers to work for Friday's lunch, and then we'll do some sort of meat and potatoes for Friday's dinner (usually a burger and fries but we've also tried steak and baked potatoes which was yummy, too) - and he's felt strong during his Saturday long runs, which is great - that's the goal.

For me, this is a lot of heavier food.  I wanted to get better about having more fruit and vegetables in my diet and over the summer I started making my fruit/kale/yogurt smoothies.  I also ate a lot of salads either at Salata or using those premixed salad kits that have different ingredients - I have no shame in admitting that I'm all about the easy factor when it comes to making a quick, healthy meal.

Couple this with me starting to do my group workouts again, and I was more onboard the healthy eating train than ever because if I'm going to work that hard, I don't want to undermine everything by eating less-than-optimal food too often (Blue Baker on Saturdays excepted).  So at the same time when I'm trying to make good choices, Jeff is foraging for food after dinner - it's not unusual for him to have a bowl of cereal, maybe some yogurt and an apple, plus the Dove Promises after dinner.  I'm not hungry, but it's hard to be around someone who is continually eating - I want to join in!

To combat this and save me from myself, I bought some bagged popcorn - Boom Chicka Pop in sea salt flavor, which is 35 calories a cup.  I can pour myself a bowl of it, get that wanting to eat sensation out of my system, and I've only had 70 calories.  I'm also drinking a lot of water so I'm overly full because that also will stop me from joining in with Jeff on his marathon eating.

I got some encouragement in that I was still doing OK with this when I had a body scan at BCS Fitness recently - while I haven't weighed myself in years and don't care what I weigh as long as I feel healthy and strong, they recommended doing a scan at the beginning of your workouts and then another about a month later to see if you're making changes where you want.  I keep my eyes closed while doing the scans and let Brad tell me if I've made progress.  After five weeks I had my second scan and while I hadn't gained any muscle (drat, but I was a little less hydrated than my original scan and Brad said that was probably the reason), I had gained strength in my arms and torso, so I was happy about that - my goal is to become a stronger runner through this, so any progress is good, especially considering I was dealing with a calf tear and not doing a whole lot of work with my legs.  And I'd surprisingly lost weight which is not bad for someone my age, my height, and with my sloooow metabolism. 

Meal plan for this week:

Monday - Korean beef bowl with rice and steamed broccoli
Tuesday - Beef stew (it's supposed to be nice and chilly so that sounded good)
Wednesday - Leftovers from Monday or Tuesday
Thursday - Bagged salads with deli turkey, garlic bread (concession to Jeff who needs more food)
Friday - Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread
Saturday - Boboli pizza with ground beef and onions plus more carbs for Jeff
Sunday - Half marathon for Jeff so who knows what he'll want for dinner

I suspect this won't be the only post from now until mid-January regarding the challenges with this.  I'm trying to stay on my course while supporting my hungry marathoner at the same time.  Now more than ever, I need to be deliberate about portion control with these heavier meals.  I can't eat like I'm the one who's training for a marathon!

Friday, October 12, 2018

FMM - Medical Reports, Both Canine and Human

Well, I messed up with Paco - I let too much time go by between his Cytopoint allergy injections, and his skin is infected.  Now, it was barely six weeks since his last injection, but apparently he needs one every four weeks.  Duly noted.  So we had a nice visit at the vet on Wednesday, got him all fixed up and went ahead and did his yearly tests and immunizations, which was about a month early but hey, why not get it out of the way as long as we were there and already torturing him?  I kid, but let's face it, we all know that's what he's thinking - until they give him some treats.  Then everything is awesome.  I've made a practice of taking selfies with him while we're waiting for the vet to come in, and Wednesday was no exception:
Dis my gud side, rite? 
This is still my favorite vet picture, taken just over five years ago.  He was on my lap because he was nervous, but his doggie smile is so cute!

I forget that he's aging until I see an old picture and realize that wow, he's really graying up.  He's 12 years old which is about 69 in dog years, according to the charts for a medium-sized dog.  And just to give everyone an extra case of the Paco awwwws, here's a picture from when he was a puppy:
About 8 months old here - just a tiny little puppy!

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I've been experiencing some right shoulder pain for a couple of years now, and over the summer I decided to stop carrying my much-loved leather shoulder bag that was heavy when it was empty, never mind when I put things in it, and switch to a cross-body bag in hopes of reducing the pain.  I was not a fan of cross-body bags because as anyone with a full bust knows, it's not super attractive to have that strap dividing your chest in half.  But I was desperate, so I gave it a try and found a purse that I loved, which helped my attitude toward wearing that style quite a bit.  It's not leather, so it's lightweight, and I can't shove a ton of things in it because it's fairly small, so that helps with the weight issue as well.  

My only problem has been that my old wallet was just bulky enough that it made getting my sunglasses or phone hard to put in and take out of the purse.  Recently, Diane and I were having dinner at Salata when we saw Andi getting a salad to go, so she sat down with us for a while and took out her new slim wallet and I had a revelation - THIS would solve my problem!  Only problem was, and it probably won't surprise anyone who knows me, I couldn't find one in a color to go with my purse, because you know that kind of thing is important to me.  I'm happy to report that I finally found my wallet and everything is awesome when it comes to my purse now (I know you were worried, LOL):
It's like they were meant for each other!  I got the purse last summer at TJ Maxx - but, ahem - in looking at my blog you can probably see why it caught my eye in the first place.  What can I say, I like polka dots!  I found the wallet at Steinmart for $9.99 and it did the trick with easing my purse overcrowding.

My shoulder pain is better although it still hurts with certain movements.  I'm pretty sure this is connected to that time I broke my humerus when I was in fifth grade and this is some arthritis kicking in as a result.  Working out with weights doesn't seem to make it feel any worse; I keep hoping that maybe I can strengthen the muscles surrounding it and that might help.  Worth a shot; it doesn't incapacitate me so I'm not bothering with getting an exact diagnosis from a doctor just yet.

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I ran yesterday and it was wonderful!  I have to say a lot of that great feeling was due to the weather - it was 60 degrees with only 88% humidity, woohoo!  I did 2:1 intervals and my calf felt OK during the run.  It was a little sore afterward - I don't know if that's the right descriptor - it's not like it hurt, but I can tell it's still not right.  Still, I was really happy that I got to run, and I'm going to give it another go tomorrow.  

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

WWU - Running and Recovery

I've mentioned that Jeff is training for his first marathon, along with other first-timer Cary, as well as marathon veterans Julia and Brian.  They will be running the Houston Marathon in January, which is a fantastic race and if you're going to do a marathon in Texas, this is the one to do.  I'm excited for them and will happily cheer them on during race day, but my gosh, seeing how high their mileage is already in training confirms my long-held belief that I will never want to run a marathon.

That said, part of the training is figuring out what works for each runner regarding hydration, fuel, and recovery.  Jeff has discovered that his stomach is not a fan of Huma gels, which is good to know now, right?  He's doing well with his hydration during his long runs (with our heat and humidity, if you mess this up you can end up in the hospital); he either drinks Tailwind (lemon flavor) or Sword (tart green apple flavor) that I mix up the night before the run, and then refills his water bottles with Gatorade and water that we leave along the route for our runners.

For post-run recovery, he's used chocolate milk in the past - it has the right carb-to-protein ratio that is recommended by pretty much every running site.  But over the summer I was sent some Tailwind Rebuild recovery drink packets to try, and while we did a taste test at Blue Baker, no one was running long enough distances to warrant needing a true recovery drink, so I shelved them until the last month.
It comes in vanilla and chocolate flavors, in single-serving packets as well as a larger bag.

We mix this up with water in a blender bottle the night before his long runs, and chill it overnight in our fridge.  After Jeff finished his 8 or 9 or 10 or 12 miler (egad, do you see what I mean about running long distances already?), he drank the Rebuild while he was cooling down.  He has had some pretty good bounce-backs from doing these long runs and feels like the Rebuild is helping with that.  The only bad post-run day he had was after using Huma gels - nothing helped there.  So Jeff recommends trying the Tailwind Rebuild if you're looking for a recovery drink - all I can tell you since I'm not running long distances is that the chocolate flavor reminded me of my childhood favorite Nestle Quick - the powdered chocolate milk that you'd spoon into a glass of milk - so I'd probably drink it as well, if I was in a serious training cycle.

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Speaking of running, I haven't run in two weeks.  I was going to hold off until next Tuesday to give it another try, but the weather forecast has changed my mind - the morning low tomorrow is predicted to be 57 degrees and I just cannot let that first cold front of the season pass me by without going for a run in it.  I don't suffer through the high heat and humidity for months on end only to not get to enjoy the cooler weather - nope, I'm running, calf tear or not.

I will add that I think my calf has improved over the last couple of weeks; while it's not 100% and I can still feel two bumps where the tear(s) are, they have gotten a lot smaller, so I should be OK with a run.  I am really excited and hopeful that the run goes as well as it could, all things considered.  But cool weather!  A north wind!  This is what runners in the south live for!

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It hasn't been all bad with not running - for one thing, I'm catching up on some sleep during the weekdays what with not waking up at 5:15 am to run.  And on Saturday I took care of Logan while the marathoners ran 12 miles:
Wait, that's not Logan...
Not Logan either...
There he is!  He'd had his flu shot the day before and was extra cuddly for quite a while...and I didn't mind that one bit.
 
He rallied once everyone finished and joined the runners in carrying around a water bottle because that's what all the cool kids do.  Also, see the plastic tubs behind him?  One holds cold washcloths and the other is for the used washcloths.  You might notice his wet shorts in this shot - Logan fell backward, butt first, into the tubful of very cold water and washcloths!  It was so funny, his little legs were sticking out and he was surprised but not upset at landing in cold water.  Of course I'd set my phone aside and didn't get a picture before he was lifted out, but it was one of the funniest things we'd all seen in a long time!
Straws, water bottles - who needs toys when you have things like these to play with?

Disclaimer:  I received a box of Tailwind Rebuild packets to try for this review.

Monday, October 8, 2018

FULL HOUSE Renovation/Decor Before and After - Family Room

While technically the renovation of this room was finished last May, it took us quite a while to make the room feel complete.  Honestly, it's still a bit of a work in progress, but I suspect it will continue to evolve for a while as we figure out what is working and what, if any, changes we might need to make.

The biggest change we made was having the mantle of the fireplace removed.  While I liked it well enough, it was very high - if I think back correctly, it was almost over my head, so that meant it was probably five feet off the ground.  All fine and good for displaying proportionally-sized items, but not-so-fine if we wanted to mount a TV on that wall, which we were wanting to do.  We'd returned from North Carolina after Christmas with a nicer flat-screen TV than what we owned (we love that our techie kadults give us their cast-offs when they upgrade), and it was too wide to fit in our current entertainment wall set-up.  Plus, we were wanting to reorient the seating in that room so we didn't always have to have our backs to the large window - after all, one of the big reasons we bought the house was the backyard and all of the trees and greenery, and it always felt dumb to not be seeing it while we were in that room.

Along with removing the mantle, we had an electrical outlet and HDMI port wired on that wall so that the cords would be hidden once we mounted the TV.  We got new flooring, which was wonderful as we'd been living with painted concrete and a large throw rug for 10 years, we had the walls repainted, and we got a new, more modern-looking ceiling fan.  Oh and we changed the back door from with a French-door aesthetic to a more modern look with the single pane of glass, and of course, the black-painted frame that was a last-minute decision that we ended up loving.

Comparison shots - view from kitchen:
This was the most recent furniture arrangement - the red loveseat was inherited from Sam, which is why it didn't match the taupe loveseat that we'd bought years later.  The square coffee table was our old Ethan Allen pine one that we'd bought in the early 90s and it had served our family well - it made a great table for puzzles, Legos, and Hot Wheels, and it was still in good shape, albeit with a few battle scars.  Most of the rest of the furniture was from IKEA, including the wall display/entertainment system.
New furniture, (mostly) new layout - the room seems so much bigger!
Another prior arrangement - while we didn't notice it at the time, the room looks very unbalanced here, doesn't it?  

View from hallway:
Ye olde family room...
Modern family room!

Now that you can see the layout, let's talk furniture...because yes, we ended up buying all new furniture!  This was a planned-for expense with our renovation budget - we really wanted to get the room done because except for that one time in the early 90s when we had money to buy a roomful of furniture, we've never been in that position again, and as a result we've always felt like we never quite pulled a room together.

We chose the sofas first - well, these were our second choice, actually.  Our first want was an L-shaped sofa/chaise piece, which we really liked and visited several times at the furniture store to be sure.  Once the new flooring was complete in this room, we were ready to order the sofa, but at the suggestion of my mother, we took some butcher paper and taped together the exact size of the sofa/chaise to make sure it would fit in the room.  Guess what?  It was too big.  I mean, it would have fit, but it would have interfered with the opening to the hallway, or it would have been too close to the fireplace, or, well, you get the picture.  I'm so glad we listened to her (see kids, always listen to your mother), because it would have been a disappointing, costly mistake to live with otherwise.

We really liked the style of the sofa/chaise, so we ended up choosing that same style, but in sofa form.  I think traditionally you might choose a sofa and a loveseat, but we both wanted to be able to stretch out on them, and the room could fit that size, so we decided on two sofas.  We were just about to order them and had the color - a really nice charcoal gray - picked out, when our salesman suggested we take a fabric sample home to make sure it would work.  We humored him by doing that...and again, it was a good thing we listened to him because we hated the color in that room - it was way too dark.  Another trip to the furniture store, a few more fabric samples taken home, and we decided to go with a navy tweed, which we really love.  I will say that having a white dog makes me have to vacuum them more often than I'd like, but that's life with pets.
Before we'd ordered the sofas, we stumbled across the West Elm outlet in San Marcos, which is about a three hour drive from our town - we happened to be near it when we went away to Gruene for the weekend in May, and stopped in on our drive home.  We loved a coffee table and an end table, so I applied for a West Elm credit card mainly to get the rewards from making these purchases, and we came home with a car jammed with furniture!
The top is acacia wood - we liked the different color tones within the piece.  The frame is metal and it goes with the lighter, more airy feel we were looking for with the room.
The shelving units on either side of the fireplace were a fun find - at first I talked with our kitchen cabinet guy about building custom units, and he was enthusiastic about doing it, but he was incredibly busy with his kitchen orders and I got the feeling that we'd be waiting a long time to get them, so we started looking at furniture stores.  We weren't having much luck in finding anything we really liked, much less anything we wanted to pay for - especially knowing that we needed to buy two of whatever we found.

One Saturday afternoon I googled "best furniture stores in Houston" and we went off on a spontaneous drive.  We landed at an interesting-sounding store called Nadeau and found the two units you see here.  They were much more budget-friendly, plus we loved that we could have hidden storage in the cabinets for all the TV gear.  At Nadeau, if you like something you should buy it because they don't have distribution centers - each store gets different items, most of it is one-of-a-kind, and when it's gone, it's gone.  Only one problem:  they don't deliver.  We purchased the two units and drove home, figuring we could rent a truck and drive back the next day to get them, but just on the off chance that they were available, we texted Jimmy and Karen, who have a pickup truck, and they were up for an adventure, so the next morning we drove to their house, got in their truck, and went to Houston!  We stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant along the way, and when we got to Nadeau, both Jimmy and Karen found some items for their house, so it was a fun time all around.  Plus we just enjoy spending time with them, and I like Karen's decorating style, so it was good to get her take on what we were thinking about doing for the room.
I suspect these will always be a work in progress, because I'm constantly changing things around.  The taller holes have been a challenge to fill - I bought the large blue vase using my reward dollars from West Elm and I might get some greenery for it one day, but I already had everything else you see here.
Same goes for this side - the only thing new is the white vase (again, West Elm rewards...that single purchase paid off, LOL) and the greenery inside of it.
I had some issues with this chair.  We ordered it when we got the couches, and when it came in, the fabric was wrong - the pattern was correct but the coloring was off-white and olive green, not the gray tones I wanted.  So they reordered it, and when it came in...I didn't like it.  I kept thinking that I probably should have just ordered it in a solid color (I went with a pattern because the two sofas were solid).  It didn't help that I couldn't find an end table that looked right with it, so it sat by itself on that wall, with no pictures hanging above it, which I'm sure didn't help to make me like it any better.  I think the only person who saw it aside from Jeff and I was Diane, and she could see what I was talking about, so it wasn't just me.

A few weeks ago it hit me that maybe I should consider a painted end table instead of the wood/metal combinations that I'd been looking at, and I started focusing on either yellow or navy; I ended up with this little navy unit that made me like the chair more - I think having something solid next to it helped to break up the pattern?  I don't know - this is where my lack of design schooling is evident.  But it worked enough that I was finally willing to hang up some pictures, and I found a little lamp that pulled it together enough that I'm good with that area.
 
The area rug was yet another challenge - are you sensing a theme with this room?  I've never bought a big rug like this, but with the tile flooring, we needed one to reduce the echo, not to mention tie the furniture together.  We had to wait until the sofas were here to see what size we needed, and then we started looking at rugs online, which as you might imagine, was pretty overwhelming.  So we went out to look in person at the few furniture stores in town and while we didn't see anything we loved, we did talk with a pretty knowledgeable saleswoman who gave us some guidance on types of patterns that might look good with our furniture.  Unfortunately the rugs in her store were in the $2000 range for the size we needed, which was way too much money to spend on something that I know for a fact will be barfed on by Paco and Henry.

I found a few rugs that I liked on Wayfair, and decided to give one a try because their shipping was free and return shipping was free as well if you accepted a store credit instead of a refund, which was fine with me because I had several rug possibilities chosen and figured I could just work my way through them if need be.  Happily, we ended up really liking the first rug I ordered, so we didn't have to do a return and reorder, but it was nice to know we had that option.
The end table for this area was another thing that threw me.  We'd bought one at the West Elm outlet that went with the coffee table, and we loved it - but it ended up looking too small in the corner created by the two sofas.  I moved it into our bedroom for my nightstand and I'm happy with it there, but I could not figure out this spot.  I put an old square end table there for the time being, and while the larger size was good, it still didn't feel right.  I looked and looked for a lighter piece with a metal frame similar to the coffee table, but nothing was feeling right.  One day I decided I was just going to order something, so I texted Karen a picture of the current set up with the old square table and some links to the potential new tables, and she articulated what I could not see - the square table was too boxy and closed off.  (You can also see the chair with the wrong color fabric in this picture).
Hot diggity-dog - a large round end table was just the trick!  My bonus find was that it also had acacia wood to coordinate with the coffee table.  And while I wondered if adding yet another color of metal to the room (the coffee table and wall units are different colors, as are the drawer pulls on the little blue end table, and the new piece had a silver frame), I actually don't notice it.  Or maybe I'm just tired of looking, LOL.  Any case, I love the round end table and I figure if I ever want to get it all matchy-matchy, I can spray paint everything black.

While we spent a lot of money (for us) buying everything for this room, what we bought was not all that expensive and I got a lot of items on sale.  I set aside $5,000 for our total furniture budget and we still had plenty of money remaining to get what we needed for Jeff's office, my office, and our entry way - oh and those ding dang guest room lamps, LOL.  I guess it pays to have reasonably inexpensive taste.  We really like how the room has turned out and spend a lot of time in it now.  And our sofas finally match - woohoo!

Friday, October 5, 2018

FMM - TSA Precheck, CHECK!

I usually fly at least a couple times a year, and why it's taken me this long to apply for TSA Precheck status is beyond me.  It's like I can't be bothered with the hassle until I'm standing in the long TSA line at the airport, staring wistfully at the handful of travelers who walk right up to the front, and then I kick myself.  We have a couple of trips planned before the end of the year, so I was determined that we needed to do this, finally.  It helped that Karen and Jimmy had recently gone through the process so I knew what to expect.

The way it works is that you apply online and then make an appointment at a TSA Precheck center to do your interview, which consists of basically answering the questions in person that you already answered online, along with presenting your documents - in my case I had to have my birth certificate and my marriage certificate, since I used to have a different last name.  Your fingerprints are taken and they also take a picture of you.  Then you just hand over your credit card for the $85 fee, and you'll receive your number shortly, both via email and as a letter in the regular mail.

Because we live in freaking hooterville, there are no TSA centers in our town.  I had the option of choosing from a lot of places in Houston - I think the closest location was about 65 miles away - or we could go to the Austin airport, which is about 110 miles away.  Every location has different dates and times that are available, and because the Houston location wasn't available until late October, we chose Austin because we could do it right away - not that we needed it immediately, but we had to work around Jeff's schedule with his job. 

So, bright and early Monday morning, we made the two hour drive to the Austin airport - luckily for us, it's located on the side of the city where we are coming from, so we didn't have to deal with Austin traffic.  It took us three loops around the airport to park because of construction and odd signage - in case you ever need to park there, go to the valet sign even if you aren't valet parking - short term parking is just beyond it.  We walked into the baggage claim area and easily found the little TSA Precheck office - there was one person waiting and although we were early for our appointed times, the woman at the check in desk said that we would be next after him - yay!

The guy ahead of us was in there for a long time - Karen said their interview took about five minutes, and this guy was probably in there for 20 minutes.  The door was open and we could see that he was just chitchatting with the interviewer, so when it was our turn, Jeff and I tried to not make a lot of small talk as we needed to get back on the road home so he could go to work.  The interviewer went over everything with Jeff first, and you could tell he does this all day, every day as his prattle was a well-rehearsed set of sentences.  Side note:  I can't imagine having a job like that.  It seems incredibly boring - but, I'm glad there are people who will take on these government jobs.

It got funny when it was my turn.  I handed over my documents and the interviewer started his spiel.  There is a computer monitor facing you so as he's typing things in, we can see it.  He asked me to verify my email address and I had to correct him as he'd left off the second E in Shelley.  I swear to god, the very next thing he said, after I'd said "it's Shelley with two E's" was OK Sheila...and I felt Jeff move next to me but I was not going to correct this guy because I was afraid it would throw him off and we'd be in there forever.  He went back and forth, alternating between Sheila and Shelley, and I couldn't even look at Jeff or I knew we'd both be cracking up.  I would understand if he only called me Sheila, but the fact that he kept alternating between names was both weird and funny; that said, you better believe I made darn sure that Shelley was actually on the documents he was typing in!

We finally finished and he bade Jeff and Sheila goodbye, safe drive home.  We left the room and walked out of earshot before laughing - Jeff said he realized that when I didn't correct him right away I was trying to speed things along, but it didn't stop him from barely holding a straight face the entire time.

You should know that over the years I've been called Shelby and Sherry quite a lot, but Sheila is a rarity.  And when I was in fifth grade, my teacher called me by the wrong name all year and I never corrected her, so I guess you could say I'm used to this and just go with the flow.  Is that weird?  Would you have corrected the interviewer?  I figured I'd never see him again, and my name was correct on the documents, so why bother?

While the interviewer said we'd receive our numbers in 10 - 14 days, we actually got them yesterday - four days!  That's probably unheard of in any other government entity, but it's nice that we are all set.

So my take on getting your TSA Precheck number is that it's an easy pain-in-the-ass to do.  If we had a TSA center in our town, I'd take out the PITA.  But if you do fly often, I'd recommend getting it.  Just hope that you aren't called Sheila...unless of course, you actually ARE named Sheila!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

WWU - 2018 Run For Education 5K Spectator Recap!

Workouts:  I am still enjoying everything about my workouts, even the huffing and puffing and dripping sweat - and this is indoors, with air conditioning!  While there are some things that I've done more than once, like the rower/skier/air bike, there is always something different and new with each session.  Yesterday I tentatively tried out the slidey-thing - you know, where you put fabric booties over your shoes and glide on a slick mat from side to side, like a speed skater?  I was afraid I would slip and fall, but I didn't and managed to be a little less herky-jerky with my movements by the end of the reps.  I felt it in my outer thighs, which seems like a good area to strengthen, what with running and IT band issues and the like.  It's nice to not do the same routine every time; it keeps things fresh for the clients as well as the coaches.

Running:  I am on a running hiatus this week and next week.  I hated to stop running, but honestly, my calf is still pulling when I run, which means it's not entirely healed.  The decision was a little easier to take because I have not had a run where I didn't feel like I was running through sludge ever since I tore my calf muscle; I just plod along and it hasn't been a lot of fun, unfortunately.  So I'm using my BFF Buffer to massage the lumps where the tear is, I'm back to icing it, and I'm hoping that not stressing it with running will finally get me over this.  Ugh, injuries.  They're the worst!

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Since I'm not running, I helped out with Logan on Saturday.  The marathoners had nine miles on tap, but they had also signed up for the Run For Education 5K that was held near our running area, so they ran six miles before the race and then changed shirts, had some water and GU, and then started running again!  Logan went along with them for the first six miles, but Jimmymeow and I took over after that.  We had a good time with him:
Jeff captioned this photo:  "They are not married and that is not their kid" - yep.

We watched over him closely:
Kidding!  He really wasn't sitting on the curb all by himself - Jimmy just leaned out of the frame.

We watched the runners come in:
Jimmymeow makes a comfortable chair!
Brian - he was first in his age group AND first in the male masters division!
 Karen - you know she wasn't waving to us, it was to Logan.
Cary - successfully out-sprinting the other two runners, which is something at the end of 9 miles!
Jeff and Julia - Jeff won his age group!
Group shot - Diane didn't run the race but she ran 8 miles while everyone else was running.

The weather was warm and muggy, so I didn't feel bad about not running that morning.  Plus I got to play with Logan, and Jimmy brought me a McDonald's coffee - what more could I want?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Final Touches - Guest Room

When it was time to put the guest room back together after the renovation, I decided to change things up a bit.  I loved our old guest room, or the pretty room as I called it:
One of the many looks - I moved the furniture around several times in the 17+ years of this guest room, always by myself.  I got pretty good at moving that big bed!

The first thing I did was to choose a different room, and there was no real reason behind that because the original guest room will become another guest room once we get the rest of the boxes of still-packed-because-I-have-nowhere-to-put-them things stowed away, and the treasures of childhood sent to live with the kadults.  My goal to get that done is December, because it would be nice for both Sam and Allie to have a bed and room to sleep in when they're here for Christmas.

The new guest room is located at the end of the hallway and is visible from the living room.  I had a new piece of art that Jeff and I bought when we were in Gruene last May and I thought it would be nice to hang it in the guest room, where we also could see it from the living room.  I used it for color inspiration:
Angled because I was trying to reduce the glare - unsuccessfully, I might add.  The piece is called Blue Grass and it's by Bjorn Sjogren, a Swedish artist now living in San Antonio.  We met him during Gruene Market Days and loved a lot of his work.  At first I was going to hang it in one of the hall bathrooms but ultimately I didn't because I wanted to see it more often.  The hallway/guest room view worked better.

I used the same bed and nightstands from before...which were our old set from back when we lived in California.  Ethan Allen, Country Collection, circa early 90s.  Yep, you can see my style from the early days right here.  I was pretty tired of the old lavender and white sheets and coverlet, so I changed up the look by deciding to use a twin-sized handmade quilt that I won in a raffle when we were living in San Antonio; while it was too small for a queen-sized bed in a traditional way, I liked the idea of placing it across the foot as a bed runner (and yes, I had to google what to call it...I was going with"thingy" but tried to get a better descriptor for it).

The quilt happened to have a lot of blues in it, which went nicely with the inspiration art.  I needed a solid coverlet for the bed and lucked into a navy blue quilt at Target that worked perfectly; color, design, price - and if they ever make it in a color that would look good in our master bedroom, I'd buy one, I like it that much.
I bought new sheets at Target, dug the red pillowcases out from the closet, and found an inexpensive red dust ruffle online to complete the bed.

The hardest part of decorating this room was finding lamps for the nightstands.  I bought and returned three different pairs before finally landing on the lamps you see here.  Everything that I loved in the store ended up looking too short or not substantial enough...who knew lamps would be so vexing?
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

Apparently I didn't take a picture of Exhibit C - I think I walked in, set the lamps down, and immediately walked them back out to return to the store.

I'd stopped looking for a while, but until I had the lamps, I couldn't hang the art, so I finally started looking again, saw these desk lamps and thought they might work - and they did!  Sometimes you have to look at things differently to see that they might work in a non-traditional setting.  Best of all, they were the least expensive of all the lamps I'd bought, coming in at $29.99 each.
I liked that they could be adjusted to a comfortable height and angle for whoever is staying here.  The arm moves up and down, and the head of the lamp swivels as well.
I found these at Target, so pretty much all of the new items in the room ended up coming from there - wasn't my intention, but hey - Target won this round.

The room is small and the queen-sized bed pretty much takes up most of the space, so I needed to keep it fairly streamlined.  I hung up a couple of my bluebonnet pictures on the wall opposite the bed:
Without intending to, this room ended up being very Texas-centric, with all of the art coming from Texas artists, along with the handmade quilt.

The only thing I still might do is some sort of valance over the top of the window.  Are valances still a thing?  Obviously I have not looked at window ideas, but for now, this room is complete and ready for guests!