Friday, December 31, 2010

Bring It ON, 2011!

Oh yeah, I am SO READY for a new year! I had a pretty amazing 2010 - did some unexpected things along the way like:
  • ran 12 races...wait, I should amend that to say I went from never having run a race in my life to I RAN 12 RACES in 2010!
  • ended the year with maintaining my weight loss, but actually going down in clothing sizes (thank you, running)
  • quit my job, finally - and welcomed Saturdays back into my life
  • got to visit my best friend in California AND run a race with her
  • reconnected with my childhood best friend (hi Matt!) and my pen pal (hi Linda!)
  • got to go back to Maui where we celebrated my parent's 50th wedding anniversary
  • trained for and actually RAN a half marathon :)

So 2011. What are my plans and goals? Where is my focus?

New mantra: write first, write often. I often wake up with good ideas to blog/write about, but tend to get lost in blogland and my emails once I sit down at the computer in the morning. I will make a concentrated effort to write first - just for 30 minutes to start - before I delve into my reading, commenting and responding to emails.

Step up my running - not only will I get back to my weekly schedule of running (usually Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, along with my long run on Saturday), but I will (I will, I will, I WILL!) keep up with my long runs once the half marathon racing season is over - I'd hate to lose the base that I've built up.

Also, I want to plan more destination runs - anything from weekend getaways (I have Austin and possibly Dallas coming up) to places a bit further - I'll be in California for the Big Sur marathon, where Barbara, Matt and I will run/walk/climb the hills of Highway One for 10.6 miles, in celebration of Barbara's 50th birthday - woo hoo, fun times! Jeff and I really enjoyed our weekend in Galveston for the Seawall half marathon and would like to do more running vacations. Depending on finances, we are considering heading out to Oregon for the Columbia Gorge (half) marathon in October, and maybe even hit Florida for a visit with my uncle - I'm sure there's plenty of races in his area to choose from.

I know, isn't running considered "fitness"? Well, not exactly - I can tell that a few things have changed since I stopped doing my group workouts. Namely, my guns are not as strong as they used to be...hmmm, could that be because I usually forget to do any push ups? Or bicep curls? I'm going to make a set list of upper body workouts and actually schedule it into my training...because trying to remember to do it hasn't worked very well for me. Also, because I'm more of a distance runner than a speed racer, my cardio isn't as good as it should be. So I'm thinking jump rope. I don't have a gym membership which means no machines to get my cardio on, but hey - jump rope gets my heart racing like crazy, and I just happen to own one. So that will go on the set list as well.

First plan of order is to not gain any. I know that may seem obvious, but really, I need to keep in in the forefront of my mind, forever and always. Just because I managed to maintain my 100 pound weight loss for a year does not mean I'm safe, ever, from regaining it.

Second plan of order is to lose a few pounds - how many, I don't know, because it's not like I've stepped on the scale in a while. I'm not looking for a particular number to weigh or to lose, but I think if I DID lose some weight, running might be a little easier and who knows, I might just pick up my pace a tiny bit. This entire thought is just the *tiniest* bit ironic considering that I'm thinking of entering a race in April that rewards you with all the ice cream you can eat. Always a challenge being me, what can I say?

I'm sure I'll come up with changes and revisions as the year progresses, but I'm really excited to see what unfolds for me in 2011. After the last year, I feel like the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Running WITH Earphones!

I'm trying to keep up with my running club training schedule, but it's not been easy, between my work schedule, the holidays, my kids (and uncle!) coming home, and of course my general laziness. The weekly runs have dropped down to once or so (from the scheduled three - ouch), but I've been determined to make my long runs on the weekend. So, since Christmas fell on a Saturday and the running club didn't meet, my half buddy Julia and I made plans to get together for our scheduled 9 mile run on Sunday. And we did - I am really proud of us for getting out there, considering:
  1. It was 28 degrees, with a wind chill of 21 when we started at 8:00 am;
  2. Being the day after Christmas, we both had *ahem* eaten all sorts of sweets and heavy foods the previous day, which lead to us feeling a bit bogged down;
  3. It was windy and cold and our noses were running like crazy; and
  4. It was the day after Christmas. Who in their right mind gets up the day after Christmas to go for a 9 mile run?!? Us, apparently.
Funny thing - when we run, we are facing traffic. There wasn't a lot that morning, but we generally wave at any oncoming cars as an acknowledgment, especially when they move over a bit. Most drivers wave back, but one man laughed and gave us the loopy "you're crazy" motion - hah! He was right.

Anyway, it wasn't easy to run in that extreme cold, and we did end up with a few walking breaks, but we did it - actually ended up running 9.14 miles thanks to my (not so) superb mapping skills. And afterward? I'd like to say that I got to rest, but nooooo...I had to work from 12 - 6, standing on my feet all day long. Now that was tiring! I definitely missed my post-run nap.

Oh! I wanted to tell you about my Christmas present from Jeff. You may or may not remember that I don't run with headphones - they don't stay in my ears, and although I've never tried Yurbuds, which apparently do, I really don't like the idea of not being able to hear traffic (or the bogey man coming up behind me). Luckily for me, my iPod has a speaker, so I've just been wearing that strapped around my arm - I can still hear my music AND everything around me. Win-win, right?

Well. Apparently Jeff was horrified a couple of weeks ago when he helped out on our benchmark 8 miler run - he thought my music was too loud (he sounds like an old fogey, right?) and that I was imposing on anyone who happened to be near me. Hey - who doesn't want to hear Barry Manilow, the Glee Cast and Earth, Wind and Fire? Geez, some people! Anywayyyy, he did some research and on Christmas morning, I opened up a package containing Fit Airdrives - they are earphones that fit around your ears, so you don't have to deal with them falling out OR blocking other sounds. He got me the kids version because "they were pink, the same size as the adult version, and $20 cheaper." I was skeptical. Then I opened up a cute little iPod Shuffle - also in pink! I admit, I was getting less skeptical - he knows how to sell me on something! After my technical crew (my sons, naturally) got me set up and schooled in how to work it, I clipped that tiny iPod to the back of my hat and tested it and the Airdrives out on Sunday's run.

My new tiny sound system!

My verdict? It worked - the Airdrives stayed on my ears (they have a wire that loops around your ears), I heard both my music AND Julia as we ran, and she did not have to hear my music! I had a couple of fidgety moments getting the earphones adjusted, but considering I'm not used to wearing them at all, I thought that they felt great. Plus I loved not having to have that gigantic iTouch strapped to my arm - woohoo, one less place to chafe!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Time To Stop Eating!

Christmas and all the food stuff leading up to it was fun, but I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I needed to stop eating all of the extras that have been finding their way into my mouth...I have had enough cookies, candy and rich food to last me a good long time. And I'm pleased to report that while I was at work on Sunday, I didn't eat any sweets - believe me, there were still plenty available. I have to say that I was a little worried that the addictive powers of sugar would take a stronger hold over me, but so far I don't seem to be having horrible cravings - which, considering I was having candy or chocolate every. single. day. for a good couple of weeks is pretty amazing. Crossing my fingers that I have gotten this out of my system (and out of my house, lol) and will be back to eating clean and healthy, which my body much prefers. And I kinda miss my thinner self - I haven't gotten on the scale, but I can see some extra weight in my face and around my stomach. Time to reverse that trend!

And now, a Christmas day recap, if you will.
Everyone had fun with their headlamp stocking stuffers!
Paco finally got his new bone.
The family that Snuggies one nerdy family? These were a bargain. Can I just say that while yes, they ARE warm, they are also a bit strange? What is up with the one giant pocket in the center? And why are the sleeves so freaking long?
Paco LOVED the snuggies - even gave up on his new bone to cuddle with Sam!
Kip regifted himself a few times - wrapping is always so entertaining for him.
My gifts - hmmm, wonder what I'm interested in? And pink? Love it! BTW, I'll have a mini-review of the nifty headphones on Wednesday. :)
Kip and Max, down for the count in the afternoon!
Christmas dinner at my house - where grown men wear pretty paper crowns!
My plate - yum! And look - a fresh vegetable! :)
They drove me to drink...sparkling cider, that is!
Paco was "just checking" - why, I don't know, as we don't feed him table scraps!
And Sam pondering if there really IS a Santa Claus...or else he was wondering when pie would be served.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gingerbread House Throwdown, Year Two

If you missed last year's epic showdown, you can read all about it here. This year, Team Awesome (Max and I) were out for revenge - we lost last year's contest, and weren't about to lose again. We plotted and planned ahead of time...we even made sure to get all of the red M&M's for our color-coordinated roof. Team Hug It Out, Bitch (Sam and Jeff) sat down at the table and came up with a plan on the fly - before we knew it, knives were out, holes were being cut into their house, and once again, Team Awesome ended up coming in second place. Booooo!

I think the important thing to remember is that we all had fun. We can't all be winners (or in Team Awesome's case, apparently we can never be winners), but we can start planning for next year's throwdown...third time has to be the charm, right? enjoy the memories we made.

Blogland, I present to you my family, our creations, and also why I don't think we will ever get a decent group picture:
Somebody ALWAYS has to be making a face...
Somebody else ALWAYS has to sneak in the shot...
Speaking of sneaking, that's the only way I can get a shot where no faces are being made!
Team Awesome's house in progress
Team Hug It Out, Bitch's creation - something about an earring-wearing mullet-man who was vomiting candy...with an innocent bystander on the side. Yeah, there's no sugar plum fairies in this household!
Team Awesome's sweet house. Much more inviting than that other one, dontcha think?

After the judging, I tried to get some more pictures. I told Jeff and Sam to scootch closer and put their heads together for the shot:
They ended up looking like conjoined twins!
Opera singers?
Maybe not...
"Be serious," I said!
Then I get this...didn't notice the special effects with the red jelly bean blood in his hand until I uploaded the pictures. This, ladies and gentlemen of blogland, is my almost 24-year-old-soon-to-be-college-graduate-son. The future of America!

On the other hand, Team Awesome was, well, awesome:
Max said to pose with our pinkies out. I did, then asked "why?" He said because we were classy, which cracked me up so much I had tears in my eyes:
Yeah, classy...NOT.
Thumbs up to the second place team!

To say that we are enjoying having the kids home from college is an understatement. This is what the holiday is all about for us - time spent together as a family. Merry Christmas to you and yours - have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Extra Long Run, and Road ID Winner!

Following route directions is a good thing. So is understanding a map. If neither of these happen, you will end up with bonus mileage...and one thing you should know about me is that I am NOT an overachiever - bonus mileage is never something I would just go for.

But I did...on Saturday's 8 mile run.

Sigh. Leave it to me to pull a bonehead move like that! The run was a different route, and even though Coach Dale published the route in our weekly newsletter, and I looked at it several times, I was still confused. We started out running our normal course in reverse, and I guess that's what threw me off. I made it though the first loop, which was 5 miles, and ended back at our cars, where I paused Ricky Bobby, ripped off a couple of layers now that I had warmed up - the temperature had to be a balmy 42 by then (ha!), switched from my glasses to sunglasses now that the sun had risen, and refilled my water bottle. As I was leaving the parking lot, the rest of the half group was arriving. I knew that this loop was only 3 miles, and we wouldn't be running out to the far road. I did my thing, ran the first of the two extra jig-jags like we did on the first loop and eventually came out onto the main road - where I saw the halfs, who WERE behind me, now ahead of me on that road...dang it! I didn't have to run the jig-jag! Oh well, I figured I'd skip the second jig-jag (are you sick of that word yet?) and everything would come out to 8 miles. As I came to that brilliant decision, I caught up with Coach Erica, who immediately knew what I'd done (and was only laughing a little at me). I said I'd just skip the next jig-jag and she said we weren't running that anyway. Dang it.

Honestly, right from the start this wasn't a great run - I just wasn't all that into it. And really, the best thing that could have happened, did - in that I got to run the last couple of miles with Erica...I never get to run with her, so it was really nice to chat and commiserate and catch up - funny how things end up working out like that! Oh, and despite me having to stop and retie my shoes twice, several quick walking breaks, and a more leisurely pace toward the end, I was only 4 seconds off of last week's pace time, which, if you'll recall, was a great run for me. Who can figure these things out? Certainly not I, that's for sure!


I have not been keeping up with my running club's training schedule during the week...lately I've been lucky to get in one extra run, which is not good considering I should be doing three runs during the week, along with my long run on Saturday. Ack! One more week of upheaval and then I will be back. Jenny and I did meet for a quick 2 mile run on Tuesday morning. Remember how is was so cold on Saturday's long run? Well, this is what I wore for Tuesday's run:
Try not to cry, Helen. Or Kate. Or Fran.

It was 72 degrees when we started running at 9:00 am. Oh, and we had record highs for the second day in a row. It was in the 80's - I know we live in the south, but that is just wild for December 21st.

We changed things up a bit and ran to Starbucks!
One ginormous cup of black coffee, and half a slice of some low-fat coffee cake later, Jenny and I got each other motivated to pick up the pace on our running again.
Watch out, 2011 - we will be hitting the road with even more determination!


And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...the winner of the Road ID giveaway is:

Congratulations! Email me your info and I'll pass it along to my peeps at Road ID!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Mishmash

Didja do a double take on the post title? A mishmash on Monday??? What can I's a crazy hectic time of the year for me, as well as a lot of us, I'm sure, and that is just what is going through my brain right now - a mishmash of everything, verging on mush!


You all can breathe a sigh of relief...I finally got my Christmas letter written, cards addressed and stamped and they are in the mail today - woohoo! Wait, you weren't sitting on the edge of your seats with worry about this?!? LOL


Ooh, speaking of mail, I got the nicest package on Saturday from Helen! Nifty mitten/gloves (perfect for messing with my iTouch during runs), a warm hat, magnet and running chick ornament, complete with pink iPod - so cute! What a wonderful surprise and such a sweet thing to do!

Does she know my color or what?
When I opened the package, I immediately pulled on a glove and took a picture with my cell phone camera to send to Helen...please note two things: one, that I put the glove on upside down and two, that somebody snuck into the shot! He's such a camera hog, Paco is.
Later I tried to do that "I'm pinching your head" thing with Paco - it's harder to do than it looks, especially with a moving target. And looking at the mess of dog chews, why NO, he isn't spoiled one bit! ;)


My boys are coming home today! In anticipation of having people in the house who actually expect things like meals on occasion, we went to the grocery store and stocked up. Came home and discovered that yeah, our new, smaller fridge does not hold *quite* as much as the old one did. I managed to get everything in, but it was a challenge. And we still need a trip to Sam's Club for a few more items...still, I'd rather deal with this than that dumb old fridge that kept breaking down.


You've got one more day to get your entry in to my Road ID giveaway! Click here - you know you want to!


OK, one last thing...and I apologize in advance. I just can't help myself!

"Lady, I am so OVER you and your camera!"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Mishmash

Y'all should be grateful to my job, because it's made me tired and I'm going to keep this mishmash short so I can get some sleep! By the way, I like living vicariously through my customers - it's quite fun to help them choose their gifts and feel the excitement and pleasure that they get from shopping; that said, I'm glad it's not me who is paying for everything!


A few days ago I was shopping in Target when I heard someone behind me say "Are you Shelley?" I turned around and a woman said "I knew it was you! I read your blog!" OMG, I was recognized!!! Her name is Angie (Hi Angie!) and she was really sweet - I'm so glad she introduced herself to me. As it turns out, I recognized her name; Angie was one of the first commenters on here way back in the beginning. Nice to know I haven't bored her to death after all this time! I have to admit, though, that one of the first thoughts that went through my mind when I was talking to her was "thank god I put on make up today!" - let me tell you, there are times when I run errands looking like Hagatha! Anyway, that was a very cool thing to have happened.


So my face has been breaking out lately - I was all set to blame the dry winter air, sweat on my face from running, never-ending teenage acne - whatever...when I remembered that I'd been indulging in quite a bit of chocolate lately - those dang M&M's are finally gone, but I do believe that I am seeing the after-effects of them on my face. And hips and thighs and belly. Ugh. Lesson not only learned, but seared into my brain! No more dumb candy in the house for no good reason!


Click here to enter my Road ID giveaway - entries taken until next Tuesday, December 21st!


It wouldn't be a Mishmash post without a picture of Paco. Here's another shot of him with his favorite pillow...and I have to tell you that sometimes he knocks the pillow off the chair when he's turning around on the chair. I've been getting up and giving it back to him, but yesterday I realized that hey - he fetches the newspaper...he can pick up his own pillow! So I told him to do so, and he did! Smart dog, my Paco.
Hanging onto the pillow for dear life now that HE has to be the one to pick it up!


In place of Fashion Friday (because frankly, I forgot to take any self portraits this week, running outfits notwithstanding) I give you a boots comparison shot, or as I like to call it, my latest "thank you, running" moment. Two weeks ago, I posted a couple of pictures of me wearing a dress and my "100 pound boots" - this was the first time I'd worn these boots since last winter. I was shocked and amazed that I no longer had to squeeze my calves into the boots - they zipped up easily! Look at the evidence - here is a close up from two weeks ago:
Nice smooth line over my calves now...

And this is what my legs looked like in the boots a year ago:
Note the calf bulge protruding over the top of the boot...

I actually weigh five pounds less now than I did a year ago - but running...oh running, how you've changed my body! One thing I've come to realize during this entire journey is that while changes don't happen as quickly for me as they do for other people, eventually good changes DO happen. From it taking 18 months to lose 100 pounds, to a year of running before I am seeing distinct improvements in my body, I just have to understand that I am the epitome of "slow and steady wins the race" and "patience is a virtue" - and who this rate, I might just run a 10 minute mile someday!


I have one more long day of standing on my feet at work today, followed by another 8 mile run tomorrow. But then I have the entire weekend off, and hopefully I will finally get to cross the Christmas letter/cards/labels off of my list! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Bonus Post - Road ID Review and Giveaway!

When I first started running, I didn't think too much about carrying ID with me because, let's face it, I wasn't going very far. I also was only running on pedestrian paths in parks, which meant that I was out of harm's way of vehicles. Every once in a while I would make a halfhearted attempt to carry my driver's license with me, but I was never very consistent with that.

Well, once I started training for my half marathon, I began running on roads. Facing traffic, following all the safety rules, but a little disconcerting when cars are flying past you at 60 mph. And although I hate to think about it, I know that if something terrible would happen between me and a vehicle (a contest that I'm pretty sure I would lose), I'd be lying in a ditch or on the side of the road for a while before my running club coaches would realize that I hadn't made it back and come looking for me.

Enter Road ID. While I'd like to think it provides an invisible shield between me and oncoming traffic, it doesn't. But traffic isn't the only issue that people who participate in outdoor activities face - there is passing out due to heat exhaustion, hypothermia (I hear there are parts of the country where it gets really cold), medical issues such as diabetes could come into play...being active is a good thing, and making sure that your information, and any immediate medical issues, are instantly available to EMTs is an equally good thing. Created by the father and son team of Mike and Edward Wimmer, Road ID is a simple way to communicate to emergency personnel who you are, and who should be called, should you be unable speak. The product is available in wristbands, ankle tags, shoe tags and even military-style dog tags - something to fit everyone's needs. MY needs, of course, tended toward the cute pink Wrist ID Sport:
Have I impressed you with my mad Paintshop skilz in blocking out my identifying information? Somehow I didn't think the internet needed my family's phone numbers, lol.

There is plenty of room to put all your necessary info, plus I had an extra line, so I put my running mantra, mind over miles, on it as well. I wore this for the first time on my 8 mile run and it was so lightweight and comfortable that I didn't even know it was there!

Now here's the really good part: Road ID has generously offered to give one of my readers their very own Road ID - and you can choose whichever type you want! To enter, check out their website and then leave me a comment with which one (color, too!) you would pick, should you be the winner. Anyone in the WORLD can enter - I know this will make all of my readers outside of the U.S. happy! I'll take entries until Tuesday, December 21st at 10:00 pm CST; will draw the winner, who will be announced on the Wednesday Workout Update post, interwebs-willing. Good luck!

**FCC alert: Road ID provided me with a free ID - this review is all my own opinion, though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Running Club Fun Times Edition!

Last Saturday, my running club had a "benchmark" run - the longest run yet of the season for each of the groups. The full group had 15 miles on their schedule, while the half group had 8 miles. To mark this big occasion, our coaches treated it as a "race day" with several manned aid stations, and a post-run party, complete with breakfast tacos, fresh fruit, massages, music and a chance for everyone to hang together and bond over this experience. Jeff volunteered to help with the aid stations which was nice - it helped to to see him twice on the course.

The morning dawned all too early - it was going to be another warm day, so I tried to dress appropriately. I have a difficult time not overdressing...even though I know I will warm up quickly, it's hard to convince myself when it's dark and cold at 5:30 am that I only need to pull on a technical t-shirt and shorts (or a running skirt!). I consider this little struggle the first mental step that I had to take that day. I did end up wearing a zip up jacket and a pair of gloves...which I regretted about half a mile into the run. Luckily, with the manned aid stations, we could ditch our extra layers, and I was able to do that at 2.5 miles in.

I have to say that this 8 mile run was amazing! I felt great the entire time. It's still a bit disconcerting to go from being the last person in when I ran with the full marathon group, to being the person in the lead with the halfs. There's no one to follow - I have to make sure I'm aware and paying attention to the little arrow route markers that Coach Dale posts throughout the course - I'd hate to miss a turn and accidentally run farther than I needed to! And it was funny to see Jeff's reaction when I arrived first at his aid stations (he manned the ones at miles 2.5 and 6.5) - he's so used to seeing me come in toward the end of the pack at races that this was a bit shocking for him. I hit 8 miles at 1:33; my average pace was 11:39; and my splits were:
11:10 (wow - and this was when I stopped at the aid station, stripped off my iPod armband, jacket and gloves, put the armband back on, and filled up my water bottle!)
12:03 (start of the "Boonville Hill" incline)
12:03 (first half of this mile was continuing the incline)

Really, this was my best long run ever. Everything worked great - my fuel was good (I ate two Sports Beans at miles 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7), and my hydration worked well - I started off with coconut water in my bottle, and refilled it with water along the way. I wore bandaids on my ankles so no blood was drawn, even though I kicked my ankles several times (at one point I yelled "oh come on!" when I kicked myself for the third time, lol). Coach Dale stayed behind at the park while we all ran, and took our "finish line" pictures when we came in...truth be told, he was sitting at a picnic table chatting with the masseuse when I came in (perils of being first, lol) so this picture is a bit staged:

Woohoo!!! Eight miles and done!!!
Julia and I - happy runners!

Then I headed to the massage table, where I was treated to a mini-massage, complete with ice - it felt really good, strangely enough!

Totally worth running 8 miles for this reward!
Wish we could have massages after every long run!

Then it was time to eat!
Breakfast taco with homemade salsa - delicious!

While we were eating, the wind picked up and it got cold!
Tiffany with four hats on - an unseen beanie, pink hoodie, white cap, black hoodie...she is serious about keeping her ears warm!
I wrapped up in a blanket and huddled by the barbecue when I got really cold - it was quite toasty!

As if that wasn't enough fun, we also had the unofficial USAFit Jingle Bell Run on Tuesday night!

You know I HAD to dress up for this one:
How 'bout those socks??? Gotta love Target. I was going to wear my battery-operated Christmas lights, but it was too warm for my vest, which has pockets, and I didn't have anywhere to stash the battery pack in this outfit. Oh, I also attached jingle bells to my shoes. :)

We ran a 5K through a nice neighborhood in town and got to enjoy all the Christmas lights - quite fun! I've been wanting to do a Jingle Bell run this year, but they've all been on Saturday mornings and weren't long enough distances to match up with our training, so this fit the bill perfectly!

After our run, several of us went out for dinner at Freebirds:
Tiffany, Julia, me, Coach Joni (cute socks!), Coach Erica, Coach Dale

I love having special running events like these - they really make all the training so worthwhile. Glad I found my running club; glad the coaches are so willing to make it fun for us; and glad to have such fun people to run with!

Monday, December 13, 2010

List, List...Where's My List?!?

Started this list on Friday - and this is what it looked like on Sunday evening!

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with getting everything done during the holidays, but I swear, this year it's been particularly rough. And I don't have kids at home, or dinners to make (most nights); no school performances to attend, none of those obligations. It can't be the fact that I'm working - geez, I've worked many, many Decembers, and a lot more hours, truth be told.

It wasn't until late last week that I finally figured out why this year feels so difficult. It IS my job. Not that the job is hard, or the hours are long (that won't start until tomorrow, ha!) - rather, it's the fact that my schedule is different every week, and because I'm afraid that I'll accidentally miss a day, I'm constantly checking my calendar to see when I'm working. And it's been a little challenging to fit normal things in, like my morning runs, reading and writing blogs, Christmas shopping, and time spent with friends. I guess I've been so accustomed to having a set work schedule that this new "retail hours" thing has thrown me. Dumb, I know, but there you have it - apparently my brain has had to go into overdrive to keep everything straight this December.

What has helped? Lists. I've always been a list maker, but right now, I have a plethora of lists going - a TO DO, a list of what I've bought for each person, a list of what I still need to buy, a list of blog topics, a list of blog business emails (I have some cool reviews/giveaways in the works), and a menu/grocery list for when the boys come home in about a week. If I keep referring to the lists I feel a little more in control, especially when I can cross things off of them. However, if I can't access the lists, that control is out the window. Yesterday I couldn't find my blog topic list (and yes, that's why this post has preempted your regularly-scheduled post) and I went a little loopy for a few minutes - I keep all of my lists on my desk, so where could it have gone? Turns out it was slipped into a different week of my desk calendar (ooh, just remembered I need to buy new one for 2011 - better add that to a list!) and with a few flips of the pages, I found it. Whew - crisis averted!

With all the (mostly) self-induced holiday insanity, I am trying to remember to take some time to do what I enjoy. That's why I spent a couple of hours yesterday wrapping presents while watching my favorite holiday movie, Love Actually. I've been drinking a cup or two of holiday tea every evening - so far, Candy Cane Lane is edging out Gingerbread Spice and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride as my favorite. Unfortunately, I've also been enjoying some M&M's lately - I bought a giant bag of red and green ones to use on our gingerbread houses...however, we won't be decorating them for another week at least. Needless to say, this has been a good reminder to me as to why I don't keep candy and other really tempting, snacky items in the house on a regular basis - it's too easy to reach for them when my defenses are down and stress levels are up.

So. The good news is that the M&M's are almost gone, and I have been making Jeff eat some sharing them with Jeff every night, so they are going faster. Of course, this means that I will have to buy another bag on the day we have our Second Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Throwdown, but that, along with the lesson about my candy snack trigger, seems to be a lesson I needed to relearn this year.

Now if I could only get the darn Christmas letter/cards/labels done, I'd be golden!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Mishmash - Old Lady Edition

True confession time: A few days after my half marathon, I had my beautiful medal draped over a sconce light in my office. A light that I never turn on. Except that I did...and burned the ribbon of that medal - the one I had worked so hard to earn. I was sick. Could not believe (and yet I could, knowing me) that I did something like that. I emailed the race organizers, explaining what a doofus I was and asking if they could send me an extra ribbon - and guess what I got in the mail a couple days ago? A whole new medal! How nice was that?!?


Speaking of medals, Lori asked me in the comments on Wednesday's post if I was training for anything in particular - the answer is yes. I'm training for the Austin (half) Marathon on February 20, followed by the Armadillo Dash half marathon on March 6, then the Dallas Rock and Roll half marathon on March 27, and then the 10.6 miler in the Big Sur Marathon on May 1. With a few fun 5K races as well, hopefully. I guess this probably sounds pretty ambitious, but the racing season in Texas is short and I really want to earn some more medals get some good races in, so this is what it takes. I'll let you know if my legs fall off!


My seasonal job at the jewelry store is going well - I'm really enjoying, as you all knew I would, being around all of that pretty jewelry. For the record, I haven't bought anything yet. I am having fun doing the "test drives" of certain pieces, but so far, that's satisfying me enough that I haven't given any of my paycheck back to the store. I do have a new pet peeve, though - cell phone ringers. Geez people, how LOUD do you have to have your ringers? And the songs-as-ringtones? Annoying as all get-out in a crowded store when you are trying to help people. I swear, the other day, it seemed like cell phones were ringing constantly. Come ON people - turn it down a skosh! I know, I sound like an old lady, but you had to be there. Now I'll just tuck my Kleenex back into my sleeve, put on my slippers and go brew me a cup of Sanka. ;)


2010 is officially the year of the long-lost-friend reunion for me. First I found my old sailing club buddy (and new author!), Matt, last summer. Well, last Friday, I was reunited with my old pen-pal, Linda! She and I were matched up through a pen-pal group when we were about 12 years old. We exchanged letters for years - she lived in North Carolina - and we even met in person once, after she was married and had her first daughter. She, her husband and baby were in central California visiting relatives and they made the five-hour drive to my house, where we spent a few hours getting to know each other in person. Eventually she was living in Texas, and wouldn't you know it - I lost touch with her about a year before we moved to Texas. I looked off and on for years - and even with the internet, I never could locate her. Facebook was no help - she has a pretty common name, and the few Lindas that I thought *might* be her, and sent friend requests with explanations to, turned out not to be. Finally a few weeks ago I googled her full name again and found tax records - I wrote a short letter (which now seems so appropriate, given our original pen-pal status) and long story short (I know, too late), she emailed me! She included her phone number, so I immediately called her - how fun to catch up! Here's a picture of Linda and I, circa 1983:

Fresh faced teenagers!

And one of me and her cute daughter, Amanda:
Can you believe I was 19 in this picture? I look like a child! And Biz, I think my Dorothy Hamill glasses frames could give yours a run for their gosh, could they BE any bigger? By the way, I had already met Jeff and was a few months from getting engaged...can you say "robbing the cradle"? LOL


The other day I wrapped a few Christmas gifts and set everything on the dining table to get them out of the way. Somebody discovered his present immediately:
I died laughing - I swear, I couldn't smell that rawhide bone at all, but Paco sure could! I ended up having to hide it in the pantry and buy him off with a couple of Milk Bones. At least I know there will be one happy dog come Christmas morning!


It's time for Fashion Friday - woohoo! First up is an outfit suggested by Helen, after seeing my red blazer last week - she thought it would look good with my jeans and some red shoes. I don't have red shoes but I do have an old pair of red boots - I threw that outfit together and she was right - it was cute! I actually felt very "casual chic" on a day that I ran a bunch of errands.
A minute after I took this picture is when Paco discovered his Christmas present - his spidey senses were already kicking in!

Next up is my "old lady" outfit - I wore this to work and got a couple of compliments, but I just couldn't shake the "old lady" feeling. I think the jacket, even though it's cute, is just too "old" for me. And yes, I am aware that I'm using too many "air quotes" - it's the's "messing me up!"
Black pants, purple sweater, lime green jacket
I love the ruffle on the back of the jacket...and the pleating ruffle on the front pockets is cute...but I don't know - it just feels matronly, despite the cool color. Or is this color cool when it's on a jacket? Maybe it belongs in Florida at a Mah Jong group. (Oh, and for the record, this is usually how my first close up shot turns out - it takes a couple of tries to get the camera adjusted *just so* on the tripod, lol)

Moving is that shirt that I bought last May and couldn't get it to look right - it's a little big, but I think it looks ok with the teal sweater buttoned over it, hiding most of the bold splotchy pattern AND bringing it closer to my body:
You can't really tell, but I'm wearing brown pants. Not too exciting, but it worked for work. Another first close up shot - just keeping it real, folks! ;)

And now we step out of my entry way/dining area - I brought my camera with me when I met my friend, Terry, for lunch the other day, so she took my picture afterward:
My first new, non-running top! I realized when I was buying it on Saturday (on clearance, with an extra 25% off coupon - yay Steinmart!) that it's been forever since I've bought "real clothes" - how funny is that?!? Anyway, I love this outfit, and feel about 20 years younger in it versus the "old lady" outfit. Perception is so strange.

OK, hope you all have a wonderful weekend!