Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Moving On...

I’m moving!! After five years in El Paso, we are headed to a new duty station. Very soon.

Now, El Paso has its good points, but I’m tired of this place. Let’s start with the positives, though.

Mexican food – OMG, the food! I will not likely eat Mexican food for a while after we leave here. Not that I eat out often, but even the other ethnic foods around here are pretty awesome.

Sunshine – Surprisingly for someone who has light sensitivity, I also love sunshine, mostly for the warmth. I’m cold blooded, and the warm temps here make me very happy. It also makes running and cycling year round a real option. Fortunately, I’m headed to OK just in time for summer.

Fort Bliss – This Army post is big and modern. I’ve already been told that Fort Sill is tiny in comparison. I will survive just fine in a small town and small post, but I will still miss some of the luxuries we have here, like multiple pharmacies, 2 gyms with lots of classes, 2 pools, a shopping center with real restaurants…

Growth – I mean personal growth. J and I have both grown a lot in the last 5 years. I became a runner and even a marathoner! We ride bikes, which we only started after moving here. I’ve lost weight, gained strength, and even solved some of my anxiety issues. I am an overall healthier person since moving here. And I’ve made friends that will last for ages.

Let’s not forget one thing I will always be thankful to El Paso for – Rembrandt. Don’t know that we would have found such a perfect dog anywhere else. Also, we found an amazing kennel and veterinarian here. I will miss them.

Ok. I’m done being happy. Now to tell you what I won’t miss.

Wind – OMG the wind never ends and is driving me crazy!

Drivers – Speaking of driving, no one here knows how. Seriously, these are the worst drivers I have ever encountered. I have severe road rage when driving here.

Thorns – Those damn things are everywhere! They get stuck in Rem’s fur and then get left on our floor for us to step on in our bare feet. Or Rem steps on them.

Customer Service – It’s bad here. We were told by someone who grew up here to expect bad service at restaurants, and it’s held true.

Desert – I miss green. And water. And farmers markets that actually have produce. And rain. And humidity.

Dogs – This area has many strays, and has a love of pit bulls. I have nothing against pitties, but it seems that many of the people here like to make their pit bulls look tough. They crop their ears in the fighting style and put big chains around their necks, then leave them alone in the back yard. I feel bad for a lot of them. There is a big problem with back yard breeding, and just a general lack of owner responsibility for animals here. I’m glad we were able to rescue Rem, and a little sad that I can’t rescue more.

Really, a big part of my excitement to move is simply that we never expected to be here this long. We thought we’d do the Army thing and move around, and see the world. Then we came here. And stayed here. I’m ready for the next place, the next adventure. I’m ready to move on.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Marathon 2.0

We have all figured out by now that some of J’s crazy has been rubbing off on me lately. Well, it turns out that the El Paso Marathon was scheduled for one month after the MOM. I decided, a week before the race, that I was going to do it. J did, too.

I hadn’t done any real long runs since returning from Maui, but felt pretty good. Once again we were getting up super early so we could ride a school bus to the marathon start. This time, we started at the highest point, the top of Transmountain. The sun was on it’s way up when we started, and I was glad to have my sun glasses. The first 6 miles were downhill, and I probably went faster than I should have.

It flattened out after that and stayed mostly flat the rest of the race. It was hot and sunny. I had to carry fuel with me since the water stations weren’t supplied with food stuffs (some volunteers supplied their own food for us). There weren’t many highlights for this race.

Before the halfway point, I was running a very flat, very straight stretch through desert and past a landfill, when I really started to miss Maui. I had known this would be nothing like the MOM, but it was rather depressing at this point. I kept going. I made the halfway. I made it 2 more miles, and “the wall” was in sight. Uh oh.

I hit that wall around mile 16. It wasn’t fun. I started to wonder if I was going to finish. I was already walking more than just at the water stations. I was hot and tired and thirsty. I started drinking 2 cups of water or drink mix at each water station, which was every mile at this point. I knew I had to get to mile 20 at the very least.

At mile 17, I set my watch for 1 minute timer. I ran for a minute, then walked a minute. Then I ran 2 minutes and walked a minute. Run 3 minutes, walk a minute. Then start over. It started working, and I was doing ok. At the mile 20 water station, some of my Army Wife friends were set up to cheer everyone on. They wrote on the street in chalk for me. They had signs for me. They had frozen Gatorade, which I never would have guessed would taste so amazing. They had skittles. One friend even ran with me for a few feet. They really saved me at this point, and I decided I could finish this.

I kept my minute-to-minute pattern up, and trudged along. It was painful. I was so damn thirsty. I knew I wasn’t going to beat my Maui time. But I did have to finish. I finally got downtown and had the finish in sight. I was glaring at people without realizing I was glaring. I was exhausted, but I kept moving. Just keep moving.
 
I made it to Wyoming (Avenue)!
They announced me as I approached the finish, and got my name right (one thing I will miss about the southwest). I came in at 5 hours 30 minutes. J was right there, again. He was still worn out from running his best marathon ever, so we hobbled over to the free beer.

They were out of chocolate milk, and burritos, so I had a beer and a banana. Not the greatest combo, but it didn’t matter at that point. J was pretty beat up from his run, and we were both hungry. I drove us, yes, after my second marathon, I drove us to Sonic for a burger and tots. And cherry limeade. It was super delicious. Then we both napped.
 
BEER!
The El Paso Marathon was crap, really, and we only did it because we are getting ready to leave here (finally). However, I feel that after finishing 2 marathons I can officially call myself a marathoner. I even got a tshirt. It says “26.2 some runners go all the way.” It’s amazingly comfy and I want to wear it all the time.
 
Yes, it's the bathroom mirror, and that's the tag in my armpit
This post is much shorter than the last one, but I just really don’t have much to say about this race. I finished, and that’s as good as it gets this time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

OMG! MAUI!

My husband has become a much better blogger than me. This is a good thing, since he is making a move in his job that requires writing skills, so he’s getting his practice in.

This afternoon I’m filling in at the Harvest Box pick-up location, which is the perfect time to force myself to get some writing done. I am behind. Waaaaaaaaaay behind.

So in January, J and I went to the island of Maui, Hawaii. We had been to Hawaii 7 years ago with J’s family, staying on Oahu. This time was just us. We stayed in the little town of Lahaina at a gorgeous little B&B, the Garden GateBed & Breakfast. They served breakfasts of baked goods, fresh fruit, yogurt with local granola, coffee and POG (pineapple, orange, guava) juice. We knew it was time to go down to eat when IZ would play on the garden speakers. Yes, we ate in the garden. It is the Garden Gate B&B, after all. The resident pets greeted us most every time we came back to our room.

the view

We had a view of the ocean from our lanai, and drove along a coastal highway to get anywhere.  January is prime whale watching season, but I remembered our “whale watching” cruise 7 years earlier, when all I saw was a glimpse of whale back. This was completely different.

You could watch whales breaching while stuck in traffic. You could see spouts while turning a corner. There’s a turn-off where you can talk to a whale specialist and they chart the whale sightings. It was amazing. I love whales. We saw whales EVERY DAY.

One of the first adventures was a trip to a local public beach. The B&B owner recommended one to us, and we borrowed some snorkeling gear from their storage room (that’s what it’s there for!).  We snorkeled just off the beach where everyone was playing in the water. There’s actually a reef right there. Fish, sea urchins, even an eel.

snorkel-rific

But then… Oh, then…. Then we saw the sea turtle. Someone was trying to point him out to us, but I couldn’t find him. J was the one who spotted him, and tugged on my arm while pointing excitedly at the guy. Sea turtle. He looked so cool, so calm, so relaxed. He barely seemed to move his flippers to glide through the water. I followed him for quite a ways, even after J had to take a break. He knew I was enthralled and just watched me from above.

You guys. I swam with a wild sea turtle. Seriously. A. SEA. TURTLE. I was just a little excited. I think that really was my favorite part of the whole trip.

So, we also rented some road bikes. J had this crazy idea to ride up to the peak of the volcano Haleakala. There’s paved road the whole way and a national park at the top. This means he went from toes-in-the-ocean sea level up to the 10,000 foot peak. On a bike. I drove the car. I actually had my bike as well, but didn’t find any stretch of that road I was confident enough to ride. J made it, and made it back down as well. The down trip took only 15 minutes longer than me in the car. Yeah.

view from the top

Then we road together along the coastal highway. The same highway we would run on later. We road from Lahaina to Kihei, ate lunch, and rode back. They have amazing bike lanes along both sides of the highway, and the drivers were so nice compared to what we’re used to! We were confused when a bunch of people started pulling over to the shoulder, blocking the bike lane, but then realized why. Whales. More whales.
 
lunch!
We did some running, too, of course. A trail run up the mountain behind the town gave us a great view of Lahaina and the ocean. You could see some of the other Islands on a clear day. Hell, you could see them from our lanai! We ate out, of course, but found some amazing food. Seafood, burgers, pizza, beer. We did a luau that claimed to be the most traditional luau on the island. It was pretty amazing. Open bar (small drinks), lots of dancing and storytelling, and buffet. We sat at the traditional seating, on the ground at low tables.

Now let’s get to the whole reason we were there in the first place. The Maui OceanfrontMarathon, or MOM. J and I trained up for this and were eager to do it. We got up super early on marathon day so we could take a school bus down the start point, 26 miles away. It was still dark when we started the run.

We ran from Wailea, through the town of Kihei, past the wharf in Maalaea, along the highway where I saw whales yet again, and into Lahaina. The race finished downtown at an oceanfront park. Twenty-six point two miles. That’s 26.2 for those who don’t like to read.

This was my first marathon. I did the 20 mile training run (on a very windy day, no less) and felt well prepared. The MOM had regular water stations with food, so we didn’t worry too much about carrying fuel or water. I watched the moon setting over the ocean, and reflected on it. It was too dark to get a clear picture, but I don’t know if I will ever forget that view. My phone started going wacky with 15 miles to go. Siri kept coming on and asking me what I wanted. I chewed her out and finally restarted my phone. While running.

The water station at the halfway point had otter pops, and it tasted amazing. With the sun up, I was getting pretty hot. It had been in the 70s to 80s all week, and being on the ocean gave us humidity that my body had been loving up to this point. There was a tunnel carved out of the mountain that we ran through. We ran down back sea level and finally got some shade from the monkey pod trees. There are small beach parks along the highway leading into Lahaina, and they were full of people.

Tunnel!!

At mile 20, 6.2 miles left to go, I hit “the wall.” I expected this since I had only trained to 20 miles. I was hot, sweaty, and tired, but had to keep going. I hurried up a bit whenever I saw shade coming. I made sure to stop at every water station and drink at least 1 cup of fluids, and eat something at most of them. I told the people with watermelon chunks that they were my heros. My running hat got put on backwards to cover my neck, which was getting rather uncomfortably hot from the sun. I walked quite a bit.

Finally, I got a text from J. He was done and waiting on me. He asked me to let him know when I hit the last mile, so I sent him a quick picture of the 1 mile marker (the markers counted down) when I reached it. Just 1 more mile to survive. I tried to run a little more in this last mile, and although it was hard, I managed to finish at a run. They were announcing finishers as we approached and the announcer called me Charles. The lady next to him corrected him at the same time as I was yelling my name at him. He apologized.  I didn’t care. I was done.  I finished in 5 hours and 26 minutes.
 
such a welcome sight
J was waiting for me. He had gone to the car to fetch our bags so I would have my post-race stuff. He handed me water and hugged me. He took my pic at the finish line. He took me to get food (bananas, cookies) and even let me prop my feet on his shoulders when I lay down to put my feet up. We were both sore, and very tired, but hungry, so we walked/hobbled down the street a few blocks to the burger joint. A big burger, good beer, and French fries really hit the spot.
 
the finish area - note the exhaustion in my face
That evening, after a nice shower and nap, we took a sunset dinner cruise with other marathoners and their families. The whales were happy to see us, and got so close that you could hear them breathing. It was the perfect finish to that day.
 
WHALE!!
The next day was recovery. We went to the beach. We lay in the sun and the shade. We played in the ocean and looked at fish. It was amazing, and we felt much better heading back to our room that night.


I am in love with Maui, although I have yet to see the other islands (except Oahu). We would love to visit there regularly, drink the local coffee, eat the local fruits and vegetables with our seafood, and play in the ocean. We will definitely be back.
Coffee fields!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oh, Hello, New Year! Didn't See You There.

The last few months of 2013 flew by. Holy crap. Next thing I new, it was Christmas, then the in-laws visited, and then it was New Year's. Now it's 2014.

I did some resolutioning for the Jewish new year, and actually somewhat accomplished one. My brother and I are talking again. It's good to have him back. We keep in touch online quite well, and talk on the phone from time to time.

However, I did make the mistake of taking my husband on the Tour of Homes here. It's where some senior Officers and NCOs decorate their homes and allow us to tour them. And we pay for it. Yeah. But we went, and we had fun, and J was inspired. Apparently, it's time for us to step it up a notch.

So we are starting the process of cleaning out our house. We'll go through our home, a section at a time, and sort through everything we have. Clean out things we no longer need or want, reorganize what we keep. We want to minimize what is left out. That means making sure things have a place in which they can be put away. We tackled the top of the desk today. If you know me, you know that place is a mess. I'm a stacker, and that was my stacking mecca.

We will be buying some things to help us organize as we go. Today we were out shopping and got one of those k-cup drawers for the Keurig. It saves us some counter space, and I really need some of that.

Amber is doing a yard sale next month and I will be piling up things to sell there. Anything that doesn't sell gets donated or consigned. We're trying to be hard on ourselves in our sorting. We both tend to hang on to things, and we need to keep it under control with the Army life. Especially with 2, maybe 3 moves this year.

So a goal for this year? Get organized. Get uncluttered. Get some sense of style in our house.

I would say running a marathon is one of my resolutions, but that is already a given. The Hawaii vacation is planned and happening. In a week. ONE. WEEK.

Ok, 8 days, but who's counting?

I have to get at least 1 more long run in. And pack. I think I should make a checklist for packing. Definitely need a list. We have bike rentals set up, so yes, we will be bicycling in HI. We have a dinner cruise, a luau, and lots of beach time planned. Oh, and a tattoo. The tat I've been wanting for at least 5 years now. I finally found an artist with the style I want, and she's on the island. Hells yes.

Since the marathon isn't a goal for this year, let's move on. I want to get more sewing done. I figure we're only in OK for 6 months, so it's not even worth looking for a job. My plans are to spend as much time as possible either sewing or outside. Hell, might even set up a machine in the back yard and sew outside! We'll see. I have my bedspread quilt top done. Just need to sandwich and quilt it. That will happen before we leave Texas.

We now own a guest bed, like a real, actual bed guest bed, so I want to do a quilt for it as well. I'm thinking a simple, 2 color chevron quilt. I want to start using more solid colors in my quilting. I love solid color quilting. I'm going to start with the quilt block exchange we're doing in the sewing/craft group. Yes, yes. solid colors in my blocks.

And that's it, really. I think that's enough with the transitional life I will have this year. Now, just keep your fingers crossed for an over-seas assignment for us! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Considering Things

I'm older now. 33. That's not very old. I'm really ok with my age.

Since my last post, I discovered my toe is not broken, just badly bruised. I let it rest for 48 hours, then ran again and did just fine.

The new shoes are also doing great. I wear them whenever I run on the road or for longer than a loop around the track. I still have my vivo trail shoes and I love them, but I'm careful to not run too far in them or on the road.

I'm a little behind on my marathon training. Oops! But I did run 15.7 miles last weekend. And I'll see how far I can go this weekend.

Weight loss has been a no go. I found my resting metabolic rate, I changed the way I was eating, and then I stopped tracking. I put 10 pounds back on and haven't gotten it back off. J and I have talked about it a bit, my sister and I talked about it, and this morning I just made up my mind. I have a bottle and a half of the amp'd up that I took to lose this 10 pounds, so I'm trying it again. I'm going to be good and track my food (help keep me on track!) and keep the training.  I do not expect to lose all 10 pounds before Hawaii since it's only a month away, but I'll see what I can do.

In other news, my awesome doctor decided it was time for me to see a specialist about the headaches. I had an MRI already, but the neurology referral is being more troublesome. Doc had to resend it, and I finally got my referral letter. I called the doctor's office, and they haven't received their copy of it yet. The neurologist's nurse did inform me that he specializes in stroke complications, and it's likely to be quite a while before they get to me.

Ugh, right?

So I called the referral line and they told me the best way to go about getting a different doc. I get to call other neurologists and see who can get me in soon, then call the referral line back and let them know. They'll resend the letter and send the new doc a copy. Then I can get an appointment. OMG! So much work! Oh well, I want to get this in before Hawaii if I can. I don't expect much in the way of results, but it's worth a try. The fioricet seems to work well, however.

So that's it, I guess. My life is health and fitness now. I guess it could be much worse. Well, and Remy and Duke. Can't forget them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stupidity

It's a quiet day in my house today. The TV is on, the cat is curled up on a newspaper article (sent from my MIL), and the dog is napping on the floor. I am sitting with my foot propped up on my giant stuffed white reindeer (Whitey) with an ice pack.

What? Why am I doing this? What did I do?

I did something stupid.

This morning the pup and I went for a run. It was a good run. We stopped at the dog park as always. I sometimes tip the cement water bowls up on their edge and clean out all the debris that builds up in them.  I did that this morning, but instead of gently lowering it down, I let it fall. And it fell.

ON. MY. TOE.

The corner of the square cement bowl hit the big toe of my right foot. My first thought was that I had broken it. I went ahead and filled the water bowl so Remy could get a drink, then we went home. I limped the whole way. It was pretty damn painful.

I put ice on it right away and called mom, like a good kid.

I was able to shower and get dressed, get some breakfast, but I can't walk for long without being in quite a bit of pain. So my shopping that I had planned for today? Canceled. Lunch plans were canceled anyway. Just resting up so I can handle going to the west side for my harvest box later.

I considered going to the ER, but decided to tape it myself and wait. It's taped. A big part of me wants to go to the ER anyway. I have always wanted an X-ray of my weird feet and I finally have an excuse. But then again, they may not decide to X-ray, and I would waste my day at the ER just to have them do what I've already done - tape it and ice it. Also, I realize that an X-ray wouldn't really be necessary and I don't want to be that person who raises healthcare costs by getting unneeded care. Damn morals.

The worst part of all this is that I'm 6.5 weeks out from the marathon. Six and a half weeks! That is what makes me feel like a complete idiot. I may have broken my toe so close to the marathon. I plan to rest it as much as possible today and tomorrow. Any of my nurse friends are welcome to give advice as well.

If J is reading this, I'll be home for lunch today! *insert cheesy grin here*

Friday, November 29, 2013

Stitch Fix The Second

Originally I was supposed to get this Stitch Fix on Wednesday. Then shipping was moving slow and it said Saturday. Doorbell rang today. Guess what? Stitch Fix!

J didn't seem to understand my excitement, but then again, I was having a girly moment. It came as we were getting ready to go get some lunch, so I waited until we came home to open it. I don't have all the pretty pictures this time, but I do have pics of the items.

Right on top was a green sweater from Oxmo. I grabbed it and said it was so me! J even started joking that I had pulled it out of the closet, not the box. They were spot on with this one.
It's green and see through, perfect for layering.
Wrapped with the sweater was a pair of skinny jeans from Kut From The Kloth. I wasn't sure about them, since I am often hit or miss with jeans, but they fit perfect and were very comfy. They have a good amount of stretch and are soft and comfy. 
I actually wanted some dark skinnies!
 The next bundle had a dress, a sweater, and a jacket. The sweater is from Tea N Rose. It's awesome. I put it on and then discovered the pockets. Pockets! I love me some pockets. It's light weight, so it would work in the summer as my AC sweater as well.
it's also my colors. 
Next was the jacket from 209 West. Black and red, very fun style. I put it on, zipped it up, and went to put my hands in the pockets. What? Pockets? Not this time! It has zippers, placed on the seams, and reinforced on the other side. BUT NO POCKETS. Seriously! Just that alone would piss me off every time I wore it, but it also laid a little funny on my chest. It's going back.
love the idea, not the execution.
Finally the dress. It's a shirt dress from 41Hawthorn. Buttons do not get along with my chest. I liked it on the hanger, I like it in the box, I liked it laid out on my bed. I did not like it on me. It didn't fit in the bust, and lost my shape through the waist. Going back.
it has tab sleeves, which are apparently a popular thing now.
So, keeping the first 3, sending 2 back. And the prices were more along my way of thinking this time. I'm a cheapskate. This gives me some great clothes to get through the winter with. Time for your added bonus - Me in the clothes I'm keeping, with a tank top. (Not the greatest pics, but I don't claim to be a photographer. I leave that to my sister.)



Interested in giving it a try? Yeah? You know you want to. Just use this handy little referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3189571