Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Horrible Afternoon

This afternoon I came home from running errands all stressed out about Bark For Life. I saw lots of stuffing on the stairs, and wondered what toy Remy destroyed now.

Then I walked in the living room. My polar bear was laying on Remy's bed. My stuffed polar bear that I've had longer than I can remember. My Jimmy bear. This bear went to college with me, moved around Lawrence with me, and moved to TX with me. I love this stuffed bear.

Of course, when I saw my bear torn open with his innards spread around the house, I freaked. I yelled at the dog. I smacked his butt. I yelled some more.

And I cried. Is that silly? This was seriously my favorite stuffed animal. I sobbed for a couple minutes. I picked up all the stuffing, and took the remains of Jimmy to the garbage. Rembrandt understood by this point that I was not happy and he was in trouble. So he went outside and wanted to stay outside.

And here is where I made my mistake. I left him outside by himself and not on his tether. A few minutes later, I went back out and he was gone. He wasn't in the neighbor's yard, either. So I freaked again. I grabbed his leash and started walking the neighborhood calling him. Fortunately, he was just a few houses down, visiting with a friendly black lab. He's been pouting and avoiding me since we got home.

I even put him on his leash and took him for a walk, but he's still pouting in the kitchen and avoiding me.

Since then I've just stayed home. I did dishes, I answered some Bark For Life texts. Now just waiting until it's late enough to cook dinner.

I'm worn out from the emotional trauma today. I don't do emotions well. At least I get sushi for lunch tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Updates on: Camping, Running, Blogging

I need to mush these into one post.

Item 1: Camping

Didn't go so well. The river we were supposed to be on is completely dry. The nearby national forest is completely closed to the public. J was cranky. We ended up coming home a day early. But then we biked to the PX for lunch and a movie and had a decent day. Today we worked in the yard after a morning run and brunch.

Item 2: Running

After talking to J, I've decided to change my half marathon goal. He says your first half marathon is always the worst, and trying to do the TransMountain as my first is pretty much asking for hell on earth. However, he would like to run the Duke City Marathon again. He ran it 2 years ago. And as with most marathons, they have a half marathon as well. Hell, Duke City has a half marathon walking category. It's October 23 in Albuquerque, NM. Don't know why it's called Duke City. Maybe it explains on the website somewhere. It benefits the New Mexico Cancer Center. So, new race that isn't as challenging, but only 2 weeks later. That's 2 more weeks to train!

Then, I found out about the Las Cruces Half Marathon. It's December 17, the day after my birthday. I want to run it. Is it crazy to want to run a half marathon the day after I turn 31? Maybe. But I am probably in better shape now than I have been since I was 15 years old on the swim team in high school.

Fort Bliss is supposed to host a 10 mile run in August. I will train for that as a mini-goal before I reach the half marathon. If I can run 10 miles in August, then I only need to add a 5K to that to do a half marathon. Ideally, I would like to run 13.1 miles at least once before the actual half marathon. Time to start working on a plan. I need to incorporate some different kinds of running (i.e. speed work, distance work, hill work) and cross training (mostly swimming and biking).

Along with running, Fort Bliss should be hosting another sprint triathlon in September. That's a 400 meter swim, about a 10 to 15 mile bike ride (depending on the race), and a 5K Run. J and I both want to do it. There is one in Soccoro on September 4, but it's already sold out. So when I found out about a Fort Bliss sprint tri on September 24, we were grateful to still have an opportunity.

Item 3: Blogging

I'm going to try to add labels to my posts from here on out. Might help me find posts easier in the future if I want to refer back to them. I have some posts I need to catch up on over on Bra Crusader and would like to write more often here. Labels, labels, labels.

Soy Un Perdedor, I'm A Loser, Baby

Ok. This week we're discussing breakfast ideas.

Let me first clarify that I was not a breakfast eater until J. He is a big breakfast guy. Can't live without it. Me, not so much. But living with him, I learned to eat breakfast.

Most mornings, we do cereal. I don't drink milk, so I use vanilla flavored soy milk. I buy the light kind. J likes milk, but found we weren't using it up before it went bad, so he switched to coconut milk. Yes most mornings are cereal. J also taught me to mix different kinds of cereal. Like cornflakes (healthy) and frosted flakes (not so healthy). It makes the healthy cereals taste better, and you are satisfied with less of the unhealthy stuff.

Sometimes we do mix it up. We'll do eggs and toast for an easy hot breakfast. Either fried eggs (using Pam) or scrambled with stuff in it. A little salsa mixed into scrambled eggs is a great way to add flavor. And we only buy whole grain bread. Been doing that for years now.

In the summer, we sometimes do fruit smoothies. Super easy. I just use frozen fruit (unsweetened) and yogurt. Every once in a while we add a Carnation Instant Breakfast packet to it. J needs more calories than I do. But just take a little yogurt cup in a tasty flavor, add frozen fruit, and blend until smooth. Nice on hot El Paso mornings!

Now for the bad part. We do go to brunch about once a week. We eat large, usually greasy meals. Then we aren't hungry for lunch, but we'll usually have a snack in the afternoon, and an earlier dinner.

Now for personal progress. Went for a 4.5 mile run this morning and then weighed myself. I was down 1 pound. Yay! I usually only weight myself in the morning. I get up, use the toilet, then weigh myself with absolutely no clothing. But even after my workout, I was down 1 pound this week! That's a good sign.

I probably won't be seeing much of my husband during the work week this next month, so I will be eating on my own a lot. I find it easier to eat healthy when just cooking for myself, so let's hope the numbers will keep going down. Also need to make myself a plan to train for the half marathon in October!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Darling Duke

Duke is my cat. I have had Duke for 6 years this August. He is about 7 1/2 years old.

He had a blood test on Tuesday. The results came back normal in all areas but one. Feline Leukemia.

Back Story:
When I adopted Duke in 2005, we didn't get to a doctor right away. When we did, she tested him for Feline Leukemia. There are 2 tests for this disease. The first test said positive. So they did another one. And another one. Wait 6 months and another. In the end, we were told that Duke might be a carrier. I now know that stage 1 of FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) can be suppressed by a healthy cat's immune system.

Apparently, he is done suppressing it. We will be talking to the vet next week to get all the dirt on what happens next.

Of course, you know I have been doing some research. So did my mom, as soon as I told her. These sites seem pretty good:

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/felv.html
http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_ct_feline_leukemia

So far, the only real symptom he has seems to be his horrible gum and teeth problems.

Now, let me clarify. FeLV is a Virus. It suppresses the immune system, which can lead to cancer. It is not a cancer in and of itself. It is in the blood, like human leukemia, and suppresses the immune system, like HIV. From what I've read, the main cause of death for FeLV positive cats is secondary diseases and infections - that is, something they caught because the FeLV was weakening their immune system.

So what does this mean for us? Well, Duke is not allowed to be around other cats (it is contagious) or any people that could catch a secondary illness from him (like chemo patients, very old people, or infants). This isn't too big of a deal since he doesn't like other cats much anyway. We will know more after we talk to the vet next week.



For now, I will try to not dwell on it so I can enjoy my camping weekend. Duke is pretty healthy. He has plenty of time still for loves and cuddles and stinky breath in my face. He has years to enjoy being pestered by the dog, to catch flies, and to steal my socks and slippers. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Soy Un Perdedor, I'm A Loser, Baby

Ok. Here's my Monday weight loss post. I may have done something similar before, but I will start with a brief history of my weight loss journey.

I got serious about it when J was away at OCS. I joined SparkPeople and followed the rules and lost 20 pounds. Then we moved to El Paso and I kinda just stopped. It's much harder to follow when you're also cooking for/feeding someone who needs to eat more. Fortunately, it actually took a little less than 2 years to put that 20 pounds back on. But I did. So I tried starting over with Spark, and wasn't as strict. I went down to about 165, then back up to 170 over Easter. My ideal goal is 135, but even 145 would be totally awesome.

Since Easter, I'm bouncing around in that 5 pound range. Which means I need to get serious again to get back on the losing train. I am giving myself a couple weeks, in which my stress levels will be higher. I know it will be easier for me to get back on track once Bark For Life is done. I plan to buy a food scale and try to start measuring some portions again. J will be working long days a lot this summer, as well as some field time, so I will be eating on my own more. Honestly, that makes it easier.

Another thing that makes it easier is that J and I are both trying to eat healthier. More fruits and veg, less meat. I think the next part of that should be cutting back (even more) on fried food.

Even more than food and weight, I'm trying to get in shape. I haven't been in any kind of decent physical shape since high school. Seriously. I've never been very active. Well silly me fell in love with a very active guy. I have actually become a runner since moving down here, and would like to run a half marathon before the end of 2011. We're also looking to finish a sprint triathlon in early fall. Although if I found a good Jazzercise place around here, that had a decent class schedule, I would probably join again. Jazzercise helped me lose that original 20 pounds.

The hard part here is making sure I'm getting enough food without getting too much food, so that I can still lose some weight. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Camping Update

First campground was booked. Second one wasn't! They're pretty close, both on the river. Yay!

Today we talked a little about staying home and working on the yard, but hell, this is probably our only chance to go camping this summer.Yay camping!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Camping!!!

I love camping. Always have. As a kid, we went camping AT LEAST once a summer, usually more. I LOVED it! I mean really really loved it.

I was so glad to learn that J loves camping, too. He is an Eagle Scout, after all. So we started camping together. My parents bought us a little Coleman tent. I was voting for a week of camping for our honeymoon, even. Later, (after getting married) they bought us new sleeping bags that zip together. Dad even gave us one of his old camp stoves.

Now, last year, we didn't actually go camping. The year before, we only went once, and that was just one night. This year, we had to get out there. So we're planning on going next weekend. Memorial Day weekend. Sure, it will be busy, but J gets a 4-day.

I'm trying to get a camp site reserved. Got their voicemail and left a message. Might have to wait till Monday. Anywho, the campground we chose also sells fishing licenses. And it's on a river. So we can fish! OMG! Our poles haven't been out of the box since we got here!

This will also be Remy's first campout. J has slept on the floor with him, and Remy was content to curl up in his little bed next to J. So we'll take his bed. I'm sure I'll be awoken with puppy kisses when he wants out of the tent. I can handle that.

We also bought a new campstove. The old stove that dad gave me uses white gas, which isn't accepted in all campgrounds. So we snagged a new Coleman stove that uses propane and got a carrying case for it as well. The case is bigger than the stove, so there's room to pack some extras in around it. Maybe some cooking utensils. It's awful dry this year, and we're not sure we'll be able to do a campfire (I'll ask when I make the reservation), so we had to make sure we have a way to cook!

I can't wait to go camping!! OMG yay! Now let's see if we actually catch any fish. Maybe we can cook them for dinner one night. I better have a phone call with mom or dad to discuss the best way to do that.

OK, so on Monday I'm going to try a theme and discuss weight loss. Yeah. I know. I'm trying to think of a funny name for it. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Do I Blog?

My friend wrote a post that inspired me:
Learning As We Go: Why we blog

So why do I blog? I've been at this for a long time now, in a different format. It started with LiveJournal. At that time, it really was an online journal, not a blog. I had that for I don't even know how long. It has communities and you have a friends list. I loved it.

Until there was trouble. I vented a little after my wedding and it lead to a big fight between siblings. Thankfully we got over it, but my LiveJournal never really did. It went friends only, and I wrote less and less. I wanted something more public. I decided I needed a change of scenery.

So I tried blogger. It started with the bra blog. I still had my LJ at this time, but needed a public forum for the Bra Crusader. And blogger links with my google account. Win.

Then came Tough Crackers. I was constantly ranting about the rampant stupidity surrounding me (especially commercials), and decided I needed an outlet (other than the hubs). He thought they were entertaining. Hopefully some other people will be entertained as well.

Finally, I decided to stop journaling over at LJ and started this one. I still have my LJ account, only to follow a few friends over there. I like reading their posts, even though I have them on Facebook as well.

That's the history of my blogging, now for the WHY.

I actually like to write. Surprising, for an English major and all. No, really, I didn't like writing in college. I like editing. I like working with what other people have written. Yet somehow I found myself with an urge to write, and not always sure what to write about. I have this urge to share silly things, like my adventures in running. I don't even know how many people follow my blog. I don't really care. I like to write, but know I will never get paid for crap like this. That's ok. I'd rather be a bra fitter.

So, I write. I blog. I share. And since I'm quite the cynic, I figure that very few, if any, read it. It feels good to get it out.

So blog on, fellow bloggers. Long live the blog.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Look! A Running Post!

Been a while since I posted anything about running. Been so busy and not running as much. BUT...

Yes, BUT, I have set myself somewhat of a goal. I want to run in this year's TransMountain Challenge. It's a half marathon. It would be my first half marathon, BUT, if I can run this one, I can run many others. Why, you say?

I'll tell you why.

Because the TransMountain Challenge actually goes over TransMountain Road. It starts on one side of the mountain and ends on the other side. You run to the foot of the mountain, up over the mountain, and around at the other side for a bit before the finish.

Last year I ran the 5K. It was my first 5K getting back into the running scene. J ran the half.

So that leaves me 5 months. June, July, August, September, October. It's about 5 months to train up to it. Remember, I've done a few 10Ks, which are a quarter marathon, or half of a half. Confused yet? Me too. But that's because I've had a couple drinks tonight.

Anyhoo, I would like to be able to pull this off. It's going to take planning, though. I'm not good at sticking with plans. I will have to carefully up my mileage until I'm at at least 13 miles. A half is 13.1 miles. I want to run at least 13 miles a couple times before the race. I also want to train on hills, which around here means running at McKelligan Canyon. It means mapping out how far I will go each week. And finding a route that goes that far.

I will need motivation. I will need accountability. These are things I have the most trouble with.

J will be in and out of the field all summer, and after June 4, I will be completely DUN for the summer. D-U-N Dun! So I will have time to run. I will have to keep running when I head to Denver and Rock Springs, and even in MD in July. That might hurt. It's humid out there.

So. That's it. I will try to put updates both here and on Facebook with my iRun app. iRun will help me keep track of pace with each distance. I think I need to put more music on my MP3 player. Suggestions?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Good Friday (a little late)


*I wrote this on my flight home and just now got around to posting it*

So I went back to Kansas for Easter. I do this every year.

When I was in college at St. Mary in Leavenworth, KS, Sister Anne Callahan was still working with the college music department. My sophomore year, she asked if I would be willing to do a duet with one of the sisters for their Good Friday service. I said yes.

That was a hard start to what would become an annual date. It was April 13, 2001. Yes, a Friday the 13th. We didn't have classes (good Catholic college) and I sang with Sister Anita at the 2pm service. I had to work that evening at the sandwich shop. I was getting ready for work when Misty called me. Her step-sister, my friend, Breanna had shot herself. I remember her telling me, and the total shock that I was in. I remember going in the hallway and grabbing Lacey. I hugged her, told her Bre was dead, and started crying. I think I scared a friend or two. They hadn't ever seen me break down like that.

I calmed myself down enough to go to work and just told everyone there that I was having a really bad day. I think J even worked that night (that's where we met, at the sandwich shop).

I kept singing with Sister Anita every year for Good Friday. We always sing the same songs. They never said anything about the tattoo I showed up with on my ankle. Or the piercings, or the changing hair styles. Just how lovely my voice was. Nuns make the best audience.

I stayed in the area after college and kept going back for good friday. I would see the Sisters I knew and plenty I didn't know. I loved it. Every year, after the service, I get a great big hug from Sister Dorothy. She was in my home town when I was a little kid. She's like a great-aunt. I adore this woman. She had sponsored my sister and me for the scholarships that helped us attend the school she was now groundskeeper of.

In 2006, it was another Friday the 13th. I was at work for a half-day when my mom called to tell me that Grandma Shirley, her step-mother, had passed away. Yes, Grandma had been sick, but you know that doesn't make it much easier. I managed to hold it together, and still went to sing. That was the hardest time I'd had at Good Friday service. Afterwards, Sister Dorothy gave me the usual hug, and I broke down. I was safe with her, and couldn't hold it in anymore. She scooted me into the back room and I told her all about it.

Fortunately, I haven't had any bad Good Fridays since then. I've brought my parents, my mother-in-law, and my husband to services. I've seen old teachers and even an old friend. About 3 years ago, Ryan (who was 2 classes behind me) joined us and turned it into a trio. I must admit, we sound pretty damn amazing together.

I'm writing this on my flight back to El Paso. This was my 10th year singing for the Nuns. I think I get more Sisters stopping me after the service than I ever did. This year, one stopped me to tell me that my husband had such a gorgeous tie on.

I will keep doing these trips as long as I can. I don't know what I will do when I lose Sister Anne or Sister Anita. I don't know if I would be able to keep doing these Easter trips without them. They have become a big part of my life, even if I only see them once a year. These women never judge me. They never have a bad thing to say. They don't seem to care that I no longer go up for communion. They don't care that I have another tattoo and more piercings. They just care that I care enough to come sing for them every year. That makes it all worth it - to see their smiles and receive their hugs.

This year was the first since moving away from KS that J was able to come with me. I have lots of friends back there still, but I made this trip about family. We stayed with his folks, as usual. We had Easter with his family. I made time for us to see Justin, my adopted little brother, and his fiancee. We made time to go visit our old Boy Scout troop. We had lunch with Sister Anne. Those people are all Family.

I will be headed back to KS this fall for Justin's wedding. On that trip, I will make time to visit all the friends. So if you missed me this time, don't worry, I'll be back. Can't get rid of me that easily.