Thursday, December 23, 2010

home for the holidays

Well, home for my Princess Charming. We see my parents plenty :)
no tree this year, but I do love our mantel!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

night photography

I stink. I really need to get the hang of aperture. And try out a tripod. And maybe be more patient.
live, the moon was huge at the time

but not streaking to earth meteroid style

mercury? venus? no, its pin moon!

shockingly, "Portrait of Christmas in the Suburbs" was also a failure

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a little Christmas baking

We decided to give gifts of food (who doesn't love some cookies. And poop on a stick. And spicy pretzels.) to our coworkers and some family this year.  A bit of our baking extravaganza (icing fabulousness mostly courtesy my sister in law)
just getting started packing things up!

the poop on a stick is amazing. serious. 

hellooooo royal icing

and q-tip decorated mini-men/women

Sunday, December 12, 2010

typical sunday

naptime (he was asleep before i turned on the camera!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

so that Thanksgiving 5k...

Just under a 9 min pace.  My first mile was crowded and I just couldn't pick it up enough to make up the difference. My 3rd was an 8:40 despite a huge hill at the end (though Garmin says it was only a 16 foot net ascent, so I guess I picked up some pace on the gradual downhill). Note to self: next year, start inappropriately far up in the pack if racing.

Overall it was good though, and my whole family did it. My mom was sort of convinced the clock was wrong since she finished over 5 minutes ahead of her hour minute goal.  And my dad took about 4 minutes off his time from last year. I think a 13 and change mile is pretty darn good for someone who started exercising, literally for the first time ever, at 57 years old and following a triple bypass.  My brother came in at around 34 minutes, also not bad for not working out ever. He was a little sore Friday though (teehee).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Sounds weird, but really quite different and good!! I made them for two Thanksgiving dinners and they were a hit.  

Thanks to MrsT and MrsD for posting this one!

My only comment - they don't really change color in the oven, so keep a good eye on them! When firm, they're done! 

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in to the pumpkin mixture. Add flour mixture and mix well. Add vanilla, and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. Move to wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the scary black dog

Earlier this week, Bailey and I took a jog on our usual two mile loop and ran into one of these folks. More specifically, her dog came to visit us.  Apparently he (also a Bailey) slipped his collar and came running down the street. I heard him approaching via the scuttling of the leaves - scared the crap out of me to be honest, since it was dark and I didn't know it was a 11 lb Boston terrier coming).  So little dog and my dog sniffed each other. Little dog peed in someone's yard. Bailey was jealous since he couldn't go far enough into the yard from his leash to pee over the spot. I finally got the owner's attention (she was 4 houses up the hill and seemed to think I was yelling for fun and her dog was still in her yard). She came to get him and nearly died when she saw them sniffing each other. Ok, so her dog was under my dog. But her dog was there by choice, sniffing my dog's junk!

her "oh my goodness"
me "haha i think they're ok, just saying hi"
her "blah blah you dog is surprisingly friendly"
me "um, yeah, he loves other dogs"
her "wow"

OK, so not the worst exchange ever but still annoyed me for the rest of the run.

Sure, my very medium black dog - he's only 45 lbs - is, well, black and a mutt of undistinguished heritage.

But he IS super friendly.

Likes: food, people, dogs, treats, running off leash, dog food, car rides, standing in the bay window, car rides with head out the window, cheese, food, petsmart, doggie day camp, the dog park, milkbones (see a theme here?), other dog's water bowls, nylabones, stuffed animals, my bed, kids, bicycles, cleaning plates, belly & ear rubs

Dislikes: stuffed animals with the stuffing intact, hot sauce, rain, walking slowly on leash, coming when called outside, anything the vet does near his hindquarters

Fears: thunder, storm drain grates, cars backfiring, fireworks

People need to learn that some dogs are mean, and some are not. You can't tell just by looking at them. That fluffy 15 lb cocker spaniel at my mom's is way more likely to bite you than my dog is (knock on wood of course, on all counts). And he smells better too.
really, he looks harmless anyway.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Thanksgiving fireworks in the backyard are normal, right?

ok, so my dad's a little bit of a pyro...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Butternut Squash with Spinach!

This sounds a little weird (to us non-vegetable eaters), but it is actually quite good.  We got this at Wegmans one day, and it was awesome, so we decided to make it at home (Wegmans posts recipes online!)

I modified the original (linked above) a little since we had whole squash from our pumpkin picking and only have olive & vegetable oil in the house, but it worked out OK.

I will warn you this made a lot....we only ate half at thanksgiving, so I think for a normal meal + leftovers half of this would be PLENTY.

2 butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 large red unions, peeled and diced
Olive oil to drizzle
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 lb dried cranberries (we got it from the bulk bin. I'm honestly not sure how much it was exactly, but it was $4.44 worth!  I probably used more than needed, but its the holidays...might as well be sweet and colorful!)

Toss squash and onions with olive oil. Roast squash and onions in baking dish for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven, stir, and add baby spinach. (I was really apprehensive about this, but the spinach really does cook down from the heat of the squash! No sauté needed!) Add salt, pepper and cranberries to taste.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


my mom wants them...

She has recently come clean about wanting grandkids, and I've told her (with limited details) we're working on it.
Yesterday morning, in an email about other things, so asked if we've thought about names and said she started looking at baby stuff.
We have ZERO intention of telling anyone the names (well, at least our parents), since I don't want criticism and such.

So I told her "We're pretty set on Gertrude (Gerti) and Alfred (Freddy)."

And I mean no offense to anyone who likes these names, but they are total fakes Big Smile

So she replies...

Old fashioned names…I like old fashion…Dad thinks you’re joking…he’s not crazy about either….I’d rethink Gertrude..too “old lady”……Trudie or Gerti are both cute…why even use Gertrude?  Alfred ..not bad… grandfather on my father’s side was Alfred (no nick name)…Freddy will remind people of Freddie Kruger…keep that in mind…Al, as  a nick name, might be better…

Sunday, November 21, 2010

season over

So I only ran 10 miles this week. Nothing else. Oh well.

and rugby is over now. My team ended a long time ago, with the (sort of surprise, its a long story) trip to Nationals that could have/should have been (we were supposed to see bats & win, among other things).

and three weeks later, the collegiate D3 season ended. My kids finished second in the nation (of 47 teams, which is something really...there's only 25ish in the D1 senior league I play in), by a score of 0-3. To lose on a penalty kick hurts, especially when they had several opportunities at the end to make one themselves.  That said, I would have gone for the try and the win too. I'm proud of them (for 99% of their game choices!).

Its hard to have the season end. It takes up so much time and emotional energy.

I guess I could work on my dissertation now. Or, you know, work out?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

nighttime run

So I had tonight free, and the weather is nice (50s, clear), so I figured it was time to suck it up and run in the dark (and the dog needed a run. He must have slept alllll day.)  So we go, planning 2 miles with the dog and 2 on my own.

I broke out the headlamp I got at the end of last winter too; figured I should get used to it again. It was ok. Honestly, I probably looked a little silly. It was under $15, and isn't super bright (but is bright enough...I mean I'm not running in rural Idaho here), and since it was so clear tonight AND the moon is out and it was 7 pm, not 6 am, there were quite a few cars on the road (so, all said, it wasn't super dark save for about 3 separate blocks).
Super Dork.
So around mile 1, Bailey pooped. This is normal, and I think a result of our almost-always-10-minutes morning walks. He almost always poops at mile 1 when we run (This is actually a recent development though, since until 6 months ago he would only poop in our yard, not out walking. Weird dog.).  So I pick it up in the grocery bag I have tied to the leash, and we go on our merry way. This is probably our fourth or fifth run since March or April. I got pretty spoiled with rugby & the dog park in those warm months (and he's a crummy running partner when its warm and there BIRDSSQUIRRELSRABBITSohisthatakidonabike??). At this point, I'm pretty darn pleased how well its going, as we're still working our way back to the 3 miles we were doing together at the end of last winter (I am 100% sure he is 100% fit enough for this. I think he just gets bored. And then he sits. Then I get annoyed. For now, low expectations.)  I was considering trying for 3 with him tonight since he seemed so happy and undistracted.

So around mile 1.5 I check my watch.
Except I can't see a damn thing on my Garmin.
Because it is covered in spattered poop (I didn't take a photo, you're welcome).

I was carrying the poop bag in my right hand, not knowing there was a tiny hole. Apparently the bouncing as we ran propelled just a tiny drip up and over my wrist with each step to land smack on the face - the large face - of my Garmin.  Not a speck to be found on my jacket. The wonders of (gross) physics.

It cleaned right off with a little water and a paper towel when I got home....but I nixed those other couple of miles tonight for emotional trauma ;) (any excuse, right?)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

happy (belated) howl-o-ween

milkbones & candycorn, Bailey's favorites (really, he likes candy corn) in one concise skeleton costume!

so about that Thanksgiving 5k...

I'm still doing it, but my training has been naught.
I did 13.9 miles this week...most I've done in a week since September. I never broke 10 miles in October, and had two weeks at 0. Whoops. In my (sort of) defense, October is the peak of rugby season, and I had a really good season (my team had an...interesting one, where we made the national playoffs with a good seed despite our 2-4 league record...long story). Seriously, in ten years and 19 15s seasons, this is the first time I've felt, well, useful. Not an asset exactly, but a contributing player. I even made a tackle on a wing once...not in a wing-got-ball-by-accident-near-a-sideline-ruck tackle either. Open field, past the centers. I honestly cannot recall why I was out there to begin with, but she squeeked when I hit her. It was awesome.

I digress, but my party line in why training is screwed up THIS time (lets forget previous, shall we?) is rugby. Distance running IS bad for rugby, and I DID so (some) specific training this fall. We'll call it a wash at any rate, since I wouldn't trade this past season for a silly old 5K PR at all. (Seriously, I really enjoyed our bizarre season.)

So today I did 3.2 miles at a 9 min pace (averaged), my best in a while...except I stopped a number of times. Post office, three intersections, the top of 3 hills (and you can bet I stopped my watch). I'm running NYC (marathon) in the fall (more on that another day), and am planning on a spring half, so I have time to improve and get to where I once was at least (at Thanksgiving 2007, just after I ran NY in '07, I ran a 5 mile race at an 8:06 pace. Stellar and amazing for me!).  So for now, my Thanksgiving goal is 27 minutes. I've only ever run one 5k under that anyway, and it was 26 and change in 2008. I have about 10 days left to train, so I'm just going to focus at running 3 miles at a pop at an 8:40 pace, even if I have to stop. Surely I can push that out on race day.

That's a lot of chatter about a little 5k.

I think I can, I think I can...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have an issue with down escalators.  I typically need to hold both railings to get on. Sometime I can suck it up and just GO, like if I have a rolling bag in one hand and a stream of teammates following me in an airport. I do better when I don't have time to think about it. Sometimes, particularly in the mall, I freeze. Two bags. No truly free hands. I don't like when my bag brushes the side...feels like it limits my grip on the railing. I've been known (usually when alone) to abandon the escalator all together and find the elevator or stairs. The days when it is bad, I start sweating a little, and I half step on and off the damn thing over and over (this is not an issue at all on up escalators).

Its embarrassing though. Once in an airport there were no stairs to be seen and a huge line for the elevator. A 12 yr old took my bag down for me. Mortifying.

Earlier this week I had an interview in NYC. I took the train from my parents' house, which requires a transfer.  I don't know this station terribly well, and there's only 1 set of stairs for every 3 or 4 escalators (I determined this on my way home when I had 30 minutes to kill during my ill-timed connection), and they're not generally in the game spot. So here I am, on the edge of NJ heading into Manhattan at the end of morning rush hour (it was about 9 am). NYers, and NY-workers, are not known for their patience. I am one of these people, the type who gets mad when tourists don't cross the street on the No Walk sign even though there's no cars coming. But there I was, standing at the top of the stupid 1.5 person wide escalator (ok, maybe 2 wide, but only if you're the Olsen twins), in 3 inch heels (wide base, they weren't crazy to walk in!) carrying a bag. Shit.

One lady pushed by me. Another grunted something. I just closed my eyes and hoped not to die as I stepped onto NJTransit's escalator without having any idea if my entire foot was on a single stair. I made it, clearly.

But on the way home, I sure did find the stairs. On the outside change I get this job (I think I'm underqualified), I will either need to get over this, asap, or find every set of stairs in Secaucus and Penn Station...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

sorta progress

So 10 months, a lot of monitoring, oodles of weird drugs for Chris, tens of thousands of dollars billed to my insurance (and just a bit paid out of pocket by us, thanks awesome insurance sorta making up for my sorry salary), 4 total inseminations, 2 "normal" failures (one for me) and 2 bigger failures (which our doc calls "duds") kid on the way yet. So much for Christmas gift announcements...oh well. Maybe Easter.  I have this weird obsession with telling our parents they will be grandparents via card. And we don't really do cards, so I need an excuse... mom asked about babies yesterday. So I told her some of what's been going on (well, in general, I left out - entirely - the actually trying & failing parts). She ate just about a whole basket of chips (we were having Mexican for lunch) during this. I think talking about sperm donors stressed her out. She disagreed with me about a known donor having a super-creepy (for us) factor. And is really concerned we might not get what we pay for and could end up with a baby who's ancestors are clearly not from western Europe. The conversation went surprisingly well though, and I think she's hoping we have a kid soon so she can babysit instead of getting a new job (since she's recently quit & is unemployed). I get a random phone call from her. I kind of think she was sitting up all night mulling over the possibility of grandbabies with two mommies.  Our conversation today, pretty much verbatim:

Me: Hello
Mom: Hi
Me: Oh, hey, I was just going to call you [about something totally unrelated]
Mom: Yes, I know [taking care of it blah blah]
Me: OK, good.
Mom: So I just called to tell you I want to be Grandma Lizzy
Me: um?
Mom: Well, I don't know what Chris's mom wants to be called, but I want to be Grandma. So I can be Grandma Lizzy so the kids aren't confused.
Me: Well, um, OK, sounds good. So what does Dad want to be called?
Mom: (talking to him in car) Hey, what do you want to be called?
Dad: (sort of can hear this through phone; I think he was driving since I wasn't on speaker. Slightly less verbatim) Um, I have no idea. They're not actually pregnant, are they?
Mom: OK, call him Grandpa.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

my little baby

seriously. he's so freaking spoiled.

apple picking

A few weekends ago, we got in the fall spirit...
seeing organic fruit makes me anxious when I next go to the supermarket where everything is giant.

they had pumpkins too!!


and pancakes. breakfast galore.

We held ourselves to two buckets of only made filling for 2-3 pies, and a few jars of apple sauce. Now we know, think big next year!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

things that are weird

a) owning a sharps container (when you're not an insulin dependent diabetic)

b) giving yourself an injection

Chris has given herself at least half a dozen and is somewhat less phased by the whole experience than me, but it is very odd.  On the upside, kudos to the guy who invented the needle so sharp it goes through the skin with pretty much no pressure.  While I was assured this was the case, I was clearly quite nervous about the whole thing since our dog basically freaked out as soon as I opened the package (and he never cared when Chris did it!).

Monday, October 11, 2010

5k training

So...I'm entering week 3 of training.

Week 1 was ok. Did 3 3 milers and a 5 miler. Missed the 5x400 (but I played an 80 min rugby game that week, so I think it evens out).
Week 2 was less ok. I did 4 3 milers, missing the 5 miler. I mean to do it Sunday and miss a 3 miler (no excuse this week, and my attendance at 2 low contact practices doesn't really make up for it). I was sore though (ok, excuse?). My Fri & Sat 3 milers were both at a 9 min pace, the fastest I've run in MONTHS. Months I tell you (once upon a time, 30 mo or so ago, I was running entire half marathons faster than that pace).  Anyway, I just couldn't stick it out.

So enter week 3. I'm going to rugby playoffs this weekend, and have no idea if I'll play there or not (up to the rostering Gods, and my own performance I suppose), so I'd like to get at least 4 runs in this week. Plan is 2 3s, 1 4 (scrapable), 1 6, and 6x400.  I did get the 6x400 in already - I made my college kids do 2x400 3 times through with me (well, they ran for the time it took me to run 400, so less or more depending...).

My times...even with a little chatter...1:46, 2:00, 1:54, 1:44, 1:49, 1:45. All solidly below (or just at) an 8 min pace and mostly closer to a 7 minute pace. Now granted, I had some rest (probably 10 minutes) between each set, but clearly I need to do speedwork on totally flat surfaces more, and run with people more. No one wants to be outrun by kids you're coaching (even if they are 10 years younger and 40 lbs lighter).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

oh, New York!

I spent last Sunday in the city with an old friend. Good lunch, amazing 50% off tickets to American Idiot, and Crumbs Cupcakes!

And, well, its New York. I've yet to visit a city with this vibe.
what's not to love when the Subway AND Loft sparkle?

Just FYI, the "ball" is totally unimpressive in real life.

As much as I entertain moving there, I know I'm a child of the 'burbs and its not realistic. But no city will ever compare.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Dog's Life, Cont.

So our dog is scared.
Of pretty much everything but food & people. Oh how he loves people. And running off leash. Though he doesn't like people and running off leash at the same time since he's pretty much impossible to catch and running off leash is never on purpose (for me) unless there's a 6 ft tall fence around us. But I digress.

He wasn't always scared of things. I'm not sure when he started disliking sewer grates, but I remember the morning when he first scaled a 10 foot snow bank to avoid walking over one (this went on for weeks, thanks Snowpoclyspe). I do know when he started fearing the stove & oven...two separate incidents involving two seperate cooks, one with bacon, one with dripping cheese, both with a smoke alarm and people unresponsive to the dog's pleas to BARKgetoutsideCIRCLEreallyBARKokfineyoudieatleastletmeoutHIDEUNDERBED. Apparently under the bed is the place to go if there is fire. Or, say, anyone is cooking. This perturbs me, since now if there ever is, heaven forbid, a fire, the dog will be under the bed :(

And...perhaps as a result of two years of July 4th Fireworks at my parent's boat, 200 yds or so from the fireworks barge, Bailey is also scared of thunder.
He hears storms coming long before the wind or rain starts, and ends up climbing on you, burrowing his little ostrich head into the pillows. Or he hides, under the bed.

This week though, I think he's been reading up on thunderstorm safety.
See, thunderstorms can bring tornados (theoretically even in Eastern PA, believable given what happened in Brooklyn this year!).  In a tornado, you should go in the basement. If you can't do that, a room without windows will do. Or a bathrub, preferably with a mattress overhead.

He's all set (sans mattress).
maybe he was just hot? I don't know. He stayed in there for an hour!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


This is (well, was) outside my front door!

I SWEAR it was bigger than this photo looks - I couldn't get the camera to focus through the glass, and didn't really want to get up close and personal. When I left for work this morning, I saw the web....overnight this thing made a one foot diameter web, suspended from a bush to the eave, conveniently located so the door opening didn't disturb it.

Tonight, it was home.
And huge.  At least half an inch long and FAT. The fattest spider I have ever seen. I should google Brown Recluse because it is the only spider that I'm aware lives here & is poisonous (thanks 4th grade!), but I don't want to know.
And it was eating (presumably) a lady bug! Gah!

In case you're wondering, the spider & its web are now residing in a bush in front of my house. With my broom. (I'll address how to get the broom inside spider free tomorrow morning...)

back on the horse

wagon, whatever.

I'm doing a 5k at Thanksgiving with my dad, so guess I need to start running again (something more regular than 3-9 miles/week?).  Goal for now, break 27 minutes. I did the same course last fall in something like 28:30. One day I will run the elusive 24 minute 5k. In 2007, I did a 5 miler around Thanksgiving in 40:30 (8:06 folks!) so I can dream of being fit again!

Here's my plan:  Hal Higdon Intermediate

I kicked it off right with a 3 miler this morning, 2 with the pup and 1 alone in 30 flat.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome Fall!

It might be 90 degrees out, but that doesn't mean I can't dream of fall...
and get a couple of new things!

For about $75 total, I picked up a new pair of boots (woot for finally finding boots I can wear with jeans without cutting off my calves), a cheap pair of jeans for said boots (since none of my bootcuts go in them without saggy knees!), a cardigan, and 4 lightweight long sleeved tees for layering.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a dog's life

Can't find the dog?
Wandering all over your (1400 sq ft) house calling for the dog, wondering where the heck he is?

Did you check his bedroom?
Sorry I woke you up dude. Be sure to make the bed when you get up.
Heaven forbid the little prince sleeps on the dog bed when there's two people in the queen and he's relegated to the foot...

Friday, September 17, 2010

conversations with insurance

While I understand the argument lines against big government and such, I really have trouble opposing universal health care as a practical matter.  Not looking for debate on what should be covered here, but have these people every actually dealt with a health insurance company?

I've had a few doozies over the years. 2003: three stitches. Yes, I was enrolled in college at the time and a dependent on my parents insurance. No, I am no longer enrolled. Yes, I do think you should cover this since I was enrolled at the time. 2009: skin pathologies. Yes, I had a referral to the derm & derm surgeon. No, I did not bring my biopsy or the larger skin sample to the lab myself, so I did not pick the non-HMO lab. Yes, I do want you to work this out with my doctor, and No, I will not pay the fee until it is resolved.

Most recently, a call to the insurance folks, not our benefits office (thinking, crazy me, they could answer my question), more or less verbatim.

Me: Hi, I'm calling about my reproductive benefits.
Customer Service Lady: OK blah blah
Me: So I understand my plan covers 1 IVF at [specific major medical center].
CS: Yes, it does.
Me: Can you tell me what that entails? I'm specifically interested if I can do monitoring at my home doctor, as he doesn't have privileges at SMMC.
CS: Well, I'm not a health care professional, so I can't tell you all the procedures associated with IVF.
Me: Yes, ma'am, I understand. I want to know what specifically needs to be done at SMMC. For example, do I need to do only the egg retrieval and transfer there for coverage, or do I need to have all the monitoring and other visits there too.
CS: Your plan covers one In-Vitrooooo Fertilizzation [very slowly, in case I didn't know what IVF was]. So I think that needs to be done there but you can do other OB related visits elsewhere.
Me: So you can't tell me what exactly needs to be done at SMMC? [I omitted the part about this having nothing to do with my OB, since I realized at this point this was useless]
CS: I can only tell you what I have on your benefits coverage.
Me: Right, I have that list too. So if my doctor's office calls and asks about billing codes, can they find out what exactly is covered and what I need to do at SMMC to get the coverage?
CS: Yes
Me: But all you can tell me is I have coverage for one IVF, but you don't know what procedures.
CS: Right
Me: OK, thanks, I'm going to go beat my head against the side of this train car now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


So far the highlight of September is the re-appearance of Candy Corn.

This does nothing for the fact I've gained 4 lbs since my last fitness related post despite my ravings (over months) about getting back in shape, but it does improve my mood. Especially the pumpkins no one else seems to like!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

how does your garden grow?

Kind of eh actually. My tomato plants have seriously dropped off production, down to a couple a week. I think I should have thinned them more and theres just too many in a small space (and based off my findings in the yard, I think we have a bit of critter theft). After two nice cucumbers, the cucumber vine seems to be dying. And my peas died too before ripening. I think the roots were eaten. But we did get a couple of cute little peppers this year!
last week's harvest

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

less carpet!

Another low-cost improvement...

A couple of months prior to listing our house we took out the nasty 30 year old beige carpet from the first floor. We never did the stairs or upstairs landing though, concerned about noise and slippage. However, over the months, it became increasingly apparent how hideous this stained old carpet is. So this past weekend, Chris embarked on taking out the nastyness. We need to install quarter round still, but you can (sort of) see how much better the 1957 floor looks compared to the 1980ish carpet still on the stairs (that will probably come out next Sunday).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

last week's training

Boring, boring I am sure.

Monday: weights. same as last Monday.
Tuesday: practice, and I ran 2.4ish miles over lunch.
Wednesday: weights, same as last Wednesday. I did upgrade to 10 lb dumbbells for the shoulder move though!  I also keep running into this guy from work - this guy who is second in command at my school - and its a little awkward. At least we both always have on the same clothes and are equally dirty!!!
Thursday: practice. I think I also ran 2.5 this morning.
Friday: 2.4 or so miles.
Saturday: 2.2 miles via HIIT intervals.
Sunday: 4.4 miles with 200x10 with 2 min walking rest. I was below a 7:30 min/mile pace for all the intervals, peaking at a 6:15 pace for 2 (about 48 seconds). You can kind of see in my splits where I went uphill and where I went downhill. It is a little sad though. I was working pretty hard and can't hold a "fast" pace for long. I think the dream of a 21 min 5k is far, far away (of course, I still need to achieve a 24 min 5k!).

14.1 miles for the week, plus 2 crosstraining (practice) and 2 weight sessions of 30 min. OK. I still need to get back to 15 miles/week for the "non-training". My goal is to do the 15 miles in any form as long as it includes one 5+ easy run.

Food wise I did ok. I did have two giant (expensive) salads for lunch, but I also had too much in the way of (unhealthy) snackies. I tend to munch when bored/frustrated/etc at work (definitely the culprit last week). I need to bring more fruit and such to combat these moments. More water won't cut it...I already drink about a 3/4 to 1 gallon of liquids a day (depending on workouts).

Weight: 169.8 Monday am. Good, back to 2 weeks ago and 2.2 lbs below my "restart" 3 weeks ago. I'll take it.  15 more to out of overweight :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

on babies

I've mentioned a couple of times we're/I'm really a little obsessed with babies. I even made a new blog recently for our future children.  This sounds nuts, but it is currently empty. I made it to talk about our fertility journey (ugh, that sounds....crunchy...or touchy feeley...or something...doesn't it?), but then I realized I wanted it more to post photos and such for our friends and family when the baby comes (eventually). And I don't necessarily want to share all the details of getting said baby with the mass family population (though they could find this blog through the screenname link, but if they're that sleuthy, do I care? Its not like I wouldn't tell someone who asked.).  Anyway, I've been considering for a while now - months now - talking about the whole getting knocked up process. I keep going back and forth, since it is a really private thing, but then its also so frustrating and I want to share. AND I have learned a lot from reading other's blogs and such about the whole gig.

I think I'm still on the fence since I'd never talk about it if, say, we could get knocked up "naturally" in the bedroom. For today, lets leave it at the basics - 7 months of monitoring, 4 rounds of Clomid and 2 iui's later, we don't have a kid or viable pregnancy.  This month is our first try with injectables, and thus far, Princess Charming's ovaries are a little too fond of the stuff. Sigh.  Still a possibility for a May kiddo though.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

potty style

Our house didn't sell this summer (60+ showing and not even a nibble, though this isn't a terrible thing seeing as I don't have a new job yet), so we decided its time to do a couple more low cost projects.

Last week we got a new AC and a new furnace. This is actually horribly not at all low cost, but since the AC died a painful death of mechanical failure and all short of blowing up, we didn't have a lot of options. (I tell myself no one wants to buy a house with a broken central air unit. I really really like having central air and the several weeks with one noisy window unit reminded me how much I ENJOY central AC!). Sadly, this turned out to not be a lightening issue and to be rather costly...oh well. I like to think NEW AC AND FURNACE will look good in our house ad next year. If it makes the house sell two months faster, we've more than made the money back on the mortgage, so even though this is impossible to quantify, I'll tell myself when it does sell it would have been 2+ months longer without this improvement!

But I digress from the low cost improvements.

First, we started closing off our spare toilet.  What possessed the builders of our 1957 neighborhood to include a toilet, but not a bathroom, in the utility area, I will never know. Some of our neighbors have closed in the toilet to a (sort of) half bath, and our Realtor advised us this would likely help our traffic and such when we relist, so we bit the bullet. Originally, I wanted to enclose our furnace and water heater and make the remainder of the area a larger bath/laundry room, with a door to a "storage area" (this weird narrow area that is closed off from our garage by a cinder-block wall for some also unknown reason). I should draw a picture of this layout for you, but its kind of irrelevant since we can't do it since there's a drainpipe exactly where the washer/dryer needs to go and the furnace is too far out to enclose without moving the door to the room. I suppose this explains why I am not aware of any neighbors who've gone this particular route.

Anyway. Now that you have all of these details to explain what you're about to see....
Chris working on the framing...and can we figure out why orange was a good idea for the toilet area?? The rest of the utility room is white!

I was standing in the door to take this photo, so you see how there's not a ton of space to deal with here. There's a utility sink to the left of the new left wall. And to the left of the toilet (if you were sitting on it), a giant duct for the air/heat. Sadly, I missed taking a true Before photo with the curtain surrounding the toilet. For an amusing fact in the history of our house, the utility area formerly had western style swinging half doors...nothing like a half door and a curtain when you're pooping! We installed a louver door a while ago, but it was still kind And dark behind the curtain!

My parents came to visit this weekend, and as usual we put them to work (well, my dad mostly. And we did go out to lunch this time!).  We moved the outlet for the washer & dryer outside of the new toilet enclosure, added a light and a switch, and changed the light for the utility area from a pull string to a switch.
switches! new outlet location! a second louver door to shield your bottom!
We're still on the fence about a sink in there. We found a tiny one with a cabinet, which is currently living in the garage. But piping it in will be a fiasco, since in the words of my dad, the utility sink was "jerry rigged in". I am torn if a sink inside the toilet closet will be worth the work when the utility sink is, well, right outside of it. Would you care as a homebuyer? Notice even? Its not like this is a lux bathroom missing a sink!

Monday, August 16, 2010

last week's workouts

Not as good as the week before, plus I wasn't as on the wagon with eating. After finally dropping below 172 last week (to 169.8!) I was 171.4 this morning. So, still down 0.6 in two weeks but the week of not really watching what I ate showed. Whoops. It's largely a result of a few sizable poor choices. I really need to get a handle on my emotional and stress eating. Being tense does not mean I need half a bag (a big bag) or pretzel or 6 huge cookies! So this is a new week. My short term goal is to lose 15 lbs or so (ideally 17 to put me out of "overweight") by Thanksgiving in 3 months.

Anyway, its a new week now, so a look back:
Monday: nothing I recall
Tuesday: practice. We did a fun ten minute fitness drill I think I performed well in too.
Wednesday: lifted for about 30 minutes. Front squat with push press, 1 point DB rows, 1 leg squats on the v-squat machine (mostly because I'm working on my range of motion).... I can't recall what else but there was 2 other exercises.
Thursday: 20 minute treadmill run at lunchtime (2.29 miles), practice. We did sprints by position and I didn't know who to go with - I'm prop sized but play mostly second row and this is a new coach and I basically panicked. So I ran a lot of 20 and 40 m out and back sprints (so 40 and 80 I guess). I wanted to die. The last set I looked like a big loser, but I guess I did almost double everyone else so that that make my lack of speed less terrible? I don't know.
Friday: lifted about 30 minutes. Wide grip deadlift, underhand lat pulldowns, shoulder raises, lunge with elevated front foot and pushups. All 3x8. 30 minute treadmill run in afternoon, 3.45 miles.
Saturday: nothing. I planned to run but my hamstrings felt awful. Like I could barely keep up with my wife walking around the grocery store awful. I'm not sure if this is from the sprints or the treadmill (both of which runs were much faster than I've been doing outside lately).
Sunday: unlike last week's semi-accidental 7.75 miler, I squeaked out 3 or so miles. My watch died around mile 1 so I'm not totally sure. My hamstrings were still displeased and I decided it would be more responsible to only do 8.5 miles for the week and not pull anything. This was probably a good choice, since I feel good today.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


We recently (OK, almost a month ago) went to a family wedding in Cincinnati. Princess Charming's dad's family lives out there, so we loaded up the Subaru with snacks and my sister in law and her boyfriend, and headed out for the 11 hour drive. (sidebar: I really, really hate road trips. Give me a plane anyday.)

Thanks to some diligent research on the behalf of persons other than myself (as I am most interested in ending the time on the road), we took a couple of side excursions (which DID make the drive out seem faster than the straight-through drive back, I admit!)

one of many "Phils" in....
Puxsutatawney, PA! Home of the Friendly February Weather Forecasting Groundhog!
With "Phil" outside the local Weather Museum (aka the defunct Post Office)
Then in Columbus...

Monday, August 9, 2010

7 weeks to go....or not

Week of 8/2
4 easy, 3 easy, 7x400, 3 pace, 8 long
I'm still planning to lift 2x/week, but I'm scrapping my other cross training plans (eg, Insanity) until the season is over.

Monday:   3 miles easy. 29:10.
Tuesday: lifting, 25 minutes; first practice
Wednesday: 30 minutes on the treadmill. 3.47 miles.
Thursday: lifting, 25 minutes
Friday: 2.25 miles, about 23 minutes, with Bailey.
Saturday: nothing, unless walking around an outlet mall counts!
Sunday: 7.75 miles, 1:19:20 (not counting some stops) with 3x 200/400/600. This went well until my last 600 when I realized I was 2.5 miles from home, not 1 mile like I meant to be at this point. Sooo long cool down. Whoops!

16.5 miles. Not bad. Unlike my "plan" says, my new goal is 15 miles/week until the season is over. Turns out we're going to have a game 9/18, and I can't justify the emotional energy of training for a race that will be the day after a game. Problem solved I guess!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

garden exploits

Our garden has been so incredibly fruitful this year already (despite being mostly in pots!). We gave away our first dozen Roma tomatoes since they ripened when we were heading out of town. As of this weekend, we had probably another 3 pasta sauce!  We tried our hand at canning (ok, mostly Princess Charming). Not too hard actually, just a little time consuming. We're going to keep this up through the summer and hopefully have some nice, organic and extremely healthy items to break out in the dead of winter (not to mention, it'll be a nice source of veggies when they're super expensive!)

And we've had a few cucumbers! A photo of my favorite new super fast to prepare and super healthy recipe (just beans, red wine vinegar and cucumbers + chicken breast).

The peppers - hot and bell - are almost ready too!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I have a little love affair with hummus. Its sold in big, affordable containers at our friendly neighborhood BJs (ok, so its our amicable not exactly around the corner giant store). There's usually coupons. Did I mention a giant vat there is the cost of about 2 spoons full at the supermarket?

So, I only got to wholesale place every other month or so, generally when we're low on dog food or detergent, or I need stuff for rugby. So we run out of hummus sometimes. And I got the bright idea to make some! It can't be that hard right? Chickpeas (canned even!), tahini (Fresh Market has this!), water (easy!), garlic (easy!), etc.


Our food processor is MIA.
More accurately, our food processor motor is MIA.
I'm not sure if it got packed with the little bit of house stuff we put in storage for the showings (unlikely, since we have the top parts...though not the blender attachment...) or stolen during a showing (also unlikely, seeing as it was in a cabinet behind our giant Kitchenaid mixer). Basically I have no idea where it is.

Except I didn't know this until I openned the cans of chickpeas.
Three cans of them, so not exactly something you can toss in a salad.
So, lessons learned:

A hand mixer in no way is capable of mashing/blending/pureeing anything remotely bean shaped.

The immersion mixer I got as a college graduation gift (7 years ago) can actually handle this task, in bite sized quantity.

So now we have a vat of not-exactly-smooth-and-creamy hummus. I think I'm going to bring it to work with pita or bagel chips tomorrow. It isn't bad, just a little bland...with the texture of natural peanut butter.