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.

Monday, August 2, 2010

so I'm in a better mode today

For now, let's call yesterday's mini-meltdown a PMS symptom or similar. I'm not 100% sure I'm going to do it, but I'm feeling better today. What I do know is I need a less intense training plan. Maybe I can handle the 25+ miles/week when I have nothing else going on...maybe next year? I don't know. But right now, looking at a week of 5,6,4,9 is overwhelming.

So, I'm somewhat modifying Hal Higdon's novice & intermediate programs. They're really 12 week programs, but I have a 15-20 mpw base (except for last week's 9.5), so I think it'll be fine. Here goes. If I find this overwhelming, I'll drop the shorter easy run. I'm going to reevaluate in 3 weeks, and if its going week (one month pre-race) I'm going to register for the race. (I am just hedging my bets there will be room).

Week of 8/2
4 easy, 3 easy, 7x400, 3 pace, 8 long

Week of 8/9 (rugby practice x 2 starts this week)
4.5 easy, 8x400, 3 easy, 5 pace, 9 long

Week of 8/16
4.5 easy, 4x800, 3 easy, 5 pace, 10 long

Week of 8/23 (game on Saturday...if I play less than 40 min I'll add 4 easy)
5 easy, 9x400, 5 pace, 11 long

Week of 8/30 (game on Saturday...if I play less than 40 min, I'll add 4 easy)
5 easy, 5x800, 5 pace, 12 long

Week of 9/6 (tournament exhausting to even think about)
5 easy, 10x400, 5 pace, 10 long

Week of 9/13
4 easy, 3 pace, 2 easy, RACE

I am just letting myself do the runs and not worry too much about time. Maybe I'll hit 2 hrs. Maybe not. But Maybe I'll even lose a couple of pounds.  Its been a month and I haven't lost an ounce. Whoops. DO OVER!