wow

i don’t think i’ve gone this long without blogging since i started my blog. has my creative blogging mantra run out? am i just burnt out on writing? do i just want to lie on the couch and do nothing when i get home?

(it’s #3.)

so i have a piece of dirt churned up and ready for a garden. i even bought a deer fence to keep out those pesky animals. 

i ran another half marathon, which SUUU-UCKED this year for some reason. although i feel a lot better the day after for some reason. added about 20 minutes onto the overall time from last year. BUT the course was really nice and the swag was nice. AND there was food and drink at the end. 

i think my max mileage is 8 miles though. i really don’t want to do another half marathon because at 8 miles of running, i just feel like my life has gone wrong somehow. then around mile 10 i just step into a “well, this is my life now” attitude and run as slowly as possible until the end. so i guess this summer i’m going to be working on speed versus distance. i don’t have a fancy 10-minute-mile goal like liz, but if i can get under 12 pretty regularly, i’ll be happy. 

work has been significantly less stressful, which is really nice. after commencement, it’ll calm down even more, and i’ll almost be zenned out at work. for reference, we had two major projects in the past 6 months (eorientation creation and a complete website migration), my coworker quit, leaving me as a department of one, and i haven’t even been there a year yet :/ we hired me a coworker though, and the two projects are done. maybe i’ll be able to finally get down to some of the work i was actually hired to do! now i have to decide if i’m going to work 4 10-hour days this summer so i have 3-day weekends. hmmmm!! also, with my overtime, i think i’m going to buy a paddleboard!!! WOO.

on an unrelated note, sometimes i hear loons from my backyard. <3

adirondackloons

omgarden

1. last weekend i found a tiller on craigslist, so i bought that baby. $100 for a $300 tiller. not too shabby.

2. we’re ready to get the garden bed torn up! (or “tore” up as the local yokels say). friday, a guy i work with is coming over with his tractor and getting a 36’x18′ piece of yard tilled up so the grass will die. then he’ll come back and roll it all out. 

2.5. speaking of tilling, i dug up a little piece of dirt to see what we’re working with, and omgarden, it’s beautiful. no clay, a little sandy, grass roots not too deep. throw some compost in that bad boy, and that’ll just be fantastic.

3. meanwhile, i’m going through some brush around the house, and there are these vines all over the place. it’s very weird. they crawl up the trees and i’m assuming try to choke out the trees. so i’m going to have to do some research on that and figure out how to get them to stop propagating. 

4. meanwhile, peppers, brussels sprouts, and tomatoes are starting to grow. i’ve got to get them out in the coldish garage to start hardening up. 

so, i guess i’ll leave you with an april haiku:

greenery almost
longer sun, warmer days, but
april has an R

top ten running things to think about

so we know starting running is hard. 

here’s 10 things to think about when you’re starting running, or even if you’re a seasoned runner, i guess, and need a refresher? 

  1. shoes: always always get good shoes. spend the cash. your feet will thank you. your ankles will thank you. your knees will thank you. your hips will thank you. your brain will thank you because it isn’t thinking about how awful all those things are feeling. 
  2. if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: regarding shoes. i have flat feet. and heel spurs. and plantar fasciitis. three-ish years ago i decided to go see a podiatrist. until that point, i’d been wearing walk-fit inserts in my shoes, which were doing ok, but the foot wasn’t 100%. first the podiatrist gave me custom inserts, which had NO arch support. went back, and he gave me a cortisone shot, which lasted maybe 6 months when i started getting weird shooting pains down my foot that turned my second toe numb. went back, got a second cortisone shot, which helped for about 2 weeks, then my foot was just a mess. the shot had obliterated my heel’s fat pad. finally saw a podiatrist again up here in STC, who sent me to physical therapy. 11 sessions later, my foot is about 80% to capacity (and feeling sooo much better in the mornings). but i was still getting those shooting pains to the numb toe. WHAT THE HECK, FOOT. i tried different shoes, different lacing, different socks, etc. nothing. finally, i went back to the walk-fit insert. HALLELUJAH. no more shooting pains. we’re back to square one, but that’s ok.
  3. underwear: hefty in the ladies department? get a good bra. yes, you’ll spend more on it than you would on a $10 sports bra at walmart, but it will support the ladies, and you won’t have to worry about things bouncing around and causing pain. also, GET A FITTING.
  4. speed: this isn’t a land race! unless you’re training to win the boston marathon, there’s no reason to kill yourself. the only person you’re in a competition with is yourself, so take it slow and easy. you can add speed, but do so gradually. i feel like this is half the reason people quit: you try to run so fast right out of the gate, that there’s no way it can be enjoyable. really, slow down. you’ll be able to run farther distances, too, before you pass out.
  5. stretch!: stretch out a little bit before running, but not too much. then stretch a ton after running. i make the mistake of forgetting to stretch after races, and then i can’t move for the next three days. 
  6. your toes: you will get callouses, blisters, broken nails. keep your nails trimmed short. make sure your shoes’ toeboxes are wide enough. if you feel something rubbing your toe in your sock while you’re out on a run, stop and get it out of there! you’re just inviting a blister. one time i was out and felt a piece of dirt/sand between my toes and didn’t think it would be a big deal. i had to wear a huge bandaid on my toe for the next two weeks til the blister subsided.
  7. the suck: some days it will suck. huge suck. other days it will be fantabulous. persevere through the suck and enjoy the crap out of the awesome days. 
  8. the fat girl: if you were like me and 260 lbs. when you start running, there is a phobia of people watching you jiggle around the track. when i started, i went to the track at 10 p.m. to decrease the amount of people who saw me. now i don’t care who sees me, but i certainly don’t make eye contact with anyone driving past me. i haven’t gotten any catcalls, so i think i’m in a weird sweet spot where i’m not skinny enough for guys to yell things at me but not fat enough for the same guys to yell different things at me. 
  9. wave: while drivers are usually jerks, other runners, walkers, and bikers aren’t, for the most part. pass someone on the trail? wave! even if you see someone across the street puffing away like you are, do the runner’s wave: left hand up and a really breathy hi.
  10. for heaven’s sake, keep it up!: like i said before, the only person you are really in competition with is yourself. running is not a team sport (well, most of the time not a team sport). YOU have to want this. YOU are doing this for YOU. you’re gonna hate it sometimes and question why you keep dragging out those shoes. but then you’re plodding along and get to kick your way through a big pile of leaves in the fall. or you run past a giant lilac bush in the spring. or you see a fantastic sunset. or it’s the perfect temperature and humidity for a run. or you get a personal best time. (usually those last two happen on the same day.) but really the best part to keep it up is because you know you’re doing something halfway decent for yourself, and at the end of the day, sitting on your couch eating that slice of chocolate mousse pie, you know you’ve earned it.

it’s starting…

i’ve got sweet peppers popping up, some brussels sprouts, and i just put tomato seeds in my dirt the other day! i’m hoping to get a guy in here to dig up a piece of ground for me, otherwise i’ll be renting a sodcutter and ruining my shoulders for a couple day this spring. 

march is such a blah month for me. not as blah as february, but it’s such a swing month. last week it was -10 overnight, and then 60 on saturday. come on! and usually it’s muddy and slushy and gross, but we didn’t have a ton of snow this winter, so i feel like that bullet was dodged (though it will probably have an effect on my gardening this summer unless april showers get all up in this business). 

i’m really looking forward to my garden this summer. it’s gonna be huge, in the sun, sans black walnut trees, and right out my back door. AND with my fancy pants new shed, i’ll have plenty of space to put my gardening junk. 

OH. and here’s the best thing i found out a couple weeks ago when i perused the property: i think have RASPBERRIES. 😮 

it’s the little things.

a very caribou love story

dear caribou coffee,

in case i couldn’t admire you more, i received an email from you the other day pronouncing your “clean label” drinks, which i promptly opened. since going corn syrup-free in 2010, it’s been a mission to ferret out the places and items i can eat and drink. while i have been failing spectacularly lately, i now know that you are one place i can get a tasty beverage and know that i’ll at least be HFCS free, if not all corn free*.

*[the new clean label line declares no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or sweeteners. i see a very prominent no high fructose corn syrup, and while i am sitting here pleased as punch so far, i’d like to know if this includes regular corn syrup as well, but i’m guessing a clean label means no corn-related foodstuffs.]

12132483_10101582915606791_3539012098377519292_oit takes a long time to come clean. according to a recent startribune article, this has been years in the making. in 2006, you started with rainforest alliance coffee beans, moved to milk, chocolate chips, vanilla, caramel (GOOD TO KNOW – but is there regular corn syrup in it?), PUMPKIN (!!!!), and now here we sit with a menu of 5 drinks that are 100% clean label, 2 of which are my go-to drinks – the crafted press and mocha -, with the promise of the entire drink menu going clean by the end of the year. 

so while i was cursing the system of corn-heavy foods in 2010, you were already on your way to nixing artificial junk. while i wrote to companies about the perils of including corn  syrup in their ingredients, you were moving to chocolate chips versus chocolate syrup. while i blogged about big ag monopolies, you were working on becoming 100% rainforest certified. 

and i love your why: “we believe that real ingredients taste better. And we invite you to taste the difference for yourself.”

that’s really what this all comes down to: a better taste. have you tasted ice cream made with cream, eggs, and vanilla versus the junk you buy in a gallon bucket? it JUST TASTES BETTER.

so while i would like to see an actual ingredients list on those flavor syrups (it’s not that i don’t trust you; it’s just that i’ve seen GMO-free corn syrup, and that’s rather disingenuous), i know that i’ll choose the ‘bou over the bucks or dunn, and not just for taste (although that’s a big part of it).

and while i still have a beef with you because you don’t offer your pumpkin drinks through thanksgiving, i am very encouraged by the clean labels, and just when i thought i couldn’t love you more for letting me get a hot crafted press, you go and do something crazy like this**. 

<3

**the next big thing that would make me swoon would be a massive recyclable/reusable cup effort. i’d buy stock.

before

i’m always skeptical of these mlms that are all over – especially the skincare/healthcare ones. but i’ve been eyeing some sort of eyelash booster for a while, and i inquired about R+F lash boost. $150!!! omg. i may as well go to the doc and get a prescription for latisse. 

so i did some googling and found a list of top ten lash boosters out there. number two was a $10 tube of london rimmel lash serum. what the heck – may as well give it a go since it’s $140 less than the other stuff i was looking at. found a tube at walmart tonight, and it was actually $8, so i saved my pocketbook $142 over the other option i was looking at.

so i want to see if this stuff will actually make a difference, so i’m going to take some before pics and then followup once a week. or maybe once every couple weeks. we’ll see how ambitious i get.

fyi: it’s kind of hard to take a close-up of your own eyeball. 

IMG_1839

ode to a cat

i can’t believe i didn’t blog about chasey cat when i took her to the vet. 

a month ago, chasey was not doing well at all. she’d been not 100% for a while, but she seemed happy and was frisking around occasionally. what more could you ask for from a 16-year-old cat? but one day she was limping along a little bit more than usual, then the next her food bowl wasn’t getting much attention, and the third she was barely moving around and peed on the rug. the next morning i had to take her to the vet to put her down 🙁

nate drove and i held her on the way there, and she was the most alert on that drive than probably the past three weeks. she hated car rides, so i’m not surprised. 

got to the vet and sat in a room where they put in a stint, then we said goodbye to the pretty kitty, then it was time for the meds. poor tiny cat.

nate wanted a private cremation, so now her ashes are sitting on the bookshelf waiting for summertimes so we can sprinkle her outside where she always wanted to be.

chasey2

in two weeks i’m getting a cattoo! little grey tabby sitting on a stack of books. 

(meanwhile, ralf has lost a couple pounds and sophie’s been eating all the food ralf hasn’t -_-)

Review: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

i heard about this book on mpr a couple months ago, where the described it as the book to read if you want to know more about rural white america in these divided times. i put it on my to-read list, then a month ago i found out that the mn state system office was doing an online book club with this as its first book. so i actually went out and bought a copy.

for me reading this book, i see it less as a testament to political division and more an explanation of family systems, gender expectations, poverty, and homogeneity in childhood. his family system was not good. there was a lot of fighting and a lot of violence. there were expectations to defend your family honor, especially for him as a boy. and even if accusations were true! there was substance abuse, no stable father figure that his mom kept around, and no stability or consistent support from his mom. his support came in the form of his grandparents, sister, and aunt, and he was lucky to have them.

and while he touches on poverty as an impetus for much of this, he also makes note that his mom was a nurse and made good money (when she worked). his grandparents made a chunk o’ change. but the values to hold down a job and come to work on time are not something his contemporaries hold dear. poverty can hold some people down, but i think his message is more about family systems than money. a family can be in poverty, accept assistance in the form of welfare and foodstamps, and it can still be happy, productive, and working on moving up in the world.

i came away from reading this wondering more about how to help out family systems that are violent and emotionally damaging. how to knock down these expectations we hold for masculinity (and femininity) that still haunt vance enough that he was ready to fight a guy who cut him off in traffic. how to desegregate the classes so those less fortunate can see how life could be if given or even shown the right opportunities. and mostly how to create a support system when so many of our fellow countrypeople are too dang proud to even admit they need help, let alone ask for it in this country of autonomy and bootstraps.

vance is right; digging out of the pit of despair starts at home, but recognizing the pit is the first step. the second is to create and provide a system of help before it’s too late.

i leave you with a quote from martin luther king, jr: “It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”

View all my reviews

literally can’t even!

oh, my poor blog readers. you were expecting me to keep at least some level of posting this year. i think i’ve blogged twice this month. TWICE! omg, what is wrong with me

(i know what’s worng: work sucks right now. i can barely function when i get home. i go to work, i come home and do my half marathon training, and i collapse in front of the tv for an hour before i go to bed. there is nothing in my head to blog right now.)

that aside, here’s an update. this weekend, in february, was pretty nice. i went for a long run on saturday – 7 miles – and on sunday i organized all the junk in my shed. ah, organization! it looks much better in there now. i got some tool holders for the walls, and now all my shovels are up and ready for spring. put together a tool chest i got nate for christmas (but really for me) and put all the tools in it. and i pruned my apple trees. i’m not sure if i did enough, but the internet tells me that with major pruning, you should do it over three years. i took a big chunk of stuff out of both trees, so i guess that’ll do for now. 

the cats had some outside time, and ralf didn’t run away like i was expecting. but he does like to wander, so back in the house he went while sophie hung out for a while on the patio while i pruned. 

in related news, i now have two pairs of loppers, a hedge trimmer, and a hand saw. i’ll need them this spring! holy cow, there is brush up the wazoo that needs to be cleared out, and there is junk (literally junk – like an old plow, garden pots, trailer, etc.) in the wooded area behind the shed. 

well, that’s all i’ve got for now. i hope i blog at least once more this month, but i just don’t know. 🙁

 

frazzle dazzle

i am slowly drowning at work. every day i walk out the door, and it’s like a huge weight was lifted off, but half the weight is still there. i come home and can’t stop thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done.

i like my job! and most times, it can be fun! but the sheer amount of work is going to do me in. thankfully, we start a job search tomorrow with the prospect of a new person starting mid march.

huzzah! here’s hoping we find someone qualified and who will be my friend D:

i’ve zenned out on current events. i’m still concerned, but my anger has subsided. i think this is partly due to the phone change, partly due to daily yoga, and partly due to the idea that nothing they do any more will shock me. literally can’t even any more. freedom of the press overrated? pffft. judges have poor judgment? eh, who needs checks and balances. listen to my alternative facts and regard them as truth? why not. unbelievable. 

i think my next politiblog might go over the constitution. i’d like to know more about it. you might too.

also, i’m thinking of taking a paralegal class next fall! i’m hoping there’s something akin to constitutional law that i can take, since i’ve taken two media law classes. i’ll have to do some research (ahem) on them.