Five Things Friday

Yeah, yeah, I whined a while back about blog themes taking the fun out of it. But this theme is easy-I get to share 5 random stuffs going on with no real theme or emotion tying them all together. This is the lazy girl’s blog post. And I’m feeling lazy! 

1) Got to practice something I’ve wanted to try for a while; the “10k a day” theory of running. Actually, I suck at math, so I ran 6 miles every day this week over lunch, with a bonus 4 mile after work run on Monday to bring me to 34. Sure, I’ve had some new shoe blisters, tummy troubles, and general “geez, treadmill AGAIN?” issues, but for the most part this week was easy. And now that Friday’s here, I’ll run my 6 miles over lunch, finish the week with a nice 34 miles, leave the shoes in my desk at work, and spend my weekend having fun. Which brings me to…

2) BRAVE COMBO! OK, so Lincoln has an awesome blues bar called the Zoo bar. And every year, they have Zoo Fest. Closes down some streets downtown, gets you some awesome music in a fun venue. This year we get to watch Jeff’s favorite crazy nuclear polka band, Brave Combo. And, as a lady who’s never seen them, forgive me if I’m more excited that I (Finally) get to wear my “cha-cha di’gregorio” retro dress we bought in Ireland on our honeymoon. We fell into this awesome alley mall right before closing time and got to scope out the Retro shop. I ended up buying this awesome dress that reminded me of Cha-Cha from “Grease”. I’ll post pictures of me in it Monday for those who can’t picture it. But it’s AWESOME and I’ve been waiting for just the occasion. This is it. 

3) Took Duncan to the vet for his shots this week. Gosh, that sucks. He HATES the car, hates the vet, hates being anywhere but home. So on the way there, my blockade keeping him in the backseat lasted all of 6 blocks. We pulled into the vet with a quivering, whimpering mass of Border Collie resting on my lap. BUT I managed to get him to sit still on their scale for the first time in his life-and it only cost me 2 sets of scratch marks down my boobs and a set on my hip for good measure. He let the vet check him out, determine he was in good health, and give him a shot. And the ride home? Well, it sucked, but not quite as badly. I don’t know why Active Laura was blessed with a dog who has the energy of 10 puppies but the neurosis of an agorophobic, but I was. So no walks for this guy, which sucks, because his overweight Australian Shepherd brother loves them and could use them. But we make it work, and I have a hard time imagining life unrestrained by a neurotic dog. 

4) Had a good week at work. One of my teammates has been out this week, as his wife had their second child late last week. I always simultaneously feel like they need to come back RIGHT NOW and marvel at how much I know that I didn’t know I knew while they were gone. For the most part, I’ve been able to take care of business while he’s been gone. As someone who doubts themselves quite a bit, that’s been a revelation. But at the same time, he’s my work hubby and I miss having the person in the cube next door to parrot all my inane comments to. Welcome back, buddy! 

5) Get to have dinner with my favorite new parents this Saturday night, and I’m super excited. My partner in crime has needed a bit more help lately as she deals with being a first time parent. As a lady who will never have kids of her own, I’ve been anxious to help, while simultaneously missing my friend. I can’t wait to spend time with them Saturday and get the best of both worlds. And, we may be roughly 4 months late, but we get to celebrate my birthday this weekend. Yay, me! 

Anti-Matter Matters

I’m noticing a pattern in my actions lately, so I was hoping by blogging that I can maybe get to the heart of what’s going on. It seems harder and harder to pry me out of our home lately for social functions. When I do get out, I’m always trying to cut out and go home early. I used to be quite the social butterfly, but lately I’ve become a bit of an antisocial recluse. Last night, we went out to celebrate my aunt’s birthday, but within a few hours I was taking us back home instead of moving on to the next location with the group. I love that woman and always complain that I don’t get to see her and my uncle as often as I used to, so the fact that I was itching to get back home tells me that something’s off.

I’m trying to trace back when this all started. I think it goes back to my surgery in November. The anti social behavior wasn’t as evident in winter when everyone just wants to hibernate, but as it’s getting warmer I feel uncomfortable in my own skin out in social situations. I don’t know what the correlation would be, but I need to get over this ASAP. I don’t want to push away the people in my life, and I don’t want to be inhibiting my husband’s good times either. So get over yourself Laura, and get back to being you!

But on the fun side, did find a quote the other day that sums me up in a nutshell…

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A Day in the Life

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts, and my day has changed a bunch, so I thought today would be a good one for a play-by-play. 

6:33-alarm goes off. I’ve woken up about 5 times over the course of the night, and I’m never quite prepared for the alarm to go off. Duncan, on the other hand, was quite prepared, and leaps off the bed with a grunt and waits in the kitchen for his breakfast. Foster follows me to the kitchen, perks up a bit when he hears the food hit his bowl, and they both chow down. I busy myself in the kitchen until they finish-roughly 30 seconds-and then shoo them outside. I head to our extra bedroom to get dressed in the clothes I laid out last night, do assorted sprucing up things, let the dogs back in. Pack my backpack full of 2 sets of gym clothes, assorted food for the day. 

6:55-daily commute. 

7:07-clock in and check email. A few things to attend to, but nothing major. Head to the break room to make my morning oatmeal, which I inhale while I fix a few issues for schools. 

8:20-a member of our K12 team comes over to let me know she scheduled a few things for herself that day that she then found out I’m working on taking over, so they’ve become my responsibility. I’ve done said “thing” twice so far, but the next one is at 10:00. I brush up on the software install, take care of a few odds and ends, do the install, breathe a sigh of relief when it goes as planned. Briefly chat with Jeff and see where his day is headed. 

12:30-head to the gym. Run 4 miles on the treadmill while watching an episode of Hoarders. Why, my house seems positively sparkling in comparison! I used to absolutely hate the treadmill, but this year I’m running far more miles than ever before. And while I could eke out 3 miles in the heat and feel OK, I can’t do that over lunch with what has become 4-12 miles per day. So the treadmill has become more of a part of my routine than I ever thought it would be. 

1:30-get back to work, eat my favorite snack of the day-salt and pepper pistachios from Trader Joe’s and a big Gala apple. Work on one of 30 system upgrades for a large client. 

3:00-second install. Didn’t go as easily as the first, but I did what was in my own scope of knowledge and handed off what I haven’t been trained on to the client’s actual representative in our company. I’ve been taking over a lot of duties lately that used to belong in the K12 side of our company, and I’ve got the impression that it will continue. It’s a bit tough being thrown in the water with very little training, but I do like the feeling of being needed, and talking to the clients today, I really felt like “myself” again, which is something I’ve missed. 

4:15-head back to the gym. Hop on my spin bike and teach back to back classes, spin followed by Power Pump. My spin class includes all the regulars plus one girl who takes my power pump class and has mentioned wanting to come try spin. I have a few minutes between classes to text Jeff. I tell him I’m freaking starving and forgot my between classes snack. His response? Oh, I’m eating pistachios right now. Poophead. Power Pump was a group of 3 girls I know very well from previous classes, which let me relax and really have fun with it. 

6:45-finally arrive home. Past readers know about my penchant for taking baths, and bringing snacks with me. We went to the home improvement store Sunday, and I found one of those old school bath trays that goes across your tub. I’m in heaven. I helped Jeff get some cages on our tomato plants, and headed into the house for my favorite part of the day. I take my shower-I’m disgusting after 3 workouts-and then plug the drain and sit down in some epsom salts to help my muscles relax. I read a few pages of my book, text back and forth with my Mom, and climb out of the tub. I’m reading a Wally Lamb book right now, We Are Water, and I’ve sensed a pattern for me in his writing. None of his main characters are particularly likeable. As a matter of fact, I outright dislike them. I don’t agree with their choices, I think they’re selfish, whatever. I don’t feel invested in them, yet something keeps me turning the pages. I can’t decide if that’s my stubbornness, or his skill as a writer. Anyway, I’m still working on this book after I tried it and gave up once in the past.

7:39-I’ve dried off, dried my hair, and headed downstairs to write this blog. Jeff’s outside-watering the lawn, handing our neighbor a taste of some whiskey he’s never had, grilling our dinner. I’m guessing the rest of this evening will consist of some steak, potatoes, green beans, Good Wife on Hulu Plus, doing dishes, cleaning up, heading to bed, doing it all again the next day.

And that’s my life! Work has changed-I’m taking on new responsibilities, with very little training. It’s great to be more excited and invested in what I do, but that “oh, know, I don’t know the answer” feeling is not something I like to have. 2 years ago, I went from a position in which I was the expert, where I had big clients who relied heavily on me and enjoyed working with me above all others, and where very little surprised me. The past 2 years have been a learning curve, a humbling experience, and a struggle to find my place and be the subject matter expert on SOMETHING. I think I’ve carved out a good path towards that, but it requires some uncomfortable situations on my part, and that’s just part of the process. 

Work’s not the only thing that has changed. I went from a 35ish mile per week run average, most of which outside, to a roughly 30 mile run average and 25 mile bike average, most of the run miles on a treadmill. I felt the trade off for 5 run miles to 25 miles on the bike would keep my fitness level and weight range acceptable to me. But yesterday I had an epiphany and realized I really missed having 2 solid days per week in which I didn’t HAVE to work out. I was able previously to run 5 days a week, 3 cross train workouts, and still have 2 days in a row off. So even if I have to run twice a day a few days a week, I’m going back to a 35 mile week, 2 day off schedule. My muscles need those 2 days to recover, and mentally it’s better for me. Mondays and Thursdays aren’t going to be easy, but I think Saturday afternoon naps are going to be totally worth it. Have I mentioned how much I love naps? Seriously. Even though by “nap” I usually mean a TV show or two on Netflix, maybe 15-20 minutes of which I actually fall asleep. I guess it’s more aptly afternoon down time, but it’s something I really look forward to. 

So, what’s the story? Can you relate to ANYTHING in my day? What’s your favorite work day snack? Tell me something, people! 

Reconciling your “should do’s” and your “do-do’s”

Yes, I titled this blog so I could say doodoo. But all poop jokes aside (I save those for my husband), I’ve got a fairly serious blog post percolating in my mind tonight. Whether you call me friend, family, or have simply seen me string 10 words into a run-on sentence, you know that I tend to have some pretty lofty expectations for myself. I feel like there’s always something I “should” be doing-cleaning house, weeding the yard, exercising for the third time in a single day. I feel “guilty” sitting on the couch and relaxing. It seems like instead of perusing the same 10-15 websites I always visit, I should be curing cancer, working a second job, or creating world peace. Free time used to render me in almost a panic-I literally could not sit still. I’d eat dinner, sit around for 5 minutes, and then find a way to be productive again until I fell into bed completely exhausted. I’m a little bit “better” these days, but I still have a hard time being in the moment and not thinking of what I “should” be doing. Lets face it-I probably would never be the housewife scrubbing floors with clockwork regularity, the person on the block with the immaculately manicured yard, or the avid weekly participant of a book club. So why can’t I accept that and stop shaming myself for taking a mental break in the evenings? 

How do others reconcile down time? I know I have a hard time accepting that it’s OK to chill out and read a book, watch some TV, or otherwise relax. Hell, my favorite activity at home is taking a bath-and I have a feeling it’s both because that’s multitasking (relaxing AND cleanlliness!) and because I’m literally trapped in hot water and don’t get distracted into cleaning that dust bunny, doing dishes, or whatever but can focus on the book I can’t seem to let myself read on the couch, but am perfectly cool with reading in the tub. And honestly-it’s gotten harder since my surgery in November. It’s like since I don’t and won’t have the distraction of kids, I feel obligated to be productive with my free time and “should be” pursuing some higher learning or something noble. What that really is? I have no idea. I usually just end up feeling mildly self loathing while watching Orange Is the New Black on Netflix-even though I know it’s not “bad”. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. But for now, I’ll go back to watching an interchangeable episode of House Hunters on HGTV and spotting 10 things I’d love to do to my home but will probably never get the gumption to actually attempt. 

Part Heart, Part Inspiration, Part Perspiration…

One of my friends was telling me last night that she missed my blog. That I made her think about things even if there were no comments on that blog, that people still read. So, I got to thinking about how I needed inspired. And what better way than to talk about some of the people that inspire me-in no particular order. These are the people that make me want to do better, without making me feel inferior. Inspiration, not competition, is what we all could use a little more of. 

Molly-My amazing fish of a friend heads off next Thursday to swim the English Channel. I’ve never known someone with such laser focus and determination on a single goal. She was reading a book about the first female to swim the channel when she and I took a trip to Chicago a year and a half ago, and I’d like to think that’s when the idea struck. She’s been swimming, and swimming, and swimming ever since. In frigid temps, for long times, and makes it seem fun. She feeds on sad looking energy drinks and looks forward to them. This woman HAS IT. I know without a doubt that she’s going to make it across, and I wish I could be in France to greet her. 

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Kristina-Kris is the runner who will Not. Give. Up. She has gone out on two hundred mile run races, and the second attempt landed her in the hospital for a few days with some serious shin splints, rhabdo, kidney issues, and a few more serious issues. She was out running again 2 weeks later. She’s of the belief that running heals the spirit, and I agree. On a tough run for me, whether it’s 5, 10, 15 miles, I think of how she can convince her body to do things it doesn’t always want to do, and I keep running. 

Jen-Jen’s been under a completely different kind of challenge lately: motherhood. She went through fertility struggles, miscarriages, and finally is experiencing motherhood for the first time ever. It’s amazing to watch, and fantastic to know I”m going to be the crazy aunt spoiling her son rotten. At the same time, Jen is my partner in crime: We have crazy photos next to the warrior dash sign, a giant cookie delivery truck, and at a zombie 5k to prove that. We met a bit over 2 years ago, but it feels like forever. Friends smushed us together on a trip to a triathlon in Kansas that got cancelled due to tornadoes. We made our own triathlon that weekend at our local gym and traveled on a whim to her first triathlon race a few months later on a whim. That road trip solidified our friendship, and I am always so proud, amazed, and yet in a strange way, equal to her whenever we’re together. 

My Mom-Mom was my gateway into running. I had been noticing that all the super fit girls at my gym seemed to run on the treadmill when she suggested we sign up for a 10k in lovely Boulder, CO-she lived in CO at the time. Mom’s been a runner as long as I can remember. Anyway, we were excited and terrified at the same time-it was our first race. Years have passed, and we’re both still running. She had cut back considerably lately due to some foot issues, but she asked me what my weight loss secret was (I’ve lost almost 15 pounds this year) and I told her honestly-I started running 35 miles a week and the pounds just fell off.  I’ve been along on her journey back to running this year. Between new best times, pus filled toes, and incredibly hot and sweaty miles, we’ve been getting closer again and it’s all thanks to running. 

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, Jeff left me alone for the evening. I have a glass of wine, a homemade blondie, and some delicious reality TV fluff calling my name. Gotta gear up for Monday tomorrow-thank goodness it’s a short week! 

Baby Steps

In so many aspects of life, it’s the little things that mean a lot. Little gestures from your spouse make the most impact. A kind word can go a long way. A little treat at the office makes the work day that much easier to get through. So it goes with your favorite things in the world. A little change makes a big difference. 

Enjoy the little things in life #Quotes

What the hell am I talking about? As usual, running. Over the summer, I’ve kind of changed my routine up to accomodate the heat. As a result, I’m running about 5 less miles a week. No big deal, and I’m biking more to make up for it. This week, I had to swap around some things so that I’d take a long run Saturday, which is not my favorite thing to do but couldn’t be helped. Anywho, generally in the Summer I’ve got one day that needs a longer mid-week run so I split the miles over a lunch and after work run. My favorite path to run over my lunch hour just has NO shade, and there’s no way I could go 8 miles over lunch in those conditions. So on my lunch run yesterday I made it 4.5 miles, and then after work I went a bit further than planned-5.5. Doing so made today a bit easier, since I’ll only have to do lunch run and no evening run. So that’s a little thing. The bigger little thing for me? I decided at around the 4 mile mark that it was OK to pop in to my favorite potty stop on my home route and cool off, catch my breath, and get a cold drink of water to finish my run. Deciding that it was OK to take a 3 minute break is big for me. When I exercise, I seem to get this mentality that taking a break is basically giving up. On my first 7 mile run this Spring, I was heartbroken when I got so dehydrated that my lips bled and I had to stop at that same store to grab a drink. Now? Not that big of a deal. The distance is what’s most important. I think I’ve realized that taking a break won’t eliminate the fact that I’ve run x miles, it won’t mean my body gets less out of the workout, and sometimes it’s the only thing you can do to finish your goal distance. 

I learned another life lesson yesterday-Men & Women have vast differences of opinion on what it means to clean a room. So, Jeff was off yesterday, and I asked him to clean the bathroom and vacuum for me. I got a text later that said “floors vacuumed, toilet clean”. I figured certainly that didn’t mean he’d ONLY done the toilet. But, when i got home, that’s exactly what happened! I asked if he’d cleaned the tub, and he said “no. Was I supposed to do that?” I was flabbergasted! “Um, well, the tub is IN the bathroom, which is what I asked you to clean, so yeah.” No big deal, I finished the job, but it got me to thinking. Men see the bathroom as a throne and little else. I see the bathroom as my relaxation sanctuary, where I take a bath, dry my hair, do my makeup, whatever. So Jeff cleans the thing he sees of most importance in the bathroom and so do I. Yay, teamwork? But seriously, just means that I may have to spell out what I mean when I ask him to clean something for me. As long as we agree that’s not being a nag, or condescending, I think the end result will mean much less stress on everyone. And, hey, I have a husband who will clean the toilet. That’s a good thing no matter HOW you look at it. 

Men? I'm pretty sure I would be a lot more excited about cleaning too!