Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday [On Colorado, Friends, Family, Weather]

*I’m late posting this because I was without internet access for many days.  Sorry friends.*

It’s Thursday and I am still not at work and it’s great. 

I’m thankful for visiting my friend in Colorado.  I was very fortunate to have this entire week off from work so I took advantage of it and boarded a plane to visit my friend Danielle.

I’m thankful for friends.  Especially the ones that can pick up right where we left off the last time we saw each other.  Long distance relationships are tricky.  It’s hard to always call each other to catch up.  It’s hard to see each other when they are more than  a short car drive away and you both have minimal vacation time.  But I love when it’s like you never weren’t together.  Even after a month, a year, or 3 years, it doesn’t matter.  Those friendships don’t miss a beat. 

I’m thankful for nice weather.  It has been unseasonably warm in Chicago with very little snow.  Although this means I can’t go skiing, I’ll take it because warm weather is hard to come by in December.  I’ve been enjoying walks with my mom without winter coats or bundling up and it’s great.

I’m thankful for family.  I was able to spend Christmas with my family and that made me very happy :) It was quite hectic as the Farmer and I attended somewhere around 5 Christmas celebrations, but I enjoyed it.  We spent a lot of quality time with all our families and ate way too much delicious food.  Card games, board games, and a little gambling was included.

I’m thankful for 2011.  Another year is almost in the books folks.  2011 was certainly nothing to complain about.  I’ve had many blessings this year and am very thankful for those. Many changes have occurred in my life, but I think most of them have been for the better.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Remember that one time…Stranded at the Airport

*I’m late posting this because I was without internet access for many days. Sorry friends.*

I’m currently sitting at the O’Hare Airport in Chicago awaiting my flight to Denver.  I actually flew out of Cedar Rapids even though I live fairly close to O’Hare because it was just easier for transportation to and fro the airport. 

This morning I got up, showered, packed, and put gas in my car so my brother could drive me to the airport.  I have a 3.5 hour layover here before flying the rest of the way to Denver.  My friend Danielle will be picking me up in Denver and we will be promptly celebrating our time together! I’m so excited to see her since the last time was when the Farmer and I visited in February.

My story today is inspired by my trip to Denver.  An introduction: I flew to Denver from Minneapolis 2 years ago around this same time of year. (I actually flew in on New Year’s Eve).  Danielle and I went to Wartburg to Wartburg together for a year and a half, along with our friend Naomi.  By the time our third year rolled around we were all at different schools—Danielle at University of Northern Colorado, Naomi and University of Minnesota-Mankato, and me at University of Iowa.  We still kept in touch quite well.  Naomi agreed to drop me off and pick me up from the Minneapolis airport since flights were much cheaper there compared with Cedar Rapids.   The dropping off part went well and my flight and my trip went swell.

The day I was to fly home Danielle dropped me off at the Denver airport and sent me on my way.  This is where the real story begins.

Remember that one that one time when…I got abandoned at the airport.  While I was boarding the plane headed back to Minneapolis, I received a text from Naomi.  She had driven to Texas with her sister and she “thought” her flight back was supposed to be the same day as mine but instead her flight was really the next day.

Commence freak out mode!!!!

I quickly texted both Naomi and Danielle, the latter to help me sort out the problem while I was 20,000 feet in the air and unable to use my cell phone.  I figured there was nothing I could do while I was flying and just tried to relax as I am already an anxious flyer. 

When I landed I learned that Naomi had reserved a spot for me on a shuttle back to Mankato and a arranged for a friend to pick me up.  Okay that was a little better, but then I learned my phone was low on battery.  In an effort to try to conserve what little juice I had left, I turned my phone off.  Meanwhile Danielle was still attempting to get a hold off me and was a little freaked out when I wasn’t responding or answering calls. 

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, another miniature crisis was taking place.  Somehow a bomb was detected in the baggage claim area.  No vehicles were allowed in or out for awhile and traffic got very backed up.  My shuttle was delayed almost 4 hours.  It ended up all being nothing and the bag that set off alarms was a bag used for dog training purposes for the airlines.  Crisis averted.

I was finally able to get a spot on the shuttle and made my way back to Mankato.  My phone battery held on just long enough to get ahold of Naomi’s friend for a ride back to my car.  And thankfully, despite the sub-zero frigid temperatures my car started.  I was on my way back to Iowa. 

The rest of the trip home went without a hitch.  And thank goodness it did because I had had enough excitement for one day. 

Have you ever been stranded somewhere?

This story reminds me of a bad dream I had when I was younger where my mom forgot me at Pizza Hut.  It' was terrorizing to me. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Random Facts You Always Wanted to Know

Facts for you on this Friday before Christmas.
  1. It's Christmas Eve eve and I still need to wrap all my presents.  It's looking like I won't be getting this done till tomorrow because I still have to drive home after work today.
  2. I chipped part of my tooth on Wednesday.  The tooth is painful at all, but it's driving me nuts because I keep running my tongue over the rough spot.  I managed to get a dentist appointment for next week, score!
  3. I still haven't found a new dentist here.  Suppose I should make that part of my new year's resolutions.  Thank goodness my mom didn't drop me off the dental insurance like she did off the health insurance.
  4. I swam yesterday for the first time since my last triathlon.  It felt a lot better than I expected.  Usually when I don't swim for a while it feels like I am sinking instead of swimming.  And I go super duper slow. Maybe it was just a fluke.  At least I get to check one goal of my December list.
  5. I made sour cream cookies to take to work for our holiday party yesterday.  They were delicious.
  6. I signed up for the Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k yesterday.  Sometime this weekend I have to fit in 6.2 miles.  At least this will give me some motivation to workout while I'm at home.
  7. I won the Bendiful watch giveaway from Clean Eating Chelsey.  I thought about giving it away as a Christmas present, but I like it a lot so I think I am just going to keep it for my self.  See, isn't it cute?
  8. That's all folks.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday [On Family, Vacay, Job and Tea]

Yowza it’s Thursday once again!  This week is flying by! Probably because Christmas is almost upon us and I am not completed prepared. 


I’m thankful for my whole family.  I’m very excited to head home for the holidays to celebrate with my family.  I love all our family celebrations especially when we play games—card games and board games.  Hopefully I will be able to convince my parents to play Bananagrams!


I’m thankful for a whole week off!  My company was originally scheduled to have Monday and Tuesday off next week (26th and 27th) but now we are getting the whole week off!  I’m very happy because with this extra vacation I can take a mini vacation.  I’m flying out to Colorado on Wednesday to see my friend Danielle.  I haven’t seen her in almost a year so I’m pumped!


I’m thankful for my job.  Especially in a time when so many people are unemployed.  I’m thankful that I found such a great job as my first job out of school.  It really is a great place to work and I enjoy my coworkers.  Where else can you have a potluck and enjoy a beer during lunch?  Having a job has also allowed me to buy many gifts for those that I loved.


I’m thankful for peppermint tea.  I have apparently been developing an addiction to tea because I feel like I’ve mentioned several weeks in a row.  The peppermint tea makes me feel all festive.  It’s the only peppermint thing I’ve consumed yet this season.  No candy canes yet for me!


I’m thankful that the days are getting longer.  Okay so it still gets dark at about 4:03 pm but we are on the upswing!  The shortest day of the year was the winter solstice yesterday? (I think) and now they are going to get longer.  I can’t wait until the sun stays out till after I get off work so I can go for a run outside.  I’ve been doing a few interval runs on the treadmill, but it really is not my favorite.
Peace out!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Remember that one time when…Christmas edition

Since Christmas is fast approaching (faster than I appreciate!) I decided to do a little twist on the feature and tell you a Christmas story.

Remember than one time when…my family always went to Christmas Vigil mass on Christmas Eve.  While we were at church Santa always visited.  I think this was because my family is not made of morning people.  During Christmas mass you need to get to the church early to get a good seat because it is always packed.  About a half hour before the start of mass my parents would tell my brother and I to go get in the car.  Usually we would complain and whine but eventually we would go outside and sit in the car, which was warming up outside.  My parents would then get out the hidden presents and put them in front of the tree before joining us in the car.  When we came home from church our presents would be out and Santa had visited us and eaten the cookies and milk we left for him.

Well one of these nights my brother and I went out to the car which was parked in the driveway.  From there I had a good view into the house throw the upper windows of our side door (approximately head height).  I was closely observing the activities going on inside.  This is when I saw my mom go into the basement and when she came back up the stairs I could see she was carrying one of those plastic lockers.  I correctly guessed than this was my little brother’s gift.  I saw her and my dad go up and down the stairs a few more times.  I must have already known about Santa at this point, but the little brother must have not.   I was a smart little cookie and figured out that the Christmas gifts must be hidden somewhere in the basement.  I stored this in the back of my brain for a year.

When Christmastime rolled around next year I recalled this very useful stored info.  And one day when we were home alone I went on the hunt for the gift.  It didn’t take long before I found the hidden treasure, it was safely stored in a cabinet back in the cellar.  Of course it was no fun to celebrate finding the gifts alone so I called in my brother.  We both checked out our promised haul and we were so excited for Christmas!  I’m pretty sure we somehow managed to keep that secret from our parents, but I think I must have told them later.  Soon after that Christmas Santa no longer visited our house and gifts were wrapped up quickly after they were purchased. 

See parents, you aren’t so sneaky after all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

T-minus 7 days

Christmas is only 7 days away and needless to say, I am still not done with my Christmas shopping completely.  Although, I am nearing the end.  I probably will finish up December 24.  Actually I will probably completely finish shopping for gifts sometime after Christmas because I will not be seeing some of my friends till after then.  And after Christmas sales are the best!

So tonight I am joining the masses and doing this Christmas survey.  Sorry if you are sick of this. 

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa never used to wrap presents and he would always visit while we were at Christmas Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve.  When we would arrive home our gifts would be laid out by the tree.  Now Santa wraps the presents and they got placed under the tree right away.  Which is probably best because I have been known to be a snoop.  In fact, one year I found both my brother’s and my gifts.  I’m sneaky like that.

Colored lights on tree/house or white?

My parents have always done colored lights both outside and on the tree.  Outside we’ve always done the big colored lights and some smaller colored lights.   In the last few years my dad has scaled down the outside lights.  Something about getting old… (just kidding Dad!)  I used to hate the colored lights and really wanted white lights because I liked them better, but now I decided I really liked the colored lights.  And I think they are coming back in style.  Just proof that all trends come back around ;

Do you hang mistletoe?

Nope. 

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Hmm, the menu changes every year but I definitely love my dad’s 7-layer lettuce salad and my aunt’s homemade mac’n’cheese.

Favorite Holiday memory as a child?

A real toughie.  One year I got a roller skating doll and I loved that thing!  But I always loved coming home after church and seeing what Santa left us.

Snow? Love it or dread it?

I have a love hate relationship with snow.  I love when it is snowing and when it’s first on the ground because it looks so pretty.  I really love skiing in it!  But I dislike driving in it a lot and I don’t like that it gets all brown and dirty and then it just looks disgusting.

Real tree or fake tree?

Fake tree. We’ve never had a real tree and I don’t think I ever will.

What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

The birth of Jesus and spending time with family.

What is your favorite Holiday dessert?

Just about everything.  Peanut butter balls, sour cream cookies, fudge.  If it has sugar I will probably eat it.

What is your favorite tradition?

Spending the day with my family.  And in the past couple of years, my extended family has been doing a gift exchange game.  It can get pretty heated at times with stealing of gifts.  It’s a lot of fun and usually everyone ends up with something they like.

What tops your tree?

An angel.

What is your favorite Christmas Song?

My favorite would probably be Silent Night, however, I like a lot of other songs as well. 

What do you leave for Santa?

Some sugar cookies and milk.

Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

Nope, usually around noon we head down to my grandparent’s house.

Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

I have been buying more and more things online.  It’s so much easier to shop from my couch in my pj’s.  When I go to the store I usually aim to go outside the busiest hours, like 9 pm on a Friday night.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday [On City-living, Amazon, and Tea]

hIt’s Thursday again time for my favorite post of the week--Thankful Thursday. 
I’m thankful for living in a city with so many things to do close by. Last weekend the Farmer and I went into the city on Saturday to visit the Field Museum of Natural History.  It was pretty awesome and reminded me that both he and I are nerds.  It’s so very convenient to go visit these places.
IMG_1302
I’m thankful for the random warm temps we’ve been having this week.  It has been 55 degrees a few days here.  55 degrees and it’s the middle of December!  I’m not a huge fan of the cold weather so this abnormally warmness is fine by me.  I also enjoy not having to scrap the frost off my car windows in the morning.
I’m thankful for Amazon and the whole world of internet shopping.  Mostly because it is so much more comfortable to do my Christmas shopping on my couch in my pajamas than it is to fight the crowds in stores.  I try to avoid the crowds any ways by going to stores at 9 at night.  There’s less people there then. 
I’m thankful for herbal tea.  I’ve been drinking a cup or two every few nights.  It keeps my insides warm and toasty.  And it smells good. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Remember that one time when…chuck that newspaper

I’m taking it back to my old stomping grounds this week.  That’s right back to the ‘scade as I lovingly refer to it. 

Remember than one time when…way back in my junior high school age time when my friends and I had to create our own fun a lot.  We weren’t old enough to drive yet so our activities were limited to things in the *huge* town of Cascade or the places we could beg our parents to drive us to.  The latter option was not working out for us very well so we mostly made our own fun.

One of the great ideas we had was to throw a newspaper back and forth across the road that ran in front of our house.  It was the main road through town so there was a good amount of traffic usually.  It was stupid fun.  A car would drive by and we would chuck the newspaper up in the air over the car and to the other side of the road.  My friend on the other side of the road would then pick up the paper and repeat the process. 

Semis were especially fun because you needed to throw it higher to clear the semi.  It was even better when you could get the newspaper to land on top of the semi.  that was the ultimate win. 

Apparently one time, we did not explain the objective well enough to my friend because she threw it right at the side of the semi.  Oops.

This is your proof that kids in small towns do strange things for fun.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Things my college degree didn’t teach me

How to pronounce the words:

Gorgonzola  - which I tend to pronounce as gor-gone-zola.  Not right.

Caprese – I like to say caprice instead of cah-pray-she

Feta – with an ‘eh’ not a ‘ay’

Gruyere – huh?

Is it weird that all these words have to do with cheese?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday [On Beds, Phones, and Blankets]

It’s Thursday once again and I’m here with my weekly pick me up. 
I’m thankful for my new bed set. Okay so this may seem like kind of a material thing to be thankful for, but it’s true.  Ever since I bought my big girl queen bed, I’ve had my twin-sized comforter on it.  I really liked that comforter because it was very warm and cozy.  But after having it for 5+ years, I was ready for a change of color scheme.  The brown, earthy tones seem to showcase my maturity (insert sarcastic laugh here) a little more than the flowery blue thing from before.   
It even came with a bed skirt!
IMG_1297
I love it!
I’m thankful for warm cozy blankets and sweatshirts and jackets.  I think it’s safe to say that winter has finally arrived here in Chicago.  The temperatures have plummeted and it’s chilly.  I finally traded in my fleece jacket for my coat.  So much warmer!  When I get home at night, I love cuddling up in my sweatshirt and sleeping under some heavy blankets.  This way I can continue to keep my apartment heated at only about 65 degrees.  Hey, what can I say? I’m cheap.
I’m thankful for Turbokick.  My gym offers free classes and my favorite class is by far Turbokick.  It’s high energy dance and kickboxing combined.  And it’s awesome! It’s also very intense. I’m always in there sweating away and shakin’ my bootay and having a blast.  Getting my butt to the gym is so much easier when I have that class to look forward too.  And to give you an idea of how intense it is, on Tuesday for 1 hour 22 minute workout (hour class plus some weight training) I burned 859 calories according to my heart rate monitor!  That’s a pretty good number!
I’m thankful for my phone.  Because it allows me to talk to all the wonderful people in my life.  I’ve talked to my mom no less than 3 times this week.  It’s nice to just be able to chat. 
I’m thankful for you! Thanks for reading.  I do a little happy dance every time I have an email in my inbox that someone left a comment.  It makes my day!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remember that one time when…gimme pokey sticks

Welcome to the most random weekly post series here on Don’t Look Down.  Hope you can get a laugh outta this.

Remember that one time when…my friend Austin and I were out on the town one night after a Hawkeye football game.  After drinking a few too many throughout most of the day and night we had a hankering for some delicious food.  And that food was going to come in the form of pokey sticks. 

If you have never had Gumby’s pokey sticks, you are missing out on life.  On greasy, cheesy, disgusting, and disgustingly awesome pizza cheese bread.  I’m sure there is one gazillion calories in that stuff, but I’m sure it doesn’t count after drinking an equally large amount of beer.  It doesn’t help that Gumby’s sends out coupons for cheap XXLarge Pokey Sticks. 

end side bar

So, like I said, we had a hankering for some pokey sticks.  Austin attempted to call Gumby’s several times, but like the usual late night Saturday they were swamped and Austin could not get through.  Needless to say we were extremely disappointed.  When a drunk person wants pokey sticks, do not get in the way.  The phone battery on Austin’s phone was dangerously low, but he decided to call one.more.time.  It turns out that was indeed the last time.  The call connected and the phone rang.  And then! Gumby’s answered.  Yippee! But alas, it was not meant to be, because right then, Austin’s phone died a tragic death.  I cried a little inside. 

No fear.  We had a backup plan.  Gumby’s was very close to my apartment and I had to walk by it to get home.  So en route to my apartment (because Austin was so kind to walk me home), we swung by Gumby’s.  Dun, dun, dun.  Turns out, they weren’t taking in person orders, they were only taking phone orders.  Tear. 

Pokey sticks were not meant to be.

However, I can almost guarantee you that I consumed enough pokey sticks in my remaining college days. 

Some days I am glad I’m not in college anymore.  How much drinking and crappy food eating could my body take?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Goals

Goal 1: Get back in the pool

I essentially quit swimming after my last triathlon, along with running and biking.  Although, I’ve added both those last two back in a bit, swimming has remained in reserve.  It’s definitely not that I don’t enjoy swimming, but being forced to swim several times every week and meeting certain distance goals has put a damper on my urge for swimming.  But I have the itch to get back in the pool now and I am going to take advantage of it. 

I also am toying with the idea of signing up for a half-Ironman for next summer so I want to get back in the water now.

Goal 2: Redesign and update blog

Bloggy needs an update.  The About this Blog page and the Workouts page are in dire need of some new information.  It deserves a facelift after the purchase of my own domain too ;)

I’m also thinking about switching over to hosting at Wordpress which I talked about here and someone commented.

Wordpress comment

So I might be doing that too.

Goal 3: Don’t Stress about Christmas

I have often complained in the past that I don’t really enjoy Christmas all that much.  When I think about it, it is not that I don’t like the day and the celebration itself, but I have always felt that people tend to get very caught up in the gift giving aspect of Christmas.  Which then leads to cranky, stressed out people.  Not fun.  Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Jesus and spending time with your family.  It’s not about finding the perfect gift or having the day go perfectly. 

Goal 4: Take a vacay to Colorado

I recently found out that I get the time between Christmas and New Years off work.  Yippee!!!! *dancing around and jumping*  So I thought this would be a great opportunity to hop on a plane and visit my friend Danielle in Boulder, Colorado.  It’s been approximately one year since I’ve seen her.  Way too long in my book.  Flights are a little pricey since it’s a high volume travel time, but the good news is I don’t have to take any precious vacation time.  I love Colorado but I love seeing my friend even more.

Goal 5: Make friends with the foam roller

I bought a foam roller to help roll out my sore muscles from running.  And ohmygosh was it painful at first.  I had to hold most of my bodyweight off the foam roller when I first rolled on my IT band.  In fact, I placed a bet with a Farmer that he couldn’t roll his IT band without screaming out in pain.  I won.  But I have found that it is getting easier and less painful.  So I will take that as a good sign.

My plan is to foam roll at least 3 times a week for 10 minutes.  I gotta start somewhere. 

What are your goals for December?

Here’s to achieving all your goals for December!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November Goals Recap

Um, it’s December 4th already? Time seems to be getting away from me lately.  Maybe it’s those 12 hours I slept on Friday night, ah yes, those 12 glorious hours of being dead to the world.  Maybe the stress of this week is getting to me?  Well time is a tickin’ even when I wish it wouldn’t and before I know it Christmas will be upon us *sigh*. 
I guess what all this means is that it is time for me to do the November goals recap.  And the goals for December will be up tomorrow.
Goal 1: Run the Turkey Trot
Check!  I ran the 7.5 mile race on Thanksgiving morning and I even dragged my mom along with me.  The hills may have been killer, but it was awesome nonetheless.  I remembered why I liked running outside so much and I still wish I was able to do it more, but the limited day light means it probably won’t be happening again till February. *tear*  I’ll just have to stick with cross-training and the dreadmill.
Goal 2: Visit the Farmer in Wisconsin
Fail.   I did have one open weekend in the month in which I intended to visit him, but instead he ended up visiting me in Chicago.  Visiting the Farmer isn’t allowed until he puts all his stuff away because he is still unpacking for the big move.  I have this hunch that he is going to move again before he ever unpacks completely.  The visit turned out just as well though because he brought me some New Glarus Fat Squirrel.  One of which I thoroughly enjoyed last night.
Goal 3: Start the 100 push up challenge
Check!  So I am not very far in the challenge but it is happening.  When I did my initial test I was able to complete 30 pushups!  Seriously must have been feeling super strong that day because the workouts have been challenging.  I may also owe a thanks to my PiYo class because my arms are always burning during that class.  But being able to do that 30 pushups initially meant I was able to skip right to week 3 workouts.  I may only be on week 4 this week but I started like I said I was going to.
I’ll notify you when I’m a champ and can do 100 pushups.  Pffffft.

This reminds me, I need to do my pushups tonight.
Goal 4: Call friends
Ehhhhhh, half check?  Well, I did talk to some friends, mostly Laura, but that’s nothing new.  (Not that I mind talking to her regularly—I love our chats!) But I didn’t talk to a whole lot of other friends.  One friend in particular, I have been trying to get a hold of for a while to no avail.  I’ll have to try again soon. 
Otherwise I am just going to board a plane and show up at her door.  That wouldn’t be strange at all.
Goal 5: Get my own domain
CHECK!! Yippee! I am so excited!  You can now find my blog by typing dont-look-down.com into your browser.  I think this will make my blog a little easier to find because my old website name was a little harder to find.  I’ve been debating switching over the WordPress hosting but haven’t yet decided.  If anyone has advice or opinions on the WordPress vs. Blogger debate, I’d love to hear it!
So overall, not bad on the goal front.  Not awesome, but not bad. 
December goals coming soon!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday again and her at Don't Look Down that means it's time for Thankful Thursday.

Thanks to Ali for the idea and of course Lauren!

I'm thankful that this week is almost over.  I shouldn't even be saying that since November flew by! I cannot believe it's already December 1st.  But this week at work has been cray cray.  I took half a day on Monday to drive back from Iowa and have been making up my hours ever since.  I have my hours made up and today planned to leave at a normal time instead of 6 pm like the rest of the days this week.  But then a wrench got thrown in my plans.  Some materials I need to run a test came in this afternoon and now my test report is due tomorrow!  I didn't get the testing done tonight so I have to start early tomorrow to get it all done.  I'm definitely working under the gun.  I've been the last person to leave work every night this week, but I'm hoping tomorrow is my lucky day.

I'm thankful for Carmex.  I didn't drink enough water earlier this week and now I am paying for it with super chapped lips.  Owwiiiiiieeeee! Carmex is my saving grace.

I'm thankful for my long weekend.  Being home and relaxing over Thanksgiving break was wonderful.  I spent a lot of time with my family and friends, ate delicious food, took naps, lounged, and enjoyed every last bit of it.  It's nice to have a break and be surrounded by the love of my family.

I'm thankful for my generous grandparents.  My grandma needed help with her digital camera so I went down for a visit and to help to help out.  I got all her pictures transferred and even showed both g-pa and g-ma the picture of my squirrel friend.  They loved it!  Then when I was ready to go home, they loaded me up with 4 pieces of my grandma's delicious lemon cake and some of her world famous sour cream cookies.  I always need more of grandma's goodies in my belly.

I'm thankful for leftovers.  I've cooked dinner one time this week and the rest of the nights I've been eating snacks or leftovers.  Fairly convenient when you work till 6 pm, then head to the gym, and finally get home at about 8 pm.  My stirfry turned out pretty good this time so I don't mind eating it 3 more times.

Looking forward to the weekend!  I'm going to relax and clean my messy, messy, dirty apartment.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remember that one time when...Wrong Way

It's time for another installment of Remember that one time when... hope you enjoy the story from this week. :)

Remember that one time when...my Theta Tau friends and I were travelling to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a regional conference and several shenanigans ensued.  We left early Friday evening and planned to arrive in Ann Arbor sometime after midnight.  Of course for these long road trips you need to stop and fuel up a bit and I'm not referring to gasoline but rather to our tummies.  About 1 hour into our trip we made our first pit stop at  the World's Largest Truck stop.  If you are from Iowa, you probably know exactly what I am talking about, but if you aren't, let me tell you, you are definitely missing out.  It is a large truck stop on Interstate 80 near Walcott, Iowa, right outside of the Quad cities.  Quite fascinating.  The truck stop has several restaurants (fast food) and really nice bathrooms (huge perk).  We pulled in and got our fill at Burger King and it was not so delicious for me, but the boys enjoyed some disgusting chicken burger thing.  Nasty.

Once we got back into our surburban, I was unceremoniously booted from my spot as co-pilot and resigned to my position in the very back.  I must say I thought I was doing an excellent job co-piloting but apparently my pilot didn't not enjoy my company.  Approximately 30 seconds after getting on the road again we took the on-ramp to get back on  a few passengers, myself included, realized we were headed west back towards Iowa City.  We were going the wrong way!

We all gave the driver and the new co-pilot a hard time for getting us lost.

The rest of the weekend was spend playing p-diddle on the drive, our driver following cars in front of us way too closely and the passengers being generally scared for our life, and playing quarters in our hotel room.

And my friend Brenton petted the wolverine statue.



  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey for Running



I have a blog? 

Oh yeah, I do have a blog.ality time 

I may have forgotten all about you this long Thanksgiving weekend, but I'm back.

I was spending some much needed quality time with the fam bam and the Farmer.

And drinking some not-so-needed alcoholic beverage.

But hey the "class-reunion Wednesday before Thanksgiving" only happens once a year. 

(and it might occur again before Christmas).

I  was the responsible adult on said Wednesday evening and drove a three-sheets to the wind Farmer home.

Wait, scratch that, he refused to go home and instead went to his friend Dan's because he was going to continue to party.  Note to the Farmer: You aren't in college anymore.  And you certainly can't party like a college kid anymore.  Give it up.

It just so happens that I had a reason to stay the sober bird: a Turkey Trot bright and early Thanksgiving morning.  

Since we didn't pre-register, my mama and I figured we would just show up a bit early to sign-up.

No such luck.  Turns out due to the absolutely gorgeous weather, the Turkey Trot had a record turn-out.  They quickly ran out of numbers which meant no official time so my mama and I lived on the wild side and bandit-ed (new word?) the race.  

I chose the 7.5 mile while mama chose the more manageable 2.5 mile.  

It was a crowded start but the race spread out fairly quickly and the pack definitely dwindled off where the 7.5 mile split from the 2.5 mile.  While I was running it kind of felt like I was running all over the town of Dubuque. 

 And ohmygosh the hills sucked.   It really felt like I was running out or down a hill the entire race and no flat parts.

Here's the Google map of the race.


180 ft gain.  Pretty hilly for me.  I'm not used to running any hills because Chicago is flat.  

For comparison sake, here's a map of the route I ran with Laura in Champaign.  


The elevation graph makes it seem more hilly but don't be fooled.  The gain is only 46 feet and the graph only goes from 720 to 740 feet while on the Turkey Trot elevation graph it goes from 800 to 880 feet.  

Or just believe me when I say it was hilly.

I was tired but I finished with a time of about 1:11.  I'm not exactly sure of my time because I wasn't officially entered and because I was quite a ways back from the start line and not really sure where the start line was located.  And I just kind of started my watch at some random spot after we started running.  

It was a fun race overall.  Smaller, local races are always so much more fun for me because they are a lot less stressful than major races.  Following the race I gorged myself in Thanksgiving.  And it was awesome.  

Peace out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Respect the Bird

Is it me or do the Christmas decorations and promotions seem to come out earlier and earlier each year?

This year, I just so happened to be doing a bit of shopping at Target before Halloween.  I remember the date--October 22nd--because I was in Iowa City for Iowa Homecoming.  My friends and I were mostly just browsing the aisles and happened upon the creepy Halloween decorations.  And that's when I spotted, in the very next aisle, the dreaded Christmas decorations.

Seriously?

Christmas is still 2+ months away!!

It seems that it has already taken over Thanksgiving and is now gunning for Halloween as well.

What the heck? Please stay confined to your own month of December.  Is that month really not enough?

Christmas decorations are coming out earlier, advertisements are pressuring shoppers to get an even earlier head-start on their gift shopping, lights are being strung, and Thanksgiving is being all but forgotten.

That is why this year I am taking the pledge--the pledge to Respect the Bird.


Respecting the bird is about celebrating and restoring Thanksgiving to it's rightful place, not merely brushing over it as "a one-day delicious afterthought between Halloween and Christmas."

Respect the Bird has a lot of ways for you to join the movement--on Twitter, on Facebook, and on it's website.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It's not about shopping or buying gifts for others, but it's about thankfulness.  It's for spending time with friends and family and being grateful for all the good things God has given us.  It's for celebrating the harvest and enjoying the great bounty we can gather from the earth.

You should not be surprised, due to my Thankful Thursday posts, that I very much enjoy reflecting on all that I have to be thankful for.  It puts so much into perspective for me.

This year I am taking the pledge to Respect the Bird.

  • I will not begin any Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving (and let's be honest, it might not even happen till December 15)
  • I will not listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving
  • I will not do any Christmas decorating until after Christmas
  • I will not take away any time from my Thanksgiving holiday celebration to shop/prepare for Black Friday
  • I will not stress about Christmas until Dec. 22 when I don't have all my gifts picked out (and even then I'm not gonna stress)
Okay so I kinda just threw that last one in there, but you get the point.  While it is Thanksgiving I will only worry about Thanksgiving.

That being said, I will probably look through all the Black Friday ads on Thanksgiving night when I get home.  I have a weird love for looking through ads and browsing, but I admit I have never, nor never really had the desire to, gone shopping at some ridiculously early time in the morning on Black Friday.  Although, my mom and I have done a little shopping on that Friday, we usually don't start shopping till around noon because we figure all the crazy people who've shopped for 6+ hours have to have gone home already.  

I will say, I am a little disappointed in the stores that feel the need to open at midnight. Ahem, Target, ahem. Think of the thousands of employees that will need to cut their Thanksgiving celebrations short to go to work or go to sleep so they can go to work.  All for some people to go shopping.  Seems a little ridiculous doesn't it?

I will not be participating in this midnight shopping, rather I will be cuddled up in my bed.  



So Respect the Bird!  And click here to pledge.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?


Friday, November 18, 2011

Story of the Soap

This is the story of the soap.  One lowly bar of soap that has become quite the comedy.

You see, every year the Farmer and I attempt to make it to as many family Christmas celebrations as we can.  I say attempt because the number of celebrations is about 7, and that is outside of our immediate family's celebrations/gift-exchanging times.  And only 2 of those are from my family.  Too many? Yeah, I think so too.

We were attending our final family holiday get-together of the year at the Farmer's paternal grandparent's house.  After we enjoyed a nice meal of prime rib--living the good life and eating prime rib!!-we all sat around and stared at each other made small talk before the dreaded gift giving time.

Now, it's not that I hate gift-exchanging and the like, I just don't particularly enjoy it.  I personally like to give gifts to people of my own volition instead of feeling forced to give a gift due to some holiday or birthday.  Giving random gifts makes me happy; being stressed out over having a deadline to pick out the "perfect" gift makes me cranky.  And getting gifts?  Well, you see, I'm picky.  I don't like junk or clutter and I prefer useful things.  If you are going to get me junk I'd prefer to leave empty handed.  I know, I kind of put a damper on the whole Christmas-spirit thing.

The gift-opening had commenced and soon I was passed a small gift from the Farmer's grandmother.  I preceded to open said small gift quietly as to avoid drawing unwanted attention because it's hard to always fain excitement over these gifts.  I knew from past experience it might be something not note-worthy as old gifts included a holiday themed dish towel, although one year I did receive a bottle of lotion from Bath & Body Works.  Apparently she was feeling extra generous that year.  My gift unwrapping did garner the attention of the Farmer's step-mother Janice and his uncle Peter.  The suspense of opening the gift was killing everyone-NOT.  Underneath the wrapping paper I found a lone bar of soap.  And not just any bar of soap this one was apparently made by Nuns and it was especially pungent.  Janice was having a hard time containing her giggles and I believe Peter was just confused.

Of course, later the grandmother proceeded to tell me what was special about the soap.  I unwillingly said thanks so as not to seem ungrateful.

Later, back at the Farmer's parent's house, everyone was having a hoot over my soap debacle.  I concluded that the grandmother must think I smell bad.  Janice remarked that she kept wondering what Peter must have thought when I opened the gift.  The Farmer's step-sisters just laughed at my misfortune.

Needless to say, I left that soap at the Farmer's parent's.  And he informed me this weekend that the bar of soap is still in the downstairs shower.  No one will use it because it stinks and dries out your skin.

Apparently I am not the only one who remembers this story.  This Sunday while I was hanging out at the Farmer's, Hillary (step-sister) claims Whitney (another step-sister) has an early Christmas present for me.  (You might be able to see where this going, but I had no idea.)  Whitney surprised me with a small hotel soap. Very funny.  I'm beginning to believe I really do smell bad.

All in all, I shouldn't feel too bad because at the last Christmas, after having quite the discussion on the fact the the Farmer was moving for his new job and had just graduated from college and didn't have any money, his grandmother realized as we were leaving that they hadn't given him anything at all for Christmas.

In the end, his grandfather pulled out his wallet and gave him $50.  I kind of wish they had forgotten about getting me a gift.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday [On Turkey Day, Foam Roller, Discounts, and More]


Y'all it's Thursday again.  Okay so I don't really say "y'all" in real life.  But I'm breaking it out today.  Your welcome.

I'm thankful that a week from today is Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday by far.  For one, the food is my favorite.  This year I am crossing my fingers that the menu includes sweet potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie, and my grandma's sour cream cookies.  I would not be sad if the food spread also included rolls, 7-layer lettuce salad, fresh fruit, stuffing, and maybe some homemade macaroni'n'cheese.  My family gets a little unconventional at holiday meals.  And I love it!

Secondly, Thanksgiving is so much less stressful than Christmas.  I enjoy the whole getting together as a family to celebrate holidays but Christmas can drive me up the wall.  The whole buying presents for everyone and not knowing what to buy and spending money and having people ask you what's on your want list just really isn't for me.  I just enjoy spending time with the people I love.

And the 4-day weekend, doesn't bother me one bit ;)

I'm thankful for my foam roller.  I ordered a foam roller on Amazon last week and it arrived last night.  Since I don't have anyone to rub my back every night and can't really afford a personal masseuse, the foam roller was the next best thing.  And the rolling pin I've been trying just really isn't doing the trick.  I'm also hoping it helps the pain in my knee that seems to be aggravated by running and other exercises.  The first time I used a foam roller, it hurt like h*ll when I tried to roll out my IT band.  I took that as a sign that it was really super duper tight.



I'm thankful for my second 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  Not sure if BB&B had some kind of mailing mistake and sent me another 20% off discount after the one I already received last week, or they are just feeling extra generous, but either way I'm not complaining.  It's no secret that I'm a bargain hunter and a huge fan of coupons.  This weekend I was telling my mom how I was conflicted over what to use my 20% discount for.  I've had my eye on a bed set for a while so I could finally replace my twin-sized comforter on my queen bed, but I really want to buy the Farmer a juicer as well.  She suggested we go shopping on Black Friday, as they are sure to have deals on one of those things, but I despise shopping that morning and will only participate after noon, when all the cutthroats have left  have already passed out.  Now I don't have to worry.  I tell ya, it's the simple things in life.


And look I have another coupon for $5 off!

Your welcome for these awesome web cam photos
I'm thankful for meals that make many left-overs.  Last week I made one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes-a roasted veggie pasta bake.  It makes a ton of food!  Even with freezing half of it, I am still reaping the fruits of my labor this week, and it's not gone yet.  My momma also sent some eats home with me after this weekend.  Leftovers are a lifesaver when I get home at 8 p.m. and ravenous.  When I don't have something to eat quick I am much more likely to give into the temptation to order take-out or stop at Subway or the like.  And that's both hard on my wallet and my waistline.

I'm thankful for a beautiful day for one last round of golf.  The weather this past weekend decided to cooperate and my dad and I were able to hit up the golf course one last time before they closed it down for the year.  It was a little breezy, but nothing to complain about for November.  It's great to go out and play a round of golf with no pressure.  And also to spend some time with my dad :)

I'm thankful for green tea.  It's been my saving grace many an afternoon at work..  Both for the warmth and the caffeine.  It helps me power through the afternoon when I hit that lull around 3 and it saves my freezing cold fingers from falling off.

I'm thankful for all you peeps out there reading! You make me happy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remember that one time when...{This van is going to Fazoli's}

It's Thursday, ahem Wednesday, which means it's time for the latest addition of Remember that one time when...  I'm back posting this so no one knows that it's actually a day late and a dollar short (except for the fact that I just told the whole interwebz my secret).

Life got in the way of posting last night and it looked like this: Leave work, workout, appointment, attempt to deposit checks in the ATM-fail, a purchase at Sally Beauty, home to heat up leftover pasta for dinner which I ate in front of the TV-fail, enjoy a glass of wine and beer bread-hmmm, a quick walk to the grocery store to pick up some staples and ingredients for chili,  an even quicker walk back home because it was freezing, cleaning, peeling, and chopping of veggies, batch of chili cooking in my crock-pot,  wash dishes, and finally rest for 0.2 seconds and fall asleep.

It was worth it though because my apartment this morning smelled like wonderful chili goodness. Swoon.  I might have to sample some tonight, although tomorrow at noon I will be gobbling down on this.

But, alas, this has relatively nothing to do with today's post.

Remember that one time when....the Wartburg softball team was on our spring break training trip in Florida.  After playing the last game of the night, the team shuffled out to left field for the post game chat.  Our coach (who shall remain nameless because let's just say we weren't really the best of friends) was about 30 seconds into her post game speech when the lights illuminating the field were shut off.  The moon was not shining very brightly that night so without the lights it was dark, really dark, pitch black.  Whoever shut the lights off in the first place quickly realized the mistake and flipped the switch back on.  But those large lights can take a while to get warmed up and shine brightly again so we were all still sitting mostly in the dark.  Of course, my coach could no longer read her handy-dandy page of notes so she couldn't continue with the post game speech.  Now, I think most people in this situation would have just winged it and done the review of the game without the notes.  After all, she wrote them so she had to remember at least some of what she wrote down.  But no, she stops her little speech to say that she can't go on and then states this little gem, "Well, I don't know much, but I do know one thing.  This van is going to Fazoli's."  I doubt her speech would have amounted to much since she was obviously distracted by her hunger.  Is that the only thing you could think of to say?

Needless to say her van went to Fazoli's, but my van skipped out and went somewhere else.  A place where we laughed hard about her statement.  I'm sure she enjoyed her fair share of their bread sticks.

To this day, my girlfriends and I will still text and call each other to say this phrase.  "This van is going to Fazoli's"

Excuse me I am going to go text that to my friends right now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dinner Table Debate

It's no secret that I live alone.  Which means that 9 out of 10 times I eat my dinner alone.  This is, of course, counting on the fact that I even eat dinner.  It's not really a rare occurrence for me to have a few snacks and a call it a night.  Not sure if you call a bowl of cereal dinner?

Back to the point.  When I eat dinner alone, I feel a little bit silly sitting at the dinner table.  Eating alone is sad.  Space on my dinner table is a little slacking.


I have no shame in posting photos of my mess.

Instead, my meals (and snacks) are usually consumed in front of the television or, alternately, the very thing I am typing on now--the laptop.

It's like there is an invisible force that pulls me from the kitchen where I lovingly prepare my own dinner and plants my butt on the couch.  Every.single.night.

Many studies will tell you that eating in front of the television is bad bad bad.  And yet, I find myself wandering over there despite this.  The electronic devices are distracting.  There I am chowing down on my food, not paying attention to what's going in my mouth, but rather what so-and-so is saying on t.v. or what  the topic is on a blog that night.

I don't pay attention to the food I'm eating.

I don't take the time to enjoy it.

I look down when my fork can no longer find food and wonder where it's all gone.

This whole dilemma needs to come to an end.  I want to enjoy my food.  To actually take time and taste what I'm eating.  To no longer endlessly snack at dinner because I didn't really eat, did I?

In fact, eating at the table is one of Michael Pollan's, author of  In Defense of Food, food rules. 
#58 Do all your eating at a table.

No, a desk is not a table. If we eat while we're working, or while watching TV or driving, we eat mindlessly -- and as a result eat a lot more than we would if we were eating at a table, paying attention to what we're doing. This phenomenon can be tested (and put to good use): Place a child in front of a television set and place a bowl of fresh vegetables in front of him or her. The child will eat everything in the bowl, often even vegetables that he or she doesn't ordinarily touch, without noticing what's going on. Which suggests an exception to the rule: When eating somewhere other than at a table, stick to fruits and vegetables.  Source
 I pledge today to start eating more mindfully.  I will turn off the t.v. and shut the computer while I am enjoying a meal.

How do you normally eat your meals?  Do you think eating in front of the t.v. is distracting?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday: On Running, Attire, Blog, Naps, and Fruit

It's Thursday again and you know what that means--Thankful Thursday!

I'm thankful for my running buddy.  For me, running with my friend Laura is one of my favorite ways to run.  Our paces are fairly similar and we get to talk.  Nothing better than talking with my best frand while workin' it out.  Seriously.  We ran together all.the.time. in Iowa City.  Short runs, long runs, weekend runs, runs starting from the engineering building where we changed in the bathroom.  I mean, don't get me wrong, running by yourself is okay sometimes--especially when you need to blow off some steam--but running with Laura reminds me why I love running.  I wish we could live much closer so we could run together more often, but being able to run with her at all is a blessing.

I'm thankful for scarves and boots and fall clothes.  One of the good things about living in the Midwest, where we experience all four seasons, is getting to wear a wide variety of clothes.  Just when I was getting sick of all my "summer clothes" (my freedom to wear all of my shorts and tank top was severely limited this year because they aren't really work appropriate), the weather changes and it opens up a whole new slew of options in my wardrobe.  My favorite thing to wear in the fall is scarves!  They make such an easy accessory to almost any outfit and can really dress up a boring outfit (of which I have many).  Boots are another fav of mine.  I bought these cute little brown boots last year and I love them.  Boots keep my feet nice and dry!

I'm thankful for my 100th post!  Yeah, that's right, after almost 1.5 years of blogging, I have finally written 100 posts.  (This one makes 101!) Yesterday's post wasn't anything to brag about, but it marks a feat.   I have managed to keep this blog alive for 100 posts and not lose interest.  Dare I say I am actually becoming more interested and blogging more regularly?

I'm thankful for the 2 hour nap I took with Laura on Sunday.  We run together and we nap together, it's great.  Maybe we should have been productive with that extra hour we got from Daylight Savings Time, but let's just say, Saturday night got a little cray cray and we only got 4 hours of sleep.  And 4 hours of sleep is definitely not enough, not even close.  So after dropping our homies off at a hotel at 8:30 am and stealing hotel breakfast, we went back to Laura's, cleaned, and then got back in bed.  It was glorious.  I'm so glad we got to enjoy a lazy Sunday and talk about a kazillion things that had been on our minds.

I'm thankful for that raspberries were on sale this week.  Because I bought two packages this week.  And I ate one today and I'm eating the other one tomorrow.  Raspberries may very possibly be my very favorite fruit.  There up there for sure.  Raspberries can get so expensive especially during the winter so it was nice to nom nom on a few before they are ridiculously priced.

Good night homies!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remember that one time...Prank

Look I'm actually continuing the feature I started last week.  I hope someone thinks these are funny.  ;)


Remember that one time when...when my friend Allie "borrowed" our high school librarian's media specialist's goose?  You see, there was this very nice goose statue just inside the door of our library.  Our media specialist lovingly cared for this goose and changed it's outfits for several seasons and occasions.  It was a very proper goose.  For some reason, my group of friends developed a fascination with stealing this goose.  Of course, we didn't want to keep it forever, we just wanted to take a few pictures with it.

One day, three of us happened to be at school late for some reason or another.  That's when Allie realized that the door to the library was still unlocked and unattended.  While our friend Justine and I served as lookouts, Allie sneakily grabbed the goose and ran out towards her car while shielding the goose with her coat.  Sneaky, sneaky.

And the goose was ours!

Initially, we called the goose Frank, but through a meeting of the minds, we determined Prank would be a better fit.  Prank the goose for our big high school prank.  How ingenious.  Since Prank had ran away from the library, we thought we would show him a good time.

Prank was finally allowed to chew gum.


Prank smoked it up and made friends with a gorilla.



Prank made some bad decisions.


Now if things didn't seem to be going downhill before, they certainly took a turn for the worse then.



Arrested.  Bad goose.



But apparently Prank got out of jail because he showed up to senior prom in a tux.



After which he was returned to his rightful owner.

Looking back, this was a quite a strange thing to do.  Stealing a goose?  Actually we could have gotten in trouble for this, but I'm glad we didn't.  Considering several of our classmates were probably partying instead of taking pictures with a duck.

And the media specialist definitely knew that we were the ones that had stolen the goose.  Can you tell I grew up in a small town and we had to make our own fun?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Newsfeed

I got back to my apartment on Sunday night after my weekend in Champaign.

After a weekend full of acting like a college student, I plopped down on the couch and powered up my computer.

The usual internet browsing were pulled up—Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook and Blogger.

After reading and responding to a few emails, I switched over to Facebook.

It was here that I learned how the Farmer was spending his weekend. 

I’m not sure, but someone may have hacked into his account.

Matt1

And apparently his bowels weren’t doing so great.

Matt2

And last, but certainly not least, this little gem.

Matt3

Yes, my friends, my boyfriend is that classy. 

I know, I know, you are impressed.

On another related note, I heard this hilarious quote while watching Family Guy this weekend.

(You can watch the clip here, sorry for the crappy quality.)

This is crucial, alright, the sexiest thing a woman can do for a man is learn to love his gas.  Love the gas, Meg! Love it!    -Peter Griffin

I’m sorry but I will never, ever love that smell.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November Goals

I'll admit, I am still a little sad October is over.  However, November is one of my favorite months because it contains my favorite holiday--Thanksgiving!

I can't wait to eat all the delicious food that Thanksgiving brings, spend time with my family, and play some card games with my family.

I totally sucked at completing my October goals so here's hoping November's go much better.

Goal 1: Run the Turkey Trot


Both my junior and senior years of high school I ran a 2.5 mile race on Thanksgiving morning in Dubuque, about 25 minutes from my hometown.  It was always a great way to start off the holiday even if the weather was crappy sometimes.  I've wanted to run it again for several years, but have this problem of being sick or not being able to get over the sickness. Pesky bronchitis always taking over my life for months.  So this year I want to run the 7 mile race.  It is a hilly course but I am hoping to survive!  I haven't run any road races since my half-marathon back in June!


Anybody want to join me?

p.s. If you win your age group you get a free turkey!


Goal 2: Visit the Farmer in his new state


The Farmer moved to the great state of Wisconsin over a month ago.  Okay that's not completely true, you see, he started his job over a month ago, but didn't move his things till about 2 or 3 weeks ago.  I have not be able to visit him at his new place of residence yet because he has been working approximately non-stop that entire time.  I've actually only seen him once since he's started this job when he came down to see me for a day.  Me thinks he should be done with harvest very, very soon so I hope we can be friends again.


I also want to visit so I can drink some New Glarus beer, specifically Fat Squirrel, because it's been awhile. And frankly, I love that beer, arguably more so than I love Wisconsin cheese.


Goal 3: Start the 100 push up challenge


one hundred push ups.  That's the challenge.  The website claims that if you follow the training program you will be able to do 100 consecutive push ups with only 3 days a week of push ups for approximately 6 weeks.  I'll give anything a try once so I am taking on this one.

Right now, 100 in a row sounds quite daunting, but hopefully by the end of November, 100 will at least look feasible!  Join me!


Goal 4:  Call friends


I confess, I am absolutely terrible about keeping in touch with my old friends.  Terrible, horrible, no good.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I already have to talk to my parents and the Farmer on the phone a couple times a week.  And I just don't want to spent my entire evening on the phone.

I am really bad at doing too many things while I am on the phone as well.  I try to wash dishes, cook, clean, watch TV, and read blogs (sometimes more than one of those things) while I am  talking.  I end up doing both things very poorly.  Often the person on the phone will be talking to me and I will zone out and when I start listening again I will have no idea what we are talking about.

This month I plan to call at least one friend a week to chat and catch up.  And while I am doing so I am going to focus on the conversation instead of trying to multitask.


Goal 5:  Get my own domain


When I first started my blog, it was totally on a whim one night.  I had no idea with things about buying my own domain or self-hosting or even that matching the title of my blog  to my website.  Hence the alyssajoheartstong and Don't Look Down.  They don't match.  Not even a little bit.  By the end of this month I am going to buy my own domain name.  Then you will be able to find my blog just by typing in some permutation of dont look down dot com into the address bar.

Here's to actually completing November goals!

What are your goals for the month?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday: On Coffee, Friends, and Squash

It's Thursday again and of last week that now means it's time for Thankful Thursday.

I'm thankful for seeing an old friend.  My friend Ashlie got to stop by for the night to see me tonight!  I haven't seen her for about 3 years since she moved from Iowa to South Carolina.  I love seeing old friends and reconnecting with them.  Especially when we can pick up right where we left off.

I'm thankful for a weekend with my brothers.  Last weekend, I spend Saturday with Adam and his wife Sam.  We watched the Iowa - Minnesota game (and I am not thankful for the outcome), had some delicious lunch, and hung out and chatted.  This weekend, I am going to Champaign to visit my friend Laura and for the Theta Tau Central Regional Conference.  I'm sure I will get to reconnect with a lot of old friends there.

I'm thankful for squash.  This week I made some spicy butternut squash.  And I've been eating it plain and on salads.  It is so good.  Squash is one of my favorite foods of the fall.

I'm thankful for coffee.  Which has been keeping me warm and caffeinated all week.  I've been tired this week because I haven't been sleeping all that well.  I keep waking up in the middle of the night.  I've been brewing it at home and buying it at Starbucks.

I'm thankful for the Farmer.  We reached the 7 year mark this November.  Although I'm sad I haven't been able to see him much lately, I'm glad harvest will soon be over and he will have a little more free time.  I'm glad he's put up with me I've put up with him for the last 7 years.

This one is short but I am going to bed :)

October Goals: Recap

So I woke up today and realized it's already November 3rd.  What the crap? Where has October gone? Come back, please!

I figured it was about time to do the recap of the October goals and come up with some new goals for the month of November.

Goal 1: Volunteer

Well I didn't exactly do this, but I did talk to an old Theta Tau brother about getting on some committees on the National level to volunteer my time there.  I am excited about the potential to get involved here.  You can read all about my Theta Tau love here.

I've been trying to stay involved with my chapter, but I think at this point it would be best to focus my time elsewhere.  I'm not saying that because I don't want to be involved with them or they don't want my help, but because I am just not far enough removed from being a member and a leader of the group.  When I first graduated, I definitely needed a break after living and breathing Theta Tau.  So I gave myself some time and distance.  A few months after I moved and got a big girl job, I realized I had a lot of free time on my hands and wanted to get involved again.  I tried for a while but it wasn't really working out.  It's hard to find the balance of helping them and not driving them crazy.  So at this point, I am just going to back away and find other places to dedicate my time.

Goal 2: Improve sleep schedule


This goal I did okay on.  Not great, but okay.  When I am consciously working on this I can definitely get my butt in bed and out of bed at a reasonable time.  But when I stop paying attention my pattern comes right back and I find myself sitting on the couch watching an episode of Law & Order: SVU  at 11 pm rather than being in bed.

Having the boot camp class at 6 am really motivated me to get out of bed in the morning.  And after getting up that early, I was tired by 10 pm and ready for bed.  It is a lot less tempting to watch a tv show when you know you need to be waking up in 6.5 hours.

I'm hoping I am able to continue this "early to bed, early to rise" habit after the boot camp is over.  I have never been a morning exerciser, but I do love the feeling of coming home from work and knowing that I've already fit in my workout for the day.  It really frees up my evenings to cook dinner, get some extracurricular work done and clean.

Goal 3: Budget


Um, fail.  I stuck to my grocery budget, but other than that I did not pay attention.  And I've since decided maybe I am just not the kind of person who needs a budget.  I don't feel that I spend excessively and I just feel so restricted on a budget.  My spending varies so much from week to week and month to month that a budget doesn't make sense to me.

I may be just making excuses but that's okay with me. :)

Goal 4: Hike at Starved Rock State Park


These plans ended up falling through. :(  I originally wanted to stop by the park on my way back from Iowa City while I was their for the University of Iowa Homecoming with Laura.  But as it turned out, Laura had some homework and other school-related work to get back to and couldn't go.  I pondered going by myself, but ended up just driving to my parent's house on Sunday and hanging out there.  I did get to go for a walk and bake cookies with my mom so it wasn't all bad.

Goal 5: Carve a pumpkin


Success!  This may be the only goal I completed successfully for the month.  And oddly enough, it wasn't completed till about 9 pm on the 31st of October.  Last minute, I'd say.


It turned out great though and was very enjoyable.  I even roasted the seeds for afternoon snacks!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Remember that time when...Week 1

Welcome to a new regular feature "Remember that one time when...." where I will be sharing some random memories of some recent and not-so-recent times.  Most of them will be funny--or at least I hope that I will be able to relay them to you in a funny manner--but this feature will also include some not-so-funny memories.  I imagine this will cover parts of my childhood, high school, and definitely college stories.

I am partly compiling these stories so I remember them and partly writing them to entertain you and give you an idea of my life growing up and in college.  I swear sometimes random things just happen to me.  And sometimes I get a little snookered up and then the stories get really crazy.  But sometimes I am just hanging out with a friend and I see something so strange I think to myself Am I drunk or did that really just happen?, only to realize it really did just happen.

So here goes nothing.

Remember that time when...after a late night out at the bars in Iowa City, I was walking home with my friend Laura-the non-engineering one-and I may have had a little too much to drink.  Okay, let'sbehonest, I was drunk.  I spotted a guy eating a sandwich. And let me tell you, he wasn't just eating this sandwich, he was like making love to the sandwich.  It made it look oh so delectable.  And I had the drunk munchies.  He noticed me staring at him and admiring his sandwich while he was saying "mmm, mmm, mmm".  And since I was running low on inhibitions, I looked at the guy and said, "That sandwich looks soooo good".  And what do you know? The guy offers to give me a bite of his sandwich.  And I was not about to turn that sandwich down.  No way.  So I took a big greedy bite of that sandwich and thoroughly enjoyed that sandwich.  And while I was mmm, mmm, mmming from that sandwich that guy took the whole rest of that sandwich and shoved it in his mouth.  The whole thing.  And believe me that was no easy feat as there was easily 1/4 of a large sandwich left.  Impressive.  Usually I am more of the small-bites-and-savor-each-one kind of girl, but that guy apparently thought good things should be shoved quickly into your mouth.

The lesson here is you never get anything unless you admire it first.

Wait, that's not the lesson you were expecting.

Oh you thought it would be something like "Kids, that's why you never accept candy from strangers."

Um, sorry.  This isn't a blog about important things to teach your kids.  This is about my life.  I'm not even mad I took a bite of that sandwich because it was AWESOME.

Thought for the day
“Girls are like apples...the best ones are at the top of the trees. The boys don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they just get the rotten apples that are on the ground that aren't as good, but easy. So the apples at the top think there is something wrong with them, when, in reality, they are amazing. They just have to wait for the right boy to come along, the one who's brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree...”  -Pete Wentz



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Gear

Do you even get a gift card or win a gift card and forget all about it?  Sometimes I do.  I'll put them in my wallet, usually after Christmas when I'm all shopped out, then I will switch wallets for some reason or other and forget all about the gift cards.  Then I will find them a couple months later and it will be like Christmas all over again.

Well, it turns out this phenomenon isn't limited to Christmas gift cards, but any gift cards I receive.  Back when I did the Camp Courageous Triathlon in August, I was the lucky winner of a door prize for $15 at RoadID.  Pretty sweet huh?  I thought so too, but then I promptly forgot about it.

I didn't find it till I was cleaning off the humongous pile of papers that has somehow accumulated on my kitchen table.  It's painfully obvious that I never eat there because it's covered with random papers, mail, magazines, coupons and stuff from my purse.  When visitors are set to arrive at my apartment, a mad cleaning/organizing frenzy ensues.  Which mostly just entails making a pile out of all the papers and then transporting them to the desk in my bedroom.  So not a lot of cleaning but more "out of sight, out of mind" tactic.  Hey, at least the kitchen table looks a little cleaner.  During one of these inevitable "organizing" sessions I found my gift card.

I had recently read about Healthy Ashley's bike crash and I had a big reality check.  Accidents can happen to anyone at any time.  Thankfully, someone found her right away and was able to get her medical attention and she retained consciousness.  But what would happen if I got injured out on a ride or a run?  Ashley has a husband that may have been expecting her home.  For me, there is no one expecting me home.  In fact, no one would even bat an eye till I didn't show up for work.  And even then, it's debatable when someone would start to worry.  This is certainly one of those things that scared me when I moved in by myself.

That's why I thought it was such a good idea to get a RoadID.  I got the Wrist ID Sport.  It arrived the other day.


I realize it might not protect me from getting in an accident or hurt, but it will be very helpful to let my family know.  It can also be of much help if you have medical history--previous surgeries, high blood pressure, medication allergies, etc.  


I am committing to wearing my RoadID every time I go out for a ride or a run.  

What do you do to help protect yourself on a run?


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