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 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.


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.


And apparently his bowels weren’t doing so great.


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


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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