Wednesday, December 31, 2008

To Cut or Not to Cut: The Verdict


So the pictures are very nerdy and "self-takenish", but since when do I really care about being nerdy...

Before (taken moments before everything was chopped off):

After (taken moments after I jumped for joy and nearly shed a tear):

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Tribe Has Spoken

So, My Gazelle and I have been discussing my hair for about 3 months now. I mean, we talk about other things...but I've done a lot of talking about my hair.

It's curly. I straighten it. It's fluffy. I weigh it down. I'm sick of it. I've battled curly hair my entire life, and have come to terms with the fact that my life will always include a hot air brush and a flat iron. I'm ok with that.

What I'm not ok with is the size of my ginormous head. My head is abnormally large. I attribute it to additional brains in my cranium, but that's probably just my way of making myself feel better about the fact that the circumference of my head rivals that of an adult gorilla.

This is only exacerbated by the fact that I haven't had a haircut in...oh...4 months. And prior to my last haircut, I was "trying to let it grow out" for some strange reason. This means that the last hair cut I had might have taken off about 1/2" or less. Big deal.

Ginormous head + frizzy, grown-out haircut = self-esteem disaster.

A girl just needs a fabulous haircut.

Technology is a lovely thing. I just visited, and they let me upload my very own picture for free, then stick their haircuts on top of my virtual head. So, with much ado, I've decided to chop it off and get a neat, cute, shorter haircut.

This one. But ignore the puff of my own hair that is sticking up in the back since I was too lazy to properly pull my frizzy mess back like the instructions told me to. I don't really follow instructions very well. Clearly.

So, I was saying...THIS one.


It makes my head look smaller, no?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Running Clubs

Today, as promised, I researched running clubs in my area.

It appears as though there are two possibilities: one club in the town where my rental property is located that is very active, and has hundreds of members of all different ages and ability levels; and another club in the area where The Gazelle and I reside together which seems to be smaller, and probably has fewer highly talented runners.

In addition to being larger and filled with more skilled runners, the former also has at least 3 runners who are also authors of books regarding running.


Real, published authors. Real, published authors who know enough about running to write a book. Can you even fathom how much knowledge one must possess on a particular topic in order to write an entire book about it? I'm feeling slighted by Jesus himself. And God. And Santa Claus, and anyone else who may have any type of authority at all over the universe.

"Hello...God? it really possible for someone to be fast AND smart? Why is life so incessantly unfair??!!"

So, now I have a choice. Do I run comfortably, possibly being less challenged with runners which I am assuming are less talented, or do I most definitely challenge myself further and join the club with the running authors?

And so, this is what I ponder I sit on my blogging futon, eating the leftover, freezer burnt remnants of a pint of Haagen-Daaz Extra Rich Light Caramel Cone ice cream. Truthfully, I'm also pondering how long this specimen has been in my freezer. However, I don't think the shelf-life would deter me from eating it anyway, so its really a moot point.

Basically, all of this worrying about running clubs and rancid ice cream just makes my booty tighten.


Sort of like this picture still does...

Shrimp Stir Fry All Around!

Tonight I made the most lovely shrimp stir-fry.

It was a bit of a fiasco in my teeny tiny kitchen (because I had 3 "projects" going simultaneously at one point), but it was worth it in the end.

Pan #1


Pan #2


Pan #3

I am a little scatterbrained, and I forgot to take a photo of it. Oops. My bad. But just believe me when I tell you that pan #3 contained the most adorable little shrimp wrapped in cellophane noodles. They were so cute. Sorry you missed it.

And, the final product was equally as epic.


Is your...


Mouth watering yet??!!


How bout now?

Yeah. I thought so.

I have to give props to The Pioneer Woman for suggesting stir fry today. She has proven to be a genius, as usual.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Upside to Global Warming

Ok, so global warming scares the doody out of me, but I am definitely enjoying the ability to run outside on December 28th wearing only a pair of thin leggings and a T-shirt. I wore an Under Armour long sleeve base layer, but regretted it around the 1.5 mile mark because I was SOOO hot.

High (and low) points of the run:

-3.25 Miles
-Mile 1 pace: 7:41 (whoa! That's NOT jogging!)
-4 killer hills
-2 long, gentle slopes
-Winded around 1.5 miles and muscle fatigue (might have been that 7:41 first mile)
-Walked up most of the ginormous hills
-Fibular head pain around 2.5 miles...stopped for a stretch and continued to finish the run.

I was trying to focus on "gliding", as my loving Sista has instructed me to do. I was thankful that Christmas allowed me to spend some time with the family, and I was able to talk to my Sista about running.

I have determined that all of my knee/leg ailments are due to my running form, not due to a permanent injury of any sort. I don't take a lot of comments to heart, but I've decided after 5 years of running to listen to the fact that everyone picks on me for "prancing" when I run. There's just too much upward motion in my gait, so now I'm trying to learn how to just stay low and go.

My Sista tells me to just think about going "forward".

I'll just keep practicing. It seems to help when I concentrated on "heel, toe" as I run. Any of you more experienced (and much faster) runners out there who want to pipe up and lend some suggestions, I would really appreciate it.

My Sista also suggested to join a running group in my town, and I'm going to research that tonight. As much as it makes my bootie tighten when I just think about joining a group, I am going to have to go out on a limb (or two) if I really want to become a better runner (and not walk the 9.3 miles to The Boilermaker finish line). Man, that would be a long walk.

For some reason, the idea of running with people who are way better than me conjures up images of being the 11 year old fat girl in gym class waiting to be picked for dodge ball teams.


So...I clearly have a few issues to work through on that one.

In any case, I ran today, and I'll run tomorrow at lunch. The goal for January is to run at least 50 miles. If I can do more, awesome...but I'll do at least 50 miles.

OH! And today, I christened my Boilermaker Training shirt. And I was so proud to sweat in it for the first time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This Just In...


A rogue stuffed bunny, previously seen running rampant through Target department store, was defeated by the current Stuffed-Bunny-Beat-Down Champion (SBBDC), Nikko Smithstrong!

Stay tuned to JL for the full story.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Little Piece of Me

So, I am basically a blabbermouth. This is something that I've always been and probably will always be.

What can I say--I just like to share information.

So, in honor of information sharing, I would like you to enjoy this little tidbit of me, my past, my history, my upbringing. It all sounds very poetic, no? Well, I just found out that my hometown has a website, including none other than a live camera feed! This sheet is fascinating!

This camera is located in the parking lot of one of the stores on main street. From this angle, you can see one of the 3 stop lights that the town is blessed with. Up until the time when I moved 11 years ago, we only had one stop light. By George, they're really doin' it now with 3!

I have stared at this live parking lot feed for about 15 minutes...staring at the ugly, slushy snow in the parking lot.

Knowing full well that I need to go to my storage unit and get my winter boots before I venture to good ole Camden tomorrow. Gross.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You Really Had Me Fooled, Mango Chicken Sausage

Clearly, one look at my healthy thighs and buttocks will prove to you that I am not a picky eater by even a loose definition of the term. I will try most foods at least once, and unless its off the wall, includes anything with the word "tripe", or has more appendages than myself, I will generally like it.

Except raw tomatoes.

I hate raw tomatoes.

With every ounce of life in my body.

However, there are certain moments when something comes over me, and I purchase foods that wouldn't typically become part of my weekly menu. I claim multiple personality disorder, but no doctor has ever backed this up. Apparently various cases of grocery store blackout do not solely constitute MPD. I suppose I will have to find another convenient DSM-IV clarification for this condition.

Sorry. Former Social Work student.

I still think it's MPD.

I experienced one such MPD moment while at Trader Joe's last week and purchased a package of Mango Chicken Sausage. When I arrived home, I really had no idea what to do with this item.

Is it sweet?

Is it savory?

It was all just very confusing to me.

I solved the riddle tonight though. How do I know this? Well, because I received an official "dis joint is real good" from The Gazelle. And well folks, he does not mince words, especially when it comes to dinner.


But can you go wrong with anything when it's been smothered in a homemade cheesy-cream sauce?

So, I can't say that I'll ever purchase mango chicken sausage again, but I feel better knowing that it didn't go to waste.

Now for that darn bag of spinach...

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Gazelle: A Study In Beverage Consumption: Part II

I bet you have been sitting on the edge of your wheely, squishy-seated office chair, just dying to hear about how many carbonated beverages my Pepsi-obsessed Gazelle has consumed. If you missed Part I of the Beverage Consumption Study, you can read all about it here. It's fascinating.

When I arrived home on Friday after posting the Beverage Consumption Study, Part I, I was disappointed to find that The Gazelle had caught wind of my Study. Darn internet. Darn smarty-pants. Darn him. So now I feel like he foiled my whole study.

I think he's holding back.

I think he's playing coy with the Pepsi this week.

The little sheisty shiester pants.

In any case, he is still far ahead in the Beverage Tally. I never doubted that for a moment.

Alas...we have the updated beverage cam.


First things first. Can we all ignore the fact that the photo is slightly overexposed? Because I'm really just too lazy to open it in Photoshop and fix it. My bad. Hopefully you can forgive me.

And so, before we get into the tallies. This is important.

How in the helicopter am I supposed to cook mango chicken sausage? I really don't know what type of evil demonic being possessed me when I purchased this product at Trader Joe's last week. Every once in a while I swear that I have multiple personality disorder (MPD) because I must completely black out while in the grocery store. I come home with these strange products (such as mango chicken salsa, quinoa, ummm...spinach, for instance), and when I am putting the groceries away at home, I cannot imagine ever purchasing these things, much less cooking or eating them. So I can only assume that I was not in my right mind when I purchased them.

Yeah. So if anyone can throw me a bone on the chicken sausage thing, it'd be awesome.

Secondly, no, there are not 2 packages of refrigerated cookie dough left. Because I opened one on Saturday night around 11PM and baked the blasted things. I had to. They were keeping me up at night with all of that hollering from the refrigerator.

"help's so cold in here...put me in a warm oven for 8-10 minutes and then promptly eat me..."

I'm not kidding. It really happened.

So, I obliged and baked the little buggers. Well, all except for the one little raw beauty that I popped in my mouth in honor of salmonella. Try to tell me I'm gross. I dare you. I'll sick my ginormous calves on you.

And don't worry. The chocolate, vanilla & cream cheese frosting is still there on the left. You just can't see it because it's hiding behind that huge package of butter. Mmmmm...butter.

Guess what?

I still didn't eat that spinach. Are you surprised? Yeah, me neither. The mere purchase was a ruse. An MPD moment.

I also didn't drink that rancid wine. I decided to buy a new bottle. Or two. But those are gone, no evidence. You can't prove a gosh darn thing.

What? Beverage cam? Right.

12/22/08 10:58PM EST

Beverage Cam--Soda Tally

The Gazelle: 10
The Jogger: 4
The Gazelle & The Jogger (sometimes we share...and mix it with vodka...but you didn't hear that from me): 2

Remaining beverages: 32

Hmmm...I think I just heard a soda open in the kitchen. And a loud slurp. Must be that mysterious ghost again.

But Wait! There's More!

Shortly after this revelation last week, I made a call to Robert, my former trainer and still very good friend, who is a master trainer and owns Peak Peformance Fitness in Marriottsville, MD. Just moments before I made that phone call, I was hovering on the ledge of my 2nd story office window ready to jump.

I'm not kidding.

He talked me off of the ledge, and told me to come in and see him.

"but your schedule is so busy, when do you have time?"

He must have sensed the raw desperation in my voice.

"I'm available whenever you need me."

Robert agreed to see me on Sunday at 10AM, and even offered to pick me up at my house and drive me to his studio. Geez o man...I must have sounded RULLLY desperate! I'm telling you all of this because I want to make sure you understand that in addition to being a completely awesome trainer, he is an even greater friend, and an all around cool guy.

So, in addition to my super cool trip to Fleet Feet Sports on Saturday, I also had a training session with Robert on Sunday at 10AM.

As Robert has reminded me so many times, he once again reminded me that I cannot neglect that fact that I had a knee problem in the past. He again reminded me that knee problems have a tendency of creeping back up if you do not properly train and pay a little extra attention to said knee. So, we again reviewed the exercises that I should be doing at least twice a week.


Yeah, so that's not me, but that's the exercise.

Not only did we go over the standard leg extension, but also leg extensions with the toes pointed outward (think "duck"), and leg extensions with the toes pointed inward (think "pigeon"). He has instructed me to use very light weight and do 3 sets of each of those exercises (point up, point out, point in) 20-30 times per set. Then we also did some machine leg presses.


The focus here was making sure to distribute the weight on my foot evenly because he reminded me (again) that I have a tendency to run on the outside of my foot.

After all of the fabulous strength training that he reminded me how to do (and gave me a mild guilt trip because I haven't been doing), he said "so, am I going to have to teach you how to run all over again?"


What a concept. Maybe I forgot how to run! I know that sounds silly, but you're dealing with me. The girl who was wearing "husky" jeans when she was 11. The girl who avoided recreational sports like the plague until she was well into her 20's. Wellllll into her 20's. I was not a runner. Or a jogger. Or even a power walker. Until welllllll into my 20's.

Then Robert taught me how to run.

Then I stopped meeting with him.

Then I got hurt again.

So, yesterday he taught me how to run again.

My new mantra has become "work quads, not quads, not calves." Stop laughing. The goal of this new mantra is to encourage me to run from my quad rather than from my ankle the way that my body naturally wants to.

In Rob's opinion, my whole problem is originating from my overdeveloped calves. The fact that I have been running from my ankle for the past year is only further developing my already overdeveloped calves. Trust me, they are ginormous. Large and in charge. They want to be the boss. They want to run the show. I'm not havin it. My quads are bigger, so they're gonna win.

He instructed me yesterday to keep my knees a little less bent, foot more flexed than bent (think "heel-toe,heel-toe"), and shorten my stride by about 1/2. And today on the treadmill, it felt like I was doing "baby steps" to the 2 mile mark.

Have you ever seen those ridiculously fast power-walkers? Yeah, that's what I thought I looked like. Probably not though. I'm sure that I thought it looked much worse than it did.

Any way you slice it though, I looked silly.

But, I had a better run than I've had in weeks. Although the treadmill was only set at 5.3-5.5, I was actually running much faster than that because my feet were going double time.

Thank you Mizuno Wave Inspire 5's.

Thank you Robert.

Oh, You Sneaky Gazelle.

The Gazelle is not a man of mystery. He's not a man of surprises, and I certainly don't expect romantic gestures out of the blue. This is not me complaining. I love this man. I love the fact that I can count on him, and I love the fact that I don't have to worry about surprises with him. He is not unpredictable, and that brings stability into my life.

So, just when I thought I had him figured out, he turned around and did the unthinkable.

He surprised me with the most considerate, loving, and romantic thing imaginable at this point in my jogging life. He took me to Fleet Feet Sports in Baltimore to be properly fitted for my very own pair of shiny new runners.

I was completely surprised, but I knew he had something up his sleeve when he announced on Friday evening that we had to leave the house at noon tomorrow go "somewhere". Considering that I've spent nearly every day with this man for the past 2 years, and during those 2 years, he has never attempted to plan a gosh darn thing, I didn't ask questions.

I just went with the program. I did ask him one question: "What should I wear?"

I'm such a girl sometimes.

When we arrived at the Fleet Feet shopping center, I didn't even see it floating among the sea of other anchor stores...I was still too overwhelmed that The Gazelle had planned anything. All I saw was "Marley Fine Jewelry". And I certainly knew that we were not shopping

I kept scanning...looking for anything OTHER than a jewelry store.

And there it was, beautiful and necessary.


I trotted inside, and was given a full foot inspection. I was sad to hear that I have "baby bunions". This was disturbing, and although the lovely sales girl tried to make it sound a little less "bunion-y" by adding the word "baby" in front of it...well, I still have BUNIONS. Good lord. I have BUNIONS??!!

So, let's change the subject.

I tried on 4 pair of runners in total. After a few jogs down the sidewalk in 30 degree weather with no sports bra on (sorry breasts and innocent passers-by), I decided on the first pair that touched my little baby bunions that day:

Don't they just make you want to go run a 15K?

Yeah, me too!

Apparently, it was my day to be a jogging princess in The Gazelle's opinion. In addition to my shiny new kicks, he also got me some cold weather gear so that I can run outside for the next 2 months without fear of hypothermia.


A really freaking cool Mizuno Breath Thermo Stretch Crew


This bad boy (girl?) uses your stinky sweat to heat itself up and make you warm as you run. I thought that was genius. Especially since I hate bundling up to run because I am a great sweater. I can't layer much because I end up ditching things in bushes and then when I try to go back and pick them up at the end of the run, I forgot where I put them. Ooops.

This prAna "Jada" pant in black is com...for...table! And its slippery, so I don't see them riding up while I'm running. I also think that this pant has a magnet on the behind that causes men to smack your bottom. Well...maybe that's just the pair that I bought, and The Gazelle is magnetically attracted to them somehow. All I know is that I received a few extra bootie smacks when I wore these around the house yesterday. I think I'll wear them more often.


So my one concern about buying a non-Nike+ shoe was that I wasn't going to be able to use my Nike + iPod thingamabobbie. This was one of the things on my list of ongoing gripes with the Nike + jobby. What if I wanted a DIFFERENT pair of shoes??!! I thought I was locked in for life. I was wrong!

Enter the "Nike Shoe Wallet"


I left Fleet Feet a very happy little jogger.

I almost marched The Gazelle over to Marley Fine Jewelery when were were finished so I could buy him an engagement ring.

I thought better of it.

What can I say...I'm simple.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I have so much to fill you in on.

But I'm lazy.

Stay tuned!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Proximal Tibiofibular...huh?


I've had it.

I really have.

I went to the gym at lunch, completely boosted about running, ready to bang out a couple of miles, hoping to not blow out a lung in the process. I'm sure you've heard the saying "if it's not one thing, it's another..."

Yeah, so I'm the poster child for that saying.

Not that my asthma was not as annoying as it usually is, but it wasn't in full-swing like last week. I wasn't ready to bust a lung trying to catch my breath. I didn't want to cry out "MEDIC!" while on the treadmill.

But I am so completely, totally, and fully sick of having issues with my leg/knee which stop me from jogging.




So, as with any other life situation in which I've reached my wits end, now I will declare it my mission to research and learn, and just be plain nosy if necessary until I find a solution. I'm not going to put up with it anymore. Throwing in the towel is not an option. That's so not my M.O.

The thing is, my knee/leg issue has morphed over the past 5 years. I was thinking this afternoon about at what point in my life I was able to run the longest, and even the fastest. Believe it or not, I did run an 8 minute mile at one point. I think that might have crossed me from the "jogging" realm into the "running" realm. I was never a great runner, but I was OK. I didn't have knee problems or leg problems.

I was also in full-swing eating disorder mode, was about 20 lbs lighter than my very healthy current weight, consuming about 500 calories a day, and running on straight adrenaline. Not exactly the ideal long-term situation.

Then came the shin splints. Oh my good golly, the shin splints! When they arrived for the first time, I could only envision that a gang of tiny little knife-wielding squirrels had latched onto my legs and began stabbing at my shins. That was most unpleasant, and quite possibly the beginning of my agony.

The shin splints eased up after some time, but I would venture to say that was because I stopped running so frequently. At that point, I began jumping rope, and apparently my body was not down with jumping rope on a hard basketball-court-style floor. Within a short period of time, I went from running 4 or 5 miles at a time 4 or 5 times per week to needing to be carried upstairs at night. In the evening after having gone to the gym, or if I was on my feet all day, my knees and the ligaments behind my legs would feel like they were swelled up to balloon-sized proportions, and I couldn't bend my knees.

It was at that point that I had to admit that I am not invincible.

It was at that point that I sought treatment for my eating disorder.

Thank you baby Jesus.

Then there was the IT friction band syndrome. I was unable to run for over a year due to this problem. Then I finally admitted that it wasn't going to get better on its own, and started seeing Liz. Within a month, I was running again, and the pain in my knee caused by the IT band thingy was gone. I also stopped having that uncomfortable swelling of the backs of my knees.

So, now I'm deciding whether this mysterious knee/leg problem is continuing to morph into new and even more interesting things because its getting better, and my muscles are just going wacky trying to learn how to really work correctly...or because I'm just doing more damage to myself.

My hunch is the former. I hope.


I can't seem to kick this fibular head problem. At random intervals when I'm walking, I feel like it pops and is "out of whack". There is definitely something going on there. I always try to have Liz poke the heck out of it, because, although it is absolute torture, it makes me feel better.

So, I wondered to myself today on the way back from the gym after a disgustingly pathetic 2.25 miles at 12:02 pace due to this elusive fibular head pain,


"Yes jogger?"

"Is it even possible to dislocate your fibular joint?"

And that question was answered with a resounding "YES" when I found this article about fibular head dislocation. Of course, the people who did this study are looking at some SURIOUS cases of this rare condition, but I would venture to say that I am experiencing a mild case of this.

I'm going to talk to Liz about this one. I think it needs more attention. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dees Joints are Da Sheet...

Picture this:

It's next week. You're tired. You're sick of Christmas, and it hasn't even arrived yet. The last thing you need in this Christmas-obsessed world is for Aunt Betty to call you and ask if you will bring cookies to the family Christmas shin-dig.

What shall you do?



Go sit in your closet in the dark, and stuff your pimply face with that brand new package of cookie dough and 1/4 bottle of cheap wine from the fridge? Oh wait. Maybe that's just me.

I implore you. Rather than resort to crying, screaming, or burying your sorrows in a dark cookie-dough-filled closet, please. Make these cookies. Nobody will know that you almost had a nervous breakdown first, and they definitely won't know how flippin gosh darn easy it was to make them.

You need:

1 package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough (hmmm...I'm seeing a pattern here)
1/2-1 C of your favorite fruit preserves (I use Polaner Allfruit Apricot and Strawberry)

That's it. See...don't cry.

-Take each little pre-cut cookie dough ball and divide it into 2. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, and place on a cookie sheet sprayed w/ cooking spray.

-Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are just barely brown.

-Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for about 2 minutes. While the cookies are still warm and on the cookie sheet, use a small spoon or other small round object to make a little "thumbprint" in each cookie.

They'll look something like this


Now, hug them because they're so deliciously cute.

-Allow the pressed cookies to cool completely, and then fill up the little "thumbprint" with your favorite kind of preserves. Depending on how sweet the preserves taste to me at the moment, I might add some Splenda or honey to them for a little extra kick. The end.

-Insert cookie in mouth. Chew. Repeat. Oh some for Aunt Betty.


Oh my good golly. Aren't they pretty?

The Gazelle: A Study In Beverage Consumption

So, I may have mentioned this once or twice, but The Gazelle loves Pepsi. No, I mean...he really, really, loves Pepsi. He feels the same way about Pepsi as I feel about buttered noodles. If Pepsi were as uncool as a mullet, he wouldn't care. He'd still wear his Kentucky waterfall with pride. He'd still drink his Pepsi with reckless abandon.

On several occasions, our house has been visited by a strange ghost-like being who mysteriously comes in and drinks all of the Pepsi. Not just the Pepsi...but the Diet Pepsi, the Diet Pepsi Max, the Diet Dr. Pepper, etc. At first, I didn't really mind. This ghost-like thing was only drinking The Gazelle's Pepsi (he takes it straight...hold the cancer-causing additives). However, in time, my cancer bombs started to disappear. And nobody messes with my Diet Dr. Pepper man.

I have only come to the "carbonated-beverage-drinking-ghost-like entity" conclusion because my dear, sweet, loving, special (very) boyfriend, The Gazelle, who never exaggerates, or fibs, or (heaven help me) LIES about anything, swears that there is no possible way that he consumes every last carbonated beverage in our house on a regular basis.

In order to prove that this "carbonated-beverage-drinking-ghost-like entity" phenomenon exists, it must be documented. And although the mysterious, Pepsi-stealing ghost-like being theory is entirely believable, I have a hunch that it's The Gazelle himself who is polishing off all of his (and my) Pepsi. kidding?

And thus, we have "The Beverage Cam"

Tonight, I purchased four (4) 12-packs of Pepsi products. I got an incredible bargain on these 12-packs, because I am a cheap biotch frugal fannie...but that is another story for another day. This equals 48 cans of cheap, carbonated goodness. As of this very moment, one (1) can has been consumed (you guessed The Gazelle), as documented by this evidence:


Please...ignore the fact that there are 2 brand new, delicious, lovely packages of refrigerated cookie dough next to the 1/4 full bottle of cheap wine, next to the 3 tubs of vanilla, chocolate, & cream cheese frosting.

Look man. It's Christmas. And there's some spinach in there. Hiding in the back. And it's probably frozen because my fridge is turned up too high. But I might eat it.


Or maybe I'll just stare at it, guilt-ridden, every time I open up the refrigerator to retrieve a heaping spoonful of chocolate frosting.

Focus on the soda.

12/18/08 9:42PM EST
Beverage Cam--Soda Tally
The Gazelle: 1
The Jogger: 0

Remaining beverages: 47

Anyone want to guess how long it's going to take The Gazelle The Ghost to consume all of these blasted sodas??!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In a word...GIDDY!

I was slightly disappointed in the aftermath of my appointment with Liz last Wednesday because I did have some intermittent calf tightness throughout the weekend and up until yesterday. I was losing all hope. Considering throwing in the towel. Crying into my pillow at night. Ok, that might be a stretch.

I just got back from being tortured treated in her office, and Holy Catsaroonie, did that sheeeet hurt!! See, I'm all for a good arse kicking when I go in there. Generally, that means that I will feel better tomorrow if I can just manage the rolling tears as she contorts my foot and ankle into strange pretzel-like shapes. Last week, I experienced the pain, but not a HUGE relief in discomfort the way I wanted. I felt like my 45 minutes of agony was all for naught.

This afternoon, however, when I stood up to "walk it off" after the torture treatment was over, I felt like a new woman. A limber woman. A woman who can jog. And walk without a hitch in her giddyup. I'm suddenly trying to plan in a jog tonight, but not sure how I can fit it around studying for the evil CPA exam (Regulation section...bah), and my elusive lingering ceiling fan installation.

I feel more normal right now than I can recall feeling in the past 2 years. I don't know what she did, but I hope she does it some more.


With all of the school closings that I've been hearing about today (although not in the DC metro area), I can't help but feel all warm and squishy on the inside with the thought of snow days of past. Growing up in the middle of a corn field in Upstate NY rewarded me with plenty of days off on account of the snow (although much fewer than the DC Metro area, since Upstate NY'ers know how to drive). There were some days when the school bus would come to a dangerous, side-sliding stop 15 yards from my driveway due to the thick sheet of ice on the road. Minor detail.

When My Sista and I were young, snow days were an invitation to build a snowman, or trudge through the woods with our red flying discs looking for the steepest hill within a 1 mile radius. I was always the one lagging behind the rest of the group complaining about something. Have you ever seen "A Christmas Story"? Well, it is one of my all time favorite movies, partly because I can really identify with Ralphie's little brother, Randy. All bundled up, falling behind, and whining to high Heaven about it. Man alive, I was a fantastic complainer!

As we got older, however, school closings were just a reason to sleep in and be lazy. Sort of like playing hooky from work nowadays, only without the guilt of playing hooky from work. I never do that though. My guilt complex is far too large for that.

In New York, when the snow came, there were arsenals of snow plows lined up on the highways and byways just waiting for the first flake to fall. They were like horses at the starting gate. Dogs pacing at the door to go outside and pee. Me at Thanksgiving/Christmas/insert holiday feast waiting for the mashed potatoes. You get the idea. They were ready. The state highway employees would literally sleep wait in their trucks on the side of the road until the snow came. Once that first flake fell, it didn't have a hope in the world. It was cursed from birth. Can you imagine being an innocent little snowflake, minding your own business, when out of nowhere, THIS comes at you doing 55mph?!


That snow plow means business! That snow plow is not to be messed with! That snow plow scares me! The snow knows better, too. Just look it--gads of snow, retreating, fearing for their little snowflake lives!

This next one is a portrait of beauty. Someone loves this snowplow so much that they Photoshopped it. Good lordy bigordy do they ever love this snow plow!


I always want to see snow on Christmas. There is just something fantastically ethereal about waking up on Christmas morning to see a fresh dusting of snow on the ground. In light of that feeling, I always spend Christmas Eve channeling my Native American heritage (I'm sure I could find one if I shook my family tree vigorously enough), by doing my little snow dance. I'm not exaggerating.

When the snow arrives (as it always does because I am a stellar snow dancer), I immediately dread my decision to get back to my roots. Since living in Maryland, I mostly wish for snow only until it gets here. I like the idea of Maryland snow, but I hate the reality of Maryland snow. Maryland snow is an absolute nightmare to deal with. Snow is not fun in Maryland! Snow is a curse in Maryland! Maryland snow that arrives on a weekday between the hours of 12-5PM causes me to have to sit in my car for 5 HOURS, just to drive 7 miles! Maryland snow is not my friend! Maryland is not prepared for snow whatsoever. I curse out my car window at the incompetent snow plow drivers. They just laugh at me as they stare, mesmerized by the falling snow.

This is a Maryland snowplow driver.


I'm not exaggerating.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"You were born to run. Maybe not that fast, maybe not that far, maybe not as efficiently as others. But to get up and move, to fire up that entire energy-producing, oxygen-delivering, bone-strengthening process we call running."

~Florence Grffith Joyner and Jon Hanc, Running For Dummies

Ahhh...just when I needed this, I popped over to Running Wild, and this quote was screaming at me.

Sometimes the universe is on my side. Even if it only shows itself in something as seemingly insignificant as a quote by Flo Jo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Music

I'm streaming holiday music on my computer. Don't tell my network administrator. He'll be mad if he knows that I'm tying up our network with "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas". Little does he know, but this act of network espionage is the only thing that is keeping me sane at the moment. For some reason, this extra infusion of holiday cheer is the only thing that has kept me from plummeting of the edge of the Insanity Cliff this morning.

I woke up in the rankest mood. I laid in bed until 6:40, which isn't all that abnormal for me. I have to be to work at 8AM, and my commute is only 15 minutes, so I try to stay in bed for as long as possible because...well...I'm basically just lazy. So this morning I stayed in bed until 6:40, got up, brushed my teeth and got semi-ready. Then I laid back down until 7:20. I was not feeling the whole "getting out of bed and going to work" thing. I also wasn't feeling the "let the dogs out", or the "be happy and have a good day" things. Mondays are not usually this difficult for me. that's another story.

My weekend was filled with sporadic, unhealthy meals, including about 3 glasses of wine on Friday night at my work Christmas party. Despite my best-laid plan, I did not run over the weekend. The Gazelle and I spent most of the afternoon and evening Christmas shopping on Saturday. Despite being able to check a few of my loved ones off of the Christmas list, when I woke up on Sunday, I didn't feel that normal sense of accomplishment.

I almost never feel this way. I'm not really sure what has me in a funk, but I'm hoping that it lifts soon. Maybe the Christmas music will help.

Does anyone else feel funky during the holidays?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Damn You, Tight Calf...Damn, Damn, Damn!



And blahhhh!!!!

My right calf has been insanely tight and uncomfortable for 2 days now. This is my standard M.O. I wore heels yesterday morning from the house to the car, drove to work, and then wore them up to my office. At which point, I promptly changed into a pair of flats and wore them for the remainder of the day in lieu of my super cute hells heels. I made a valiant effort to wear heels because they were cuter, but it just wasn't feeling right, so I bailed. Is it REALLY possible that the 15 minutes between my house and my office, including all of maybe 150 steps on those wretched stilts could have caused this??!! Who knows.

It could have been my run with Nikko, but I've done this run with no problems in the past. No backlash. No angry calves.

I see Liz tomorrow, but I really like going to see her when I don't need to see her. It makes for a much less painful experience. Remember last week, when I was happy that she canceled my appointment so that I could go to the gym for a run??!!

Yeah...that was so last week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Have to Share

Good morning sunshine!

It was never my intention to start a blog and then reference everyone on Earth's blog in my own blog. But really...if we don't show some blog love for one another, then that just seems criminal to me. In addition, if I didn't share this ridiculously delicious-looking Rum Cake recipe that The Pioneer Woman just posted, I don't think I could sleep tonight.

Bring on the rum....cake!

Stay tuned for fun weekend pix from my new camera!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nikko, the Natural Born Runner

This is my boy, Nikko


The Gazelle and I picked Nikko up one day from the shelter. Why do I make this sound so EASY? Because I can only mimic the attitude of the idiot that gave our Nikko away to the shelter in the first place. It must have been easier and more convenient.

I don't really know Nikko's story...he didn't come with a "Dogfax" report like a used car, nor did he come with an instruction manual, or even a care tag like on a shirt. Much like an adopted child, Nikko is sort of like opening presents on Christmas never know what you're going to unwrap, but you're always going to smile and say "oooohhh! I love it!"

There are a lot of things I don't understand about Nikko. I don't know why he runs around like a chicken with its' head cut off at random intervals throughout the day/night, or why he can't sit still for more than 2.3 seconds at a time, or why he sometimes just wants to get up in your grill and just look at you--no licking or nuzzling--just staring. I don't know why he's terrified of the vacuum cleaner, or why he barks whenever he hears the door open in our building, or even why he feels the need to attack any strange male or small dog that comes within 20 feet of him. I can only assume that all of these quirky little characteristics are due in some part to genetics, but are also due to the effects of the life that Nikko had before he came to live with us. I don't know much about Nikko, but I love him just the same.

Despite all of my little man's innate flaws, he is a sweetie. He's a bit misunderstood, but he means well. In addition to being pretty loveable (as long as you're not a stranger, male, a dog under 20lbs, have blue hair, brown eyes, size 6.5 shoes, or speak English), I found out yesterday that Nikko is an excellent runner! Although we don't really have any clue what breed Nikko is, he appears to be a miniature (28lbs.) version of a German Shepherd. True to that breed (if that is where he comes from), he was built to run in the cold weather.

I was jealous of Nikko today, as I panted and groaned through 3.5 miles of hills and valleys in 27 degree weather. Nikko just trotted along beside me. Easily. He didn't once stick his tongue out or gasp for air. Only me. He looked like we were taking a walk in the park on a warm spring day. The wind was blowing pretty hard, and mostly against us (gotta love that), so I was pretty thankful to have Nikko there to help me drag my ass up those relentless hills.

He did get spooked by the occasional LEAF (oooohhh...scary!) as it blew by us at about 55 miles per hour. But that's just Nikko, and it was ok. I realized that if he could make it through the mental anguish of scary leaves and garbage cans rustling in the wind, then I could make it through the physical anguish of 3.5 miles of hills.

We both made it, and I have a new running buddy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Well, Since You Asked...

I just got a new camera. Did I mention that yet? I think I might have mentioned it once or twice.

I purchased this camera solely (maybe not solely, but definitely firstly) on the suggestion of The Pioneer Woman, who is basically the coolest new person in my universe at the moment. Because of her, I have been learning about everything from cattle herding to trips to the Dominican Republic to new babies...and photography! She is kind of like me. Jack of all (ok...many in my case) trades, but a master of none.

In any case, Pioneer Woman (PW) has giveaways all the time on her website, and she was giving away a camera not too long ago. She happened to be speaking directly to my squishy soul at the time because I was so sick of my Olympus Model #FE-CRIPPITY-CRAP-220 that I was just dreading the idea of taking pictures in the future. And I LOVE pictures, this is bad, real bad. When I got home from vacation and saw how yucky our pix looked, I knew it was officially time for a new model.

I checked out the cNet review on the camera, and it was a done deal. Well, it was basically a done deal after The Pioneer Woman loved it enough to give it away to her readers. I trust her. She's family.

So, with the proceeds of the eBay sale of 2 pair of designer sunglasses (which were just collecting dust on my dresser and getting in the way, since they were too fragile and expensive, and I'm really clumsy), I bought a shiny new Canon PowerShot SX10 IS. Out with the old, in with the new.

So, this is what my shiny new camera looks like:


Bulky, you say? Yep, bulkier than my Olympus FE-CC220, but totally way better. It might be heavier than my Wal-Mart Olympus, but that not a small sacrifice for this:

Just wait until I amaze you with all of my amazing pictures.

Drumroll Please...

Alright, it wasn't 3 miles, and it wasn't RULLY fast. But it was 2.1 miles, and it was faster than I've run on the treadmill consistently in...oh...4 years. Did I mention that I hate the treadmill? It is so much easier for me to run fast and have fun outside.

Since my Sista suggested it, I decided to do a tempo run. Well...she never said "do a tempo run, slowpoke", but she did tell me the other day to see about running at 6.4 on the treadmill for 10 minutes rather than repeat the outlandish interval training that I did on Monday. I am very happy to report that today's run consisted of an easy 10 minute run, followed by 5 minutes at 6.4. When I completed 5 minutes, I was feeling really victorious because I hadn't coughed up a lung or ruptured my spleen, so I did 2 minutes at 6.5. Then I dropped 'er down to 6.4 again. The last 5 running minutes was at 6.0 and 5.5. More of the 5.5 than the 6.0. I just walked after that...hence the big huge plummet on my little Nike + chart (see above). I was pretty chopped by that point.

I felt good at 6.4. I felt crazy good at 6.4. I felt so good at 6.4 that I think next time I run at 6.4, I'll wave to everyone and smile as they pass my treadmill. Maybe I'll even flip my pony at them too. Just maybe.

Right NOW? Do I have to?!

So, I am absolutely, positively, not in the mood to go to the gym in 10 minutes and run 3 miles. I say 3 miles because I'm aiming high. I refuse to accept 2 miles as a descent lunchtime run anymore.

I would much rather sit at my desk, in my warm office, with my MacBook, and play with my new camera. And edit the pictures of Nikko that I took last night in PhotoShop.

1) I LOVE MY NEW CAMERA!!!!! I'm officially marking it on my list of "Jogger's Top 5 Most Coolest Purchases Ever." NOT on that list? The ceiling fan that I purchased on Tuesday night. I'll talk about that another time. When I'm not so emotionally scarred.

2) Don't you just want to squeeze his little puppy dog cheeks?!


That is...until he starts to snarl and bark and nip at your hands just because he's never met you, and he thinks you're trying to steal any bit of attention from him! He's kind of fickle like that.

But I love him.

And...I'm going to the gym. Ughhh...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Love My Sister. She Hates Me.

So, the reason why I started this blog was to stay motivated and train for The Boilermaker. It has turned into a mish-mash of all things life-related, but that is really the point of it. Yesterday, I thought to myself, "Self, what better way to get some love and support on your blog than to let your family know about it!"

So, I sent a handful of family and close friends this email yesterday:

Dearest Friends & Family,

I have decided to run The Boilermaker Road Race in 2009 (Utica, NY)! Although this race distance is no big deal to my incredible, 1/2 marathon-running sister, a 15K race will be my longest race yet, and I’m scared! =)

In order to stay motivated and keep myself fully committed, I have started a blog ( about my race training, the ongoing battle with my knee (grrrr), and my life in general. I’m hoping that you will periodically check out my blog to see how I’m doing, drop me a line to say hi, or just read and laugh a little. I need all of the support I can get, as those of you who know me well know that I have a bit of a problem staying focused!

If you don’t have time to read or check in, I won’t be upset. Just keep me in your prayers! =)


One of my favorite people in the universe is my Uncle Billy. He's a Murse.

He's loving, caring, and he chose the perfect career.

Uncle Billy accidentally sent Jessica the email that was supposed to be for me:

From: Uncle Billy
Subject: Re: Life!
To: Jessica
Date: Thursday, December 4, 2008, 8:46 AM

Beth My Dear,

All my Loved Ones are ALWAYS in my Prayers!!!!! I am
Very Proud of you and your sister.

Love and Miss You,
Uncle Billy

My sister was nice enough to send me Uncle Billy's email, but not without including a jab or two of her own first:

From: jessica
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 10:52:26 -0800 (PST)
To: Uncle Billy, Beth
Subject: Re: Life!


You better hope Uncle Billy prays hard. This is a long race with two
gargantuan hills.

Utica streets in July. Hot. Stinky. Littered with bodies of runners that
were ahead of you. They don't call it a Boilermaker for nuthin!

You better get training. And I don't mean piddly 1.5 mile flat runs. Long
hilly runs!

Now do it!

Muah-hahahahahahaha! (that's my evil laugh)

And, this was my reply to my loving sister:

Oh dear Jessica. You are going to be crying like a baby when your little sister finishes the Boilermaker with you...even if it is 2 HOURS behind you!

Har har har har <------------ this is my nerdy, dorky, slow runner laugh.

Love and miss you both! Even if you are evil, Jessica Lee.

We always did have a funny way of showing our love, but I think this might take it to a whole new level.

What I'm Reading Right Now

I have read this article like 4 times now, and I love it more each time. Amen, Sista.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wicked Cool Lunch Workout

Yap, I'm originally from Upstate NY, and 'wicked' is part of my vocabulary. Hope you can still love me for me.

So I was supposed to go see Liz today, but I got a call this morning with the news that she has been sick all week and needed to cancel. Although I knew that I was due to see her since I haven't been in almost 2 months, I was secretly pleased that I could go to the gym and run instead of being tortured being rehabilitated. Don't tell Liz I said that. I'm sad that she's sick. Yet not.

I went to the gym and ran about 2.5 miles in less than 25 minutes, which is stellar for me. Stop laughing, ms./mr. fasty pants!

I did, however, forget my new iPod, so I had to resort to my backup (old) iPod, which further supports my ongoing gripe with the Nike+ gadget in general. Fortunately I had my old iPod so that I had something to drown out the sound of myself panting and hacking up a lung. Unfortunately, I didn't have the thingy that plugs into my iPod, so there is no official Nike+ update. I did my time, MAN. I promise.

Mile 0-1: 10 minute easy run
Mile 1-2: 6.0 for 0.20/mile, then 7.5 for 0.10/mile)
Mile 2-2.5: 5 minute easy run

One thing to note is that 7.5 is the fastest that I have ever run. Like ever. Ever ever. And did I mention...ever?

Many moons ago (circa 2005-2006), prior to my stint with IT Band Syndrome, I was training with one of my close friends, Robert McConnell. Rob is a master trainer and owns Peak Performance Fitness. He's awesome, by the way. He had me on a nice running regimen, and I was doing better than ever as far as my endurance. I never ran fast though. He yelled at me incessantly about how slow I was and about how I was 'scared' of going fast. He told me over and over that I needed to 'open it up' and just see what it feels like. He's right. I was scared.

I do have asthma, after all, so I'm a little gun shy.

I've been trying to run a little faster lately because I know that speed work really can't be avoided if you're trying to become a better runner. Today, however, I just let loose and ran my arse off. It was definitely an interesting feeling to open my stride up that much, and although my cardio isn't where it needs to be in order to maintain that sort of pace, I can honestly say that my body felt great while running that fast. I might try it more often.

If I don't get scared.

Unfortunately, 25 minutes is the max that I have during lunch because I have a job to get back to. I would have done at least another mile. Damn job. I'm not going to say that too loud though. I need my job. Otherwise I wouldn't have any money to buy running shoes and go on vacation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh Buttered Noodles

I blame it on my mother.

Everyday (well, maybe not everyday, but that is the way that I want to remember it, so that is how it shall be remembered), when I arrived home at 12PM from kindergarten, I would come inside to find a piping hot bowl of buttered noodles on the table waiting for me.

That means that my mom loved me.


I kid, I kid.

She made me buttered elbow noodles, buttered egg noodles, buttered spaghetti, and buttered shells. Never buttered rotini. I think rotini was too "new fangled" for her upstate NY country lifestyle. But always buttered elbows, spaghetti or shells. They were safe.

Guess what? To date, I really can't find another food that rivals buttered noodles in the realm of deliciousness. Buttered noodles are basically the queen of my Food Favorites Kingdom.


If I had a ring, I'd probably ask buttered noodles to marry me.

Why do I feel it necessary to share this? Because I'm eating buttered noodles for dinner, and I think you should too.

Please Be Careful

So, I kid a lot.

I'm sure you've noticed.

This is serious though. I was floating through the Runners World discussion forum today, where I periodically hang out, and I came across this post. In a nutshell, the chick was out running super early yesterday morning, on her normal route, and a van stopped on the side of the road and turned his lights off. She backtracked on her route (and cut it short, dammit!), then noticed that the same van drove by again.

Luckily, that's where the story ends.

However, this story actually stuck with me because I'm concerned about all things concerning female safety. The Gazelle is a cop, and although I was paranoid prior to meeting him, I am about 936 times worse now.

I have always been the type to constantly be plotting escape routes in case a masked, knife-wielding, fire-breathing psychopath should happen to break into my house when I'm taking a shower and try to maim me. Somehow, these escape plans always seem to begin with me in the shower, apparently because that is when I feel most vulnerable.

...the thought of having to fight off an attacker with shampoo in my hair is just incomprehensible. It makes me shudder.

Anyway...plotting my attack in order to ensure safety has become second nature. However, I started thinking about this lady's situation, and I am really not sure how I would handle it. Chances are, if I'm running outdoors here in the DC/Metro area, other cars are just going to whiz by as I am kidnapped (or worse) by my attacker. In case you are joining me from outside of a metro area, let me just mention that commuters don't care about jack while on their way to work. Absolute tunnel vision. Robotic. Unconcerned.

Please, be cautious while running ladies (and gentleman). Here are are some basic things you can do in order to stay a little safer on your runs...

Stay Safe While Running

Habitual Leg Crosser? too.

For the past year, I've been trying really hard to curb this terrible habit because I know it is murder on your knee, and I think that my habitual crossing had a lot to do with the IT Band Friction Syndrome that I experienced from 2005-2007 (R.I.P...TG!) and intermittent knee pain and calf tightness that I still have from time to time in my right leg.

I have been seeing a physical therapist for all issues concerning my right leg since April, and Liz has done wonders for me and my life. I wasn't able to run for 1.5 years during my worst phase. I felt lazy. And fat. And lazy. It was one of several obstacles that I dealt with over the course of about 5 years.

I'm sure all of my past woes will surface in due time. Mostly because I talk too much, but also because everyone needs an enlightened witness in their life. Hearing other people's stories sometimes initiates a change in yourself.

I regress.

I was just reading about the damage that crossing your legs can do to the Peroneal Nerve. The Peroneal Nerve is this ginormous nerve that basically runs from your hip to your heel on the lateral side of the knee. It does a couple of twists and turns along the way. I wouldn't have ever known about the Peroneal Nerve if it wasn't for this strange numb-ish sensation that I've been having around that little sticky outty (yep, this is a medical term--I looked it up) boney thing on the outside of my leg just below my knee. The Peroneal Nerve is apparently attached to that part.

So, I came upon this article about Peroneal Nerve Dysfunction. It kind of made me feel yucky on the inside.

Loss of muscle control.
Loss of muscle tone.
Eventual loss of muscle mass.

Wow, that sounds like a joggers dream come true! Especially since the muscle tone in my right leg is already visibly different from the tone in my left leg (insert scary movie sound effect here).

Please don't cross your legs. It's all bad.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jesus, if you're listening, please help me.

Sad truth #1: John Travolta starred in a movie in 2007. This in and of itself is just uncalled for. The movie is called Wild Hogs, and it just makes me realize more and more that John should have stopped at Grease.

Sad truth #2: The Gazelle thinks this movie is hilarious. However, if you asked him man to man, he would tell you that he has only watched this movie because there was "nothing else on."

Sad truth #3: This movie is again contaminating our beautiful 42" DLP for approximately the 823,755,642,409th time.

Thank you so much Encore HD.

Speaking of wii Fit

My boyfriend, The Gazelle, is basically the best boyfriend in the world. He bought me the wii Fit for Christmas but gave it to me like...oh...4 weeks early. That's fine by me though. That usually means I'll get more gifts because he'll feel bad that he doesn't have anything to give me on Christmas. Did I mention that he also bought me a new iPod 8G for Christmas and gave it to me last week? YAY! I love my life.

So anyway...

I love my wii Fit, but didn't they make any GAMES to go with it?? I'm confused. I have the standard included CD, but a girl can only Hula Hoop and Super Hula Hoop so many times before it becomes a little boring, ya know?



Exciting Things Happening Right NOW!

1) I ran 2 miles at lunch, despite the fact that my calf was extremely tight due to my wiiFit party (with myself, of course) last night.

2) I just bought a new camera from eBay, and it is EXACTLY the camera I wanted, and I got it for EXACTLY $15 cheaper than I could find it anywhere else online. Hip hop hooray!

3) Regarding #2, everyone is going to be really sorry that I got this camera because I am going to take more pictures than I know what to do with now that I will have a beautiful, feature-rich recommended by my favorite blogger in the universe, The Pioneer Woman. She's basically the bomb.

4) I forgot to bring my lunch to work today, and had no time to go out for lunch since I was good and went to the gym. So, lunch consisted of a handful of nacho flavor sunflower seeds and 3 Hershey's Kisses. Which I really don't like, but they just happened to be in my drawer.

5) Did I mention that I bought a new SkirtSport skirt today? Wooo!

The Skirt Love Continues

I can't help it. I love Skirtsports. I might need a support group. They're having a 60% off blowout-style sale, and I couldn't resist. I had to buy more skirts! I also picked up a pair of Shorties...

And the most adorable tank ever...

My sister is even reaping the rewards of my Skirtsport love because I picked her up a new skirt and t-shirt.

Seriously...I am like the best sister ever.

And I also picked up a $25 gift certificate. I'll use it as a giveaway for my blog readers. If I ever get any blog readers, that is.

The Eagle Has Landed

Well, not really. I just thought that sounded pretty official.

Guess what? I got a new shirt.


I actually received this shirt in a package from my friendly mailman approximately 5.2 minutes after I got home from vacation, but I didn't want to tell you because I was guilty. Guilty from vacation. Guilty for not running the entire time I was on vacation. Guilty for eating chicken wings nearly everyday while on vacation. Then I was guilty for only running approximately 50 yards at a time (twice) the week after I got back from vacation. Debauchery. But its over, and I ran on Saturday. A healthy run, more than 2 miles, and I'm back on the wagon.

So I can tell you about my shirt now.

And how much I love it. Don't ask me why because I can't really explain it, but I got a little choked up when I read the back of it...


What can I say...I'm just an emotional girl.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Leg Lift


Sometimes I wonder how these two little darlings can sleep as much as they do. At some point, doesn't sleep become counterproductive? They sleep for a few hours, then out of the blue, they just jump up and run around. It's quite funny really.

Speaking of funny.

I brought these two little boogers with me to the store today to pick up my 3 copies of the Sunday paper (despite the fact that the coupons are crap this week, but that's a different story). It was raining all day today, so they didn't get their normal amount of outdoor time. I threw them in the truck and off we went. They're very well-behaved in the truck, so they are allowed to ride along pretty often.

All went well on the ride to and from the store. I even took a little detour so that they could have some extra time to stick their heads out the window and drool on The Gazelle's window for 5 more minutes. He loves it when they drool on his window.

We got home, and jumped out of the truck. They both made their way over to the grassy patch next to our door...apparently the ride made them have to pee. Maya had just started taking care of business, when Nikko randomly decided to walk over, lift his leg, and pee right on my little girl! The dog who is officially a squatter (not a leg-lifter) decided to try leg-lifting out for the first time on my innocent little puppy as she was in a most vulnerable state. How rude!

I'm sure that my neighbors (we live in a little condo) were very curious to see what was going on outside as I was screaming "NIKKO! YOU CAN'T PEE ON YOUR SISTER!" It was lovely. Needless to say, Maya received an impromptu bath, and Nikko will not be allowed to stand near Maya while she pees anymore.

Oh dogs!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grandma's 4-Layer Dream Pie

I have jazzed this up a little bit to make it...well...less Grandma-ish, but it's basically my little peach of a Grandma's dessert that she makes on holidays. It's really delish, and don't let the recipe fool you into thinking it's difficult. It's not.

Layer 1

1 pkg Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix (17.5 oz)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (do not fear the butter...butter is your friend)
1 pkg honey graham crackers, crushed (9-10 whole graham crackers--not the little tiny baby squares that make up the big square)
8 oz walnuts, chopped (or spun in the food processor/blender), save about 2 T to garnish
1/4 C light brown sugar, unpacked

Combine all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl until moistened. The mixture will look crumbly, but should basically be sticking together. Spray a 9" X 13" Pyrex baking dish (or similar...just think "deep baking dish") with cooking spray, then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until the edges are just barely brown. Let this cool completely before moving forward.

Layer 2 In case you missed the first mention...don't make this until the 1st layer is completely cool

24 oz cream cheese (3 regular Philadelphia rectangular jobby's), room temperature
1 C cold milk
2 envelopes Dream Whip (they come in a box with 4 packets, usually in the store next to the ready-made graham cracker pie crusts)
1 T vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (or stand mixer) and beat the crap out of it until it's fluffy and thick. This usually takes about 5 minutes. It's pretty forgiving, so if you beat it for longer than that, it won't call Social Services. If it seems too thick, you can add a little more milk, but you want it to be firm so that your pie isn't a big sloppy mess. Pour this evenly on top of Layer 1 and smooth out.

Layer 3

2 envelopes Dream Whip (the other 2 envelopes from the box you got next to the ready-made graham cracker pie crusts)
2 (regular, not family size) pkgs instant chocolate pudding (I usually use the sugar-free chocolate fudge kind...I have to maintain my girlish figure)
1 1/2 C cold milk

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (or stand mixer), and again...beat the crap out of it. You also want this to be thick, but not like mud. Beat these ingredients for about 5 minutes as well, and then evenly pour and smooth on top of Layer 2.

Layer 4

1 tub of Cool Whip
2 T of chopped walnuts, from above

Evenly spread Cool Whip on top of Layer 3, then sprinkle walnuts on top. Since there are nuts in the first layer, I always put the nuts on top just to warn people that there are nuts in it. Food allergies scare me, and I don't need that on my watch.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and then pig out. Enjoy, and let me know if you liked it. If you do, I'll take credit...if you hate it, lets blame it on my Grandma.

Running Log

For those runners who are also accountants and have mad spreadsheets, yo (yeah, I saw that on a t-shirt once), I found a really cool running log that keeps track of everything from your weekly mileage goal to the total miles you have on your runners. It will even keep a chart of how many more miles you have to run before you make it to the moon (well, this is pretend, of course)! I don't know...I'm simple...This feature makes me a little giddy.

I love convenience, so just in case you don't feel like going to the guy's website, I have also uploaded it for your downloading pleasure. You can get it in the black box to the right ("Joggers File Grabber")...or just click here to get to the file (logrun.xls).

In addition to my Nike + iPod jobby, I have been using this log as a backup since September. I really heart my Nike + sensor, don't get me wrong. However, the innate problem with the Nike + iPod jobby (this is a real word in my world) is that if you happen to forget your sensor, or your iPod died and you didn't realize it until you strapped on your earphones and tied your shoes, you have no way of entering that run into your Nike + module online. That kind of sucks in my book. I suppose that it keeps us all honest, but's difficult for us busy career women to be prepared all that time. That's a pretty tall order.

In any case, the log is good. If you'd like to use it, or just poke around at it a little, make sure you start with the "setup" page, and enter in all of the requested information there. That will ensure that the whole sheet works for you. If you want to change the layout or column widths, you have to turn off the protection on the sheet and use the password "dead". I was a little concerned that the developer used such a morbid password, and I almost called his mother.

Just the same, if you have any questions about the spreadsheet, just give me a holler.


So today is the first day in about 10 days that I actually feel like I am not ready to cough up my left lung. I was sick the entire time I was on vacation, and it was pretty bad there for a couple of days. I think that flying only exacerbated the problem, and by 7PM on the evening we arrived in Arizona, I was in bed agonizing over the pressure in my head that would not go away. So, despite my good intentions (I packed 5 jogging outfits, my runners, AND my Nike + iPod), I thought better of running with a head cold.

Now that I am back to reality, I have had 2 crapola runs (Monday and Today), but I'm ok with that. I'll get back in the swing of things.

I haven't updated anything on my Nike + yet, but don't worry. It's not impressive.

Tell Me a Story...

So I promise not to bore anyone with irritating vacation stores for the next 2 years, but this one made me laugh so I have to share.

I have never claimed that The Gazelle was a worldly man. I've also never claimed to be attracted to men of that sort. I love him because he is like me...comfortably naive to some of the finer things in life, yet open-minded and willing to learn. I grew up in a very small town, and didn't move to the big city until I was 21 years old. I like to think that I've retained some of my innate Country Girl charm, despite the fact that I've now lived in the city for 10 years. The Gazelle was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. Although he didn't grow up country, his family is from North Carolina, so it's in his blood.

I regress...

While on vacation, I was lucky enough to have an old friend drive into Phoenix from Tucson to have dinner with myself and The Gazelle. He was actually my junior prom date (strictly platonic, I promise). I'll show you the picture later. It's gonna blow your mind. So, Junior Prom Date met us at our hotel bar, and after about an hour of catching up, we departed to Kinkaid's for steak and conversation.

Everything was going great. Drink orders...check! Salad orders...check!

Then came time to order dinner. Junior Prom Date and I ordered our dinners. The Gazelle, being the open-minded man that he is, inquired to the waitress "how is the duck?"

"It's ok...if you like duck."

Oh no, he wasn't deterred by this. He asked more questions about the duck.

"You should try the prime rib, it's excellent", the waitress replied.

To that, The Gazelle answered "oh no, I don't like ribs at all."

I felt my cheeks get hot, and I think I began to feel my armpits get a little sticky. Did my boyfriend, the man I love & adore with all of my heart, just tell the waitress that he doesn't want prime rib because he doesn't like ribs? Err...what do I do...what do I say?

So, true to form, I did nothing. I said nothing. I just let it unfold right before my very eyes. I was afraid to look at Junior Prom Date for fear that he would think that I was a horrible country-rooted girlfriend for not schooling my city boyfriend on the vast disparity between prime ribs and bbq ribs.

I have to give the waitress a lot of credit because she flowed right through this mishap with little more than a slight eye roll. She carried on and just let him order the duck. After she left, I very matter-of-factly brought up the story of my 20 year old assistant at work who made the very same mistake last year at our work Christmas party. I think that I effectively got my point across, without bruising his pride too awfully much...and I doubt that he'll make the same mistake again.

So, if you made it this far into my rambling post about prime rib vs. bbq ribs, then you have earned this...

See...aren't you so happy you waited? I think this picture can be the subject of several blogs to come.

And, alas...I promise to write about jogging soon. There are just so many other fun things to talk about in the meantime.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh Sunshine...Oh Palm Tree...Oh Blue Metal Art Thingy!


Vacation brought with it many adventures.

There were the careless nights relaxing in the hotel bar (ahem… while watching the game and laughing with The Gazelle. And the aimless walks around the streets of downtown Phoenix.

One of those walks brought us to this…


Here's a better view...just in case you missed it the first time...


That gave us a hearty belly laugh.

We did a lot of wandering for the first 2 days that we were in Phoenix. Despite the fact that I completely lack any sense of direction whatsoever, The Gazelle trusts me so fully that he still sometimes lets me lead the way. That’s love. However, after about the 5th time that I brought us full-circle around the 15 block radius of our hotel, only to find that our destination was a mere 2 blocks (insert cardinal direction here) of our hotel, he grew frustrated and took over the navigational duties. That was ok with me though. It was too much responsibility, considering I was on vacation and all.

The good part about wandering around Phoenix and getting lost is that you find things like this…


and this…


and especially this…


We found this little gem of a park behind the Hooters (go figure) in Arizona Center. Their little water pond with the rocky bottom was so relaxing that we spent 2 hours sitting on a wooden bench staring at the water and talking. We can talk for hours if we let ourselves. Sometimes life just doesn't give you time to do that though.

As we were sitting there talking on the bench under the palms (ack...gag...barf...that sounded way too romantic), I felt so thankful to have some extra time for a change. It was strange to have time to just wander around a city aimlessly and get lost.

If you have time someday, you should try it. It's a lot of fun.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back to Life...Back to Reality

This is the song that I literally sang while walking out of the stuffy tube thingy from the plane to the airport terminal. The Gazelle just laughed at me.

Have you ever taken a moment to reflect, and then realized that you can’t remember the past month of your life? Really?! Yeah…me too. I feel like I have been living in a centrifuge for about a month now.

My Grandpa passed away exactly 3 weeks and 1 day ago, sparking an impromptu trip to Central NY to be with my family. I was back at work just in time to get caught up, and then left again on vacation last Wednesday, returning on Sunday. I am now just about caught up at work…in time to leave on a 4 day Thanksgiving holiday weekend! I'm beginning to understand the concept behind everyone’s musings about “there are not enough hours in the day.” I mean…I’ve understood it before, but I think I’m just really feeling it lately.

2 days until Thanksgiving…29 days until Christmas.

TWENTY NINE days until Christmas??!! Not only did I just spend a small fortune to have my 2 crazy dogs boarded while I was on vacation, but I also had the brakes on my car replaced while I was away. Not fixed. Replaced. Apparently, brakes can only be fixed so many times before they need to be replaced. Probably much like a hip or a knee I suppose. I’m sure that hip, knee, and brake replacements are all equally as shocking when you receive the bill.

I did have a great time on vacation though. But, all things must come to an end.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Heart Vacation

Ah, the joy of vacation.

Tomorrow, at the butt crack of dawn, The Gazelle and I will leave on a jet plane to spend 4 lovely days in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve never been to Phoenix before, but I’ve heard only good things. I am basically ready to go anywhere that the weather is not 45 degrees and windy at this point. It’s been a blustery week for us in the DC metro area, so the idea of basking in sunny, beautiful weather (if only for 4 days) seems like a little glimpse of heaven to me.

The forecast at home looks like this…

And…the forecast in Phoenix looks like this…



Will you marry me?

Monday, November 17, 2008


I just figured out how to integrate my Nike + profile into my blog. So...I love you, but Nike + is my new BFF.


The Gazelle

My dear boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years now. Without completely boring you with all of the gory details of our relationship, lets just say that exercise and fitness is important to both of us. He is a former Division I college basketball player, and upon graduation from college, decided that he needed to move on and get a “real” job rather than trying to pursue his hoop dreams a la Michael Jordan. In any case, he still plays recreational basketball, runs (a little), lifts weights, and really enjoys participating in a grossly overpriced (I’ll save that rant for another day) martial arts class twice a week. Did I mention that he runs (a little)?

In July, I was nosing around the website, as I do regularly, and came across The Police Pace 5K Race, which is an annual race that benefits a local police department. Since my dear boyfriend decided to ditch hooping in favor of policing a few years back, this was a cause that we could both feel good about running for…IF I could convince him to run. See, he doesn’t like running at all. He will occasionally run 2 miles on the treadmill at the gym, but by no means does he make a habit of it. He does everything else to compensate for not running.

I knew that the name “Police Pace” would get him. I barely even had to bribe him to do it.

The race was on a Saturday, so my long-legged honey and I decided to run the course on Wednesday night after work, the week of the race. I had previously run this course once the year before for a different race, so I was vaguely familiar. The one thing I did recall was that there was an abundance of hills. Big hills, little hills, medium hills. Hills rolling into hills. It was quite uncomfortable if my memory served me correctly. So, the week of the race, we ran the course. Backwards. Ok, well not literally backwards, but the opposite direction of how we would run it during the race. I was disoriented when we got to the park, and I just started running. Turns out that we made a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way. The course was MUCH easier going the other way, but we had skipped an entire portion of the course, so I ended up running only about 2.5 miles in a circle back to the truck. My dedicated boyfriend just kept running until his Nike + told him that he had gone 3.1 miles. Such a trooper. When he got back to the truck AFTER me, he thought that I had ran faster than him. I didn’t have the heart to correct him.

In a truly loving gesture, he offered the next day to run the race with me.

“Honey, ya know…as long as you’re not going to run TOO slow, I’ll just run the race with you.” ***Enter visions of running across the finish line holding hands in a romantic fashion…gross.

I said “That’s very nice, but I really run better by myself, and I’m just an ugly runner…I don’t want to put you through that.” What he doesn’t realize is that the effort it takes for me to propel my body 3.1 miles without keeling over and dying is enormous. I have asthma, so my run is filled with coughing, heavy breathing, and I’m sure the occasional snort every now and again.

He insisted, so I went with it.

Race day was lovely. I had been training a little to run this race, so I was feeling very confident. Yes, I’m still at the point where I need to train for a 5K. Stop laughing. I regress...race day was lovely. Great fall weather (9/7/08), huge turnout, I was ready to kick some butt. We took off with the pop of the gun, and after spending the first 4-5 minutes milling through the crowd to fall into my comfortable pace, I noticed that my dear boyfriend looked like he was painfully holding himself back. Sidebar: I am 5’5”, and he is 6’2”…in hindsight, the pure physics involved with him running at my pace seems nearly impossible. I nudged him to go ahead.

The first time I ran the same course in 2006, I finished in 34:30. Pathetic, but I finished. I was so psyched when I crossed the finish line at 32:25 this year. I was literally overjoyed. Stop laughing.

Drenched in sweat and barely breathing, I started searching for my boyfriend. After a few glances around, I found him. Chatting. Dry. Calm. Cool. He was literally standing there chatting with a friend that he just ran into. I was immediately irritated, but still happy that I finished. “Babe…I finished in 32:25! Can you believe it??!!”

“Yeah, that’s really good! I’m proud of you!”

“How long have you been here waiting for me??!!”

“Oh, I don’t know…about 10 minutes I think.”

Yep. The man who runs (a little) finished in 24:21. Disgusting. Makes me want to kick him in the shin. However, this little story speaks volumes about early conditioning and natural ability. My dear boyfriend, The Gazelle, has been playing organized sports since he was about 6 years old. When he misbehaved as a young child, rather than spank or yell at him, his father made him do push ups. Brilliant. It started him on a path of fitness that he never let go of, and now at the ripe age of 28, he can still run a 7:51/mile with no training.

Me…not so much.