Do you have a spare $18?

6 Jan

Oh you do? Well, get yourself down to your local Sephora and pick up Sephora’s line of Marc Jacobs nail polish lacquer (it’s fancy).

Now, ordinarily I would ne-ver spend $18 on nail polish lacquer, but I got a Sephora giftcard for my birthday. I just decided to go for it. Hold me back, people!

I am notoriously bad at painting my nails. It always gets globby, looks weird on my cuticles, and I never seem to have the patience for it to dry 100%. This stuff glides on smoothly, and makes even my efforts look great. I found I don’t need to apply that many coats to achieve a lot of shine.

The color I bought is Delphine, which is a great combination of purple and gray. I think it shall be my go-to winter color.

That’s all. Nothing too profound, but I thought I would share my discovery.

-Kenz

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Attempt #2 2: The Realities of Being A Healthy “Adult”

31 Dec

Kenz’s post got me thinking of course about health choices and how the body of a late twentysomething is far different than that of an early twentysomething. While I have to say that I did progressively become healthier after I turned 22 (and left the weird schedules of college) I feel that I have actually lost some of my good habits this year, despite what Kenz may say about my food choices. Full disclosure: the only reason I just had a tamale was because I had made a trip to La Mie, a lovely French bakery in Des Moines, that morning for some avocado tartine (not nearly as healthy as it sounds) and a chocolate brioche (just as bad as it sounds if not worse).  Also, I was planning on heading over to Funaro’s Deli afterwards for my favorite meal there: chicken salad on marble rye with pickles and lettuce, a bag of vinegar and sea salt chips, and a cream soda.  ALSO, who was the person who brought up ordering another round of queso? Yeah, that’d be me. 

It’s true that I usually budget a lot of extra calories around the holidays since I basically eat my Great Grandma Marge’s famous frosted oatmeal sugar cookies nonstop and return to all of my favorite food spots back home; however, usually “budgeting” means I eat very healthy options before the Christmas food extravaganza, but that didn’t really happen this year. I partially blame my new-found bad behavior on my schedule this past semester (Yes, semester. As a teacher I still maintain this kind of schedule). I have been teaching composition and rhetoric at a local community college and I also tutor kids with learning disabilities, and my work time was heavily tipped toward the afternoons and evenings. I really really hated it because I am by nature a morning person, and all I want to do is get all of my work out of the way first so I can do what I want the rest of the day.  You’d think that having my mornings open would make me more motivated to run but (HA!) you’d be very very wrong about that.  I usually used those mornings to catch up on How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, and The Mindy Project (yes, I know only one of those shows has been having consistently good episodes this season, but leave me alone). Not only did I hardly ever run, but my odd schedule made consistent meal times as elusive as a silver unicorn. Not so great for the ol’ metabolism. Kenz may think I’m disciplined, but which of us ran a marathon this year, hmmmm?

The other thing that I blame my laziness on (because I shift blame like the adult I am) was that I had an unexpected roommate in my boyfriend Will for just over three months.  Very sadly, Will was one of the many people here in Colorado severely affected by the September floods. In fact, his complex was THE hardest hit, and since he owned a garden-level unit, he was pretty devastated by the disaster. (On a side note, when donating money to a disaster, try to give the money directly to people who you know were affected. My faith in non-profits has plummeted since Will received nothing from those groups. Don’t even get me started on FEMA and insurance companies . . .)

Anyhoo, since Will was out of his place, and I was also out of my own place for a while since my carpet got soaked, we spent several days staying in the guest rooms of different friends and eating the (usually unhealthy) food that people so sweetly made for us.  Once we got back into my place, I think the combination of stress about rebuilding and the need for comfort food created a perfect storm of bad meal choices. Will is not a picky eater, though for some reason he claims to be, but I felt bad feeding him the kind of meals I like because he tends to eat more than I do and tends to burn it off a lot faster (I swear he loses a pound if he just bends over to pick a toothpick off the floor). This led me to make meals with a lot more carbs than I would usually ever be okay consuming, and to keep a little too much ice cream around since Will always wants dessert. We also share a deep love of ice cream which we will eat at any given time. Just a couple weeks ago we went to an ice cream shop when it was literally 11 below. Didn’t stop us. Another thing that happened was I remembered how much I love bagels. Oh bagels, how I adore thee! Once I found out that my favorite Boulder bagel place (Big Daddy Bagels, you complete me) sold day-old bags of bagels by the dozen for only $3.00, it was game over. Our routine began to be getting up, making coffee, eating bagels, Will heading off to teach, and me bumming around until I had to get ready for work. While I’m a firm believer that having serious carbs in the morning is best since you will tend to work it off throughout the day, I wouldn’t advise doing this every day like we were doing. On the whole, having Will around along with my weird schedule meant I cooked less, opted for easy (re: unhealthy) foods, and took up pilates for only a few days before getting too lazy to push my coffee table out of the way every morning so I could look like a spandexed monkey. Should we ever live together, I will need to get my willpower (get it? Will-power?) firmly in place, and he would agree that more greens and less bread would be best (which is saying something for someone who doesn’t enjoy eating green vegetables except for asparagus (yum) and frozen peas (laaaaaaaaame).

On the bright side, these days Will’s place is almost completely rebuilt, and I’m glad to have my happy, non-stressed Will back. This means that I am also not as stressed (it felt very weird to me to have stress because the guy I’m seeing was stressed -definitely a new feeling) and can focus on regaining some of my better habits in the new year. I will be teaching more in the mornings which will help a lot, and I have also shed some tutoring clients who were giving me unnecessary stress. (One lady actually called me at 7:30 in the morning after the flooding had begun and after I got about two hours of sleep from trying to stave the flooding of my own place and hearing about Will’s place getting progressively worse. Her question? If I could come in to tutor her son since there was no school. Keep in mind there was no school because we were experiencing A F*$%ING DISASTER. Will was able to remain calm about his own place, but got ridiculously angry upon hearing this story.)

Another reason I want to get back to being healthier and generally more put together is my new nephew, Nolan. He was born just a few days before the floods hit, and I started thinking about what kind of role model I want to be for him. It’s amazing how much a kid who isn’t even my own makes me want to adult-up and be a good example.

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Would YOU want to disappoint that face? Surely not!

***On a side note, my family is good at making cute babies. To be super honest, I think that anyone else who proclaims that their *insert baby relative* is the cutest is just lying to themselves. Can you make a baby as cute as this? If you can’t, then quit now. (Yes, I have become THAT aunt, and I’m cool with it.)***

As far as 2014 goes, my goals are these: be healthier through my actions and what I eat, find a job that will launch me into a career I love, find more great healthy recipes and cooking tips, and to write more. I love to write, and it’s silly I don’t do more of it. Expect more from me here in the next year. With that, I am off to make some very unhealthy toffee I was given into cookies which I will make other people eat. How’s that for a healthy option? 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Attempt #2

31 Dec

Fair warning: Things are gonna get a tish personal.

I took a wonderful trip to Guatemala with friends back in 2010. It was totes amazeballs, fo realz. The pictures of me in Guatemala? Eeeshhh… For one, I had a remarkably icky haircut. For another, and to be 100% honest, I looked fat. And then I got home, stepped on the scale, and saw a scary number. To Weight Watchers I went. I stuck with it for a good 3 months, and I lost weight. About 15 pounds. And then for some reason I got bored with points and decided to go back to eating all the cheese. And I kept paying for my membership for a really long time – all the while still eating all the cheese. Eventually I quit the program altogether. And yup. The weight came back. And then some. Especially now that I live with Kris. It’s sooo easy to get in to that groove of thinking “Ehhh. Whatever. You’ll still love me if all my pants are sweatpants and I live off Bagel Bites and chocolate?” (side note: how delicious are Bagel Bites?) This is a relatively new thing for me. Up until Kris, I wouldn’t eat tons of bad stuff in front of a dude. Since living with Kris, it’s like bring on the Chinese takeout! Not so good for me and Mr. Scale.

For work we had to have a health risk assesment done to receive a discount on our health insurance. Mine came back. And? And I am medically, wait for it, obese. Oh.Bese. Ummm. Excuuuuse me? Maybe I’m a bit tubby. Overweight, okay. But obese?? Yikes. And wow. And ugh… And how I am going to not be considered obese? To me, obese is Fat Gina at work. Obese are the people who use scooters because they are too tubs to walk. I’m one of them? Hell to the no.

So I did it again. I signed up with Weight Watchers. And this time I went big time. Meetings too. More pressure and more $. Yesterday was my first day on it. I was within my points. But around 10 pm, as we were coming home from seeing a movie (Secret Life of Walter Mitty – screw the reviews, I thought it was wonderful) I told Kris I could seriously eat an entire other supper. I was really hungry. I rounded out my points with a carrot and a measured out tablespoon of hummus. Prior to yesterday, I don’t think I would have gone straight for a carrot. But that’s what this is all about. I think weight loss is about a million different little decisions everyday. So here I am. And I have to keep telling myself that not being obese trumps bad eating habits.

I’ve also observed a lot too. Thin people might have better metabolisms, etc, but from what I have seen, they also simply eat less. To throw out Ali as a prime example of this (sorry, Ali, just go with me) we met up for some delicious Mexican food in our college town last weekend before her flight back to Denver. True, we ordered the infamous queso, which is nothing, if not pure tastebud Heaven, but her meal was one single tamale. My point is not that all thin people are anorexic. Not at all. But they do just eat less. Which is, long story here, what I am trying to do. I trained for and ran an entire marathon, and people, I didn’t shed one pound of lard. Not one. I think, at least for me it’s got to be about food.

Pretty cliche of me to be writing this on New Year’s Eve, right? I know. It really is. My friends and I are taking a trip this spring and I don’t want to have to wear a one piece suit with a skirt like obese (ugh, I hate that word) women wear. Mayhaps I will start a separate blog to document this journey. I thought about just documenting it personally, but I fear it will get way too “Dear Diary” to be of any use to me. We’ll see. Here we go Day 2.

The Marathon Recap Pt 2

25 Oct

The week leading up to Chicago, I was having a difficult time focusing on anything other than the marathon. The Thursday before we left, I had an evening class. It’s safe to say that academics were the last thing on my mind that night. I nervously told classmates not to expect great things from me – who knows if I would even finish? That Friday at work, I could barely handle being at the office. My#1 thought that day was “in a mere 2 days you will be running a marathon.

Kris and I left Saturday, and it’s possible he heard variations of “I’m worried” every 20 or so minutes. Poor guy. As we flew the short distance from Minneapolis to Chicago, Kris ordered an adult beverage. We had been given some free Southwest drink coupons from a friend (please, we’re waaay too cheap for that otherwise.) I had Vitamin water because, well, no alcohol before the race.

Now the majorly disappointing thing about our flight was its arrival time. Liz was having a blogger meet up that day at 12 and our flight didn’t even arrive until 1. Boo to that! But maybe it was a good thing after all as I’m sure I would have come across as a creepy stalker. #hatewhenthathappens #hashtagsonwordpressmeannothing

Expo

We checked into our hotel and immediately shuttled over to the Expo which was held at a huge convention center. I picked up my bib and race packet, and we walked around checking out the many stands for a while. Funny observation about runners: even though the race was not until the next day, the majority of people there were in athletic clothes. I felt kind of out of place with my jeans and riding boots.

Expo 2

Can you tell how nervous I am??

From there it was off to eat an enormous plate of spaghetti and bread, 100% guilt free. Carbo-loading, baby.

Dinner

And then it was back to the hotel early to rest up. I tried not to dwell on the fact that the marathon was the very next morning. Surprisingly, I was able to sleep, but when the alarm sounded at the early hour, I just wanted to curl up for a minute in denial. But I did get up, put on my running outfit, grab my hat, my water belt, Garmin watch, iPod (actually iPods, I borrowed my brother’s shuffle in case mine died. I needs my music!), ate a banana, drank some (eew, gross) coconut water, and headed out the door. We had roughly a mile and a half to walk to get to Grant Park, and I saw many other runners making their way over as well. In fact, some runners were actually running to the start of the race. Just for the record, I was not one of those people. Not even at all.

When we finally reached my drop off point I gave Kris an extra long hug and walked through the gates to my designated start chorale. When I signed up back in February, I estimated myself to finish between 6 hours 10 minutes and 6 hours 30 minutes. I figured that was a safe bet for me, so I was put in the very last start chorale.

Two days before the race I read about something called the Nike Pace Teams. It’s a free group you can join and run with, led by experienced marathoners who can keep a specific pace throughout the course. I was really interested in the 5:45 pace. I thought this would be a good thing to join because I had heard countless times, and discovered myself, that running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. Having a group to run with would help me focus less on how many minutes left until I walk, how tired I am, etc. Just keep with the group. The problem was that the 5:45 group was one group ahead of my start chorale. Upon entering my chorale I was able to spot the 5:45 group ahead of me thanks to their sign.

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There was about a 25 minute wait from when the second wave of (non-elite) runners started to when I crossed the start line. During that time it was interesting to people watch. All these people had put in so many hours of training, all these people wanted the same thing as me. To finish this thing. I loved hearing people’s conversations. Somehow it was oddly comforting to know that I was not the only one nervous as hell.

And then we were off. I crossed the start line of the marathon, and felt great. Usually, I am not the type of runner who finds her stride quickly. Usually, during the first mile or so my muscles aren’t warmed up, and it’s altogether not fun. This time my muscles were ready, and I found my pace. And somehow I just wasn’t tired. Thank you very much, adrenaline. I felt so great that I skipped my first 2 scheduled walk breaks. The crowds were incredible. So much support. And before I knew it, 2 miles had already gone by and I found the 5:45 pace group. Just like I suspected, joining this group definitely contributed to my success. Unlike my training group with The Running Room, I really enjoyed running with this group because they ran at a comfortable pace for me. It wasn’t me spending the run trying to keep up. And they, too, did run/walk intervals. I didn’t have to keep track myself, just follow the group.

In between miles 3 and 4, I heard my name and saw Kris. I ran over to him, gave a quick hug, but had to be on my way to keep up with the group. Right after mile 6 is when the coconut water hit me. I had to go. One of the ladies in the pace group split off to head for a port-o-potty. I thought this was as good a moment as any, especially if another member of the group was leaving. I tried to hurry as fast as I could, but once I was out there was no sign of the group or that other runner. Cue slight panic as miles 2-6 had gone really well being with them, and I absolutely didn’t want to think about completing the remaining 20 alone. I ran alone for a few minutes before recognizing another girl from the group. She, too, must have split off at that point. Her name, I learned, is Brenda. She’s from Texas and Chicago was her 2nd marathon. Shout out to Brenda, as she was awesome to run with for a while. During my run with Brenda, we ran past Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. It brought back memories of the summer Ali and I lived in the city. Visiting Lincoln Park Zoo was something fun and (free) we did a few times. If only I would have known then that 6 years later I’d be back, running a marathon. I probably wouldn’t have believed it.

A little in to mile 7 we caught up with the pace group. I was super relieved to be back with them. I think Brenda was too. And from there we just kept going. I honestly couldn’t believe how good I was feeling. In none of my training had runs ever gone this well. Again, thank you adrenaline and crowds. I noticed around mile 10 (into the double digits, oh yeah!) that my feet were starting to get slightly achy, but it was nothing I couldn’t push through.

And then at mile 11 I heard my name and saw Kris, Karla, Kayla, and Mel. By that point the girls had gotten into the city and met up with Kris. It was so good to see them! I ran over, almost knocking into a guy, and said a quick hello. Here is a video Kris took. He later asked why I wasn’t more excited about the Gatorade – little did he know how much Gatorade had already been handed out. Props to Chicago for keeping us all hydrated, but this wasn’t something super exciting to me at the time 🙂

Despite slightly achy feet, I was still feeling good. When we crossed the halfway point, I remember thinking that every step left was less than what I had already taken. I had been taking my gels every 4 miles. It’s basically a packet of goo that provides calories and energy for longer runs. Not the most appetizing thing ever, but I do think it helped as the miles went up.

I remember around mile 15 is when things got harder for me for a few reasons: I was starting to feel tired, there was less of a crowd, we were out in the boonies, and there wasn’t a lot of shade. The crowds cheering really do help. Despite all that, I did keep up with my group. Miles 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 were hard, but I pushed through. I wanted to stop and walk at mile 20, but still, I kept with the group.

However at mile 22, things changed. I had gone from miles 2-22 with the group, but I needed to slow myself from their pace because of the pain in my feet. And sadly, at that point I let them go on without me. And I walked. And walked. This was far and away the hardest moment of the race and I’m slightly ashamed to say I walked from mile 22 to 23.

But when 23 came around I knew the end was so close. I had come so far, and I couldn’t give in to prolonged periods of walking. I saw my friends again and it was enough to keep me going. I made it through 23. Then 24. Mile 25… only 1.2 miles left. There were so many walkers at this point, and I was so tired that I did give in to walking more than I should have. I thought nearing the finish line would somehow bestow miraculous energy upon me. Not the case until a girl put her hand on my shoulder and said, “No, no walking. We are here. We did it. Let’s finish strong. I’ll run with you.” So with her by my side, I saw the group, gave a wave to my friends like “Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m running!” and headed up the hill towards the finish. As I turned the corner and saw the Finish banner, I uncontrollably started to cry. I was crying as I finished the Chicago Marathon in 5 hours and 52 minutes. And I kept crying even as a volunteer put the medal around my neck. Slow to many, but hey, I beat my goal time by 38 minutes. So slow or not, that makes me damn proud. I called my parents who unforunately couldn’t make it, and then went to find my group.

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A selfie I took right after finishing. You may notice the tears.

I was handed, like all other finishers, a 312 beer which I took 1 sip off and dumped out. Just a head’s up: beer immediately following a marathon? Nu-huh. By the hundreds of scattered, still full cups, around the park, I seem to not have been alone there.

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After meeting up with the group we headed back to the hotel where I attempted to take an ice bath. In case you’re wondering, the Hyatt Magnificent Mile does not have a truly cold option. It was lukewarm at best, which is not what I needed. I mustered up the energy to head down to Greektown for a delcious supper where we had (see Marathon recap pt1) no wait.

So I did it. I am a marathoner. People ask me if I will do another. Honestly, a month ago I would have confidently said no. But now my answer is more like never say never. We’ll see. I would want to do it with someone or a group, and have a little less going on in my life if I ever did it again.

The rest of my time in Chicago I was sore as can be, but we still managed a trip to the Nike store to get my medal engraved. This is also where I was a sucker and spent way too much $ on a finisher t-shirt and hoodie.

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We took a trip to Hyde Park to get delicious tarts at Medici bakery, visited The Shedd Aquarium, had deep dish at Gino’s East, popped into Topshop (where I only could afford a necklace), and saw The Bean.

I will always remember this weekend fondly, and look back to it if I ever start doubting myself. Because me, the girl who used to despise running, and thought a half marathon might as well have been to the moon, did a full freaking marathon.

Oh, and in full disclosure, I now am one of *those* people with a 26.2 sticker on their car. I know – it’s a bit braggy and all that, but there it is anyway.

Photos from Oct 14, 2013

If you’re still reading this, wow, I’m impressed you’ve stuck with it so long 🙂

xo, Kenz

The Marathon Recap Pt 1

23 Oct

“Is there a wait for a table for 5?”

“Not for a marathon girl.”

I glanced down at the medal around my neck. Marathon girl. Me.

Even now, over a week later, I am still amazed by the fact that I did it. I ran an actual, full, freaking marathon. I can call myself a marathoner. Whoa. You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging for ages and ages. Life is super busy when you’re training for a marathon, working full time,  in grad school, and completing a residency. Life is still as busy as ever, even with the marathon over, but I hope to blog more than I have been lately. I digress…

It all started with a post from Liz at One Twenty Five about running a marathon, specifically the Chicago Marathon. I’ve been following Liz for a while now – seeing her adventures, following her running story. This marathon, by the way, was her 4th full one. Color me impressed! I had been so in awe of her dedication and accomplishments with her previous marathons. In fact, my New Year’s Resolution for 2012 was to run a half marathon. At the time, 13.1 miles might as well have been to the moon, it seemed sooo far. And then around February of that year, I was laid off. And let me tell you something, having no schedule, no job, no actual reason to change out of pj’s in the morning, made for one reeediculously lazy me. And despite having all the time in the world to train, somehow that 13.1 mile race never did happen. I should have tackled that goal with no pesky schedule to get in my way. I know, I know, turns out, I’m a little insane. Eventually, I was hired, and got out of my slump. Despite not loving my current job, and complaining about a lack of free time, re-hashing my unemployment experience is a good reminder for me that I do seem to thrive on schedules.

Reading the post about running the Chicago Marathon lit a fire under me. I decided to sign up. I remember sitting at my desk at work, feeling a nervous excitement, texting Kris, emailing my mom, and then really deciding. I still had a month or so before the registration opened, but I knew I was going to do it. And come Feb 19 I was ready at 12pm CST to actually sign up. And then I couldn’t. And couldn’t. And couldn’t. Turns out, this year so many people wanted to sign up for the marathon that the server crashed. I was so anxious about actually getting signed up. How sad to decide to commit to something so huge, and then not be able to simply because I couldn’t sign up. After a call to my mom she was able to put me through with her iPad…twice. Luckily it wasn’t too difficult to get the duplicate entry’s refund back. I was just thrilled to actually get in.

After a few hours, Marathon officials opted to close the registration. Those like myself lucky enough to get in were in. Whew! But there were several thousand who found themselves without a registration. The reminaing 15,000 entries were handled on a lottery system. Unforuntately, not everyone interested in the marathon was able to get a registration. Chicago, up until now, was the only World Marathon in the United States to have registration on a first come, first serve basis. This very well may change next year, and who knows how they’ll arrange it. For me, not having to have a “qualifying time” was one of the appeals of this particular marathon. From registration, my only goal was to finish in time to be counted. From what I understand, many marathons have a cut off time of 5 hours and 30 minutes. Chicago’s is 6 hours and 30 minutes which totally benefits pokey people such as myself. That being said, I simply wanted to be able to count. To run this thing in under 6 hours and 30 minutes. To many  probably all marathon runners, that is practically running at a snail’s pace, but still, for me, it seemed like a big challenge.

This book helped me a lot. It added humor to this giant feat I placed in front of myself. I mean, just look at the cover. Hilarious. It called to me. I also joined a marathon training clinic through a store called The Running Room. It’s a Canadian company, but there are a few stores in the twin cities and one in West Des Moines for all my Iowa friends!

The 16 week training program put me with a small group of runners who all were better and more experienced than me. I had never even done a half! I remember being sooo nervous at work before the evening of my first session. What was I doing? I signed up for a MARATHON? Holy shitballs. It got super real that day. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a lovely picture of myself after that day’s first run. Which was, ahem, only 3.5 miles. It was a HARD 3.5 miles, and at that point I knew I was in for a lot, a lot, a lot of work.

RR1

Week after week we had sessions from everything from nutrition to injury prevention, each session concluding with a run. Being the slowest member of the group could be really disheartening at times. At one point I almost quit the group, vowing to continue on my own. Fortunately, I came to my senses and did not quit. As difficult as it could be sometimes, I was conditioned to push myself. It can be easy to back off on runs when alone.

Another huge challenge I faced was what was diagnosed as neuroma, which is honestly just a compressed nerve that made my feet numb when I ran. Running with numb feet was so discouraging. Being aware of every step, the tingling, sometimes painful throb on the pavement. I ended up getting (holy, expensive!) custom orthotics, which are these solid inserts that fit into my running shoes. They keep my feet stable, which prevents the nerve from getting compressed. These took some serious getting used to. Because on the one hand, while they keep my feet stable, the transition to running without your foot being able to move was quite painful. After some time, this did get better, but especially on my long runs, I would come home with achy, sometimes bruised, feet.

Photos from Running

Leading up to the marathon, I was so anxious. How would it go? The worst part for me was feeling like I didn’t have a sense of how the day would go. I was filled with a mix of dread and excitement leading up to Chicago, and though I feel as though I didn’t train as much as I needed to, given my schedule, I was as ready as I was going to be.

The Internet & Me: Why I Need to Participate Less

16 Jul

Like almost any human being on the planet these days, I don’t know what I would do without the internet. There is so much awesome stuff I wouldn’t know, so many wonderful things I wouldn’t have seen. This doesn’t mean I’ve learned anything of value -far from it -but good golly Miss Molly, I have been entertained by this medium beyond comprehension. I am information-addicted, and when my web browser has ten tabs open, it actually means that I need to find more SNL videos/NPR Code Switch articles/meaningless Top 10 lists to fill it up with. I can’t help but feel enriched when I can watch a special about Titanoboa from the comfort of my bed. However, I also can’t help but feel a bit old when my Internet reference-laden vocabulary is unfamiliar to those younger than me. The other day I started talking like the Teen Girl Squad, and called something a betch, and my four years younger roommate had no idea what I was talking about. It’s devastating when the viral videos and memes of yesteryear are abandoned for something like twerking (<–not linked for a reason).

Though I love the internet, and it loves me, there are some ways that I interact with it that need to stop. I mean make like Joey Gladstone and Cut. *Scissors* It. *Index Finger* Out *Backwards Thumb*. Why, whhhhyyyyyy do I still bother to read the comments on articles –and why do I comment on them?? Comments are for trolls and people who have developed an opinion off of one badly researched CNN article. It never gives me any satisfaction or any feeling that I’ve actually contributed something to an actual conversation.

Since I haven’t yet stopped commenting on articles, the universe gave me a reason to just yesterday. I had of course commented on the soon-to-be Pulitzer winning Rolling Stone article, “The Dumbest Band Names of All Time.” Don’t ask me why I still read stuff on Rolling Stone. It used to be my dream job to work for them, and now they are basically one notch above Buzzfeed in terms of quality. Still, I shared my opinion, which I’m sure the world was waiting with bated breath for:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I had completely forgotten about making the comment, as one tends to forget about trivial, meaningless things, until I got an e-mail saying that someone had replied to my post. Since I hadn’t put up anything polarizing or inflammatory, I couldn’t guess why someone would actually want to interact with my milquetoast observations. This is what I got:

Idiot Stick

OH MY STARS –someone find me this adorable little devil stat so I can marry him and carry his child. Not to mention the fact that he is about as witty as they come. But seriously folks, I really need to stop doing this kind of thing. Especially on Twitter . . .

I have had a Twitter account for approximately three years. I’ve maybe posted something on an average of perhaps one post per three months, if that. Honestly, I think Twitter is a sack of garbage most of the time, except for stuff from seriously funny comedians like Mindy Kaling who are putting up solid gold pretty much constantly. Somehow I was hired as a social media guru this past year without letting on about my grumpy, grad school grandma distaste for tweeting. The only reason I took to my Twitter this past weekend was because of the ruling in the George Zimmerman case. I got home late Saturday night, and made the mistake of checking the news before I went to bed. Big mistake. Huge. I found myself feeling incredibly angry and worked up over the whole thing, which is not good, because that’s definitely when my foot-to-mouth syndrome comes into play. I went on Facebook and was about to post something angry about privilege and being very, very anti-gun and anti-violence, when I suddenly knew what would happen: my dear mother would ask me about it later on the phone, and would tell me that it was very immature for someone my age to let spew on Facebook. I knew she would be right. So I took to Twitter instead.

When I got there though, I was like an unstoppable machine. I somehow thought that because I don’t think Twitter matters, everyone else doesn’t either, which is so very wrong, especially when it comes to future employment. I put up my post, but was of course then prompted to see what other people were saying about the whole ordeal. Why did I do that? Naturally, the first neanderthal I saw who had said something betraying his ignorance, racism, sexism, I felt the need to pounce. Though I want to maintain calm and have conversations that actually get us somewhere, I have to admit that if I see or hear someone saying something ignorant (*cough*Ann Coulter*cough*), a very small (narrow-minded and size-based definitions) vengeful part of me wants to throw a rabid animal in their face. However, instead of chucking a salivating raccoon at this guy, this “conversation” ensued:

Twitter Fucker

I’m sure the world is a better place for this exchange (please note my deep sarcasm here). This went on for a couple more posts, but here’s the takeaway: I wasn’t going to make this guy a better person, mostly because I don’t think this kid had IQ enough to understand my 140 character messages. Yes, that’s me bashing him again, but what was I going to achieve? I had no chance at all. Ultimately, I had to just quit and try to go to sleep, which didn’t happen because I was still, of course, angry. I think I had to find a YouTube video of soothing nature sounds to get there.

All in all, I really need to disconnect more (she writes as she types on her blog). I went home for a visit about a month ago, and since I don’t have a smart phone and my parents’ internet service is somehow worse than the service I get from Comcast, I just went offline for over a week. It was actually incredibly easy and wonderful. I couldn’t bear to do it constantly, but it is doable. I also think I should make you a promise: I do so solemnly swear to stay away from article comments, social media rants, and anything that might lead to an awkward situation in any future interview. I’m making it sound like a freak out online on the regs, but I promise that this is not the case. I think it will pay to be overly cautious.

In closing, I would like to share with you one of my favorite things that the internet has produced: cheap scam ads. You know the ones. They have some ridiculous message next to a picture that in no way connects to said message? I’ve amassed a pretty great collection. Have a looksee:

Baby Mortgage Hate

Baby Mortgage Hate

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

He better hurry up and buy.

He better hurry up and buy.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

Osmosis linguistics!

Osmosis linguistics!

If you are, you better put this thing on so you don't wake up your significant other in the meantime.

If you are, in the meantime you better put this thing on so you don’t wake up your significant other.

More like "Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese."

More like “Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese.”

Oh man guys, you have no idea how long I’ve been holding on to some of those. No seriously, it’s kind of embarrassing. I only want what’s best for you internet . . .

Run Club

28 Jun

Holy Hell. I hate run club. And I need to seriously get over that because I’ve got about oh-you-know 14 weeks left. I signed up for a marathon clinic through The Running Room. Last week it was just me and the trainer which initially I thought sucked because all the attention was focused on me. Thanks, but no thanks. Then on Wednesday of this week was a free run night which was explained to me kind of like this, “Run club meets every Wednesday and Sunday. Usually a bunch of people show up, but people go their own pace and distance.” Sa-weet. My own pace and distance? I like that talk because here’s the truth folks: I am a slooow, slooow runner. Like when I’m tired it looks like I am shuffling in a sad, depressed way down the street. In truth, I showed up with a buddy totally expecting this “your pace, your distance” thing and there were about 5 ELITE runners there. Like this one lady runs so much she has somehow modfied her feminine genitic makeup and has the body of a man. This chubby runner ain’t got nothing on her. My poor friend had to turn around early. I kept up about halfway, but then between huffing and puffing managed to tell the group to leave me. (Side note: If I ever find myself in a war movie where I selflessly tell my comrades to leave me behind as I die in the dirt, I will draw upon this experience.) These runner folks did not stop. For me? This is problematic as I love a little walk break. Hush you. I can sense your judgement.

And then the worst thing happened. Content with making it back to the store by myself (seriously, I was super happy to be alone) the leader and old man marathon dude came back for me. Cue me in my head a la White Fang, “Leeeave!” Just leave, okay?!” But no, they came back and said the dreaded words of encouragement that don’t encourage, but just make me feel pissed. “You can do it.” “Everyone has their own level.” and my personal favorite – “we just felt like running with you.” Uh huh. No you didn’t, LIARS. You felt sorry for me. It’s super lame when people feel sorry for you. I hope I can get better so that stops real soon.

Then yesterday. Oh, how yesterday sucked. Went to the clinic where there were a handful of others that had since joined the clinic. All great runners, which makes me wonder why the hell they joined the clinic. Leave the real training to couch-lovers like me! How I missed the week before when I didn’t have to worry about being the one who is slow that people are waiting on.

Remember my foot problem where it goes numb when I run? Apparently it’s a compressed nerve which my custom-made orthotics are supposed to help. Well, I picked up those orthotics on Wednesday, and um yeah. My foot totally still fell asleep, although I feel as if maybe it’s not as bad with them in? I’ll keep trying, but here is the other problem – orthotics take a bit of getting used to, and since I have only had them since Wednesday my leg muscles on day 2 of running in them were basically screaming at me. So…run with them in and have less/more manageable foot numbness, but overwhelming leg pain? Or take them out and have a foot that is dead. Super awesome predicament, eh? I am going to continue wearing the orthotics until my leg muscles get used to them. And I hope and pray so, so hard that it will help make the numbness better.

I feel like when I explain my situation to people, they look at me is if I am explaining to them that I have fibromyalgia or some other “disease” for attention seekers. No one knows my pain!

 Despite all my bitching and moaning, I want this. I want this just once. To say I ran a marathon. To say I did it and counted. Unlike all my run-happy comrades, I’m not looking to make some marvelous time. Screw that! My goal is as bottom-o-the-barrel as one can get. To run it and count. To not get kicked off the course because I was too slow to count. That’s all.

So I think I will do training club once a week and push myself super hard then. The rest of the time, I’m going to train my way.

Here we go.

If Only They Paid Me To Do This

29 May

And speaking of “Moving Forward,” it’s been two weeks since I graduated with my master’s (yay!) and two weeks since reality hit me like a ton of bricks (the pain …). I’m in that wonderful little world right now where I’m trying to get the career that I want, but some steps still lay ahead. I want to get my teaching license and take some certifying classes so I can become a literacy specialist, but that’s still a little way off. Right now I’m trying not to think about the nitty gritty too much, otherwise I’ll just start randomly screaming. What I’m trying to think about is all the awesome things I can do now that I don’t have to read things I don’t particularly want to read, and write stuff that is, I’m sorry to say, mostly pointless.

One thing I’ve been reminded of is how much I like having projects, and how much my constant homework load was preventing me from doing many of the things I enjoy. One project I finished just today is for my future nephew (due September 8th! -that’s JTT’s birthday . . . and the Virgin Mary’s, purportedly). His name is going to be Nolan, and I was curious as to whether the name had any cool meanings. It turns out the name means “noble” or “noble one,” and I wanted to somehow incorporate that into a homemade gift. I wanted to use the book Where the Wild Things Are too, since it’s obviously the greatest, and there is also a picture in the book that fits well with the “noble” theme. Observe:

Nolan: Noble One

Nolan: Noble One

I know. Freaking cute, right? I bought a used copy of the book and took out some pictures, and I plan to give a new copy of the book as part of the gift. Here are the rest of the photos I did, and one grouping of them all. I think they would look the best hanging up, but they look cute in a cluster too.

Beginning the rumpus

“and the walls became the world all around”

Mischievous

Mischievous

IMG_3515

Just right for a surely adventurous boy

Just right for a boy who will surely be adventurous

I hope that these will be a mainstay in his room for a while. Amazing what a little bargain hunting for frames, spray paint, and determination can do.

Something Kenz and I may have mentioned in this little blog is our hobby of reading/making fun of/parodying romance novels. This began several summers ago (it would make me feel too old to say how many) when Kenz and I were living in Chicago for a summer during college. The train station in the suburb where my parents lived had a “Take a Book, Leave a Book” shelf that was mostly populated with cheap smut, so we naturally took the opportunity to give ourselves a good laugh. And laugh we did –maybe too much for the liking of other train passengers, but thus, a tradition was born. We ended up reading at least four of these “novels” that summer (cut us some slack –we were poor college kids looking for entertainment). At one point we even got the idea to write one for ourselves, because really, how hard could it be? Sadly, we only got so far as to name the characters (obviously over-wrought, non-real people names), pick the setting (the Australian outback!), and decide on a body part to fetishize (seriously, this is something that these books always seem to do). One way the tradition has continued is by Kenz sending me these amazing postcards that feature the covers of romance novels, which can often be the best part of the book, if you ask me. Here are some of the postcards I’ve received so far:

Speech Bubble No. 1: "I stare because I have no thoughts." No. 2: "Wake up, you iiiideot!" No. 3: "I stop cats with my hand!"

Speech Bubble No. 1: “I stare because I have no thoughts.” No. 2: “Wake up, you iiiideot!” No. 3: “I stop cats with my hand!”

The Classic Overswoon -He's just kissing your cheek, for God's sake

The Classic Overswoon -He’s just kissing your cheek, for God’s sake

You might not see it, but there is totally a voyeuristic posse of creeps on the ridge behind them

You might not see it, but there is totally a voyeuristic posse of creeps on the ridge behind them

Romance cover, or PSA for avoiding electrocution?

Romance cover, or PSA for avoiding electrocution?

The bangs. Dear Lord, the bangs!

The bangs. Dear Lord, the bangs!

I of course treasure these postcards with all my heart. Our hobby has become well-known to many of our friends, who think we’re insane, but love us anyway. One of them must have given me a romance novel as a joke at some point, because as I was cleaning out my overcrowded bookshelves, I came across this:

Wow. What a "deep" title.

Wow. What a “deep” title.

I don’t remember who had the fabulous idea to give this to me, but I’m thrilled that they did, because it has provided me the opportunity to take the hobby further. After reading literary theory for the last two years, this book has been a welcome reprieve, but I haven’t stopped my habit of writing in the margins. However, this tendency has made this book one of the most fun projects I’ve had in some time. I write commentary about the characters and the horrendous writing, correct grammar errors, play Mad Libs with the most erotic scenes, and generally just make the book approximately 110% better. The book centers on the characters Rhea and Gustavo (*snicker*) who meet on a plane to Brazil. Gustavo is from Rio, and Rhea is a photographer for a swanky magazine -something you cannot tell from the cover, since the models look like PDA-loving parents at a high school football game in Anywhere, USA. Once I am finished with it I will send it to Kenz, who mayhaps will write a review of the whole experience of reading it? Perchance? 🙂

By far the best thing so far about being done with school is being able to go up to my boyfriend’s cabin in Northern Colorado and not having to read one thing (except, of course, when I would sit in the rocking chair on the porch and giggle while making notes in Everlasting Moments). This past weekend was the first time I’d experienced that area during the summer, and it was wonderfully picturesque.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The reason the bf decided to build a cabin there was to have access to the many private lakes. He loves to fish, and I really like it too, so it was pretty amazing when we got to devote an entire day to just fishing, napping, and attending some Memorial Day parties. He started to teach me how to fly fish, which I’m not terrible at, but I am a whiz at getting basically any fishing pole to tangle horrifically at least once before an hour of use. Luckily, he’s very patient.

Adorable fisherman

Adorable fisherman

We ended up catching quite a few. Unfortunately, we didn’t think ahead very well for taking the fish back that we kept, so we ended up transporting one of the fish I caught, Todd, back to the cabin via plastic packaging for some air filters, and another one, Ted, via the top of a (new, clean) garbage can that sat on my lap. The bf loves to fish, but sadly, doesn’t particularly like eating the fishies, so we’ve been trying to come up with ways to make them more palatable. We hadn’t thought to bring up any of the makings of a good fish batter, so we ended up eating them straight off the grill. More accurately, I ate about 3/4 of them, and the bf tried valiantly to eat a few bites before switching to sweet corn as most of his meal. We’ll do better next time.

Todd

Todd

The next several months are going to be weird, interesting, and probably a bit of a roller coaster as I try to successfully move forward with being a post-school adult, but I am ecstatic about having time to write, read, take photos, and generally have my goofy hobbies again. Sweet freedom!

Moving Forward (Literally)

28 May

Well hey there. In the theme of “I talk about nothing but The Chicago Marathon”, I went to the podiatrist today. And? And it was…um…a teensy bit of a bust. Everytime I jog/run my foot falls asleep at about 2 miles. Basically I was told that I really should just go to a running store for a proper shoe. Kind of the point was to get a doctor’s advice, but you know, sure. The only smidgen of help is that he said my feet are normal (whew! at least there is not some majorly expensive thing going on), but that somehow a nerve is getting compressed when I run. Not sure how exactly. Which is the problem. I was also told I have kind of flat feet, which did blow my mind a little bit as I always thought my arches were high. Go figure.

So tomorrow after work, I shall drive myself to The Running Room is search of the perfect shoe and upon finding it will do a quick swish of the card. Always something to pay for, right? On this tangent: yeah, this marathon is not so cheap. Really not so cheap at all what with the registration fees, travel expenses, hotel costs, running shoes, doctor’s fees, running clothes – the works. But this is my huge, huge goal and when I complete it I know it will be worth every penny.

I’m also thinking minimalist shoes. Something like this. Maybe a completely different kind of shoe is something I need.

http://us.shop.runningroom.com/shoes/minimus-trail-mt10-v2-womens.html

Well that’s about it for now. Off to my finance class which makes me want to blow my brains out of boredom. First world problems, I know.

Happy Tuesday!

144 Days

22 May

I’m giving these next 144 days some serious side eye. Why is that? Oh, you know, just this little thing called The Chicago Marathon. My training really began this month, well at least the most consistent training since I signed up. Some days I feel so excited and other days I wonder what the f*#! I was thinking to sign up. Because 26.2 miles is a lot. A lot. A lot. I don’t think my trepidation is going to go away until I cross that finish line.

I’ve been nervous as well because for the past couple years, I’ve noticed this slight problem that when I run, only after about 2 miles, my foot (or feet!) fall dead asleep. My whole foot is filled with a tingly, yet numb sensation with every step. It’s getting to the point that it’s really un-ignorable and is effecting my training. I’ve gone on to all kinds of online forums and have read that I need to loosen my laces. Weeellll… that trick is not so much working out. So on Tuesday it’s on to my first ever podiatry appointment where I’m sure the doctor will be quick to point out all my genetic flaws – wide feet, high arches, second toe longer than my big toe, probably getting bunions. I’m afraid by this time next week, I’ll be walking around in nude color grandma orthopedics. Sad. But if I want to keep up this training, keeping this appointment is an absolute must. I can only hope and pray that this problem is fixable and non-costly. I really hope.

In some of my training material, I read that I need to have one super, amazing, purposeful reason for training for a marathon. It has to even be better than “I told everyone I’m doing it and how embarrassing for me if I quit!” So I’ve been thinking and thinking on it. What is going to push me to continue when my whole body hurts, when I have to spend a precious day off on a long run instead of horizontal on my BFF, Mr. Couch? What will be my reason? I think back to 12-13 year old me. I didn’t feel very good about myself at that age. Not good at all. I felt out of place and awkward (well, because I was). I don’t think I had enough self worth to believe in myself enough to accomplish a goal this huge. And now I do, or at least I’m trying like hell. I need to prove to myself that even though I can’t get everything in my life perfect, this I can do. This I can do. And 12-13 year old me would be amazed, utterly amazed, at me now. This one is for her and all the rest who don’t feel good enough. You are.

So that’s my reason. There will be ups and downs, sore muscles, tears, and praying. So pending some disastrous podiatry news next week, I’ll see you in Chicago on Oct 13 laces tied (not too tightly) ready to run.