Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. This weekend is the Women's Half Marathon in Nashville! :) Here's a blast from the past... me and Colleen (my best friend and training buddy) before the women's half in 2010:

This will be my second time running this race! Last year, the women's half was my VERY FIRST half marathon! I'm hoping that, a year later, this will be (a) easier to run and (b) that I can beat my time from last year.

I can't believe I've been a half-marathoner for a year! I remember how terrified I was to run this race last year because I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to finish! I walked the last two miles in tears because it was so hard. Now I routinely run 13+ miles in training... Crazy how much a person changes in a year!

2. Paper writing is the root of all evil... but somewhere deep deep deep down inside, I really enjoy writing papers. I will NEVER admit that outside of this blog, but there's nothing better than completing a 30 page manuscript after months of hard work!

Here's a figure from the paper I'm working on now...

3. Have I ever mentioned how blessed I am to have such awesome friends? Coming up on the anniversary of my first half marathon has made me realize how much things really have changed over the past year. If you told me this time last year that I would be single and dating again, I would've laughed until I peed my pants! But the one thing the past year has taught me is that I'm stronger than I ever imagined and a lot of that has to do with having an amazing support system in my friends and family. My ex convinced me that I was going to be alone and that I was nothing without him. How TOTALLY UNTRUE that statement was! I have the world's most awesome friends! :) Here are some pics to show how truly awesome they all are (shown in order that I met them, lol):

My sister, Jamie:

Charlie and Elizabeth:

Micah and Eloise:

Beth (with baby Zander):

Misty, David and baby Charlotte:

Colleen and Kait:

Joel and Melissa:

Ashley and Nathan:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Midday Monday Musings

Since I didn't get a chance to blog my Monday morning musings... I'm hitting them at midday.

My weekend runs went okay, but were definitely eventful.

I forgot to check the festival schedule for the "big" celebration going on in my town on Saturday, so I ran right smack into the middle of the parade. I feel like the term parade should be used loosely in this case, as the "parade" consisted of a bunch of pick up trucks filled with teenagers and old folks. Good for my town for having a festival to celebrate our town heritage but really? This made the parades from the podunk town I grew up in look like the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. There was only ONE high school band. Really, people? You couldn't get more folks out to participate? That's really sad for our city! I'm sure someone has a nice car that you could ride through town in! Plus, there were kids EVERYWHERE all holding Kroger bags waiting for people to pitch candy at them... Maybe I'm bitter but it was like running through an obstacle course of tiny humans just to finish my seven mile run and get home!

Anyway, Sunday's long run went very well until mile 7 (of 14) when I hit the turnaround spot for my out-and-back run and started making my way back to where I started from. I was visiting a friend this weekend so I was running on rural roads (i.e. out in the middle of friggin' nowhere) not even close to the town that I live in. I was in my happy (on-my-way-home) place so I didn't even notice that there was a Comcast van pulling over in front of me until it was too late... Driving said comcast van was my EX HUSBAND!!! Seriously!?! What was he doing on the rural roads in a town not even on his route?!? Of course, I was too exhausted to think of something clever to say so when he asked where I was running from I mentioned my friend's name (I WISH I would have said from my new boyfriend's house... but alas, I can't think well on my feet while running). It was kind of amusing that he wanted to make small talk and give a crap about my hobbies considering he could've cared less while we were married. The whole incident pissed me off that I ended up running negative splits for the first time ever :) And it also made me realize how much I LOVE being single. Seriously, haven't missed him at all since the day I kicked his ass out!!

This week is going to be super fantastic because my boss is out of town (FREEDOM!) and I have a race on Saturday (CARB LOADING!).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Additional Swap Questions - Gnome Swap

What size head, hands and feet do you have?
Head =
Hands = Small / mediumish
Feet = US women's 9

Are there fibers/yarn you do not like?
Acrylic and Fun fur

Favorite types of yarns to receive - i.e., that you will knit with (base/weight/etc.)
I mostly work with worsted or fingering weight. I like soft yarns, like soft natural fibers or blends!

Is there anything you won’t wear?
Not that I can think of...

What is your gnome name?

If someone has a Kindle/Nook would they prefer a digital book or paper book?
I don't have a kindle so paper for me!

If you have a Kindle/Nook would you like accessories for it?
No kindle/nook here :)

What size t-shirt do you wear?
Women's large or medium depending on style.

What would you think of an evil gnome?
I've had enough evil in my life this year, lol. So only happy gnomes for me :)

What gnome stuff do you already have in your collection?
Nothing :(

Weird things about me…
I'm a cancer researcher (i.e. big nerd!) and I run ... A LOT... like obsessively :) But the trade off is that I can also eat the good stuff... like cupcakes... A LOT :)

Do you have a garden/yard/tree some kind of outdoor space to display your gnome(s)? Or will your gnomes be safer inside?
I think inside would be best.

Would you wear a shawlette?
I like shawls but not necessarily shawlettes.

Do you like toadstools as well as gnomes (apparently not everyone shares my obsession with all things mushroomy and polka-dotted?)

Hemp yarn… do you like it? Have you used it? What do you usually knit/crochet with it?
I don't have it but I've used it before for the Everlasting Bagstopper.

Are there any particular holidays that you celebrate?
Many :) Christmas is probably my favorite with Halloween a close second.

Would you like or mind a hand painted or over dyed skein inspired by your favorite type(s) of gnome?

Would you like a helpful gnome? What would s/he/they be helping you with?
Hmmm, could I have one that will do my research for me so I can run more? :)

Do you like lollipops?
Yes! (Who doesn't?!?)

Would you like Gnome related knitting patterns?

Would you like something with gnomes on it knit for you? Like These mittens? or These socks?
I will leave that up to you :)

Do you like knitting project or notions bags?
I do! And I need a couple more actually.

What have you really really been wanting to knit/crochet? Cowls? Colorwork? Nothing but potholders?
A sweater... but I'm skeered. I also want to return into felted bag knitting. I need a good felted tote. And while colorwork also scares me, there are some really pretty fair isle felted bag patterns out there.

do you like buttons for decoration/jewelery?
Not usually. Just eyes on some projects.

Do you like vintage-style stuff?
Sometimes. Depends on what it is.

Dearest Spoilee, do you have pierced ears? Would you wear gnome earrings?
I do and I would :)

Coffee/tea/neither/both? Kinds?
I only drink coffee with copious amounts of chocolate in it... I do drink tea occasionally. My favorite winter beverage is hot cocoa.

Metal preferences? Goldtone? Silver? Copper? Allergic to anything but platinum?
Silver. I'm sensitive to some metals, but mostly earrings.

Books? Real or Virtual?

Wall art?


Any other hobbies for which supplies would be welcome?
I spin yarn, although not much recently.

Is there anyone else in your household that might like a surprise? What do their tastes run to? Colors?
As a recent divorcee, I'm all about me, lol :)

Anyone like to do beaded projects and need a teetiny crochet hook?
Not really.

Would you like to have some enchanted meadow style fun or would you prefer all the attention went to gnomes?
That would be okay with me :)

Would you like personalized needles/crochet hooks? and what are your most used sizes? (or what sizes would you want most?)
Sure! I use all sizes.

Do you or any of your constituents have dolls that you would like clothes for? If so, what size?

Do you needle felt? Would you like random needle felting supplies?
I've never tried it. Wouldn't mind trying it.

Do you have a green thumb?
I haven't really had time to do anything outside lately.

Would you mind receiving second hand books?
Not at all! I usually buy my books used.

Do you like plushies/softies at all? How about pillows?
Yest to both!

Do you have an Ipod that needs a gnomey cozy? Please LMK what size of Ipod you have!
I do have an iPod but it gets really sweaty when I carry it running so a cozy would probably be a bad idea.

Spoilee how would you feel about a travel coffee mug?
I have a few and rarely use them :(

do you like yarn with noro-type colour changes?

Do you like small house plants? A gnome needs a nice green lush home.
I used to have an aloe plant but it died in transit when I moved to my house. I do like plants and could put a small house plant in my office!

What are your favorite drinks? Do you drink alcoholic beverages?
I drink a lot of diet soda. I do like alcohol but not in excess. My favorites are woodchuck cider, blue moon beer and fruity wine coolers.

Are you a Dr. Who fan?

Do you need any kitchen things? Dishcloths? Fridge magnets? Do-dads or whats-its?
Not that I can think of off the top of my head. I do like magnets but have a bunch already.

are you working on a sock yarn blankie? i.e., would you be interested in receiving sock yarn minis?
No and no.

Which reminds me, if it turns out and doesn’t turn into an epic FAIL like it did last time (but oh-so-good on pancakes!), would you like a jar of either of those?
I love apple butter!

Do you like ladybirds, dragon flies, and butterflies?
Butterflies are awesome :)

If I were to include some fabric to you to craft with would you be able to use “fat quarter” pieces?
I'd love to get back into sewing :)

Also, would you like some random trimmings? (unusual buttons/lace/ribbon etc)
Probably not because I have a bunch of random craft supplies already.

Do you like birds?
Sure do!

Are you ok with leather/suede?

Would you like a scarf, a cowl or a shawl? Do you have a preference in coxy neckwear? Or do you hate having things around your neck?
All of the above are good with me. I love shawls but all are good.

Do you have DVD or Blu-ray? Would you like a copy of Gnomeo & Juliette?
I do have a DVD player. No blu-ray. Gnomeo & Juliette would be awesome :)

Do you like chapstick or handmade soaps, bath salts, soaks etc?
Sure do! I'm a chapstick fiend! My favorite is the peanut butter and jelly lipbalm that I bought from bath and body works. I like handmade soaps too!

Would you like handspun yarn from me?
Handspun rocks!

Do you like candles? Specifically Fall sents (i.e. Pumpkin, Apple, apple pie, cinnamon,etc)?
I do like candles. My favorite is the sun and sand candle. I don't like strong scents (i.e. no cinnamon or musky smells) but pumpkin, apple, and apple pie sound good!

If you are making the bee keepers quilt, would you like a few hexipuffs knit by me? If so what color scheme if any would you want?
Not I!

How would you feel about a Nostepine or one yard NiddyNoddy?
I have a NiddyNoddy but a Nostepine would be good! :)

How do you feel about “rude” gnomes? such as a gnome making an inappropriate gesture?

Autumn, Winter, Spring, or Summer?
Autumn > Spring > Winter > Summer (in that order)

Do you Sew? and Would you like Fat Quarters? Which colors do you prefer for sewing?
I do sew but not as often as I used to.

what is your favorite scent for bath items?
Right now I'm on an orange ginger kick. But fruity smells (or chocolate / vanilla) are my faves!

Do you make cookies or would you want to only eat cookies?
I love to bake!

Spoilee, how do you feel about long scarves?
Long scarves rock!

Would you like to learn to spin? How would you feel about a drop spindle?
I already spin and have a couple drop spindles :)

I just wanna run...

I've been really enjoying my runs lately. The weather is starting to turn more fall-ish or, as my dad would call it, football weather. I LOVE running in the fall and winter and I seem to do a lot better speed and recovery-wise in the cold. Yesterday, I did 7 miles after work. I ran at an 11 minute pace overall, which is good for me during training runs, but I decided to get in a little practice for the women's half that I'm doing next Saturday. I ran the last 2 mile portion of the course, which involves two fairly large hills; one steep climb and one more gradual climb that seems to go on forever. This was my nemesis during last race, so I wanted to see if I felt better nearly a year later. And I DID! :) I'm not sure how it'll feel running that section after 11 miles but I didn't have nearly as much trouble dragging my butt through that part of the course this time around.

This weekend I have a 7-miler and a 14-miler, so hopefully this nice weather will hold and I'll get to enjoy them both :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I was away celebrating a friend's birthday this weekend so I didn't get to post my remembrance of 9/11. I guess it is better late than never...

On September 11. 2001, I had just started my junior year of college at Western Maryland College (it was still WMC at that point, anyway). I was living in McDaniel Hall with my best friend and roommate Jeanette. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we had very similar schedules, which included physics 101 with Dr. Jeff Marx. Since our class was not until 10:20 AM, we started our mornings with breakfast together in the college dining hall, affectionately referred to as GLAR. As we did most mornings, we rolled out of bed at 9 AM and stumbled across campus and through the student center to the dining hall. On 9/11, as we passed the reception desk, the TV was tuned to the morning news, as always. However, unlike most mornings, there was a crowd of students watching the news that day. There was such a crowd that we decided to stop and see what the fuss was all about. When we stopped, we heard the story of an accidental helicopter strike at the pentagon. The reporter claimed that the helicopter missed its approach to the landing pad at the pentagon and accidentally struck the building. We accepted this initial report and, even though it seemed to be a bad accident, we went on our way to breakfast. After all, how much damage could a helicopter do to a building?

At this point in the day, I don't think many people realized what was going on, so breakfast was fairly normal. It was only when we started walking back to our dorm room to get ready for class that we realized this was not an accident and nothing was okay. We saw the burning world trade center buildings on TV (at this point, both buildings had been struck) and quickly realized there was a huge problem facing our nation. We ran back to our dorm (literally, ran) and turned both of our TVs to different news reports, trying to get as much information as we could from as many different sources we could find. Since classes had not been canceled, we decided to continue our morning as normal. Right before we left for class, the first tower collapsed. We were stunned. It looked like we were watching a movie and not a real life report. It was so hard to believe that we didn't quite realize that there were people in those buildings...

While walking to class, we passed people who we knew but were in a state of shock and not quite sure what to say to each other. Class that morning is something that I will never forget. We took our normal seats in the second row, next to the window. I can still see the classroom, just as vividly as if it were yesterday. Our professor, Dr Marx, came in with red eyes and tears streaming down his face. It seemed like it took forever for him to gain his composure. When he did, the first words out of his mouth were "wars were started over far less than this"... He spoke about how our lives were about to change forever and how we would never be the same again. I think he went on to teach that day, although the lesson is far gone from memory. After class, we received notice that classes were canceled for the rest of the day and, as we would later find out, for the rest of the week.

We returned back to the dorm room to learn of the rest of the devastation. It was all too much. It was about this time that we realized that Jeanette's dad, who was a federal government employee based in Houston that traveled to DC for business, was actually in DC that day. She couldn't reach him via his cell phone. The next 15 minutes were probably the scariest for both of us that day. We both called, emailed and messaged, just about anyone we could think of to get in touch with her dad. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Jeanette reached her dad's secretary in Houston, who told her that her dad was not at the pentagon, nor on a plane that day. He was safe. We would later hear from him, and learn that while DC was in shock, her dad was alive and well and ready to return home to his family.

After those few hours, the rest of the week becomes a blur. I know I went to many memorial services. Several students lost family members in the towers, and it was horrible to think of what they are going through. We watched the towers fall over and over that week, as there was nothing else on TV but news reports trying to come to grips with the tragedy. I remember there were no late night TV shows. The first night David Letterman came back on air, we watched. And for once, the show had a serious tone. How do you come back on air and laugh when NY is still reeling? Eventually, lives returned to normal but, as Dr Marx pointed out, it would never be the same.