Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last cooking session of 2011

Today has been a rather expensive day. The old man and I went shopping to get ingredients for a massive cooking session this weekend. Today has been/is a day of crock pots, oven and stove top cooking. So far after starting at about 1pm I have prepared:
  • Beef Chili
  • Vegetarian Chili
  • Beef Stew
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Caribbean Jerk Chicken
  • Jambalaya Combo
Before the end of the night I'm going to also finish:
  • South Beach Diet Savory Chicken Saute
  • Shrimp Etouffee
  • Pork & Shrimp Wonton (wrap and flash freeze about 100)
Tomorrow (New Year's Day) I have planned:
  • Crock Pot Orange Honey Tofu
  • Crock Pot Mongolian Beef
  • Taco Meat
  • Skinny Cheese & Broccoli Soup
  • Skinny Rosemary Potato Soup
  • Skinny Zucchini Ziti with Chicken
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Pork & Shrimp Wonton (wrap and flash freeze about 100)
In these two days I'll have prepared enough food to last us through the month with a fairly decent selection to rotate through. Everything will be divided into individual servings and will be ready for reheating. The only things that will need to be cooked during the month would be side dishes as well as vegetables (we still have half a freezer full of veggies that need to be used). Both these items will take only a few minutes as compared to having to cook everything from scratch. I don't mind cooking when it's cooking like this that'll keep me from having to cook during the month. Yay!! So here's to a great start to the New Year!

Total cost for 1 month's worth of meals: ~$380
Meals expected to last into early February...

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!!

UPDATE 12/31/11 @ 9:36pm: Wontons not happening tonight. Moving them down to tomorrow. Just too tired...

So far I've put up...
13 servings of beef chili, 6 servings of shrimp etouffee, 6 servings of beef stew, at least 9 servings of veg chili, 7 servings of Caribbean Jerk Chicken, 3 servings of BBQ Chicken (had the rest for dinner), around 6 servings of Jambalaya. Still need to make SBD Savory Chicken Saute - 4 servings.

UPDATE 1/2/12 @ 12:11am: Well, I didn't start cooking until 4pm yesterday. Only managed to get the Chicken Zucchini Ziti - 6 servings, Crock Pot Mongolian Beef - 4 servings and Orange Honey Tofu - 4 servings done. Wonton, Swedish meatballs, Skinny Rosemary Potato Soup and Skinny Broccoli Cheddar Soup, SBD Savory Chicken Saute and taco meat need to be done today after I defrost more chicken and the shrimp.



Friday, December 30, 2011

Tired of being broken!

Well, I went into PT today after my disappointing run yesterday where both sides of my hips began hurting due to ITBS. I don't know why, but yesterday when I got back home after the old man picked me up I forgot to check me pelvic alignment. Well, I asked my PT, Kay, to check my alignment today after I had gone through the normal PT torture routine (not really, I actually enjoy the workout) and she found that my right side had rotated forward and my left side had rotated posteriorly. That's kind of an odd finding for me. Usually the right side is pretty much in place and the left side usually rotates forward. So we did some pushing and pulling on both hips to get me re-aligned and I skipped the diathermy (heat application) session so that I could go straight home to put on my SI belt which I forgot to bring with me to PT. I've determined that the only thing really different that I did yesterday was to run on an uneven dirt alley way...right after which I began noticing the hip pain. So the plan is to use the SI belt daily, run only on paved surfaces (usually softer surfaces like a trail is better, but apparently not for me) and continue with the stretches and exercises. Luckily, for women, somewhere around the age of 50-55 the pelvic bone solidifies and fuses so that hopefully by then I will no longer have any problems with the misalignment. Heck, that's anywhere from 3-8 years...only. LOL! I hope I can get this issue under control way before then!

BTW, I got on the Bosu ball again today and did much better! Enough that I was able to do the first balancing and side to side rolling exercise (facing forward) without the safety rails. But when it came to the sideways position (feet lined up one in back of the other) I had to use the rails. Oh well, baby steps!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The great Bosu ball adventure

Well, yesterday's PT session involved not only the routine exercises and stretches that I've done in the past but also some time on a Bosu ball which is basically half of a full size stability ball on a hard plastic base. If you're not familiar with a Bosu ball this is what it looks like... --->>

Now, imagine that I'm putting you through the following exercises on this piece of equipment. Flip the darned thing over so that it's rocking on the dome (it does squish down...a little). Stand on the flat plastic base with both feet at either side, right along the edge. Now maintain your balance without falling off focusing on keeping the pelvis centered and strong. Just to let you know, you are set up on a platform with two handrails that you can grab in case you start to fall off which, for me, usually happens during the first 20-30 seconds of this exercise. Balance has to be maintained and then add squats to that (still on the Bosu)...20 of them please. Next, if you've survived that, roll side to side to the point that the plastic base touches the platform 20 times in each directions...again concentrate on balance through the pelvis. No, you're not done yet. Turn sideways with one foot behind the other on either side of the base, keep them as straight in alignment and facing forward as possible. Now, balance...good...20 squats...good...roll forwards and backwards 20 times each way. Excellent. Now, either reverse your feet or simply turn around on the Bosu. Repeat the last activities...balance, squats, rolls.

Yeah, so definitely not easy. This piece of equipment made me sweat so much that I was literally dripping sweat off my face! Now, in most exercises with a Bosu ball the base is flat on the floor although I have done push-ups with the Bosu in this position. I had no idea that it could be used in this manner. Still, trying to do this was actually fun and I found that the secret to it is to find a point on the wall or the floor to focus on as that will help to maintain balance. It takes so much concentration that I really can't talk to anyone while I'm doing these exercises. As hard as it is, I'm looking at getting my own Bosu ball and trying to figure out how to set up some safety rails. I'll do almost anything to keep my strength in my hip flexors and other running muscles to keep from getting injured so badly again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So, this is how a long run feels...

I'm writing this on Christmas night. This morning I went out for my scheduled long run with a plan to do 9 miles. It had snowed lightly overnight but it looked like the roads were just wet rather than icy so I decided to go ahead with my plan. When I got to about 3 miles it began to snow lightly again off and on and would continue through the run sometime heavier than others and occasionally the wind would make it sting my face. When I got to the pre-planned halfway mark I looked down the road and thought, "Only a half more mile and you'll have 10 miles when you get home." That last half mile was uphill...nothing steep, no such thing as a real hill here but enough so that I was wondering if I could actually make it. So, I went for it. I made it up that extra half mile, turned around and crossed the road. At this point I was rather proud of myself for adding that extra distance and knowing that this extra distance would put me back on track with the rest of my Team in Training group. I broke out with a Chocolate Outrage Gu Energy Gel; now, I had heard that these things had a frosting-like consistency but in the 30°F temperature it was like a runny fudge...actually chewable! I ate half the pack and took a swig or two of G2 (low calorie Gatorade) and took off running again. It was at about the 6½ mile mark that I began thinking, "Why did I add that extra mile?" In order to keep going I began setting short goals..."Just get to the next street/driveway/corner." Using that method, I managed to get the next ~2 miles with only a couple of short 20'-30' walking breaks.  I broke out with the last half of the Gu gel and another couple of swigs of G2. I ended up walking for about 5 minutes and then broke out into a slow run. As I got 50'-100' I began feeling the twinges of oncoming cramps in my right calf. I slowed back down, stopped and did some stretches and then started running again with a very short stride. Again I fell back to the "just get to..." method of perseverance although my goals started getting just a bit shorter than before. When I got to the 9¼ mile mark it became..."Just  3/4 of a mile more...just run as much of that as you can!"  I did have to walk just a short bit of that distance but once I got short of the corner that I needed to turn to get home my energy returned and I ran the last ¼ mile to the house.

So all day today I've been waddling around with sore legs and hip. My left IT band gave me no issues but my right IT band is in a mild amount of discomfort. I have tape burns from where I adhered tape using tincture of benzoin to ensure that the tape stuck around my knee joint (note to self - avoid tincture in the mobile areas of the knee). My turf toe is in full effect but luckily just at a Grade 1 severity and with time/rest it shouldn't hopefully pose too much of a problem. I am going to invest in some carbon graphite Turf Toe plates to see if that helps with the problem. So, after a nap and 45 minutes in a hot bath the legs are feeling a little less tight, but I know I'm going to be feeling them tomorrow. I'm using my massage stick to help massage away some of the tightness and I think it and myself will become very good friends in the days to come.

This is the longest training distance that is scheduled to be run before the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at the end of next month. I keep thinking that I want to run 12 miles just to know that I can...after all if I can do that I should be able to squeeze out that last 1.1 mile, right? But I'll follow the taper and hope for the best. I don't regret taking up running...it has shown me what I can do if I really set my mind to it which is something I have lost in the last couple of rough years. It's been painful at times, but as the saying goes...no pain, no gain!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stressin' a little about Tinkerbell HM

So, as of today I have 32 days until the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. I'm starting to get excited/freaked out at the same time. Off and on today I've been trying to think of what I'll need to pack for the race. I'm not so much worried about my regular clothes, but I'm definitely afraid of forgetting something for the race. We've gone to a race before thinking that we had brought everything, but found that we had left our shoes on the bed at home; we ended up having to buy him new shoes to run in, but luckily I was wearing some old running shoes. So, just to ease my own mind I'm going to list my race equipment in this post so that I can have a single place to remember what I need to bring. Why not do it on a piece of paper...simply because I have a silly habit of losing pieces of paper that I make notes on (among other things like keys, wallets, money, etc.). Here goes:

Tutu (yeah, I know it's not really important...but it is for this race!)
Wings (ditto the above)
Purple running skort
Purple compression socks
TNT race shirt
Brooks Defyance 4 shoes (I have 4 pairs of running shoes, I need to specify!)
Sports bra
Tech underwear
Fuel belt with 2 bottles
Packets of G2
Extreme Sports Beans
Road ID
KT Tape
Sport tape

I'm sure I'm forgetting something so I'll be coming back to edit this list. It's my first half marathon...I just don't want to screw anything up by forgetting something).

Probably the biggest thing I'm beginning to stress out about is my "turf toe." After my long run on Christmas day the little bugger is still hurting...enough that I'm considering making an appointment before the end of the week just to make sure I don't have a fracture. I took the massive amount of tape I had on to immobilize it off last night because my foot needed to breathe, but this morning it is aching like crazy and becomes painful with just a little bit of pressure...not sure if I'm going to be able to make my short run today or not! *le sigh, le groan*



Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day? Resolutions?

Boxing Day is a UK holiday falling the day after Christmas (in most occasions)...here in the States we can call it , "Waiting in line to return unwanted Christmas gift Day." lol! In all actuality in the past few years, if I was brave enough to go to the mall or store the day after Christmas the lines haven't been all that bad. But then my timing always tends to be later in the shopping day anyway. According to Wikipedia, Boxing Day is pretty much the equivalent to our Black Friday in the UK. The 26th also happens to be the birthday of a childhood friend...I still can't decide if having a birthday the day after Christmas is a good thing or a bad thing. Do you get twice as many presents...or do you get Christmas presents that are marked as both Christmas and birthday presents? Well, whatev...I'm just glad that the craziness is over and life can start getting back to normal...or as near normal as possible.

With the beginning of the new year coming I'm debating whether to come up with resolutions or just go with whatever happens during the year. I do know that I'm going keep on going with the running...or run/walk in my case and hopefully, eventually full running plus keep working towards my goal weight of 125 pounds. I don't see those as resolutions but simply goals that I've already been working on. I guess I'll keep thinking about it for now since I have close to a week to make a final decision...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Tinkerbell Christmas!

Just a quick note today to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!! I went with a Tinkerbell theme since I'll be running the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon in just over a month!! Have a great day!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Happenings...or lack thereof??

On Thursday the old man and I watched Christmas with the Kranks for the first time. I had to laugh because people would think that were were the real life version of the Kranks. Not that we're avoiding Christmas, but rather because we don't have any Christmas decorations up...at all!! lol! Heck, I've got Christmas cards that I've signed and printed up holiday letters for but haven't stuffed envelopes to mail. About the only thing holiday-ish that's in the house is Christmas dinner: a bone-in prime rib roast, lobster tails, a ham steak, baby potatoes, savory sweet potatoes and fixings for green bean casserole! We're just not holiday celebrating kind of people. Sure, when the kids were little we'd do it up pretty good...decent sized tree, let the kids decorate, stockings full of small presents, stacks of too many presents under the tree, etc. But since the time they started asking for expensive gifts like computers and TVs we started backing off on all the festivities. This year since it's just the old man and I, we've foregone the exchanging of gifts. In years past it's been a question of "what do you want?" and this year I got to thinking "what do you need?" When I consider that we have one computer that I bought myself for Christmas several years back...that has never been used, the fact that the old man has several large tools that have never been used, clothes packed as tight as sardines in the closet, too many shoes/purses on my part and so on, I came to the conclusion that it would be stupid to add to our collection. So I suggested a no present Christmas...the old man was more than agreeable (he hates to shop around this time of year...even avoiding grocery stores as much as possible). The only thing I asked for Christmas was to finish the remodel we started almost 3 years ago...that hasn't happened yet! *le sigh*

Anyway, as with most holidays around here I describe it as "just another day..." nothing special other than a fancy meal. We'll spend the day watching the tube, I'm going to go and try to do my long run for the week (hopefully there won't be much traffic) and the old man will probably read all day...basically the approach will be extremely low key. We've already sent/delivered Christmas presents to the kids and their significant others...I don't do mail out presents after one year of spending over $200 just in postage! No need for a massive deep cleaning of the house, we'll stay in pajamas all day (except when I go for my long run...9 miles planned) and we'll eat on our own schedule. So it's just we two and 6 canines...maybe I'll get them some ground turkey for a doggie turkey loaf for Christmas...just chillin' at home watching whatever we can find on TV, napping and basically just having a lazy day.

UPDATE: I actually wrote this post a few days ago. I finally got those Christmas cards in the mail late on the afternoon of the 23rd. Of course, most of them are going out of state so they won't be received until after Christmas. Oh well...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weight gain...oh my!

Well, I started back on my main medication (lithium) for bipolar disorder late last month. I had been checking my weight at least twice a week since then to monitor for weight gain...the very first time I was on lithium I gained 40 pounds in just over a month! Everything has been copacetic until this past weekend. I had been sitting at about 139 pounds for over 2 months and then I stepped on the scale Saturday morning to find that I had gained 6 pounds in just over a week!! I had seen my primary veterans care doctor a couple of weeks ago and had a 3 pound gain then, but had lost it by the beginning of last week. This current weight gain has just come up out of nowhere. When I look back to what my eating habits have been like in the past two weeks I'm pretty sure that it's not all the medication's fault although I do believe that it plays a part. I went on a Pepsi binge for almost 2 weeks having up to two 20 ounce Pepsis daily. Then there's the candy making (even though they were healthier renditions...aside from the toffee)...fudge, toffee and chocolate peanut clusters. I know it's the holiday season, but come on...I've gotta get a grip on things!! I was only 14 pounds from my goal weight and now I've gone and mucked it all up. So, I'm going to increase my activity level again (didn't help that I've been waylaid by injuries) and lose this holiday weight. Oh my...I feel like I'm starting from scratch again!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cleaning discovery

OK, so those of you that know me know that I'm not "little Miss Suzy Homemaker." In the spring, summer and early fall I tend to grill quite a bit. As part of my grilling equipment I use a basting mop to oil up the grill. Since I don't use the mop for anything else but this I just keep it in a container of olive oil for reuse through the season. The problem with this is at the end of the season there is a nasty build up of oil/grease in the mop. I've been dealing with trying to clean this darned mop literally for a couple of months. I've tried everything...the dishwasher, washing by hand with hot water and liberal amounts of soap, soaking in Greased Lightning, etc. I had just about given up after Googling other possible methods of cleaning and basically finding one solution...just throw it out. I was just about ready to do just that when I saw the pot of boiling spaghetti that I was making for dinner. I figured that I'd just try to boil the mop to see if that would melt off the excess oil/grease. After boiling it (just the mop portion, not the wooden handle) in soapy water for 5 minutes I saw quite a bit of gunk that had come off the mop. I rinsed it in hot water and washed with some dish soap, it still felt a bit sticky so I boiled it again for another 5-7 minutes, rinsed, washed and it's feeling much better. My hands don't feel greasy after squeezing it and the mop doesn't clump together like it did when it was full of oil/grease. I'm going to boil it at least once more and I think it'll be good to go for next season. Why am I blogging this? Basically to have a place to remind myself of how to do it in case my memory fades...oh, and for anyone else who is interested. lol.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yet another injury

My streak for running related injuries has not let up yet. When I went on my long run (8.6 miles...longest to date) last Saturday I somehow managed to sprain my left great toe. The technical term for this is metatarsalphalangeal joint sprain...the not so technical term is "turf toe." I guess that as I got tired I started toeing off rather aggressively causing a hyperextension of the toe and resulting in the sprain. It definitely hurts to put any pressure on it when I walk, but oddly enough there's no pain when I apply pressure to the area manually. I'm taking this as a good sign that it's not a severe sprain. From what I've read this injury typically takes 2-4 weeks to resolve, but I don't have that long to let it rest. So...I've learned how to tape it to minimize flexion in both directions and hopefully it'll help me to remember not to toe off so aggressively when I run/walk. My foot will be taped up for much of the next 2 weeks minimum. Here's to healing...even if I have to train through some pain.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Running is so NOT cheap

After adding up all the registration fees for all the races that I had planned for 2012...one race a month, I was flabbergasted when the total just for the registrations came up to just shy of $1,000 for one person. The old man wants to run all the same races that I do so that would have doubled the registration costs. Well, in our current economic situation that became a stumbling block when you added in the cost of travel and hotel rooms. We could cut down the lodging by using our travel trailer...something that I had already considered; but still there was a lot of extra travel and distance to be covered. So, yet again, I've pared down the race schedule to something more affordable with mostly in-state races. The Wine & Dine HM at Walt Disney World is a must so that I can get the Coast to Coast medal, but 2012 will probably be the only year that I do two out of town races so far away from home. I am still getting my first sprint duathlon and half century ride in so I'll be a two sport athlete...whoa!

Jan 29th - Tinkerbell Half Marathon (13.1 miles), Disneyland, Anaheim, CA (TNT)
Mar 11th - Shamrock'n HM (13.1 miles), Sacramento, CA (tentative if I have to go to CA for reunion planning, $65)
May 5th - Atomic Man Duathlon (Little Boy - Sprint, 4K/15K/4K), White Rock, NM ($55)
May 20th - Santa Fe Half Century (50 miles), Santa Fe, NM ($20 + t-shirt)
Sept 28th - Oct 1st - Wine & Dine HM (13.1 miles, night run), Disney World, Orlando, CA (~$130)
Oct 27th - Dirty Dash 10K (6.2 miles, mud run), Albuquerque, NM ($35)
Nov 9th - 10th - Wine & Dine HM (13.1 miles, night run), Disney World, Orlando, CA (~$130)
Nov 22nd - WTRC Turkey Trot 12K (7.3 miles), Lubbock, TX ($20)

Now, in addition to the race fees, travel and lodging I haven't even considered the shoes, clothing, gear, etc. I'm sure that we've spent a couple of grand getting the clothes and gear we need (trust me, running is way more comfy with the technical clothing rather than with cotton clothing). Thankfully, I think we have everything we need as far as gear so hopefully our spending is done in that area. This new schedule has decreased race fees to a max of $355/person and since most are within a 4-5 hour drive we'll only need to stay one night at an RV park or hotel. So much for an aggressive running year. *le sigh*

UPDATE: Well, runDisney has added a new race at Walt Disney World and changed the date of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. so it looks like I'll end up going 4 months without a race. I may throw in the Turtle HM in Roswell on Labor Day to break up the open dates. That's only $20/person registration if I remember correctly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

More PT in my future

Well, I went for my PT re-evaluation today. I'm in for another 4 weeks, 3x/week starting on Wednesday. There is some improvement in the hip strength compared to the right side but there's still some fairly significant weakness present. I'm supposed to try to take things a bit easy and not push too much so I'll just let my body tell me when to walk or run. I did manage a 5K run/walk today but it took a lot to finish and I'm pretty sure that I walked more than ran. My PT did say that it's okay for me to continue to run but not to overdo it. My task will be to try to keep from doing more than I should. I'm still planning on a 8-9 mile run this weekend and possibly a 10 miler the following weekend but that'll really all depend on how my toe is acting...I managed to end up with "turf toe" or a sprain of the great toe on my left foot while out running on Saturday...still not sure how I managed that. The completion/re-evaluation day for this next round of PT will be exactly 10 day before the Tinkerbell Half Marathon so hopefully I'll get the go ahead to try to run/walk at full effort for the event. I'm especially hopeful because I want to do another half marathon at the end of February. So onward I go with slow, methodical training to get where I need to go...

On another note I've failed in my daily blog postings as of yesterday...just couldn't think of anything worth blogging about. Not that what I do blog about is noteworthy anyway! lol! Oh well, such is life...I'll just keep on going whenever I think of something to blog about...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Longest run so far!

I went on my long run for this week today. It was a hard run I wanted to give up at miles 2 & 4 but I just kept pushing along and managed to finish 8.6 miles in just over 1 hour and 51 minutes! This is the longest run so far...my previous longest being just over 7 miles before my injury. I have only run once this past week so it really was a bit stupid of me to go for a full 8 mile run today. My mindset was that since I was able to run a 10K without problems, that I should be able to do 8 miles "easy." I think I'll be paying for that stupidity for the next few days. I'm feeling seriously sore in my right upper leg/groin/adductors and my great toe on the left foot is painful when I flex it.

I'm pretty sure that the groin pain is a simple strain that should resolve with rest and stretching. The big toe is another issue. Hopefully it's just a strain, but the potential is there for a stress fracture of the sesamoid bones. I'll just monitor this particular pain for a few days and if there's no improvement I may end up at the doctor's to check for a fracture. It's not painful to pressure so I'm really hopeful that it's just a strain.

My running plan for the week right now is to do the bike tomorrow, Monday and Wednesday; a short 3-4 mile run/walk on Tuesday and Thursday and then on Saturday (if everything feels good) I'll try another 8-9 mile run. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I have no long term injury going on. Thanks.

Friday, December 16, 2011

28 years ago today...

Jan 1984.
Troy 20 y/o, Beth 19y/o
Twenty eight years ago yesterday I turned towards the old man and said, "Why don't we get married?" There was a lot going on at the time and he didn't want to head back to Idaho at the time. Did I mention that we had only been going out for 10 weeks?Anyway, on this day 28 years ago we drove to the Sacramento County Courthouse and waited about 2 hours to get married. In that time the old man smoked 2 pack of cigarettes. I laughed through the whole ceremony...I'm sure that the official doing the ceremony thought that we were making a big mistake. So after making it through the ceremony we were cut loose from work (we were on the night shift) and headed down to my hometown to hang out. We dropped the marriage bombshell on my mother (who didn't care for the old man for another several months when she realized that he was a handy man around the house) and settled in for the night. The next day we headed down to the Oakland Coliseum and watched the Gap Band and Atlantic Starr in concert. And that folks was our wedding weekend.

Sept 2011.
Troy 47 y/o, Beth 47 y/o
Almost three decades later we've had the ups and downs that are to be expected in any relationship, unfortunately more downs than up in the last several years. However, we still hang in there since we're best friends...the whole "lovers" thing has kinda gone by the wayside due to age and medications. lol! It's quite amazing when you look at the record of marriages and divorces in both of our  families histories. Not so great. We know each others good points and negative points yet still accept each other as who we are no matter what. We don't fight often...but when we do the bad feelings can last up to a week or more (especially on my part). I've learned to be forgiving and he's learned to be accepting of my "bipolar-ness." So onward we go into the future...looking to set a record in each of our families and see what else the future has for us.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Planned bike ride...FAIL!

Today was supposed to be the very first training ride in preparation for the Santa Fe Half Century Ride that I'm planning to participate in in May. I was all psyched up for it even though the old man wanted to decrease the distance from a nearly 21 mile round trip to only 10 miles. We planned to get out around noon when the temperature was closer to 45°F. So after finally getting ready I pulled out my bike and both tires were flat. We filled the tires and I noticed a slow leak that seemed to be coming from the valve. We thought that we had fixed the problem and I went on to look for my helmet before I realized that I had given it (and my cable lock) to the daughter the last time she lived at home so that she could ride her bike. So that pretty much killed the ride for the day. Instead I took two naps since I haven't been sleeping well for the last week. Hmmmm...I wonder if it's all that Pepsi I've been drinking lately? duh.

Late this afternoon we finally went and got me a new helmet, some Slime tire sealant and tire irons. Of course, we had meant to get a cable lock to but forgot all about it. So I finally think I'm all set to ride tomorrow and I just happen to check my tires again because of the leak that I noticed earlier. Yep, the back tire was low after being filled to optimum levels earlier in the afternoon. So now I'm putting off changing/repairing the tube...hopefully tomorrow I'll get around to doing it after PT but if not it's gonna be a while before I use the bike on the trainer or on the road. meh.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Choices...suggestions?

Regarding the ongoing story with my bum hip, I am finding that I need to use a pillow to maintain proper pelvic alignment while I sleep. Now, all the pillows I have are not firm enough to support my whole leg and hip in a proper position so as not to allow my pelvis to drop into misalignment yet again. I've decided that I need a full length body pillow with firm support...almost orthopedic in a sense rather than the run of the mill body pillow that you can buy in the big box stores. So, below are a few that I'm looking at possibly purchasing. Please, if you've used a particular brand brand of body pillow before (whether listed below or not) and have had good success with it please let me know. I do toss and turn quite a bit so a full body pillow that I don't need to actually reposition is going to be my best bet...Thanks.
       
Comfort U Total Body Pillow $99.95
 This one gets some pretty good reviews on Amazon.com.
Leachco Snoogle Loop $65.00
I like this one because it is a true wrap around body pillow.
Body Wrap Pillow $47.65

This one looks like the Comfort U pillow but much fuller. 
But does the cheap price mean a cheaper pillow?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New "Fashion": SI Belt

Today I went to my regularly scheduled PT appointment. I've been having some pain in my right knee with the ITBS kicking in in that location for some unknown reason. So anyway, my PT found that my left hip was out of alignment...again. So I was evidently compensating with my right leg thereby causing the ITBS in my right knee to start acting up. We worked on getting my left hip/pelvis re-aligned which took several attempts but we managed to get it back to a near normal position. After doing some of my regular stretches and exercises the PT told me about possibly using a sacroiliac (SI) belt. He let me try one that they had in the clinic and although it's a bit awkward because it has to be worn on the hips I did feel that it made a difference. I need to get one and figure out how I'm going to adapt it to carry my hydration bottle and snacks so that I'm not wearing two different belts while I run the half marathon in January.

Hopefully I'll have one of these belts in my hands by next week. I'll report then how it helps, but I'll have to wear it most of the day as well as when I run. I do have to be sure to check that my pelvis is fairly well aligned before I put it on as it won't do any good if I'm out of alignment. So, hopefully, if I'm released from PT next Monday this belt will help me stay where I need to be in order to run/bike. Below is a video that outlines how this belt is to be worn...doesn't look like much fun, but if it helps I'll do it!

I did go for a 4½ mile run/walk today and so far no pain so maybe, hopefully, my pelvis will stay in place for my appointment tomorrow because I really need to bump up my training and start increasing mileage so that I can hit at least 11 miles before Tinkerbell. I know I can do 7 miles but I really need to run 13 miles at least once so that I know that I can do it. Wish me luck!


Monday, December 12, 2011

A Classic: White Christmas

As I'm typing this I'm watching Irving Berlin's White Christmas...my all time favorite Christmas movie! They just don't make movies or musicals like that anymore. Singing and dancing by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen...some of the greatest movie performers of the golden age of Hollywood.

I am a huge fan of the 1930-1950's movies, particularly the musicals. You could understand the words to the music, the music had melodies, the dancing was classic and smooth, the costumes were beautiful...it was just a glorious time for movie making. The actors...all the aforementioned ones in White Christmas, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood, Fred Astaire, Katherine Hepburn, and I could go on and on...I would be a happy camper if they started making movies like those back then.

Well, I'm going to get back to concentrating and enjoying four hours of White Christmas (a back to back showing). Have a good night!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Race shirt collection addition - Farolito 5K

I think one of the reasons runners do races is to collect the t-shirts that are given out at most races. It's not like I need more t-shirts, truly...I have plenty but the race shirts are just one of the perks of racing running. So tonight I collected another shirt at the Farolito 5K in Albuquerque. This was our first night run and I did learn a lesson...never assume that a night run course will be well lit. The course was primarily on the campus of a community college, the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), and there were quite a few speed bumps that we had to go over. While they tried to mark them with two luminarias when there's a bunch of people in front of you it's near impossible to see those markers. Next time I do a night race (which should be the WDW Wine & Dine in Sept/Oct 2012) I'm going to have my Knuckle Lights to light my way. Then again, if it's on Disney property I'm guessing that the course will be well lighted, although it won't hurt to be prepared.

As it was at least I was dressed appropriately. There was no way that an oncoming vehicle (and there were a few) couldn't see me with my HiViz pink Saucony jacket and it's reflective detailing. Even my gloves and beanie have reflective detailing on them. It looks like I was dressed really, really warm but with the temps in the low 30's all I was wearing was a long sleeve technical shirt, the jacket (windproof/water resistant & lightweight), cold weather tights and lightweight gloves. Before we started running I was definitely a bit chilly, but once we began to run I warmed up quickly and by the start of mile three I was almost ready to take of the jacket, but I had the race bib pinned to the front so it stayed on.

So, this is the final race for 2011. My first race of 2012 will be the the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon on January 29th. I'm crossing my fingers that since I had no pain tonight, that hopefully I'll have little to no pain between now and then. Hopefully.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

(Slow) Cooking frenzy...

I'm not quite sure what's been going on for the past three weeks or so in regards to my using the crock pots to cook our meals. Usually I truly hate to cook, whether using the crock pots or cooking on the stove/oven. But things have been different lately. Since there's only the two of us we usually get several days worth of food from each recipe that I make. I don't think I've ever used the crock pots as much as I have in these past weeks! Sure, I'd use them every once in a while, typically for chili or stew and the occasional pot roast; but this time around I'm making soups, other new recipes, the usual comfort food and even candy!! In my efforts this time around I discovered that the slow cookers I had were smaller than I thought. I now have the following sizes:  2½ quarts, a 3½ quarts, 5 quarts, 6 quarts and 7 quarts. I even had two 3 quart slow cookers that I am giving/have given to each of the kids. There have been days when I've had 4 crocks going at the same time...which would have included today but I made the mistake of sending the old man to get some ingredients for me and of course he either couldn't find them or got the wrong thing. Oh well. That means I'll be cooking on Monday since we'll be out of town most of the day tomorrow.

So, what have I made in the slow cookers?

Chili (my own cheater recipe, made 3 times)
Old Fisherman's Grotto Clam Chowder (3 times)
Balsamic Chicken
French Onion Soup
Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup
Granny's Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili (3 times)
Zucchini & Chicken Ziti
Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
Crock Pot Sugared Cinnamon Pecans
Skinny Chocolate Fudge
Skinny Glazed Sweet Potatoes

All those recipes have been supplemented with some oven/stove based recipes such as Pork & Shrimp Won Ton Soup, Flounder with Shrimp Sauce, French Bread Pizza, Easy Nachos and Swedish Meatballs; side dishes such as Hasselback Potatoes, Ultra Crispy Roast Potatoes, Oven Roasted Veggies and Swedish Boiled Dill Potatoes.

On the books for Monday I have planned Skinny French Toast CasseroleSkinny Rosemary Potato Soup & Skinny Chocolate Turtles. Geez, looking at this list I just now realized that I haven't really cooked this much since I stopped doing my Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) years ago when I'd spend a whole weekend cooking enough food to last a month. With just the two of us I always manage to have enough to put some food up in the freezer so we always have a supply of food available so I'd say we have at least a week's worth of food in the freezer at present. Well, I guess we won't be starving anytime soon!! lol!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pain, pain...go away!

Shows exactly where my pain was tonight on the left hip.
Totally different area than my ITBS pain.
I'm starting to get a bit frustrated with my body. After successfully completing the 10K last Saturday I have two failed runs this week. Tuesday I only got 1.83 miles on the treadmill before my ITBS started kicking in. Then today I only about 1.5 miles on a run with the big grand pup before I began having some pain in my left hip flexors...didn't seem like ITBS pain. Ah...if it's not one thing or another! I've got a 5K night run this Sunday that I'm hoping to run but we'll have to see. At least it is a run or walk...that way I won't feel so bad if I do have to walk! lol. I'm actually hoping that PT will keep me a little longer when they do the re-eval on the 19th, but that also means that I won't be able to run the Tinkerbell HM for sure...it'll mean a definite walk event. Well, I'll just have to work a little harder to strengthen my core, hip flexors and quads. I'll just have to kick the strength training up a notch and slowly build up the running which probably means not much of a taper before the actual race. What a life...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Things I've learned about fundraising

Until I signed up with Team in Training (TNT) my experience in conducting fundraising has been limited to selling candy, cookies, bowl-a-thons, etc. In these activities I was always a participant rather than an organizer, so all I had to do was take the stuff and sell it or take the forms and collect money. Once I signed up with TNT I had to be responsible to get the fundraising started, events planned and whatnot. So here are a few things that I've learned so far:

1. Plaster social networks with you fundraising events or requests (I use primarily Facebook but did a little on Twitter and Google+ as well); but be careful not  to overdo it (or what other people may think is overdoing it) as you may get bumped from groups. Ask me how I know!! lol!

2. Try to find a gimmick that might encourage people to donate. One I tried with a fairly good response was to design a badge (see below) of sorts that showed that people had donated, had their name prominently on it and also provided information as to how others could donate. Everyone who donated got one of these posted on their Facebook page when I received their donation.

3. Another gimmick I tried that didn't really work was to urge people to give up a trip to Starbucks, Jamba Juice or a fast food stop and instead donate that amount. Didn't have any takers, but it's worth a try. I also tried a $5 donation challenge which didn't work either.

4. I came up with several different images to rotate through advertising my fundraising. I just felt that people might be more apt to read what was on an image rather than what was scrolling in the updates bar on Facebook. If you couldn't tell already most of my stuff was done on Facebook.

5. Come up with some fundraising events. I did a 5K run/walk that went okay but wasn't a big money maker. Two problems...not much of a running community here and it was in November (read cold & windy). My big event was a Zumbathon. I'm a newly licensed Zumba instructor so between fundraising and training I haven't been able to get a set of music together to teach, but I did use my new network of instructors to organize a six hour event that was highly successful; enough so, that I'm working on a Zumbathon for next month for the American Cancer Society.

6. When planning an event do some advertising. For the first two events, I was fortunate enough to have a local print shop donate printing of 1000 half page flyers. I did have to have some signs and extra flyers printed out of pocket. For the current event I'm planning I had some postcards printed at Vista Print. I did print up a few signs to be posted on doors and such out of pocket but it didn't cost much.

7. Try to keep costs in control as much as possible. I have a tendency to over prepare and a lot of stuff that I bought for the first event I can continue to use for future fundraisers (i.e. - label maker, markers, pens, tickets, etc.). Now, these reusable items are not able to be claimed as donations. However, single use items can be claimed as donations (i.e. - refreshments, printing expenses, etc.).  

8. When arranging the venue for your event realize that having the event at a business similar to places that you plan to advertise at may limit your ability to advertise. When I went to bring a door sign and flyers to a local gym they specifically asked where the event was being held. Luckily it's going to be at the college gym because I'm pretty positive that if I had said it was going to be at a competing gym they probably would have taken any of the flyers or signs. So, try to hold you event at a neutral location.

9. Write and mail fundraising letters. It took me nearly two months to get around to this. I find it difficult to ask strangers for money, but I did. I mailed out letters to over 50 local businesses. I only got a handful of responses but every little bit helps.

10. Send follow-up notes/cards to everyone who hasn't donated after a month or two. I'm having 500 follow-up postcards printed at Vista Print that I can use for future Team in Training events. I'm also having another 500 printed for the American Cancer Society - Relay for Life events.

11. Send thank you notes. Try to do this in person, if possible.

That's all I can think of right now, but I'll add more if I think of anything else.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Future plans for century rides

In 2012 in addition to trying to do a race a month, I plan to do a sprint duathlon and hopefully at least a half century ride (50 miles). Now, my bike is a cheap bike from Walmart. I'm not ready to go out an buy a new bike so I think I'll just have to bring the bike to the local bike shop and have them do an overhaul/tune up. Hopefully that'll be enough to at least get me through training and the initial ride. Of course, that'll have to wait until next month when I have some spare cash again. At least I don't need any extra equipment...I have all the tools, helmet, padded shorts, etc. so all I really need is to start training. I probably will eventually get a bike stand so that I can train indoors during the cold weather. I'm kind of excited because it'll also be a good cross training exercise as well.

The cycling events I'm planning are the Santa Fe Century (doing the 54 mile ride) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Hotter 'n Hell Half Century ride in Wichita Falls, Texas and the Big Sky Duathlon in Bennett, CO. I won't begin really doing any training until after I run/walk the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at the end of January. My main thing now is to decide whether to do the Santa Fe Century with Team in Training (TNT) or not. I had planned to take close to a year off before doing another TNT event but the chance to do the training with them is very appealing. I've got about 6 weeks to decide whether to do it with them or not. If I do it would mean more fundraising...for a goal of about $1,500 or so. So many things to take into consideration. Well, I guess I'll just sleep on it and think about my options more tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A new race schedule...again!

I've been looking at races for 2012 and have come up with a new plan, again...So, I had made a short-list of 4-5 races that I said I wanted to do in the new year a couple of months ago but I sat here after Saturday's successful return to running and came up with one race a month for 2012. So here goes...

Jan 29th - Tinkerbell Half Marathon (13.1 miles), Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
Feb 25th - Pecos Valley Stampede HM (13.1 miles), Roswell, NM
Mar 11th - Shamrock'n HM (13.1 miles), Sacramento, CA (if I have to go to CA before the class reunion in June)
Mar 25th - Bataan Death March Blue Route (14.2 miles), White Sands Missile Range, NM
Apr 29th - Oklahoma City Memorial HM (13.1miles), Oklahoma City, OK
May 20th - Santa Fe Century (54 miles), Santa Fe, NM
June 9th - Big Sky Duathlon (2.5 run/15.5 bike/2.5 run), Bennett, CO
Jul 4th - Firecracker Run (10 miles), Brownfield, TX
Aug 12th - Pecos Giddy Up HM (13.1 miles, high alt), Pecos, NM
Sept 3rd - Turtle HM (13.1 miles), Roswell, NM
Sept/Oct - Wine & Dine HM (13.1 miles, night run), DisneyWorld, Orlando, FL
Oct 27th - Dirty Dash 10K (6.2 miles, mud run), Albuquerque, NM
Nov 22nd - WTRC Turkey Trot 12K (7.3 miles), Lubbock, TX
Dec 12th - Rock n Roll HM (13.1 miles), Las Vegas, NV*

Yes, I know I'm crazy!! Now all I have to do is get the money for the registrations, hotel rooms, a new bike, etc...no prob!! Whatever! lol!

*RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon is in question due to some major complaints at this year's inaugural event. This race may be replaced by the Las Cruces Half Marathon in Las Cruces, NM.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Quick de-icing tip!

Last night we got about 1½ inches of decent snow with a frozen wintery mix during the day. When I had to leave to go to a physical therapy appointment this morning at 8am this is what I was faced with (see pic). After finally getting my frozen shut car doors open so that I could get my ice scraper/snow brush out, I brushed off the snow on the windows (which gets tricky when the wind is blowing) and found about 1/8 inch of ice covering the front windshield. I decided to try this idea for de-icing the windows that I found on Pintrest. This website gives three great ideas to help de-ice windows, prevent ice build up and how to de-ice a frozen door lock. I used the idea for de-icing windows...2/3 cup white vinegar and 1/3 cup water (a little less concentrated as the instructions state) and sprayed the window and it worked wonders! I was able to remove the ice with minimal effort after squirting the solution on the window. It took less than three minutes to clear a solid sheet of ice from the window. I'm going to remember this for future reference. Try it! I'm sure you'll agree with me!

UPDATE: When I went out this morning 12/6/11 there was a thick sheet of ice (2 days worth) on the husband's truck windshield. I used the above ratio in a solution to try to clear off the window, but I found I needed a second treatment at a 3:1 ratio which did effectively clear the ice after application.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My life on the internet

I've got a long history of being "social" on the internet. It started way back when in about 1984 when we got our Apple IIc and logged onto bulletin boards, listservs, etc. via the old DOS formats...the days before the true visual experience of the internet was born for the public. When we finally got a dedicated dial up line and the visual appeal of the World Wide Web improved with GIF images rather than text based images I started to really get into the whole social thing. While initially most of my use was really for research for school I would eventually become a member of different networks like the early iVillage, AOL, IRC and other such sites which eventually led me into blogging.

I think I started to initially blog in the very early 2000's (possibly in the very late 90's). It's been since then that the story of my life in all it's gory aspects have been online. My diagnosis of a breast lump and subsequent biopsy in 2003, my battles and successes with bipolar disorder, dealing with raising the family while the old man was deployed overseas...all aspects of my life were and have been online. I had a blog dedicated to Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) that I wish I kept somewhere because now I can't find the recipes I had. I connected with total strangers through continued networking on iVillage and other such sites. Then in the mid-2000's I joined MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, Friendster, Linked In and other such social sites.

At some point I became bored with most of these and pretty much left or ignored the other sites remaining only with Facebook. I'm not sure why I stayed there, but it's probably because I was able to reconnect with more people from my past than on any of the other sites. With the blogging thing starting again this past month I'm finding myself enjoying the writing thing again and maybe I'll even start a page with recipes...we'll see what happens.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Back to running...sort of

Goodies from the race.
Including sweatpants!
I finally ran today for the first time in 7 or 8 weeks! I participated in the Reindeer Run 10K with the husband and after asking my PT if I could try to run a little and getting the okay I ended up running about 80% of the race and walking the rest. I even outpaced the husband who has continued training on a somewhat regular basis while I've been sidelined with my ITBS. I knew that I missed going on my runs, but I just didn't realize how much until today. I finished in what I believe was a 1:19:07 but I'm not sure if that was the final time. I did, however, manage to place 1st in the women's 45-49 age group (of course there were only two of us in the division). Lol!! The old man finished a minute or two after me which surprised me because he usually runs a little faster than me.

Metatarsal pad, the dark area.
I made sure that I stretched really well focusing especially on my ITBS on both sides. Maybe I should have paid a little more attention to warming up my feet as well because by mile 4 I started having some fairly significant pain in both my arches and the balls of my feet. Now, I have already bought some metatarsal pads to help alleviate the ball of foot pain but haven't installed them into my shoes yet. I forgot to grab them before we left last night so I'll be sure to install them tonight. Hopefully those will help alleviate both the arch and ball of foot pain.

I think this is my last race for the year. I may try to find a race to run in January, but it's time to start focusing on finishing the training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. So wish me luck and no further injuries. Disneyland, here I come!! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Medications, Patience & Sleep

Well, I've been back on my lithium for a week now. Can't say that I notice any difference, but at least I've got it back on board. I did miss one day but took it first thing in the morning as soon as I remembered. If I can manage to keep on them for another 2-3 weeks I'll go ahead and make a follow-up appointment with my psychiatrist (p-doc) to get labs drawn and figure out the next step in my medication regimen. Hopefully the small dose I'm on, combined with the weight loss will mean that I don't need to increase the dose again.

As far a patience goes I'm still waiting for the last $535 to be posted to my Team in Training account. All I want to see is that percentage bar maxed out to the 100% line...that way I know I've really reached that goal. *le sigh* Hopefully tomorrow...it would be nice to know for sure before the weekend comes.


Forgive the short post today, I'm just rambling. I've been awake since 6am Wednesday so right now I'm on hour 36 without sleep. Getting a bit cranky and my thinking is just a little cloudy. So with that, I bid you goodnight...I'm going to grab some dinner and then hit the hay!

NOTE: I wrote this Thursday night before I fell asleep. I just woke up this morning after about 10 hours of sleep feeling fully functional and back to normal...yay! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

26 Years, AIDS & Cancer Fundraising...Oh my!



Happy Birthday to our girl who turns 26 today! The picture on the left is of her when she was about 2 years old. the one on the right she's 24-ish. Everyone says that we look like each other, but the only time I've ever seen it was when we were toddlers. Really, when I put our pictures at this age together the only way you could really tell us apart is that my hair is black instead of brown. She's been a daddy's girl since birth...literally. After 20+ hours of labor before finally delivering her she cried...and cried...and cried through the night. Her dad came in the next morning after a few hours of sleep and touched her cheek and she went silent. Really?!? Our relationship has been a rocky one but things seem to be smoothing out and not as tenuous as my relationship with my mother. That's a good thing!

Today is also World AIDS Day. Wear red or a red ribbon to support the fight against AIDS. Education, research and advocacy needs to continue. The whole topic seems to have gone onto the back burner as far as how much it's in the news anymore. Remember back in the 80's when the epidemic first was announced...you couldn't go a day without hearing about it. My fear is that it will go so far into the background that people will tend to forget that it still exists. So, let's keep AIDS on our minds and remember that while we have medications and treatments to control the symptoms, we still don't have a cure.

My fundraising goal for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training has been reached and exceeded!! I'm still taking donations for this organization so keep them coming. You can donate online at http://bit.ly/TNTBeth using a debit or credit card. If you'd prefer to mail in a check or money order, please post a comment requesting the address or contact me  at ClovisTNT(at)gmail.com. I may be doing at least part of a century ride (100 miles) in Santa Fe with Team in Training in May...haven't quite decided yet, but I'll be sure to let you know!!

For the next few months I'll be doing fundraising primarily for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I've put a challenge to my former students who in 2007 helped me raise $1,600 at which point I allowed them to shave my head at that years event! I've challenged them to help me raise $2,000 for the 2012 event and if I reach that goal, I'll let any students who show up to the event take part in the head shaving!! I think they can help me to do this! So, for now, I won't cut my hair until May other than a light trimming just to shape it up a little. You can help by donating at my fundraising page at http://bit.ly/RFLBeth . If you prefer to mail in a donation, there's a link for a downloadable donation form...just fill it out and mail it to the address on the form.

I think that's about it for now...a lot of news for one day but most of it is good!! Have a great day everyone!! :D

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My life with K9's

As most of you know I live with my old man and a pack of six canines. Now, four of those canines are actually mine and they are all less than 8 pounds each. In my personal pack there's Ally, 5 lb Pekapoo, 7 years old; Wiley, 5 lb Chihuahua (rescue), ~9 years old; Deni, 3.5 lb Maltese, 6 years old; Tina, 7 lb Chihuahua (rescue), 6 years old. The two remaining canines are both my grand pups...Charley, 10 lb Shih Tzu, 2½ years old and Ricky, ~40 lb Texas Heeler (aka Australian Cattle Dog/Australian Shepard mix), ~2 years old.

Ally
Ally is the queen bee of the pack. Even though she's one of the smallest everyone else let's her have her way. She is a bit of a bitch...literally as in moody. She can be chilled out and in a second can spin around to snap at someone because they looked at her the wrong way.

Deni
Deni is my baby. As small as she is, if she is on the bed high above everyone else she becomes second in command. There's no competition for alpha position with Ally, but Deni comes into her own when she can look down on the others. She protects the bed like it's her own personal turf! Too funny to see this little off white (can't keep her clean) dog bouncing around with a high pitched bark going. It is a cute little bark! She even howls and sounds like Chewbacca sometimes. I'd love to get her trained as a psychiatric therapy dog eventually.

Tina
Tina is a rescue we got in 2006 and was only supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but we ended up taking her with us on our 2006 western states/British Columbia tour and fell in love with her. She is the most submissive of all the K9s and is a definite licker. She does have a tendency to get a little chunky but at least she is a Chihuahua that is relatively calm about getting her nails trimmed.

Wiley (AKA Ted)
Wiley is our newest rescue who came to us by way of our son who found him wandering the streets in the area he lived. He kept him for a week or so and then asked us to keep him until he could find a place to live that accepted pets. That was back in December 2008. Wiley is now totally attached to me and will not be moving out should the son ever want him back. The major problem with Wiley coming into the house is that he was a marker...thus with the marking the other little dogs tend to follow suit so their previous housebreaking was somewhat undone but mostly rectified with the addition of a small doggie door in 2010. Ah...he is a Chihuahua who hates having his nails clipped!

Charley
Charley is our daughter's dog. She got him in 2009 while she was living here in town but ended up moving to Albuquerque later that summer. Since she had no real living arrangements set up he came to stay with us when he was about 6 months old. He is the sweetest, most loving, yet non-clingy dog! I actually dread the day that he'll actually move to live with his mommy.

Ricky at 11 months
As you can see, I'm pretty much a small dog person...Ricky, the son's dog, has thrown a glitch in that little dog lifestyle. He lived with us for about six or so months at the end of 2010 and into 2011. He came back to live with us this time in October after his dad moved to Tempe, AZ. I know the son knows that we would never relegate any pets to the shelter, so he's probably a permanent member of the household now. He's much calmer than he was the first time he lived here but the little dogs are wary of him because he's so big, yet they bully him at the same time. I have to admit that things are much better now that we've put a doggie door in for Ricky. He's finally learned to go in and out of the door all by himself after two days of trying to get him to learn. However, he still wakes me up in the early morning to go out...even though all I have to do is walk into the hallway and say "outside" to which he just goes through the door! Hmmm. He still has his puppy days and is great fun to watch when he plays with his toys and tosses them or shakes them so hard that he whacks himself in the face...over and over and over. One negative is that most of the little dogs are afraid to go outside while he's out there so their housebroken-ness is not quite so effective...again. Surprisingly he's not much of a runner...he's only able to go about 3-4 miles before he starts to give up.

Since the son moved to Arizona, traveling is a bit difficult since we have so many dogs. When he lived locally we'd have him (or the daughter when she was in town) come and check/feed the pack. Now we can manage an overnighter but are a bit wary of leaving for more than 24 hours. Perhaps with both sized doggie doors and some feeding dishes with timers we may be able to stretch out a full/long weekend. The cost of boarding 6 dogs really is a bit prohibitive!

These K9 kids are my stress relief and can usually make me smile even when I'm in a bad mood. No matter what, even with the mess, the dog hair all over (and I do mean all over) the place, the noise and the occasional chaos these canines are family and are safe with us no matter what. Really, I'd give up stuff before I let anything happen to them. Hopefully, they stay happy and healthy and we all have a long life together. The average life span of the small dogs is about 16 years...for Ricky about 12-14 years. I don't see any new canine family members being added to the family in the future...I think this is it. I think it's enough! lol!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas preparation...or lack thereof...

For the second year in a row we're using a Christmas tree poster as a stand in for our artificial tree. The reason is due to our big grand pup who seems to now be living with us on a permanent basis...if our boy is reading this, are you even still trying to re-home him? The grand pup is a 40 pound Texas Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog/Australian Shepard mix) who tends to occasionally fly through the house at full speed and slides into various furniture pieces when trying to stop from a game of "chase/toss the toy" (he slings the toy in the air without regard to what it may end up hitting) or in some cases "let's see how much I can piss off the little dogs" (aka "chase the little dog until he/she starts growling and biting at me"). Such inability to effectively put on the brakes or understand that a thrown toy can do damage does not make for a good thing when you're talking about a tree and glass bulb ornaments! Hopefully, if he is still with us next year all the puppy behavior will be a thing of the past. Anyway, I have to thank my high school friend, Ranel, for the photo as I can't find mine from last year when we used blue painter's tape to hang the poster up! lol! Ranel was the one who gave me the idea for the poster tree. The only problem with having such a portable "tree" is that I don't remember what I did with it!! That means I may possibly have to hunt down another poster, at least this year I have a fairly good idea of where I can find one

Now, when the kids were young...into their early teens...we used to decorate for the holiday a fair amount; a tree, lights, stockings, stacks of presents, outdoor lights, etc. But once they got old enough that Christmas became more of a commercial enterprise rather than one where you could see a real childlike joy and true happiness when they opened presents we toned things down. I remember tree decorating being a family affair and stacks (and I do mean stacks) of presents primarily for the kids. For us now, we're lucky to have a tree (I think we had a tiny 3' tree back in 2008 or 2009), only 1-2 presents per person and we typically only have a special meal on the day and that's about it. Since it's only the hubs and I this year, the plan is a small fried turkey (maybe even just a chicken instead), a ham steak and maybe a 2 bone standing prime rib roast...can I help it if I'm a red meat person?? Yeah, we'll have small portions of accoutrements such as stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole but just like any other holiday nothing special will be going on. There will be a couple of presents to mail out to the kids but the old man and I have decided no presents for each other this year. It's not like we really need anything...sure there's wants but it won't kills us not to have them. Heck, if we did get the stuff we want truthfully, they probably wouldn't even get used much! My favorite saying when it comes to celebrating holidays and birthdays around here is "It's just like any other day" with the exception of a special meal.

So, how do you plan to celebrate Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate? Are we the only ones that take such a lackadaisical approach to the holiday? I hope not! lol!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Who's shopping Cyber Monday?

I am so, definitely, not a proponent of shopping Black Friday nor have I ever participated in Cyber Monday. I do have to admit that I do look at the sales flyers every once in a while but I rarely ever take any action on what I see...never in fact, in at least the last 10 years. However, as far as Cyber Monday, or the week that follows when many online retailer maintain special sale prices, goes this year I may end up participating at some point.  I just happened to check some online sites and found a couple of things that I need for Christmas presents (only buying for the kids this year, so a couple of things is literally my shopping list) at some fairly decent prices. I also found a couple of things that would be useful in the house, especially if we ever finish up the freakin' living room!! So, I may break down and do a little online shopping this year. Either way, I'll be done with Christmas shopping this week. Sounds like a plan...now, I just need to find our Christmas tree poster to put up to finish getting ready for the holiday! lol!! Ahhh...life with a rambunctious canine. Joy.  ;-)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

After life...donating my body to science

Decades ago, early in my pre-nursing education I had the opportunity to learn human anatomy and physiology in part by dissecting the cadaver of an 80+ year old female. It was amazing how bad her lungs were even though she was a life long non-smoker but had lived in the city all her life. It was during this experience that the thought of donating my body to science first came to mind.

I've thought about finding an organization to do this donation through thinking specifically of bequeathing my cadaver to a school that I have attended so that other students could have the same experience that I had as far as being able to work a real body before attending medical school or whatever. I decided to finally look up such companies today and found Science Care, which accepts whole body donations. They will transport the body to be harvested and will then cremate the body and return it to the family at no cost. They will coordinate with organ transplant procurement teams which will have first dibs on organs before Science Care takes the body.

I see this as a win-win situation for everyone.

For the family: There will be no need for the old man or kids to make funeral arrangements and once the cremains are returned all they have to do is find a nondescript place to dump the ashes since I don't want to have a burial plot or to be interred. You know the saying..."ashes to ashes, dust to dust"...that's exactly how I see my body. It's just going to be the leftovers after I'm baked to dust so just mix me back into/on top of the earth and keep going about life.

For a stranger: Someone in need of an organ may have the chance to live a fuller life.

For education: Students will have a chance for a hands on education whether it's as a brand new anatomy and physiology student or an EMT student learning how to intubate a patient or a medical student being able to handle a real artery that has plaque buildup within it, etc.

I might as well be useful in my death...rather than just sitting in a box in the dirt or in a mausoleum decomposing without benefiting anyone. At least that's my own opinion and plan. My family can take this as my notice of my plan...the old man already knows and I'll have to update my will and advanced directives as well. Ugh. More paperwork!! lol!

If you're interested in donating your body for science you may want to check out these other websites: (Partial list)
Medical School Body Donation Listing
Anatomy Gifts Registry
Lifequest Anatomical
Life Legacy (non-profit) 
University of Tennessee - Knoxville Body Farm

Register in your state to become an organ donor:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Interesting article...at least to me! lol!
10 Uses for your body after you die