Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Friday - the Thanksgiving edition

Things that made me happy this week:

my friend Stephanie who taught me a better way to peel a banana (from the bottom - pinch and peel!)

friends and family

turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, blueberry cream cheese pie


macy's parade (for a while anyway)

The Rockstar and the mutts

not being at work

I hope that everyone everywhere had a fabulous week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I guess no one said that life is fair.

I have probably known a disproportionate amount of death in my life. Some of it due to being adopted by parents who were in their 5o's when I was born (can you imagine? but that's a story for another day). Three grandparents gone by the time I was born, one when I was a kid. My parents within 6 months of each other when I was 21. Growing up in a small town meant that I had several friends die by the time I made it out of high school. College friends added to the count. Ironic that a suicide led to a funeral with more than 1000 people crowding into the church. Volunteer work with a cancer charity led me even closer to many wonderful people who are no longer with us.

With this life experience you would think that I have learned to accept it.

A few days ago I got an update from a friend that I have known since I was a kid. She has been battling cancer for almost year. She was always the good one. The vegetarian since we were young (growing up in a small town in the middle of ranching country - she was the only one), always exercised, always healthy. After a series of chemo and radiation that was pretty rough, they have run tests. The cancer is back. It has spread. It is inoperable. She is 36. She has 4 young children.

It makes me angry

It makes me sad.

It makes me want to tell everyone who is important to me how much I love them.

It makes me want to see more of the world.

It makes me want to make a difference.

It makes me want to make the most of every single day.

Many people have said it best: cancer sucks.

Happy Friday!

The Grand Essentials of Happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for --Allan K Chalmers

Weekly round-up of things that made me happy:

My mutts. Running with reckless abandon and wearing goofy sweaters.

The last flowers of fall.
Lunch with an old friend.
Nice dinners with a bottle of wine and good conversation.
Canceled meetings.
A good run.
The biscuit.

Live it up folks!

Monday, November 9, 2009

You've got to eat lean to be lean!

I am not normally a dieter. I truly believe in moderation of all things. I enjoy eating and drinking. Very much.

I am a dichotomy. Organic and locally grown foods chased down with a Dr Pepper or a margarita. Fast food lunches eaten while at my desk on conference calls versus vegetarian meals, growing our own veggies in the backyard garden and sustainably managed seafood.

I have always been lucky and been blessed with a pretty good metabolism. For the most part I ate what I wanted to, indulging my sweet tooth, got a fair amount of exercise, and things just pretty much worked out for the best.

I was warned it wouldn't last. My sisters and older friends told me I had better start learning good habits because it would only get harder. Those bastards were right! After I hit 30 it was all downhill. I suddenly found myself dragging out of bed at 5:30 am to get bossed around in boot camp - and I had to pay for that torture! The instructor - a former military drill sergeant - was super fit and full of witticisms. "You've got to eat lean to be lean!" "Run like you are running to the Krispy Kreme!" I was in good shape and I really liked it, but I just couldn't keep getting up that early.
I kept running, but learned that according to Runners World, you must run an extra mile per week each year after 30 to stay at the same weight. Who the hell came up with that stupid idea? Isn't that backwards? Shouldn't all those miles go into a bank to be drawn out later, kind of like a pension or 401K? This may be the most compelling evidence I have seen to suggest that the omnipotent is not of the female persuasion. A girl just wouldn't make that rule.
I tried to hold the line, but a huge project at work turned me into a stress eater. Vending machines don't offer the best choices for healthy meals, and the candy bowls around the office increased in direct proportion with the luming project deadline. Sigh . . . somehow I wound up with about 10-15 extra pounds.

I have been bitching and moaning about it for a while, but when my favorite jeans couldn't be shoehorned on anymore, I had to draw the line. I got serious a few weeks ago and went on a water drinking, veggie eating, no fast food binge. My biggest goal was to break the sugar cravings. The first few days were hard. I got very crabby. I also cheated a few days, eating out and having a few beers. (Wine comes from grapes, which are part of the fruit group and technically not cheating, right?) There was also an incident where I almost tackled a co-worker and stole her bag of candy corn. Bygones.

Net result . . . down 7 pounds so far and holding.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where everybody knows your name

Several years ago an acquaintance of mine and I decided to run a marathon. Neither of us had ever run more than a mile - and the last time either of us had done that was high school. It seemed like a lofty goal and we both figured "How hard can it be?" We were wrong . . . and we were right.

Many times during those first few months I asked myself what the hell I had been thinking as gasped for breath and fought the urge to curl up on the side of the road and wait for the buzzards to get me. As the weeks went by it got easier and my acquaintance became a good friend.

We survived. We raised money for charity. We made a bunch of new friends. Since that first marathon we have gone on to run several others, but that's a story for another day.

Our little group is not the stero-typical running group. We may not really look like runners. Most of us aren't super lean or super fast. We tend to slack off at times and are quick to cut a run short if we just aren't feeling it that day. We pick races based on how good the t-shirt is and how much swag we get.

One thing that we don't slack on is our post run routine. For years we have met in the same place on Wednesday nights at 6:45 pm. We run 3, 4, or 5 miles depending on the weather, training schedules, or general mood. Afterwards . . . we do not pass go, we do not collect $200, we go directly across the street to New York Pizza and Pasta for food and adult beverage.

We have been going there since the week it opened. We were one of the very first group photos that was hung on the wall and we were put in a place of prominence. (Since then, we have been bumped to the corner in favor of all sorts of local celebrities.) They welcome us warmly, rearrange their tables for us, and happily eat our extra birthday cake.

It's great to have a place where you are a regular, and it's great to have a group of friends that you can exercise with and then go put all those calories back with. Good times.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Friday!

I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately, and today I decided that enough was enough.

The weather was absolutely fabulous. A perfect fall day. The Rockstar and his friends headed out this morning for a long motorcycle ride, and I took the mutts for a stroll before heading to work. As usual, they are high on life. They prance, they bounce, they smile. We could all learn some things from dogs. They truly live in the moment.

When I got to work, my calendar was surprising clear and the big boss was gone. My boss decided that we all have been working too much lately and sent us (including himself) home after lunch. WOO HOO!

I drove home with the top down on my car, the wind blowing my hair and a big smile on my face. A truck driver gave me an enthusiastic "Hey beautiful!" Who cares if it is a bit demeaning and if he says it to any woman with a pulse. I am quite sure he was sincere.

I got home, did some yard work and played ball with the mutts. I love fall. Even in Texas where it doesn't last long. I do believe that Dakota concurs (and that the poor girl hasn't missed any meals recently!)

I went to yoga, where I haven't been in a while, but I sorely miss. Just walking through the door is calming and relaxing. Bonus: I ran into a friend who gave me a box full of produce from her CSA! I talked to my sister and we are planning a trip together soon.

Today, I celebrate Happy Friday!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Now I can sleep at night!

Over the years we have gone through many many computers. We have had a few accidents with laptops - dropped, smashed, crunched, soaked with water, etc. One memorable time when Deuce was a puppy he crawled up on my lap while I was working. I thought that he was so cute and sweet and cuddly until he looked right at me and projectile vomited all over me and my laptop.

Sadly, we have lost more than a few things over the years. Music, photos, important documents, who knows what else.

Enter the time machine. This thing really is cool. It will wirelessly - and automagically - back up multiple computers with NO intervention! Because, let's be honest, I am never going to actually back anything up with any regularity. My friend the time machine - I call him Phil (as in Phil F Nformation) - quietly goes about his business, backing up my laptop every hour. If my laptop isn't there or turned on he patiently waits until I get back and then catches up and saves all my information safe and sound.

Phil is also a wireless print server and a 2 gig network hard drive. He has been working hard for a month, and I am happy to have him. I love Phil and task 93 is complete!