Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Yo, I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really, Really, Really, Want

My girls in Chicago on St Patrick's Day.

Welp. It was St Patrick's Day this past Saturday. Which meant that my daughters and some of their friends traveled to Chicago for Stinky's bachelorette party for the weekend. Stinky really wanted me to go, but I couldn't get Friday off of work, and the idea of being surrounded by drunk people all weekend with nowhere to hide, made my skin crawl (and reminded me of  holidays with my Uncle's family (my legal guardian) growing up).

Judging from the little bits of video I saw, they went to bars where they first sang along to Abba Songs, then the next bar was bad 80's music, then the place after that was a Spice Girls song (that I still have going through my head. Ugh!), and then finally they were singing along to some hip hop song I'm not cool enough to know the name of. At least they had some kind of progression with their sing-alongs...

Stinky said they all had a good time, but there was a little drama during the weekend. I can't imagine a bunch of twenty somethings hanging out all weekend WITHOUT any drama, so it seems pretty typical.

For John and myself, our St Patrick's Day was much more our old people's speed. At around 6 o'clock, we went the gym and swam laps in a very quiet pool. Then we went to our local bar to eat dinner (during Lent they have crab cake sliders that I apparently can't get enough of) and have a decidedly non-green beer and we were home before 9 o'clock where I read myself to sleep.

I hope you all had a nice St Patrick's Day, however you like to celebrate...Or don't like to. Now, I've ended enough sentences with prepositions for one day. I hope the rest of  your day is more grammatically correct.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kid, You Better Look Around, How Long Do You Think That You Can Run That Body Down?

Well, kids. I finally threw in the towel. I tried really hard to train for the Hawkeye 25K, but I was thwarted on so many levels. I was sick for almost the entire month of January and then much of February was overflowing with icy sidewalks and then my perimenopausal muscles were so tight, it hurt to walk sometimes, let alone run.

So, I'm pulling the trigger. I'm a little sad about it, but I really don't want to get injured and I think I would make that happen if I tried to run the kind of miles I need to train for the race, and I don't have time for a gradual build-up.

I came to my decision yesterday. Last Saturday I ran 9 miles. It was a nice, flat route from my house to Sand Lake, around it and then back home. I actually felt pretty good through most of it, but I was an idiot. I brought water, but no nourishment. I started to bonk (feel the effects of my lack of food) at around mile 7. I slowed way down and pushed myself to finish the last two miles. My metatarsalgia (a condition that causes the ball of my foot to become inflamed (read:  feel stabby knives under the ball and toes)), was also getting the best of me. I'm happy to say, I ran the whole thing and whatever about it that didn't kill me, made me stranger (who knew that was possible?).

On Sunday I was out of commission. Remember how I used to get migraines once or twice a week for most of my adult life? Yeah, well I think I've taken migraine meds twice this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that my migraines have been few and far between the last few months, but on Sunday, I was all drained and dizzy and my stomach was bugging me and my teeth hurt, and it took me about half a day to realize I was a little migrainey. it wasn't bad enough to take meds for, but it did mean, I didn't do one damn things on Sunday, except go to Kalona for a late lunch/early dinner with John and some friends. It also meant I didn't run or ride. I guess I needed a break.

I didn't run again until Wednesday. I was able to get a vacation day then. It was supposed to be in the upper 50's, so it was perfect. I did a 10 mile run. This time, I was smart enough to bring some water, watered down cranberry juice and some peanut butter M & M's. It turned out to be a perfect fueling combination.

I was able to run the full ten miles, it was beautiful, I didn't bonk, but by the last mile and a half, I was dying anyway. My feet hurt and it was very apparent that I was pushing myself to do too many miles too soon.

I tried to run an easy 3.5 mile route last night after work, but my muscles were too tight. Last night I finally called it. I won't be in good enough shape not to hurt myself either before or after the race. I'm sad, because I love that race, but I'm also relieved that the stress is gone. I'm still planning on running six miles tomorrow, but I was going to try and run twelve, and I'm happy not to have that self-imposed pressure on me.

Now, I'm looking forward to running a little less and riding my bike a little more. The balance seems to work for me, now that I'm 52 years old and all.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I'm Running a Race and You're the Book I Read So

One of my cousins who lives in Hawaii messaged me a couple of weeks ago and told me that he and his wife would love to have us visit them and they even had a free downstairs apartment where we could stay. Sadly, we don't have enough money or vacation time to take them up on their offer to go to Hawaii. Sigh. I started thinking about how I've never really left the continental US before, but I have traveled a lot in my head with the help of the many books I read. I thought I'd try to start doing a segment on the blog of all of the places I travel through literature in a month.

I'm going to start with last month. I read ten books in the month of February and this is where they took me:

1.) I started the month reading "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whited. It started me off in Georgia and then to South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana during the 1800's.

2.) The second book I read was "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J. K. Rowling. This book took me across the ocean to England, but not just England, it was magical England. I am so sad that with that book, I finished the series and can never travel to that world for the first time again. Sigh.

3.) My third book this month was "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Andre Dumas. This novel took me to Italy and France in 1815. Wow, what a trip. If you haven't taken it, you should.

4.) The fourth book I read was called "Swimming Lessons" by Claire Fuller. It took place at Dorset Beach, on the Southwest Coast of England. I did need a little beach time this Winter.

5.) Book number five was "As Good As Gone" by Larry Watson. It took me to Montana in the early 1960's.

6.) My sixth book was "The Miniaturist" by Jessie Burton. It takes place in Amsterdam in 1686. I've always wanted to visit Holland, but it sounds like it's way better now than it was back then when the Calvinists were making strict laws and trying to control the population. No thanks. Luckily, it's at least possible for me to visit now when things are better.

7.) "Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist" by Sunil Yapa was the seventh book I read last month. It took me to Seattle in 1999, during the WTO protests. Again, I'd love to check out Seattle, I'd just rather go now, than when all of that violence and bloodshed occurred.

8.) My eighth novel took place in Yugoslavia, on a train, in 1934. "Murder on the Orient Express" was my first Agatha Christie novel and it was great escapism for a dreary February in Iowa. I'll definitely go back and visit there again.

9) "Why We Run: A Natural History" by Bernd Heinrich was the only non-fiction book I read last month. John has been trying to get me to read it for a couple of years now. It combined running with animal biology, and it was right up my alley. It also took me to Germany, Maine and Chicago, Illinois.

10) The last book I read was "The Starboard Sea",  by Amber Dermont. It took me to a hoity-toity boarding school in Maine in 1987. I don't think I could deal with all of the over privileged, rich people in the book, but I would love to check out Maine...In the Summer, of course.

Sure, I may not be able to travel that much in the real world, but in books, in my head, I can go all over, I don't have to worry about jet lag and the most stressful thing about it, is dealing with the weight of my fat orange cat pressing down on my internal organs as he lies on my stomach.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Oh Yeah, You're a Strange Stray Cat

Well, it's Spring Break in our fair college town, which means that much of our population gets the entire week off and goes someplace else. What it means for me, is that I get to ride my bike with very little traffic to and from work. I'm also taking tomorrow off, since it's supposed to be 56 degrees here then. As usual, I have a ton of projects I'm going to try to do, but will probably only finish a few of them. I also want to try and get a longer run in if my body lets me. That's always a crap shoot, but not literally, thankfully.

John's pretty, gray haired, green eyed, cat had to go to the vet today to get her rabies shot. She is the dumpster kitty, so she's pretty skittish and things like getting stuffed in a cat carrier and taken to the vet for a shot are probably more traumatic for her than other cats. John emailed me to let me know how it went. This is his account:

"Yeah, she's pretty good at resisting getting in the carrier. Too much practice lately.

She howled all the way to the vet, then got very quiet. On the table she got as small as she could -- think Archie just before a hug. Back in the carrier 5 minutes later and she howled all the way home. 

I took her to the kitchen and opened the carrier and she ran for the bedroom. She was about to dive under the bed, but when I asked nicely she stopped so I could pet her for a second. The vet told her to find a sunny window. I hope she does."

Poor girl. We'll just have to spoil her when we get home tonight.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Walk Along to Another Day. Work a Little Harder Work Another Way

Before I get started on getting this weekend going, I thought I'd write about last weekend. this will mostly be photos, since I'm in a hurry, but they are pretty cool pictures of some of the things I love most about Iowa city and playing oustide.

Now that I'm not all that fast any more, I like to make my work-outs fun adventures. I started last Saturday with a 7.75 mile run. I wanted to go at least 7 miles, and I was glad that I was able to extend it. My muscles behaved themselves and I didn't have to stop from them tightening up at any point during my run. Yea!

I did go through the Oakland Cemetery and waved to the Black Angel on the way out.

On Sunday I did a five mile run in the morning, and since my bike shifter broke on the way back from our road ride the week before, and it was so windy, John and I just did a fun townie ride on our mountain bikes.

We headed to Sand Lake and played on the beach there.

On the way back, we hung out around the train tracks.

Don't worry,  we didn't go on them at all. There just happens to be a metal sidewalk that we could ride on next to them.

The sun was starting to set, so we headed home.

But not before I got a shot at some of my favorite graffiti on the bridge supports. It was  Knock Out.

We made it back in time to get ready for dinner. I decided to take John on a date to Devotay. It's a tapas bar that has excellent food and margaritas. Ole'!

While we were there, we had one of my new favorite foods. it was a butternut squash souffle' with some kind of delicious strips of hard cheese on top of it and cut up cabbage next to it. I wish I was a better cook, so I could make that at home.

I'm not sure if we'll have as wonderful of a weekend this week, but I'm willing to try my damnedest to get close. May you all have a great couple of days.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Cool Down. Stop Acting Crazy. They're Gonna Leave and We'll be on Our Own.

I went to my first breast ultrasound on Tuesday. it was waaaay better than a mammogram, but it was still a little uncomfortable and the lotion they put on me was ice cold. I was pretty worried with this test, since it's supposed to be able to see so much more than even a mammogram and the last time they found the tumor, it was very small. After the procedure, the tech told me that they might see things they couldn't see before and want me to come back in to check things out later. Yikes!

Since the clinic I went to was right next to a Trader Joe's, I stopped by there and bought myself some flowers and contemplated buying some Ben and and Jerry's and sitting around watching House Hunters, just to chill out and de-stress. By the time I got home, however, I talked myself into just going for a run instead. Good on me!

I know I've told you that I've been having a problem of tightness in my muscles, so that when I run a lot of times, I have to run and then walk and run and then walk, sometimes throughout the entire run because of this. So, on Tuesday while I was running to relieve stress, I got to Rochester Street and my muscles were starting to tighten up again. I stopped to walk. Right then, a man who must have been running behind me, stopped and asked, "How far are your running?"

"Five miles," I said.

"How far have you gone?"

"Um, like, two?"

"Well, Come on. Let's go." And he signaled for me to start running with him.

"No. I have a problem with my muscles where I have to stop and walk sometimes."

"Oh. So, are you training for anything?" he wanted to know.

"No. I'm just running."

He finally left me alone and went on his way, but what the hell? I'm sure he thought he was being helpful and was going to inspire me to keep running. I don't think he was being creepy at all, but just really invasive. When I told John about it, I said I knew that I was weird about wanting to be left alone in general, and John said, "No. That's weird for anyone. I would be annoyed if somebody came over to me and tried to make me run with them, when I didn't even know them, I can't imagine what it would be like to be a woman and have a guy do that."

"I know. And I'm over 50. I'm supposed to be invisible to men in general. It's one of my favorite parts of getting older...", I said.

I did start running again eventually, and lucky for me, that guy kept a nice distance ahead of me. By the time I had about a half mile left of my run, my phone rang. Normally, I don't answer it if I don't know the person calling, but I took a chance. Lucky for me, it was the nurse who scheduled the breast ultrasound. They told me I wouldn't get results for a day or two, but she had them already. She said that everything looked good. They saw something that was probably a cyst, but it was really small, so they would just monitor it. Yea!

I finally made it home and I was exhausted, not just from the physical act of running, but from all that went on during that 50'ish minutes. Maybe next time, I'll just get the Ben and Jerry's and watch some House Hunters instead. It seems like it would be healthier.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

What a Drag it is Getting Old

So, like I said last week, I've been going through all of these "older people" issues lately. I know it's all part of the process and I also know the alternative. I am very lucky to get to 52 years old.

It just gets me thinking sometimes. I have a lot more wrinkles and scars and my hair is thinning, and it will never, ever look like it did in the photo above (which might be a good thing...), I can't see or hear very well and I'll never be as strong or as fast as I was in my early forties even. I'm sure if I spent a lot of time dwelling on it all, it could get me down. Instead, I've been working on writing about when I was 19 years old. Seriously, if you EVER want to feel better about getting older, try very hard to remember what it felt like to be 19. What kind of scenarios did you create in your head to stress about? How did you feel about yourself? How much crap did you put up with from other people? What was important to you? You may have been a better, more put together person than I was back then (and who wasn't?), but if you were even close to the kind of messed up I was in 1984, you would be singing the praises of your older person emotions and brain, no matter how rusty, or padded the body was that encased them.

Friday, March 02, 2018

There's a Party in My Mind, And I Hope it Never Stops

So, hey kids. It's been a while. This week has been crazy week, both at work and at home. I don't have a ton of time to write, so I'll keep it quick and simple.

I got to do a real, live, road ride on Sunday. I'm slow and weak and way overweight, but it still felt good to ride 35 miles outside. The next few weeks should be kind of rough for me, physically. I'm trying to get back on the training train and I have soooo far to go. I'm increasing the length and intensity of my work-outs while decreasing my caloric intake. Wish me luck...Or rather, wish John luck. Poor man.

I got bifocals for the first time in my life. I'm sure I needed them years before this, but I finally got them on Tuesday. They still make me dizzy, so I'm gradually getting used to them. We'll see how long that takes...

I had my 6 year and a half after cancer surgery appointment this past week. They don't do much more than a breast exam and ask me invasive questions. But now they want to give me a breast ultrasound every February. It's not supposed to be painful and they promise there isn't any radiation involved, so now I just have to see if my insurance covers it and I'll have another safety net to detect that evil cancer.

Okay. I'm on the precipice of another weekend. Hopefully, I'll get my shite together enough next week to write a proper blog post. Until that time, go out play outside as much as you can and most importantly, be kind and empathetic.

Friday, February 23, 2018

I Want to Get Up When I Wake Up, But When I Get Up, I Fall Down

Last weekend, last weekend. We're on to last weekend. So, it was all okay. The big problem is that I tried to go running right during an unexpected snowfall. I figured it would be safer, because the snow would cover the ice and give me more traction. WRONG! I got a little over a mile with no problems, and then I hit a hidden patch of ice and went down hard.

I kept trying to run, but more carefully and kept slipping and sliding and by the time I got to about 2.5 miles in, and realized it was too dangerous for me to even walk in the grass. So, I threw in the towel and called John to come get me. I do realize that I am very lucky to have a husband that I can call and he is in his car and headed my way in a flash. I have done the same for him, so at least I don't have to also feel too badly about it.

I was worried that I'd have some repercussions from my great fall, but so far, I'm okay. Yea!

After the run, John and I worked on painting the kitchen ceiling. It went pretty quickly with me brush painting the edges and John painting the middle with the roller. Of course, we can't forget Archie's incredible job as supervisor.

On Sunday I figured it might be a good idea to take off from running and John and I swam laps instead. I hadn't been swimming in a few weeks, but I was happy to find out that I hadn't lost too much of my swimming muscle strength. The best part was that I got to go to the jacuzzi after my swim and let the jets do some work on the hip I fell on...Also, watching the little kids learn how to climb on the rock climbing wall was really fun.

Most of our weekend was spent doing the ceiling project. Which may not have been all that much fun, but it was great to get it done. Above is the before shot where you can see the popcorn ceiling with all its dirtcicles hanging off of it and the hideous old, white, ceiling fan and lights with the cow painted pulls. Yeesh!

On Sunday I did some touch-up painting while John installed the new ceiling fans. They are super swank looking, all black and chrome. As you can see, I still have to paint the heating vent and exhaust fan black, but I have to wait until it's warm enough to paint them outside.

You can also see that the walls are next. We have most of the bad bits scraped and hopefully, this weekend we'll get the spackling paste, sand paper, primer and paint to get going on that. So much to do, but at least, these kinds of projects make such a difference in making our place look better, as opposed to the structural projects we put a ton of money into and nobody can see any difference.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An Aversion to Light, Got a Fear of the Ocean. Like Eating Poison, Like Eating Glass.

Archie would rather lie on the recycling instead of the box that John left out for him. Silly cat.
I'm having a bad day, and this time it has nothing to do with the cats. I brought a half of an avocado stuffed with tuna salad for lunch and had some black bean soup as well. I take my lunch in glass containers, since heating food in plastic containers is supposed to be very bad for you. The glass containers are much heavier in my bike bag when I ride to work, but that's because the glass is so thick. I was hoping that meant it would be fairly durable, but today I was proved wrong. The glass container with the avocado slid off the soup container and fell to the carpeted ground and smashed on impact when I was carrying them back to my lair. Strangely enough, the avocado fell on its shell, but there were little pieces of glass sticking to the wrinkled, outside skin. I was starving and the soup wasn't going to be very filling, so after I cleaned the glass off of the carpet, I looked closely and ran my finger along things and decided to risk taking a couple of bites of the top part of the avocado and tuna salad. I know, I know, was it really worth dying for? If you know me and my love of food, you'll understand what my answer to that will be...Yeah, kinda.

While I was eating the soup, one of my co-workers walked by, pointed at my soup and asked, "What's THAT?" I told her it was black bean soup. She said, "Oh, it looked like gravy and I wondered why you'd be eating a bowlful of gravy." I had never thought of doing that before, but I could probably be very happy eating a bowl full of gravy.

When I got back to my desk and told the ladies in my office about my trials during lunch, one of them said, "Eat some cotton balls."


"Yeah. If you've swallowed glass, you're supposed to eat cotton balls so the glass will stick to them," she said.

"Wait. How do you know that?"

"I have no idea," she responded.

Needless to say, I haven't tried eating any cotton balls. I guess it would sop up the imaginary gravy I had for lunch. I'll just have to hope that I didn't accidentally swallow any glass. I suppose I'll find out when I take a drink of water and it flows out of the holes the glass made in me.

Friday, February 16, 2018

And Knowing That You Would Have Wanted it This Way, I Do Believe I'm Feeling Stronger Every Day

Wow. It's Friday already? It's been a busy, but really nice week. I'm finally building back up from being sick for so long. Whew!

Last weekend started out great. I woke up to bagels and cream cheese that John got while I was sleeping, I had half and half for my tea, and I got to read more of "The Count of Monte Cristo". It was the best way to wake up.

I got a run in and then we met some friends to Cross Country ski at Lake MacBride. The snow was pretty slow, but that helps me ski the downhills that I'm normally too scared to ski very well.

I also got a little cocky and tried to ski down what I call butt plow hill - because I usually plow down it on my ass. This time, there were several big roots or branches that made it even harder to ski. Not too surprisingly, I ended up walking sideways down it for a while, then tried to ski it, then fell and couldn't get up (Life Alert) and then finally got up and skied the very last little bit of it while trying not to poop my ski pants, I was so scared.

After a couple of hours of playing in the snow, we headed over to Big Grove and met some friends and my daughters for dinner. I had exactly one beer, ate and had a great talk with my girls and then we headed home. I was exhausted. It was the longest I had worked-out since the beginning of January.

On Sunday we went skiing in the morning and then in the afternoon headed over to John's Aunt's Memorial. I think at first, John's mom was worried she'd get stuck spending too much time with the members of her family she didn't want to talk to, but instead, she got to see a lot of people from her small town who she hadn't seen in years and it ended up being a good thing for her. John's cousin did an amazing job of putting it all together and I think it was a very positive way to celebrate John's Aunt's life.

After the Memorial, I was going to go home and make Eggplant Parmesan for dinner, but I wasn't up for it, so we went to Short's and bothered Coadster at work instead. I ended up making the Eggplant Parmesan on Monday night and it was delicious, even though Heidi was pretty horrified at its lack of fish, chicken, or turkey.

What we haven't done much of this last week, is paint the damn ceiling of our kitchen. Archie is just fine with that. He's been having a blast playing in the plastic tarp we're using to cover stuff while we work.

This week was also Valentine's Day. John went to his mom's house that evening, and my girls came over to see me. We got Coadster's favorite, Happy Joe's taco pizza, and watched Harry Potter, and it was the perfect way to celebrate our Galentine's Day.

We'll see what this weekend brings. The snow is gone, but it should be pretty warm. I know I don't act like it, but I have a 25K part trail run coming up in April and I need to get cracking on training for it. Also, I'm sure I'll feel like painting our kitchen ceiling...Or not.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sometimes It's Hard to be a Woman

I just realized it's 2018 and about 20 years ago, I worked in the OB/Gyn clinic at the University hospital here. At that time, my girls looked like they do in the photo above and Stinky had meningitis. So, because of all of that, I am going to repost a blog I wrote several years ago about what it was like to work in obstetrics and gynecology in the late 1990's:

You may not want to work here if you either hate or love babies. If you hate babies you will be forced to deal with them on a daily basis. Many women who come back for their six week post-partum appointment will bring their spawn and someone has to hold them while their mothers are back in the stir-ups again. That somebody would be you.

If you love babies, your heart will break several times during your shift. You will have to treat pregnant women who have already had their last five children taken away from them and they'll claim that this time will be different. You won't believe them. You may also have to draw blood from women who tell you right off the bat that you won't find a usable vein. "Believe me. If there was one I could get to, I would have already found it and used it up." Since these women have very few teeth in their heads, you may make the assumption that what they're slamming in their veins is crank. Then when you are actually lucky enough to find one, your patients will get all excited and pay very careful attention to it's location so they can rush right home and slam some more.

You may not want to work here if you are a heterosexual male or a homosexual female and you want to stay attracted to women. There are many things you will see, hear and most importantly, smell that could dim your sexual interest. Just as, I am sure, there are several other clinics in the hospital that would have a similar effect on heterosexual women and homosexual men.

You may not want to work here if you have problems dealing with difficult people. On Thursdays you will be assigned to work the menopause clinic in the morning and the PMS clinic in the afternoon. If you choose this position, you might want to start cultivating a healthy after-work alcohol drinking regimen on Thursdays as well.

You may not want to work here if you are afraid of old people. You will see all kinds of women in various forms of undress here. There are certain clinics such as the uro-gyn clinic that is mainly populated by women with incontinence issues and most are over forty. For our own amusement, we prefer to think of this as the Ida/Eunice/Madge clinic, as opposed to the colposcopy clinic (dealing with the treatment of abnormal cells on the cervix generally as the result of exposure to HPV) which is mainly attended by women in their early twenties and therefore called the Ashley/Brittany/Nicole clinic.

You may not want to work here if you have a hard time saying no. Many women think that the root of any or all of their problems is harboring a uterus. They will ask you in several different ways if you will please see to it that their uterus is removed. Doctors are reluctant to perform a hysterectomy for no reason, as the surgery could cause scar tissue and sudden menopausal symptoms that may be much worse than the original complaint. Your job will be to tell these women, no - even if they try to trick you by calling their womb a cooter bug, which has happened, let me assure you.

You may not want to work here if you you have a hard time telling people things they don't want to accept. Many times the horrible pain women are feeling and are sure are fibroids, ectopic pregnancies, or endometriosis, is really just gas. You must be delicate in the delivery of this diagnosis as these same women are going to have to go home and tell their husbands that the tumor they were sure was only going to give them six more months to live, can easily be treated with Metamucil.

Oh yeah, the pay sucks, you don't get breaks and rarely will you get the chance to sit down for five minutes to eat your lunch. Now, when can you start?

Friday, February 09, 2018

Is There Anyone Here Who Doesn't Know? We're Under Fifteen Feet of Pure, White Snow.

Well, I'm finally almost over this stupid flu. The only good thing about it is that I got to read a whole bunch the last month. I just finished the last couple of Harry Potter books. I'm sad I'll never be able to read them again for the first time, but I am so damn happy that I got to read them these last couple of years. I guess, now I'll have to start watching the movies. I'm sure my girls will be up for that.

So, what have I been up to these last couple of weeks? I'm sure you're all dying to find out. The weekend before last I was still too sick to work-out, but that Saturday was almost 50 degrees out, so John and went for a hike in Hickory Hill Park, about a mile from our house. It was just what I needed.

We found a new trail that was made by the Burr Oak Land Trust. I have some info about them, so I hope to get to do some work on the new trails they buy and help them out any way I can. I love the idea.

And the new trail was pretty cool. They had ruins from some old structures and I love seeing those.

We got about 2.5 miles in on the hike before I was absolutely exhausted. My lungs still weren't up to snuff and it was hard to breathe. So, we headed home and John went on a bike ride and I went to the store and then rested at home. We then headed to our friend's RAGBRAI announcement party. It's going to be a central Iowa route, which is what I predicted. It will make it easier for us to ride out to RAGBRAI this year. We won't be clocking 614 miles, and that is fine with me. We also will get home on Friday this year. Which will be more than nice.

Most of this week, I've been building back up. Last weekend, I did a trail run very slowly and it still kicked my arse. I also swam laps and rode for a half an hour on the trainer, very slowly.

We got a really nice snowfall on Monday and we were supposed to have a crazy Winter storm last night, but we only got 1.25 inches here. They're still saying we could get 1-3 inches tonight and I'm all for it. I plan to cross country ski all weekend. Yea!

Heidi, on the other hand is preparing to spend her weekend much like she spends her weekdays, lying slothfully all over the house and demanding all of the petting.

I took the day off on Tuesday. As you can see in the background of this photo, we are STILL working on our kitchen. I finished priming the ceiling on my vacation day, and we're hoping to finish painting it this weekend. Then we can put up our fancy, new ceiling fans and we get to throw away the hideous, white, Kountry Kitchen type ceiling fans with cows painted on the pull strings and I am beyond thrilled at the prospect. It's the little things...We'll work our way down the walls and retile the floor at some point. There's nothing strange about a decade long kitchen renovation, right? Sigh.

So, I am so happy that it's Friday and I'm excited about the weekend. Well, except the part where we deal with annoying, fat, cats, that is...

Monday, February 05, 2018

I Haven't Got Room for the Pain

This will be a quick post. Lucky for you all.

I had my first migraine of the year today. There is a big weather front moving in, so I'm not surprised. What is surprising, though, is that this is the first time since I started taking migraine meds when I was 40, that I've gone almost 5.5 weeks without having to take them. It's not that I haven't had a migraine in that time, but that it hasn't been bad enough that I needed meds. Let's hope this starts some kind of trend in my world.

Friday, January 26, 2018

I Am Tired, I Am Weary. I Could Sleep for a Thousand Years

Well, kids...I got sick, sick, sick...Again. It's been about three weeks with this crap. I got sick originally and took almost an entire week off of work. I was tired and achy for another week, but I thought I was getting over it. Then on Monday, it started up again, and this time it was in my lungs and I was coughing like crazy and I really thought I might have to go to the emergency room for a while there. I just knew that if I did go, I'd have to sit there for hours, when all I really wanted to do was go to sleep.

So, I made a deal with John that I would go back to sleep and if I didn't start feeling even a little better by noon, he'd come home over lunch and take me to the emergency room. He also texted my girls and asked if they could check up on me during the day.

Anyway, the sleeping and taking cold medicine every 6 hours really helped. I started feeling better (read: not deathly ill) by about 3 o'clock that afternoon. I have to say, I have never felt that bad from a cold or respiratory flu before. And because I'm perimenopausal, I got the extra added bonus of getting to play the game of  "Is It a Fever or Is It a Hot Flash" - everyone's a loser!

But now, let's go back to a gentler time, just last weekend, when I thought I was getting better...

Coadster asked me if I'd go to the Iowa City Women's March with her. Hell yes!

The weather was perfect and we went down to the Ped Mall and listened to speakers and then marched with so much support from local businesses and people driving by. It was a great way to start the day and the year and I love being able to practice my First Amendment rights with my daughter. Stinky had to work, but she did make a ton of money from post-rally traffic. We all won on Saturday.

It got warm on Sunday. Sadly, neither John or I were up for any kind of real work-out, but we both wanted to get out and enjoy the day. John suggested that we go for a Winter hike.

We went out to Lake MacBride and hiked trails until we got to the spillway.

It is so beautiful out there. It doesn't even look like Iowa. If you go to the right places, it can be a quick trip out of the normal Iowa landscapes.

We also got to hang-out on the spillway itself.

It was only too late that we were warned of hazards of this treacherous area. For the love of God! KEEP OFF THE SPILLWAY!

Luckily, I got to have that lovely weekend before the plague set-in, and then I made it through that bit of badness. Now, I'm hoping to work on my recovery this weekend. I plan on doing some resting and reading and doting on of cats.

I hope you all are keeping away from the crud and getting out and enjoying the outdoors and using your constitutional rights, and just winning in general.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Let the Jazz Band Make Some Noise, Step Up Ladies and Watch Out Boys

Okayyyy....I should probably write a blog post at some point this week. I'll write about the weekend today and try to get to the last couple of 2017 posts in the next couple of days.

Originally, John and I were going to give ourselves this lovely four day weekend where we would go find some snow and then ski for a few days. Then the girls asked if we would want to go to Madison for New Year's weekend and we decided to just have a staycation instead but we'd try to do fun things around Iowa City. Then I got that bad cold and even that went out the window...Or at least a little bit, anyway.

On Friday it got cold again. I knew I couldn't swim, but I thought it might be a good idea to go to the gym and used the jacuzzi and steam room. I was wrong. The jacuzzi was lovely and I slammed myself into those jets and it was very nice for my achy muscles. The steam room on the other hand? That was bad. I don't know if I still had a little fever or what, but I had to leave very soon after I entered and my body was trying to pass-out all over the place. How unseemly! I managed to get home and I just went to bed...Again. I guess the good thing, was that I started reading the book, "Rebecca" and it was the perfect book to be sick in bed with.

I did look longingly outside throughout the day...

On Friday night, I was feeling a little better, so we met our friends out at Film Scene to take in the movie, "I, Tonya". It was goo, but pretty violent, and Allison Janney definitely deserves an Academy Award for it.

On Saturday, I still wasn't feeling tip-top. John went mountain biking with some friends, but I couldn't go, so I went to the store and got groceries for the week instead, and not a whole hell of a lot else got done before they got done and called me to meet them for pizza at Back Pocket Brewery.

After that, John and I went to Trader Joe's where I decided I needed some flowers to cheer me up a little. They worked!

By Sunday, I was starting to feel a little better. I gave myself a little chance to wake-up slowly and started reading my next book. It was very different than "Rebecca", but just as good.

I finally got a little bit done on Sunday. We filled all of the holes in the ceiling with spackle, but we'll have to wait until this  upcoming weekend to start with the sanding and priming and such. Archie, did try to help supervise, but then he got very sleepy up there on top of the refrigerator. Poor guy.

After we did the work in the kitchen, we decided to swim some laps and then do the jacuzzi and steam room. I had WAY better success this time around, and even felt okay during the swim - my first exercise since being sick.

I took John out for sushi after our work-out. The miso soup and wasabi worked well to clean out my sinuses.

Later in the day, I went with John to Hickory Hill Park and decided to do a trail run. I figured if I wasn't actually up for running, it would be a nice hike in the woods. I needed to get outside and play and it was up in the 20's on Sunday, and that felt so warm in comparison to what it has been around these parts.

Happily, I was able to run the whole 3'ish miles in the woods!

It was so beautiful and snowy and the sun was setting and I met and made some really nice dog friends. I came across many deer. There was one pack (flock? gang?) of deer that didn't even move when they saw me going. I'm sure they figured I was going so slowly, I couldn't possible be any kind of threat to them. Sigh.

Anyway, I got to run and it was just what I needed.

For John's birthday in September, I bought us tickets to The Squirrel Nut Zippers show. John loves the band so much, he even bought their Christmas album.

The show happened on Sunday evening at 7. That's early enough for us, but it makes sense, most of the people in the audience were old people too.

Since I bought the tickets right after they came out, we had excellent seats, in the second row, right by the stage.

The Suirrel Nut Zippers are a New Orleans style jazz band. They play all kinds of different instruments, tell bawdy jokes and they're more like a Vaudeville show than just a musical concert. It's probably the best show I've seen in the last ten years.

At the end of the show, they all parade out while singing and playing music and the audience is supposed to parade out behind them. They kept playing in the lobby and we all had a little dance thing going on there in the lobby of the theater. It was so much fun.

Because the show ended around 9 o'clock and we had a holiday the next day and didn't have to get up and go to work, we met our friends at the Dublin Underground for a beer. it was really nice to see people, some of them I hadn't seen since RAGBRAI. We still made it home before 10:30.

On Monday I thought I'd try to do this FTP test thingy on the bike trainer. It's supposed to measure your power on the bike and it took an hour to do it, and I was pretty weak, so I'll probably have to do it again sometime when I feel stronger, but I was just glad I could ride my bike for an hour, even at a slower pace.

So, our four day staycation didn't quite go as planned, but I got a lot of reading and resting in and was able to get some exercising in here and there. I'm hoping we get to get going on our kitchen project and get that ceiling all done and prettied-up.