Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Years Resolutions - A Retrospective

It's the end of 2007, and it's raining out. Football hasn't started yet, and lunch is over. All of this means that I'm a little bored, and a lot contemplative. Time to examine the success and failure of my various 2007 goals.
  • Spill less. Success. I can count on one hand the major, table clearing spills that I've taken part in this year. Whether this is due to less drinking, or simply a concious effort to hold onto my beverage, I'm not sure.
  • Don't get burned. Middling success. The year started off looking just like any other year, but I've learned some lessons in my life, and I'm going out feeling pretty good about hot stoves.
  • Stay healthy. Mind - Failure. I haven't read much at all this year. Rolling over to 2008. Body - Roaring success. Spirit - Success. I've had a fir amount of spiritual growth, and my stress level is at an all time low.
  • Hug more, put foot in mouth less. Stalemate. This goal wasn't SMART enough, so I can't say much about it.
How'd you do in your 2007?

2008 Resolutions to come.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Why America is The Most Indulgent Nation

4 Bottles of Pinot Grigio, full course dinner with Fillet Mignon's all around, and Bananas Foster to top it all off. Mike and I were treated to a VERY nice dinner tonight, and I've never eaten a better steak in my life, or enjoyed a better bottle of wine. It's easy to feel like a princess in that kind of environment, and hard to get over the guilt, when I stop to realize that I could have fed a small homestead in Swaziland on what I consumed tonight. A whole village could have eaten if you took the whole table into account.

But I'll justify it by reminding myself that this won't happen again for at least another year. So I'll enjoy the very happy belly feeling now, and digest.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

140 Characters or Fewer?

My initial thoughts on Twitter?

Great that I can update quickly from im and, theoretically, from my phone.

Fun that I can see some friend's constant thoughts on life and everything.

Limiting in that only two people I know are actually on it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Here are the things that I've done this weekend in order to procrastinate from packing for my trip:
  • buy new running shoes
  • go running to test them out (more on those later)
  • take a long nap
  • check to see if Mike was online
  • go to church
  • eat snow
  • do my laundry
  • make a list of the things that need to go in my suitcase
  • check to see if Mike was online
  • watch several silly movies on TBS
  • make pancakes
  • go to Pulaski pool and learn how to lap swim. Maybe I'll do a triathlon this summer!
  • read the rest of the Internet. I think I may finally have reached the end.
  • go grocery shopping
  • clean the kitchen
  • make dinner for Tuesday night
  • wrap Christmas presents
  • fold laundry
  • check to see if Mike was online - he is, now I need to talk to him!
Honestly, through all of this, I felt so many of the effects of N.A.D.D., it felt like I was on some sort of drug. Many of the above activities were being completed simultaneously, as I moved from one room to the next, eyeing up some new project to work on instead of the one that NEEDED to be done. I was in the Place, not the Zone.

And as usual when I get Procrastination Sickness, once I started packing, I was done (as done as I can get) within a half hour. Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's With All The Ladybugs??

I mean seriously? Aren't they supposed to be hibernating, not landing in my hair? Where are they coming from?!

Current kill count in the past 5 minutes - 3.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Where My Peeps At?

Once in a great while, when I have an entire day to kill while it's snowing like crazy outside, I like to check my blog stats. It's not always easy tracking IPs to know exactly who's who, but it's interesting to note where my readers are, so that I can tailor my posts specifically to them.

Of special note:
  • My highest number of returning visitors comes from Elmbrook Church. This tells me that either the pastors are checking up on me (unlikely), or that the interns and ministry assistants have very little to do, and that I need to post more to amuse them (far more probable).
  • I have readers in Germany, Spain, Michigan, California, Minnesota, Montana, Florida, and Illinois. That's a lot of places, considering I only really know people from Wisconsin and Illinois.
  • I'm curious as to who works at Wells Fargo. They read a lot, and hae linked to my page from Josh's. Introduce yourself!
  • One of my readers uses a Linux system. That's cool.

The Reason for the Season?

For the past 3 years or so, I've started feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the extraordinary amounts of gifts exchanged in my family, and with my friends and loved ones. Don't get me wrong, I love getting presents. I love unwrapping things, and I love watching little kids unwrap presents and play with their toys. I also generally enjoy watching friends and family open gifts that I've thoughtfully chosen for them. But it just started to be so much, and when everyone just ends up with a pile at the end of the night, and there's pressure to find the perfect gift, because someone else is getting me a gift, I say Enough.

I'm not complaining here, and I'm not saying that my method will be for everyone. But this year, I'm not buying presents. No Amazon.com, no stores, no stress. There are a couple of people on my list for whom I've thought of specific gifts, which I will give. Several others will receive homemade gifts. For most of my family and friends, however, Christmas will be about time spent together. Time just seems so much more valuable to me than things that you can buy, and so much more personal.

Follow my lead, and maybe together we can beat the consumerism of Christmakwanzakuah. Unless you really enjoy giving gifts, in which case, carry on. 7 days left to order for free shipping from amazon.

My First Snow Day of the 2007-2008 School Year

I'm beginning to doubt global warming. Over the past two years, I've seen more snow days than I ever saw as a child growing up in public schools. My district has canceled school for bitter cold, blizzards, and now an ice storm. Every time I think I hate winter in Wisconsin, I ask myself, "Do schools in Florida or California ever get a random day off in the middle of the week, without some major tragedy befalling their region?" I think not.

Snow days are great, for several reasons.

For starters, the announcement always co mes as a surprise to me. My blinds are closed, so i can't see the snow, and I missed the phone chain call since I was in the shower. In this case, it was one of my roomates that pointed out that many many schools are closed today. Yippee!

Secondly, because the news came late, i was already out of bed, showered, with my hair dried. This means that I won't be wasting my day lazing around in bed. I'll be wasting it lazing around on the computer, with the hopes of doing some very productive things, like rearranging my bedroom, going to the gym, and making homemade Christmas gifts. More on that later.

The final reason this day is so wonderful is the fact that I have many teacher friends, who have off when I have off. So when we get bored, perhaps we'll go sledding!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Look, I'm Sending A Christmas Card This Year!

To you and yours this holiday season, from me and mine. May your Christmas be blessed and full of joy, family, and friends.

Love, Jessie, Katie, and Kristin

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mr. Fuchs Got a Blog

Mike finally gave in and started himself a blog. I helped. Currently he's out-posting me for the month of December. But in my defense, he doesn't use spell check, and he has a little more to write home about. Check it out at mafuchs.blogspot.com.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Please Feed the Jessie

Lately, ever since starting to run more, I've noticed some weird trends in my eating.

1. I eat like a boy. Seriously. The more, the better. Give me a buffet, I'll match you plate for plate. Then I'll get up an hour later and go again.

2. When left to my own devices, without needing to pack a lunch for work, or meet someone for dinner, I really hate to cook. I'll just find something else to do, or eat crackers. This strikes me as odd, because I really enjoy cooking. I just don't see a point in wasting time cooking a nice meal just to eat it in front of the tv.

3. When I do bring myself to put a pot to boil on the stove, I find that I come up with some great recipes, without the benefit of any actual cookbooks. Such as Kickin' Mac N' Cheese, or Zesty Italian Tortelini (created just this week).

Cooking is an adventure. When I can bring myself to do it, it's one I can enjoy - a lot.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

We're Not Idiots Here

Thanks to Josh, I discovered that I could test my blog's readability using a handy, likely highly-accurate online tool. I was pleased to find out that...




I then tested other known blogs, with the same result. I thought to myself, "Ah, what a cute tool, it tells everyone their blog is written at a high level so they feel good about themselves." But then I plugged in a certain difficult-to-swallow blog of a long lost friend, and lo and behold...



So it does work.

The Sunrise This Morning Is Stunning

As much as I'm beginning to hate winter, with its short days, cold cold weather, and roads too icy to run on, there's just something about watching the sun rise above the now covered roof tops while I sit inside eating my hot oatmeal with Craisins. I feel like I've been given a gift, every time.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mere Marriage

A long time ago, I got into a long discussion with Eric about marriage and how it should be recognized, by the state or by the church, and who should be allowed to marry, etc. He proposed the idea that the church should recognize (or not) the marriage of whomever it wants, and the state recognize civil unions of anyone.

I don't know who else has proposed this idea, or if it was original, but I was surprised tonight when working through my Book Club reading, to find that that it was endorsed by C.S. Lewis over 50 years ago in (essentially) his catechism of the Christian faith, Mere Christianity.

P 102
"My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

Lewis's discussion of the institution of marriage happens to be in the context of divorce, and whether laws banning it should be enforced on all citizens. As I recall, the discussion in question from long ago centered around the issue of homosexual marriage, during the heated amendment process.

Stay tuned for continuing thoughts on Lewis, and Why More of the Religious Right Really Ought to be Logical, Rational and not Crazy, Thus Giving More Credibility to Christians As a Whole.

90 in November - And Freezing

I always have sort of low expectations of myself, it seems. I figured my mileage this month would be less, since I've been staying inside a bit more, or cutting a lot of my runs short due to unbearably cold weather. According to my training log, however, I ran the exact same mileage in November as in October. Good. I didn't let that awful weather get to me after all. But it's interesting to note that in October, it took me 14:31:13 to run 90 miles. In November, it was a whopping 16:25:00.

It's only getting colder, and I fear I'm only getting slower. I don't think I'm going to make it to 300.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Blogs I Haven't Written

In the past two months or so, I've thought about blogging many topics. Here are a few.
  • Sprint
  • Baseball season
  • Independence
  • Goal setting
  • Bluetooth
  • Oatmeal
  • Weddings
  • Proving the casual dress code theory
  • Cold
  • Snow
  • christmas concerts
  • twitter
Consider this a checklist of sorts, a foretaste of blogs to come.

This is my 100th Post

I was going to write something of substance, since I haven't written in awhile, but I thought I'd mark this blogging milestone with some meta blogging.

I happened upon a blog yesterday called Unphotographable. On it, the author details the photos he neglected to take, that would have been good.

I feel that way a lot, regarding my blog. As I go through my day, there's many things about which I would like to blog. Events that I feel merit announcement in the public forum. Products that deserve a review. Opinions that just need airing. But I don't write. I think about the things, and I read others' blogs.

Why? Perhaps I worry that what I have to say will be deemed repetitive (most of my best thinking happens while running), or banal. Or perhaps I get too caught up in what others have to say, that I forget that I have a forum of my own. Or perhaps I'm simply too lazy to exercise my write to free speech and practice the written word.

Whatever the case, now, in my 100th post, I am setting a Writing Goal for December: 15 posts. With some reasonable quality. I may need to create a sticker chart.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts

This is actually the title of a book that you're supposed to read before you get married, but here's a list that, if followed, will help to prevent any self-help books from happening. If used correctly, it may also prevent over-analysis of relationships, the silent treatment, and may lead to more cuddling and quality time, and football, and other good things.

That said... Avoid the following situations, or proceed with due caution.

9 Simple Things That Will Cause Fights In Any Relationship
1. Directions, or lack there of
2. Moving
3. Neglecting the 10 minute post-work decompression time
4. Dishes
5. Cleaning
6. Board games
7. Picture hanging
8. Insecurity
9. The trash

You have been warned.

Thanks to Heather for her contributions to this project.

Update 11/17 12:12am - Thanks to Josh and Eric. Josh, flatulence shouldn't cause fights, if both parties are open and honest and accepting. I'll give you insecurity, however, even though it's a bit general. Eric, I'll give you trash.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

How To Mail A Letter to Swaziland

1. Address envelope in RED INK. This supposedly (according to someone in the Peace Corp) helps the letter get there in sooner than a month.
2. Include USA under your return address.
3. Write on the envelope INTERNATIONAL AIR MAIL.
4. Affix one 90 cent stamp (more if heavier, I suppose).
5. Be sure envelope is properly sealed, using tape if necessary.

Friday, November 02, 2007

97 Miles in September, 90 in October... 100 in November?

I haven't been setting any running goals since August, when I completed my 300. I kind of think I cheated a little this summer, by using training plans that did most of the work for me and told me when I needed to run. Looking back on my logs (the greatest online tool at Runner's World.com), I'm seeing my numbers drop dramatically. I don't like this. I know I can do more. And I think it's because I have no goals, and I have no training plan, and I have no upcoming race. So it's back to a goal. I said in October that I'd like to do 300 by Christmas. This means 100 each month until then, and I've already fallen short of that for October. I'm going to adapt the goal to read "300 Miles by Martin Luther King Jr. Day." I think I can do it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Maps, Graphs, and How We Die

I like random facts, presented in a visually appealing, categorized manner.

Causes of mortality around the world.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Facination: Kottke.org

All kinds of useful news in my Google Reader. And they even linked to McSweeneys today!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This Is How I Run

Submitted for the approval of those of you interested in good running playlists:

Warm Up
  • Pleasure and Pain by Ben Harper and Tom Freund
  • Here at the Right Time by Josh Ritter
  • Moon Shadow by Cat Stevens
  • I Belong to You by Superchick
Steady Pace
  • If You Wanna Be Happy by Jimmy Soul
  • Wasted and Ready by Ben Kweller
  • The Last Night by Skillet
  • Hoity Toity by Flatfoot 56
  • How Many Miles by Ben Harper
  • Stand in the Place by REM
Race To The Finish
  • The Sign by Ace of Base
  • China Town Jail Break by Flatfoot 56
  • The Way That I Am by Eminem
The three part system works. I like to do 1/4 Warm up, 1/2 Steady, 1/4 Race. Try it out.

An Open Letter to the Children's Book of the Month Club

Dear Children’s Book of the Month Club,

I just received in the mail a bill for $25.98, and a letter from your billing supervisor, Mr. Stephen Moore, asking me to protect my account status by paying this bill. As far as I know, I have never had an account to protect with Children’s Book of the Month Club. Certainly you have sent me hundreds of catalogs offering me 10 free books if only I agree to three years of inconvenience, so I wonder if you consider possession of those catalogs a membership to your Club? I have never requested any books or product from your company, so any product that you may be billing me for is entirely a mistake.

Thank you, but I do not wish to protect an account status that I do not even hold, so please remove this bill from your records, and cancel any membership that you have imagined in my name.

Sincerely,

Jessica Grabner

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Carrots are in the Trash

Last Sunday I got the immense pleasure of doing my grocery shopping at Sam's Club Mega Store.
I'm pleased with the following purchases:
  • 10 pack of athletic socks. Very cushy, like running on air.
  • 3 pack of sport bras.
  • 43 oz box of Kashi Go Lean Crunch. Give me another week and a half.
  • 3 pack of Soy milk.
  • 45 pieces individually wrapped string cheese.
  • 450 count multi vitamins.
Among the disappointments:
  • 5 pound bag of carrots that turned out to be slimy and gross. All attempts to dry them out failed miserably. They're still slimy and gross, and utterly inedible.
  • 2 pound bag of bananas, ripened very quickly, ended up being bruised on the bottom.
My lesson: Buy non perishables from Sam's. They're great. Save the produce for Pick N Save.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Eulogy of Sorts

Now, in my time as a runner, I've seen a lot of wildlife on the streets and on the trails. I've seen dead deer, and I've seen live deer (up close and personal, might I add). I've seen foxes, squirrels, and chipmunks, and even a mouse or two. I've seen birds of all shapes and sizes, and swarms of dragonflies that could have carried me away.

Today, I saw a frog. It could have been a toad, I'm not sure. I was moving too fast, and my timing was a bit off, and it turns out I didn't recognize it as an actual living thing until it was, um, er, underfoot. The fact that it was amphibious and not plantlike was further confirmed by the disconcerting squishing that happened as my Ryka landed squarely on Frog/ Toad.

To the friends and family of Mr./Ms. Frog/ Toad: I am sorry for the unintentional death of your loved one. I'm certain he/ she was dear to you. Quite a bit of hopping done in his/her day, I'm sure. You may retrieve his/ her body on the Oak Leaf Trail, somewhere between 116th St and Beloit Rd, so that funeral services may be held.

In my own defense: It is autumn in Wisconsin. This means that the trails are littered with fallen leaves and other items of nature. The amphibian with whom I crossed paths blended in quite nicely with all of said fallen leaves, and was virtually impossible to distinguish until i was nearly on top of it. That said, the tympanum of amphibians such as frogs and toads are rather close to the ground, and when I run, I do tend to cause substantial vibrations in the pavement. if Mr. or Ms. F/T had been at all with it, he/ she would have hopped out of the way long before I arrived. If one were to ponder that fact for just a moment, one might come to the conclusion that maybe Mr./ Ms. F/T had a death wish of sorts. unhappy with the home life, perhaps? Burrow troubles?

I feel awful, really I do. I promise to look a little more closely at the ground from now on. but really, you little guys need to stay out of the way. Get hopping!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wine Online?

While checking the woot today, for the first time in awhile, I discovered that not only is there a wine woot, there is a t-shirt woot. Genius.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Am A Runner

I came across this article by by John Bingham in Runner's World, and I really like its descriptions of a runner. Incidentally, I decided in May that I would run 300 miles by Halloween. I never publicly declared it, but I may have mentioned it to Eric while he was figuring out the shaky math for his goal. This Labor day, I accomplished that goal.

I just really like having turned into a runner. I've never been able to describe myself as any kind of athlete before. I love going out for a run, and watching all the cross country teams practicing, and thinking, "I'm like them!" I love signing up for a race, and lining up at the starting line with all the other runners, knowing that my name will be on the list of finishers. I love talking about running. I love knowing that I have muscles that I never dreamed of having. I love eating like it's going out of style. I love the nervous energy I have after a day of rest. I love getting up at 6am on a Saturday, when the sun hasn't risen yet, and running until it's hot out. I love sharing the bike path with bikers and dog walkers and joggers and other runners, all of whom say "Good morning" and "Great day, huh?" I love running hard on hills. I love hitting a PR on mile 10. I love encouraging new runners, and looking up to seasoned veteran racers. I love knowing that if I've had a bad day, I can go out for a long, hard run, and by the time I get home, I've forgotten all about the stress. I just love this new sport of mine, and hope I can keep running when I'm 60.

I AM A RUNNER because my runs have names. I do tempo runs and threshold runs and fartlek runs. I do long, slow runs and track workouts. My runs are defined, even if my abs are not.


I AM A RUNNER
because my shoes are training equipment, not a fashion statement. The best shoe for me is the one that makes me a better runner. I choose the shoe that goes with my running mechanics, not my running outfit.

I AM A RUNNER because I know what effort feels like, and I embrace it. I know when I'm pushing the limits of my comfort and why I'm doing it. I know that heavy breathing and an accelerated heart rate--things I once avoided--are necessary if I want to be a better runner.

I AM A RUNNER because I value and respect my body. It will whisper to me when I've done too much. And if I choose to listen to that whisper, my body won't have to scream in pain later on.

I AM A RUNNER because I am willing to lay it all on the line. I know that every finish line has the potential to lift my spirits to new highs or devastate me, yet I line up anyway.

I AM A RUNNER because I know that despite my best efforts, I will always want more from myself. I will always want to know my limits so that I can exceed them.

I AM A RUNNER because I say I am. And no one can tell me I'm not.

Two Pleasant Dealings with a Wireless Company

What I'm about to say here may seem a bit strange, so brace yourself. This week, I found it necessary to enter into the Sprint retail store not once, but TWO times and request assistance. Both times, I was given courtesy above and beyond what I expected, even beyond that which is common. I would even go so far as to say that the Sprint representatives were - gasp, choke - kind.

Trip One: My flip phone broke in two pieces when I dropped it for the kabillionth time. I'm lucky my computer is too big to carry around much, or I wouldn't have that for very long, either, the way I drop things. So I went in to inquire about getting a new plan before my contract was up. Not going to happen, but only because my parents are still on my family plan, which ends on October 19. In the meantime, my new friend Miguel found me a hands free set that I could plug into my somehow-still-functioning phone, so that I could make calls, until I found a better option.

Trip Two: I acquired a temporary replacement phone, and went back to the store to activate it, which is supposed to cost $36. Service with a smile to activate new phone, and transfer numbers - free. I left happy.

Probably still sticking with Sprint, especially knowing that my service issues were likely due to my crummy old phone. Try talking to me on my replacement phone. I trust that you'll actually be able to hear me now! All it takes is a few good customer service experiences, and you're a changed person.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh, Google, How I Love Thee

There's no more satisfying use of a morning, in my opinion, than clearing out my Gmail inbox. I hadn't archived or sorted in weeks, and there were about 75 messages in there. Now it's empty. Everything filed away, nice and neat, just the way I like it. Now I can go to work happy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Giving Up Is For Quitters

On July 22, I decided to give up caffeine, cold turkey, only after a long road trip (for safety's sake, of course). Lots of reasons - I'm already a rather hyper and anxious person, and the juice only aggravated these symptoms. On top of that, it dehydrates, and I'm on an unending quest to stay well hydrated. Why drink all the water I do if I'm only gig to counter the effects? There's also the argument that caffeine is a drug, and I want to keep my body wholesome and free of mind altering impurities, but some might argue that one. Mainly, I wanted to prove that I didn't need the stuff. I could enjoy a coffee date and be creative, by ordering herbal tea or decaf drinks. I can drink water when everyone else is drinking soda. I didn't need to need it.

Well, I proved my point. Today I broke the caffeine embargo. I had a few extra minutes before work and decided to get a cup of coffee from the Willow Creek up the street, and after searching high and low for the decaf carafe, went with the Organic fair Trade Blend. It was fantastic, and definitely counteracted the effects of very little sleep the night before. I had energy all morning, and into the afternoon, and my mind had so many thoughts I could hardly contain them all. I had eaten a fairly substantial breakfast, so I avoided my typical coffee jitters, though I did need a few more bathroom breaks than my usual one per day. I also ran a bit longer than my usual mid week run, though whether to attribute that to the buzz or stress is still up in the air.

The verdict: Coffee may not be the devil's brew after all. I sure don't want to become dependent on it, or even make it any sort of habit. When I'm tired, I want to take a nap, or go to bed. I'll probably stick to decaf or half-caf most of the time. But once in awhile, when I'm in the right situation, I think caffeine can be a wonderful thing.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I Did It - The Taste Of Achievement

One year ago, I began jogging one mile a day, if that. It was hard. But I did it.

Two months ago, I made a bold proclamation to all the blogging world that I would train for and run a half marathon. It was hard. But last Sunday, I did it. I won't lie, there were a few times over the course of my training that I thought about giving up, or doubted that I would be ready to race this huge event. But the feeling I had crossing the starting line with a thousand other runners made me feel like I was part of something so huge, it was amazing. Crossing the finish line with five of my greatest friends screaming and cheering me on was pretty great, too.



Items of interest -
  • My Pace: I decided to block out the race into 4/7/3 mile increments, building up my speed and music intensity at each milestone. This worked out well, because while those who raced ahead at the start began to lag behind, I was just getting a burst of energy.
  • My Tunes: Of course, I coordinated my play list specifically to this game plan. This took awhile to select the exact songs I would like to listen to for 2.5 hours, give or take, but it was well worth it.
  • The Course: Perfectly hilly, not nearly as bad as I had expected. I actually did most of my passing on hills, strangely enough.
  • Gatorade: I never appreciated that stuff as much as I did last Sunday. When you're not quite sure when your next hydration point will be, you use that stop to its fullest. Some of the water stops were even fully stocked with energy gels, and oranges and stuff, which was crazy. I felt so taken care of!
  • The Necessities: Next time, I will wait until the second bathroom stop. I added 4 minutes to my total time by waiting in line for the port a potty. But I had to go, and I didn't know when the next one would be. I was annoyed by the men standing in line, however. Come on, guys, you don't need a little box!
Overall, I had a great time with this event. I'm not quite sure where my training will take me now that it's over, or what my new goal will be. I do need a goal, though.

And in case anyone's interested, I placed 516 out of 642 entrants. Check it out.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What a Perfect Weekend

A day off on Friday (which was mostly wasted, but always nice nonetheless), with pancakes and Settlers with friends at night. Perfect.

One last long run on Saturday morning, followed by an outdoor bridal shower and talking with the girls. An evening of roller skating with my two soon-to-be-long-losts, and ElisaCortez, culminating in a Cubbies game. Perfect.

Sunday at church with mom, quiet time by the fountain, picnic and playtime with great friends in the park. Close it all out by a wonderful evening downtown, and you have a weekend that just makes you happy to be alive in summer in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Excuse Me, Mr. Yorn??

I decided to skip Pete Yorn at the rave this past Saturday, in favor of going camping for free in the Southern Kettle Moraine, and do some trail reconstruction on the Ice Age Trail. This was a very very hard decision, because I do so love Pete's older material, and some of his new stuff, and I crave camping all the time.

As the forecast began to show lots and lots of storm clouds, I made the proclamation that the only way I would regret my decision would be in the case that a) it rained the entire camping trip and b) Pete Yorn actually played Lose You.

It rained. Oh, how it rained. I am still wet. My gear will never be the same. But I had some fantastic bonding with friends throughout.


"Icy Spring"

"Wild Reds"

So, did Mr. Yorn Play my favorite song? NO! He did in Kansas City, but not in Milwaukee. I made the right choice after all.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Neglected: Heartbreaker

In September of 2005, I must have been a little depressed, because I went on a Ryan Adams buying spree, purchasing Jacksonville City Nights, Gold, and Heartbreaker all in one trip. I fell in love with Jacksonville, forcing those around me to listen to the sad melodies over and over. Gold got stolen from my car, and I'm not sure I noticed.

Heartbreaker is another story. This one has gotten a few listens, and has sat on my shelf, or in my car, for the better part of the past two years. I know it's one of Adam's saddest bastard works, and I knew I'd love it if I only gave it a chance, but I just couldn't get into it. I was just never in the mood.

Well, good news for all you Adams fans out there. Heartbreakers been in my car for a week now, and I love it. I can feel myself slowly becoming more drawn to Carolina, and wishing everyone would just leave me be so I can drown my sorrows in whiskey or something.

Track of choice: Come Pick Me Up

Monday, August 06, 2007

Karly's First Camping Trip


"Night Bouquet"

"Crossing Over"

"Vertigo"

"Just Stop"

On Friday night, my little sister and I embarked on a journey to Bluemound State Park, 25 miles west of Madison, WI. Thanks to the recommendation of several friends (thanks Heather, Cheri), we had a great time. I'll admit, Karly may have over-packed, but who hasn't done so a little bit on their first trip to the woods. I sure did. She didn't whine once, she helped pick up firewood, and one guess who the bigger trooper was when we had to take down the tent in the rain.

The hiking was great, as was the running. The Military Ridge State Trail runs right next to the highway, and through the woods, which made for a really nice morning run with the sun rising to the east. We discovered that most of the trails in the park are designed for mountain biking, which meant that they were relatively flat. Great for the pace we were looking for. No one trail was longer than a mile, which meant we got to do a lot of exploring, especially as we searched high and low for the East Observation Tower (Eventually found it on the way out on Saturday afternoon. Great views).

Finally, a trip to Cave of the Mounds proved to be an interesting diversion from the road. We didn't take the hour long cave tour, due to expense (more than camping itself) and length, but we wandered the gardens and gift shop, and walked around the learning center, where Karly learned that Wisconsin was once covered by the Ordovician Sea. Neat place. Don't go out of your way to check it out, though.

Great time spent with the little sis. Good conversation. Good sights. I should point out for the record that Karly is the Queen of Marshmallow Roasting, while I am the Queen of Fire Building. It's only too bad that Pokey and Earl had to be lost in the efforts.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Movie Night: The Holiday

After Krista cooked me dinner tonight, she finally talked me into sharing her favorite chick flick with her. I generally resist typical chick flicks on the big screen, but have no reason to refuse from the comfort of a La Z Boy. I think I'm going to change my habits.

Nice movie. Not too formulaic, and seemed to end well. A good amount of romance, without a lot of sappiness and cheesiness. The plot and the writing even made me think a bit, and I came away with a new Facebook quote. Memorable to say the least. No, my problem isn't with the movie itself. Rather, I run into the same discomfort as with The Breakup; that is, I relate simply too well with the characters and the plots. Perhaps this shows good writing, or good psychology in knowing what the female audience wants. For me, however, it just bums me out.

No more romance flicks. Simpsons, anyone?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Three Love Songs?

When my iTunes is showing all of my music in alphabetical order, three unlikely songs are played one after another: My Heart is Broken (Ryan Adams and the Cardinals), My Heart is Filled (Elmbrook Worship), and My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion).

The artists should get together and counsel each other.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I Would Like to See At Lifefest...

  • Aaron Shust (W)
  • Toby Mac (W)
  • Newsboys (F)
  • MXPX (F)
  • Skillet (F)
  • Jars of Clay (S)
  • Third Day (S)
  • Superchic (S)
  • Chris Tomlin (Su)
  • Annette Busalacchi (W,F,S,Su)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Newsflash!

Caffeine's not bad for running?

Yeah, I Rocked Out

Summerfest did indeed live up to expectations.

At Skillet, I remembered how to headbang from my middle school years, complete with drowned-rat style hair. Only complaint: mediocre fireworks that went on entirely too long.

Ska Day on Wednesday was a whole different sort of fun. I witnessed a Skank Pit and all sorts of other shenanigans. Reaching Scarlet tickled me pink, especially that adorable bassist. Less Than Jake was a bit rough around the edges, and I couldn't see very well, but I was getting warmed up. The sounds of Reel Big Fish made me glad to be out and about on a work night, and it amused me to see them play the crowd favorites multiple times. Only complaint: not putting sunscreen on my back.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Lowered Expectations

I haven't been to Summerfest in at least two years now, since Pete Yorn failed to impress me. I'm going tonight to see Skillet, a band I know very little about, and I'm managing to get pretty excited about it. I don't know if it's the prospect of a night out, dressed up just a little, with some great friends, or the fact that I have free passes and no work tomorrow, but I'm not at all stressed, and really looking forward to getting going.

So basically, the band can suck, as long the shuttle gets me to the lake front, and there's fireworks. I hope my giddiness lasts the night.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Brand New Goal

So the past few months I've set goals for a certain number of miles to be fun over a 30-31 day period. This is all well and good, but I'm ready for more.

Providing I don't injure myself, here's my goal for July and August: To run the Lake Country Half Marathon on September 2. That's right. I'm making it public, because that's how goals come to fruition. I have a training plan, and it looks doable on paper. In practice, it might be tricky, if only because of time management, and fitting in an hour or more of running 4 days a week. It may also be tricky getting myself to rest on those other 3 days, when I'm in the habit of going out for shorter runs every day.

I'm crazy excited about this. You know you're obsessed when you spend your run thinking about running, and I've been thinking about this half since I got the flyer on my car a month ago at the Bravado Challenge.

If anyone would like to do it with me, or train with me, I would love that.

60 Miles in June

Another one bites the dust... Running goal completed, sticker chart filled in, and I'm satisfied. I wasn't too sure I was going to make this month's goal, since I kept hurting my foot and needed to take quite a few days off to rest. But some hard work and dedication, and a couple of double runs at the end of the month, paid off, and I managed to finish off in style.

Some highlights and musings of the jogging month, for those who care about my new obsession:
  • I've managed to plot out very nice routes ranging anywhere from 1/2 mile to 6 miles all over the city, near my house, my work, downtown, church, and friends' houses. This really helps to keep up variety.
  • Running on vacation or while camping is a great addition to the trip. It's such a wonderful way to get out and see different scenery, and makes for a refreshing beginning to your day.
  • It's also become my biggest stress relief. Pounding the pavement when I'm ticked off at the world does so much more than moping ever did.
  • I've noticed that once you start running, you start to make a lot of friends who run, too. This is fun, but I feel like an outsider, not having run track or CC in high school or college. Am I a faker?
  • Lastly, what do I do with my keys and ID? I switch between clipping my keys to my shoe (very annoying jingling sound) and carrying them, and I sometimes tuck my ID in my shorts, but I'm not satisfied with any of those options. Surely there's got to be a good solution out there to run in safety.


And as usual, I've rewarded myself with a treat from REI. Well, I bought myself a treat from REI, and decided that since I met my jogging goal, I could excuse the purchase by calling it a
reward. Meet my Arc Teryx Bora 75 pack. I need to stop shopping at that store...

Ouch!

This is belated, I know, but it's taken me this long to recover from last weekend's fun in Crivitz, WI, where paintball was played and funyaks were paddled up and down the river. Well, mostly don the river.

You know you're living a great life when you have a chance to go into the woods with eleven of your closest friends, and shoot them. Paintball might be my new favorite sport. And for those keeping track at home, I only cried once, and my bruises have almost faded.

Also, Taco John, wherever you are, you're my new hero.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Thunderstorms are Nearly As Sexy As Ben Harper

Seriously. If we're talking about sounds that make me giddy happy, gushing about everything that's right with the world, then the music that God creates with His storms ranks right up there with the likes of Mr. Shawn Mc Donald and Mr. Ben Harper. The storm tonight is definitely not of the mellow, acoustic, variety that I've come to love out of these gentlemen, but it certainly is soulful and dreamlike, but with a strong, fierce energy that's about more than just the sound. The storm brings everything together in a wild blend of light and wind and rain, engaging every sense and causing you to pause in your everyday life and just listen.

This is music.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Break Up - A Review

I've been meaning to see this one for awhile, but since I so infrequently watch movies at all since Movie Club ended, there's usually something more meaningful or worthy of my time standing in the way. Tonight, though, my friend and I just needed something that didn't require too much thinking, and that would keep me awake (Children of Men and Pursuit of Happyness were the runners up, for those keeping score). We chose relationship humor over anything more serious.

All I'd like to say is this: 1. I don't like when movies make girls look dumb, and this movie did a few times. Jennifer Aniston redeemed herself eventually, though, I think. 2. For a comedy, it was a little too thought provoking for my liking. A few parts where I found myself nodding off. 3. I really liked the ending.

Monday, May 28, 2007

iPod Saved Me

For the first time in years, I had a long road trip with my family yesterday. With my dad at the wheel, it took us 3 hours each way to get to Metamora, IL and home again. That's 6 hours of sharing the backseat of a pickup with my grandmother, enjoying the beautiful scenery of Illinois.

Thank you iPod shuffle and travel pillow.

PS: I love my grandma. She is a wonderful woman, and makes fantastic Rice Krispie Squares, of which I have eaten about 10 in the past 2 days. Just sayin.'

PPS: I need to find some covers for my ear buds for long trips such as this one. The ears were a bit sore today.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

50 Miles- Finished

I stated out May with a public goal to jog 40 miles by the end of the month. I realized early on that my pacing was going to lead me well beyond that, and set my personal goal to make it to 50. This made me pretty nervous, because 50's a really big number. Looking back at my very first jogging goal, my exact justification was "Eric can do 50, why can't I do 25?"

But I did it. Yea. and it's only the 26th of the month. So anything beyond is purely enrichment.

And in case you're wondering, here's the prize.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This Explains A Lot

Several points that caught my eye in the analysis of my supposed personality type:

  • "They tend to get bored quickly, especially if a newer, more interesting project comes along. They also tend to be procrastinators..."
  • "ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD... Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped."
  • "Some have real difficulty being alone , especially on a regular basis."
  • "ENFPs sometimes can be blindsided by their secondary Feeling function. Hasty decisions based on deeply felt values may boil over with unpredictable results.
  • "Intuition leans heavily on feeling for meaning and focus. Its best patterns reflect the interesting points of people, giving rise to caricatures of manner, speech and expression."
  • "ENFPs are strongly influenced by the opinions of their friends"
And, who knew, I share the same personality type as the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire.

(Thanks to Josh for showing me the fun to be had with Jungian Personality typing. Props.)

Friday, May 18, 2007

I Wonder...

...when my hands and feet fall asleep in the middle of the night, and I wake up to shake them back to life, what is it that's really waking me up? Is it the fact that my extremitites are dying, and my body's trying to prevent me from losing limbs, or is it just that I have to get up and go to the bathroom, and it's a helpful coincidence that I can now get the blood flowing again?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thai Food Is Really Hot

Ee-Sane is a cute little Thai restaurant on Milwaukee's East Side, right next to Collector's Edge comic book store. It's the type of place that you would probably pass by, unless you were actually in the mood for some serious Thai food. Quite honestly, I can't say that I've ever been in the mood for Thai food at all, much less the serious stuff.

But a group of us decided last night to forgo Jimmy John's and try out this little place, on the recommendation of some people at GE. There was some doubt as to whether we would make it before the kitchen closed, and whether it would live up to expectations (there were none).

We were not disappointed. Everyone ordered something different, with differing degrees of spiciness (they use a scale of 1-10, but even a 5 drew an "oh no" from our waiter), and we had a plethora of food. The flavors were all unique, the noodles left everyone satisfied, and the heat kept you warm on the the inside when it was chilly on the outside.

A very fun time had by all, from sit down to fortune cookies. I don't know if my mouth can handle the leftovers, though.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

20 Things That Make Me Happy

These might make you happy. They might make you angry. Either way, if you know it, clap your hands.
  1. Chacos
  2. Harleys
  3. Chapstick
  4. Photos
  5. Rain
  6. New things
  7. Sunsets
  8. Favorite songs on the radio, or at church
  9. Acoustic guitars
  10. Scratchy voices
  11. Clean things
  12. Time
  13. Trees
  14. Puppies
  15. Lists
  16. Swings
  17. Crayons
  18. Hugs
  19. Innocence
  20. Sundays

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Goals for May

Fried foods were a success! I think I can safely say that I beat them, and that I will continue to abstain from them as a life choice. That's not to say that I won't occasionally eat a fried cheese curd here or there, or dip a Ruffle in some dip once or twice. But I just feel so much better without all the excess hot grease running through my veins, and I won't be eating deep fried anything as my main course anytime in the near future.

Next on the agenda, food wise, will be soda. I'm mostly there anyway, since I hardly drink the stuff, seeing as it's too expensive, but this will be the final kick in the pants. Hopefully it will help with my running. I thought about giving up pork for various reasons, but I'm not sure on the logistics of that, and didn't want to make it official, in case I fail.

Finally, I will be running 40 miles in May. I've prepared the sticker chart, and it's hanging on my wall. There may be a prize if I finish. Probably not, because the intrinsic reward is so great. Anyone in with me?

Update 5/3/07 I'm tempted to give in to a vague feeling of competition with the External Internal Monologue and change my goal to 50 Miles in May. But I've already set it, and 40 miles it will be. I'm satisfied with that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Katie Boyle, I Was Wrong About Hummus

Remember back in college when I told you that I was pretty sure hummus was the nastiest food item in the world, and you loved it? Well, upon further inspection, it turns out that the stuff is actually edible, and perhaps even good.

I tried it on a pita. I hear that people use it for carrots in place of dip. That's my next plan.

Monday, April 16, 2007

____ IRS

I filed my own taxes today, for the first time ever. That was just a wee bit of stress. And what do I have to show for it? $262.36 less than I started with. Ugh.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Astonishing Assertation in April

It sounds crazy, but for the month of April, I have decided to eat no deep fried foods. This includes all mozzarella sticks, egg rolls, French fries, Popeye's Chicken, potato and tortilla chips. It also includes anything that I suspect might be fried, even if I'm not quite sure.

A friend is in on this with me, and so far he's had to spit a french fry into a napkin due to forgetfulness. I've resisted all temptation, and believe me - there have been plenty in the past week and a half.

I do so love a good challenge, though I'm hard pressed to create a sticker chart for this one.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Goal Setting Time

It's been a little over a month since the toe breaking night o' fun, and I've had enough of this wimping out on physical activity business. I'm ready to hit the streets and the trails again, and do some serious running and hiking!

I realize, however, that this will require just a little bit of training and care. I haven't run since my birthday, and my toe may or may not be quite up for the challenge. My plan is to start on the treadmill a little at a time, mostly at a fast walking pace, jogging for just a few minutes more each day. I'll practice some good hills to get ready for hiking, too.

I have two main goals in mind:
1. Enjoy a 2 mile morning run by the time of the Spring Retreat (April 20-22)
2. Complete a 30 mile plan for the month of May

And if I break any more bones, I'm running anyway.

Happy Birthday, Eric Benjamin!

We here at Chaos think you've made a good showing with your first 25 years of life. Keep living life to the fullest, buddy.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shawn Mc Donald is A Dreamy Man


Annette and I made the drive down to Wheaton, IL last night after a long work day with the intent to enjoy some amazing acoustic music, and hopefully not get lost in the process. Due to some incredibly precise directions (a shout out to Chris Stokes is in order), we indeed made it to the chapel and home again without incident. And due to some phenomenal musicians, we did indeed enjoy some music that will make me giddy for days.

Shawn Mc Donald has a unique style that just finds him playing with music like it was a toy. As write, I realize that this is what I find most endearing in musicians. He doesn't feel like he needs to stick in a style that works, just because it works. He plays with his instrument, in Shawn's case, with his voice, and makes new music with it. he doesn't whine. His songs are a joy to listen to. His lyrics are different. They're not all just a variation on the same 6 words. He writes on themes like freedom, and greed, and pride, and hunger. He's honest. He's human. He's married.

Just a few observations about Wheaton and the concert experience in general:
  • College kids are young. Annette and I felt really old at this concert.
  • A lot of Wheaton kids have DSLR cameras. I got to move up close during the Shawn portion of the concert and sit with them, and I felt very inferior with my Canon ELPH. In retrospect, I wish I had fiddled a bit more with the settings, because I'm not very pleased with the lighting in most of my Shawn pictures. I got some nice stills before the concert, though.
  • I really dislike seat savers. The two girls in front of us came in, saved seven seats, then left until 5 minutes before showtime. At least there was no arguing at this show as in the past...
  • A lot of Wheaton guys look like Chris Stokes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

In My Mind I'm Going To Carolina


But in my car I'm going to Peoria, Bowling Green, or Wild Rose. These are my options, as I see them, for my Spring Break, April 6-15. I don't know of anyone else with a break at the same time, so I'm probably going this alone. That is, unless I can convince anyone to take some vacation time to take a road trip with me.

Why the random boring locales? I need to get some relaxing done, and I don't want to do it at home. I'm not looking for a Disney World vacation, just a get-away from my apartment. A little excitement and change of pace, that's all. It'd be nice to share with a friend, but I think it'd be exciting to do alone, too.


We'll see what comes of this. Kentucky would be exciting.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Found It!

I've been looking for the last disc of my 24 Season 5 set for awhile now. It finally occurred to me to look for it in my computer bag. Of course. Isn't that the most logical place that YOU would look?

6 episodes left in the season, and my questions is: what's with the cheesy music all of a sudden? Or did I just not notice it all along? Also, I think I counted about 5 "Da**it" utterances in this viewing, and one that should have been there, in the case of the little girl in the hotel room.

Monday, March 05, 2007

So That Happened

Well, the birthday is over, for the most part. The weekend began with a very enjoyable Friday off of work spent however I pleased, and ended with a late night in Madison with the guys at a not-too-rockin' Pete Yorn show (Eric's review here). Thankfully, Josh did not get beat up this time around, by a girl or otherwise.

Sandwiched in between Friday morning and Sunday night were several nice dinners with friends (no tears shed!), one very lovely Mojito, my worst two games of bowling ever, afternoon manicures and girl talk with KB, and lots of super fun presents, including all kinds of fun music to listen to and talk about on my blog!

Oh, and there was also a few hours spent at the lovely St. Joseph's Urgent Care facility on Hwy 100 on Sunday afternoon, where I had my left foot x-rayed to find a fracture in the bone of my big toe, from spill I took down the stairs at Landmark on Friday night. The doctor ordered a surgical shoe type thing, and no jogging or volleyball for the next four weeks. And at least a week of living in terror of children jumping on it (happened at least 3 times today).



I guess 25 years without a broken bone all that milk drinking could buy me.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ben Harper is a Sexy Beast

I find myself exclaiming this once every three minutes or so while I'm in my car, as Ben Harper's Pleasure and Pain album is playing over and over on my way to work. The music varies from the mellow, harmonic, meditative Pay The Man, to the strummy, tongue in cheek Mama's Got a Girlfriend Now, but it all has the characteristic sound that I've come to love from so many acoustic artists, most notably Mr. Harper.

A voice that's sometimes scratchy, sometimes just the right amount of flat, and sometimes just so sweetly melodic, whether he's up or down. Fingers that know his guitar strings better than anything he's ever touched, that know when to pick and play around, when to bend all the notes, and when to make heavenly chords and rhythms. Lyrics that make you think about the state of the world, about life, about spirituality. An attitude that says "This is who I am. And here's why..."

I'm gushing. I'll stop. In the meantime, find yourself this album. Then listen to the title track. Then your tune will sound a little bit like mine.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

On Friendship

I've been thinking a lot on the the nature of friendship lately. I'm very fortunate to have a few very close friends, and I think it's good to occasionally examine those relationships, just to see why things are so great, and what could be more great. Jesus told his disciples, "This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:12-13)

Really, what better litmus test is there, Christian or not? I hope I can be the kind of friend that would lay down my life for a good buddy, and put him or her before my selfish needs and desires. But is there more to it?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

We're Ready For A 5K

Yup, you heard me right. I got talked into jogging outside tonight, instead of going to the nice warm, steamy, crowded gym. Can I just say that I am so lucky to have a workout buddy that keeps the exact pace I do, entertains me the entire three miles, and then cooks me dinner when we're done. A very blessed day made all the better by Jerk Chicken Alfredo and Ohitos with friends.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Didn't Say It

"I like crying. It is the one thing you can do when you feel like you've done everything you could
and you can still do one last thing... Just cry." -K.B.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Weird

So I woke up this morning, only to recall a dream that I had had about playing volleyball. Not too odd, since I've been doing a fair bit of it lately, and enjoying it, generally. In the dream, I was playing on a pretty competitive team with all of the usuals, only this time, Larson was there. LARSON!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quote of the Day That Made Me Laugh

"He probably has a bumpy tongue." - CM.

This is why I love playground duty.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Get Fuzzy In My Inbox

This made me laugh. Granted, so do my first graders, all day long, but this made me laugh in a sort of grown - up sort of way. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Do I Miss Living At Home?

I wonder how long I can go on without actually going to the grocery store to buy groceries. It's been a good month and a half since I've done any major shopping, and I just keep putting it off by buying milk and eggs, that sort of thing.

Tonight I discovered that I had a pound of ground beef in the freezer, and decided to throw together a meatloaf. I think I kind of mangled my recipe by substituting ingredients, but I won't be too disappointed if it doesn't turn out because hey, it's mine!

Is It Warm Yet?

On my way home from work today, there was a police car blocking off National Avenue close to my house, and I needed to take a detour around the parkway. This took me around the back of my neighborhood, and much to my delight, I found myself on my summertime jogging route.

Some of you may recall me taking up jogging back in September and October. I jogged 25 and 30 miles throughout each month, and felt amazing when I accomplished each goal. This ended the second the weather got coldand life caught up with me in November, and I went back to being out of shape and unhappy.

Now I'm back at the gym, really enjoying myself and sticking with a routine (thanks to some great tunes, an agreeable work schedule, and a workout buddy who keeps me on track).

But that little detour yesterday really reminded me how much I liked jogging. My muscles just felt so needed, so productive. and I'm willing to bed that since I've been weight training a little bit these days, I'd be able to run even further/ faster.

So the solution, methinks, is to find both a free indoor track somewhere close, and a friend who will go jog there with me. Ideas from the peanut gallery?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Why I Love My Career Choice

Because when it's too cold, I don't have to go to work. Today, and again tomorrow, schools have closed due to way below freezing temperatures.

Law offices do not close when it is cold. Nor do corporate offices. Nor do restaurants, retailers, doctor's offices, sports arenas, publishing companies, banks, savings and loans, or nursing homes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Remember My Chains

I generally don't quote or discuss scripture or heavy spiritual matters here on this blog, for the sake of my narrow audience. I think my range may be broadening a bit these days and besides, this is necessary today for the sake of some perspective.

In reading Colossians today, I was struck by the phrase at the end of Paul's letter, "Remember my chains." (As a bit of background, Paul was a very important and persecuted follower of Jesus, who after Jesus' death, traveled the world teaching and spreading the Gospel to others. landed in jail for his work, ended up martyred). He refers to his chains multiple other times in his letters, perhaps for the purpose of reminding the early Christians that life was not all easy cheesy. They could die for their belief. They could be put in jail. Their leaders could be taken from them. "Remember my chains."

Then I sit here and I worry about the things on my plate today, and I think about the topics my friends have been discussing lately. how much money will I make next year? Will I find a cute enough outfit to wear for my birthday? Will I get to take a nap today? Will a cute boy be at the party tonight? Will he talk to me? Will I get married in the next 6 months, or will it take a year? Will my hands get cold running to my car? Will anyone help me set up or clean up for the party that I'm throwing? Is the ministry being run as best as it can, and could I run it better?

I know it's impossible to constantly maintain a global perspective. But RIGHT NOW, someone is being arrested or even killed for their beliefs. Someone is in chains for what they believe, and their ministry, their life, is FINISHED. They're worrying about who is going to feed their family now that they're in chains. Who is going to lead their people now that they're in chains.

To quote my least favorite line from my favorite pastor, "I don't know where you're at," but as for me, as I go through my day today, and my activities this week, I'm going to focus on keeping a perspective that remembers the chains of those who truly do the work of God.

"Remember my chains."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Excitement, and Disapointment

Well, February 1 was the date for Early Retirement announcements in my district. So I woke up a wee bit excited, but trying not to get my hopes up. I ended up hearing a confirmed rumor of the announcement I was hoping for, but now I just need to keep my mouth shut until the official news. Then my resume goes immediately across the desk. And at that point I tell you how great I think that job would be. Until then, I wait.

So while I'm waiting, I'm watching Scrubs, for the first time since before student teaching. It's not as good as I remember. Maybe it's a weird episode, but it's all about politics. I watch sit coms to avoid red-blue issues. Oh well, at least there's still 24. I do so love Jack Bauer.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Neglected

Two very nice pieces for a not so nice day. I really haven't put as much thought as I should have into either of these. Pick them up. Enjoy.

"Here At The Right Time" by Josh Ritter, on The Animal Years.

Redi Whip, on a spoon, because straight out of the can is uncivilized.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

By The Way

Oh, and did I mention that, after kicking Eric's butt my first time playing Wii Bowling (136!), I WANT A Wii!!!!!??

I see how all of you out there are addicted.

Hiking on the Treadmill?

My new favorite addition to my workout routine is the "hills" setting on the treadmill. The elliptical has been hurting my feet if I stay on too long, so I've felt the need to change it up lately. However, I discovered yesterday that 10 is a VERY difficult level to begin at. But fun.

I'm starting at a 15 minute mile, and we'll see if I can get that up by the time real camping, hiking, and jogging season starts. I'd like to run a 5K in spring, if anyone would like to work with me toward that goal. if nothing else, it'll just such a great feeling to be able to make it through a hiking trip with my in-shape friends without needing to collapse mid-way through because I can't keep up.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No, She Won't!

Update: The ski trip was crazy fun. My first time up the bunny slope ski lift was exhilarating, and at that point I thought the excitement would never end.

I was a quick learner when the slopes were easy, so I was left to my own devices while the experts tended to the intern from Kenya, for whom this season's snow was his first ever. After a few more runs down the baby Green, people were starting to head off to the real hills, and I wanted go, too.

It turns out that there's a HUGE difference in speed between the Beginner Green and the Baby Green hills at Cascade. I was in awe within the first few seconds of the chair lift ride, and had butterflies by the time we made it to the top. Once my group was ready to go, I confidently pushed off with my poles, began to practice my "S" move that I had been told would help me slow down and then proceeded to... scream. And fall. And cry. It was way too fast. Way way way too fast. I had no idea how to get back up, how to get down the hill, what to do.

So, after some kind souls helped me onto my feet and gave me the lesson on tacking that I should have had earlier, I eventually made it down, back to the hill I should have stayed at, and moped for awhile.

I did practice for a long time, and nearly didn't even go back to the real hill at all. Then 45 minutes before the lifts closed, I spied a beginning snowboarder friend coming down the hill and she said she'd babysit me and pick me up whenever I fell. So that gave me the confidence I needed to make it back onto the horse, go back down Big Green a couple more times, and actually look like a real skier!

I even managed to play volleyball the following night, but today, every muscle in my body aches. Ow. I can't wait until February 10th to go back. Bring on the snow.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Will Jessie Break a Leg Tonight?

I'm going skiing tonight for the first time. I'm a klutz. People know this. But I'm getting in shape, so theoretically I have better muscle control than I used to. But my insurance hasn't been working properly lately. So let's pray that all goes well.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Family Recipe Chili

My step dad and I have actually adapted this recipe together. It's been over a year since I've made it, so I worried that I was out of practice. But this stuff is great. it's a deep red color, and you can smell it when you walk in the house. When you take a bite, first you burn your mouth because it's so hot. At that point, you want to add more chili powder because you don't think the fire is quite enough. But when the pain from the temperature hot goes away, you're left with this all encompassing heat that spreads down your throat into every crevice and the only thing that will ease it is a big piece of chewy French bread, covered with real butter.

The change this year is the Penzes Hot chili powder. It really makes the difference. I won't go back to any other.


Serve over noodles, top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and oyster crackers. Enjoy.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Descent

Movie Night tonight was flipping terrifying. Oh my goodness gracious, I will have nightmares. I'm delaying going to bed for just that reason. Wow.

But on the plus side, Humana came through and didn't stick me with the original $300 bill for my CT scan last month. All I pay for modern technology to tell me there's nothing wrong with my head is a $13.26 balance. Not as scary as I had feared.


Good night, everyone. Sweet dreams.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday Breakfast

There are many types of great dining experiences. Not quite as many dining experiences that make great leftovers, however. Within that subset, there are only three specific types of leftovers that make excellent breakfast foods. They are, in no particular order: sesame chicken from Emporers Kitchen (served hot); deep dish pizza from Edwardos (served cold); and the second chimichanga from La Fuente (served hot). Mmm, I'm always glad I didn't stuff myself the night before...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Greatest Songs To Finish A Workout

The Late Greats by Wilco followed by
The Sign by Ace of Base followed by
Boston by Augustana.

Late Greats just makes me giddy and excited, reminiscent of the second encore at any Wilco show, sweaty from all the dancing in my seat, wanting to sing along, no cares in the world, no worries that my hair is sticking to my head and I'm wearing shorts in January.

The Sign makes me think of middle school dances, the fun parts before the boys made me cry. Jumping up and down, giggling, and singing along at the top of my lungs. I almost busted out in the middle of Cardinal. Instead, I just pumped up the speed on my machine.

And then Boston brought it all down for my cool down, and helped me ease into my ab routine in such a nice way after the mega high energy cardio.

Aaaahhhh.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I Was Right!

A discussion arose last night about how to determine when Leap Year was. It was pointed out that whenever it is an election year, February also has 29 days. This is generally true, I pointed out, except in several rare cases, when every fourth year is NOT actually a leap year. People scoffed, said "Silly Jessie, doesn't know what she's talking about..."

Well, turns out I did know what I was talking about. According to Wikipedia, "The Gregorian calendar, the current standard calendar in most of the world, adds a 29th day to February in all years evenly divisible by 4, except for centennial years (those ending in -00), which receive the extra day only if they are evenly divisible by 400. Thus 1600, 2000 and 2400 are leap years but 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 are not." [Emphasis mine].

It's not often, but it happens.

Monday, January 01, 2007

First Post of 2007

The old has gone, the new has come. I like the idea of making New Year's Resolutions, and having a chance to start over and try something new. So often, though, people try something new, but everyone always seems to go right back to the old way. Or maybe you improve in one area, but fail in another. It's like that Seinfeld episode where Jerry discovers he always comes out even in everything he does.

So, with that in mind, here are the things I'd really like to do better with this year.
  • Spill less. I did pretty well the first night of 2007, let's see if I can keep it up.
  • Don't get burned. Yes, this was my failed resolution of 2006, but we're trying again. It may mean I'll need to stay away from hot stoves, or crappy guys, or both, but I'm hoping the benefits will be worth going against my instincts.
  • Stay healthy. In mind (read more), body (eat right and exercise), and spirit (more Bible reading, less stress).
  • [Update] Hug more, put foot in mouth less.
That is all. Feel free to list your own resolutions, and check back to see when I fail mine.