Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Yesterday was spent in Austin with my brothers and their wives, and while I normally detest playing games (board games, cards, anything athletic or competitive), I had such a great time!

The only game I tolerate is Apples to Apples, primarily because the only skill involved is out-ridiculous-ing everyone else. That I can usually do pretty well.

Despite my natural talent for losing, we had a great time hanging out and berating each other - you know, bonding.

I had been out for about 20 minutes at this point, but it was still fun watching the mayhem and adrenaline associated with slapping games (this was ERF).
No, I was much more inclinded to be like these guys...

Roger and Benny's cousin, Tanner

Roger and Benny's other cousin, Viggo
Dee lended (lent?) me a couple books, and I'm already loving this one:

Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson
Dogs are such amazing creatures. While mine certainly couldn't search and/or rescue a fuzzy toy right in front of their faces, much less a person, I very much relate to this magnet:

Okay, so I got Roger from a breeder as a pup, but I always think of Benny, my rescue puggy, when I see this.
Anyways, yesterday - super fun.

Today - woke up at 4:15 and hit the pavement to end the year on a long, high, sweaty note: 20 miles.

Most of the Houston marathoners are already tapering, but I really felt the need to get in at least one long run before Jan. 15, and today was finally that day. Ninja ran with me for about 11 miles, and that was truly the only thing that kept me going. I have learned I am NOT a solo's just too boring and all I can think about is either how much pain I'm in or how bored I am.

So with that behind me, all that remains until 2012 are the parties and the champagne...after I take my nap, of course.

Happy New Year! Be safe and enjoy!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best of 2011

I don't guess I've ever gotten to the end of a year and thought, "What a crock! That year sucked!" In fact, while the days may sometimes be longer than I'd like, the years are getting quicker and better. A lot quicker, and a lot better.

This year, however...this year has been extra special. Without further ado, here are the highlights (in order of how they come to my memory, which might be in order of importance, or impact...I don't know):

1. My first marathon

2. Going to Alaska

3. Post-Run Brunches

4. Meeting my 323 girls

5. Monthly Book Clubs

6. Going to Canada a couple times (pre-return to blogging)

7. Running with Kenyan Way

8. Having more time for these guys:

9. Going on some dates with a couple really cool guys...and deciding potential relationships aren't what I'm interested in right now.

10. All the fun people I've met by choosing single life

11. Finally getting my windshield fixed after, like, 2 years

12. Returning to the blogosphere

13. Having time for books. Lots and lots of glorious books

14. Getting a juicer

15. Getting into grad school (Oh yeah! I keep forgetting!)

16. Meeting my new therapist, Carole. So, so thankful for her!

17. My kindle

18. Bridesmaids

18. Breaking Bad, American Horror Story, Big Bang Theory and New Girl

19. Learning more and more and more about Houston

20. And last but not least...

                                                                             ....All the froyos in the world!

I hope your year has been everything and more you wished for, and I'll be wishing all the best for you in the new year!


After a very lazy day yesterday, I finally exerted myself to Memorial Park and did 8.5 relatively fast-for-me miles. It felt good, but we'll see how tomorrow goes. That 20 miler that was supposed to happen on Monday ended up being only 14, so tomorrow is my last, last, last chance to get in a big distance before I have to be well into my taper for the Houston marathon. Winning!

I'm heading to Austin in about an hour to spend time with my brothers and SILs. Austin is a great place to have no agenda, and I'm looking forward to whatever we get ourselves into.

Swear I'll start taking pictures again soon. Pinky swear.

Enjoy this second to last day of the old year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hello, friends and family!

Has everyone enjoyed the holidays? I've spent mine doing all my favorite things - hanging out with friends, reading, watching movies, cooking, journaling, napping, running, spending time with Jillian, prepping for 2012 and being with family.

In the spirit of soaking it all in, I haven't taken too many pictures, but I'd like to share with you some of the things I've been up to over the break...


Okay, where to start? I haven't read the books. I don't plan to. I haven't seen the swedish versions. I don't plan to. And I probably won't see any of the sequels, especially not if they're 3 hours long too.

But good heavens, what an intense movie! There were a handful of scenes that I honestly couldn't handle, but in spite of myself I guess I really liked this movie. The hardest part of this franchise for me is knowing that really gruesome, grotesque stuff actually happens to people in real life. It's hard enough to watch in a fictional setting, but it's even harder knowing that that stuff really goes on. It's a little different watching Mission Impossible 4 or The Descendants (at least for me); I guess sexual crimes are just so appalling and on-another-level that I had a really hard time passively watching this film.

Um, and it was 3 hours.

Also, I really liked Rooney Mara's hair. I think I'm just getting way overly antsy for this Locks of Love do-goodery to come to an end. Chop, chop!

I also finished our book club book:

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
A note about book club: I love it. It's been one of my favorite parts of 2011. But we do not read books I enjoy. If they're not about Nazi's, they're about medical minutia; if they're not about military history, they're about adultery (insert Loving Frank). That being said, I read this book like a champ because Ninja reminded me that book club serves as a horizon-expander, a culture-provider, a...reason for us girls to get together and drink wine. So I read through the adultery, through the abandonment of children, through to the ending of the book which astonishingly blew. my. mind. I hate to recommend a book based on the very, very end alone, but the conclusion of Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with Mamah was unusual to say the least. And the fact that it's historical makes it even more compelling. Good stuff, book club. You pull through again.

I've spent a good deal of time running, at the gym, and with this woman:

I love it when you're angry, Jill! Grrrr!
I spent Christmas eve at the San Marcos outlets in New Braunfels, Christmas day in San Antonio, and then we high-tailed it back to Houston. I'm just soaking up these next five days of freedom. I hope you've enjoyed the holidays as well!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Discovery Green

Remember when we were Texan kids and our parents would take us to manmade-snow slopes so we could see what it's like in states that actually experience four seasons?

I do. And the slopes were always majestic and enchanting, dangerous and frigid.

My how times have changed.

What in the world...?
 There are a lot of reasons why I'm glad I grew up in the eighties and not today. Apart from the weaksauce snow slopes these days, I'm glad cars didn't come with built in TVs. Car rides were slow and torturous, just like they should be! PG-rated movies were idealistic and innocent, no curse words allowed! Games like "Hide and Go Seek" and "Tag" were the epitome of afterschool fun. More than anything, I'm really glad cell phones and Facebook weren't around. My kids are going to hate me because I'm going to raise them old-school style. Like, we're gonna play outside and get dirty and use our imaginations, and when they're bad, the spankings will come in abundance!

So the snow slope was embarrasing. My mom and I still had a good time. We took the little gentlmen to the dog park:

All I can say is, my mom really, really wanted the boys to drink out of the doggie water fountain. No luck on that front, but we did confirm that doggie water fountains are very, very strange.

The boys were kind enough to pose with me in their Christmas collars. We had to the take the bells off Roger's collar because the noise scared him.
Tomorrow my parents and I are heading to New Braunfels and then on to San Antonio for Christmas with my brothers. I'm supposed to do a 20 miler tomorrow. Hilarious! Tomorrow and Sunday are for family and eating, and that is ALL!

(20 miler has been postponed til Monday. Groan.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Light Run!

All season long I've wanted to go on a run through a fancy neighborhood with fancy Christmas lights! Finally, my Christmas wish came true!

I hooked up with none other than this nut and her running friends:

OJ, I'm really, really glad we're friends. And your headlamp probably saved my life 10 times tonight.

My friend Katya, running novice, joined us on the four mile jaunt (even though it was orignally only supposed to be three)!

Katya is a major inspiration. Her rock-climbing arms are the envy of our office and her Bulgarian accent has quickly become one of my favorites. Katya isn't a regular runner; until tonight, two miles had been her longest distance. Like the trooper and champion she is, she plodded through the night with us as we racked up the miles, and she pressed on even when it was far beyond her previous limit.

At one point she said, more to herself than anyone else, something to the effect that the only limitations we put on ourselves are the limits we set in our minds. It doesn't matter if those words are coming from a rock-climbing goddess or an ultramarathoner - it's always true. That statement stands whether we're referencing exercise, or work, or mental states or creative ambitions.

And sure enough, she busted through her normal mileage, doubled it, and did it with a smile. Amazing. I'm so glad we did it together!

The run itself was so fun. It was slow and we stopped a lot to critique the twinklers on these uber-expensive homes.

And...yeah...some lights weren't that great...

What was the tactic here? Looks like they couldn't make up their mind what the overall motif should be, so they just did a little bit of everything...and probably paid a ton of moneys for it.

I hope this becomes an annual event because I had a really, really good time!

PS: Yesterday I did my first interval run ever. And I hated it...but I kind of really liked it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Massage for my Heart

I'm going to work on upping the sappy factor of my blog post titles next year. I feel I'm on the right track with this one.

Yesterday was my second to last work day of the year. That made it the second best day of the year so far. Can you guess where today ranks?

Yesterday was also the first time I've ever gotten a massage. I was nervous. I told everyone at the chiropractic office where I was getting it done. I kept on as many clothes as possible (eventually I had to take my scarf off). I asked the masseuse a lot of awkward questions. I didn't relax for the first 40 minutes of the hour-long thing. was painful! I've been informed by experienced massagees that the pain is normal and good, but I was really shocked at just HOW painful it was! At one point he spent 5 minutes pinching and pulling and pounding my right tricep. My tricep!

All in all, I liked it. It's not my favorite thing, but it was probably something my body needed and appreciated. 

With my body all loose and relaxed, it was time for a massage of the heart with THE LADIES CHRISTMAS DINNER GIFT EXCHANGE 2011. 

These women... 

...have made...

...this year....

...a cut above the rest.

The food was amazing (wow, Damian's), the wine was amazing, and the presents - the Penzey's spices and homemade cranberry vodka and lemoncello and other adult beverage goodies - the presents were so special and perfect!

After dinner we rolled ourselves back to our prospective homes, where I tried to read but ended up passing out in no time. The first annual THE LADIES CHRISTMAS DINNER GIFT EXCHANGE 2011 was a major, major highlight of the holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This is what I think I know.

this is what i think know:

its never going to be as bad as it was with [ex-boyfriend].

i know more about myself

and what i deserve

and i can handle it.

if i get hurt

i can handle it.

it doesnt make me less of a person.

it just makes me human.
Words of wisdom like these are why girls need girlfriends. I can't even imagine having a boyfriend again; I don't even remember how sharing a life with someone works - or maybe I've never really known. But I do know, like my friend, that come what may, I can handle it.
I'm having my first massage EVER tonight! And then THE LADIES do a fancy dinner and gift exchange. Bonus: tomorrow is my last work day of the year!
Please expect lots of Shredding and Running (let's talk about that 20 miler I'm supposed to do on Christmas Eve). And movies and reading. And hanging out. And dog cuddling.
Only 11 more days til 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Movie Weekend

I saw two movies this weekend.

I'll skip the niceties. Sherlock Holmes 2 was not for me. There was zero romance, and it wasn't that funny. Sherlock Holmes was not an action figure. He was brainy and clever; he wasn't James freakin' Bond. Anyway.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead was quite intriguing. It wasn't the highest quality documentary I've ever seen, but it piqued my interest, especially the idea of doing a 10 day "Reboot" fruit and vegetable juice fast. There were three main "characters" in the film: Joe Cross - the guy who decided he was tired of being fat, sick and nearly dead so he went on a vegetable juice fast and lost over 80 pounds, a woman who does the Reboot for 10 days, and Phil Riverstone - who went from 430 pounds to 220 pounds starting with a juice fast then switching to a totally micronutrient diet.

Looking very good, Joe Cross!
The movie has me seriously contemplating doing the 10 day Reboot. The documentary made it seem like the first three days are Hell but then you start to feel amazing and incredibly energetic.

...I could go for that. There's nothing better than a little torture with a great payoff at the end.

Speaking of which, I'm off for a date with Jillian!

Terrify me some more! You're scary!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gangster's Paradise, or Wedding Dress Shopping

Guess what I haven't done today?

Work out.

Guess what I have done today?

Shopped for a wedding dress.
And now I'm watching Pride and Prejudice before forcing myself to work out (thanks for the motivation, Mr. Darcy) and then head to my last foreseeable Christmas soiree.

I love the way you brood.
 What you won't see in the following pictures is the bride-to-be, Ninja. The lovely, beautiful, wedding-dressed pictures of her obviously aren't yet for public viewing pleasure. What I can share with you are the good times outside the dressing room.

That's as close as you'll come to seeing a picture of Ninja in this post. But she's in there, promise, getting all matrimonial!

The moral support. The soundtrack to this day was OJ singing (and dancing to) Christmas carols...loudly. :)

Have a holly, jolly wedding dress shopping experience...

She was basically a one-woman musical.

Store number two was a gangster's paradise. There was no dancing. Only judging.

After a 2+ hour lunch with 2+ mimosas, it was time for the final act of the musical.
All in all, very successful day. Couldn't be happier for that Ninja girl, her Ninja boy, and their wonderful relationship! I also couldn't imagine a better wedding-dress-support-group partner than OJ.

Now stop distracting me, I really have to work out and get back out into the night!