Friday, 10 August 2012

Going for the gold

I haven't done a damn thing since the last time I posted. I always have the best of intentions but no follow through. Eh, I'll sort it out one of these days. So, how does one go about getting re-inspired?

Watch the Olympics.

On Wednesday I attended the women's beach volleyball final in London. GO USA! Here are a few photos.

Brazil vs China in the bronze medal match. Brazil triumphs.

Match point in the USA vs USA gold medal final.

The medal ceremony. Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May Treanor score their third straight Olympic gold medal.

 
Raising of the flags for the national anthem.

 Listening to the US national anthem and feeling all patriotic.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Building a base

*swoon*

I did it. My slacker ass made a plan and I followed it. Yoga sessions on Tuesday and Thursday? Check and check. Three mile runs on Monday, Wednesday and today? Check, check and check! All done on the morning of each day as well. I'm on fire!

I guess karma felt the need to bring a little balance to my kickass week though because yesterday I accidentally smacked my thumb with a hammer. Ouch. Part of my thumbnail is now purple. Not enough of it for the nail to fall off though which is good.

To spread the humbleness to my running readers, here's a little something for you too:
Just look at that face. Don't you feel like pond scum now?

Anyhoo, I want to keep my fitness momentum going so I'll continue with alternating days of running and yoga for the next week or two and then think about adding some more mileage. Right now I just want to build the habit again. I miss being a regular runner.

That's it for me. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Let's see if this works

Monday: 3 mile run
Tuesday: 20 minutes yoga
Wednesday: 3 mile run
Thursday: 20 minutes yoga
Friday: 3 mile run

Something's gotta give and I really don't want it to be my waistband. Place your bets, folks.

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Run-By

I finally returned to England on Tuesday last week. And I'm still suffering from jetlag. Blegh.

My sister's wedding went really well last weekend. The four weeks running up to it, not so much, but the wedding itself was amazing. I'm very happy for my sister and my new brother-in-law. I managed to not trip on my dress, only slightly cocked-up the ring exchange (I was their koumbara during the ceremony) and my speech at the reception went over really well. My hands are still sore from having to put together 300 bombonieres (which looked like this) and 300 wedding favors (which looked liked this) but thankfully the Xenia Sweatshop had about a half dozen helpers along the way. For your service, fellow minions, I salute you.

I haven't worked out at all in the last two weeks. Right now I'm trying to catch up with work and get back on a normal sleep schedule. I'm also readjusting to English weather. While you all roast in your 90-100 F temps, I've gone back to 50-60 F with LOTS and LOTS of RAIN. I don't miss the American heatwave, but I do miss the sunshine.

After only two hours of sleep (thanks a lot, jetlag), I woke up at 5:30 am yesterday so I could view a (for me) once in a lifetime event--the Olympic torch relay which was running through Port Nerd and, conveniently, right by the end of my street. Lots more people were out then I thought there would be. The English are nothing if not proud. Here are some pics.

 Waiting...

Relay runners transport bus. A dude on there was wearing a Queen Elizabeth mask. My photo of it didn't come out though.

The torch!

 Notice the relay security peeps in gray.

The people standing next to me knew the relay runner. Apparently his name is Roger. Congrats, Roger!

Onward to the Port Nerd airport and then to the Channel Islands.

The Olympics begin in less than two weeks. If time and work allow, I may try to make it up to London for one or both of the marathon days. We'll see.

Hope you're all doing well and, if you're in North America, staying cool.

Later gators.

Monday, 25 June 2012

No pain, no gain


Last time I posted, I mentioned I was going to do a strength training session on Wednesday with my sister and her personal trainer who is also her neighbor and friend. The session lasted an hour and was a mix of weights and calisthenics.

When getting back into exercise of any type, soreness is to be expected either the following day or the day after that. I got sore DURING the session. The next day, I could barely move and I whimpered every time I encountered stairs. The following day was much the same. I was still sore on Saturday but not as much as before, so I agreed to do another spin class with my sister. I think that helped expel much of the residual soreness from my body, though my butt was still feeling it yesterday (that's what she said).

I think an hour was probably too much ('DUH!' - said everyone), although the trainer said I did quite well. My sister chatted with her the entire session while I remained fairly silent and just focused on getting in the proper number of reps for each exercise. I guess that may have made me appear dedicated but really I was just wanted to end the anguish as soon as possible. If I'm stupid enough to torture myself again, I may only do half a session.

All right, I've got to get back to being my sister's personal assistant. We've got packages to open, another shopping trip to Michael's and I'm hoping to at least get the pew decorations completed today. I can hope, right? And while we do all of this, we'll continue quoting My Big Fat Greek Wedding, because that is exactly what this wedding will be. I'm tempted to put a tag on all the bubble bottles (we're having bubbles in lieu of rice) that say "Put some Windex on it."

OPA!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Workin' it


Sweet jesus, Chicago is boiling. I did not pack appropriately for this trip. Stupid England has weakened my heat tolerance. Ugh.

Anyway, I was right - my sister's fitness freak out is rubbing off on me. I've been here for a week now and I've already run once (3 miles) on Lakeshore, swam on Monday and I've now attended four spinning classes at Flywheel. It's hella expensive, but I'm only here for a month and I've always liked spinning so it's worth it. We're doing a strength training session later today too. I'm also eating cleaner and, because of the heat, eating less. So all in all, things are well on the fitness front.

There's a crazy amount of wedding prep still left to do. I've spent the majority of the week ordering stuff online and cleaning out Michael's to make the bombonieres, wedding favors and other assorted items. When all that crap finally arrives next week, I'm going to turn into a one-woman sweatshop putting it all together in time. Did I mention there's 300 people coming to this wedding? Yeah. I'm screwed. But I love my sister and I want her wedding day to be perfect, so do it I will. Now I sound like Yoda. Lordy.

Before I sign off, here's a little treat for my fellow Game of Thrones readers/watchers.
Later gators.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Repeat

I still haven't run. It's raining heavily right now and will continue to do so for the rest of the day, so it's not happening today either. Or tomorrow since I'll be on a plane to Chicago. Eh. I am packing my running shoes. My sister has been on a bride fitness freak out for the last few months so I'm hoping her hysteria will rub off on me. Couldn't hurt, right?

Coasting
A couple of weekends ago, I made some coasters. I was sick of the cheapo cardboard ones with smiley faces I'd bought a few years ago, so I made something more along my interests.


They were really easy to make using only cheap tiles from the DIY store, printed images, modge podge, cork for the bottom and acrylic sealant to make them waterproof. There's tons of tutorials on the interwebs, but here's a good one if you want some direction.

If you'd like some additional distraction today, you can check out my previous post for photos of my visit to a 13th century abbey. It was a rare day of good weather around these parts. I lucked out.

All right, that's it for me. Next time I post, it'll be from the Windy City. Have a great week, everyone.

Later gators.

P.S. - I saw this over the weekend and thought it was hilarious. Can you believe this was the first time I had heard this song? I was wondering what all those internet memes were going on about. Enjoy.


Skip To My Lou

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday photo fest

After three and a half months of dealing with ignorance, apathy and a whole lotta incompetence, I finally have working fiber optic broadband in my flat. And I'll be in Chicago for nearly a month as of Tuesday. Virgin Media's timing is impeccable.

Besides work and racking up my phone bill with calls to one of Richard Branson's poorly run companies, not a lot has been going on in my neck of the woods this week. The weather has been depressingly dreary and I've been trapped at home most of the time waiting for technicians who never arrive. So instead of continuing to bore you with the tedium that is my normal life, I'll just post a few photos from my outing last Saturday to Netley Abbey. Enjoy.



 



Inscription commemorating the construction of the church by Henry III in the 13th century.

 Lots of people hunting for oysters along the shore that day.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Gnome sweet gnome

I'm currently on Day Three of a four day weekend (God bless the English monarchy!) and I'm enjoying myself to the full. I've taken walks, visited an historical site, ate ice cream, attended a dinner party, read Game of Thrones, watched Game of Thrones and crafted to my heart's content. What I haven't done yet is run. My cold has calmed down considerably, but my cough is still deep so I'm taking it easy on the exercise front still. I may chance a run tomorrow though. I'm getting tired of waiting.

My real purpose in posting today is so I can enter a contest, so if you're not interest in crafts you can see yourself out now.

Aimee Ray of Little Dear is holding a gnome contest. As luck would have it, I have had two gnome-related craft projects in the works for a while now, so I'm using them as my entries in her contest. My first entry is a passport cover with a felt gnome applique I made as part of my sister's travel-themed bridal shower gift. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take a photo of it before I gave it to her so she emailed me a not so great iphone photo of it after. Here it is:

My second entry is a a piece that has been half finished for months and I only just completed it today. It's a piece of hoop art for my flat.

I picked up the toadstool fabric in a pack of fat quarters at the fabric store earlier this year. I thought the fabric would look great on my wall and what's more appropriate to pair with toadstools than a gnome. And so here's mine. I kept to the basic triangular shape of the passport cover gnome, but I had to add more detail considering how much bigger he is (the embroidery hoop is 12"). So I have him holding his arms behind his back and added a belt and some shoes. It took me forever to decide what his eyes should look like and I finally settled on open eyes with thick white eyebrows. I think it's cute and way too childish for a non-child home but once again I couldn't care less. It makes me happy.

That's it for me. I'm going back to enjoying my long weekend.

Later gators.

Skip To My Lou

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Contagion


 Kicked in the nuts
The only bad thing related to my recent quick trip to the states was that I returned with a cold. It’s now been nine days since my return and I’m still sick. My nose is full of snot and my lungs are full of phlegm which makes me cough like a seasoned 10-pack a day smoker. Co-workers and friends are sympathetic to my plight but really they just want me to bugger off so I don’t infect them with my American germs. English bastards.

My illness has unfortunately coincided with a rare week of beautiful warm sunny weather here on this island which is usually cursed with rain and overcast skies. I’ve tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible, but the frequent deep cough attacks to expel phlegm and their unfortunate triggering of my vomit reflex don’t allow me to be in public for long stretches of time without causing a scene. I’ve wanted so badly to run or take a spin class ever since I returned from the states, but my diminished lung capacity won’t let me. Instead I take walks and do some yoga. It’s not as satisfying though. A slightly welcome side effect considering I can’t really do any decent cardio at the moment is the decrease in my appetite. At least I shouldn’t be gaining any weight right now.

I’m fortunate in that I don’t often get sick. The last time I remember having a cold like this was in 2009 and I was sick for a solid two weeks. Another positive is that this recent illness finally got me to register with a surgery (aka doctor’s office) here in Port Nerd. I have a new patient meeting next week, so if I’m not well by then at least I have the hope of getting some higher strength drugs to help kill this thing. Until then, I’m drinking lots of orange juice and tea, swilling cough medicine straight out of the bottle and have a box of tissues and a trash can by my side at all times.

Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying good weather AND good health. Run for me, will ya?

Later gators. *cough*

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Frequent flyer

After more than a month of doing sod all, I finally ran again. What got me back to it? A surprise weekend trip to Nebraska. An exotic locale, I know.

My sister's bridal shower was on Saturday. Since I've missed every other major milestone so far in her wedding preparations, I didn't want to miss this one. Also, I'd have the opportunity to see our mom, dad and a lot of our mother's side of the family whom I haven't seen in a few years.

So I jetted off Friday and arrived that evening. Z's bff picked me up at the airport and I shocked Z that night when she came over for dinner. I've never pulled a stunt like this before so I was pretty stoked that it went off without a hitch.

I ran Saturday morning before the bridal shower and again on Monday morning before heading out on my return flight that evening. Each run was only a measly two miles, but it felt great to get back out there even with the hot temps (about 20-30 degrees F higher than in the UK) and the unexpected hills. I think the fact that we finally found my bridesmaid's dress on Saturday is motivation enough for me to get back on the fitness bandwagon. The tailor can take in my dress before the wedding, but he/she definitely can't make it any bigger.

So after 20 hours of flying and untold number of hours in buses and cars, I'm back in jolly old England where the weather is FINALLY starting to feel like summer. Fingers crossed it stays like this for the next few weeks before I return to the states again for three weeks of pre-wedding madness and the main event. 

Crikey.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

How peanut butter is made


And now I've traumatized all you peanut butter fans. My work here is done.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Huh?


Oops. I forgot I had a blog. But I don't have a whole lot I feel like saying, so I guess it's for the best.

My travels went fine. I miss it actually as the weather in England has been rather depressing these last few weeks. Expected, but depressing nonetheless.

I haven't run in a month. I just haven't felt like it. I'm hoping that changes soon, but until then there's walking and yoga to keep me occupied.

Before I left on my travels, I changed the security settings to allow my blog to come up in search results. I was curious about what would bring people to my little corner of the internets. Not surprisingly, the results are quite odd. Search results include:
  •  running water bottles [This brings up a post from my early days of blogging when I actually, you know, ran.]
  • fuck bitch im bragging in nutella [What does this even mean?!]
  • tyrannosaurus mex [I knew that dino month was going to bite me in the ass.]
  • 14 year old man boobs [Yikes.]
  • antisocial sloth [This sums me up rather well.]
  • fuck i'm high [The complete opposite of me actually.]
These results just confirm that I'm a classy broad with a classy blog. Or else maybe it means I shouldn't have my mind in the toilet of humanity all the time and then proceed to blog about it. Eh, it's a toss-up.

Since I have nothing of real value left to say, here's a few pics from my recent travels. Enjoy.

We begin with Germany...




 View of the river on my one run there.

And now for Italy...

Roman shitter.






Later gators.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

No photo

Typical American tourist tip #13

Howdy. I haven't posted in a while because I've been travelling and working and I couldn't (and still can't) figure out how to transfer photos from my camera onto my (work) laptop. So no-go on the pics, but I thought I'd pop in and give an update.

Germany was interesting. Unfortunately I stayed in the not-nice part of Frankfurt and was greeted outside my hotel by a dude shooting heroine into his arm. No, I'm not joking. I ventured out that evening to find dinner and saw another dude heating up a spoon of more drugs and then turned the corner onto a street full of sketchy bars, gambling establishments and a whole lotta strip clubs. To say I stood out like a sore thumb is an understatement.

I did find the cojones to run the morning of my last day there, fortified by the authentic schnitzel (not a euphemism) I consumed the night before. The neighborhood was a little less intimidating in sunlight, though I still went at a good clip until I made it to the river which was lovely. Afterward I went for a walk around the old town and the river again until it was time to head to the airport to catch my flight. If I ever get those photos off my camera, I'll post a few here.

I've slacked on the running a bit while here in Italy. I ran a three-miler last Wednesday morning and again yesterday afternoon. I'm getting in lots of cross training though with pick-axing, shovelling and wheelbarrowing. My hamstrings were sore as hell all of last week but are much better now. I think the long walk on the Via Appia on Easter Sunday helped out quite a bit. The plan is to get in at least two more runs this week and (obviously) continue with the cross training.

Hope you are all well and had an enjoyable long holiday weekend. I will update again when I have time and am not in danger of falling asleep whilst typing.

Later gators.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

I moustache


Finally got in my first run of the week this morning. It was delayed because of work but mostly because of my dithering. Today's run was fabulous as well because I made the discovery that if I ran the park loop clockwise instead of counter clockwise as I had been doing, it's a hell of a lot easier. Only two short, steep inclines to deal with rather than a prolonged gentler incline that always seems to suck the life out of me. Aces!

I might get in a short run tomorrow morning before I catch my bus to the airport. Right now I'm packing a load of crap into a small bag and making sure my running gear gets in there as well. I will get to add Germany to my list of countries I have run in, dammit. I will not take nein for an answer.

This is it for me for the week. Happy early weekend to you all. And if you haven't already, go on over to Steve's blog to vote for the name of his new shorts. My suggestion (Pinky and the Brain) is currently trailing the leader (Groundskeeper Willy) by a mere 0.6%. Voting ends today, so hurry up and help me win!

Later gators.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Salute Steve's Shorts

A little while ago, Steve in a Speedo unveiled his new colorful racing shorts (or jammers as you tri people call them) gifted to him by his wife, Pharmie. He asked for name suggestions (his yellow shorty shorts have been dubbed the Bowl Full of Sunshine and the colorfully psychedelic pair Tutti Frutti.). I offered up Pinky and the Brain since (a) the shorts are bright freaking pink and (b) shorts are usually where the male brain is located (*ba dum dum*).

Steve apparently liked my suggestion because it was listed as one of the finalists. Voting on that post continues until Thursday. For a while there Pinky and the Brain was trailing almost everybody but it's now inexplicably moved into second place behind Groundskeeper Willy. If you haven't already, head on over and vote for your favorite name suggestion. Preferably my option though, because then I'll win. I don't really care whatever the prize ends up being, I just want bragging rights to naming Steve's shorts. Wait, that doesn't sound right...

Monday, 26 March 2012

Building momentum

Other than that, it was a great weekend. The weather continued to be beautiful and I got in an extra baby run on Saturday as well as my planned 3-miler on Sunday for a total of 10 miles for the week. I just couldn't resist the chance to finally have a double-digit weekly mileage--the first time in nearly a year.

Running is still a slow slog, but I'm enjoying being out there again no matter the pace. Speed will come with time and consistency. The real challenge will begin Friday when I travel to a conference and then immediately go from there to the fieldwork locale for three weeks. I've already plotted 3-mile runs in both locations and am packing running gear, so there's really no excuse not to keep up this momentum. Time will tell.

In the continuing chronicles of wall decor, I finally sewed loops onto the top of the Little Red wall hanging so it's all ready to hang now. I just don't know where everything should go on the walls yet. I'll worry about that when I get back from my travels. Anyway here's the second canvas piece I completed:

I was inspired by this print on Etsy. After painting the canvas blue, I printed out letters and a teapot silhouette and traced them onto the canvas in pencil. Then I slowly (and not very neatly) painted them in and added the heart. Next time I should find a way to make a decent stencil first. It'd save me time and some swearing.

That's it for me today. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Later gators.

Friday, 23 March 2012

The bright side


Another sunny day and my second three-miler of the week is in the books. The park was full of happy canines chasing sticks and bounding after their pasty white humans trying to catch a bit of sun. With the combination of bright skies and acres of blinding white flesh, I really should have worn sunglasses. Next time. (*knock on wood*)

I'm starting to feel like my old self again. I never thought I was subject to seasonal affective disorder, but this week of bright sunshine would seem to prove otherwise. My spirits are high and I'm looking forward to tackling the projects and tasks ahead...preferably while outside.

Speaking of projects, let me show you another wall art piece I completed. At the end of January, the 99p Store was selling canvases for (you guessed it) 99p each so I bought a bunch of them as well as some acrylic paints and paint brushes, again for 99p. So far I've worked on three of the canvases. Here's the first one:


The project idea came from Crafted Love via Pinterest. I was raised by a mother who is an avid mystery reader, one of her favorite authors being Agatha Christie. So an ode to Poirot seemed appropriate. All this project required was a canvas (or you could use a piece of wood or cardboard), newpaper, Modge Podge (aka watered-down glue) and some paint. Really simple and really cheap. Kinda like me.

That's it for me today, folks. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Later gators.