Friday Question 256

By , July 25, 2014 7:05 am

Do you use certain text or ring tones for specific people? Who gets their own? Or do you just use the default on your phone?

I recently wiped my phone clean to start fresh with a new OS, and before I did, I took note of all the special ring and text tones I use, so I could set them up again. For whatever reason (my innate anxiety?) I feel better if I know who is calling or texting, when I hear my phone doing something. When I hear the default noise, I am all “WHO IS THAT AND WHAT DO THEY WANT?”

Just me? Ha ha. 

Of course, I keep my phone on silent most of the time anyway. But on the off chance I don’t have silence turned on…  

And… TwoThree other random things!

  1. This is a week of two anniversaries for me! July 21 was my blogiversary, and today is the anniversary of when I got my ACE personal trainer certification! Woo hoo! I have my continuing education already done (for the two year period) and have my eye on another certification. 
  2. My mom called me this morning, very excited, because she saw Lance Armstrong’s support RV in our hometown. He must be doing RAGBRAI this year?
  3. And as an update to the last Friday question… Steven and his family gifted me a GoPro as an early birthday gift! I can’t wait to use it during RAGBRAI!


A new state each year?

By , July 24, 2014 6:12 am

It’s so much fun to hear and follow everyone’s geographical/numerical/etc racing goals – 50 marathons by (age) 50, 30 half marathons by (age) 30, marathons on every continent, halves in every state, all of the races in a series, and so on!

I was looking at my past data, and noticed I’ve raced in a new-to-me state for the past four years (states in order raced that year, new state bolded):

2007: IL, IA
2008: IL, IA
2009: IL, WI, IA
2010: IL, WI, IA
2011: IL, IA, WI, MO, NY
2012: NY, IL, IA, WI, MO, IN
2013: NY, IL, WI, UT, KS, IA
2014: IL, TX, WI, IA, KS

I am not one to set goals… but maybe a race in a new state (or country!) each year could be a fun one! I already have a good head start, right (that is the trick to setting a goal – something you’ve already done/know you can do, ha ha)?

Do you have any specific geographical or numerical (or whatever!) running/exercise goals? How many states have you raced in?

I could see myself racing in Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, California or Alaska next year. Now the trick is, if I am going to be serious about the goal, to spread out the travel. Ha ha ha, who am I kidding? I take most travel opportunities, look for races every time I travel, and am awful with goals. Let’s see how far I get with this!

I actually thought of an instance where I’d use one…

By , July 23, 2014 12:07 pm

Would you wear a bracelet that allows you to instantly send Facebook friend requests to people you just met? Or would you use one at an event… for funsies?

Don’t worry, this bracelet can do other things as well. Like allow you entry to places. Or you can make payments with it.

Confused yet? Or maybe interested? Ha ha.

It’s funny that on the same day I was thinking about how fantastic it is to have Facebook to stay in touch with people I might never see again (like my snister’s fabulous bridesmaids) that I read this this opinion article (pdf here) about how these bracelets being used for a festival in Belgium allow you to instantly Facebook “friend” anyone you just meet (and also gain access to places, and so on). Simply stand next to them and press your “heart” button at the same time, and BOOM!, you’re Facebook friends (of course, after linking your account to the bracelet). IT’S SO EASY!!!

Wait, why can’t we just take the person’s name and search for them on Facebook later or the next day?


Hee hee.

This reminds me of the Bump app that (before it was shut down) allowed people to share contact information and files, by “bumping” their phones together. Nifty (I never used it). Of course, the difference between that and Facebook is that right away you are connected to a lot of information about that person, and somewhat guaranteed future encounters – if the Facebook algorithms show you their posts. 

When I first read that article on Friday I was thinking I would never use something like that. That I can just take someone’s name and look them up later (I have before). 

But then it dawned on me – this would actually be useful for my RAGBRAI ride this Saturday! Everyone’s ride kit included this little license plate to hang on the back of your bike, to spark conversation. I am sure it will, and I look forward to meeting lots of interesting people. And yes, maybe some that I would like to keep in touch with in the future!


Hmm, hmm, what to put for hometown?

And I am not going to want to get my phone out and mess with it (or drain the battery). I will want something quick and easy. Of course, NOT to use while riding. That is just a bad idea. Both hands on the bike for me, at all times!

Chris is ALL mine now. MINE MINE MINE.

By , July 23, 2014 6:02 am

Who’s your celebrity boyfriend/girlfriend? You know, your celebrity crush?!

I seem to stick with super heroes lately – Chris Hemsworth and Henry Cavill. 

My snister and I actually have an ongoing pretend (???) argument about whether Chris is actually her boyfriend or my boyfriend. I thought her getting married may seal the deal (that he’s MINE*) but I guess not:


So I was very surprised to get this package in the mail…


… does this mean Chris is mine now?!


Or maybe he’s just on loan? Either way, I am very happy he’s here to visit. I asked Christina where to put him.

“In your bed obv”



Sweet dreams, right?

This gift just cracked me up SO much. I was giggling the whole time I opened it and when I set it up, too. Thanks, snister! I can’t wait to watch our boyfriend… with our boyfriend. Ha ha. 


*Plus the whole Chris and Chris thing just doesn’t work, right?

That’s not what I heard!

By , July 22, 2014 12:15 pm

You know the part of your brain that helps you connect sounds to decipher what someone is saying? When you don’t hear them and need to use logic/common sense to figure it out? I don’t think that part of my brain works. I’m constantly mishearing things:

Steven telling me something is off with his coffee:
What I heard: It doesn’t taste crushed.
What he said: It doesn’t taste fresh.

Steven pointing out a building we’re driving by:
What I heard: mind reading
What he said: winery

The hostess asking me a question when we get to Red Robin:
What I heard: Are you part of a party?
What she said: How many?

Steven’s response after I joined the air drum solo late on a car ride:
What I heard: Get out of the van
What he said: You’re out of the band

Rachel pointing something out to me at the Kansas City market:
What I heard: She’s smoking out of a clarinet!
What she said: She’s drinking out of a coconut!

It must be a blast to talk to me, ha ha! I hope it’s at least amusing.



Seriously though, I don’t understand why I can’t “connect the dots” when I mishear something. It happens every day (it was fun to pick and choose the examples for this post). It’s frustrating for me, and even more, for the people trying to speak to me. I’m listening, I swear! And no, I don’t know why I thought someone would be smoking out of a clarinet!

Do you “mishear” things like this? Or know someone who does?

Nine Year Blogiversary

By , July 21, 2014 6:35 am

Craziness – today marks 9 years that I’ve been writing at!



I’ve said it many times before, but I never expected my blog to become what it has for me. I started it in 2005 to get used to writing (and hand coding) before I moved to Rome in January 2006 – my main intent was to use the blog to share stories while I lived overseas. But right away, it became a platform for connecting with other people and reading their stories. And it still amazes me that many of the people I love and consider to be family, are people I’ve met through blogging. 


I am really happy with what my blog is – my stories/experiences/highlight reel, my training and a discussion board. And I am pleased with the reception and readership too. Like I said above, its main purpose started as documentation, so any connection beyond that is always exciting. I am honored that you stop by to read/participate!

I do sometimes wonder if blogging will die out, or if I will get sick of it… but I really don’t see that happening. It’s just such a useful tool for me – I use it to document my life, store photos, connect with people, keep myself entertained (and sometimes procrastinate), and to feel creative and engaged. Onward we go, in to year 10!

Which blog(s) have you been reading the longest? What makes you “stick” with reading a certain blog?

Training Week 248

By , July 20, 2014 3:12 pm

Highlight of the Week: Getting positive feedback from my Monday night strength class. 


Monday | July 14, 2014: 4 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 77°/76°, Time: 42:10, Pace: 10:32 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: annoyed by all the bugs
Strength: Kettlebells and plyo box with boxing, Difficulty: hard for them! Felt: great! had a lot of fun!
Tuesday | July 15, 2014: 5 m run (w/Bobbi + Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 56°/56°, Time: 52:00, Pace: 10:24 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: tired
Wednesday | July 16, 2014: rest
Thursday | July 17, 2014: Softball Game #8
Friday | July 18, 2014: teaching strength class + 10.5 m ride
Strength: Kettlebells and plyo box with boxing, Difficulty: easy, Felt: overtired
Loc: Round Lake, Temp: 78°/76°, Time: 46:52, Pace: 13.4 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, agitated by the wind & cars
Saturday | July 19, 2014: rest
Sunday | July 20, 2014: 9.2 m run (w/Bobbi & Efit)
Loc: Libertyville, Temp: 58°/75°, Time: 1:44:06, Pace: 11:19 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: meh/crappy


  • A question just for fun… would you try a nude race? Hee hee. 
  • My knees hurt on Monday and for a second I was worried something was wrong with them… then remembered I fell on them at the trail race two days before. Derrrr. They also hurt on Sunday’s long run, again, from diving (and landing on my knees) to stop a ball at softball. Oops. 
  • I was (am?) in a funk for the last five days of this week as I tried to sort out some work stuff in my head, and just couldn’t stop thinking about it, even on the weeknights and my days off. It’s not like me to churn work stuff over and over like that! I am working on trying to see things in a different light to help deal with it. I that clicks soon, cause I don’t like feeling this… anxious so much of the time. 

Link to Training Week 247

Runner’s high vs… cyclist’s high?

By , July 19, 2014 8:02 am

Is there a cyclist’s high*, similar to how there is a runner’s high**?

I wonder. 

I love riding my bike. It definitely provides exhilarating thrills that running cannot, like cycling downhill at 30+ mph. It also gets me farther, and quicker. 


But does it ever get me to that euphoric state that running does? Not quite. Not yet.

A lot of my short little rides have the opposite effect than a run. Instead of leaving me calmer/happier, they leave me a bit agitated. By the wind. By the people yelling at me from their car. By the car that cut me off on a turn and almost made me ride in to the ditch. By the wind again – why is it coming from that direction, too? Ha ha. 

I am bound to find this cyclist’s high! It must exist! Maybe I will find it in a week, on RAGBRAI***!

*Not doping
**According to this link, “the effect can occur anytime that people engage in any strenuous exercise or activity, not just running”
***I had my first RAGBRAI nightmare last night. It was Saturday, and we spent so much time screwing around we missed starting the ride. Then it was the next day and someone suggested we do the ride then, after all the pass-through towns were closed. I have lots of dreams about missing events and I hate them!

Friday Question 255

By , July 18, 2014 11:46 am

When did you get your first digital camera? Do you still shoot on actual film, or all digital now?

Backing up some photos recently, I realized it’s been 10 years since I got my first digital camera (as a gift, from Steven)! And of course, in those ten years, I’ve had three digital cameras, and several phones that take photos too. It’s fun to look back through all of the photos and see how the quality has changed. I wish I took photos more on a daily basis, back then, like I do now. But the phone leads more to that than the camera. 


I wonder what the future of digital photography will hold for me! Ever since Steven got his DSLR, I rarely use my point and shoot. In fact, I took it with me for Bobbi‘s hang gliding trip and found out it has a mark on the lens. And wasn’t even upset. I just thought to myself “Whatever, I’ll photoshop it” (since it’s only larger when you zoom out on the lens).


I am interested in my future including one of these, so I can take action shots during some of my outdoor adventures… 

A bridesmaid dress you can wear again

By , July 17, 2014 6:21 am

So many of you left nice comments about how much you liked the bridesmaid dress I wore at Christina and Will’s wedding. Thank you! And many also commented about it being a dress that could be worn more than once (or not only to formal events). In fact, when Christina gave it to me last summer I asked her (jokingly) if I could wear it to work before the wedding. Ha ha. Just kidding…

But I am actually doing that today!


Yep! Same jewelry! Different belt and added a cardigan. 

I am really nervous about making a good impression at an important meeting I have this afternoon. More nervous than normal, as I’ve been assigned tasks for this project that I’ve never done before… and don’t quite know what I am doing. And feel very frustrated. ANYWAY! Wearing this dress that so many of you left nice compliments on has me feeling more comfortable, about my appearance, at least!

Thinking about this dress, I wonder if I’ll ever be in any other weddings. Most of my closest friends were married when I met them. You never know what the future holds though (meaning meeting new people – not something happening to my friends’ marriages, ha ha).

Before this wedding, I was only in one other, well, unless you count my aunt’s wedding, which I think maybe I was in? I just remember my dress matched a few other people’s dresses. 


I love that all three of my siblings are in this photo. Sorry for the diaper shot, snister. 

But I have definitely only been a bridesmaid that one other time, and that dress is not one I’ve used since. It was pretty to wear at the wedding, but I should probably donate it. 


How many weddings have you been in?

I have to share our family photo from the wedding. I really like how it turned out and can’t wait to see more photos from Paper Crane Photo!


From L to R: My brother Anthony and his wife Amber, Stefano and me, Christina and Will, my brother Nick and his sons Thomas and Nicky, and Mamba and Daddio

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39 ‘queries’.