So adult. Much wow. Very new.

By , October 8, 2015 6:19 am

Steven and I have been upgrading some furniture items in our home – new chairs, a new entertainment center, an actual headboard for our bed, new lamps, a few other things…


We were both commenting on how it makes our house feel much more “adult.” And how much we like it. AND WHY DID IT TAKE US SO LONG TO MAKE THESE CHANGES?!?!

Ha, it’s not like we had a house full of dorm furniture. It was just missing some finishing touches here and there.

Steven hypothesized that we were being lazy. I hypothesized that we had other priorities – other things we’d rather spend our money on.

But we both did agree, that when we move, we’ll make the effort for the house to feel this way from the get go!

So. Much. Merchandise.

By , October 7, 2015 6:13 am

I’m stoked to see the new Star Wars film. I plan to see it on opening night (hopefully, midnight or earlier the day before!) and already know what I am going to wear to teach strength class the day it comes out.

But you know what doesn’t have me as excited? All the darn merchandising for the new and old films that seems to have exploded, everywhere.


I don’t want to know much about the new film – I want the characters and plot to be a surprise when I see it. And that’s not exactly easy with Star Wars branded on EVERYTHING. Even if I stay out of the toy aisle, I see Star Wars food, clothes, stationary, home goods, and so on.

And it’s not just that I don’t want spoilers. The amount of merchandise seems excessive to me. A bit sickening, actually. It feels like it’s EVERYWHERE. I want to be excited about the film because it’s good – not because of all the “collectibles” that go along with it. No one needs all that stuff, but the advertising sure makes you think you do! I found myself in the women’s clothing aisle at Target on Saturday holding up a retro style A New Hope shirt wondering what size I should get… before I came to my senses and remembered I have many Star Wars shirts already! I don’t need that one, just because it’s new and cute.

This makes me wonder what it was like when the original Star Wars was released in 1977. I’ve seen the (yes, cool) toys from then. Were they branding food, clothes and home goods as well then, too? Was it as nuts? Maybe!

I say all this, and yet, I succumb to it. The reason I’m such a huge fan is because of the 1997 re-release*, and yes, partially because of how commercialized it was. And I’ve even purchased a shirt and Lego set from the new movie for my nephew for his birthday – I love that he loves Star Wars. (So, yeah, hypocrite.)

And that’s a huge part of how it’s being advertised – as a love for a story that you should pass down your family line. I’m all for that, I really am – I just don’t think it needs to be so forced (buah ha ha). It should be natural (after seeing the film), or at least, not completely driven by commericalism and seller influence. But, how else would kids learn about things, unless family or friends told them? And maybe those family and friends are stoked to see all this stuff in the stores, because it helps get their kids excited about the film? As an adult, all I needed was the movie trailer, to get me pumped to see it, but I’ve mostly outgrown a desire for toys and collecting “things” (mostly). Everyone’s different.

I’m cool with more people loving Star Wars. I just hope it’s for the story (first?) and the gadgets (later). I understand the merchandise makes a lot of money and I don’t think there should be none. And I’m sure that after seeing the film, there will be something I just have to have… but it won’t be available because everyone bought it in September. Ha!

I guess (after reading through this draft a zillion times) what I don’t like about all this now, is that it makes the studio seem so GREEDY. Too much focus on stuff and not story. There ya go. I should have just put that sentence at the top!

This post is all Star Wars, because that’s what’s on my radar, but there must be other films/shows/bands/etc. that are way over-advertised/merchandised?! Or maybe I’m the only old lady yelling at kids to get off my lawn, ha!

*Obviously, Han shot first

Future tattoo ideas

By , October 6, 2015 6:24 am

It’s been almost a year since I got my first tattoo!


Ha, “first” implies I have more than one now*. I don’t, but I have a lot in mind!

I’d like to get a compass rose tattoo – on my foot or side. This would symbolize my love of maps and travel <— I know, so original.

This is way too big, and only the start of what I’d like. But a similar style.

I really like text tattoos. I love asking people the meaning behind theirs! (And love when people comment on mine!) I’ve thought about getting my original family name “Alexciou” (see Oct. 24 post here). Not sure where I would get it, though!

And eventually, I think I will get a cat related tattoo (I really like 3, 15, and 22, here)!

I’ve seen some cool vegetarian/vegan lifestyle related tattoos, but that’s something I don’t think I will ever want. It is the diet I follow, but I don’t like using the label and the connotation that comes with it.

Anyway. I will spend a lot of time thinking about it, like I did with my first, before I get another!

*Ha, I was talking about getting another tattoo around my mom and she informed me I only get one. Ha ha, oh, Mom.

The clown cowl

By , October 5, 2015 6:27 am

I was all excited to get started on making this cowl for a friend last week… then I sat down to work on it and realized I read the pattern wrong and didn’t have the right circular needles.


Mica deciphered the confusing directions for me!

So I ordered the right size needles, and while I waited for them to come, I looked through the yarn stash my snis sent me to find something to work on in the mean time. Only, every project I found, that I had the right amount of yarn for, required needles I don’t have. Sigh. The good news is, I read a lot about when to use circular needles (and what size) versus double pointed needles, and have a decent understanding of it. The bad news is, I “need” a lot of needles I don’t have (time to start making my holiday wish list!).

I saved all the patterns I found for a future date, and waited for the circular needles for the cowl to come.

And I started it when they did. And got the hang of working in the round, despite not really finding it enjoyable (although that could change). The cowl went pretty quickly.

But as I was working on it, I realized I really did NOT like the pattern. At all. I liked how it looked on the model in the photo, but not on me.


I can’t give this ugly cowl to anyone but Goodwill. It makes me look like a clown! Ugh.

At least I learned how to knit in the round on this, though!

Maybe in the future I’ll learn how to read patterns better, and know by looking at them, I won’t like how it turns out.

Training Week 311

By , October 4, 2015 9:35 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running on a new-to-us trail with Rachel in Wisconsin!


Monday | September 28, 2015: teaching strength class
Strength: box, kettlebells & boxing, Difficulty: medium, Felt: ok, tweaked IT band on a reverse lunge

Tuesday | September 29, 2015: rest
Wednesday | September 30, 2015: 3 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 55°/55°, Time: 26:50, Pace: 8:56 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good – just what I needed!
Thursday | October 1, 2015: 7 m run (incl. 4×800)
Loc: hood/Millennium Trail, Temp: 57°/55°, Time: 1:05:42, Pace: 9:23 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: challenged by the wind
Friday | October 2, 2015: teaching strength class + 4 m run
Strength: box, kettlebells & boxing, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 52°/52°, Time: 41:37, Pace: 10:24, Difficulty: easy, Felt: super irritated with running belt and music player

Saturday | October 3, 2015: 12 m run + 10 mins kettlebells + 4 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail to Nippersink FP, Temp: 50°/51°, Time: 2:05:22, Pace: 10:27 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 51°/52°, Time: 37:36, Pace: 9:23 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Sunday | October 4, 2015: 10 m ride11.4 m run (w/Rachel)
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 51°/51°, Time: 51:15, Pace: 11.7 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: White River State Trail, Temp: 49°/50°, Time: 1:57:39, Pace: 10:19 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but a bit tired


  • Gah, my Monday night strength class completely wrecked my legs for several days after! It’s odd – we’d been doing that mode of workout for two weeks, so I didn’t expect to have that reaction (my legs should be used to it!). A potential new instructor was taking my class – maybe I was going harder than I normally do because they were there?!
  • I’ve been picking the wrong days for my speedwork, the last few weeks. My 9/11 session had 8 mph winds with 17 mph gusts, my 9/17 session was 16 mph winds with 23 mph gusts, and my 10/1 session was 16 mph winds with 26 mph gusts. I guess that prepared me for the last 5K I did having 9 mph winds (I really didn’t even feel them!).
  • Speaking of wind, man, it was just nutso windy here most of the week. I think this (pdf here) has something to do with it! I didn’t mind the cold that came along with the wind, but it was frustrating to have it pushing me around.
  • Rachel and I found a new meet-in-the-middle spot for running – the White River State Trail in Wisconsin! It’s a 19-mile trail on a former rail corridor. We ran 11 miles of it today, and we look forward to running the whole thing together, sometime! It was so nice to see Rachel and catch up on the run!
  • It’s nuts that it’s already October, and time for another monthly recap! I ran 178.1 miles and cycled 54.7 in September. I taught 8 strength classes and swam 1 time. Hmm, unless I get a gym membership, that was probably my last swim of the year! I also did three strength workouts at home. I’d love to keep that up, but I’ve said that before… ha.

Link to Training Week 310

A lot can happen in a short ride

By , October 2, 2015 6:45 am

Most of my favorite memories of high school are of times spent with my younger brother, and don’t necessarily have anything to do with school-sanctioned activities – we just happened to be together, because of school!


I don’t have a good picture of us in high school (Fall 2000-Spring 2002) so here’s a picture of us in 1990! BARBIE TRUCK! 

I was reminded of this this morning when I was talking to a friend about her son’s request to be excused from today’s pep rally. Ha! My brother(s) and I skipped ALL the pep rallies. This started with my older brother (he and I were in school for my first two years of high school, then my younger brother and I were together for my last two years).

When I started high school, and my older brother was a junior, we’d ride together to school. For a bit, anyway. I didn’t understand, for the life of me, why he didn’t want to get there early, to hang out with his friends! We’d get there with a minute or two to spare. Eventually, the upper classmen friends I made would pick me up and drive me to school so we could hang out before. Awww.

However, I figured it out by the time I was a junior and my younger brother was riding with me to school. We had departure and arrival time down to a science, getting there with just enough time to grab our stuff before class started. Why get there early when it’s such a drag to be there all day, anyway? What was I thinking, my freshman and sophomore years?!

So a lot of my fun memories with my younger brother are us riding to school, or home, together. Like the time I decided to let him drive home. Even though he’d never driven a car before. Yeah… that lasted a few blocks.

Or how we’d stop, almost every warm day, after school, for ice cream! And not just any ice cream – Flavor Stop ice cream – where the vanilla cone has swirls of flavor injected in it (like this!). SO GOOD.

Or the days we’d go home and have to change in to our McDonald’s uniforms go work our shifts, together. It’s weird being your brother’s manager. Ha.

Writing this makes me sad I didn’t get to share any high school time with my snister (she’s five years younger). But we do have a kind of horrible story of me picking her up from middle school, on my first day of junior year. I had such a craptastic day, I got a migraine, and had to pull over to throw up, out the car door, when the car was stopped. Of course, a friend of my mom’s saw us.

Fun times, fun times.

Did any of you ride with a sibling to and from school?

Random Thoughts Thursday 77

By , October 1, 2015 6:18 am
  • Has anyone tried RaceDots? They’re a magnetic alternative to using safety pins to keep your race bib secured on your shirt. I saw them mentioned in the October Competitor magazine and thought they looked cool. It says to keep them away from electronic devices though, so that wouldn’t work if you carry your phone at your waist.
  • Also seen in the October issue of Competitor – an interview with Steve Jones (former world marathon record holder) saying: “Mass participation has hurt the sport and racing, in my mind. I don’t believe starting and finishing a marathon makes you a marathoner,” and the running industry is huge and magazines cater to “people who are running 4 hours for a marathon or 25 minutes for a 5K. And that’s not running in my mind.” Ouch, Steve! Tell us how you really feel! I wonder how many modern day elites feel that the masses are ruining the sport, with our slow marathon finish times. We’ve all seen stats that overall marathon finish times have gotten slower, as more people do the sport. But I always say (and it seems like I am saying this a lot, lately) – isn’t it better people are moving, at all? As long as it’s safe for them? If a marathon caters to that finish time and people want to train to do it at that pace, why not let them? What does it matter to you?
  • Since I am already ranting… I don’t understand why people pronounce Data’s name wrong, after they’ve heard me say it. He is named after Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which is pronounced Day-tuh, not Dat-uh. I know people say it both ways, when they are talking about information, but this is a proper name! Don’t you want people to say your name right? Ha ha ha, I know, he’s a cat. I’ll stop before I get too crazy cat lady on ya.

He obviously cares, a lot.

  • It’s October 1st! I have 31 days to figure out Halloween costumes! I am sure I’ll be scrambling the last week of October, per usual.
  • Also, it’s October 1st and a government shutdown was averted! Hurrah! I’m still shocked I couldn’t work for 16 days in October 2013 when we had a shutdown. I really didn’t think it would happen. And that’s all I will say, here! Ha ha.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 76

The most annoying yarn ever*

By , September 30, 2015 6:01 am

I’m not sure why I was so excited to work with this Scrubby yarn from Red Heart. Any experienced knitter could probably look at it and tell what a total pita it would be to work with.


Okay, okay, it’s not that bad. At all. It’s just different. The little dangly pieces make it… interesting. You really have to pay attention in the beginning, to make sure you are actually knitting the stitch, and not looping through the loose bits.

If that makes any sense. Ha ha.

The real reason I got this yarn was to jokingly knit a sponge for my mom’s mom. She is very anti-sponge and pro-washcloth and I thought it would be funny.

Of course, I ended up knitting some cloths first, anyway. And I can’t even tell which side is supposed to be the front. I thought it was this side:


But doesn’t the pattern make it look like it’s supposed to be this side?


Me so confused.

I just want to finish the little sponge project I started after these, and move on to something with big chunky yarn. That seems to be what I prefer right now!

(But the good thing about this yarn is that it’s really easy to hide mistakes, since the yarn itself is so crazy and not orderly! I accidentally added a stitch in the first cloth, then dropped it somehow, later (oops) and was able to hide it easy because the yarn looks so messy anyway, muah ha ha.)

*Only a slight exaggeration.

I need a cover story

By , September 28, 2015 6:23 am

When Gina and I were in the city on Thursday, we stopped by my office* and my boss was in, so I introduced Gina to her. I really like my new (since February/March) boss, and wanted her to meet my best friend, and get to know some of the people in my life.

City view from our run on Thursday!

Which is kind of the opposite of how I’ve felt about mixing personal life with work life, until now, save for ONE coworker I talk to about personal stuff on a regular basis. I mostly keep it light. I’ve had the rudest reactions saying the most basic things about my life, and that’s taught me to keep my mouth shut and say as little as possible.**

And actually, it’s gotten better, but I still feel like I have my guard up, most of the time. So I was surprised when I found myself hoping my boss would be at her desk so Gina and I could say hi.

Then later in the day, I was thinking about it, and realized how lucky I was my boss didn’t ask how Gina and I met, because I don’t tell anyone at work about my blog (except that one coworker, and yes, because I don’t want to share personal information). Oops! What would I have said, if she asked?! I need a cover story. Or an altered version of the truth, heh. “We were both bloggers and we met online” would be mostly true. It would just imply I no longer blog. “We met through a mutual friend” would be true, because another blogger told me about Gina’s blog!

Or, maybe I could just tell the truth, and see how she reacts.

Nah. I still like keeping this little space for myself.

*I worked a few hours in the afternoon while Gina window shopped the Mag Mile
**This is actually a topic I’d love to devote an entire post to – feeling uncomfortable sharing information about yourself with people because of how they react. But… I just shouldn’t go there, because it’s not only at work.

Training Week 310

By , September 27, 2015 3:59 pm

Highlight of the Week: All the fun workouts with Gina!


Monday | September 21, 2015: 5 m run + 6 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 64°/67°, Time: 47:18, Pace: 9:27 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but irritated
Loc: trail to hood, Temp: 67°/65°, Time: 56:42 Pace: 9:26 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: surprisingly good
Strength: box, kettlebells and boxing, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | September 22, 2015: rest day!
Wednesday | September 23, 2015: 10 m run (incl. 5 hill repeats, w/Gina) + 10 mins kettlebells (w/Gina)
Loc: Grant Woods FP, Temp: 58°/70°, Time: 1:40:58, Pace: 10:06 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: pretty good!
Thursday | September 24, 2015: 8.5 m run (w/Gina)
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 62°/67°, Time: 1:21:45, Pace: 9:37 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | September 25, 2015: teaching strength class + 15.7 m ride (w/Gina)
Strength: box, kettlebells and boxing, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay, but off
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 59°/61°, Time: 1:30:03 Pace: 10:05 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good!

Saturday | September 26, 2015: Big Hollow PTO 5K (+WU & CD w/Gina)
Loc: Fish Lake Rd, Temp: 65°/66°, Time: 23:02, Pace: 7:27 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Sunday | September 27, 2015: 21 m run (w/Gina and Steve (last 10 w/Steve))
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 62°/66°, Time: 3:33:10, Pace: 10:09 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: strong


  • What a great week! Gina’s been here since Tuesday night, so we got to run together four times (and with Steve, on Sunday)! On Thursday we went down to the city and ran a fun “city view” route so Gina could see all the cool Chicago vantage points. It’s such a treat to have her here! And I felt strong for all of my runs, which made me happy – the last time I saw her I wasn’t the best running partner (because I was getting over a stomach thing and it was crazy humid and a bit warm).
  • I surpassed last year’s running mileage (1610.8) during today’s run (I’m at 1629). Yay! Now I am going after 2013’s mileage (1915.1).
  • I am not signed up for any more races this year, but do have a few in mind (the 5K yesterday was one of them – we decided to run it midweek) – a few 5Ks, maybe a half marathon… maybe a marathon if I decide to lose some weight. But I will be content to keep running and not do any races, too.
  • I’ve actually done some strength training at home the last three weeks (as opposed to just doing it while teaching class). I’d love to keep that going.

Link to Training Week 309

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