What to do with unusable brake shoes

By , May 22, 2015 7:05 am

Make them in to art!


Steven ordered new brake shoes for my car in February, and when he and my dad began to install him, they found out he was shipped the wrong part. So they went to three different auto parts stores and realized the wrong item is listed for our car in all of the catalogs! They resorted to looking at brake shoes from several similar models until they found the right one. Fun, right?

And what are brake shoes? The owl’s wings! Beyond that? No idea.*


We didn’t keep the unused shoes in the garage with the intention of using them for a welding project, but when Steven had the idea to make something for our neighbor Jen for her birthday, and I told him she likes owls, it seemed like a perfect use for them!

We spent a bit of time looking at pictures of owls to decide how we wanted our caricature to appear, then laying out the pieces of metal to get the right look.

When Steven went to work on it the first time though, he found out that he couldn’t weld the can bottoms directly to the shoes – the weld went right through it. So we waited until we ate more canned young corn, to try again (hee hee). The second time, he attached the cans to the ears, and ears to the wings, and that seemed to hold better.

Steven decided he wanted to rust the medal. Here is what it looked like before:


To get the rusty look, he first “etched” it (sprayed it) with vinegar so that the acid in the vinegar would eat the medal. Then he sprayed it with a solution of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and salt, and that makes it rust.

Ta da! Rusty Owlie (I know, so original with our names). We’re excited to see where our neighbor puts it!


*Just kidding, after reading this draft, Steven explained them to me.

The glue expert*

By , May 20, 2015 7:57 am

*Not really an expert

When I was chatting with my mom on Mother’s Day, she mentioned my dad was trying to glue cracks in a car dashboard together and it wasn’t holding. She said they were having a hard time finding the right kind of glue.

“Why didn’t you ask me?” I said. “I spent years building models in college! I am the glue expert!”


Of course, after saying that, I promptly forgot about it (since I don’t have to build models any more THANK GAWD)… until last Friday night when my dad hands me a dash and says “Okay, glue expert, tell me what I need.”

Oops. Ha ha.

We went to the hobby store Friday and got the glue I worked with (the most, anyway) in college. We glued the cracks on Saturday. On Sunday, we confirmed they were holding. Yay, success!

This post isn’t actually about glue though. It’s about how good it felt to be able to help my dad with something. All my life, he’s been helping me, doing things for me. It was nice to be able to help him with something for a change.

I felt the same way yesterday when I helped my mom with a write-up for work. It feels good to think I’ve acquired some skills that can assist other people, and especially my family!

And not related, but I have to share this cutie picture of me and Steven that I found when I was looking for the photo above. Awww. Young love!


Photo is from October or November 2002, not June, ha.

I’ll put this here since it’s a total First World Problem rant and doesn’t warrant its own post.

The good thing about working from home is that I don’t have to spend money on keeping my professional wardrobe up to date.

The bad thing about working from home is that when I have an important meeting and need to snaz it up a bit, I feel like everything in my closet is super outdated and blah. Ugh.

So I just keep wearing the same blouse and blazer combo and feeling grateful that my meetings are with different clients or that if they are with the same ones, that they are spread out enough that they might not notice the repeat outfit…


Maybe I’ll get a few new pieces at some point. Maybe. But I’d rather spend my money on running shoes and races. Ha!


By , May 19, 2015 6:29 am

Has anyone ever asked to use you as a reference on a resume?

Probably, right?

This year is the first time I’ve been asked! But, I’ve been asked by three people, who all have jobs and are looking to change things up. That’s promising – the market must be getting better and people feel comfortable to try to move around! And it’s promising that someone values my opinion enough to ask me to be a reference (or maybe I am a last resort… muah ha ha… er…).

Whatever the reason, it’s exciting to see people putting themselves out there and looking for something that’s a better fit for them! (Says the girl who will probably stay at her government job for life.)

What’s a post without pictures? Let’s talk about knitting so I can throw some in!

I gave my mom the washcloths for my grandma this weekend. I decided to throw a sponge on the package to mess with her. Ha!


I was happy to see she got a kick out of it:


And that she liked the washcloths:


I hope her friends enjoy receiving them as birthday gifts!

My mom and I picked out yarn this weekend for her washcloths. I got one done for her while she was here (and gave her the first two crummy ones I ever knitted and a monogrammed “I” one I made in March):

150515momswashclothyarn 150517momsfirstwashcloth

Those will be fun to work on! I hope to have more done before I see her again in two and a half weeks!

And I finally started on this scarf I’ve been itching to get going on. Man, the pattern is NOT complicated, but I misread it a few times (huge thanks to Mica for setting me straight), and had to re-cast on 10-15 times because I messed it up so much. Now that I’m finally in a groove, I am really digging it! Maybe I will keep it for me instead of its original intended recipient, ha! (Note: I haven’t knitted anything for myself yet…)


Milky Chance in MKE (put your freaking phones away!)

By , May 18, 2015 6:29 am

If I was one of the youngest people at the last concert I went to… I think I was one of the oldest at this one! But look at me – two concerts in one year! Woot!


Steven and I saw Milky Chance at the Turner Hall Ballroom on Thursday night in Milwaukee. Soon after I realized I love their sound last September, I stumbled across a Facebook post that they were touring in the US this year, so I grabbed tickets to their Milwaukee show.

This was my first time attending a “standing room only” show. And my first time seeing a certain drug (that is legalized in other states but not Wisconsin) in person. Ha. You could say there was a very eclectic crowd of mostly young people there. Seriously, I heard one girl say her mom told her to come home “immediately after the show.” Giggle. I am not sure why I was surprised to see people smoking there – I always told Steven I thought Milky Chance was that kind of music.

But back to it being standing room only. It was neat to be so close to the stage! Cozy, but neat! I never imagined I would be that close to the artists.

I also never imagined how frustrated I would feel by the people taking photos and videos the whole time, texting others, uploading to Facebook, snap-chatting, etc. Sure, take a photo or two to document that you were there – I took three photos of the band, no shame! But the whole. damn. time?! Put your freaking phones down! My view of the stage had several glowing phones in it, most of the time (hence why I know what they were doing on them).


Yes, I see the irony of me using my phone to take this photo, and why you might think it makes me a hypocrite. Ha. 

In fact, it was so bad that the lead singer said “take a journey with me, put your phones in your pockets, use your eyes and ears.” Sigh. Just be IN the moment, people. Did that stop them? Nope.

Then at the movies this weekend, I saw someone recording parts of Pitch Perfect 2 on their cell phone. Really? REALLY?! Grrrr.

But other than that, I really enjoyed the show. A band I’d never heard of, FMLYBND, opened for them, and I am looking forward to checking out some of their songs on iTunes.  And Milky Chance sounded almost JUST like they do on their album. Minus the bass being turned up WAY too much and an added harmonica player (eh, I could do without). I really liked the stage set up and lighting during the show.

Steven isn’t as familiar with their music as I am, so he listened to the songs the week leading up to the concert so he’d know what he was listening to. Cause we know that people get more pleasure from songs they are familiar with! I certainly do, and he was happy he had listened to them in advance. They did play two songs that aren’t on their album though, and I liked them! I wonder when they will be available on iTunes!

Training Week 291

By , May 17, 2015 3:45 pm

Highlight of the Week: Working out with my mom on Saturday and my dad on Sunday!


Monday | May 11, 2015: 6 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 64°/67°, Time: 59:02, Pace: 9:50 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: hot/had heavy legs
Strength: dumbbell/step mixed mode w/resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Tuesday | May 12, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 10 hill repeats) + 7 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 52°/51°, Time: 49:05, Pace: 9:49 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good/strong
Loc: Nippersink FP, Temp: 53°/54°, Time: 1:08:22, Pace: 9:46 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: warmed up after 4 miles
Wednesday | May 13, 2015: rest
Thursday | May 14, 2015: 3 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 54°/54°, Time: 28:55, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: angry then better
Friday | May 15, 2015: teaching strength class + 13 m run
Strength: dumbbell/box mixed mode w/resistance bands, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Around Round Lake, Temp: 65°/66°, Time: 2:16:02, Pace: 10:28, Difficulty: easy, Felt: sweaty and hot, but good!
Saturday | May 16, 2015: 6 m run (incl. 4×800) w/Mom (walking)
Loc: hood, Temp: 59°/58°, Time: 57:30, Pace: 9:35 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: hot, tight legs
Sunday | May 17, 2015: 22.6 m ride (w/Dad and Pete)
Loc: Prairie Trail, Temp: 61°/66°, Time: 1:53:35, Pace: 11.9 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great


  • I’ve added a weekly double run workout to my schedule to get ready for The Longest Day Relay on June 21. This will be my second year joining Team Running to Remember to raise raise awareness and funds for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. This year, the team is doing a point-to-point relay from Monroe, WI to Madison, WI. I am doing this event in honor of my paternal grandfather, who had dementia. Please visit my fundraising page if you’d like to donate, and let me know if it’s in memory or honor of anyone so I can run with their name on June 21.
  • Hill repeats are wearing my legs out! I am not sure why I find this surprising. Ha ha.
  • Why the dirty hand in the photo collage? Hee hee, I was running on the trail and saw a kid with a stuck bike chain and tried to help him. No can do. It was twisted around the gears. They seemed to appreciate my help – they were super polite kids!
  • We’ve gotten some early glimpses of summer humidity this week. Wooza! It was so bad that when I finished my repeats on Saturday I had sweat dripping off my elbows. Ewww! Hopefully running in it now can make it easier this summer…. right, right?!
  • My mom walked at the park on Saturday while I did my repeats. We both appreciated having each other there for “company”! I definitely felt like running faster when I was going by her… it’s probably apparent in the Garmin data, ha.
  • It was so nice to cycle outside this week with my dad and Pete (from Efit)! My bike is riding really smoothly since getting tuned up, and it was so much more enjoyable to be outside (especially with other people!) than to be on the trainer in the house!

Link to Training Week 290

Random Thoughts Thursday 72

By , May 14, 2015 6:22 am
  • Knitting update! I am finished with the washcloth order for my Grandma! I started on Friday May 1st and finished yesterday, May 13th. At first I was getting one done a day (they take about three hours each) then I slowed down at the end (which means I was sitting around less, and not knitting, ha ha). Next up: more washcloths (my mom requested some, and I’ll do some more monogrammed ones for my Grandma), a new scarf pattern, cactus push pin holders for Christina, a request for something from Gina, and that laptop sleeve (oops, that’s been in the queue awhile).


  • More knitting news! My mom received the scarf I made her for Mother’s Day and loved it! She wore it to work and said she was excited to show it to a coworker who knits all the time. Errr… how about let’s not show it to someone who will see all the mistakes in it? Ha ha… sorta kidding. When I see my mom (tomorrow!) I’ll have to ask her what that coworker said!


  • I’m CPR/AED recertified! Yay! What a long day though – I was in training at work from 8-4, then rode the train to the CPR training and rushed to get there for the 6-9 class. I slept well last night!


  • Who else ate macaroni and cheese with hot dogs as a child? Who else still craves it from time to time, now? Me! And guilty! We have some vegan mac n’ chreese (<— not a typo) mixes from FakeMeats at home, and when I saw the vegan hot dogs at Target I knew the combo needed to happen. It was so good. I think it will hold me over from craving it for another year, though.


  • I keep looking at my bird books but can’t figure out these species visiting our feeders. Fail.


Ha, I will forever recognize red-winged black birds, though!



Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 71

The cat who wears a tie

By , May 11, 2015 6:01 am

When I was making Data’s upcoming annual vet appointment, the receptionist said to me, “Ooo, is that the cat who wears a tie?!”

Yes, yes it is. Hee hee.


For a few years, we’ve dressed Data in a tie for his vet appointments. If you can’t let your crazy cat lady flag fly at the vet’s office, where can you?!*

I told the receptionist it was indeed him, and that I would get him a new tie for his upcoming appointment.

I mean, his collection is so outdated:


I just haven’t seen any other cats wearing the faux white collar. It’s out. Skinny collars are in!


Hee hee, can’t wait to hear what they think of the new bowtie when we take him in next week. Honestly, having him wear that and having some conversation about it is a nice distraction from seeing him be uncomfortable in the vet’s office!

The other thing the receptionist said is “Wow! Data is getting old!” Yeah… their records have him at eleven years old. While his spirit and energy seems to be the same as when we adopted him in 2005, we are starting to notice very small changes in his health. I’m happy we have such a good vet to help us take care of him!

*Trick question! I let it fly everywhere!!!

Training Week 290

By , May 10, 2015 9:51 pm

Highlight of the Week: Receiving positive feedback on a new strength workout for my class / doing two days of hill work and feeling strong.


Monday | May 4, 2015: 3 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Chicago Lakefront Trail, Temp: 70°/68°, Time: 27:36, Pace: 9:12 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: annoyed with work
Strength: dumbbells/body weight mixed mode with resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Tuesday | May 5, 2015: 5 m run (incl. 8 hill repeats) + 5 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 47°, Time: 47:27, Pace: 9:29 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good, enjoyed the mist
Loc: hood, Temp: 46°/46°, Time: 48:26, Pace: 9:41 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: weak/tired/hungry?
Wednesday | May 6, 2015: rest
Thursday | May 7, 2015: 10 m run
Loc: MT to Nippersink FP, Temp: 45°/51°, Time: 1:44:15, Pace: 10:25 avg, Difficulty: medium then easy, Felt: heavy breathing at first
Friday | May 8, 2015: teaching strength class
Strength: dumbbells/body weight mixed mode with resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Saturday | May 9, 2015: 4 m run (incl. 6×400) + co-teaching Burn & Buff + hour walk (w/Anne)
Loc: hood, Temp: 49°/48°, Time: 35:31, Pace: 8:53 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: One dumbbell sets w/30 sec run/walk intervals x3, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Sunday | May 10, 2015: 13 m run (incl. 8 hill climbs) + 20 m bike
Loc: Grant Woods FP, Temp: 42°/44°, Time: 2:15:25, Pace: 10:25 avg, Difficulty: good, Felt: mostly easy
Bike Time: 1:21:48, Pace: 14.7 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, sore saddle


  • May seems to be the month of the year when I start to cut back on my running – less and slower miles. While some people eagerly wait through winter to run in the summer, I tend to be the opposite. The winter sees my faster paces and most miles, and the spring and summer are when I seem to cut back – both because of heat and because it’s the end of the Wisconsin Half training cycle. I know I will slow down a lot as it gets hotter this summer, but I hope I keep up a higher weekly mileage than I have in the past! I don’t have any “goal” races on the calendar, but I do have endurance events I’d like to well prepared to do. And I just love a long, slow run, once a week… or more.
  • My grand plans to ride outside this week were thwarted by a killer headache on Friday, the day I had time to drive to a safe trail and ride solo. Another indoor ride it was. My bike rode so smooth after getting tuned up! I can’t wait to take it outside next week! My dad is visiting and we have plans to ride together.
  • I did hill repeats on a 40′ hill on Tuesday, and incorporated a 75′ hill in to my long run today. The hill got easier each time I went over it on my long run, so that’s promising! It’s not exactly what I will be running at the half in Kansas City, but it’s better than nothing! And there are quite a few other hills I can go run where I live. Might as well try as many as I can, ha ha!

Link to Training Week 289

Good morning…

By , May 7, 2015 7:25 am

… moon


… far away deer


giant blinding orb in the sky sun



… baby geesers!!!


Side note: Each year, when the geese show up in the spring, I start asking Steven (in a whiny voice, ha ha), “When are we going to see the goslings?!” Each year, he tells me “not for at least a month.” This year the first time I asked him was in April, and he gave me the month answer. To which I said, “But I already waited a month to ask!” He was right though – the first time I saw them was today, in May!

… strange weeds that look like little palm trees that I never noticed until this year


… Mr. Creepy Crawly (he says he’s more of a “G’Day Mate!” kind of guy)


… hills


And not pictured:

  • humidity (and corresponding heavy breathing and slower miles)
  • runner with dog
  • considerate cyclist
  • two walkers
  • walker with dog who gave me a rude look and didn’t say good morning back (sarcastic sorry for being on the sidewalk)
  • morning bird who got the worm then dropped it when I startled him running by (sincere sorry)
  • heron
  • seagull
  • baby rabbit

I’ve been a lazy morning runner the last few weeks, but I made sure to get out of bed “early” today and get my run in before it hits the mid 80s here this afternoon. No gracias!

Anyone else work out this morning to beat the heat?

It would be nice to cycle outside this afternoon… if we don’t get those storms they’re predicting!

Oh! And good morning to “in yo face feed me right meow” cat!


I swear I did hill repeats!

By , May 6, 2015 5:05 am

You know when you do hill repeats, and you’re all excited to upload your Garmin and see the elevation profile? And Garmin is all, “Silly human, you call those hills?! I am not even going to make little blips on the map for you!”



Ha. Joke’s on YOU, Garmin. I have two apps on my phone that make those hills look like SUMTHIN':

150505lesssadelevationprofile1 150505lesssadelevationprofile2

They count, right?! RIGHT?

Ha, they are nowhere near the course profile of what I am running for my next half:


but that is not the point of hill repeat training. I will take my long run to some hillier trails, with yes, longer than 40′ inclines.

It’s nice to be training for something without a time goal. My goal for this race is finish feeling strong. And not die in the heat. And hopefully not run too horribly big of a positive split.

I’ve turned in to this strange sort of runner that likes doing some sort of speedwork (repeats, tempos, hills) once a week. I know. It’s odd. I am trying not to question it too much, and just keep up with it. But changing what I am doing throughout the year is a big part of what’s making me stick with it – the week by week variety keeps it from getting stale. First I was focused on 5K training (no PR there), then half training (no PR there), and now, hills (not going for a PR, there). So… while my training hasn’t resulted in any PRs… running is about much more than that, to me. Overall, I just want to enjoy it. And I am really surprised that I am starting to with speed sessions. A bit. I still dread the heck out of them.

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