Random Thoughts Thursday 104

By , July 28, 2016 6:23 am
  • Hummingbirds have been hanging out by the flowers growing out of the hastas! Exciting! I should put out a legit feeder for them. They’re so fun to watch. Here’s a super awesome photo I took of one (circled in red, in case you can’t find it, ha):


  • We had friends over last weekend and I was excited to use our new lawn furniture and eat lunch outside! Only, all you had to do was step outside to start dripping in sweat. So… we ate inside. Ha. But I am happy we got some outdoor seating. Hopefully we will have some opportunities to use it next month.


  • I finished knitting a bunch of wash cloths. I thought about saving them for housewarming gifts, but decided to mail them to my Grandma to sell at her church’s farmers market booth. The pattern is ZickZack.

160725knittedcloths2 160725knittedcloths1 160725zickzack

  • Shelley helped me pick out needles to start knitting socks! August is going to be busy with house projects, so I hope I can give it a try in September.
  • I’m sad to be missing the Movin’ Shoes Full Moon Run (5K) tonight in Madison with Rachel! We’ve run it the last three years together! But it just doesn’t make sense with my schedule this year. I hope she has a great race!!!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 103

Flying fruit

By , July 27, 2016 7:31 am

We don’t compost (yet) but I do have something I do with the fruit that we don’t eat (either because some of it came bad, or we didn’t eat it in time) – share it with the animals!


I know, “Kim, weren’t you just saying you had animals living in your attic and that caused all sorts of issues?!” We did! “So why are you inviting them toward your house with all this food?” Well, they got in before we lived here because there were holes outside in to our attic space. Those are all sealed now. We feed these animals far away from the house, and so far, it doesn’t seem to be inviting them in to the house… so far…

So anyway. A few weeks ago I put out some melon, strawberries and grapes by the feeder in the morning. I was walking inside the house later in the day, and happened to look out toward the feeder and I saw a piece of melon falling from the sky!

What the…?

So I decided to go sit outside for a bit with Data and see what was going on.

Oh my gosh, the squirrels were going NUTS for the fruit. They’d take something small to eat at that moment, but also carry a piece of melon to “hide” for the winter. I saw one squirrel hide his piece under a leaf. Yeah, it didn’t last there very long! So funny.

I know, what am I going to blog about this winter when there arent as many animals out?! Who knows, ha ha.

House Projects: What’s Next

By , July 26, 2016 6:32 am

We’re making progress with jacking up the house – the middle of the house is where we want it, so on Sunday, Steven cut off the ends of the crappy joists in the basement and put in solid blocking.

160724newblocking 160724newblocking2

Per (purr? ha ha) usual, Data likes to help with our projects, by observing me prying up the floor so Steven can fit in the blocking from the basement side:


and by stepping in front of the (borrowed) laser when measuring for levelness:


Disco Data!

We’re slowly getting there! We still have replace those two joists eventually. Baby steps!

And, on to a new project! Fun fact – we haven’t had any insulation in our attic since April! It was part of our FHA 203k streamlined work to have the old insulation removed, the attic cleaned and new insulation put in. However, there was so much damage from animals in our attic, we told the crew NOT to put the new insulation in. Why put brand new insulation in over a ceiling, ducts, and conduit, etc., extremely soiled by animal droppings? Yuck!

We planned to do it ourselves after cleaning out the attic (which we did on July 16) and taking down the ceiling in the second floor and installing a new one. However, when the bank came to take pictures of the work done so they could pay for the rest of the FHA 203k work, and saw that the insulation was not in, they said it HAS to be in for them to give the contractors that final payment. Okay, then.

So, the contractors will be back in August to put in new insulation. However, before they do that, we will:

  • Remove EVERYTHING from our second floor (and sleep on the first floor)
  • Tear out the second floor attic
  • Install new ductwork, returns, etc. in the attic (yay! our old ones are so retro!)
  • Install new lighting in the attic (yay! they’ll meet fire code!)
  • And probably other stuff I am forgetting.

Then the contractors will come and put the new drywall ceiling up, spray “kilz” primer, cover any holes to the exterior, install new baffles, install new plywood in our secret secret attic, etc. etc.

After they do that, we’re going to put a catwalk (like this) up in the attic, so we can still get around up there after they put the insulation in. Then, they’ll come back in put the insulation in.

And hopefully after ALL THAT, it won’t sometimes smell barn-y in our upstairs, and the heat will be a little bit better regulated. Oh yes, and eventually, we will paint our new drywall ceiling. SHOULDER WORKOUT!!!!

Yay! August is THE MONTH to be in your attic! Muah ha ha.

Sharon the heron

By , July 25, 2016 6:13 am

I didn’t edit the original text, but a few people corrected me (thank you!) that this is a crane.

Another bird has been visiting our pond – a heron! We’ve named her Sharon*.


That’s a horrible photo of Sharon (she’s by the red arrow). She flies away every time we open the door to go outside, so we don’t have a decent photo of her yet. Here’s a better photo I took of a different heron on the same day (that is NOT our pond, ha ha):


I wasn’t sure if Sharon was a heron or a crane, and the internets told me to look at her flying to tell – herons bend their neck in to an s-shape when they fly, and cranes keep it straight. I took a (horrible) photo of her flying away, and her neck was an s-shape! Heron it is! (updated below – commenters who know more than me say it’s a crane. I am not so great at identifying birds. Also, the first site I visited had conflicting information from another, so, yeah. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.)

I saw herons all the time when we lived in our townhome. I think the logo for our neighborhood there had a heron on it! I’d often see three of them together, when running, and it became this thing to take a picture of them and send it to my mom and snister. So my mom started called them my cheerleaders, Larry, Moe and Curly. Heh.


Round Lake Herons

I was really excited then, when I realized three herons hang out around my running route at the new (can I still call it that?) house too! So I take photos and send them to mom and Snistina. It’s probably only amusing to me at this point, but whatevs.


Zion Herons

And then there is this guy. He’s big enough I think he deserves a name.



Updated to add: Steven was able to get a photo of Sharon this morning on his DSLR!


Also updated: apparently the internets lead me wrong and a few commenters are saying these are cranes. Oops! We’ll still call her Sharon. Ha.

*No idea if she is male or female.

Training Week 353

By , July 24, 2016 4:38 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running with Kelly / feeling great on my Friday run.


Monday | July 18, 2016: 5 m run (w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: to Bobbi’s, Temp: 86°/82°, Time: 49:03, Pace: 9:48 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: decent, but like my skin was burning
Strength: resistance bands and mixed mode, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good

Tuesday | July 19, 2016: 10 m ride
Indoor Ride Time: 37:42, Pace: 15.9 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, butt getting used to seat again
Wednesday | July 20, 2016: rest
Thursday | July 21, 2016: 12 m run (incl. 8×1:00) + 10 m ride
Loc: VP to Wadsworth loop, Temp: 74°/77, Time: 2:04:51, Pace: 10:24 avg, Difficulty: easy.medium, Felt: really good
Indoor Ride Time: 38:07, Pace: 15.7 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Friday | July 22, 2016: teaching strength class + 800 m swim (breaststroke, w/Anne) + 4 m run
Strength: restistance bands & mixed mode, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good, but so tired (sleep)
Loc: Grayslake outdoor pool, Temp (air): 70°/70°, Time: 24:45, Pace: 2:43 min/100m, Difficulty: easy-ish, Felt: better than last week!
Loc: hood, Temp: 79°/82°, Time: 36:31, Pace: 9:07 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: really good

Saturday | July 23, 2016: 3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 78°/80°, Time: 29:03, Pace: 9:40 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay, frustrated with a loose dog
Sunday | July 24, 2016: 16 m run
Loc: DPRT, Temp: 72°/75°, Time: 2:51:52, Pace: 10:44 avg, Difficulty: easy, then hard (the sweatier I got), Felt: fine, just drenched


  • We had a heat advisory this week, but I actually felt really good during my runs. Yay! Am I acclimated? (I still finished the runs completely drenched, but you’ll have that.)
  • My bike is in the shop, getting tuned up for RAGBRAI! Yay! The ride is in a few days – on Saturday the 30th!
  • I was on schedule to teach a fitness boxing class this weekend but we canceled it due to low enrollment – so many people are doing other races or on vacation and so on. I am pleased we made it this far in to the summer with people coming to class! I’ll take a break and have the next class in September.
  • During the beginning of my Saturday run a dog jumped on the back of my legs when I was still on my street, headed for the highway. I had no idea where he came from so I ran up and down my street until I figured it out. Scary! I can’t have loose dogs following me on to the highway!
  • Last year, Gina visited in September and we worked out A TON – hill work, a long city run, strength class, a bike ride, a 5K (her PR!) and a 20 miler. She called it Skamp – a hybrid of the first two initials of my last name plus the word camp – which made me laugh. Well, I am excited to say she is coming back for Skamp 2016 in September! YAY! I can’t wait to plan out everything we’ll do! I tend to get really excited when someone who likes to do active things visits. I little over excited (ha, when Kelly was here and I suggested workouts for almost every activity, she jokingly (I think?) said “are you trying to kill me?!”

Thanks to everyone who entered my Eleven Year Blogiversary GIVEAWAY!!! I had said I’d notify the winners here, but I emailed them individually.

Link to Training Week 352

Now, that’s a steal!

By , July 23, 2016 5:38 am


Thank you, ShoeKicker, for notifying me of the deal! I am surprised the shoes were still available when I saw the notification email three and a half hours later. Lucky me!


Even though I have running shoes waiting to be used in storage, I couldn’t pass up $30 a pair – no way! And somehow, I got Amazon Prime savings, so my total before taxes ended up being $26.98 a pair! Score!!! Soooooo many exclamation points! Ha.

Now, for the heat to die down, so I can really ramp up the miles and use those bad boys. Oh wait, we’re just getting started with the super nasty heat here! Oh, summer.

Attack of the killer ear plugs

By , July 22, 2016 6:00 am

When we were staying at the rental house in Alaska, I used my ear plugs a few times at night – our room was right next to the bathroom and there was air in the pipes*, so it was super loud whenever anyone used it.

One night, I woke up, and both ear plugs were not in my ears. Typical. I found one and put it on the nightstand, but couldn’t find the other. I gave up and figured it would be stuck to me when I woke up. Nope. Still couldn’t find it in the morning, with the full daylight! That’s odd.

When I came back to the room later in the morning after my run, there it was, sitting on the bed. It definitely was NOT there in the am! I felt like I was losing my mind!

So I see Steven after I get done showering after my run (he was still sleeping when I left for it earlier) and he tells me that he woke up in the middle of the night and saw a bug on his chest. There was enough light to see it, but not to tell what kind of bug it was. He didn’t have any tissue to kill it with, and he didn’t want to grab it with his hand (ick!) so he grabbed the nearest thing to kill it with – a sock.

In the morning, he was worried about opening up his sock to see what disgusting bug he killed with it. It had to be pretty nasty to be big enough to see when it was mostly dark in the room.

Then he found my ear plug in his sock.

Ha ha ha. That explains it! How it got on his chest though? I’ll never figure that out…


Data was not in Alaska, but he likes to pose for blog pictures!

*I am not sure I would have known what the noise was last year, but we actually had an issue with air in our pipes at our house when we were trying to get the old water treatment system to work, so I am very familiar with the noise, now!

Eleven Year Blogiversary GIVEAWAY!!!

By , July 21, 2016 6:09 am

This giveaway is closed – thanks for entering!

Thank goodness for my google calendar – otherwise I totally would have forgotten that today is my 11-year blogiversary!

I started ilaxstudio.com in 2005 to keep in touch with my family when I lived in Rome (I lived there spring/summer 2006 – I wanted to practice blogging early, I suppose!). I choose my then-last-name, Ilax, with the word “studio” for the blog title since I was an architecture student at the time.

My blog has changed a bit since then, but it’s still my space for story telling and sharing what’s on my mind. I love documenting what we’re up to and the little things that make me smile. And I’ve met SO MANY friends through blogging. So. Many. It’s amazing. Thank you for reading!!!

As a thank you, I have a little giveaway! You can enter to win ONE of the items below!


#1 Starbucks You Are Here Alaska Mug (seen above)
#2 $10 Starbucks Giftcard
#3 $10 iTunes Giftcard

Eleven Year  Blogiversary GIVEAWAY!!! Rules

  1. Three individual readers will receive a prize. Which prize received will be determined by YOU (see rule #2).
  2. REQUIRED to enter the giveaway: leave a comment telling me you want to enter, and which prize you’d like (pick one). 
  3. This giveaway is open until 12:00 PM CST on Sunday July 24. I will announce the winners on Sunday July 24 (in the training recap post).
  4. Random.org will pick the three winners.
  5. This giveaway is open to all readers, in all locations.

NOTE: I am paying for all of these items, and shipping, myself.

Also, note, the boys wanted to be in the mug photo:


Thanks again for reading, and commenting!

More for me, then

By , July 20, 2016 12:23 pm

Sigh. I was trying to tell a group of people at work about a delicious watermelon mojito I had yesterday, because alcohol is something this group talks about often, and for once, I had something to share (I rarely drink!).


But, I didn’t get to describe the drink, at all. They immediately asked where it was from, and when I said the name of the restaurant and they didn’t know it, and I said it was “up north,” the conversation turned in to “Up north?! Don’t you live in Wisconsin?!” And “that’s so far,” and so on.

So, basically… don’t share anything about the area you live in cause it’s WAY TOO FAR, OMG. Blah.

My boss did chime in to say it doesn’t take long to get to my house. Ha.

The interesting thing about the restaurant where I got this drink is that our neighbor owns it! And he was actually standing outside when we walked in. But, we haven’t been able to say hello in person in the neighborhood yet, and I thought it would be a bit dorky/weird to walk up to him and be all “I live across the street from you!” so I restrained myself (and luckily he wasn’t outside when I walked out because I was a little bit more obnoxious after having the drink).

I will make sure though, whenever I do talk to him, to ask what he was thinking to have a restaurant so far north, basically in Wisconsin. I mean, do the people out there actually pay to eat food? They don’t just hunt and gather it all from the forest?!

Less reality, more beach

By , July 19, 2016 5:10 pm


What a nice, momentary escape*.

And pretty cool that it’s fifteen minutes from my house. This was the first time I went to a Lake Michigan beach** – and I’ve lived here nine years!

*Minus the children throwing rocks at birds, which really bothers me.
**To do beach things – I’ve been by Lake Michigan plenty of times.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy

44 ‘queries’.