Two years later…

By , February 24, 2018 11:55 am

I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do since we moved to Zion two years ago…

I got a library card!

I’ve been reading more, and it doesn’t make sense for me to buy everything I want to read. To the library I go!

5K Prep!

By , February 23, 2018 8:37 am

I’m running a 5K on Sunday to gauge my fitness level, not to set a personal record, but I’m still going to do my 5K Prep List:

1. Get a massage (this afternoon!)

2. Make a race playlist (will do that tomorrow; it will definitely feature “Get It”)

3. Take a nap the day before the race (tomorrow)

4. Don’t run the day before the race (err… this one may be hard… no promises…)

5. Paint my nails (already done last week!)

That’s it! Nice simple list! I’ll check the weather the morning of the race, and pick out my outfit then. It doesn’t start until 11:00 am, so I’ll have time.

Not on the list, because it’s impossible: quell 5K racing nerves. I feel like 5Ks are the hardest distance to race, and it’s the ONLY distance I get nervous energy about!!! AHH!!!!!

Random Thoughts Thursday 169

By , February 22, 2018 6:23 am
  • Has anyone seen “Black Panther”? We were going to go last weekend, but every theater was sold out (of seats we’d sit in, anyway)! We have tickets to see it next Tuesday. I’m looking forward to it!
  • I got a bit emotional yesterday at the end of the day with my detail coworkers hugging me and wishing me the best and telling me they didn’t want me to go! Thanks for reading my whining about work over the last few months. I know things will be fine, but I also need a place to express my frustration. So, thanks again!
  • I picked up Dietland by Sarai Walker in the discount bin at the bookstore last week and have been enjoying it! It’s fiction, the story of Plum Kettle, an obese woman biding her time until she can have weight loss surgery. But she ends up meeting some people who challenge the way she’s been living her life and lead her to question why SHE has to change. It’s not all “ra ra, everyone is beautiful,” but more “you don’t have to conform to society’s norms.”  There’s also a subplot of a “dangerous guerrilla group terrorizing the world that mistreats women.” <— overall awesome description from, me, per usual, ha. It’s not my typical read, but I’m glad I picked it up! I’ll read The Wild Truth next. And P.S. I should really get a library card.

  • How does March start next week? This month has flown by! I really need to focus on my nutrition and training in March to get ready for my April 7th 5K. I am looking forward to doing that!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 168


By , February 21, 2018 7:09 am

Today is my last day in my work detail. I already have an intense project lined up for when I get back to my old job tomorrow. Yay.

I thought I was feeling this way about today,

image from here

but I must be nervous about something, because I’ve had bad dreams about work the last three nights. It’s probably the dread of going back to my old job. I need to either work hard at finding something positive and good in each work day, or work hard at not caring that I don’t like the work I do. I am not sure which would be more difficult.


My team is doing a presentation for our branch today at work, so I had my friend Maria make cookies of the sculpture in front of our building, to share at the meeting!

Hopefully munching on those will keep people awake while we present, ha!

House Project: Basement Joist Replacement (part ii) & Platform Rebuild

By , February 20, 2018 12:21 pm

When we first toured our home, we noticed the floors weren’t level, and knew we’d have to fix them at some point (as much fun as it is to watch the cats’ ball toys roll to the lowest points of the house, ha). We started working on one of the unlevel areas in June 2016 when we put jacks in the basement where two joists were being crushed due to faulty loading. We replaced one joist in August 2016 (it was a priority to get done then, due to work going on two floors above), and – drumroll, please! – replaced the other one this weekend!!! Other parts of the house remain unlevel, but it’s exciting to make progress!

As I mentioned, when Steven and I started clearing the way for this joist replacement project, we found some wackadoodle construction under our first floor stair landing, so he and my dad took care of that during this project, too. But the first priority was the joist.

They picked up the new joist – a $19 2×10 – on Thursday night. Kind of funny to think all of this work is being done to put in a piece of lumber that costs less than $20!

And they got to work Friday afternoon. Despite our previous weekend’s work of clearing all the odd wood framing out from around the ductwork, they still had more to clear out to be able to get the joist in. You can see in the photo below that there was a lot of wood and conduit around the joist, and the stairs behind it were also in the way.

So a lot of Friday was more demolition! They ended up cutting out the drywall above the brick wall to expose the joist.

View from the other side:

They also took down a lot of ductwork and started demolishing the goofy stair platform. You can see in the photo that there was a double platform – which had no point to it. There used to be a post there too, which supported the platform. But they rebuilt it in a way that the post is no longer required!

Old photo:


They did put a jack there in the meantime though.

They kept working on Friday until they were able to get the joist in, which required cutting out part of the stair (and not taking the whole thing out THANK HEAVENS), turning off the power and moving some of the conduit. But they got it in. Yay! (This joist is under the wall next to the dining room, which is why they told me and Mom to move when we were playing Blokus in there!)

On Saturday, they focused on rebuilding the stair platform, and redesigning the ductwork that went underneath it. The wood supporting the platform hangs off of the new joist they put in, so a post is no longer required. Before, it relied on it <— dumb design.

Some of the old bottom platform was structurally supportive at the foundation wall, so they put blocking in between the old pieces, to support it more.

As you can tell, I don’t have very good before pictures (dammit, that is my job!) but the ductwork used to be below the second platform. Since they were taking that out, and rebuilding it, the ductwork could curve up, and we could have more head space there! Woo hoo!

They spent a lot of time redesigning the ductwork, and cleaning out what they were reusing (they used some new pieces, too). Then they put it all back together, and the project was DONE!

And now, we have this pile in our basement, and everything is covered in dust! But that’s how it goes with these projects. Although, what the hell was going on in the previous “design” that they had this much extra wood hanging around?! Seriously?!?!

Ha, I made them take this photo on Sunday.

Thanks for all your hard work, Steven and Dad! Dad, we’ll let you know what the next project will be for your spring visit!

If you made it this far, and can follow all of this, thanks for reading! I will be better about taking before and after shots from the same angle for future projects (because you KNOW we are going to have them)!

Another weekend of DOING ALL THE THINGZ!!!

By , February 19, 2018 12:59 pm

While I was sad my parents had to leave late yesterday morning (I wanted to hang out more!) it was a blessing in disguise because Steven and I were worn the f*ck out from our weekend of doing all the things, and needed a day to be sloths. It felt good to do almost nothing after two and a half busy days!

And I am still feeling lazy so I am going to bullet this shiz up, ha!

On Thursday

  • Mom and Dad arrived at 6:30 pm and we ate homemade vegan alfredo sauce on pasta! And dessert was a vegan apple pie sent from my mom’s mom!

  • After dinner, Steven and Dad went to Menards to get the beam and other wood for the basement project, while Mom and I watched the Olympics, then screwed around in the basement gym for a bit.

On Friday

  • I taught class at 5:00 am, and Dad and I went for a run (me)/bike (him) when I got back.

  • Then Mom, Dad, and I went to the 10:15 showing of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I laughed so much, and we all liked it. I usually do NOT like Jack Black (except in The Holiday) but his character cracked me the hell up in Jumanji!!!

  • We went to Aldi after that (where we picked up a Kringle for Mom and Dad to try!), the came home and made lunch (salads and couscous). Steven came home from work and ate with us, then he and Dad got to work in the basement.
  • And Mom and I got to work shopping at the outlet mall! I live so close to the outlet mall – it’s less than a ten minute drive, and I even run through there and fill up my water bottle on long runs. We found a few deals, and made sure to send my snister photos of the clothes we were trying on.

Sample photo we sent Christina, ha

I only got two soaps and a new PocketBac at B&BW. Restraint FTW!!!

  • We went to Woodman’s (a grocery store) after to get ingredients so Mom could make a cake she wanted to try vegan for me (and to get some things I needed).
  • Then we went home and made chili and cornbread for dinner (and had pie and Kringle for dessert!). Steven and Dad kept working until we ate, then went back in to the basement to work more, after. I’ll do a separate post about the project, but it was structural, so there were parts of the night we were told not to be in certain parts of the house (on the stair landing or in the kitchen). Mom and I were playing Blokus in the kitchen when we were told we needed to move (they were putting a beam in underneath us, so I understand why!), so we went to the living room, but they had turned the power off, so we played Blokus by candle light. Ha.

On Saturday

  • Dad came to my Indoor Cycling class (then went back home to work in the basement with Steven after)!

  • And Mom came to my Fitness Boxing class!

  • After class, Mom and I went to the Holcomb Hollow grand opening, then ran errands at the mall. I hate going to the mall (and shopping, in general) so it was nice to have Mom with me! I got my rings cleaned, and did an exchange.
  • Then we picked up everyone’s favorite El Famous Burrito for a late lunch! (Seriously, most people who visit us want to go there!)

  • The boys ate a late lunch with us, sampled some of the Holcomb Hollow treats (and had more Kringle) then got back to work. Mom and I went for a swim (we swam for about ten minutes then used the hot tub for forty!). When we came back, I helped her book a hotel for her March trip with her mom to Mount Rushmore.
  • I made a stir fry type dish for dinner, and the boys ate with us, then, you guessed it – got back to work. I helped them clean out one (huge) duct and later, hold some ducts in place. That is basically all I did on that project. <— so helpful (they didn’t care, but I feel a smidge guilty to be entertaining my mom and not helping much)
  • After dinner, mom got to work on the cake she wanted to make. It was called a Hummingbird Cake (recipe here), and the main flavorings were banana and pineapple. She decided to make it in to cupcakes. It turned out AMAZING! We all liked it, and had some close to 11:00 pm. Oops. SO MUCH SUGAR ON THIS VISIT AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

  • The boys finished up the project around 10:30/11:00!

On Sunday

  • Dad and I went on a run in the morning, then I finished up this dishcloth real quick for Mom to take with her.

Ha, it’s obviously NOT blocked

  • Then they packed up and were off! We took a quick usie since, of course, we got no photos of all four of us throughout the weekend.

We’re extremely grateful my parents visited to help us with this basement project. My dad is so helpful with house projects (or any project). Steven and I were impressed that they got it done in one and a half days of work, and I know that wouldn’t be the case if I was the one helping him with it (because I have way less experience)!

And I appreciate my mom running errands with me and helping me out with other things around the house! And being up for doing anything I suggest, ha.

I really do hope though, on the next visit, all FOUR of us can do something fun, like go to a movie, or bowling, or out for a meal!!! I bet we can make it happen!

Training Week 435

By , February 18, 2018 6:05 pm

Highlight of the Week: All the workouts with Mom and Dad!

Monday | February 12, 2018: 6 m run (incl. 8 hill repeats) + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 16°/21°, Time: 58:25, Pace: 9:44 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, glad it was sunny
Strength: Leberts and dumbbells, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: good!

Tuesday | February 13, 2018: 20 m ride + 10 m run
Indoor Ride Time: 1:17:08, Pace: 15.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, sore butt at the end!
Loc: hood, Temp: 30°/30°, Time: 1:36:44, Pace: 9:40 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Wednesday | February 14, 2018: rest
Thursday | February 15, 2018: 10 m run (incl. 12×400) + 1,008 yd swim
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 39°/38°, Time: 1:38:38, Pace: 9:52 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay! held back by wind and legs (ha)
Loc: FitNation, Time: 19:51, Pace: 1:58 min/100 yd, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, rushed for time

Friday | February 16, 2018: teaching strength class + 5 m run (w/Dad on bike)
Strength: Leberts and dumbbells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 31°/31°, Time: 49:45, Pace: 9:56, Difficulty: easy, Felt: decent

Saturday | February 17, 2018: teaching indoor cycling + teaching fitness boxing + 508 yd swim
Loc: Efit, Time: 54:42, Pace: 17.6 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good! surprised I wasn’t sweaty!
Strength: core, cardio, and boxing, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good!
Loc: FitNation, Time: 10:01, Pace: 1:59 min/100 yd avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Sunday | February 18, 2018: 5 m run (w/Dad on bike)
Loc: hood, Temp: 22°/27°, Time: 49:34, Pace: 9:54 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great, warm


  • Thursday was my last major speed workout before the Frosty Footrace on February 25th. Based on how it went, I’m guessing I’ll average between 7:20-7:30 minute miles for Frosty. And will definitely positive split the course (it’s got some inclines).
  • My parents were here Thursday night through Sunday morning and we did all the workouts together! Dad and I had an icy and windy run Friday morning. On Saturday, Dad came to Indoor Cyling, and Mom came to Fitness Boxing. Mom and I swam Saturday afternoon (mostly so we could use the hot tub), and Dad and I had one final run Sunday. I loved working out with them!!!
  • I was thinking about doing a double on Sunday because the weather got in to the 40s (!!!) but I was so exhausted from the weekend festivities, I took a nap instead. Ahh.

Link to Training Week 434

Surprise vegan donuts!

By , February 17, 2018 9:36 pm

We had a surprise stop on the vegan donut tour today!

Holcomb Hollow is a gluten free, vegan, and dairy free bakery that sells in a few retail locations in our county. Steven recently picked up some of their cookies and a muffin from a coffee shop, then happened to see they were having a grand opening (at their own location!) with free coffee, muffins, and an oatmeal bar this week. He didn’t have to tell me twice – I immediately put it on my calendar! I liked their muffin and cookies, and I knew Mom would love checking it out with me.

What I didn’t know until I got there was that they were going to have donuts too. WHUUUUUUUUUUT.

And, guys, you could take as many donuts as you wanted off of these trays to try.


Um, say whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.

Each donut had a vanilla or chocolate base, and was baked. We tried the lemon frosting, berry frosting, and coffee frosting. We liked lemon the best!

Sigh, I have to report that the donuts didn’t really do it for me, though. The frosting flavors were well done, but the donut base was a bit too spongy and just not… donut-y enough. Fun to try though!

State Date Name Flavor Rating (0-4) Photo
Kansas 1/15/18 Mud Pie Cake Chocolate Frosted
Illinois 2/7/18 Do-Rite Chai Maple
Illinois 2/17/18 Holcomb Hollow Lemon Vanilla

Their muffins are AMAZING though. We tried chocolate, chocolate chip, banana, carrot cake, and blueberry lemon.

And came home with (purchased) berry crumble, blueberry lemon, and banana. Yummmmm. Their muffins are where it’s at! I’ll definitely be going back for those!

House Project: new glass for a few windows

By , February 16, 2018 7:03 am

We had glass replaced in five windows this week, and I’m STOKED about it! The seals between the double pane glass were broken in a few windows, so they were fogged over between the glass and appeared dirty all the time. It embarrassed me – especially because two of the windows were ones you see as you pull up to the house. I SWEAR I CLEAN MY WINDOWS.

But they look dirty no more!

It’s difficult to capture the fogginess (of course) but I think you can see it clearly (ha) here, in the dining room:


And these are the ones you could see driving in, in the guest bedroom:


Data cracks me up – when we first moved in and had people doing loud work in the house, he’d hide under the bed. Now? He sleeps through it on the couch while the work happens behind him! He’s a construction pro!

Of course, I wrote this, then the next day, Data and Khali were both scared out of their minds by the snow sliding off the roof. Funny that this guy doing loud work with a Dremel didn’t bother Data, but the snow does. 

More work needs to be done on the windows, and some other glass, but it feels good to have this done. Bit by bit!

Random Thoughts Thursday 168

By , February 15, 2018 8:45 am
  • I felt like I’d been holding it together this week with Snow’s passing… then the cats got a very sweet homemade Valentine’s Day card in the mail yesterday. It was for all of them. And I kind of lost it again. Sigh. Baby steps.

  • My parents are arriving today and staying through Sunday. I’m excited to see them! I hope all four of us have some “hang out” time together.
  • I’m impressed with how long my current manicure has lasted – almost three weeks! I’m getting a new one today, because it is starting to peel a bit, but the gel is still all intact!
  • I noticed my purse was super heavy and couldn’t figure out why. Then I took almost all the change out of my wallet and it felt so much lighter. DUH. TOWN. Now I’ve been emptying out the change on the regular.
  • Oh. Em. Gee. Polly Pockets are coming back! They aren’t as cool as mine, but they are still cool!

My very first Polly!

  • I had a longer bullet point written about how people present themselves on social media, but it all boils down to don’t be an (obnoxious) a**hole. Seriously. I can’t believe some of the things people write.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 167

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