You Win, Universe

I thought once the page on the calendar turned and the horrid month of December was put behind me, I’d finally be able to exhale and start to relax again.

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Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!  My tire pressure light had been on for a few days and I did the responsible thing – I took it to the dealership at the crack of dawn and asked them to check my tires. Once again, they patted me on the head and told me, “Oh, little lady, it’s just because the temperature dropped recently.” Yeah, well, I wish I had that dude’s phone number as I was sitting on the side of the interstate at midnight on my drive back from C-bus. Then again, I can’t be held responsible for what I would’ve done with a tire iron. Roadside assistance swept in to the rescue after about 45 minutes but I was still mad a hell. Looks like I’m driving the Buick for the rest of the week!

That’s the other thing – I was on my way home from a whirlwind trip to Columbus for the Capitals-Blue Jackets game (a little belated birthday present to myself). Apparently, the boys didn’t get the memo because they ended up losing in a shootout. Ah well, we got a point out of the hot mess and frankly I knew they were going to lose. Apparently I’m quite the bad luck charm for the Caps at Nationwide.

Had fantastic seats adjacent to the Caps Road Crew, so I wasn’t alone in sporting my Backstrom jersey. However, between the seats, the snacks, and the %#@(!#* new tire, it turned out to be quite the expensive little venture.

Happy 2016!

Apparently, I feel it’s time for my annual blog post.  So ashamed, but I just haven’t made blogging a priority.  Maybe if I can convince myself to make one day a week my regular blogging day, I can at least eke out 52 posts a year? I suppose it would also help if there was anything going on in my life that I felt was blog worthy.

Since I never succeed in keeping resolutions, this year I’m just going to go with goals. My photo-a-day entry today sums them up nicely:

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Snap more, knit more, sweat more, travel more, read more & write more. That’s not much to ask is it?

To that end, I’m planning to:

  • Visit the two local photography clubs in the next couple of months to decide if I want to join either of them;
  • Attend knitting guild meetings and attempt to make more of the Saturday knitting meetups. Somehow the stitches flow easier with company;
  • Make sure my rec center renewal went through. I also think I may finally join the Ohio River Road Runners Club. I’ve already registered for the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K. The Hall of Fame 5K is also on my to-do list, as well as the Asheville 10K. Other events are TBD;
  • Traveling is a toughy.  Due to budgetary constraints, most of my travel for the next couple of years will most definitely be domestic, but I’d still like to renew my passport (it helps to know I have a standing invite to Toronto). Savannah is on tap for March & Asheville is in the works for June, along with randomly scattered trips to Western PA. Everything else is up for grabs.
  • Reading & writing are two sides of the same coin. Whipping my way through a stack of trashy romances is never a problem; reading novels with slightly more substance than fluff isn’t my forte – I blame being an English major.  I love the written word but sometimes I just want escapism.  Going to try to work on finding a balance this year. As for writing, I made the potential mistake of soliciting a dozen penpals from my Facebook friends. Only time will tell if I manage to get letters in the mail.

Almost a year?!?!?

I had no idea.  I mean, I knew I hadn’t posted anything in a while, but a year?!?  I guess when you’re just throwing words out into the ether, when there’s no echo, you don’t think much about it.  Since putting down words has always been more about me than y’all (sorry, y’all), I should do what I can just to catalog the ins and outs of mi vida loca – if for no other reason than to distinguish the days that run one into the next.

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I still love photography but I’ve struggled to continue to pursue it. I can make all the excuses in the world, but at the end of the day it’s just me being lazy. My problem now, as it has ever been, is that I expect people/places/things to jump up and down and say TAKE A PICTURE OF ME.  I either don’t possess or have yet to develop an artist’s eye – a way of seeing something and being able to compose the photograph in my mind’s eye, rather than the camera and then editing to death with software.

I went to a photography Meetup with a Cincinnati-area group last weekend.  We shot an event called Garage Brewed, a motorcycle show that took place at Rhinegeist Brewery.garage

There were some interesting cycles – I find I have a decided preference for the more classic Indian & Triumph bikes – but I wouldn’t say I got any shots I really loved.  The only way to get better is to keep shooting, but I guess I’m just not as creative or accomplished as I feel I should be, so I just give up.

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The downside to my experiences with this particular meetup group has been that, while there have been events at which people have gathered, there hasn’t been any sort of social aspect.  I really miss that about my DC photo meetup crew. There were a couple of familiar faces and I’ll probably go back because there are a couple of events that sound like fun, but I may propose going to a coffee shop or a bar for a pint afterwards just so we can actually sit down and talk.  I’m vaguely considering setting up a photo group in Dayton – the only ones here tend to be portrait/person based, which holds ZERO interest for me.

Ten days ago I said I would blog every day in February.  Today I finally got around to my first post.  Hopefully my next won’t be 46 weeks from now.

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Day 1

[Why don’t I ever start these things before midnight?!  I swear, what is wrong with me?!?]

There’s been this thing floating around the interwebs; I only saw it yesterday, but I’m sure it’s been out there for a while.  This thing poses a very simple question:

Can You Be Happy for 100 Days in a Row?

I personally think there’s a subtle difference between the answer to this question and the proposed assignment.  The project asks that you take photos for 100 days in a row of something that makes you happy.  I can always snap a pic of chocolate, a great beer, a good book, but does that mean that I am inherently happy?  I suppose I’ll have to let you know in June.

However, as I cursed the city road crews for using matte white paint for lines on the freeway while I struggled to say in my own lane during my waterlogged morning commute, I reminded myself that today was the first day of this challenge and that, rather than snarling about something I was powerless to change, I should try to find something happy.  While I failed miserably – come on, rainy commute, no coffee?! What’d you expect? – it did take the edge off my burgeoning bad mood so that I at least walked into work on a more even keel.

For now, I’m posting snaps on my Instagram feed, but I may switch to Flickr if I can. 

#1:

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Although it makes me sad that I won’t be able to attend, it makes me exceedingly happy that Dorothy and Dan are getting hitched this year. Friends, co-members of “NASCAR H3” and fellow purveyors of silliness, I wish you all the happiness in the world!  

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Buckling Down

With the absolutely miserable weather we had in January & February, I really let my gym attendance slide.  It was all I could do to slip and slide to and from work; the last thing I wanted to do was risk extra miles in the ice and snow.  Despite the fact that we have late-season snow forecast again for Wednesday, I have to get back into my habit of hitting the gym 4-5 times a week.

Unfortunately, that’s the easy part. Once I’m in the habit of heading to the gym, continuing to hit the elliptical for 45 minutes a day isn’t that difficult. My downfall is food.  Oh, how I love food.  Sweet food, salty food, crunchy food, smooth food.  Mostly carb-y food.  Mmmm, carbs.  Unfortunately, I think my pre-Diabetes is rearing its ugly, ickyness-inducing head so I need to lock down.

I need to get back to seriously monitoring my portion size, easing off on sweets and increasing veggie intake.  I’ll never be able to go full paleo, but I need to try to make smarter decisions.  This will require getting HRG (Her Royal Grandma) on board, since she’s the one who is preparing more of the meals now that I’m working.  As she’s nearing 90, making sure that she eats and keeps weight on is more important than me taking pounds off, but I have to find a happy medium.

I was thinking of trying to persuade her to do a Meatless Monday sort of thing or something similar. Does anyone have any vegetarian or veggie-dominant meals they’d recommend?

ImageAin’t nothin’ gonna break my stride…

With Karen’s wedding in less than three weeks, I’m not even pretending that there will be any sort of notable weight loss between now and then. However, there’s a camping trip three months from now that I can use as a marker.  So, putting it in print here and now – 15 lbs by the second Friday in June – Friday the 13th.  Aaaaaaaaaand, go!

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Cornelius made me do it

I spent the weekend in Ohio’s fair capital city.  Despite the fact that Pi Day isn’t officially until next Friday, I signed up for the 5K almost entirely because I wanted the medal. My friend Eric was awesome enough to let me crash at his place so I wouldn’t have to get up at o’dark-thirty to make the drive in time.

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I picked up my BF, Janet, at 8ish Saturday morning and we headed to the park.  It was a little chilly when we started out, but once we were moving, it felt good outside.  We met our goal of finishing under an hour and I think Jan had a good time, when all was said and done.  Of course, I couldn’t resist having my medal engraved…

R*cist

R*cist

After running home and cleaning up, I crashed a mini-class of ’88 reunion for lunch.  It was great catching up with Jen, Janet & Robin.  I’ll have to head back east next month and try to catch up with even more people I haven’t seen in an age.

By now I’d pretty much decided I wasn’t going to head back to Dayton until the following morning, so I decided to check out the Brewery District.  Bellied up to the bar at Columbus Brewing Company and ordered a flight.

ImageUnfortunately it was WAY heavy on IPAs.  I just…blech, not a fan.  I’m always a fan of wheat beers, even the raspberry ones and (1) Jackie O’s Razz Wheat didn’t disappoint.  (2) CBC Pale Ale was okay, but starting to tilt towards that IPA flavor that I’m not a fan of.  The (3) Weasel Boy Plaid Ferret was a tasty caramel-chocolaty change, but then we ramped into IPA-ville.  The (4) CBC IPA and (5) Head Hunter IPA were as meh as I expected.  CBC’s Nightstick IPA was better.  Maybe I like the black IPAs better because there’s more other flavors burying the hop-fest.  Last but not least, the CBC Sohio Stout which I really liked.  I got a bonus taste of the Ryborg Farmhouse Ale, which I would put somewhere between the CBC Pale and one of the IPAs.  Wouldn’t turn it down, but doubt I’d go out of my way to hunt it down.

As happens when you spend all afternoon sampling beer, I ended up chatting with people at the bar.  By far, my favorite partner in crime was the semi-driver, Cornelius.  Tales from his truck-driving days & his brief period of teaching middle school in Florida made the afternoon (and the dreaded IPAs) fly by.  Unfortunately, Cornelius also tried to turn me into a scotch convert and got me a double of Dewar’s.  I sipped some of it, but I honestly wasn’t able to finish the whole thing, not if I wanted to have any chance to drive back north.

My second 5K of the year is in the books.  Next up, the Flying Pig Tri-State Running Company 5K in Cincinnati in early May.

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Sub-Tropical Smoothie

After months of hemming and hawing, I finally headed out to meetup with the local knitting group.  I made it out the door a little later than I planned, but what’s worse is, I went to the wrong location.  For some reason, they chose not to list the actual street address for the location – just the street name.  Guess what, y’all – there’s more than one Tropical Smoothie on that particular avenue.

After 45 minutes, I finally made it to the right location and was promptly welcomed to pull up a chair and pull out my yarn.  Dontcha just love knitters?  I decided to work on something that wouldn’t take a lot of concentration so I could try to meet my fellow yarnsters:

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This photo doesn’t do the yarn justice.  I picked up a couple of skeins of madelinetosh DK in the Tart colorway and cast on for her Honey Cowl.  I loooove this color (hell, I love all her colors!).   The pattern says I’m supposed to work on it until it’s 11″ high, but I figure I’ll stop around 7-8″ – that should be enough to keep my neck toasty warm.

My other project du jour is Thea Colman’s Cape Cod sweater (Ravelry link).

cape1back lace panel

This Brooks Farm Four Play has been knit and frogged and knit and tinked so many times that it’s going to take some impressive blocking, but I hope it still turns out.  I need to lifeline it and try it on to see if it’s as baggy as I think it is.  It would be nice to actually finish a sweater before spring came around, but we know how much I looooove to finish projects.

So, anyone have any sock patterns I need to cast on for?

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Cancelled

This blog has been cancelled today due to the fact that it’s too freakin’ cold to do anything vaguely resembling organizing thoughts in a coherent fashion and typing them out in an organized manner.  Yeah, I grew up in Ohio and rah-rah winter, but I was a Virginia girl for almost 20 years; my blood’s gotten thin!  Also, I feel everyone is entitled to whine about a -32 wind chill factor.

(* I did make it to the gym tonight, so yay me!)

Perennial Resolution

I made a metric shit-ton (well, four) New Year’s resolutions this year. The first one shouldn’t even really count.  I mean, doesn’t virtually everyone who bothers with resolutions make one about losing weight/become more healthy/exercising more?  As I’ve been overweight practically my entire life, I feel like this one is made and forgotten as a matter of course.

This year, I’m going about it a little bit differently.  I’m trying to make specific sub-goals.  Something easily quantifiable.  In no particular order:

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Go to the gym/workout 4x a week.  I was easily doing 5-6 times a week while I was unemployed but motivating to go after work is SO much more difficult, especially now that the weather’s crappy.  We’re supposed to get another round of significant snowfall tomorrow into Monday so we’ll see if I feel like fighting the weather and the roads to start my week off on the right foot.  I’m in a wedding in two months so I definitely need to do my best to be able to fit into the dumb dress I bought several months ago.

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Eat better.  I need to get back into the habit of tracking my food & measuring out portion sizes.  I also need to cut back on carbs, though it’s unlikely I’ll ever get rid of them entirely (I like bread WAY too much).  I also need to increase my vegetable intake, either by mixing it into things like tonight’s Chicken & Sausage Stew, or by making sure to include them in every meal and having them for snacks.

Do six 5Ks in 2014.  Originally, I said one per month but decided that was crazy talk.  I got off to a good start by doing the Commitment 5K on the 1st, so now I just need to find 5 more.  I’m seriously considering the Pi Day 5K in Columbus the second weekend of March, but I should probably find a couple closer to home.  I’d love to do one in Chicago with my friend Tammy or back in VA with friends, but we’ll see how the schedule ends up looking.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be up to running one, but I’d like to at least run/walk a couple of them.  My baseline time – walking the whole way – was just under 50 minutes.  Hopefully I’ll shave a few minutes off here and there.

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10,000 steps.  Now that I have my handy-dandy Fitbit Flex, I’ve become obsessed with making the little bugger vibrate to indicate that I reached my step goal.  Of course, I’ve noticed as I walk laps around the house to increase my step count, I’m counteracting anything good by pausing at the cookie table at the back of the kitchen on every other pass.  As almost all of the holiday cookies are now gone, this shouldn’t remain a problem for too much longer.

Miscellany.  Parking farther from the store or office (though this is tricky with temperatures hovering around zero).  Fetching my morning (and afternoon) coffee from the oasis that’s farther from my desk (and taking a circuitous route through the cubicle farm).  Jumping jacks, planking or push-ups when the other team scores during Caps games (which is far too freakin’ often).

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Starting Over

Another new year, another opportunity for change.  I’ve made a number of resolutions for 2014, but some of them are still not quite etched in stone.  The perennial “lose weight/get healthy” resolution has been made and ignored for so many years running (and is made by so much of the population) that it’s barely worth mentioning.  I did manage to start off on the right foot, though!

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Since I had to head to Columbus for Eric’s New Year’s Day brunch and bowl game fiesta, I decided to see if there was a 5K in the area, and I found this one in Dublin.  It was sponsored by a local fitness club and was, I imagine, their way to get people to kick off their resolution and perhaps get new people into their facility.  For obvious reasons, I won’t be headed back but I enjoyed my 3+ mile stroll through the streets of Dublin.

My grandmother got me a Fitbit Flex for Christmas.  I really wanted a Force, but I’m embracing its younger brother.  The only way I get anywhere even remotely close to my 10,000 step/day goal is by exercising. Today, I knocked out my total before noon:

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Had a great time at Eric’s shindig.  I barely watched any of the games – the Buckeyes don’t play til Friday – but it was good to meet new people, catch up with old friends and replace all those calories I burned off in the morning.  The taco dip I whipped up never made it out of the trunk of the car.  There was SO much food – and a field trip for Chinese food – so I just didn’t think it was worth digging it out.

We did play Cards Against Humanity.

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As bad as I am at Apples to Apples, I’m ten times worse at CAH.  It’s also a bit tricky playing with people you don’t know very well.  I still managed to get 5 black cards, but it was an uphill battle.

Mother Nature is interfering with my quest for health.  Forecast calls for it to start snowing off and on tonight and all day tomorrow so my evening commute to the community center should be mucked up.  I have a gym bag packed and sitting by the door, so we’ll see what happens.

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