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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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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…

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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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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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My Dogs Are Barking

I think perhaps I overdid it on my first day of playing tourist here in Chicago. I peered down on the streets below from The Skydeck, walked along Lake Michigan, and met my friend Dave for lunch AND dinner (mmm, BBQ).

I’m going to have to revisit this trip blog-wise when I can get home and upload photos but today was a good day to play tourist. The weather was fantastic, though there’s a threat of rain both tomorrow and Saturday. As I have tickets for the Cubs both of those days, I hope the weather holds off.

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A Rock and a Hard Place

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I was all excited when I managed to maneuver into the position to be the one driving the second leg of our journey into Chicagoland this afternoon. I obviously didn’t think through all of the repercussions of this move. Perhaps the only thing more unnerving than HRG driving in the big city is perhaps her attempting to navigate.

She was so distracted by us “nearly running out of gas” (we had 1/4 of a tank) and my rampant speeding (73 in a 70) that she forgot she was supposed to tell me what exit to look for. Once I finally got we back on task, she couldn’t figure out where we were in her precious TripTik.

So, if you saw a crazy-eyed woman driving through suburban Chicago with a map on the steering wheel, sorry bout that.

Star Trek Into Dorkness

So, I tugged on my dork hat, got a cup of coffee and headed out to see the 10:30 am showing of “Star Trek Into Darkness”.

I’m sure there’s room for all sorts of criticism of this flick, but I really don’t care. It was a fun, two-hour thrill ride, and I’ll totally see it again. I don’t know if I’ve just gotten used to Abrams’s lens flares or if there were fewer this time around.

Oh, and if you’re in the DC area, I highly recommend the renovated AMC Courthouse theatre. The reclining leather seats are primo.

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Out with the Old

New Year’s Eve
Play a thin tune on a paper horn
Old is dying, New is born

Scatter confetti over the floor
Sweep an old year out the door

Blow up a wishin a bright balloon
Whisper dreams to a midnight moon

by Myra Cohn Livingson