Monday, April 30, 2012

A sore weekend recap

What I did:
  • This weekend I saw my nephew, Noah, for the first time in ages and got to help throw him an early 5th birthday party! Clay and I went to my mom’s house to celebrate with the little booger and watch him open presents and have a cookout. I was only a little jealous when he opened a brand new 3D Toy Story bed set from my mom and sister that came complete with giant stuffed Woody and Buzz dolls. (And yes, I said a 3D bedding set. Clayton and I have already spoken extensively about getting one for ourselves. I would never leave the house.)

    I only tried to take Woody home with me … twice.


  • And of course, Clayton and I were the uncool aunt and uncle that bought him school supplies!

    But in my defense, in addition to a pretty rad Spiderman lunchbox, we bought Noah a DVD of An American Tail because come on, that was one of the best movies when I was a kid! What kind of aunt would I be if I didn't pass down my amazing, if not slightly racist, Russian mouse movie traditions?

  • (I can't get any of these photos to come in properly. They're all uploading sideways even though they are not saved to my desktop this way. I can't fix it, but I wanted to post a picture of my nephew anyway so you ... you just enjoy that.)
  • I spent the better part of this weekend looking for the phone number for those Hoveround power wheelchair people because lemme tell ya, I was SORE from softball last week. In fact, I was so sore that in order to get in and out of the car, I had to pick up each of my legs individually and place them in and out of the vehicleit was THAT bad. I can always count on having sore quads and ribs the day after my first softball game each year, but it's normally nothing more than a mild irritant that subsides in less than a day. But this? This was dramatically different (and completely immune to Advil). I felt like I had been in a car wreck. Pair the soreness with the sprained foot and shredded knee cap, and I looked like I just got home from 'Nam. I didn't walk so much as I lurched my way around, looking as if I spent 2 weeks riding bareback in the Rocky Mountainsnot cute. And anytime I tried to cough or laugh, a sharp pain stabbed at my ribs which, naturally, made everything funnier. How I managed to run this weekend, I have no idea. I can't believe how radically different my leg muscles are used in softball than they are in running.
  • Sunday night as I was brushing my teeth and firing up my Kindle to watch a few episodes of Saved by the Bell before bed, Clayton came into the bathroom and said, "I need your help lifting up the mattress. A giant spider got loose." Oh honey, I thought to myself as I spit toothpaste into the sink, lifting up the mattress won't be necessary. Consider my bags packed and me on my way to a hotel right now. In fact, consider us burning the sheets and buying a new bed first thing in the morning. But my hubby was persistent and eventually recruited me to help locate the spider (I only gave in because I knew I wouldn't be able to fall asleep knowing a giant hairy spider might go for an evening promenade across my face at any given moment). I daintily held up one corner of the mattress between my thumb and pinky with my body facing the door, ready for flight at a moment's notice. But the second we lifted the mattress off the box-spring, we discovered that the spider had already been crushed to death under the weight of the mattress (and me probably sitting on that mattress flapping my hands and shrieking, "We have to move! We're gonna have to move!"). Clay grabbed a shoe (one of my shoes, of course) and flicked the spider carcass somewhere we can't find, so now I have to spend the rest of my life contending with a mysterious spider corpse that will inevitably reveal itself at the most inopportune time.

What I ran:
  • As you know (if you’re paying close attention), Saturday was my last long run before the mini marathon! And considering how ridiculously sore I was from Thursday’s softball game, I can’t believe I ran all 8 of those miles, let alone ran them fast and UPhill! I’m not gonna lie, when I hit “start” on my GPS and broke into a slow trot, my legs were like, “WTF? Seriously? What’s going on? Please, please stop.” But I didn’t give in to my stiffness and after about half a mile, my body became acclimated to its running routine and I actually felt wonderful. The air was chilly and overcast—perfect weather for a strong run. I finished my 8 miles in 1:06:16 which came out to an 8:17 min/mile pace, and I’ll take it!
  • Sunday’s recovery run was really anything but because I have a hard time “going slow”. I know it’s better for my body to take it easy by about 30 second per mile on my recovery days, but it’s better for my pride to keep my pace leaning towards the faster side of average. Oops.
  • Now I’m in taper mode which is technical jargon for “run less and eat all the bread in the house!”, but I’m actually feeling like I’m going through withdrawal. I stood solemnly on my treadmill this morning before work (Yes, before work. A-thank you.), feeling sad that I was only allowed to run 3 miles because I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” and “not trying to kill myself”. My thighs looked up at me like, “We run more?” And I was like, “No thighs, not today. I’m sorry.”
  • I’m compiling all the songs for my Official One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon Playlist (longest playlist name ever?), so if you have a song you’d like for me to add, please let me know ASAP! I’m really excited about what I have so far—so thank you!

What I baked/cooked:
  • Friday night I decided that nothing would help my softball injuries heal faster than some good ol’ comfort food, so I slow-cooked a big batch of pulled pork, and it was sinfully delicious. Barbeque sauce is one of those condiments that I’ve shied away from most of my life, but as of lately I’ll look at Clayton and be like, “You know what sounds amazing right now? Ribs.” So pulled pork we ate!
  • Being as I went to a birthday party this weekend, you know I brought the cake! Friday night I stayed up until midnight baking my nephew his birthday cake and if there’s one thing I’ll stay up late for, it’s cake. I asked my oldest sister what kind of cake Noah would be interested in (meaning flavor-wise), but he misunderstood her question and blurted out, “Cowboys or Ghostbusters!” Great. I can barely write my name with a pencil, let alone try to draw something with frosting.

    So there Clay and I were at Wal-mart in the middle of the night, searching high and low for a Ghostbuster action figure or Woody the Cowboy toy I could toss on the cake in an effort to keep up with my nephew's requested theme, but we were at a loss. Defeated, we ended up going to the Dollar General on a whim because hey, who doesn’t love $1 frozen burritos? And that’s where we found a package of toy Sheriff badges—Perfect for a cowboy cake! We high-fived over our find (now that I think of it, we high-five over everything), happy because we could give Noah the cake he wanted and even happier because there were extra toy badges for us to keep.

    And keeping true to my artistic vision, I dyed the batter lime green so we could at least pretend like the inside of the cake was Ghostbuster-themed, too.
Don't be intimidated by my awesome frosting penmanship.

That doesn't look good at all.
But he still ate it.

 What did you do this weekend?

Friday, April 27, 2012

The season of suck

Happy Friday, all! This has been a hellacious week of playing "catch up" at work after missing 2 days, so I am more than pleased that the weekend has finally arrived at my doorstep. Not sure if I want to enjoy drinks out with friends tonight or just ... nap.

And thank you so much for your "pump me up" song suggestions on yesterday's post! I've gotten a lot of  really good ones (an old friend from high school emailed me her vote for Asia's "Heat of the Moment", and I squealed with happiness because that's totally my favorite 80s song!), so please keep them coming! I'll keep drilling you guys until I'm confident that I have at least 2 solid hours of good tunes. I'm even thinking of putting the final playlist on shuffle and giving away a silly little prize to the reader whose song is playing as I cross the finish line (assuming I cross the finish line. Dear sweet baby Jesus, please let me cross the finish line). But, I'm poor and I don't know what kind of silly prize I'd have to give away other than a high-five and a heartfelt compliment.

Anyway, last night was my first softball game of the season (it was technically the team's second game, but I couldn't make it last week due to traveling for Los Angeles), and I think I can best describe my performance as one hot, appalling mess.

Think of this way: Remember back in 2010 when Lindsay Lohan was accused of hitting a baby stroller with her Maserati? And remember that same summer when Snooki was arrested at Seaside for disorderly conduct when she fell off a bicycle while intoxicated? Well, if those two girls got together and, through the wonders of in vitro fertilization, had a baby girl and told her to go play softball, I'd be exactly what you'd get as a result.

It was embarrassing, to say the least.

In my defense, I haven't thrown a ball or swung a bat since last October and while that's a piss-poor excuse for playing so badly, it is a legitimate explanation. I whiffed several pitches while at bat, and I couldn't stop a line drive to save my life at second base. I know that no one was scrutinizing my mistakes except for me because I walk the fine line between self-sabotage and self-disparagement, but I felt tense and uncomfortable for the entire duration of the game.

And my buddy Jamie, bless her heart, put me second in the batting order and anyone with a working knowledge of softball and baseball knows that you put your stronger batters in the first four spots of the batting line-up. As I stood in the on-deck circle taking a few awkward practice swings, I turned back to Jamie and said, "You put me second in the batting order. You do remember my disgusting batting average from last season, don't you?" But Jamie, with her sweet, optimistic spirit gave me a smile and replied, "You can do it!"

And I was all like:


I wanted to crawl under the bleachers and die. I don't know what my problem was, but I just couldn't wait on the ball. I leaned forward and swung aggressively at nothing but air, and I'm pretty sure there is nothing on the planet more embarrassing than swinging really hard at ... nothing.

I had one solid line drive and the rest of my hits were pathetic little pop-ups to the infield.

My only noteworthy play of the evening was sliding into third base and being called "safe" when it was almost too close to call. (At least my ceaseless running has allotted me some kind of advantage on the softball field.) Granted, I tore the dickens out of the skin on my knee and shin but, as I told Clayton later that night, it's not softball season until I've slid into a base and started bleeding. There's just something about the dirt of a softball field that makes me all like, "I wanna be on you." I seriously injure myself like this every single season, but it never bothers me because aside from some mild stinging, it's a pretty cool battle wound to brag about.

I also did something outrageous to the top of my left foot because I can hardly flex it today. I vaguely remember pivoting out on the field when a play shifted and I think I strained, sprained or twisted something in that area because it hurts! I propped my leg up on my desk today with an ice pack and while I can walk on it without any problems and there isn't any bruising or swelling, I don't want to take any chances with the mini marathon only one week away!

Our team ended up losing the game 17-7. It was pretty disappointing, but I was mostly just disappointed in myself. I go through this cycle every year, too. It takes me a few games to find my stride and by the end of the season, I've hit my groove and feel just as confident as any other girl out there on the field. Like most situations in my life, I'm just too hard on myself and once again crumbled under the weight of my own outrageous expectations for myself.

Take deep breaths, Courtney. You just need more practice.

And thicker knee socks.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

With a little help from my friends

Before I do anything bloggy today, I have to give a very special shout out to one Ms. Keri Duckworth, the brilliant illustrator responsible for the darling page banner you see above this post today on NotablyNeurotic.com.  Keri is the cousin of one of my college roommates and when I made the decision to take my blog to the next level, I knew Keri was exactly who I wanted to hire as a graphic designer. We’ve been working together for several weeks, fleshing out details and trying to capture the essence of me and this blog. Keri was amazing to work with and she brought all of my silly ideas to fruition in a way that seemed almost effortless to an artistic genius such as herself. I said “Squid, please!” and she said, “Yes, ma’am!”, not batting an eye at my strange request to have a tentacled creature at the forefront of my website.

And she made me look like I have hips, so she’s an artistic genius and a miracle worker.

And isn’t Joey just precious? I showed him the picture last night and while he wasn’t overly enthusiastic at the time, I’m sure the gravity of his impending fame will sink in soon and he’ll be just as delighted as I am.

More of Keri’s fabulous work can be found at www.keriduckworth.com.

Keri, I want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart. You made a narcissistic blogger’s dreams come true. :)

(FYI: I obviously spelled narcissistic wrong the first time I attempted to write it, and autocorrect asked if I meant to type “anarchistic”. Surprisingly no, autocorrect. Not today.)

So now I feel tremendous pressure to keep blogging, which is good because I need something to keep driving me towards my goals, and what better way to do that than to pay someone to make my face into a cartoon?

If I had taken matters into my own hands and did my own blog banner again, it probably would have come out looking something like this:


Anyway, I wanted to rub it in make mention of the fact that I got up early to run before work again this morning. That’s two days in a row, people, TWO. I even considered whipping up an omelet for breakfast, but then I thought, “Whoa! Steady, girl. Let’s not get too carried away here.”

This morning’s run was an easy 3-miler because I am only 9 days away from the One America 500 Festival mini marathon and I'm supposed to be tapering, but I threw a few rounds of hill repeats into the mix because I’m hard core like that. 

Saturday will be my final long run before the mini and I gotta be honest, I’m pretty jazzed. This is my favorite part of training because I no longer have to kill myself to make sure I can go as fast as my chaffed thighs will let me. Rather, the final weeks before the race I run simply to maintain my endurance. That being said, I’m embracing a pressure-free 8-mile run with open arms.

And then it’s time to carbo-load!

Did you know cake has carbs?

And beer?

Just sayin’ … 

Before I sign off and head to my first softball game of the season (I’ll recap it for you tomorrow and be sure to mention how ridiculously sore I’ll be from swinging a bat for the first time in 6 months), I wanted to propose marriage an idea for my race:

Music is clearly the glue that holds my marathon training together. Up-tempo music is my running's lifeblood, and I always take great pains to put together my race playlists with precision and careful planning. But this year I thought it would be fun to have my readers put together my race playlist for me! (Seriously, you’d save me a chore.) If the spirit moves you, I’d absolutely love it if you would leave me a comment, Facebook message or email with the name of your go-to “get pumped up!” song (80s music is ALWAYS welcome). It can be your favorite song to rock out to in the car, favorite song to sing in the shower, or even a song from your own running playlist. I plan on purchasing an iTunes gift card this weekend and will happily add your selections to my minimal list. When I formulated this idea last week, I thought it was so clever that I briefly considered running for congress.

I would so love to have my friends' and family's favorite jams on a playlist to get me through the race, so help a sister out!

Here a few of my own “must have” tracks already on my 2012 One America 500 Festival Mini mix:
  • Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape” (My superstition song. It has to be first.)
  • Tao Cruz’s “Dynamite” (This song makes an appearance on my playlist twice. It’s that important.)
  • LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” (Obviously. Come on, look at me.)
  • Glee Cast’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (Don't judge me.)
  • Jason Derulo’s “In My Head” (Ironically, I can never get this song out of my head.)
  • Beyonce’s “Who Run the World (Girls)” (Yeah, we do!)
  • Eminem’s “Til’ I Collapse” (So I don't ya know, collapse.)
But these songs are only going to cover me for what, 3-4 miles? I need your help, please!

And, I'll be sure to mention which song is playing when I cross the finish line. :)

What’s your favorite up-tempo song?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Things I'm loving right this very second

What has two thumbs and ran 5 miles before work this morning?

This girl!

Don't get too excited or alert the pressesit was only one day. Granted, I did get up early on Saturday to run before the book festival in Los Angeles, but that doesn't really count because while it was 6:00 a.m. in L.A., my body was still on Indiana time and thought it was 9 o'clock. So today's early morning run was a first for me since like, 2010.

But I still didn't bother to wash my hair before I went to the office.

1 step forward, 2 steps back.

But in addition to sweating on my treadmill while watching Boy Meets World first thing in the morning, here are some other things I'm currently diggin':

My Owl Key Chain

A few weeks ago I found a surprise package in our mailbox from my sister, Ashley, and I opened the tiny padded envelope to find this adorable owl keychain. Not only am I excited to carry around a little owl whose eyes light up at the push of a button (and makes a shrieking sound that terrifies Joey to the point of tucking his tail between his legs and running out of the room), I love that my sister was thinking of me and wanted to send me something she knew I would greatly appreciate and enjoy. :)


 Revisiting Old Passions

The other day I noticed how much dust has accumulated on my guitar, and I immediately felt disappointment in myself for neglecting my beautiful (and shall we say, "pricey") Washburn. I took guitar lessons for almost a year before I gave up on playing completely. Admittedly, I rarely practiced and I'm smart enough to know that's why I never really progressed, but when you're used to most things coming easily to you, it doesn't take much fumbling and off-key chords to make you feel frustrated enough to quit. I had absolutely zero discernible guitar skills to work withif playing guitar were literacy, I'd still be sounding out the words in Dr. Seuss' One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. But seeing my dusty ol' guitar sitting in the corner all by its lonesome ignited a familiar spark that left me longing to pursue the hobbies and passions that fulfill me, no matter how poorly I am at actually doing those things.

Lately I've been doing a lot of pondering about what I hold dearest in my heart, and I know that without a shadow of a doubt my life can be summed up by my love of writing, running, music, humor and dogs, and I'll be darned if I don't spend my life surrounding myself with those things. And if I can make a career out of any of them, all the better. Finding your passions and "discovering yourself" is overrated, but you know what? Actually doing it is completely underdone. I need to stop being afraid of potential limitations or criticisms because when I'm old (and inevitably still looking fabulous) in a nursing home blaming Clayton for hiding my tapioca pudding, I don't want to look back at my younger days and feel like I did myself a disservice by "playing it safe" or "taking the easy route". More on this inner dialogue in a later post ...


Fun Rings

Several months ago I posted a picture of my $1 owl ring from ebay in a different "Things I'm Loving Right This Moment" post and since then, I've acquired another fashion ring for my collection. I'm not a big jewelry person and usually leave my house wearing only my wedding rings and earring studs, but I've been getting more and more into the trend of costume jewelry. I found this turtle shell-esque ring on clearance at Kohl's while I was shopping for a belt to wear with one of my dresses in Los Angeles, and I couldn't pass it up. A chunky ring is actually a really smart way to spruce up an old outfit or give you a touch of instant glamor (or in my case, a lethal amount of instant sex appeal).


                                 Glee's version of Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know"

I had to rewind the opening scene of last night's episode of Glee twice to re-watch their a capella rendition of Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know" (when Clayton got home from his workout I made him watch it too, all but pressing his face against the TV screen shouting, "DO YOU HEAR THIS!? IT'S LIKE I HAD NO IDEA WHAT SINGING WAS UNTIL I HEARD THIS SONG!!!!!"). Mercedes, Santana, Rachael and Kurt's harmonies were dead on and flowed so magnificently that I couldn't get my goosebumps to go away for hours ... literally hours. In fact, I grabbed my iPod Touch the second the show was over and bought this song and several other from last night's episode on iTunes. While I worked out this morning (Ha! Had to sneak in that I did that just one more time!), I listened to "How Will I Know" on repeat even though it's by no means an uptempo song. It's shows like Glee and performances like this that remind me of my choir days of yore and how desperately I love to sing, even though I know I'm not that great and will never be able to belt out a number like this in a billion years (and it doesn't help that I'm painfully shy). But I guess it doesn't matter how good you are as long as you love what you're doing!


Team Spirit

I've been positively lusting over this Atlanta Braves baseball tee since last summer and my hubby loves me so much that he surprised me with it last week before I left for L.A. (And when I say "surprised" I mean I left him countless hints in his email inbox and eventually wore him down enough that he caved in and ordered it for me just so I would shut up ... Semantics.) As much as I love sports of all kinds, I love sharing that love of sports with Clayton even more. Sports Center plays on a continuous loop in our house and even though watching more than five minutes of it makes me feel comatose and I start drooling (i.e. How Clayton feels when I make him watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta), I love that fanatical side of my husband. Sports is something we definitely bond over and after he introduced me to the Atlanta Braves several years ago, I want nothing more than to impress him with my significant knowledge of baseball. Plus, I don't think anything gets his motor runnin' more than seeing his favorite lady wearing his favorite sports team across her chest.

I'm sorry, that last sentence was wildly inappropriate.

Clayton and I don't have sex.

That's gross.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An Angel City weekend recap

Hey, guys! I’m so sorry that I totally dropped off the face of the planet without any explanation. I had every intention of posting a quick little something on Thursday afternoon to let y’all know that I was going to be M.I.A. from blogging for several days while I was in Los Angeles for the LA Times Festival of Books, but I busied myself with the task of squeezing in a 10 mile run and searching for enough clean underwear.

But now I’m back in Indiana and aside from the overwhelming desire to lie down in the middle of the road and take a nap for a thousand hours, I’m doing quite well! (We had to wake up at 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning to catch our flight home and not only were we exhausted from no sleep the whole weekend, we also lost 3 hours by the time we landed in Indy.) But all in all, I would definitely give the four-day trip to Los Angeles two very enthusiastic thumbs up. 

We didn’t have any issues with traveling other than waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to catch our flights, but I fly so infrequently that I never get annoyed with being at an airport. Getting on a plane like a big girl and flying across the country is still a fairly new experience for me and I was very wide-eyed and “I’m just so happy to have been invited!” about the whole thing. All of our flights were on time and I only had to sit by a complete stranger on one out of four planes, but I promptly switched Brittany, my fellow publicist, seats because the she’s single and the stranger was, in her own words, a “tall glass of water”.  

I spent most of the flights reading on my Kindle. I felt fancy.

The only glitch in our travels to and fro Los Angeles was the unfortunate incident when Brittany and I both fell asleep on our connecting flight back to Denver and accidentally head-butted each other awake.

And we came up with a rather entertaining game we aptly named “At How High of an Elevation Would You Be Comfortable with Falling Out of the Airplane?” As our flights prepared for decent, we would monitor the ground below and determine when we’d feel safe falling out the plane and not dying. Brittany, clearly a much braver girl than I and far more comfortable with broken bones or paralysis, would always choose to fall out of the plane at a much higher altitude than I. Apparently I’m only comfortable falling out of an airplane when I'm not falling so much as just ... walking.

The LA Times Festival of Books was an even bigger literary event than I remember from 2010 when it was held on UCLA’s campus. (Trust me, the walk to my booth this time was like, half a mile.) This year the festival took place at OSC and this campus was just as beautiful as the former. I was pretty confined to one small area of the whole shebang and didn’t get an opportunity to really explore the event (I mean, I was there to work after all …), but I do know that the celebration was a book nerd’s dream come true. 

I was totally crushing on this giant green dinosaur mascot.
I have a poster of him for my cubicle!

Myself and a few of the publicists at the book festival working the signing booths!

I was in charge of one of the signing booths and was responsible for facilitating several hour-long book signings for our authors. I got to use my “sales girl” voice and encouraged passerby to stop by the booth for a free copy of the book and a chance to meet the author. Everything went smoothly and even though I’m not a huge fan of shouting in the middle of large crowds (I think I sound like a man), I loved having the opportunity to meet new people and talk to random strangers about whatever the heck I felt like. There were several doggies at the festival and getting kisses from a beagle named Barkley made me feel less depressed about being away from my Joey.

Some of the 2012 LA Festival of Books guests included Betty White, Bethenny Frankel, Tori Spelling, and Mayim Bialik. Unfortunately, my booth was extremely busy and I didn’t get to see any of these ladies in action (I was particularly disappointed about not seeing Mayim Bialik because I LOVE me some Amy Farrah Fowler), but you know who I did get to meet over the course of the weekend?

Michael Jackson.

Friday night we had a few hours to kill between setting up our booths at the festival and heading to dinner at Rock Sugar, so my travel group and I got to spend some time walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard like true L.A. tourists. As I we found our favorite celebrities’ Hollywood Walk of Fame stars and hand prints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, we had to avoid some rather um, sketchy folks dressed up like famous movie characters looking to charge you money for a picture. I did a remarkable job at dodging a creepy SpongeBob SquarePants and a flamboyant Jack Sparrow, but I was much less successful at deflecting a 90s throwback Michael Jackson. I averted my eyes and tried to slink past the sequin-gloved performer, but as soon as I crossed his path he called after me all Michael Jackson-y, “Come here, girl!”

Apparently “Come here, girl!” from Michael Jackson is my calling card because hearing those words spoken to me in that voice awakened some kind of trapped inner fan girl because I instantly pivoted on my heel and darted back towards him shrieking “OKAY!” like a total groupie. You know what I like to call that voice of his? Instant panty dropper. 


I didn’t know I felt that way about Michael Jackson (let alone a fake one), but the intense beating of my heart and my sweaty palms indicated that I clearly love him a much more awkward way than I ever suspected.

Putting my hands in Marilyn Monroe's hand prints.
And trying not to show you my underwear.
Looking pitifully touristy outside the Kodak Theater.
Strange that they host a glamorous event like the Academy Awards
only a few feet away from a dozen cheesy souvenir shops.

Saturday night the whole group feasted at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the same hotel Whitney Houston was found dead in earlier this year. I stuffed myself with lots of sushi in an effort to pretend like that wasn’t majorly sad and creepy, but by the time I was half-way through my overly strong whiskey and Diet Coke, I could barely remember my name. That was the very first time I was unable to finish a drink at a restaurant, and that in itself is one for the record books. 

Some of the ladies before heading out to the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Finding our way to Trader Vick's inside the hotel was kind of confusing, and we ended up having to walk a legit red carpet event to get to the restaurant. Apparently the John Wayne Cancer Institute was hosting a ball at the hotel that evening, and we were the lucky tourists who stumbled across their glamorous red carpet on our way to eat our non-famous food in our non-designer clothing. Luckily the paparazzi were packing up their cameras and couldn't be bothered to notice us simpletons. (But I'm sure they weren't feeling the urgent need to snap our photos anyway.)

At the conclusion of the book festival on Sunday evening, myself and a few of the other publicists took a trip to Santa Monica and dipped our toesies in the frigid Pacific Ocean before heading back to the hotel to more or less take a small nap before we had to wake up and catch our flight home. 

To say I was homesick during the whole weekend was a complete understatement. While LA is extremely exciting (though kind of run down) and I wished we had more time to explore the extravagant city, I was desperate to be back in Indiana with my hubsy and beagle. When we were teenagers, I was used to living 4 hours apart from Clayton and only getting to see him once a month, but after getting married, we've hardly spent any time away from each other. Come to think of it, the longest we've been apart since tying the knot was the first time I was asked to go to the L.A. Times Festival of Books in 2010. While I was thrilled to have the opportunity to revisit California, my heart felt sad and anxious to be away from my favorite bearded companion. That being said, I made sure to complete my standard "I don't like sleeping in bed alone" routine and spritzed the first teddy bear Clayton ever bought for me with his cologne so I could snuggle with it every night while I was away.

Trust me, there was no better feeling than coming out of the airport gate yesterday afternoon and seeing my hubby standing there, waiting for me. The image of my husband standing in the sunlight cast from the giant airport windows with his brilliant blue eyes shining at me was so adorable and breath-taking, even I almost wanted to vomit. I hate being away from him.

Clayton and I have been tossing around the idea of moving away from Indiana in the next several years and taking in the experience of living in a brand new place, but visiting California only reminded me that I'm not in any hurry to leave my home state. While I fantasize about the idea of living someplace beautiful like Colorado or Tennessee one day, Indiana has always been my home and my love affair with it isn't coming to an end quite yet. Flying over flat, boring ol' Indiana after soaring over mountainous stretches of land didn't depress me like I thought it would. In fact, it felt warmly secure and comfortable.

It felt like home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Plugged in

As a social media publicist working in the literary field, I am plugged in to the internet at all times. That is my job. Not only do I have to be aware of all of the latest social media trends, I have to know how to use them … and use them well. I have to teach my clients how to utilize these social media sites and the future of my career field depends on how effectively I can demonstrate their value. My publicity team and I have to stay one step ahead of the game because if we fall behind, we could lose business.

And it’s exhausting.

Being “plugged in” for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is mentally draining, there's no doubt. I’m so used to being able to communicate in 140 character sentence fragments and hold a conversation with hundreds of people at the same time, I barely have the patience to make an old fashioned phone call. If I can’t text it, I’ll tweet it. If I can’t tweet it, I’ll text it. If I can’t text or tweet it, I’ll begrudgingly boot up my ancient laptop and email it … but only if I can’t get a wifi signal on my iPod Touch. 

I don’t even know how much a stamp costs anymore.

I can’t sit in a movie theater without seeing a dozen backlit cell phones flickering on and off during the feature.

I can’t go out to a restaurant without having to witness fingers constantly scrolling across touch-screen smart phones in favor of having to actually converse with another person.

I can’t wait for a response from you for more than 5 minutes before I start to think you’re just being rude and ignoring me.

I can't hear about a friend’s new relationship status until it’s made “Facebook official”.

But I can see what a high school acquaintance has been up to without ever having to actually speak to that person.

I can let the masses know what I ate for dinner and what my plans are for the night without making a single phone call. 

I can spread hate speech all over the internet with snarky, mean comments under the guise of “anonymous”.

I can generate a whole slew of new friends in faraway places by tossing a “#” in front of some strategic buzzwords in all of my tweets.

I can email information to my co-workers faster than it takes to get up and walk the entire 10 to get to their desks.

I can create the illusion of a glamorous, exciting life in an effort to impress a bunch of people I’ve never met online.

For all of the unbelievable progress we’ve made with technology, I can’t help but feel discouraged and smothered by the tidal wave of advancements. With all of these new gadgets, websites and apps that were created to make our lives “faster” and “easier” comes the unshakable feeling that something very precious has been lost in our society. We’re connected now more than ever, and yet it feels empty and contrived. 

You can’t make it through a whole movie without checking your text messages? Really?

You can’t leave your cell phone in your purse for the duration of a date? Call me old fashioned (Goodness, I haven’t dated since I was 16 and cell phones were just becoming “a thing”), but isn’t that rude?

You accidentally left your phone at home? Is it really the earth-shattering catastrophe you're making it out to be?

Social media and technology is really fun to tinker with and it CLEARLY has a place in our society. I mean, the fact that I have a job in social media alone can attest to that, but I seriously cannot believe how many people walk around (or drive cars) with their cell phones and iPads glued to their faces. It’s worrisome. 

When I get home from work, there’s nothing I like more than curling up on the couch with my husband and talking to him, face to face, about our respective days. In fact, I’m notorious for leaving my cell phone in my purse and forgetting about it until bedtime when I need to set an alarm for the next morning. And, if I do let myself get sucked into blogging or checking my email at night, Clay will remind me that I was on Twitter and Facebook all day at work and it’s time to give it a rest because evenings at home are is his time with me, not my Twitter followers. When you’re in the groove of networking all day, it can be really difficult to “unplug” and “power down” but if I want to keep my sanity, it’s necessary.

While I could go on and on about this subject, I think I’ll let poet Marshall "Soulful" Jones take the reins on the impact of technology on our lives.

(Be warned: This poem is pretty powerful. I’ve been watching this video on repeat for the past several days and every time I do, I become enveloped with goose bumps and the intense desire to go back to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and camp under stars with nary a satellite tower within a 100-mile radius.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You threw off my groove!

I came home from work last night and found an intriguing parcel on the kitchen table with my name on it. I love getting mail ... almost as much as I like shopping online.

What was in the package, you ask?

And you'd be right to say this is the most flattering photo of me ever.

Only the best Disney movie ever!

I watched The Emperor's New Groove fanatically with my Dad and step-siblings back in the day, and I sadly hadn't seen it since my freshman year of high school. It's probably the most quotable Disney movie in existence, and I'm mad at myself for almost completely forgetting about it after all these years. I'm not sure what triggered me to start thinking about llamas recently, but it sent me on a warpath trying to find a copy of the DVD. Since not a single video rental store in town carries it, I had to take matters into my own hands and turn to ebay for help. I got into a rather nasty bidding war with some random Joe Schmo, but my persistence and quick clicking finger prevailed and yesterday afternoon a forgotten piece of my childhood showed up on my doorstep.


After thoroughly celebrating the arrival of my movie (which Clay later watched with me and agreed was absolutely hilarious), I took to the treadmill to run a measly 4 miles that, when compared to the awesomeness of yesterday's Boston Marathon, seemed downright pitiful. But hey, I'm not making a living out of running (thank goodness because I would die penniless) and racing to win $150,000 isn't in my foreseeable future. I have aspirations of running a full marathon before I'm 30, but I know for a fact that no amount of training or acts of God will ever give me the ability to run 5 minute miles.

After sweating it out and recovering with a glass of water infused with deer antler velvet powder (I kid you not. It has proven health benefits. Clay bought some this weekend and even though it makes your water look like sludge, velvet deer powder helps repair your body after a tough workout), I plugged in my new food processor and got to work on a batch of homemade hummus.

Making hummus is a breeze! Even if you don't have a food processor, a blender will work just fine. And if your chick peas are soft enough, good ol'-fashioned elbow grease will get the job done, too! (Just mash and stir aggressively.)

What you need:
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbs of Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 tsp of chopped garlic (I used minced garlic because that's all we had)


1.) Drain the can of chick peas, but save the juice.
2.) Add all of the chick peas, Tahini, lemon juice, and garlic to your food processor.
3.) Blend ingredients until well mixed, adding the leftover chick pea juice until hummus achieves desired consistency.
4.) Salt to taste.

Yeah, that kind of looks like vomit.

I was too cheap to buy pita bread, so tortilla chips have had to suffice.

Ta-da! Easy peasy! And I like my hummus with a little kick, so I added a generous sprinkling of chili powder and pepper. The end result was almost an exact replica of the hummus I order at my favorite Greek restaurant, so I was pleased! However, I did notice that the consistency improved and the chili spice came through even stronger after leaving it in the refrigerator over night. I think next time I make this (and there will be a next time), I'll use a little less chick pea juice and keep the hummus slightly thicker.

I devoured the rest of the hummus at lunch today, and it was a delicious alternative to the salad dressing I normally use as carrot and celery dip.

I'm looking for other great veggie dip recipes, so if you have one—please share it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A weedy weekend recap

What I did
  • Friday nights after working Indy are typically a bust, but luckily my sister-in-law’s joint birthday party pulled me out the house and kept me from falling asleep on the couch at 9 o’clock. Unfortunately, we couldn't spend too much time in their company because I was supposed to run a 10K the following morning and I needed to get as much rest as possible.
  • Around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, I was startled awake by the sound of a thunderstorm rolling through. I got out of bed anyway and prepared for the race, feeling less and less confident that I would actually get to run with each clap of thunder. Sure enough, right around 7:30 a.m., I got a text message from Mandy confirming the race was postponed due to the severe weather and was rescheduled for the following weekend. I crawled back into bed, feeling like a little storm cloud myself because I'm going to be in Los Angeles next weekend and won’t be able to participate in the race. Now I have the mess of dealing with trying to get a refund … and I’m out a race t-shirt.
  • Most of my Saturday afternoon was spent dealing with the hot mess that was my long run. For more information about that little adventure, jump down to the “What I Ran” section of this post.
  • Saturday evening was pretty lax and Clay and I fell asleep on the couch watching Shaun of the Dead. I was mad at myself for conking out so early because I totally love that movie, but it’s common knowledge that if you plop me in front of a movie after 11 p.m., I will fall asleep instantly.
  • Sunday afternoon Clay and I did something I never, ever thought I would look forward to in a million years—weeding. The couple that lived in our townhouse before us took it upon themselves to do some landscaping on the back patio and while I appreciate having cute little rock beds, weeds and other icky things were growing in them like wildfire. Even though it was a very small space, Clay and I tugged at weeds for over an hour and filled up two plastic bags full of plants (and flung many worms in the process)! It was a little backbreaking, but our patio looks amazing now! We even went to a home improvement store and bought some petunias and solar lights to make it pretty for summer cookouts. I was way too proud of myself for doing such an “adult” activity and almost didn’t recognize myself when I told Clayton we should probably invest in some weed killer. Between this and growing my own herbs, my mother would be so proud.

    Aren't my gardening gloves cute? Always fashionable ...
    A small section of the finished yard with my flowers and one of the solar lights!
    Somebody chased after another dog and lost his outside privileges.

  • Sunday evening we met with our friends, Dan and Emily, at a restaurant located on the very south side of town called The Scenic View because, well, it has a gorgeous view of Lake Monroe. (And I’m just kicking myself for not bringing my camera!) We sat on the patio and threw back cocktails while we caught up after not seeing each other for a few weeks. For an appetizer, we split an order of watermelon bruschetta that sounded absolutely disgusting in theory, but it tasted amazing! I was a good girl and ordered a refreshing spinach salad with cranberries and mandarin oranges for my meal, but I have a Runner Girl appetite and ordered a plate of sweet potato fries afterwards in an effort to feel even the slightest hint of satisfaction. (I am an eating machine right now. My tummy is insatiable.) After dinner, Dan and Emily were gracious enough to offer us use of their washer and dryer so we didn’t have spend money and sit around a shady laundromat all night. It was such a sweet gesture that Clay and I gushed the whole way home about how gracious they are, and we tried to repay their kindness by bringing a carton of ice cream over with our laundry. 
FYI: The following picture makes all the complaining I’m about to do seem completely ridiculous and insignificant.

If I just won the Boston Marathon, I'd probably sit down, too.

What I ran
  • As I mentioned above, the 10K race I was registered to participate in on Saturday was postponed due to inclement weather. I was really counting on that race as a sneaky way to break up my scheduled 12 mile run into two 6-mile chunks (I was going to hit the trail after the race and finish my mileage out there), but after the race was cancelled I had to devise a new plan to run the entire distance in one, straight shot. Clay and I came up with a pretty exciting new route that was rather hilly and would give my thighs the workout they deserved, but less than 2 miles into my run, the heavens re-opened and we were slammed with another thunderstorm. The sky was an unsettling shade of blackish purple, thunder was rumbling so loudly I could hear it over my music, and I had to keep my eyes focused on my shoes because I was too afraid I'd look up and spot a funnel cloud. Wanting to seek shelter immediately, I deviated from my new route to a nearby opening on the familiar B-Line Trail with the hope that a heavily wooded area would keep some of the rain off of me.

    No such luck.

    I ran a total of 6 miles, sopping wet, before I made it to a trail entrance with a pavilion to huddle beneath. Breathing far too rapidly after only 6 miles and feeling overwhelmingly exhausted from running so far with heavy, drenched shoes, I fished my cell phone out of my running pack and called Clayton to come get me. He answered his phone flaming pissed, yelling at me because he had been driving around looking for me for over 45 minutes. He said he was worried sick something had happened (he didn’t have to say it, but the chances of me drowning in a puddle are far greater than either of us would care to admit) and I apologized profusely, legitimately remorseful that he was concerned about my safety. Shivering from head to toe and watching my labored breaths fade into curly tails of fog, I waited for him to pick me up.

    Once we got home and after I apologized yet again for making Clay worry, I got into the shower to warm up before I jumped on the treadmill to finish my run. However, after running outside for so long in water-logged shoes and trekking completely uphill for most of that time, my body was not in the mood to keep moving. I barely eked out another 4 more miles before I all but collapsed on the floor.

    Feeling incredibly defeated and majorly discouraged, I wandered downstairs to ice my ankles and cry to Clay about my dream of another mini marathon PR coming to a crashing halt. Why I overreacted, I don’t know, but I made up my mind that if I only managed to run 10 miles instead of my scheduled 12, I was a big, fat failure.

    So, embarrassing as it is to admit, I went back outside later that night and ran 2 more miles around our neighborhood so I could complete all 12 miles and put my brain at ease. Needless to say, those last 2 miles were painful and I stupidly forced myself through them even though the back of both of my ankles were bleeding from running around in wet socks that morning. I even ran several hills in the process, trying to prove to myself that I’m no quitter.

    Gosh, Courtney, stubborn much?
  • As you can imagine, Sunday’s 3-mile recovery run was incredibly tiresome. I usually keep my recovery runs inside on the treadmill at a 0% incline, but the weather was so sunny and pretty, I decided I should take advantage of the beautiful day. I ran around our neighborhood just as I had the night before, again making it a point to run up every hill I encountered. It was probably the slowest of the slow recovery runs, but I got it done.
  • I’m trying to get my head right because I am leaving for Los Angeles this Friday to work at the LA Times Festival of Books and it’s going to screw up my training schedule royally. My long run will have to be in the middle of the week instead of on Saturday, and I’m still trying to work out the logistics. All of the eagerness I’m feeling about my trip is being severely squelched by my anxiety about making sure I don’t jeopardize my training.

    I’m so excited about the upcoming mini marathon that I’m starting to get butterflies in my tummy every time I think about it. But as much as I’m looking forward to the race, I’m also looking forward to it being over so I can resemble a normal human being again with a normal appetite.

    So to answer your question: Yes, I’m positively delightful to be around right now.

What I baked/cooked
  • I completely failed at baking this weekend. I had every intention of making a batch of cookies on Saturday, but almost washing away in a thunderstorm kind of killed my “I want to bake delicious treats!” buzz.
  • I also had aspirations of making my own hummus because I finally bought a food processor this week, and I was almost stupid with giddiness about using it for the first time to make one of my favorite snacks. (Processessy is sitting on the counter next to Mixie. They’re already best friends, I can tell. And yes, Processessy is my food processor’s name.) Clay and I even wandered around the grocery store for a solid 20 minutes looking for inexpensive Tahini (sesame seed paste), but by the time we got home, my legs felt broken and lying on the couch sounded like a much better alternative.
  • When I got home from work late on Friday night, Clayton had not only prepared dinner for me, but he made RIBS. Remember my weekend recap from last week when I raved about Clay’s fried chicken? Take a look at the picture below. My man CAN COOK. (He also emailed me today at work about an issue I was too scared to deal with and his exact words to me were, “Nut up.” He cooks AND he's inappropriate. Be jealous, girls.)
His mashed potatoes were yummy, too!

  • Saturday night I made my first ever pork roast! (I made it in the crock pot rather than in an actual roasting pan, but I’m still counting it.) Remember the 50 pounds of carrots I bought last weekend for my Easter carrot cake? Well, I finally found a use for them! I chopped up a bunch of the carrots and several red potatoes to accompany the roast in the crock pot. After I had everything in the pot nicely arranged, I seasoned the meat with my secret spices (mysterious!) and 3 hours later we had tender, fall-off-the-bone perfection. It was delicious and Clay sang my praises by having seconds. :)
    This photo doesn't make my roast look too appetizing.
    It kind of looks like a giant meat wad, but it was delicious, I promise!

What did you guys do this weekend?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: the "I Feel Pretty" edition


 

In honor of hearing that perfume is made from whale vomit last night on the radio (apparently whale vomit contains chemical properties that allow scent to linger on your skin.Yum!), I thought I’d make today’s Things I Love Thursday post all about my beauty routine! I know, I know. If you see me on a daily basis you’re probably shaking your head and asking, “What beauty routine?” And you’re right to be skeptical because I look gross 99% of the time. I’ve accepted that as a fact of my life, as should you. But the other 1% of the time, I pull out all of the stops in an effort to fool the masses into believing that I’m actually a lady and worthy of being taken out in public by my husband.

{Source}

This past winter I shelled out a decent amount of money for a quality skin care system from Clinque and while I’m totally smitten with the moisturizer (although I’m surprised it doesn’t contain SPF), I’m not very impressed with the beauty bar that’s supposed to scrub the dirt, oil and zits off my face like a magic wand. If anything, I feel like the beauty bar is actually clogging my pores more and bringing all my ickies to the surface of my skin … and then just leaving them there for the whole world and Jesus to see.

So I gave up on the beauty bar completely. Instead, I am now using the absolute best face wash of all time that has kept my skin clearer and smoother than any product I’ve ever tried in my entire life (even during my dreaded “special lady time” each month). And you know what else? It’s the cheapest one, too.

I use anti-bacterial bar soap on my face.

Yup, that’s my secret.

The wet, squishy nugget of soap that your husbands and boyfriends slide around their nether-regions each morning can clear up your troublesome acne in a matter of days. Sure, it’s a little drying and can leave your face feeling tight and pinched, but that’s why God created a vast array of face creams and oil-free moisturizers. I use an anti-bacterial bar of soap on my face in the shower every morning followed by a few sweeps of my Clinique toner and a pump of moisturizer and then ta-da! I am good to go!

{From Amazon.com}

Being cursed with fine hair means that all of the hair on my is thin and wispy, not just the hair on my head. That being said, I need all the help I can get in the eyelash department and you can bet your bottom dollar that I never, ever leave my house without mascara (I even wear it to all my races). Unlike Clayton, I wasn’t naturally blessed with long, luxurious eyelashes that can graze my brow bones when I have my peepers open, but I have perfected the art of faking it! That’s where my favorite make-up product steps in: Maybelline’s Define-a-Lash Lengthening Mascara. This little green tube of lash-tastic wonderment is a lifesaver! I’ve been wearing this product for years, and I refuse to switch to another brand because this is the only mascara that has ever warranted compliments from my friends. With this mascara I have been told that I have “really, really long eyelashes”, which is a complete lie because my natural eyelashes are just like my legs—short and stubby. I have you all so fooled!

{From Amazon.com}

After my cousin passed away in 2007 from cancer that originated from melanoma, I’ve been somewhat terrified about fake-and-baking at indoor tanning facilities. I used tanning beds throughout high school for all of my proms and for every spring break trip during college, but the fear of developing cancer or aging prematurely has scared me out of continuing this routine. I never venture outside for a run nor do I hit the beach for sunbathing without lots and lots of SPF. But even though I feel better about protecting my skin as an adult, the vain part of me misses the bronzed glow I used to get from those UV rays.

Since the weather still isn’t warm enough for laying out by the pool and I don’t want to waste healthy skin cells or money on the tanning bed, I’ve turned to the assistance of gradual self-tanning lotion to help me get by until bikini season. Now, I don’t expect amazing results from a lotion, but I have found one brand in particular that gives me a modest glow that doesn’t smell like complete garbage or stain my clothes.

Nivea’s Sun-Kissed Firming Lotion provides the subtle hint of color I need rather cheaply and effortlessly (although the "Firming" part is laughable because nothing can help this girl's cellulite). I simply smooth it over my body after toweling off after a shower, wash my hands, and then wait for the lotion to fully absorb into my skin before dressing. I haven’t had any mishaps with the lotion staining my clothes and it really does work! My favorite part? This lotion leaves a light, citrus scent on my skin, not a “Oh my gosh, I can smell each and every chemical it took to make this lotion” kind of a scent.

So, those are the pivotal steps in my daily beauty routine, aside from the incessant amount of plucking and shaving that need not be mentioned on the interwebs. My beauty regime is nothing major, nothing too wildly exciting, but it gets the job done (Clayton hasn’t requested me to put a paper bag over my head quite yet). I’m always willing to try new products and tips, so if you have any you’d like to share, just let me know!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ten lords a-leaping (P90X Plyometrics)

Since I’m blogging today, last night’s P90X plyometrics session obviously didn’t kill me, but it did kind of maim me. I woke up with pain in my lower back that’s making me feel aggressive and angst-y, but I think I would have been much worse for wear this morning had I actually given the workout my all. Rather, I treated last night’s cardio session much like I did my first 2 years of college and totally half-assed it. I'm running a 10k and then 6 more miles back-to-back on Saturday and I don't want to do anything silly to jeopardize that in the meantime!

The workout was essentially lots of squats and lunges around my in-laws’ basement in an effort to help me jump higher and stronger. Since I don’t have aspirations of becoming a professional basketball player or a pole vaulter, I have little use for being able to jump like Shaq. So I didn’t exactly go out of my way to make sure I was doing each and every exercise to the best of my ability. Plus, I already have thunder thighs from over 10 years of softball and volleyball—let’s not make things harder for my skinny jeans, okay?

{Source}
^^Do you see that? I think at this point in the routine
I was just jogging in place and laughing.

I only flipped off Tony Horton twice, but suffering through the entire 60 minute workout only confirmed my suspicions that I completely hate working out to a DVD. In fact, I detest it. First of all, I don’t like someone with washboard abs and vein-y calves telling me what to do in my own home. And secondly, I can’t stand those same freakishly jacked fitness experts drowning out the sound of my grunts and moans with cheesy jokes or overly peppy statements of, “You can do it! Only 1,000, 000 more reps until you look half as good as I do!” Workout DVDs are so not my thing. 

Clayton approached the plyometrics workout as a seasoned veteran, having done the workout so many times that he had Tony’s stupid catch phrases and lame jokes memorized. He breezed through each move with expertise and finesse, occasionally punching the air in tandem to his squats for extra movement and additional calories burned. I, on the other hand, leaped around the basement like a wounded ballerina way past her prime, all the while complaining about how much I hate my life. Clayton finished the 60 minute session with dark rings covering his sweatshirt and pools of sweat pouring down his face. Me? I wasn’t even glistening. Me, the girl who sweats bullets and experiences an elevated heart rate when she's just laying down couldn’t even muster a damp brow or an ampit stain. I’m used to finishing my runs with completely soaked clothes and socks, so completing P90X almost bone-dry was horribly disappointing. 

{Source}
I think I'll stick to my running and sloppy calisthenics, thank you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Courtney Confessions

I don’t have time to formulate a decent blog post tonight because Clay is forcing me to do P90X with him and in the likely event that I will die during the workout, I figured that it would only be appropriate for today’s post to be more Courtney Confessions. (Do people like reading these as much as I like writing them?)


  • Speaking of suffering from cardiac arrest during P90X, I’ve recently learned that I’m really not that in that great of shape (as I've mentioned in a previous Confessions post). Sure, I can be fully prepared to run a half marathon in only a few weeks, but jumping around my living room with a set of 5lb free weights exhausts me in a way that makes me feel feeble and broken. For instance, just last week I started swearing like a sailor when I forced myself to do a 1-minute wall sit and all but crumbled to the floor when I was finished. I’ve already promised myself that I will create more intense, dynamic cross-training routines after the upcoming One America 500 Festival Mini.
  • I’m already planning my next tattoo. I love my little foot tattoo so much it’s inspired me to consider getting more in the future. And you know what else inspired me to mull over more ink? Right after I got my first tat a friend’s immediate reaction was, “You don’t seem like the kind of person who would ever have a tattoo.” Nothing fuels my fire more than being told something is out of character for me (unless I punched an elderly person in the face because yes, then that would be wildly out of character for me). Call me stubborn, but if even I don’t completely know what kind of person I am yet, I’ll be darned if someone else thinks they know!
  • I serenaded Clayton with the theme song from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air the other night before bed, and I'm not sure which was largerhis level or annoyance of the amount of pride I felt because I still remembered all the words!
  • Some jerk I went to high school with tried to pick a fight with me on my Facebook wall today. Essentially, I posed a question in my status update asking if anyone else was worried about what’s going to happen on tonight’s episode of Glee, (the show left us with a rather large cliffhanger), and this wretched boy who clearly wasn’t loved enough by his mother decided to use my status as the perfect opportunity to tell me and the entire internet that anyone who watches TV lives a sad, unfilled life. Naturally, I took great offense to that statement and reminded this “friend” that he was speaking in wild generalizations and is making a ridiculously vague judgment that if you watch any TV at all, you’re a completely pathetic airhead. I reminded this “friend” that I have an extremely fulfilling, wonderful life that is chock full of amazing experiences and activities that have nothing to do with my television set. The the fact that I like to unwind for a little bit each night and get lost in the fantasy of a silly TV show is my prerogative and doesn’t make me any less of a smart, capable person. And of course, as these types of situations are wont to do, some of my other friends came to my rescue, tossing in their two cents and allowing this guy to inevitably snowball his angst into a much larger fight than necessary. I ended up deleting the comments thread in its entirety because I don’t condone negativity or stupidity on my Facebook wall, and I wasn’t going to continue to engage in petty drama with someone who was being hateful just to be hateful. The lesson here? If you want to stay in my good graces, talk to me like a grown up. If you have an issue with me or something I said, come talk to me in private and share what’s on your mind. Don’t splash it around in the public sphere because you’re looking to start something.

    But, like my favorite meme on the internet says, "Haters gonna hate."

    {Source}
  • The above experience also taught me that confrontation makes me … sweaty. Like really, super sweaty. But then again, what doesn't?
  • And finally, today's Facebook fiasco also made me realize that a lot of people have my back. I know it might sound funny, but for so many months (and years even), I've felt kind of alone outside of my family and a very few select friends. Leave it to me to take something as insignificant as an internet war to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I'm so lame.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter weekend recap

What I did:
  • Friday night Clay and I took advantage of the spring weather and met up with some friends at the drive-in movie theater just outside of town. I was beyond anxious to see the evening’s features—The Lorax and The Hunger Games—but I can honestly say that I was disappointed with both of them. The Lorax was just … boring … and I am such a snob that I have a hard time liking any movie that’s based off of a book. (The only exceptions have been Like Water for Elephants and The Help.) The Hunger Games movie had so much hype surrounding it months before it was even released that I figured it had to be as awesome as the book. Sure, I know that certain elements have to change in order to properly adapt a book to the screen, but to me, the fantasy and intensity of the actual story was just lost in the film. However, what I did appreciate most about the movie was finally having a visual of the amazing costumes Cinna created for Katniss. I felt tears spring up in my eyes when she twirled in that gorgeous red dress with flames on the bottom—it was perfect.

    Still the best book I've read this year!
    Clayton and I had radically different feelings about being at the drive-in.

    But gosh, I have so much beef with the movie as a whole. (I don’t want to give away any spoilers for those of you who haven’t had a chance to see it yet, so I’ll keep my criticisms as vague as possible.) I tried to appreciate the movie from the perspective of someone who hasn't read the book, but I couldn't help but judge it. As I said above, the most disappointing element was the complete lack of intensity in the actual Hunger Games. Katniss spent a lot of time alone in the arena before she met up with any of the other tributes, but the movie skipped most of it, leaving me to feel like the whole thing was rushed. Most importantly, The Hunger Games series is written with Katniss’ narrative and that narrative includes so many internal battles that the movie didn't articulate simply because the film couldn’t tell us her thoughts. If she wasn’t saying it out loud, we had no idea what she was feeling. And to me, her inner dialogue was the most important facet of the story.

    And please, don’t even get me started on the mocking jay pin. For reals.

    All in all, I think the movie was brilliantly cast. Jennifer Lawrence was a perfect Katniss, and I can’t imagine a better Cinna than Lenny Kravitz (although I wish they would have made Haymitch a bit surlier). Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman was spot on and I think Elizabeth Banks as Effie was an interesting choice.

    I know if they would have portrayed the actual Hunger Games more realistically the movie may have lost its PG-13 rating, but I think I was just expecting more. Either I'm really hard to please, or I just had far too great of expectations going into it.
 
  • In non-related movie news, my herbs are sprouting or germinating or blossoming or ... whatever it is that herbs do!

    • When the clock struck midnight on Sunday morning, the sound of Diet Coke cans being opened echoed throughout my in-laws’ house. Clayton and I officially survived 6 weeks without Diet Coke (we didn’t cheat once!), and out of all the years of Lent I’ve gone through, giving up my precious diet soda was probably the most difficult. For as big of a deal as we made going without Diet Coke, one could have easily assumed Clay and I thought we were like, dying for the sins of the world. We celebrated our foray back into the world of carbonated beverages 3 times over the course of Easter Sunday, starting with a canned Diet Coke and finishing the day off with $1 fountain Diet Cokes from McDonald’s late at night. Clay even ran to the grocery store around 10 o’clock that night to buy a few cases, and when I came down the stairs and saw the familiar silver and red cardboard boxes, I got a lump in my throat.
       
      Reunited and it feels so good!

      I got the whole gang back together again!
    • After an early morning Easter church service, Clay and I drove up to my mom’s house to celebrate Resurrection Day with a wonderful dinner that included spinach-stuffed lamb and her famous garlic green beans. After gorging ourselves in the name of Jesus and sipping Moscato wine, we broke out a deck of cards and spent the afternoon playing euchre. I was too lazy to switch chairs, so I ended up being partners with my mom, marking the first time that Clayton and I hadn’t been euchre partners in at least 6 months (which was fine by us because Clay and I have been going through a rather embarrassing losing streak). As a result, my mom and I won both games, thus confirming my suspicions that Clayton is indeed the weakest link on his and my euchre team. And the only thing that made me feel better than weeding Clayton out as the giant anchor holding us down as partners is the fact that when my mom and I made it to 9 points, she happily obliged to taking a visit to the barn with me:

      I'm not sure who's getting the better end of the deal here.
     What I ran:
    • Saturday morning I slept in far later than I wanted to (I think I was trying to sleep away my disappointment over The Hunger Games), and I didn’t get outside to run until the early afternoon. Having about zero motivation to take on 12 miles (I was only scheduled to run 11, but I decided to just make it 12 miles … like a boss), I decided to stay on my tried and true running route rather than venturing off into hilly no-man’s land like last weekend. Now, I’m not sure if running 10 miles uphill last Saturday gave me supersonic running abilities or what, but I completed my 12 mile run in 1:38:08 which averages an 8:10 min/mile pace. Being the completely self-doubting, un-trusting individual that I am, I kept questioning the validity of my GPS. Did I really run 12 miles that fast? My goal pace for the May mini is an 8:25 min/mile, there’s no way I ran 15 seconds faster than that. But, after checking and rechecking my route and time, it was true—I did run 12 miles that fast … just like a boss. Saturday’s run was the longest run of my entire training schedule (I’m supposed to do 12 miles again this Saturday, but I have 10 k race that morning that will split it up the day into two small 6 mile runs), and I couldn’t be happier because that means we’re getting that much closer to race day! 
     
    • On Saturday I started to notice a weird pattern in my running: After I hit mile 10 on any given long run, I start to get loopy and my brain feels like it has the consistency of jello. I’m still able to keep moving (and obviously at an okay pace!), but around that point in my workout, my thought processes stop making sense. I don't even remember stopping to look for cars as I crossed intersections at the trail. For the entire last two miles of Saturday’s run, I kept looking around me in a bewildered trance, just like the video of that kid after the dentist, asking myself, “IS THIS REAL LIFE!?”

      I have aspirations to run a full marathon at some point in my life, but if I start getting delirious with just 12 miles, I can't imagine what I'd be like running 20 or more! (probably dead)

    David After Dentist - Is this real life?


    • Sunday’s recovery run was pretty uneventful. I still had a lot of tightness in my upper thighs from Saturday’s run and the tops of my feet were sore, so I took it slow. It was pretty late by the time we got back from my mom’s and settled in (okay, we took a nap), so I stayed inside on the treadmill. I listened to some of my favorite Glee songs and totally zoned out while TLC's Long Island Medium provided extra background noise (and I don't know if you've ever seen that show before, my goodness! That woman's hair is epic!).

    What I baked/cooked:
    • I volunteered (as tribute! ha ha ... just kidding. Hunger Games reference!) to be responsible for our traditional Easter Sunday carrot cake this year, and it was quite the endeavor because I’ve never made a carrot cake. Sure, I’ve eaten tons of carrot cake, but how to actually bake one was a complete mystery. So much so, I was completed confused when I saw that the recipe called for raisins. I didn’t even realize carrot cake had raisins in it. Has it always had raisins it in? The specific recipe I found online called for crushed pineapple as well, and even the check-out lady at Wal-Mart agreed it was weird. But, like she said as she handed me my receipt, “How can adding pineapple to anything ever be bad?” So I went for it.

      CARROTS ARE SO EXCITING!

      Gosh, baking is SUCH hard work ...

      And I totally overestimated how many carrots it would take to produce 6 grated cups. I bought 4 bags, but ended up using less than one 1 whole bag. Ooops. I felt like Bubba from Forest Gump as I tried to devise ways to use the rest of the carrots before they went bad: “I can steam carrots. I can put carrots in a stir fry. I can slow cook carrots with a roast. I can bake carrots into a meatloaf. I can toss carrots in a salad. I CAN MAKE LIKE 15 MORE CARROT CAKES …”

      My favorite part of the carrot cake-baking process was eating making the cream cheese frosting. As you all know, I’m a huge advocate of frosting PERIOD, and I always welcome the opportunity slap it on something. Again, I went to the powers that be online and found a quick, easy recipe for a thick cream cheese frosting that called for only butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. In less than 5 minutes I had a double-batch of creamy frosting ready to be spread on my cakes (I’m sorry, but something about that last sentence sounds inappropriately sexual. I apologize).

    •  Due to the holiday and going to the drive-in this weekend, I didn’t do much in the way of cooking. So while I slaved over baking a carrot cake on Saturday night, Clay decided to help me out and make dinner. I don’t know how he did it, but my hubby came up with his own recipe for fried chicken that is so awesomely delicious I’m convinced he stole it from Colonel Sanders himself. I’m not even a fan of fried chicken, but the way he makes it is so light and crispy, I’d be a fool not to love it. And yes, I am woman enough to admit my husband can prepare chicken far better than me.

      Yum!
    I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, too!
    Blogging tips