Monday, July 19, 2010

Update and thoughts

Here I am again, being the laziest blogger. In a world where we constantly update everyone 140 characters at a time, it seems superfluous to write an entire blog entry. I might as well take all of my Facebook status updates and Tweets and smoosh them all together for a weekly blog post.

Anyway, here is a little update on what has been going on with me.

 - We are going to Hawaii next week! Levi is teaching a class at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, and I am tagging along for a relaxing vacation. I am looking forward to a lot of lying on the beach, swimming, eating, running, and hiking. I will need it after this week of getting my workspace in order and delegating my tasks to everyone else.

 - The weekend mini-vacations usually take up a lot of our off-time in the summer. This month we visited Williamsburg, Virginia and went camping at a friend-of-a-friend's beach house on the Chesapeake Bay. Those two trips were completely different experiences. In Williamsburg we went to an old tavern, stayed at a presidential-themed bed & breakfast, explored the William & Mary campus, and played around at Colonial Williamsburg in the hot, hot sun. The camping trip consisted of relaxing, drinking beer, catching crabs from a boat, relaxing, sailing on a catamaran, eating the crabs, and sleeping in a tent. They were both fantastic, and both full of things I had never done before.

 - I am quitting smoking. For good this time. Since I have tried and failed a few times in the past, I am attacking my addiction from all sides. I started taking Chantix four days ago, and my "quit date" is on Friday. Coincidentally, that is the day before I leave for Hawaii, which should make it easier. So far things are going well on the Chantix. The crazy-vivid dreams have already started, so that should make for a fun nighttime adventure.

 - Tomorrow is our sixth wedding anniversary. Woo!

 - I have a couple of races coming up this fall. I took it easy after the half marathon in June, but I am getting back into the running habit. (One of my top reasons for quitting smoking.) In September I will be running a 10K with a friend who wants motivation to lose a few post-baby pounds. At the end of September Levi and I will be running the Ragnar Relay with a group of ten other people. The Ragnar is 193 miles through West Virginia, Virginia, DC and Maryland. It takes about 30 hours and we all run three legs and sleep in a van. In October Levi and I are running the Army 10-Miler in DC. I am the most excited for that one, because the course takes us from the Pentagon, through the memorials, up to the Capitol, then back to the Pentagon. By then I want to be completely comfortable running 10 miles, like I was two months ago.

That's all for now. Maybe I'll find time to write from our house (with wi-fi!) in Hawaii.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Did It! The San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

The San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon was three days ago and it was a success! I raised $3000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and my finish time was 2:22, which was under my running goal! I was sure that I would need to stop and walk a few times during the race, but I managed to run the entire time.

The race was such a fantastic experience. I hit my stride in the second mile and somehow kept it going until almost the 11th mile. I started to get tired in the last two miles, but it was easy to keep running to the finish line at that point.

The bands and cheering crowds along the course made the day incredible. It was surreal to run along the freeway in San Diego with huge crowds cheering us on from overpasses. The race was put together very well with water and energy drink tables every two miles. They handed out salt for cramps and kept the runners supplied with gels. The bands were so great that I did not use my iPod the entire time.

I am pretty proud of myself right now, and so happy that the race was a pleasant experience. I am actually excited to do it again! I loved raising money for Team in Training, but I think next time I will do it on my own.

Levi went with me to San Diego, and my family drove over from Utah. They braved the crowds to meet me at mile eight on the course, then again at the finish line. Their spot in the eighth mile was perfect, because it was right at the top of a hill. I was starting to get a little tired, but seeing them gave me the boost that I needed.  Roger also flew over from Utah and he took us all out for a big pasta dinner the night before the race and met me at the finish line.

On Friday night we went to the race expo and ate way too many energy bar samples. We took advantage of our weekend in San Diego by visiting the Wild Animal Park. It was a great place to test out my new Canon camera. After the half marathon on Sunday we explored Balboa Park for a while before my family left.

Levi flew from San Diego straight to Alaska to teach a class, and he will be gone all week. His business trips give me a chance to try out new dinner recipes on myself and hang out with my girlfriends. Tonight is happy hour with Olivia and Saturday will be farmer's market and brunch with Sarah.

I am taking a few days off from running to let me poor toes recover. Only a few days though... next Saturday I will be running the American Red Cross 10K with a girl from work. Last June I ran my first 5K and this is 10K side of the same race. It is fun to see how far I have come in one year. Remember how nervous I was for that first 5K? Now it is like a run around the block. Well... a pretty long block. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blog? What Blog?

You'd think I forgot that I had a blog or something. It's been a few weeks.

Here is a quick update:

 - I'm up to eight miles and $1700 with nine weeks to go until the San Diego Half Marathon. My friends and family have been so supportive and generous... I am a lucky girl. I just signed the recommitment paperwork today, so it's official! One of my favorite parts of this whole running thing has been watching other people get motivated. A couple of coworkers who do not usually run want to start! I have signed up for 5Ks and the Army Ten-Miler with beginners because they have seen that my goal has motivated me to get better.

 - My wonderful husband, Levi, has been asked to speak at the i2 America's User Conference. He teaches a link analysis class to the military, and the main software that he uses is called Analyst's Notebook and was created by i2. They want him to speak about intelligence professionals learning to use this product to catch bad guys. He will be giving a 50-minute presentation on Tuesday, April 6th. I am so proud of him! You can see his name on their website here:

- Levi's class has been requested by a unit at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, so we will be traveling there in July. Since he does not have an assistant instructor right now, it looks like I will get paid to fly to Hawaii and help him out! I think we will stay for nine or ten days and take advantage of the free flights.

That is about it for now. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Days

It has been a snowy February in the DC area. We had a storm on Saturday, February 6th that gave us about 24 inches. We had another storm on Tuesday, February 9th that gave us another 11 inches. We were buried all week and almost everything was closed. We were able to make it into work for a few hours before it started snowing on Tuesday, and again on Friday. I did not know cabin fever until I spent almost an entire week in the house!

You would think that I would have seen it as an opportunity to get things done. I cleaned the house a few times, ran on my neighbor's treadmill once, and did an iota of homework. Besides that, it was the laziest week that I have ever had. When the roads were clear and we were allowed to go out into the world, I was still scrambling to get homework done before the due date. The Snow Week also would have been a good time for me to get sick. No, I even put that off until it was good weather.

One day the electricity went out in our neighborhood for twelve hours. It wasn't so bad during the daylight hours. I could still cook on our gas stove. By nightfall it was starting to get cold in the house so we joined our neighbors around a firepit in the Brown's backyard. We had a little wind-up radio set on a classic rock station, and we sat around and talked for hours.

Another day we walked to our favorite Peruvian chicken restaurant for lunch because the roads were too bad to drive. Everyone was walking in the road since the sidewalks were covered with snow and ice. It was a sunny, cold day, and everyone in the neighborhood needed to get out of the house. There were families walking down the middle of the street pulling kids on sleds to the grocery store and walking their dogs in the knee-deep snow.

During the snow days Levi and I played board games together and with our neighbors. We cooked and baked and watched movies and took naps. It was a forced vacation in our house. As happy as I am to be free again, we really had a lot of fun trying to think of things to do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Always on the Defensive

It's no secret that I tend to get defensive when I am criticized. I don't accept constructive criticism from loved ones very well. I can take it from coworkers and supervisors, only because I will wait until I am at home to get defensive about it.

In my defense (ha ha), after I step back and think about things I am a perfectly pleasant person again. I just need a chance to see the big picture, understand that I am blowing things out of proportion and that criticism does not mean that the criticizer thinks I am always wrong/terrible at my job/ugly/stupid/mean.

I think that, to an extent, this is fairly normal human behavior. Mine just seems to go a little farther because I happen to work with my husband. I love almost every aspect of this arrangement. Seriously, it is fantastic 97% of the time.

The 1% that I do not always love is when I want to leave work and Levi doesn't, or when he wants to leave but I want to finish something, but we have to drive together because we carpool. That is not a big deal and is very rare. Plus he is really accommodating in situations like that. (I am a little more impatient.) Other couples say that they would not be able to spend that much time with each other, but that is not a problem for us.

The 2% that is sometimes an issue is this defensiveness issue. When I complete a project at work and a coworker makes a suggestion, I have no problem taking that suggestion and either implementing it or "taking it into consideration," which means mentally telling them to go to hell and deleting their email.

However, when Levi makes a suggestion about my work I get defensive and want to rip his head off. Let me be perfectly clear that he is a smart man and makes very valid comments and suggestions. This is my own weird personality flaw showing itself to the world. I mean, I don't even understand it myself. What do I want him to do? Only give me praise? If he really thinks that something can be done in a more efficient manner, he should definitely tell me, just like he would tell anyone else in the office.

I know that I can't simply stop being defensive overnight. So the first step of my stop-being-an-idiot process is to keep it under wraps. When Levi says, "that looks great, but you should probably include blah blah blah in paragraph five," I need to keep my lips firmly closed, nod my head, and walk away. I can be defensive in my head for the next two hours if I want to, but he will not know it.

If I can accomplish that for a week or so, my next step will be to verbally acknowledge his suggestion. No agreeing or disagreeing, just repeating it back to him without using a bratty tone. Um... let's see if I can get through step one first.

Check out my Team in Training Fundraising Website!

Like I said in my previous post, I registered for the San Diego 1/2 marathon yesterday through Team in Training. Last night they sent me a link to my fundraising website!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Commitment Officially Made

This morning I faxed in my paperwork to join Team in Training (TNT) for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll 1/2 marathon on June 6th. The kickoff party is this Saturday, so pretty soon I'll have a training team and an honored teammate and a training schedule. I am so excited to really get into this. I am even more excited for it to warm up outside so I can run on something other than a treadmill without wanting to die.

Speaking of running, I hit 5 1/2 miles on Saturday, which is another record for me. I enjoy building up mileage a little each weekend. The 3 mile runs during the week are nice, but I don't walk away feeling like I am Superwoman. Doing better at each distance run, however, definitely gives me that feeling. Let's see how long it takes me to Superwoman it all the way up to 13.

Now that my registration paperwork is turned in, TNT will create a fundraising website for me within the next few days. My fundraising (aka badgering, begging, guilting, etc.) will be starting very soon. I plan to hit up family, friends, Facebook friends, coworkers, my neighbors, people in the neighborhood I grew up in, my mom's coworkers, my friends' parents, and everyone else I can possibly think of. Get ready with your checkbook. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Party Like You Are Eight Years Old

There are a few holidays each year that usually end up being kind of a let down. My birthday is one of them, because it is on New Year's Day. The night before is almost always a great time, but no one wants to do anything on January 1st. I opened all of my gifts at Christmas, everything is closed, movies are sold out, it's cold outside, and hangovers abound. Generally not the best day.

Another disappointing one is Valentine's Day. I really don't know many adults who love, or even like, February 14. We are all obligated to spend money on each other and find creative gifts. It is a pain to take your significant other out because the restaurants are packed. Really, Valentine's Day hasn't been fun since we made cardboard mailboxes and took home class name lists and made cards for everyone and stuffed our favorite candy in the envelope. You always put more candy in the envelope for your best friends and that cute boy in your class. Those were the days!

I decided to bring that back this year. On Saturday, February 13 we are going to have a Valentine's Day party, grade school style. All of our friends should use the creative side of their brain and decorate a box, then bring cards for everyone (including candy, of course). I'll make food and cupcakes and buy a few bottles of champagne.

If this party ends up being a good time, maybe we can make it a tradition. Kind of like my new birthday brunch tradition to make January 1st a little better.

Monday, January 25, 2010

52 Adventures

My friend Aline introduced me to a blog called The Year of 52 Adventures ( A woman named Kimberly started a blog challenging people to have an adventure every week in 2010 and write about it. We are three weeks in and the blog is already very entertaining and exciting.

It is impossible to read something like that and not want to try it out myself. I am a little late, but last night I started making a list of all of the things that I would like to do this year. I don't want to plan out all of my weeks, because I am hoping that some of my adventures will be spontaneous and unexpected.

I have been keeping up with the year so far without even really trying. For the first three weeks of my year of adventures, I:

Ran 5 miles for the first time
Went to a ballroom class
Ate fondue

So far, my plans for the next 49 weeks consist of big, medium and small plans for adventure. Keep in mind, all of these adventures will be firsts for me. Hence the "adventure" part.

Bake a cake
Sew a quilt top
Take a cooking class
Run 10 miles
Run a 1/2 marathon
Go to New Orleans
Go to Six Flags in New Jersey
Graduate from college

I am open to suggestions! I would also love to hear any of your lists if you decide to participate in the 52 weeks of adventures.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Combined Blogs

Quick note: I was keeping another blog in addition to this one. It was about my running, but I was never updating it. Considering how much time/awesomeness has transpired since my last post, it was utterly out of date. So I brought the measly eight posts over to this blog and deleted blog #2. If you find a blog post that seems out of place, now you know why.


Back in 2005 I worked at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Salt Lake City on one of their big fund raising events. I was always curious about the Team in Training program, but at that point I was WAYYY too lazy to do much more than be curious. From my couch.

I started running a little bit last winter and ran a 5K last June. This winter I have been running more and I was looking forward to running a 10K this spring or summer. I heard that The LLS Team in Training had added 10Ks to their program, so I decided to go to an information meeting and find out more.

Realistically, I could probably run a 10K next month without much problem. Talking to the people at the Team in Training program, I realized that what I really want is a goal to work toward. Not a crazy marathon goal, but maybe a not-as-crazy half-marathon goal. The more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a great idea. I would be raising money for LLS in the process, and I would get to travel to San Diego and run a Rock 'n Roll Half-Marathon.

Since I started running, a half-marathon has been on my "things to do before I have kids" list. (Right along with the Grand Canyon/Lake Havasupai hike.) And I have heard that the Rock 'n Roll races are a blast.

I decided that if I could run for one hour straight at the gym on Thursday night, I would sign up for the half-marathon. I have 19 weeks before this race and that seems like a good starting place. I jumped on the treadmill last night, set my sights on 60 minutes, and started running. It helped that I had a treadmill with my own personal TV screen, and that SpongeBob and iCarly (two of my favorite gym shows) were on back-to-back. After my one hour was up, I had run 5.25 miles, my hips were sore and I had blisters. Not bad!

That was my first step. I am going to take the next two weeks to make sure that I really want to make this commitment. Then my next step is to register at the kick-off party on February 6th. There I will meet my team and get my training schedule.

Along with training and running the race, I will be committing to raise $2900 for LLS. They will use some of that money to fly me to San Diego, register me for the race, give me some gear, put me up in a hotel, and throw the runners a party. The other 75%+ will go toward cancer research and patient services. I just hope that my friends and family will make the fund raising the easiest part of this project. If everyone I know gives me $20, I am good to go. Of course, they won't... so hopefully a few people will carry more weight.

I'm looking forward to getting a head start on the training over the next two weeks, then meeting my new teammates on February 6th. Then comes four months of training myself to run 13.1 miles and asking everyone I know for donations. Here's hoping that I stay as motivated (obsessed) as I have been for the past few days.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New BFFs

I love meeting new people. My idea of a great night out is when I stay up into the wee hours of the night having a drunk, yet wise and profound, conversation with a person who was a stranger to me only a few hours ago. After reaching into the depths of this person's soul during our incredible discussion, they become my new BFF. We part ways promising that we will keep in touch and go camping this spring and go to that Pixies concert and try out that new restaurant...

The truth is, I will probably never see that person again. I might add my new BFF on Facebook, then stay updated for the next several years on whether or not they were happy about the American Idol outcome or where they took their new puppy on a walk. I am great at meeting people, but terrible at following up. Unless it is a relationship that can be sustained with the occasional email/text/FB wall post and meeting for lunch every few months, I am not your girl.

I had a fantastic time on Saturday night and met half a dozen wonderful, interesting, exciting people that I would love to see more of. We made promises of Superbowl Sunday and Cinco de Mayo parties and I was so excited about my new group of friends. Now that the pomegranate martinis have left my system, I can see that there is a high probability that I will not be doing any of those things with those people.

I guess that it is in my hands as much as anyone. If I really want to make new friends, all I have to do is call the number on their business card or add them on Facebook and send them a message, but I have come to find out that I do not really operate that way. And that's okay with me. I love the friends that I have now, and I neglect them enough as it is. Instead of looking for something new, I should concentrate on spending time with the people that are already around me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goodbye 2009

We had such a fantastic year in 2009, that it is kind of hard to see it go. I tried new things, welcomed a lot of visitors, took a few trips, said goodbye to some great friends and met several new ones. Looking through my photos from 2009 made me nostalgic (if you can be nostalgic about things that happened less than 12 months ago.

January 2009

The year started with the tail end of our New Year's Eve party. This party was kind of a farewell to a group of our friends. We had nine friends move to different places all over the world within the next few months, and we miss them madly. We braved the crowds to see Obama's inauguration, then joined our fellow soldiers/spouses at an inaugural ball. I had a good excuse to buy a ball gown, we saw Barack/Michelle & Joe/Jill dance, and we were entertained by Bon Jovi and Josh Groban, among others. Quite a night.

February 2009

Levi & I drove to Savannah, GA to do a little exploring, then on to Disneyworld and Universal Studios, then met up with some old friends on our road trip home.

March 2009

Took a little road trip to Pittsburgh to see Adil and Ashley, saw the Andy Warhol museum at Carnegie Mellon, the French/Indian War museum at the point, ate wonderful food and incredible ice cream. Came home and saw Brendon Small in concert with his School of Rock. I got a new job at Earth Day Network. We drove up to Central PA to pick up our baby chinchillas, Snuggly Buggles and Scrambles the Death Dealer.

April 2009

My friend Shari brought her kids for a visit and we took them on the monument/museum tour. We saw everything from the Capitol to the cherry blossoms to the Holocaust museum to the White House and made huge meals for the seven of us. Flight of the Conchords concert, backstage at Earth Day on the National Mall where we met The Flaming Lips.

May 2009

Played with a pinata at Cinco de Mayo. Mom & Robyn came to visit over Memorial Day weekend. I showed them all of my favorite spots in DC, we met an old lady named Happy at the FDR Memorial, cried with the biker veterans at the Vietnam Memorial, saw pandas in the rain at the zoo, played on the giant at National Harbor, fed squirrels, and got yelled at by guards at Arlington Cemetery.

June 2009

Levi was promoted to SSG. I ran my first 5K in the pouring rain. When the weather finally cleared up for the summer we went on a hike with Mike & Suzie and relaxed at our new favorite winery in Maryland.

July 2009

Another road trip to Pittsburgh where we spent hours at the aquarium and zoo complete with a baby seal and baby elephant. Ryan came to visit for the month and we went to Busch Gardens, New York, the Late Show with David Letterman, Great Falls and took a West Wing tour of the White House. We crammed so much in, and it was one of my favorite months of the year.

August 2009

Yard work and painting at an elementary school for the Lockheed Martin volunteer day, zip lining with Sarah, kayaking for the first time, and dozens of bands (and $11 beer) at the Virgin Music Festival.

September 2009

Gramma & Grampa came to visit and we went on a tour of the U.S. Capitol. Levi and I did a high ropes course (another first) with Sarah, and I quit Earth Day Network (yay!) and got a job with Levi at Lockheed Martin. Now Levi and I commute to work together.

October 2009

Such a month... Our Make a Pizza party was a hit, Mom came to visit and we drove to Pennsylvania together to see the Amish people in Intercourse, went on another Capitol tour, toured the National Cathedral. I visited my family in Southern Utah where we went to Bryce Canyon, Snow Canyon, enjoyed the desert, carved pumpkins and had an incredible time. Tobi and Brady visited and we ran around in the rain, had all manner of fun with our friends and went to Six Flags. Whew. Another one of my favorites.

November 2009

Took a mind-blowing trip to Manzanillo, Mexico to see Ashley & Adil get married, snorkeled a coral reef and sunken ship, ATVed in the jungle, ate the best food and hung around in our swimsuits all day. Around the World party was a blast and the food was wonderful. Cajun Thanksgiving with friends then regular Thanksgiving with coworkers.

December 2009

Getting ready for Christmas, lots of shopping (hey, it's a highlight for me). Went to the National Christmas tree with Josh & Karen, moved into our new office. Visited family and friends in Salt Lake City where we saw everyone after way too long, went out to eat way too much and opened lots of gifts (yay!). Wrapped up 2009 the same way we brought it in... a New Year's Eve/birthday party with our new friends.

Good luck 2010... you have some huge shoes to fill.