It's been a while since I've uploaded any pictures. Although I've still been taking them. I have a hard time focusing my attention on things like political speeches, as interesting and relevant as the State of the Union is to me. So I'm writing a blog post and editing photos while I listen. (Hey, if I miss anything, I'll check the internetz.)

Last Friday: I decided to pay tribute to Sudafed, one of my favorite substances ever created. Most of what's gone was used while I was flying back and forth from Cincinnati. There's nothing worse than being congested on an air plane. Ow.

Last Saturday: I must have been exercising because I once again decided to pay tribute to my poor, beat-up, well-loved iPod. Notice how the top is missing? It makes locking the keys interesting. I also spent a lot of time Saturday cheering and providing runner support for several friends at the Securian Frozen Half Marathon (good job to Tesha, Kate, Glen, Laura, John, Heather, and Robin for running the Half and to Beth for running the un-certified 5k). Beth and I were like the only people on Shephard Road cheering for the runners. Lots of people in Vikings gear that day.

Sunday: The Vikings lost. This is how my room looks when the Vikings loose. No. I'm just kidding. Sunday is my clean up day. I spent a lot of time cleaning, doing laundry, and generally putting stuff away. The rest of the week, I have little energy to clean. I'd have more energy if I shared this space with another human being. The fish don't mind the mess. Sometimes I hate how messy things get and I wont let people come over if I don't have time to clean. This is probably one of the most honest pictures I could put up.

Monday: I remember working on Monday and not doing exercise. On purpose. I went to the gym on Sunday and Saturday. Apparently my fish tank was all I could think of to photograph.

Tuesday: There was work. There was the gym. And there was the most awesome breakfast ever: Banana slices with peanut butter and chocolate chips. I am learning to embrace peanut butter as a protein source.

Today: This is a pair of earrings I love.


A new accomplishment

Ok, so I'm mildly problematically addicted to the Word Challenge game on Facebook.

But I did just get a new high score.

Linkfest: Long overdue



My attempt at making bread. The verdict: Fail. I think the flour went bad in the freezer.

Satsuma mandarins: best food ever.

When I was home, I got a hair cut. It was sort of a spur of the moment decision.

Quilts at home. Mom has more handmade quilts than anyone I know. And I'm including my pooky bear in this, although she's definitely the best competition.

A painting in my parent's living room. It's the signature of my dad's art teacher. He was like an extra grandpa to me.

Sunrise on the airplane.

Sometimes, I don't know what to photograph. I use whatever is lying around and try to find an interesting angle.


As my eyes start to close...

It's been a busy couple of days.

Yesterday I worked. All day. Also, I attempted to bake bread. It did not go well. I had some shape issues. I also think that the flour went bad in the freezer. Can that happen? The bread tasted funny.

Today was a blue jean day at work meaning I hid in my office and did paperwork all day. I stay away from people when I'm not as dressed up as normal.

I came home and ran at my favorite running spot. ::Side note - YO! City of Minneapolis - it's time to plow the sidewalks again. This slush hurts my body when I'm running through it.:: I was less puke-ish after this run than I have been after the previous two this week.

A friend of mine had tickets to see The Wizard of Oz - Soundtrack provided by the Minnesota Symphony which was very cool. I realize I hadn't actually watched the movie since I was a little kid. There's a lot in there for a five year old to miss.

Now I'm getting ready for bed. My camera is already put away or I'd show you pictures of my bread failure and other things I've been doing recently.


The Cleaning Monster...

I should run in the evening more often. It makes me very productive. After the run today, the cleaning monster came out. Although, sadly, all the labels in my refrigerator do not face forward, or in any uniform direction. Neither do the labels in my broom closet. (Irmghard told me at Christmas that she just does this naturally when she puts things away. Funny.)

To give you an idea of my, ahem, standards, I finally folded the laundry that I washed last Friday after I was sick. Yes. Today is Wednesday.

Now all clean clothes are put away, semi-clean clothes are hanging on my door, and dirty clothes are where they belong. My bed's made but that's probably the least impressive thing on the list.

The kitchen is also clean which has been a long time coming. Dishes just seem to multiply. I also have a layer of crud that cannot be removed from the floor despite my best efforts. What should I do? It cruds up right below the stove, around the dishwasher and under the counters where I stand to chop and prepare food. Blergh!

Happily, the place has also been vacuumed. I even got out the little hose tool today and hosed under the front of the couch. It's clear I hadn't vacuumed in a while (or I'm really sloppy when I'm sick) because there was quite a bit of detritus there.

Tomorrow on my list is taking stuff to good will and taking plastic bags to the co-op for recycling.

Right now I'm rocking out to Sarah McLachlan. I used to love her music. It was the only thing Alicia and I could agree on coming home Columbus Ohio at 4:00am. Then, I don't know, I just got over it. But it's great to hear again. My current favorites are "Mary" "Good Enough" and "Ice" from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and "Angel" from Surfacing.

RUN! And then look at these pictures!

I repeat what I said Sunday about running outside in the cold and then feeling ishy in the tummy.

On Monday I celebrated left-over brussel sprouts from Christmas dinner with Amanda and my Pooky Bear. There was no exercise.

Tuesday, similarly, there was no exercise. Instead I went to work early, got home at 4pm and took a long nap. This is what time I woke up from that nap. I was awake for an hour or two before I threw in the towel and went to bed for the night.

Today, I slept in. And went to work late. And got coffee on the way (and by coffee I mean a $4 latte with tons of milk) since I don't have any other food to eat for breakfast.
In a surprise move, I went for a run after work. I've tried to describe YakTrax before. In Minnesota right now, they're a necessity and I love them. I also use them as a motivator to get outside while the snowpack is still reliable. My knees have let me know that two days of running outside on YakTrax is all that's allowed in a week. I'm not injured, they're just letting me know. Also, my Nike+ system is ridiculously inaccurate with these little contraptions strapped to my feet. Nike+ told me I'd run 7.07 miles at a 7:47 pace today. I actually ran 4.2 miles at a very much slower pace.


Weekend Photos Rounup and Linkfest

Saturday - I went to Target after not seeing people, which I think I've already mentioned was a mistake. They are selling swim suits at Target. There's a -4* wind chill. It's Minnesota. In January. I didn't do much else on Saturday. I thought about exercise but I decided against the idea. For those who are interested, I also used my sick time to re-watch several Star Trek related things. I watched some of my favorite episodes of The Next Generation, which is the cast and stories I grew up on, learned about Deep Space 9 which is interesting so far, and watched several of my favorite movies included "the one with the whales" (comic genius); this one, and the last one with the cast from TNG. I am not ashamed to love Star Trek.
This is the other thing I did on Saturday:

Sunday - I was much more productive after getting out of bed at 1030. (I know, you'd think I'd be tired of sleeping after doing almost nothing else for the last 3 days.) This morning I watched an episode of DS 9, then went for a run at my running spot, 3.1 miles today. The run was rough, I think because I didn't exercise most of the week and it was cold out. I tried to explain to Kelly and Amanda and Eric how much air I have to suck down when I go for a run in the winter. It's like all I suck in is cold and not actual oxygen so I have to double and triple my efforts. All I breath in fills my insides, not just my lungs. I can't explain it. All the other winter runners know of what I speak. After I'm done I don't really want food because I've sucked down too much air.
I was going to go to the gym but then I discovered the UnderArmour running pants Mom got me for Christmas. I decided they deserved to be worn. And they are great.
Here's some of my running gear. Big thanks to Mark for the gloves and to Amanda, Kelly and Eric for the Nike+ system.

After the run I went to Kowalski's which happily had Brussels Sprouts. I headed home and roasted said sprouts while I warmed up from running around the lake.

Then I took my dish and Christmas presents (which were really just cards for the magazine subscriptions that are the actual gift) over to my Pooky Bear's house. Amanda was there too and we did our usual Christmas-in-January. Kelly made shrimp scampi and Amanda made a Chocolate Mousse (Kelly said to tell Eric it was pudding so he'd eat it). All of them were YUM.

Sadly my stomach is trying to kill me right now, it was trying to kill me before other people cooked me food too. I'm trying to decide if it's goat cheese, eggs, the soda I had after I ran (not my brightest move), the fruit juice (I haven't actually had much at all today) or something else. It's the opposite of fun but I'm sure it'll work itself out by tomorrow.

While I wasn't watching Star Trek, I did have time to play on the internet.


Recovery - an update

  • My love for William H. Macy knows no bounds. I am not ashamed. When I got back from Target Air Force One was on. (William H Macy was in that?) Just reminded me how much I love him.

  • Target on Saturday afternoon is never a good idea.

  • After two days of not seeing anyone, Target is not the worst community reintegration idea possible. I lost track of how many panic attacks I had. I actually haven't had a panic attack in a store in a long time (largely owing to never going to Blockbuster). Target was just nuts.

  • I lack the attention span to watch a football game from start to finish. Perhaps I am too emotionally invested. WHO DEY!

  • Cleaning up after being sick totally blows, but it feels good when it's done. (Not that kind of cleaning up.) I just haven't emptied the dishwasher or cleaned a dish or put my clean clothes away. The good news is I do have clean clothes.

  • Watching football is better while writing this blog entry. Maybe I've found a better way to split my attention. (Oh, shoot, one of the good guys just got hurt. That's like all the wide receivers we have.)

  • I miss people. I forget how to be around them when I'm, you know, not.

  • Hey, the Olympics are coming.

  • A ton of you are running The Securian Frozen Half for which I think you're crazy *ahem* I can't wait to come out and cheer! I have no idea how you managed to train between recovering from a fall marathon and crappy winter weather. I'm impressed by your discipline and hoping it rubs off.

  • I'm actually thinking about a visit to my favorite running spot tomorrow for a little warm up run. It'd be nice to get my body moving again. Let it remember how good it feels to move. It's YAK TRAX weather too.

  • This is what I imagine Amanda's job is like, if you can recognize that is funny as he!! and not sexual harassment.


Slowly, slowly starting to feel better

Wednesday was a normal. I had a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast. I had a bunch of meetings at work. After work I made lentil soup (which I still haven't sampled yet) and called it a night.

By Thursday morning, I thought I was going to die. (Thanks sinuses!) I took the day off work and spent 95% of it on the couch. I tried some medicine, some hot pack on my face and some good old fashioned sleep. It's really amazing that I had sinus pain (and I mean pain) the entire day and didn't wind up with a migraine. One of my fishes died on Thursday.
Really the most appropriate picture for the day is the dead fish lying in the toilet but even I have limits. This is one of the still-living fishes. I have no idea what his name is, although Steve or Amanda could probably tell you. (They wouldn't tell you the same thing though.)

Speaking of migraines, I woke up Friday morning with a big one. I slept most of today too. I think the headache is finally starting to let up. I have to grab my head when I sneeze (thanks again sinuses) but other than that I'm good right now. So good that I went out to clean the snow off my car in case I ever leave my house again. I thought it would be really snow-ice covered but actually it just took a minute or two to brush off. After that, I had to pick between Target and Laundry because I need both clean clothes and food. Ultimately I decided clean clothing was more important. I still have some provisions here, I'll last for one more day and it'll be warmer then.
On the way back inside I picked up the mail, including a nice packet from the Board of Social Work.
I'd really like to show you a picture of my new social worker license I received in the mail today. Alas, it has my full name and my license number on the certificate so I think I'll keep that image private. But I can now write LISW after my name, no more LGSW for me. For everyone worried about my health, I've already filled this thing up twice today, I'm trying to keep as hydrated as possible.


A Photo per day?

I tried doing Project 365 a while ago and it came to an abrupt halt when a water bottle spilled in the bag where I was carrying my camera and I decided it was best not to carry the thing around with me anymore. But it was fun to look back at those posts when I was taking pictures every day. I really wonder what the heck happened that day but it's nice to see myself smiling like that.

I decided I'd give it a go again. For the most part I've taken macro photos of things in my house which can be interesting. If nothing else it's photos for everyone to look at while they're here.

A Christmas present - that's Jenny and I as penguins. Go here to see Jenny knocking me down and me getting her right back.

That's an iPod I drop at least once a day *ahem* a well-loved iPod. I use it every time I work out. Remember I've been running for a long time. That's a lot of love.

This is how much money social workers earn.

Close-up of a painting from Dad.


Long Weekend Roundup and a Sunday Linkfest

Yesterday I think the temperature did not get above zero (that's 0* Fahrenheit for my international friends). I did not leave my building. I left my condo only long enough to check the mail in the hallway. Brrrr. I mostly laid around and read. I did a small bit of cleaning but not enough to be classified as productive.

Today has been much more productive. I woke up and finished organizing my iTunes Library. (That's like a monthly task, especially the album artwork) and I had a mild health scare (thanks to Google for helping me realize it was nothing and I'm oblivious).

Once I figured out I wasn't going to die I packed up and went to the gym. The gym in January is really quite an accomplishment for me. I can't stand the gym in January because of all the new members who fill it up. I particularly love February, March and April when the new members stop coming. I had a fairly positive attitude at the gym today which helped immensely. I went during the Vikings Game (there's a wall of flat screen tv's there, it's not like I missed anything) plus it was too cold for so many people to come out. I actually managed 5 miles on the elliptical. My legs felt like rubber afterward but the recovery was short. But dude, it's January and I was able to reserve the elliptical.

I went to the pet store to pick up filters for my fishes who badly needed them. (Sorry guys.) Then I stopped at Chipotle and got enough to feed a small horse a steak burrito. I think I may need to establish a minimum running distance before Chipotle is allowed. I'm not sure 5 miles is enough but whatever.

Now I'm sitting here watching football Go Vikings! For today only: Go Cowboys too!. I can't believe I have to work 5 days in a row starting tomorrow. How's that go again?

While I'm trying to figure that out, here's some things for you to ponder:


2009: Liz's year in review

For the past couple of years, I've written a year in review post, always after we are completely done with the former year. (Year-in-review posts at the beginning of like, December, make me crazy. Dude, we're not done yet.) See how 2007 and 2008 treated me.

January started off pretty much like this January, with Amanda and I jumping in a lake for no particular reason. 2009 was a much warmer jump than 2010. It was in the 20's that day.

February (that's a weird month to spell) was a mix of continuing to reel from the bed bug infestation and an awesome time in Florida spent drinking with the aunties hanging out with my family and running a lot. I needed Florida in February because we had record setting cold in Minnesota in January of that year.

March saw the beginning of fund raising for Bolder Options and a recognition that 2009 was, indeed, going to be the year I ran a marathon. Incidentally, it's not too late to give. Bolder Options is a great mentoring program in the Twin Cities. You can show your support by donating here. Big Thank You! to everyone who supported Bolder in 2009.

April was the month I became a pet owner. How long do guppies live? (Ha, I just thought, "until they jump into Lake Minnetonka through a hole in the ice and become minnows". It's obvious what I was doing today.) One of the original guppies is still alive. One died and I've added two more since then. None of them actually have names from me but both Steve and Amanda have given them names they try to teach me.

May Jim Borgman made an allusion to my high school English class that everyone in AP English at Walnut Hills can recognize. The real accomplishment of May was running a half marathon.

June is the month I get a year better every year. This June Sarah came for a visit. I think she'll be back.

July and all summer really, was heavy duty marathon training. It was in July that I ran my first fifteen miler while I was at home in Cincinnati. I still remember thinking I was never going to get off that path. Three laps is really a long time.

August was Ragnar Relay time. I was so sick. I just remember not being able to keep any food in my body and drinking water and sports drink non-stop. And I remember Beth and Robin and other other Beth and small children waiting at the top of Hidden Falls Drive for me and cheering. In 2010 I'd like to run Ragnar and be healthy at the same time.

September was the month I did my 20 miler in preparation for the marathon, but the real event was the Bolder Dash which Dad actually came to town to watch.

October was marathon month. First, the running mates ran the Twin Cities marathon and Jenna, Beth and I biked all over the cities to cheer for them. Then the running mates helped me train for my marathon by telling me about some, um, interesting plumbing issues anyone can have. Then I flew to Amsterdam and ran the Amsterdam Marathon. And stayed sober long enough to tell the tale.

November gave me the worst nosebleed I've ever had, and the most expensive. I just got another bill in the mail yesterday. (This is why we need healthcare reform.) It's also the month of Thanksgiving: my favorite holiday.

December brought me back onto the race track in a fun but completely unspectacular way. Christmas was one of the best visits I've had with my parents. I got them very little actual stuff and more gift certificates that wont accumulate in the house (I hope). I got Mom a gift certificate to Kiva and rugs from Ikea, Dad a magazine subscription and The Vegetable Bible for cooking. I got them both a gift certificate to The Green Dog Cafe because they like to go out to eat and I like that it's local food. (I can still hear my cousin saying "We only drink the milk if we know the cow".) And then I began thinking about how to ring in the new year.

Ice Diving - I want to go again!

I can't believe I have to wait all year to do that again. I am now a Walleye.

I promised Jenna that no pictures of the Ice Diving incident would wind up on Facebook so I won't be including them in this post (because my blog automatically posts to Facebook).

Amanda and Jenna and I hauled ourselves all the way out to Excelsior (I know, it's just south of Canada and right next to the Moon) where a rectangular hole was cut into the ice on Lake Minnetonka. Beth met us there and watched the Ice Divers for a time before picking her daughter up in Plymouth. (The city limits of Plymouth actually share a border with Canada.)

When we got to the event center Jenna began to understand the enormity of this undertaking. It was packed. We hung around for a little while and talked together with Beth. Then we got in line and headed downstairs into the queue of divers. They had a warming tent this year. (I think they learned from the ridiculous experience of having 900 people packed in one room last year.) We actually were so late in the queue that we wound up not having to use the overflow space in the warming tent, we just waited inside and then went straight to the dock. Amanda and I jumped together and Jenna wound up jumping with a girl who was alone and needed a partner. Then we regrouped inside and compared notes about when specifically in the jump our brains had turned off *ahem* compared experiences.

I think the funniest part of the day was the look on Jenna's face when I said, "you want your shoes to be on tight enough they don't come off when you're swimming, but loose enough that you can get them off if your shoelaces freeze". I didn't tell her about my contacts freezing last year until after the dive.

What was different from the first year:

  • Amanda was not physically up to par - oh wait, that's the same as last year. Last year Amanda was starting to get Influenza the day we jumped. This year, she had a residual foot injury. I was actually kind of surprised she jumped. We decided I'm a very bad friend for wanting her to jump so badly.

  • Another diver, plus a spectator. With Amanda's foot injury I thought I was going to be diving alone so I recruited a running partner to jump with me. At the last minute Amanda couldn't stand being left out so we were all three going to jump together. I thought a second running partner and her son were going to jump as well. That running partner's husband "vetoed" the idea, but really just gave her a nice excuse to stay warm and dry. (We'll get her next year when she reads about all the fun we had.)

  • No contact lenses. Last year I had a little issue with my contact lenses freezing as I was getting out of the water. No, seriously. I took them out last night and wore glasses to the lake. (Another reason there will be no pictures.) My eyes did not freeze this year.

  • Robe, not towel. I learned from last year that a big fluffy robe is the most desirable attire for being wet in sub-freezing temperatures. A towel is simply inadequate.

  • Swim cap, which Amanda called cheating. When I was thinking about this and going through all the steps in my mind the part I was dreading the most was walking back to the car with wet hair. (I have a lot of hair on my head and it takes forever to dry.) So I wore a swim cap. Amanda called it cheating. Her hair was dry by the time we ate and left.

  • I swear the water was deeper than last year. Last year I remember being able to see the bottom before we jumped in and I remember being able to push off the bottom. I don't think I pushed off the bottom this year to get under the rope but it's hard to say. Landing in the water is not a part of the day I remember very well.

  • Similarly, I swear the hole in the ice was skinnier, probably because the ice was so thick, too much work to cut it any wider. The whole looked skinnier in width, definitely not a shorter length to swim.

  • I swam all the way across this year, no firefighter dragging me. That was actually my goal for the dive: get across on my own power. I needed help getting up and off the ladder onto the dock, but I did get all the way through the water on my own. (So glad I spent all those years on the swim team.) Amanda, in an hilarious move, actually told the firefighter to get ready for her before we even jumped in the water.

  • I waited outside, wet, to see Jenna jump in with the partner she met in line, Torie. They were about ten pairs behind me so I had time to put on my robe. My feet kind of hurt (from being wet and cold) but what really hurt while I waited was my hands. They were so cold. I had each one wrapped in it's own blanket. I kept thinking, "I'm gonna loose all my fingers and Gordon's gonna be right about this being a bad idea." Actually my fingers stopped hurting long before my feet thawed and stopped hurting. I'm afraid walking around in shoes with numb toes is more likely to make me loose a toenail than marathon training.

  • Much better crowd control this year, made for a much more pleasant line waiting experience. Last year Amanda and I almost got crushed and we waited in line for at least 90 minutes. And didn't eat breakfast. This year we waited for about ten or twenty minutes in line (inside), jumped, and ate. I ate Jenna's bacon. The potatoes and the coffee were the best.

  • It was much colder than last year, leading Amanda to suggest we have a minimum jumping temperature. I think 3* may be the magic number. ("Three's my lucky number.)