Let me just say, I was sick yesterday and so has 11 voice mails when I got in today.  The best one was about a Ball Python, apparently someone had one and that's a lease violation.  Yes, there's a clause in the lease about pythons.  (Tears streaming down my cheeks...)

To entertain you further, enjoy this Robert Plant song, Angel Dance.  Play it in the background while you read this post:


Sick - well that was unexpected

As previously mentioned, I'd been out of town for the holidays.

Yesterday I woke up at 5:45am in Indiana.  (That's 4:45am in Minnesota for those keeping score.)  My aunt and uncle woke up and sent me on my way home.  It was actually a good day for driving, lots of sunshine and I left early enough that Chicago was a breeze (and when does anyone ever say that?).  I got home a little before 3pm in Minnesota and had this conversation with my Dad:
D - are you going to call later?
Me - I have no idea.  I need to hang up the phone now becuase I'm a zombie.

Several hours later I got off the couch and got take out.  I thought I was just exhausted from the drive but something must have been actually wrong because the moment food touched my stomach I knew there was trouble.  I went to bed at 8:45pm.

This morning my alarm went off at 6:25am.  That's 9.5 hours of sleep.  I sat in bed and looked at Facebook for a while before finally convincing myself to run.  Ultimately I decided that I just had to move seven miles and moving that at any speed above a walk would be fine, I didn't have to haul @ss today.  Good thing too because there was ice everywhere.  Including Lake Hiawatha.  Lake Nokomis has the beginnings of ice, near the shore.  The middle is still water.  The paths around Lake Hiawatha and a bit of Lake Nokomis are like a slip and slide.  How exciting.  On the way home all I could think about was hot oatmeal.  Once again, the moment food touched my stomach, I knew I was in trouble. 

I laid down on the couch and went back to sleep.  Something is really wrong if I sleep 9.5hrs and need more after that.  I have no idea how I made it for that run.  What the hell?  Nothing gross happened, I just felt really bad.

Around 3 or 4pm I started to feel like a person again and thought about going to work for my computer.  Oh look, rain that's supposed to turn into snow.  I changed my mind.  I called my office voice mail and found I have 10 messages waiting for me.  I decided I didn't want to know.

Around 7pm I tried food again.  That was a mistake.  I'm also drinking lots of water.  Decidedly not a mistake.  We'll see how I do tomorrow.  I'm setting the alarm for late since I already know I'm not trying to make it to work by 9am.  Remember the rain that's turning into snow?  It'll turn into ice too and I don't want a piece of that.

There's ice on my lake and other fun things from my weekend

I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday of the year because it's like five days long. Here's how mine went:

Wednesday: I drove from Minneapolis to Ft Wayne. It's 5am, let the vacation begin. I did get up really early and leave because I needed to make it out of town before the snow storm came.
In case you want to know, or in case I try to remember next year, I did go all the way around Chicago (I-39 to I-80). It adds about 50 miles to the trip and they were wonderful, peaceful (other than the ice and sleet which had finally found me) and full of moving traffic.
I must've looked like a zombie on Wednesday night because the first thing they did was hand me a glass of wine when I arrived.

There was food as well.

I stayed at my aunt and uncle's house in Indiana. Also present were Mom and Dad and one other Aunt/Uncle pair. My cousin (daughter of the other Aunt/Uncle) couldn't make it because of her job. She told her parents to have some sweet rolls for her. We took this picture, just to show her we were keeping up our end of the agreement. I didn't have any but apparently one of the ingredients is crack.

Turkey Day!: I got up semi-early. Indiana is at the very western edge of the time zone so the sun actually comes up fairly late there, like 7:45. Once the sun was out, it was time for a run that would justify the amount of food I was about to eat. I didn't know exactly where I was going or what I was doing so I set my Nike+ to tell me when I'd been out for about 90 minutes and figured even if I wasn't moving too fast that would be good. I promised both an aunt and my mom that I would stay in the sub-division area where there's relatively few cars. My aunt really does live out in the county where there's no sidewalks and no shoulders on the roads, all of which means there's no room for runners on the main roads. So sad. I did find the house in the woods with the crazy mean very crazy and very mean dogs.

After the run, it was "hang out and enjoy each other" time. No, seriously. I like these people. It was also time for a brief nap. I had just run for an hour and a half after all.

Hang out time turned into alcohol time quickly which was just fine too. We went to a neighbor of my aunts and hung out for a while. I even got in a quick game of Grand Mastermind, which I didn't even know was a thing. Apparently it's not made anymore but they should bring it back. This is one of those games like Bridge where alcohol may make you better but it's tough to say.

After the neighbor's house we had a few moments in the afternoon to hang out before the next meal. (Had I even eaten yet? That champagne was really good after the 7 mile run.) Dad and I did a crossword puzzle together, one of our new favorite past times.

All of a sudden, everyone showed up and it was time to eat. I'm told there were about 16 people there for dinner. I can't believe it; they left just as quickly as they showed up.

Dinner was awesome, as per usual. On the menu at my Thanksgiving meal were:
Eggplant parmesean - for my vegetarian cousin (who's also a cop and on the SWAT team. It's like looking at a bouncer in a tutu sometimes.)
Lasagna - for the rest of the Italians (there were many, I assure you)
Homemade applesauce
Homemade coleslaw
Turkey and Gravy
Awesome mashed potatoes
Sweet potato casserole - my personal favorite
Creamed corn
Green beans
Some cranberry jello concoction - obviously I can't handle jell-o so I didn't indulge but it did remind me of my grandmother.
I had most of it, but another part of Thanksgiving is the left overs so I avoided the Italian food on the first go-round. There was no stuffing (which is a story for another time).  After the meal and all the kids left (which wasn't long) I found myself on the couch in a turkey coma watching Avatar (which Dad didn't understand had left the movie theaters and went to DVD; "it has to be in 3-d"). In Dad's defense, it is better in 3-d.

Black Friday baby! Yes, we did go shopping. No, we were not out at 3am with the crazies. We find the best time to go is between 7am and 11am. Around 7am all the people who've been out since the middle of the night need a break and food so there's a mild lull. And at 7am, the sales people are still mostly pleasant an untraumatized. (You think I jest.) Mom and I went with one aunt and one cousin which may be the smallest post-Thanksgiving shopping party ever. Mom and I broke off from the other two and went to Macy's for me because I had gift certificates where I got basically an entirely new wardrobe and new super cute earrings. Did you know the Smurfs live at Macy's? Me either.

After Macy's we hit some other stores in the mall where we had slightly less success. Bath and Body Works, mom's choice, was a complete zoo. The line wrapped right around the entire store to pay. We decided that we'd pay all the money we would have saved not to stand in that line. We did get some stuff for Dad at JCPenny's and looked in a sporting goods store as well.

Around 11am the mall gets crazy with the "we can't be bothered to get up early and we haven't been up all night" crazies. There are more of them than any other variety. That's when we left and went home for lunch a second Thanksgiving meal of leftovers. mmmm. Sweet Potatoes. Then we picked up my Dad and Uncle and headed over to Marshall's for one last blast of shopping. I found an UnderArmour cap for running there that's fantastic. My pooky-bear's Theory of Marshall's continues to be true.

After Marshall's we gave up the shopping ghost for good and headed to Blockbuster. That's right, I went inside a Blockbsuter where I hadn't been in, I dunno, a million years. And I didn't have a panic attack at all.

We went over to the tractor museum to watch the movie. (Is there anything I could tell you so that last sentence makes sense?) We saw Eat Pray Love which was basically fine and had a surprisingly good soundtrack. What was with the "mix tapes" though?

Saturday - Amanda works a double My job on Saturday was to text Amanda every five minutes because she was working a double and needed entertainment. (Just what the world needs, a distracted caregiver.)  I have no idea why a double other than she's a good friend. Now that I have a smart phone, a new found source of entertainment is to send text messages with photos. Poor Amanda, she had no idea what she was in for when she said "Liz, keep texting."

My parents woke up Saturday morning and then went home. I think this was mostly my dad's decision. He felt like "there's no plans today so we shouldn't stay; we'll be in the way". He doesn't understand; Thanksgiving's not like that and this aunt and uncle aren't like that ever anyways.  I also think that Dad is getting older and fussier and just likes to be at home more than ever. It kind of makes it hard for him to come see me.

After my parents left, we did in fact, just hang out for the day. See why it's my favorite holiday. My aunt and I picked up some of my cousin's kids and headed over to the gym to work out and for the kids to play. And for me to take more pictures for Amanda.

At the gym I had my first "dreadmill" experience. The first time was fine, partly because it was the first time and partly because I was looking at a TV the size of my house showing a marathon of The Nanny (a show that's only funnier since I started working in the Jewish community). I did like that I could adjust my speed and really feel what a 9:30 mile feels like for a few minutes, even if I didn't stay there too long. I started thinking I could use the treadmill for some tempo/speed workouts in the winter if I had to. (It could be better than three hours on an elliptical, possibly.)

After the workout I took more pictures for Amanda. And we tried to pick a lock.

Saturday I also went back to my aunt's neighbor's house to play one last round of GrandMasterind. I'm much better at guessing than scoring. Or perhaps the scorer needs to not drink that much wine. It's tough to say.

Another Thanksgiving staple - PuppyChow. It's Crispx (or chex) soaked in dark chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and a whole coating of awesome. (I think my aunt used some of the crack she had left over from the sweet rolls.) Chex makes a version of this and sells it in stores but my aunt's homemade recipe is the best. She uses dark chocolate.

Saturday night after all the fun and games my aunt and I watched a couple of movies while my uncle was out at a hockey game. A million texts later, Amanda survived the double and was also glad she switched to a text plan with more than 50 texts/month or whatever ridiculous thing she was on before. One last picture before bed.