Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Guest of the Day

I walked into the hotel last night, and saw my name on the board that I was the guest of the day. I got upgraded to a suite at the Holiday Inn in Minot, ND. Woo hoo, glamour abounds!

It was actually kind of funny - it was two rooms, and I swear, there was more floor space than the 1-bedroom apartment I used to rent. The bad things: the refrigerator froze my baby carrots and broccoli that I had packed for afternoon snacks while I was travelling. The wireless internet was being finicky, and kept kicking me off of our e-mail system. The plug on the jaccuzzi tub did not hold water in the tub. I woke up in the morning with the beginnings of a cold, and did not have the energy to get up and run. And lastly, the room was too stinkin' big - it took quite a while to gather up all of the things that I had scattered about the suite of rooms. Ya well, what do you expect?

I had a couple of good laughs today. At the meeting this morning, someone brought in something he had printed out, an item that was for sale on e-bay... I kid you not, an "Authentic North Dakota tumbleweed" I guess it takes all kinds. So in the van, driving with my co-workers, one of them kept looking for some to go rolling across the highway, so he could chase one and pick it up - a new get rich scheme! Of course there were none rolling at the time. We did notice some snagged in some trees by the side of the road, but he wanted to "catch a live one" it just was not sporting if he just picked up one that was not moving!

Okay, I guess you had to be there. Take my word for it, it was pretty funny.

I get to go home tomorrow! I get to go home tomorrow! I get to go home tomorrow! It's been a long week of traveling. And next week, I get to do more traveling. It sure is a challenge eating correctly, staying up with e-mail and phone calls, and finding time to exercise. To top it off, it appears that I am coming down with a lovely cold.

But, I have NO plans for this weekend. I plan to stay home, prep and cook some food for my book club that is in a couple of weeks, and relax. Do some laundry? Perhaps. Only if I really feel like it.

I got nothin' else.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

3 days in a row

I exercised!

I went to the Y yesterday to get a printout of what I paid in membership dues for 2006 (our company reimburses about half) and ran on the treadmill. 3 miles. I had some new music on my mp3 player, and it really got me going and motivated. I think it will be a good friend - I am quite happy with that gift from my DH.

I have my bag packed and ready to go this afternoon, but I am going to play it by ear. I have a few things that need to get done tonight, one of them is meeting some girlfriends for drinks and commiseration - a good friend of mine had her father pass away on Wednesday.

I was talking to Eric last night about getting myself motivated to get more into shape, and why... one of them being the trip to Isle Royal in May, the other being that I want to run a marathon this year. He got a pretty surprised look on his face with the second reason. I guess I had mentioned that I would think about it, but did not tell him that I was planning on running the TCM this year. He said that he would need to get organized to resume his volunteer position of running the clock at the finish line so he could be there for me that day. How many people can get a hug and a kiss from their spouse as they cross the finish line of a large race like that?

Anyway, I'm motivated for now. Here's to keeping it up!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Because it does not know the words

Our house has a funny hum to it when the heaters are going. I think there must be some sort of blockage or air bubble in the hot water pipes, but dang, it's kind of annoying in the quiet of the morning, trying to figure out what the strange noise is!

Back at work after a week out of the office. I know I can access e-mail pretty much from anywere, but cleaning out my inbasket can be a task! I am now down to 150 messages. And waiting for my vendor to show up to take me out to lunch. I'm trying to decide where I want to go.

Friday's party was fun. Not as many people last year, but still a respectable showing. I guess e-vite does not send out reminders anymore, unless you tell it to, so as a result I believe a number of people who said they would come forgot about it. I was not stressed at all about getting the house cleaned and food prepped on Friday (took the day off of work) because I had gotten most of the food ready before that day, and the house was in pretty good shape to begin. We still have about half a keg left, but we will be bringing it to Jaycee convention this weekend. My last "official" duty as a 2006 board member.

Today was day 2 of getting up in the morning, and NordicTracking for 45 minutes. And 50 crunches and stretching. I am seriously thinking about cancelling my gym membership. I pretty much just use the treadmill when I go, and if it's nice outside, I would rather run outside than in. The NordicTrack will do for now, and I think I will save up some $ to purchase myself a treadmill for at home. It's less of a hassle than going to the gym - I don't have to spend the extra half-hour to 45 munutes in travel time, etc.

Sunday, I met with some friends to plan our hiking trip to Isle Royal. I am darn excited about it, it will be some long days of hiking though. Which is why I have to get myself in shape. Eric and I looked at some hiking boots and backpacks last night. The trip is planned for the end of May, before the black flies hatch.

I'm actually in town all this week - it's kind of a novelty. But, the next two weeks are going to be another whirlwhind of travel. To the exotic places such as North Dakota, and Northern Minnesota! It's been nice to be at home and be a homebody. I might (gasp) cook dinner for two tonight!

Nothing else exciting going on... or at least anything I can remember.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday - finally!

My morning started out pretty well.

My phone alarm went off at 5am. I think I remember waking up arounfd 4, but managed to fall back asleep. A few snoozes on the phone, and thinking that the person in the next room needed to turn off his alarm, which had been souding since 5am, I got up and put on my exercise clothes. It was then I discovered it was MY alarm going off. It sure was quiet... I'm glad I was not counting on that to wake me up! The person at the front desk who was nice enough to give me the key to the exercise room commented that I was up early. Um, it was about 6am - later than I usually like to run... I got in 3 miles this morning, better than on Tuesday when I got in about 2.5, walking most of that.

Yep. I had planned on exercising more than that this week, but I could not sleep on Sunday night, and was dead tired. I made the mistake of drinking a sugar-free Red Bull (hadn't ever had one before) at about 6pm, near the end of my drive. It sure gave me a high - but not the kind that makes me shaky, like coffee - I was thinking it might be something good to have in the morning before a race or a long training run to get me going.

We had the last day of safety meetings this morning. My 8th day in 2 weeks, sitting in bad confernece room chairs. My back was really hurting me yesterday. I think it's a combination of all the driving, sitting in the conference room chairs, and the fact that the waistband on my pants is a little too tight.

Yep. My pants are too tight. What does this mean? It means that my intention of eating healthy and exercising needs more discipline than I have been giving it. How, I'm not entirely sure... I don't want to go back to counting points and being afraid to eat something, but I think I need to cut down on the alcohol, sweets, and "empty" carbohydrates.

Eating has been a challenge this week though, since I don't eat beef. They have been providing lunch at the meetings, but it has been a huge beef fest. I think they are trying to see how many ways they can serve beef. And ham, which I just don't care for. Monday for lunch I ate spanich rice, mashed potatos, salad and bread. Tuesday was better, some turkey on a bun (or I could have had ham) potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans. Wednsday I ate noodles, corn and a bun for lunch. Today was pretty good with half of a turkey sandwich with tomato and lettuce, and a bowl of chicken rice soup.

On the drive home, I was thinking my ear felt somewhat funny, so I made a doctor's appointment to see if I had an ear infection. I have only had one in my life (when I was 29) and it was miserable - it took 3 rounds of antibiotics to clear it up. Turns out I must have a low-lying cold, because there is fluid behind the eardrum, but no infection. The Dr. told me to take sudafed to help with the pressure, but there was really nothing else to do but just wait for it to clear up. He also asked me if anyone at home was sice. I said no. Then I said, well, I think so, but I haven't been home since Sunday!

Well, I have a day off tomorrow, to get ready for our party. I'm hoping I don't stress out too much... I suppose if the house is not spotless, people won't really care. And most of the food is done, I just need to set it out.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The flags are still at half-mast

So I suppose this is still relevant. I got this message through the Jaycees, and it really spoke to me, so I had to share:

*JCI Mourns US President Ford, a JCI Alumnus**
**December 29, 2006
**Gerald R. Ford was an outstanding example of effective leadership andservice.*-- Scott Greenlee, 2007 JCI President

A JCI alumnus, Gerald R. Ford, the 38th president of the United States, passed away December 26, 2006, at the age of 93. JCI members throughout the world — and particularly those in the United States and in Grand Rapids (Michigan), where Gerald Ford was a JCI member — are deeply affected by his death.

"Gerald R. Ford was an outstanding example of effective leadership and service," said Scott Greenlee, our recently elected JCI President and a current member of JCI Grand Rapids, the same local organization as Gerald Ford's. "I had the pleasure of meeting him several times, and he was as genuine as he appeared. He was very down to earth and really cared about people."

Former first lady Betty Ford announced his death in a brief statement. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country," she said.

"President Ford was a great man who devoted the best years of his life in serving the United States," President Bush said Wednesday morning. "He was a true gentleman who reflected the best in America's character.

"When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office as President of the United States of America on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.

"It was indeed an unprecedented time. He had been the first Vice President chosen under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was succeeding the first President ever to resign.

"My fellow Americans," President Ford said, "our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule."

And, true to his unassuming reputation, he added: "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots. So I ask you to confirm me with your prayers. "

He was confronted with almost insuperable tasks. There were the challenges of mastering inflation, reviving a depressed economy, solving chronic energy shortages, and trying to ensure world peace.

President Ford acted to curb the trend toward Government intervention and spending as a means of solving the problems. In the long run, he believed, this shift would bring a better life for all the people in the country.

*Ford's Involvement in the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce (JCI USA)*

Gerald Ford firmly believed in the power of the organization to develop leaders who could serve mankind. "By bringing together outstanding young members of communities throughout America, the Jaycees (JCI members) provide a reservoir and a forum for potential national leaders," he said, "by directing their energy and skills to a wide variety of humanitarian projects, the Jaycees serve our country and mankind."

In 1948, Gerald Ford was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by JCI Grand Rapids. In 1948, he was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the country by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce (JCI USA).

In 1962, then-Representative Gerald Ford welcomed JCI USA members to the first Governmental Affairs Leadership Seminar (GALS). Since then, the leaders of JCI USA have met annually in the nation's capital to hear from White House officials, Cabinet secretaries, and Members of Congress about issues of importance to young people in the United States.

In 1975, as President of the United Stated, Gerald Ford issued Proclamation 4340. "I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the week beginning January 19, 1975, as National Jaycee Week a time for the expression of America's gratitude for the many significant contributions of the United States Jaycees," reads part of the proclamation.

While we mourn the passing of Gerald R. Ford, an outstanding and exemplary leader, we also take pride in his great accomplishments. His life is aninspiration to us all.

Read Proclamation 4340 - National Jaycee Week

Social Experiment

Okay, so I wrote this post a couple of days ago, then blogger crapped out on me... then the hotel I was in had a crappy wireless connection... without further ado:

I went over to a friend's house on Friday for a cribbage re-match.

She made a fabulous dinner - Holy Basil chicken, I believe it was, we shared a bottle of wine, and chit chatted and cought up while playing cards. She was telling me about something she had done as a "social experiment"... she set up a hotmail account that was not tied to her, and put an add onto a free personal ad website, that was funny, and witty, and basically her saying that she was willing to get friendly "wink, wink, nudge, nudge". In 24 hours, she had over 60 e-mails responding to her ad.

Some people are complete idiots, we decided - like the man who answered the ad from his work e-mail. She sent him back a note, telling him he could get fired for that sort of thing, and ended with the tag line "Thanks for playing!" It was really funny reading through all of the responses - she specifically stated "nobody married" yet there were about 15 responses from married men - I think that was my favorite response... she told him that was an "express ticket to hell, kind of like shooting the pope..." It might have been part of the booze talking, but we just laughed until it hurt. All of the messages she sent ended in "Thanks for playing!"

So, this week I am traveling. I got to spend a major portion of the day driving from Minneapolis to Chicago. I have an 8am meeting tomorrow here, so here I am. The thing about it, since I won't have things that are happening at home this week, I might actually get up and exercise and post on my blog!

There have been a couple of things I have been planning to write about, so there might be a couple of extra posts!

Moving back in time, I wanted to talk about our Jaycees Gala. The dress I made turned out very well. I got lots of compliments on it. I had one friend tell me that she wanted me to make a dress for her next year, and had another friend ask me if I would help her with alterations on her wedding dress... I love being crafty.

And last week at work was pretty insane - I swear I put in about 60 hours. Lots of meetings, so a lot of time was spent catching up on e-mails and phone calls after "work" hours. And this week will be interesting, as I will be gone all week (well until Thursday) and we are having our "Thank God the Holidays are Over" Party. If last year was any indication, I am expecting we will have many, many people there. So I did a bunch of prep work, food, planning, etc. this weekend, so all I will have to do is clean the house on Friday. Eric has promised to clean up the basement in preparation for the party. If he doesn't I am not going to stress about it. Life will go on if his workshop is cluttered!

Anyhoo, I'm gonna try and catch some sleep, and get up early to run on the treadmill.


Friday, January 05, 2007


I have been a homebody lately.

And I like it....

It has been a while, hasn't it?

I took last Friday off of work, and cleaned my house. Washed the bathrom rugs, picked up, cleaned bathrooms, swept, and mopped the hardwood, the kitchen and the bathrooms, vacuumed the living room, dining room, and stairs, dusted the bedrooms, and put together a very lovely chicken pesto lasagna.

We had 19 people to the house on Friday evening. My dad's side of the family. We decided, again that it was the perfect house to hold the event. My living room will seat 15 comfortably, and we kept telling the kids to go downstairs to yell and run about. People were also impressed at my culinary abilities, again. Last year, I made a whole ham (bone-in). This year we had a traditional lasagna with italian sausage, a winter squash lasagna, and the afore-mentioned chicken pesto lasagna. My cousin brought a salad. With that and a loaf of french bread, we were all set.

Saturday, I started working on my dress. That continued into Sunday. And then Monday. It turned out well, I think. The patern said it was "easy" but I kept mis-reading the instructions, and of course, re-doing, and re-doing things I did wrong. I guess this is what happens when you don't do this sort of thing all the time. And there were a lot of things that required a lot of time to do... there is actually quite a lot of hand stitching on the dress.

Interdispersed along there were some other activities: we went to a Martini party on Saturday night. I really was not wanting to get dressed and go out, after a relaxed, yet productive, day at home. Sunday, we went to yet another church to see if we can find a new church home in our neighborhood. I liked this on the best of the ones we have been to, but it still did not give me that feeling that I "belonged" there, so there are a couple more to visit yet. Sunday night (New Year's Eve) we actually had invitations to 5 different places - we stayed home, watched a movie, and shared a bottle of Champagne. We kissed at midnight, then pretty much went to sleep. At least we stayed up until midnight. Sometimes I just feel old.

Monday was more working on the dress and laundry. I don't know if I have ever been all caught up on my laundry... anyone else feel that way?

Tuesday evening, instead of going and fighting for a machine at the Y, I decided to stay home, catch up on some e-mails, etc at home (was in work meetings all day), and watch a little TV.

Wednesday evening, I read a book.

Last night, I managed to finish a cross stich that I have been working on for years. Literally. I bought the pattern probably in 1997. Oh, and there was more laundry done.

I have been kind of enjoying this low-key kind of stuff. Although, the travel starts again next week. And the week after. But this year, I am going to make time for me. I just feel better about it.

And the eating plan continues. I am just tired of counting and watching and feeling guilty, and denying myslef someting when I really want it. I think it is working okay - the scale seems to just be in the same place. I have not been exercising lots lately, but part of that is because I don't want to go to the insanity of the health club this close after New Year's.

My parents are taking us out to dinner tonight. I made a reservation at PF Chang's, and I am pretty excited to go. I have not been there in a couple of years, and I adore their food. They are going to stay overnight, and Mom is going to help me hem my dress. On an interesting note, I was going through my shoes last night, and found that I already have a pair that match my dress perfectly. SCORE! Of course there goes my excuse of going shoe shopping with mom!

So, my goals for the year:
  1. Make my bed every morning - this has been done, I feel so much better when I can crawl into a bed at night that has been made.
  2. Eat healthier, don't stuff myself silly at any time, but no deprivation or starvation - eat when I am hungry, stop when I am satisfied.
  3. Run a marathon.

On that note...

Make it great!