Friday, December 28, 2007

We Need To Redo the Office

Our office room is a disaster. It's impossible to do any work in here as the only space left is the tiny area right in front of the keyboard. There are a lot of options between getting another desk, more shelving or some of each. I don't want to spend a ton of money because I would rather be clever and get a good solution that isn't going to break our bank account. On the other hand I really like the Elfa shelving systems at The Container Store and I wouldn't mind spending money on that as we would have it forever. We got one of those deals for our kitchen and it's been a huge help. If anyone has found good office solutions let me know!

So we'll see what we do. We are going to empty the room out and try and get one of our dressers into our bedroom (we have teeny tiny bedrooms but I think we can shove it in there) and then see what space we have and what we should do with it.

That's our project for tonight and tomorrow.

I am going to go to a Pilates class at 9:15 this morning and then run on the treadmill after that. I have never been to a Pilates class, so we'll see how that goes. Hopefully this office comes together into something more useful than what we have now.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed

Well I gotta say, that was just about the best Christmas Jason and I have ever least in awhile. So many details......I'm going to just tone it a bit down since it's the day after Christmas and well I don't want to blog that much.

Over the weekend we went to Jason's parents house which was nice as always. On Sunday there was a party for Jason's grandfathers 90th (90!) birthday party. Jason's mom and her siblings threw a very nice party for their dad. Lots of food, and cake and cookies (which I brought..which everyone *loved*) and good times. It's always good to see everyone and a nice time was had by all.

On Christmas Eve I made a big dinner including my first attempt at making my own cabbage rolls. They didn't come out like my Ukrainian grandmother's or her sisters, but it was my first time. I also made a roast, mashed potatoes. Then I got some periogis and Borscht at the Ukrainian deli next door. Jason and I set out our china and ate on that while listening to Diana Krall's holiday album. It was just a really really nice evening. We topped it off with hot chocolate, cookies and the best Christmas movie of all time...White Christmas.

On Christmas morning we got up at 6am (ok ok..only because I set an alarm...leave me alone. I like presents) and like two little kids barreled through the stack of presents under the tree. My parents had sent stuff in and then we had gifts from each other. We maxed out getting all kinds of awesome stuff like, Guitar Hero III, Super Mario Galaxy, a post card printer, and the best of all...Jason got me a holiday package of tickets to Blackhawks games. So we have season ticket type things for 5 games this winter. The package came with a signed hockey puck by the Blackhawks new kid, Kane. I'm really excited because I love watching hockey live and I think being able to go to more than one game will also be able to understand it a bit better.

Around 10am, Mike & Barb came over and we then proceeded to play Guitar Hero III until we absolutely had to leave to go to my stepmom's sisters house. Wow is that game addicting and super super fun.

Christmas evening was really fun. I talked to my cousin about his upcoming wedding. They are having the reception where Jason and I got married and so that's exciting since it was a really fun place. We played games and opened presents and it was a very merry time all around.

Unfortunately, Jason had to go to work today....but I don't and so I learned how to play Super Mario Galaxy which is really fun and watched Gremlins (a stocking stuffer for Jason). I am meeting him downtown at Macy's tonigjt. Jason's parents gave us a very generous gift card (thanks again!) and so we are going to go look around and try and decide what to get with it.

So Merry Christmas to everyone. Thank you to all the friends and family that made this holiday one of the best these two kids have ever seen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Don't Want to Quit the Gym!

For you Friends enthusiasts you might understand what that is in reference too....Yes I am speaking to you two :-)

Jason and I joined Cheetah Gym yesterday. Jason saw an ad in The Onion for a two for one deal with a very low initiation fee. So we will only pay $34.50 per person per month, which isn't bad at all. The gym doesn't have a pool or raquetball courts but they do have a very nice facility. The locker rooms are really nice with apparently according to Jason very nice showers and they have free coffee in the mornings. The Bucktown location is in the building that housed The Real World people a couple of years ago.

Running has so not been happening early in the morning because the bed is warm and comfy and I just cannot get out of bed to go slosh through snow at 5am. I don't mind running in the winter if it's during the day though, so we'll still do that on Saturday and Sunday, but during the week we are going to try and go to Cheetah 3-4 days a week.

So that's what we did this morning, getting up and out of bed at 5am sharp and getting to the gym probably around 5:40 or so. This morning we just did 3 miles on the treadmill...which of course I have talked on this blog about my hatred of treadmills. However. These treadmills have TVs hooked up to them....and they have USA....which was playing Law & Order SVU which I have a mild obsession with. So as Olivia and Elliot stopped crime in NYC, I got an easy breezy 3 miles in. I went the same speed for the first 1.5 miles, then I bumped up the speed, then at 2 miles, I bumped up the speed, and then again at 2.25, 2.5 & 2.75 so I was finishing with an 8 min/mile pace. I also set the incline to 1.0. This won't take the place of running outside, but seemed to work ok. AND it was just about empty when we were there at about 5:45...AND they have free parking...AND there is no time limit on any of the cardio equipment which in my opinion is huge. I hate going to the gym and then it's all....ok, well you can run on the treadmill for only 30 minutes. So it seems pretty good so far.

After our run we did a few weights which is always shocking to the system after not lifting weights for probably a year or so. I had a coffee and checked my e-mail at their internet stations while Jason showered because he forgot his bag in the car. I'm home now and going to start baking some cookies. Busy busy couple of days in this household!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Winter Blogging

Is apparently right up there with my winter running.

Ok, so its been slow on the running scene, which I'm actually ok with. I love running (obviously) but it's been ok to not only be a runner. There is a gym in Chicago that has a 2 for 1 deal until the end of the month and so I think Jason and I are going to join as it would be pretty cheap for us to do that. It's right on the blue line stop at Damen and so the idea is that we would go work out in the morning and then he could easily take the bus to work. To get up early however we need to go to bed before midnight. SO. In short. We'll get there, but enjoying the holiday season right now.

This past weekend was busy with cooking and baking and candy making with the lovely cousin Lisa and all kinds of wonderful things. It's so nice having Lisa live in town. I am an only child and she is one of 5, but doing all this cooking and baking together and so on....I imagine if I had a sister it would be similar to that. It's nice having someone to bake with and hang out with.

Alright, Christmas is a week away...which is exciting....unlike this post. Stay tuned for some pictures of our super decorated apartment :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

3 is More than 0 but Less Than 5

Yesterday when Jason got home from work and after he marveled at some of the new Christmas decorations that I got, we went out for a run. The plan was to go 5. But as usual with winter running, the desire (even after getting dressed) is missing. The love of running is still there, don't get me wrong. But around the holidays and when it's cold outside, I love just being in our cozy tiny apartment and seeing each other and whatever.

But we went. But we did cut the 5 mile run down to 3 miles. Which I contend is more than not going at all which is always good :-)

Come February 25th, Jason is going to be one sad puppy with his fancy job that has little vacation time...cause this girl is heading to St. Maarten to visit the sailing dad and stepmom. I am super excited...mainly because the little kitten will still be kitten sized :-) Plus it'll be great to get out of Chicago when the weather is being horrible as it always is at the end of February.

Next week starts the cookie baking for the holidays. With slightly more planning this year I am hoping to not be up at 3am, with globs of peanut butter in my hair.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Shutter Speed : 1/200s
Aperture : f/5.6
ISO : 400
Flash Fired
Focal Length : 135mm (216 in 35mm)

Choosing Safety

Today I should have gone into the lab. There is a conference happening there where my analysis is going to be presented by a friend of mine. I wanted to be there in case there were any questions specific to my analysis, and my adviser suggested that I head in for the same reasons. However, with the ice storm warning and the look of traffic this morning I chose to stay in the city and out of my car. I am worried that it's going to be one of those things where there is more talk about it being bad than it really being bad. I don't think it's going to be so bad in the city itself, but it did look really bad in the western suburbs and I didn't want to chance it. Driving on ice is the most dangerous time to be in a car. So I'm in the city. I feel bad, but at least I feel safe and not slippery.

Yesterday I went for a 5 mile run in the neighborhood. There weren't too many problems and as always with slushy running, a nice full body workout since half the effort goes to not falling down. I did a lot of the miles in the bike lane in the streets (running against the traffic like you are supposed to do) where it was fully plowed. I also played volleyball last night, and while our team did better is the second and third games we still lost all three. Ah well, it's still cross training.

Alright. And it's Tuesday.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Exposure : 1/250 s
Aperture : f/5.6
ISO : 400
Flash Fired
Focal Length : 135mm (216 in 35mm)

Too Much Fun on Friday Night

And by too much fun I mean too much booze. Jason and I had a few glasses of wine and then we went out to meet some of our physics friends at our local favorite Small Bar. When we got there it was way more crowded than I have ever seen it before and apparently Lincoln Park people made their way west because it was pretty Trixiefied. Since we literally couldn't move from one end to the other we decided to see if our friends were next door at Innjoy since they had mentioned they were going to have dinner there.

We got two seats at the bar and didn't see our friends but decided to have a drink. A Cosmopolitan for me and Grey Goose on the rocks for Jason, a super awesome bartender named Madrid and retro dance music from the DJ. At one point the bartender topped off my drink, and then I ordered another one, a guy came in and said to us, "Hey, my life totally sucks shots on me", which was kind of sad...but I'm never one to say no to free drinks.

We left soon after that and I proceeded to have an evening akin to my 22nd birthday, which I have chalked up to the worst night of my life...I mean super fun, and then the realization that you will probably stay wherever you fall....which is good Jason was there to walk me home otherwise we might have had a frozen runner on our hands.

I woke up Saturday morning, probably still a little drunk. I had the cookie bake with Mouse and Barb though at 10am, so I went back to sleep for an hour and then forced myself into the shower. I don't know what happened. It really wasn't that much that I had to drink and I'm frustrated that the drinking to evening behavior don't add up. I'm taking a break from drinking anything for awhile because this weekend, as was most weekends in my early 20s, was completely lost to anything productive.

Except of course the cookie bake. Holy ass hat Batman did we make a lot of cookies. We baked from about 10am till 5pm at which point I don't know where Mouse we even putting the cookies as all the cooling sheets were taken up with the peanut butter kiss cookies. There was even a frosting fight between the other two lady runners as we all got a little wacky as the evening progressed. After the cookies were baked, I went to Wrightwood Tap and met up with Jason and his friend from work who were there watching the IU game. Another win for the Hoosiers and they pounded on Kentucky which was nice to see.

Saturday night we didn't do anything.

Sunday. Literally didn't do no, we did have one of those great Sundays where you ...well don't do anything. We watched three movies (Adventures in Babysitting, Karate Kid & Love Actually) and two football games (Patriots vs Pittsburgh & Colts vs Ravens). I read a bit of my book, we had snacks we napped. It was actually great, although of course we didn't get a run in at all this weekend.

So it's a new week, and another attempt at running 25ish miles is on the table. Another stab at winter health is going to be tried.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Didn't Get To The Path

But...we did run in the neighborhood. We hadn't moved the car between the snow fall we got earlier in the week and I didn't want to scrap it off only to find that I was stuck in the space. So I told Jason to come home and we would make sure to run as soon as he got home. Which we did.

Like I said, it's never that bad temperature wise once you get moving. Running on the snow and ice is always a little annoying because you have to pay more attention because it's really slippery...but it's also a nice full body cross training workout. We decided to go 4 miles as at this point, just getting out the door is what we were looking for. Waiting to run so late is annoying, but running with Jason makes it better. We are going to try and go 5 miles on Saturday and then 10 on Sunday. This brings us to a cool 24 miles for the week. A far cry from where we would like to be, but we are getting there.

There is also a baking party on Saturday, an IU basketball game (watch out Kansas....the Hoosiers are on their way) Saturday afternoon and then Christmas shopping on Sunday.

Happy Friday all.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fun Happens When Doing Dishes

I Hate Being Cold

There is a part to winter running that I love. There is no doubt, that going out and having a fun run through the snow has something to it. You get back home and feel tough and proud that you went outside and got your run in even though the windchill was at 12 degrees. It's never as bad as you think it's going to be before you and as soon as you get into a rhythm you are good to go.

Then there is the other part where getting me out the door is like ripping off my fingernails one by one. We had big plans to go running when Jason got home from work last night. But I was already freezing since the heating in this apartment has to be violating many housing codes since there is one stupid vent no where near the living room, but that's not the point of this post. The thought of having to go out and slip and slide through a run, while at the same time freezing my nose off was less than inviting. However, sitting under a blanket and cuddling with Jason while watching the last two episodes of Chuck that we had recorded on DVR (by the way....that show is awesome! I heart Chuck) sounded just perfect.

This is why my running always takes a turn for the worse in the winter months. It becomes so not fun anymore. Tonight I am picking up Jason from work and we are going to go to the lakefront path to run as at least it's pretty over there and since he won't ever get home, there will be no tempting cuddling taking control. Let's just hope I can get the car out of it's parking spot.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Well, that was a nice run

Monday meant two things: rooting for the Patriots to lose and running alone. Leah has volleyball on Mondays and so she runs during the day, which leaves me to run at night.

Since I stop graduate schooling and started real-jobbing, I've been sort of off on the running. I'd like to say it's been sporadic, but that'd be too kind. Actually, most of the times I've gone running during the week it's been by myself and has been kind of boring. I'd take music, but I didn't want to lose one of my five senses while running in the city at night (I refer, of course, to my sense of smell). But, today I got to take music as we got in the mail a new pair of headphones to test and review called AirDrives. Super awesome headphones, to be more precise.

No really, they were really sweet. They go around your ears (or over your ears, I guess) and then, instead of being inserted into the ear cavity, it lays on the outside nubbin part. I put them on and I wasn't really sure if I had them on right since I couldn't really feel anything, but then I turned on the music and there it was. Clear as day, so to speak. And since the headphones didn't go in my ears, I could still hear the street noise (and since I didn't stick them up my nose, I retained my sense of smell). And another nice thing was that when I put the hat on over my ears, it didn't hurt. When I have regular ear bud headphones, they always get jammed into my ears and it can get kind of uncomfortable. No such issue with these.

Okay, enough gushing about the headphones. The point of the story is that I had a really nice run and the first really enjoyable solo run since the marathon pace run I had to do by myself back when Leah was in Florida. I definitely think music was the key, so yay to nifty headphones.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

AirDrives, the Wonder Headphones

About a month ago we were contacted by a representative for AirDrives Headphones who was looking for honest reviews of their new headphones. We said we would love to try them out and so about a week ago we got the headphones in the mail.

I have to say, I was a little skeptical about the headphones. The idea is that instead of jamming a plastic ear bud into your ears the speaker sits on the outside of your ear on the little nubbin thing and then the music is delivered, but you still have full access to the sounds around you. For such a tall girl I have remarkably small ears and so I didn't think that the headphones would stay on my ears, and especially when I started running I thought that they would bounce right off. I have only found that the over the head headphones work for me, especially while running. Plus, the speakers weren't even in your ears so how were you going to hear the music.

I went out for a run yesterday morning (5 miles..yadda yadda, it was a good run) and took the headphones out for a test drive. I put them on and then realized you can tighten down the grip around your ears so it doesn't really matter what size your ears are. I turned on the iPod, waiting to not hear the music because how could this ever work, and then all of a sudden, perfect sound. I adjusted the volume to what I thought would be good and headed out. I had a ear band on on top of the headphones because it was cold outside and that was the first huge difference I could notice. If you have plastic headphones in, when you put a hat or ear band on they no doubt get pushed farther into your ears and that's not ever comfortable.

The AirDrives are amazing because running in the city I like to be able to hear what's happening around me and this was perfect. It was like running with someone carrying a boombox next to me. When there was a ton of traffic around me, I couldn't hear the music as well...but then again I shouldn't as I should be able to hear the traffic around me. That being said, there was never a problem hearing the music in general and since it wasn't jammed into my ears I could turn the volume up but not hurt my ears because I wanted to rock out during the last mile of the run.

For the last half mile of the run I thought that maybe they were just working so well because I had them somewhat stuck on my ears because I had the ear band on, so I took that off for the end of the run to make sure I test all aspects. I took it off and no problem. The AirDrives didn't slip off and the sound was perfect. Still could hear the music no problem among the city sounds.

I think the AirDrives are unreal and I would highly recommend them. The only con to the headphones I would say is the price as they are running at $99. That being said, I would say that they are worth it. Good sound & safer for both your ears and your well being since you can hear the world around you.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Delayed Posting

Means that tons of cool things happen and then I don't post about them, and the multiple super cool things build up and then I have to have really long posts about it. SO here we go.

My dad just got a new kitten named Mismo, although I think they are referring to her as "Mismo the Wonder Cat". She is only a month old. The mother abandoned the kitten, and her and her brother were the only two to survive. She's enjoying living on the boat so far and really....could she be any cuter!?! Click on the picture of her for a photo album of more Mismo pictures.

Fort Wayne & In-Laws

On Friday night we drove to Fort Wayne, because Jason's oldest brother Andy and his daughter Caeli were in town and we wanted to surprise them. Caeli was asleep when we got there unfortunately but we stayed up late talking to Andy and Jason's other brother Jamie who came down with his daughter Sam. I am an only child and it's very strange still to be around the three of them. They don't see each other that often, especially Andy and they are so similar with the same senses of humor. It's very strange. On Saturday morning we played with Caeli for a few hours which was very entertaining. She is 18 months old and spectacular. I wish we had the chance to see them more often. With Jason making more than peanuts we should have money to just take a quick weekend flight to Philly to visit more often.

It's great seeing Jason's family as always, but it also always makes me realize how much I miss my family. I had a very bizarre relationship with my parents where they were both so important to me (of course they still are) and I always had them all up in my business and the drama that is Leah. I would call almost every day and I would see them all the time. With my dad on the boat I only hear from him when he can find a phone and I still call my mom a lot, but with her in Florida I only see her once a year if that. I started thinking about Christmas Eve and on one hand I am super excited because Jason and I are going to chill out with each other and do whatever we are going to do....but on the other I just want my mom. Christmas Eve ended up being her day around the holidays and we would watch White Christmas after everyone went home. I don't know. If she was around I am sure there would be multiple episodes of drama, but after all that ended and the tears and doors slamming would be over (I kid...that didn't happen *every* year) we would sit with only the Christmas lights on and eat Christmas cookies and watch our movie. She is planning on moving back and I just can't wait for that to happen. I don't think my dad will ever move back, and so I tend to just not think about that. I am planning a trip to St. Martin in February if all works out...but I'm really only going to see Mismo :-)

Anyways...moving on.

Holiday Party

Saturday night saw us at Jason's company's holiday party. It was the first non-Fermilab party that we have ever gone too. It was cocktail attire and so we got all dressed up and had the best time! It was open bar and had only top shelf liquors. The food was buffet style, but it was all really fancy with lobster tail, sushi and tons of other tasty treats. Jason introduced me to the owner of the company and we talked with him and his wife for quite awhile. They were both really nice and his wife was from Finland so we told her about our friends here at Fermilab from Finland. As soon as she said where she was from, we both were like, of course! that' why you sound exactly like Tuula.

After dessert the floor opened up for dancing, which was interesting in my 3.5" heels to say the least. Everyone we talked to was so happy about the company and no on was bitching and it was just a good classy time. Jason at one point looked around and said, "How do I get to work for these people". I'm so glad he's so happy with his company, as I would think it would make having a real job more bearable.

We might have come home and taken a lot of drunk silly pictures now that I have a tripod for the camera (I also got a new flash which is making my life so much easier!). To see a few more go here. We are thinking about making the one on the right our holiday card picture.....maybe not.

Modest Mouse
Last night the ever famous Running Jayhawk took me to the Modest Mouse concert that was at The Congress Theater. We had a ton of fun and who heart's Modest Mouse....oooh I do. It was a pretty good concert although during one the of the songs the lead singer got a little over excited and ended up having both of his microphone stands in the audience. They also had a couple instances of feedback problems which I am guessing was intentional but I'm hoping now because it was kind of annoying.

Running last week was pretty much non-existent. I did go for a run this morning which ended up being pretty good even though it was really cold out. Stay tuned tomorrow as Jason and I will have a review up on a new pair of AirDrives headphones we got.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Few Good Things

So I was mentioning that I had some good news. It's really just more of good updates rather than good news.

I had to give a talk in Bloomington on Monday going over my analysis. It was a presentation at the High Energy Seminar that they have weekly. I was fairly nervous going into the talk as I always am. I had given a practice talk to my advisor and I only clocked a little over 30 minutes and the talk was supposed to be at least about 45 minutes. On the way to Bloomington we ran into some traffic and so to pass the time, I gave the talk again to Jason going through the whole thing. That talk ended at 52 minutes, so I was hoping when I was up in front of everyone I would slow down enough to keep the talk pretty long. As soon as I started talking I stopped being nervous. I realized I knew and understood everything on my slides and I was excited to be able to present it to people that I have known for the past 10 years (I was an undergrad at IU as well). I talked slow and comfortable and ended in about 50 minutes. My advisor told me I did a great job and I didn't forget to mention anything on any slide. I am really proud of myself as I have grown as public speaker and I have become so much more comfortable. The first talk I gave I forgot my name. So it was a proud moment for me.

Then yesterday I got an e-mail from my advisor asking me to come to Bloomington and take pictures of the department to update the IU physics website. He said that he has seen some of hte pictures that I have taken and since I know the technical stuff that should be photographed and I know all the people in the department I could do a much better job than if they hired a pro. So that's exciting and who knows what that could turn into.

Jason and I got through 5 miles this morning and felt good. Our plan is to do that tomorrow morning and Friday morning and that's probably it for the week. I don't know how able I'll be able to run on Sunday after an evening of standing is super high heels at Jason's holiday party...but we'll see. Might feel good actually. Then I have a hot date on Sunday night to go see Modest Mouse which I'm super excited to see as it was one of the best shows that we saw at Lollapalooza.

Today my stand mixer is coming in the mail...and yes I'm that excited about it. Happy Wednesday all.

Made it Up

All you have to do is put your two feet on the floor and not roll over and bang on the snooze button and you're you for an AM run.

Not that I'm not sitting here falling asleep as I finish my oatmeal, but dammit I made it up! More later on some good news in these here parts!

You know later....when I can put a full thought together.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Fun Night

Friday night at the reunion was great. There were still some cliquish things happening and I am guessing, going by the number of people dancing and the amount of free liquor flowing, that there were plenty of "oh no's" happening as they looked at the person they hooked up with, the morning following. My friend Jean and I just did laps and would see people that we kind of recognized and be like, "Hey I think you look familiar, so what's been going on for the last 10 years". I got a lot of questions about my dad (he was a teacher at my high school), but it was actually pretty fun to see some of the people I was in school with. I wish that more of my people had been there, and by my people I mean the super nerds....but ah well. I think having the reunion in an open bar situation in the city made it tons of fun. I don't think it would have been fun without that part of it, although the headache I had on Saturday disagreed.

The rest of the weekend was great as well. On Saturday afternoon, our good friend Joe and his girlfriend Lisa came to the city. We had lunch at Small Bar and then walked around Wicker Park including a visit to Myopic Books where I found some good stuff and Reckless Records. A relaxing Saturday night followed which was great. I am loving these weekends.

Today, we rean 9 miles in the morning and Jason realized what happens when you don't run at all during the week. That puts my total at 24 miles for the week. I am really liking just running 4 days a week. Especially with the winter weather, I like have the other 3 days for buffers if the weather is bad or whatever. I also ordered my Christmas present from Amazon today and it should be here on Wednesday. I got a stand mixer to help with my Christmas cookie extravaganza. YAY no more mixing by hand!

We are now in Bloomington because Jason got a personal day for tomorrow and I have to give a big talk in my department at 4pm tomorrow. I'm nervous, but I'm trying to not to my usual stay up all night from nerves, then get up at 6am, and be ready to give the talk at 8am so I can then be nervous and worried about it for another 8 hours. SO, I'm going to try and sleep in and I should be fine. With the traffic we had coming down I ran through my talk and felt pretty good about it. Hopefully I'll be able to talk as slow as I did during the run through as it went really well.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Big Night

Ok. Not really.

Tonight is my big 10 year reunion happening at Sluggers in Wrigleyville. I happened across a picture of myself and a good friend of mine during my freshman year of I looked way young. With my new hair cut and my ability to now wear makeup and clothes that aren't XL, I probably look a bit different.

However, apparently the high school gods have it in for me given that I am having an acne problem. I went off the thing that kept things in check and so now once a month around "that time" I get some major problems on my face. Never had a pimple in high school. So the first time I see people in 10 years and it's going to be all, "Hi, it's Leah. OMG! How are you? Yes, yes I do have adult acne". Jason the perfect hubby says that it doesn't look bad at all, but did add in that "it's going to be dark in the bar so it won't be so noticeable." Ah well, if I still cared what those people thought about me I would care more. I am actually looking forward to seeing people. It should be a wacky good time. I am meeting my friend Jean ahead of time at another bar for martinis and she is going to bring her yearbook so we can study :-)

Jason and I had a great Thanksgiving at my Aunt Donna's house. All the food was amazing as always, and everyone was there but one (out of five!) of my cousins and my dad and stepmom. They were all missed. I should have some pictures up soon from the activities.

Alright, well I need to get multiple drinks down before I go. Let's hope I don't pull a, "Well, you were a bitch in high school and looks like you still are" to anyone. :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We Aren't Moving...Yet

Well after having beef with our rental agency for the last week, we have decided not to move. They made big steps in attempting to fix the problem yesterday and so we'll see if this work. I am guessing it won't so there will be more tears and yelling and threats of lawyers in the future. Our apartment is pretty cheap and if we stay here we can pay off all of our debt and really start either looking for a condo or another apartment come September 1st, depending on how much money we can save and depending on what kind of job I get....which will be coming up soon as I plan on starting to write my thesis soon. I have the template for it I just need to fill it in with more than my title page and name :-)

Yesterday, I went for a 5 mile run and since I have to fit in the fancy dress in two weeks I have changed the weekly plan to try and run 5-6 miles every day with a long run on Sunday. I know this is ridiculous, but I just don't feel as guilty eating the Jalapeno Artichoke dip from Dominicks if I had a longish run earlier in the day. Although Thanksgiving is the day of eating and being fat and lazy so I might not run that day :-)

The run yesterday was good. I had sore shins for the first few miles but that went away after that and I had a great finish to the run, coming in nice and strong. I have been running more with music since I am running when Jason is at work and I must say it's a nice change and makes it much less boring. I still prefer the Doc, but we'll get that more organized soon enough. Speaking of the JMan, he got his business cards for his company. Jason R*****, PhD...hell yeah!

Today I am at the lab to give a practice talk for my Candidacy Seminar I have in Bloomington on Monday. This is a talk you are supposed to give about 5 semesters into the PhD...I am 5 years in. They forget about you when you come to Fermilab and given how non-organized I am this is what happens. Now I'll give my defense in about 6 months, which will be almost the same talk, oh well. It's really good so there should be no complaints :-)

Alright, back to making cool motion in iWork08. Let's hope The Advisor thinks all my graphics are cool too and not distracting.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fancy Dresses, Containers and Miles

This weekend was jam packed just the way we like them.

On Saturday morning I met up with my stepmom's sister Andrea downtown at Macy's (Yes I miss that it's Marshall Fields...but Macy's bought them.....there isn't anything you can do about it) to do some shopping. Jason has a holiday party for his company coming up on December 1st at a hotel downtown. The invite calls for cocktail attire and as most of our parties at Fermilab took place in a barn on the Fermilab site we are without cocktail attire. So a pretty dress was in order. I tried on tons of dresses and it came down to two, a halter top with some sparkly business on the top, and a plainish strapless deal. I ended up with the sparkly one and it's so pretty! Then we went to get shoes and I got a great pair. They are really high, but they just matched the dress perfectly and I don't think that just because I'm tall I should have to live without pretty high heels. When I got home I wasn't going to show Jason the new ensemble, but of course that didn't last long and tried it on about 5 minutes after we got home. So Jason is tall....but with my new shoes I am taller than him! But when he puts on his dressy shoes we end up at just about the same height. So whatever. I'll just be really tall. I spent my high school days slumped over and so I have learned to love my Leah at 6'3" here I come.

On Saturday evening we cleaned out our pantry and reorganized it and headed to The Container Store (which if they would let me just curl up in one of the containers I would do it...I heart that place). So we got some containers for our pantry and headed home and finished up the reorganization. Later that night we met out my fabulous cousin and her friend for some beers at Easy Bar on Division which was pretty nice.

On Sunday morning we went for a run on the lake front path. Apparently when says 10mph out of the East, they mean way more than that directly out of the south. So the first 4 miles of our run was a little tough, but turning around felt great. We did 8 miles total putting us at 20 for the week. I haven't worn my Garmin since the marathon. I think we are enjoying just being out there running and keeping our endurance at a respectable level. This week we'll try and get up to 22-24 miles. We aren't training for any race in particular but just trying to run without a purpose.

On Sunday night I met Lisa out for some shopping. Lisa has always made candy for Christmas and last year we did it together and so we are going to do that again this year which will be fun. We wanted to get some containers to put the candy in and found some really cute ones at World Market.

Thus ending our weekend. Happy Monday all.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I love this time of year. My favorite holiday of the year is coming up in less than a week, which I can't believe and then we are closing in on the big one for the year. I totally do not believe in buying any Christmas related things until after Thanksgiving. That was until I was a the CVS today and noticed that Sour Patch Kids have come out with a holiday variety where they just have the green and the red flavors in there. Since those are the two best I got a bag. But only because I am going to pick the red and green out anyways so this will make things easier for everyone...and let Jason get to eat something other than orange and yellow. See everyone wins.

Next week we'll be going to my Aunt's (Dad's sister) house as always for thanksgiving. This year will be different however because Jason has to work the Friday after Thanksgiving and so we'll be there only for about a day and a half. I love Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, every holiday was dependent on which parent's year it was to get me....except for Thanksgiving which my Dad got and Easter which my mom got. I am already dreaming of Turkey and my uncle's homemade stuffing...oooh yeah. I can't wait.

Then we'll get into the Christmas season. Decorating and baking cookies and what have you. We are still in an apartment battle, and since our rental agency sucks my ass nothing is moving forward. Little do they know how ruthless and how I have kept track of every single phone call for the past 2.5 months. We'll see. I just hate people that do bad business. It's really really not that hard. I am a reasonable person, just treat me with respect and be honest and we are good to go. But this bullshit they are throwing my way is just too much.

Anyways. I have no updates on the situation. I love the neighborhood, just don't love the apartment, so we'll see what happens. Tonight Jason and I are going to dinner at Hacienda on North Ave which should be a good night out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm the Result of the Week

At Fermilab there is a daily publication called Fermilab Today. It's a general noting of happenings at the lab. On Thursdays however, they have a description of a "Result of the Week". It's just a small article about a new analysis at the lab and this week... IT'S MY ANALYSIS.

You can read about it here : It's on the right hand side of the page.

In other news, we don't have any updates on moving yet and I don't want to talk about it here, just yet. I have no morals about apartment people, but I don't want to do anything until I have to. We did see some really nice places yesterday through The Homestead Group and the guy we were working with was really nice.

For those of you who aren't from Chicago or lived here very long....the renting season is October 1st and May 1st and so the number of properties available is a bit lower now. However, the good thing is that we saw a lot of empty apartments and so could perhaps get a better deal because they want someone in the apartment and we are willing to move in immediately.

As far as running. Tuesday was a *highly* stressful day and so chose to drink too much wine and eat too many snacks and so didn't get up early to run on Wednesday morning. Then after another long day yesterday we opted for DVR and Penny's Noodles instead of running.


This morning, we got up right as the alarm went off at 5:30am and we were out running by 5:50. It was perfect actually. It was a bit chilly but nothing that the right clothing couldn't take care of. We are hoping to do this about 3 times a week and even if we just do 5-6 miles we would get the mileage back up there. We are going to try and go again tomorrow morning, and then 8 on Sunday.

Oh right. I know all the words to the songs that are on the new Fresh 105.9...which makes me feel old as they are advertising it as "hip light music". Add to that, my 10 year high school reunion is a week from tomorrow.....which is terrifying. I am going with my one high school friend that I still talk to and we are meeting ahead of time to study our yearbook so we can know who people are :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Running, Volleyball & Perhaps Needing to Move

Yesterday I did 3 miles around the neighborhood around noon. It's so nice to go running in the afternoons. Then I played volleyball at night....we won all three games.

Alright then, fascinating.

More interesting...we are having some problems with our super ghetto apartment and in the process of trying to get of our lease and look for new apartments. This isn't the renting season in Chicago so I don't know if we are going to find anything...but anything will be better than the garbage we are currently living in. I'm not going to go into details but ... well let's just say that we need to move and I'm hoping we can get all the cards in order to make this happen in the next couple of weeks actually.

We'll see. At least I have time to do all the packing if it comes to that. I have to get my game face I want out my lease face.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Ran 4X

Well well well.....see what happens when you put your mind to something. You run a whopping 16.5 miles.

Ok. Ok. I know it's nothing to cheer about, but the fact that I went out 4 times last week is something to cheer about. Even more exciting is getting out there for a 7 miler this morning along the lakefront path with Jason. I think the less mileage has made a huge difference on our legs as we felt great. It was so nice to run together and enjoy the lakefront path which we haven't done since the marathon.

No pain which is a first in awhile. I think that marathon training really takes something out of you and there is always a little pain here or there. The many days off and lower mileage has really given our legs the chance to relax a bit. So our plan this week is to run on our own tomorrow. And then together early on Wednesday and Friday and then long again on Sunday. I am thinking something like 3 miles tomororw, 5 on Wednesday, 5 on Friday and then 8 on Sunday getting us over the 20 mile mark. Building slow like I like it.

I made a huge mistake in my work stuff. I feel like a bit freakin' idiot. It's always nice having to send that e-mail too. Hi Advisor Perfect Man. I made an error that makes me look like an undergrad. Awesome. It was a good shot for my self esteem. Oh well. It's working correctly now. Because Jason got it working .... cause he already has the PhD and so he doesn't make mistakes.

Oh and we looked at the new iMacs today and drooled all over them. Why do they have to get better. I hate computers, as soon as you buy one it's is a new shiney one, too bad for you. We got a new keyboard so we *feel* like we have a new computer....well that and I spilled water on the old one and we were left without a space bar which just doesn't work.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lady on Northerly Island

I Ran this Morning!

And by morning, I mean 10:30am.

We went to see some music at Uncommon Ground last night and I didn't get to bed until midnight and so getting up at 5:30am was not an option. We had a great time in the old neighborhood stopping at Bernie's for a burger and some fries and then heading to Uncommon Ground and having martini's and coffees. The martini I had was called Lemon Ginger, I guess it was just vodka and lemoncello.....which tasted *exactly* like lemonade. I only had one, but my god we have to get some lemoncello..that shit is delicious!

I did go run in the late morning and went about 5 miles and felt pretty good. It's still boring running alone, but I'm starting to get into a nice groove and enjoying my iPod a bit more. We are going to go run about 6 miles on Sunday on the lakefront path, which should be fun.

Tonight our Fermilab friends are coming to the city to go out because Tuula is going back to Finland on Sunday. Tuula was one of the first people that we met at the lab and we have been good friends for the past few years and so she will be missed.

Alright.....back to "work".

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Writer's Strike

Ok. I am starting to freak about not having new The Office episodes to watch....although...on the other hand....

My DVR is curretly 85% full. I have episodes of Heros to watch from February. So..if there is not going to be more new shows recording I might actually be able to catch up with my favorites.

So starting with the picture up from yesterday, I'm going to work on bringing back photos of the day. I have been playing around a lot with my new camera which has been fun. Thanks to Jason's friend (boss?) at work, it was recommended that I try using Adobe's Lightroom program and he loaned me a book to work with it. It's really powerful and I tried shooting some photos in RAW and it seems that I have a bit more control over the end product. It does take more work because they come out of the camera looking a little dull, but it has it's place when I would have time to work with the pictures. At Christmas for example when I take 400 pictures of my nieces it might not be the best bet and jpgs might be stuck with.

The old head of my group at Fermilab said a few words at our weekly meeting about Andrzej (the IU Professor who passed away last week) and it was really emotional. He is going to be really missed in our group here.

Jason and I are going to run tomorrow morning. YES WE ARE. We are getting up at 5:30 and doing it. I don't know how Lana does it, I go...hmm...cold floor and then going running? Comfy warm bed and hitting snooze...option 2 every time. I just have to get into a rhythm I think and I'll get there.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Best City in the World

What Kind of Runner?

Well Monday's volleyball game wasn't too bad. We have a new team and managed to score about 14 points per game (we play to 21) against the best team in the league. Not too bad for a group of 6 that hadn't played together before. The ref, Ed, said hi to me when he got there and asked if I had been practicing...I laughed and said haven't touched a volleyball since the playoffs. Which was really obviously when we started playing.

After the game I decided to run on the treadmill because it was cold out and my gym membership is actually due and so I couldn't get back into the gym with my ID. So of course do I just run 3 miles on the treadmill...oh noooo. I have to pick some god awful preprogrammed Cross Country death march. So I punch in 30 minutes, set the pace to just under 9 min/mile and 1.5 miles later I was dripping and dying. I decided to step away for a minute to get my breath and my legs back under me but when I came back someone had taken the treadmill (there is only one). So I figured an hour of volleyball and a mile and a half of death was enough so I headed home.

This morning I did 3 miles around the neighborhood. It was fine. Easy breezy.

Pertaining to the title of this post....there are some runners that can take time off and get right back on the horse pulling out 30,40+ mile weeks. There are others that fall off the horse and fall off completly and watch it run away from them...I think I am somewhere inbetween. I know I do better when I am signed up for some kind of race as it's really hard to go out and run in the winter when it's cold and nasty out. I don't have a problem with 20ish mile weeks...but anything more right now anyways and there is just no way. So I have a tentative training plan to get back up to higher mileages. I just wish that I could be back at those high miles without it being a ton of effort. I'll get there soon enough.

Working at home is going *ok*. It's lonely without Jason here and I am way trying to get out of the funk that I have been in for the last week or so. I just alwyas need to be entertained and it's sooo not happening right now.

Alright, the hair must now be blowdryed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wow..I'm so not doing NoBlo..whatever it's called.

Alright then.

So right, the last time I wrote was Friday.

I did end up running the rent in on Friday afternoon. It ended up being a great run. It was so beautiful out and blah blah blah...and I felt really good the first 7 or so miles of the run. The last three were walk/run, but whatever that had been my plan all along. A new running/working out/volleyball plan is in the works. This week getting out there 5 times a week is the goal, even though those days are all going to have low mileage.

We went out for a partial date night on Friday. We ended up meeting Fermilab friends out for drinks at 9pm, so we just did dinner. We went to Moonshine on Division and I have to say I was really disappointed. I had been there for lunch before and had a good meal, and the decor is nice and whatever. The dinner food (we had a good appetizer) was pretty bad and way costly. I got garlic mashed potatoes with my pork chops and they tasted like instant potatoes that were way too dry. Not. Good. I am a going out to eat whore, I like anything so it was really pretty bad. Jason and I are thinking about about doing a restaurant review once a week if we keep date night going and so that should be coming soon.

On Friday night when we were out with friends, we learned that an IU professor had passed away. He and his wife came to our wedding and he was a major influence in Jason's analysis as he was head of Jason's editorial board. He and his wife were both physicists and have been together since they were teenagers. The have been married for 41 years and they have worked together side by side for many of them. His wife had visitors over on Saturday evening in Bloomington so Jason and I went to pay our respects. They seemed eerily like Jason and I and it was just really sad (it always is I know). My apologies go out to his wife and son again, Andrzej was a wonderful person. We did the Bloomington trip as a there and back in one day but got to see Jason's brother and family on the way home which is always fun.

Sunday we didn't do much of anything. Exhausted from Saturday (and to top off the long travel day, I spent Friday evening sampling several (!) martini's at the Blue Line in Wicker park...and just because they look like candy....and taste like candy...doesn't mean that they aren't 100% liquor....hence most of Saturday was done with a hangover on top of it). So we cleaned up and watched the Colts/Patriots game and I made chili and cornbread from scratch.....and had a really nice relaxing day. Oh..don't bother with The Exorcism of Emily Rose...kinda of creepy but not worth it in my opinion.

Today is the first volleyball game of the season and we (new team!) are playing the team that won it all last year. Oh well..might as well jump all the way in. I am going to run 3 miles before the game I think and then work out a little bit after the game. Alright then.

Happy Monday.

ooh....congrats to Mike for a job well done at the NYC Marathon!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dancing with Nerds & 10 Coming Up

Jason and I attended the Fermilab Halloween party on Wednesday. It was pretty fun. Always good to see old friends now that we aren't ever at the lab anymore. They also had free booze which is always fun in my book!

So I ran 5 miles on Tuesday and have done nothing since. I mean I have sat at home ... and done nothing. This working at home thing kind of sucks. My deadlines are "as soon as possible" I need dates people. Cause then I work my ass off....but as soon as possible...that's really wide open. In all seriousness, most of the stuff I have to do needs to come after I make a new giant Monte Carlo Sample and so that is currently running.

Speaking of running.

I am going to run in our rent today. The rental agency is about 5 miles away which I'm going to do nice and slow. Lots of lights along the way as well to get some breaks in. So should be a total of 10 miles. Tomorrow my new volleyball team has a practice at the lab. Jason needs to wrap up his thesis stuff and publication stuff, so we are going in to do those two things. I think we'll also do some weights at the gym. Going to really try and get back into that at least 2 times a week.

I think tonight we are going to have a date night. We are going to try and go to a movie and dinner most Friday nights. So I think....Dan in Real Life, or American Gangster are on the table. I am a total movie whore though, so they all sound good to me.

Happy Friday everyone.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

5 Miles & the CTA

Yesterday me and my iPod went out for a nice 5 mile run around the neighborhood. My arm bad for my iPod broke in the middle of the run and so the iPod fell off which freaked me out...alright, was that not the most boring two sentences in the history of the blogging world I think it might be. Anyways, the run was good. I stopped for water about half way through like usual (it's going to be sad when the turn the fountains off) and chugged right along for the rest. I haven't been timing my runs as I'm just trying to get back into but I think it took me a bit under 45 minutes which is good.


I got an e-mail yesterday from the CTA (because I have chicago cards) with a message about the cuts coming up this weekend. My favorite sentance was :
We are asking all of our customers to avoid the rush hour whenever possible by leaving early or late. With the reduction in bus service, we anticipate greater crowds on remaining buses and trains as customers seek different ways to get to work. Customers should expect longer travel times.
It makes it sound like it's going to be an inconvenience for a week while there is some construction going on or something. Oh no. Just for the rest of your life would you mind not leaving so late or leaving work on time. Actually if you could work like 6am - 6pm that would make our lives soooo much better Thanks! OHH..yeah...and we are going to be raising the fares too. Whatever.

And this isn't even the big set of cuts they have planned for the beginning of 2008 where they are cutting so many bus lines that there will 5 (count them...5) east west bus lines between Chicago Ave and Montrose which is insane...including cutting the Addison Bus...are you fucking kidding realize there is a ball park on that street right?

Luckily I work at home now and don't have to deal with all of this, but the Man does ride the bus and after having shoved himself on a bus one too many times he has started riding his bike to work. Good job CTA....make all these cuts and continue to see people move to other modes of travel.

I love Chicago and those of you who know me, know that it takes a lot for me to say something negative about the city. BUT we look like such a trashy city when it comes to public transportation. Hopefully someone will step in before all these cuts and fare increases go into affect.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have You People Heard of myspace!?!?

Hi.....yeah....uh... right...I created a myspace page like a year and a half ago. I had one friend. I didn't go there ever. Recently, I have been checking out some friends myspace pages, and then I would want to see pictures and it was all "You have to log in to see these". So I was like...ok, this is probably the e-mail address I used, a few more attempts at a password and I was in.

So then I looked at my inbox. Hello! I had messages from yes a bunch of random losers...but also from really old friends of mine. Including my old highschool track teammate. She sent me an e-mail like 4 months ago on there....hmm...I wonder if she still checks her page cause I finally wrote her back. I also had a message from someone *I think* I remember....but they are remembering running into me at the Indy 500...and I don't remember that...but that's probably because I had a few Budweisers at the time.

Anyways, what a strange little world we live in. Hi I would like to find a friend I knew like 10 years ago. Type in the name and there they are. Random crazy awesomeness.

Alright, I'm going to run this afternoon before Jason gets home from work. Yet again we didn't get up early to go. But tomorrow! Tomorrow people we are so on that. Just have to go to bed before the am rolls around.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Did we do something fabulous, have adventures that took us far away, end up on a ship with no socks and look forward to Gandolf's return (hello....bizarre Friends reference)?


No. We didn't do anything super fabulous, or exciting and yet...yet! was the best weekend. Friday night I hung out with Lisa and some of her librarian friends (which by the way...just as nerdy as physicists...ok...well almost) for a book club deal. We never got around to the book, but did get around to pizza and wine which is always fine by me.

Saturday morning we got up earlyish and headed south-east to see little miss jayhawk compete in her first ever 50K. We took pictures, we cheered, we took more pictures, we took pictures of #93....we laughed, we waved goodbye as she went out for her last loop. We headed to small bar for burgers and beer...home to nap. Then we watched movies and stayed up really late. By the way the original The Omen, is exactly the same as the remake...all you people that told me it was way better owe me 2 hours of my life back. And to think we could have watched Slaughterhouse High (or something like that).

Sunday we went for a run (oh yeah we got in a whopping 12 miles last week....getting back in at the pace I like to get back in at...slow). A nice 4 miler around the neighborhood. Then we went to our old neighborhood in Lakeview east and hung out, went to our old neighborhood bar to hangout for the second half of the Bears game. The game was horrible, but it was great to be back. A lot of the people haven't changed, and are just as friendly as they have always been. We went to Borders, we drank coffee.

To round out the evening we went to the Lakeshore Theater with Mike, Barb, Mouse & Dice to see the six finalists competing for Funniest Person in Chicago. When my parents lived in Joliet, before I was born they were friends with Jill and Bill who had a kid named Danny...which apparently when my mother saw said, "That's the cutest little boy in the world...let's have a kid!" and thus I came along. Jill and Bill had another kid Robbie and when I was a kid and they were kids we all hung out and so on. I haven't seen any of these people for about 10-15 years probably and I had found out earlier in the week from Jill that Danny was one of these 6 finalists! So we headed out to see them. It was so good to see everyone, and I loved Robbie's question of, "So being an's that going?". Danny (hmm...they might go by Dan and Rob now....) got third in the competition and did a great job so congrats to him!

On the walk back to our car we realized that we would have to walk past the Weiner Circle .... which if you don't know has the best Chicago dogs (& fries!) in the city. So we stopped by and had some food...which was good as always. It was a bit strange because there was just two people sitting in there, not ordering. They said something to us like, it gets really crowded in here you know...and I was like...uh...yeah...I guess...I just want my hotdog.

And then it was home and a quick Roseanne Halloween episode on Nick and Nite and then it was off to bed.

I am meeting the Dr downtown for lunch today which should be fun as it gets me out of the house!

Friday, October 26, 2007

And So It Hits Me...

that working at home...means I am in this god awful apartment alone for 10 hours a day.


if i start thinking the cat should talk back.....then we'll know we have a problem.

Seriously...this fucking sucks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Running Fast and Fancy Free

Yesterday I went out for a 4 mile run around noon. Sunny and 50s, or really just the perfect weather for running...nice to get out of the apartment in the middle of the day as well.

With my iPod strapped to my head and a number of bobby pins securing my new short hair (I guess that's the solution for now) I went out. I ran fast. I ran slow. I walked. I sprinted. I walked some more. I felt like I was running like Pheobe. I listened to the most random arrangement of music including Jessie's Girl (shut it), I Wanna Be Sedated & American Music.

It was fun. It was the first time in a long time that I didn't care if I went too fast, or if I walked or whatever. Just nice to get a run in around the neighborhood.

The apartment people are coming to fix our bathroom today. Of course I love when people are late and this guys is continually...ok, we'll be there ins 45 minutes and 2 hours later he shows up. Yesterday he said that he would be here at 8am to start the's now 8:20. I wonder what time they'll get here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gone Gone Gone

This morning my dad and stepmom left to go back to their boat which is Luperon, in the Dominican Republic. They have been here since the beginning of September and although our apartment is a wee bit small for 4 people it was great having them here. They were September saviors when our life was crazier than I don't know what, helping us with food and cleaning and whatever. So thanks again to them. I'll miss them but I am going to go and try and visit them in BVI and then they will be back to see my defend whenever that happens. Thanks again kids.

Speaking of my dad....he's an author! He wrote a book called The Why Book of Sailing which is now available to buy at any Borders, Barnes & Nobles or Amazon of course. For anyone out there that likes to sail and have sometimes asked, "Wait why does this work..." or any other questions you have had while out there this is the book for you. My dad was a high school physics teacher for 20+ years and has been sailing for about....I guess a bit under 10 years now. It's written in a very funny and conversationalist manner. So everyone go buy it!

With them gone, the apartment of course feels a bit bigger...but way a lot quieter. Since I am working at home from now on mostly I am going to have to find things to do during the days so I don't go crazy stuck in this apartment. Today we'll start with a nice 4 milish run around the hood...that's right kids....getting back into the thick of it.

I am actually getting more and more upset about the marathon. At the time, I was so busy, I knew the weather was going to be bad ahead of time, but knew that in 5 days we were leaving to go to Bloomington for Jason's defense and then going to straight to Germany so I didn't really have time to worry about it.

So the question has been asked, well why not run another one soon and try and qualify before the deadline.

Because I don't fucking want to. Ok. That's too harsh. Of course I want to run another marathon. But I had put most of my summer time and energy and effort into training for THIS race and I was, I think, in the best shape of my life. I don't know how easy it's going to be to go from two weeks off back into blasting through a 22 mile run like it's nothing and get back into race shape mentally and physically. So I'm frustrated.

Qualifying in Chicago, running Boston in April of 2008 was all part of my life plan. Yes I plan too far ahead. Now I'm not old....but I'm not exactly young....and Jason have been waiting to start a family since we were married (over 3 years ago)...waiting for better jobs & insurance...waiting for me to qualify...waiting for it to be a "better time". When is it ever a perfect time. For the next 10 years of my life I can see things that will always be...well if we wait just one more year...then what..then you are just waiting another year.

I'm not saying that we are running out to have kids right now, because that's not necessarily true, but it's just been talked about more lately. I am going to start running again and see how the legs feel. We'll see. Either way, marathoning is in my life to stay and it's just a matter of how fast marathoning will become :-) Hell if things feel good and miles fall off easily I'm going to look for a race in 6 weeks (or at least right before the cutoff) to do.

Fucking 90 degree marathon. Damn.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Pictures

I have a website setup which has pictures and stories from the trip which I have updated to include pictures from all days of the trip. I haven't updated the stories from our last few days in Hamburg, but it will be coming in the next few days.

Anyways, if you are interested in seeing pictures and reading the stories up there so far you can head to :

More news and stories and running plans to come in the next few days. In short, I am dying to get back out there and run and will probably head out tomorrow for a few miles....I need one more day to get over the jet laggyness.

In short's good to be home!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stuck in Transit

Well well much as I love to travel....not so much the getting home.

We are currentlz waiting in a train station in Hamburg (citz of nothing to do....literallz walked from one end of town to the other todaz......the 'y' and the 'z' are flipped on the German keyboard I am using....and saw everzthing there was to see).

So we got to the train station at about 5:30pm for a 9:18 (thinking there might be somethign to do....but it's similar to the city) train back to Berlin...where we will then make our way to the airport to wait for our flight at 6:05...then a one hour flight to Amsterdam...then a 3 hour layover....then a 7 hour flight...THEN we'll be if zou were counting, we are currently about 20 hours away from Chicago.

Alright time to give the Dr. Jman a turn on the computer....a mean 90 minutes awaz from our train departure.

Leah...signing off and dreaming of dreaming.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stories & Pics So Far

Well I got my iWeb/.mac back on and made a website to track the trip so far.

Head here :

to read stories and see lots of pictures from our first two days in Berlin..stay tuned there cause there will be more to come.

Talk is Over

My talk at the conference went well...although the first thing Jason said was that I talked really fast....he claims that he didn't say it...but whatever :-) I kid, I know that I tend to talk really fast and I go up a level when I'm really nervous. But I think it was ok. Most of the questions were not on my analysis but rather on the other analysis I presented which I don't know as much about.

We were at the conference yesterday from about 8am to 7:30pm and so haven't gotten much of a chance to explore Hamburg. We have plans to head to do the downtown area tonight and see some of the harbors. Our adviser who lived here for a summer when he was an undergrad suggested going to see that as well as heading down to the Reeperbahn, which used to be the biggest Red Light district in Europe, although we have heard that it has become a bit touristy now.

I also am working on getting a full detailed trip report page with lots of pictures, but am thinking about the best way to do that.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

He's a Dr & Berlin Rocks

Hello from Germany!

Just a quick update that Jason is now officialy going to have to be referred to as Dr. Jason. He did great on his presentation and much fun was had in Bloomington.

Our flight to Germany on KLM airlines was *awesome*. They had FREE BOOZE, two full meals and a snack. Very good stuff, the Dutch really know how to do it.

No time for a long update, but pictures and a travel log will be following in the next few days.

Oh and we didn't bring our running more week off works for us.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Soon to be Empty Dance Card

Well these two Chicago kids have been extremely busy since the marathon. Jason of course has a real job, while I have been stressing and working on getting my analysis submitted to collaboration review. That made it through alright, now I just have to hope they approve it for the conference. I really don't see any reason why it shouldn't as it's a solid analysis.

Aside from that Jason is defending his thesis tomorrow. He's not that worried about it because he has given the talk so many times, but it's still another thing that needs to be done and something that if he won't worry about, at least I can.

THEN we leave for Germany on Saturday. So we are going to have two days in Bloomington, then it straight to Ohare, meaning anything we need will have to be packed and ready today.

Oh and I have to give a practice talk for the Germany talk tomorrow.

Just have to survive a few more days and then it's all the German beer I can drink.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The New Hotness

Alright, the marathon is head was getting that 5 year itch that it tends to get...and so it was off to the salon I went yesterday. It was time for a change and I think I'm going to love it!

I have had short hair in the past....and I love it...and then I wake up and have monster bead head and do a slight *freak* out, but this morning it was pretty smooth sailing which was good.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mike Downey is an Idiot or We Are Stupid

For those of you that caught Mike Downey's editorial in the sports of section of the Chicago Tribune probably know what I'm talking about. For those of you that have yet to see it check it out here.

I would love to write a long commentary on the poor organization of the race and how the race director keeps shooting himself in the foot......but I am uber busy with my upcoming conference presentation and getting ready to go to Germany AND getting Jason ready for his defense in 2 days. So needless to say I don't have time. My dad on the other is retired...and so does. He sent the following letter to the Chicago Tribune this morning in response to the Downey article.

Mike Downey calls everyone who ran the Chicago Marathon stupid. There are several obvious problems with this simplistic conclusion. First he claims that their were 10,000 "smart" people who didn't run but he offers no data as to how many of those didn't run because of the weather. Moreover how does this year's 10,000 compare to how many typically don't end up running the marathon for whatever reason in previous years.

Having helped Mr. Downey with his math let's get to the stupid part. A basic marathoner has trained 25 weeks after paying $110 for the privilege of running in this prestigious event. As a former runner and a close observer of my daughter and her husband's training regime I know what smart runners do. Upon seeing the weather report they instantly give up on running a personal record. My daughter knew she would not qualify for Boston (her goal) this year due to the weather. They expect to run slower and perhaps even walk some of the race. They know that they will have to take on more water (and yes perhaps splash some on their heads) than they normally do. Is it not reasonable then to expect that the race committee could also be as smart as the runners and put out 5 to 10 times more water than normal? This should have been doable for the nearly 5 million dollars collected in entry fees not to mention the support offered by the sponsors. We're talking water here not champagne.

The weather didn't get hot the day before. This weather had been predicted at least a week in advance. Indeed the race committee sent e-mails to all the competitors warning them of the weather. Here's that e-mail receive 3 days before the race.

Heat Advisory

Attention LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Participants:

The weather forecasts for race day – Sunday, October 7 – are indicating that we could have a warm and humid day with temperatures expected to be in the 82 F / 28 C range on race day (according to We recommend you stay tuned to local weather forecasts to properly prepare for the race.

Medical Director George Chiampas suggests the following preparation for race day:

* Dress appropriately – avoid cotton fabrics, long sleeves and long pants. Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics that will help to keep you cool.

* Wear sunglasses and waterproof sunscreen. With the amount of time you will be on the course, you want to be sure to protect your skin and eyes.

* Pay special attention to hydration. Drink plenty of fluids the day before and morning of the race. Drink enough fluids to maintain your baseline body weight, but be aware of overhydration. If you begin to gain weight above your baseline, you are drinking too much water and depleting your sodium level which is important to maintain.

* Be sure to stay hydrated during the race. Make note of aid stations and prepare to utilize them. You will need to drink more to compensate for the rapid depletion of your body's fluids in the heat.

* Plan to adjust your pace for the weather. The humidity and heat will require more of your body so a slower pace than planned is recommended in order to get you to the finish line without overheating.

* Most importantly: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY DURING THE RACE. If at ANY time your body gives you signals to slow down or stop, abide by them. Be aware of your heart rate, body temperature and hydration. If you feel light-headed, dizzy or overheated or experience chest pain, visual disturbances, cramping, vomiting or headache, slow down or stop and consult the medical personnel on the course immediately.

There will be a cooling/misting tent next to the Medical Tent at the Finish Line to assist with post-race cool down.

We want everyone to enjoy race day and that means being in the best possible condition to complete the course. Take it slow, pay attention to your body's stress signals and be aware of medical staff and aid stations to help you along the way.

Notice that nowhere in here are the runners advised to skip the race altogether. They offer important and helpful advise especially the advise to take on plenty of water during the race. How can you offer this 'tip' and then not have enough water? That's a mean trick!

According to race officials, each of the aid stations was outfitted with 50,000 to 70,000 servings of water and 37,000 servings of Gatorade, said Shawn Platt, a senior vice president of LaSalle Bank. That's about one Gatorade per person and 1-2 cups of water per person. That's not exactly rallying the troops for the heat. Should have been a LOT more. Moreover, race director Carey Pinkowski, is quoted as saying that they didn't anticipate people pouring water on their heads. How can you not expect this little cooling effort on such a day. Have we not all seen runners pour water on themselves?

Marathoners sacrifice a lot for their sport. They don't go out when their friends do. They may miss some important events (Cubs game!) because their training dictates their schedule. When you've made a commitment like this to excel and to challenge yourself, it is not so easy to suddenly become "smart" and not run at all. No. The smart runner just runs a different race. Some likewise support from the race organizers and sponsors would have been much appreciated.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Chicago Marathon 2007 - Leah's Death March

**First of all if you haven't seen all the pictures from the race, head down to the previous post for a slide show of pictures. There are a few of the choice ones included below. Also, there are probably typos...the report is happening between work stuff that has to get done, i.e. quickly. **

My third marathon is over and done with. The first year we did the race it was cool and a perfect day, last year the weather at the start was in the 30s and windy, and this year as most people know the weather was record high hot with temps reaching into the high 80s. I know that some people would get to aid stations only to find that there were no more fluids left. I was lucky enough to not have had to deal with that, so I can't comment on it.

We started the day already sweating. My dad met us at our apartment and I gave him a quick instruction on the new camera and convinced him he really wanted to take it. Then he seemed more nervous than us as he was standing around and jingling the keys. We left the apartment at about 6:30am, picked up Chad and Bridgette on Chicago and Wabash and then headed south towards the start line. We jumped out of the car at Lake St. and headed to our start corral.

As usual the corrals were a bundle of nervous and excitement. We stationed ourselves with the 3:40 pacers and started chatting with some of the guys around us. One guy was from Atlanta and this was his 6th marathon and the other guy we talked to was a marathoning newbie. I was worried about this guy because he said when he drinks water or Gatorade he feels sick so he wasn't going to do that during the race.....I hope he ended up ok as the day would prove there would be no room for that kind of behavior.

The race started and I was surprised to see our first mile hit in 7:46, this is about 40 seconds too fast for a 3:40. The pacers all started yelling for the 3:40 people to slow down. We saw our full group of spectators at about mile one with my dad looking like a pro taking pictures of us. I'm such a ham for the camera! Mile 2 hit in 9:08 and we were way ahead of pacers so I know they had slowed too much. During Mile 3, they came sprinting past us like they were going to make up 50 seconds during the next mile. At that point I said forget it and we'll just do what we can on our own since the pacers seemed to be all over the place.

We saw our spectators again a little bit after mile 4 and smiled and waved and high fived. Although at this point I was already not feeling great. We were keeping up with an 8:15ish pace but just didn't feel right. You know getting into that groove didn't seem to be happening. We saw Mouse and Dice at about mile 5.5 and I tried to smile, but realizing already that there was 21 miles to go was making it a bit tough to look happy.

As we made the turn onto Addison, people were still in good spirits. Someone yelled, "Alright everyone this is as far north as we'll go!" I thought...yeah still not yet 8 miles into the race. We saw our spectators after making the turn onto Broadway and we did our best to look good. We were still on pace for a 3:40 at this point but realized there was no way it was going to happen as we were exhausted. We got to the next aid station, got some Gatorade and walked through the whole thing. Had some water, dumped some water on the head and started running again.

At this point, I was asking myself what the point was of going through a 16 mile death march and maybe we should just bail when we next saw our spectators. Jason said, maybe we should just run to the next aid station, and walk through the whole thing getting enough fluids down and cooling down a bit. I thought that was a good idea and so we aimed just to do that. When we saw our spectators at mile 13 however we were not looking our best. They said, afterwards, that we looked *horrible* at that point in the race. I think that this picture is a perfect description of the race this year. I'm about to cry and the guy next to me is already walking and looking bad.

But then we crossed 1/2 way.

And then, I heard Jason scream out in pain. I looked at him and we stopped and he said he had a horrible cramp in his leg. He stretched a bit and then we were back on it.....for a block or two when the pain came back to him. I know he was really pissed off, but as far as I was concerned, just finishing today was the goal as our original time goal was out the window. We stayed together up until a point and then I told him that I was going to go on because it was too hot for me to take longer that I needed out there.

I went ahead and met up with our spectators at the Halstead Blue line stop, just before mile 17 I think. I never stop in a race....but yesterday I did. I pulled up next to them and chatted for awhile and drank some of the water they had with them. I decided to wait on Jason because another 10 miles alone was going to be lonely and maybe we could just finish together. Plus I realized he had the 2nd Gu in his pocket that I might want. So I waited for him to come by. I told my dad to call ahead and tell our spectators not to leave that we would be there eventually. Jason continued to suffer from leg cramps and at one point said that his foot was facing in the wrong direction and that he had to stop at the next available medical tent. I told him that I was going to go ahead because the stopping to walk was making me more exhausted than just running along slowly. He said he would be fine and be careful and if he got stuck he would find a phone to call someone.

So off I went.

I didn't really have any goals at this point. I just kept doing the run to the next aid station and walk through it getting a glass of Gatorade and water down at each stop and then picking it back up to running.

I stopped and told our spectators in Chinatown what was happening with Jason and then ran into the lovely Lisa and Evin a few blocks down. I slowed down and they walked with me for about 3 blocks and said I looked great and people were just dropping left and right.

I left them and continued on. I knew that the 22 mile marker was just past this point and the last 4 miles of the marathon I'm usually pretty good with. I know there's only 4 miles to go and that I could do it. I looked at my watch and also realized that if I kept doing what I was doing and averaging just under 10 min/mile I would be faster than my slowest time which ended up being my only goal. You have to think of something while you are out there.

With over 2 miles to go we made the turn onto Michigan Ave. and it was horrible. It was about noon and there was no. shade. anywhere. No where to escape the sun, just plodding up the street. There was a hydrant open somewhere along here and I stopped and just let it soak me before I continued on. I stopped at two of the aid stations along here which I don't usually do since it's so close to the end, but I was keeping with my game plan. I kept looking at what street were on and be shocked that there was still 16 or 17 blocks to go. Finally the one mile to go sign came into view, followed by the big turn onto Roosevelt. I looked for my spectators and ran strong up the hill. I gave them a thumbs up and a fist pump and continued on.

Making the big turn onto Columbus and seeing the finish line and knowing that I was going to complete a marathon in one of the worst conditions ever made me very happy.

I crossed the line in 4:10:35 which I'm thrilled with.

Then I crossed the line and all I had been thinking of for the past 20 miles was to finish so I could get an ice cold towel in the finishing shoot. But oh no. What do they have there? The mylar blanket things they usually have to keep you warm. What the ass? How hard would have been to get big buckets of ice and put towels in them. I made my way through the shoot, and had a beer which I don't usually do. I told the woman handing them out that I could use about 12 of them. I kept seeing people with bags of ice and asked where that was. When I finally found it (at the very end of the shoot) they were all out. I asked a girl who had 4 bags of ice just sitting on the ground if she was using them all and she gave me a very snotty look and said she was...ok, glad the ground was getting a good icing.

But I headed over to Columbus and Michigan and found my Dad and Chad. I started crying because I had left Jason when he was in pain and I didn't know where he was or if he was ok. Eventually we heard that he was ok, and so we waited for him to come by. We were exhausted and sweaty and gross, but we had again completed a marathon. I was so happy that I didn't quit even though I wanted to. A sense of accomplishment, even though the goal I had worked on all summer was out the window before the race even started.

There will be other marathons, and other chances to run fast. For now I am taking a couple weeks off. With a trip to Germany coming up next week and a busy week of work with us, we don't really have time to think about our next race or to run at all...and right now, I'm really ok with that and looking forward to the break. I do love marathoning....but it's been a long hard summer and I don't want to think about the next race for awhile