Monday, December 29, 2008

Sailor Sue Sells Photos

As many of you know my Dad and Stepmom live aboard a 40' sailboat in the Caribbean. Sue (the stepmom) takes tons of beautiful pictures down there and has now started to post them to a smugmug account for purchase. Please check out her site here :

Sailor Sue Takes Photos!

and enjoy the beauty of the islands...especially for those of us up here in the midwest where we are looking at another 3 months of cold.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unplugged...For A Bit Anyways

Today, I unplugged myself from the interwebs for a few hours while I walked around my neighborhood and did some shopping for the hubby. It was kind of nice. I didn't even have my trusty iPhone with me as it was without charge and thus hanging out in my apartment.

We are have another big snow storm here in Chicago which is both awesome and a little nuts. There is no way that we can get our car out of the parking spot it's in due to the snow....and surprisingly I'm ok with that. I believe there are plans in place for us to have a rented car to go to the in-laws with on Friday so we won't have to worry about getting the car out. If that fell through at least there is a shovel in the basement of our building so we won't be digging our car out with spoons and hot water as we have done in the past.

While I was out shopping I saw this guy and realized there isn't even an excuse for not running. He was pretty awesome and a big thank you to him for looking right at my camera. Happy Holidays All! (As usual click on the photo for a smugmug gallery of my walk! I'm in the middle of Lightroom withdrawal so all the pictures recently are just the jpgs out of the camera so they aren't going to be as sharp as they have been in the past....the dude below had minor changes using CameraRaw which I am starting to learn)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

10 Cookies + 3 Marshmallows = Fun + Busy

This weekend was my annual cookie bake off. This year I added 2 new kinds of cookies to my repertoire bring the total number to 10 types. This year I also made marshmallows which added some fun. I made three batches of those.

The baking crazy started on Friday night at my Aunt's and continued through the weekend, ending a few hours ago. Although there were a few naps thrown in there, just for good measure. Here are some pictures of the baking in progress and click on any of them to go to a gallery with more pictures. Ignore the pictures of me....no sleep....lots of baking = me not looking *awesome*.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just a Bit Too Crazy

So last night there was a real "winter storm watch" going on in Chicago. Usually it's all, "WINTER STORM WATCH" and then you go outside and there is a 1/2" of snow on the ground. Yesterday afternoon however it was really coming down....and kept coming down, faster with the flakes getting bigger and bigger. Jason and I wisely decided to take the train home instead of run home as is supposed to be our plan on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And you know....we live in Chicago, shitty weather like this is going to happen which is why making training plans in December is always rough. We met friends out for dinner at Sheffields last night and had we not I think we would have gone out later after the snow had stopped coming down.

In other news. I made homemade marshmallows on Monday night. I am super excited about them and am looking forward to giving them out along with cookies that I bake. I need to find some cellophane baggies that have christmas stuff on them...any ideas out there on where I could find some? I am thinking like The Paper Source....or something along those lines. Anyways let me know if you know what I'm talking about at all.

Other than that just preparing for a big baking/shopping weekend. I am going to my Aunt's on Friday night to bake some cookies and watch Christmas movies. Jason is coming to get me on Saturday morning, probably pretty early and then we'll go back home and I will start baking cookies/marshmallows etc. I think we are going to hit up the Border's tomorrow night to get a chunk of our shopping done. Big surprise everyone is getting books this year! WHAT. I know. Crazy.

That's all from here. Hopefully Thursday will be better for running than yesterday was.

OH and here is some Christmas cheer from our tree. Click on the photo to go to my smugmug gallery filled with all kinds of decoration pictures!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well A Fine Run It Was

So....yeah, you know how your training Day #1 arrives and no matter what you are going to get that fucking workout in? Yeah, me too!

Yesterday was Day #1 of our lets run home from work on Tuesday and Thursdays plan....you cannot miss Day #1, you just can't and so with a howling wind and snow/sleet/ice/whatever coming down we headed north. The snow/sleet/ice whatever was so bad that I literally couldn't open my eyes as the snow/sleet/ice was cutting my eyes. Seriously. We were laughing pretty hard as *of course* this was the first day of the "plan".

But we made it, it's about 4.8 miles door to door and so a great distance for a run. We realized too that we were meeting a friend out for drinks at Local Option at 8pm, so we came home, cooked dinner showered really quick and then we headed back out. Because we are cool ("cool" = "crazy") like that we decided to walk to the bar which was about 1.5 miles from our house. In a snow storm. And then back home. Ah well. It's always kind of pretty when it snows in December and I like to be out in it. I'm sorry...for Christmas time there should be snow.

On the walk home Jason and I were singing Jingle Bell Rock and as we fell asleep trying to remember the words to the 12 days of Christmas.

Yeah, so a very busy evening. Tonight we are cooking dinner and I might make some thumbprints. Tomorrow we are going over to the Lovely Lisa's apartment for our annual candy making evening and we are going to make some cut out cookies as well so that should be fun. This weekend we are going to get our Christmas tree, and we might go get it on Friday night. If we do that then we need to rearrange our apartment a bit tonight to be ready for it. I'm looking forward to the holiday season and getting ready for my annual cookie bake off next weekend.

Alright, the coffee is done and as I am rambling I'm off.

Tomorrow is run home from work Day #2!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gotta Be Organized for the New One

So today is the day to start running plan #857, well it's not really #857 but Jason and I have had so many deals and plans and whatevers to get us organized to run more that we have to be close to that many. The NEW and improved plan is to run home from work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So we "got our stuff together" last night, but really putting running clothes into a pile and calling it "ready to go" isn't really ready to go. So this morning was spent throwing shit into bags and hoping that it's all there.

The running home from work plan is always a good one...however there is always one thing you don't think of. This time around it was the, "Oh yeah it's winter....we need coats". So Jason only has one winter coat so say he wears it today and then runs home, then he has no coat for Tomorrow. BUT luckily today, while shitty and rainy and horrible out it wasn't too cold so he was able to wear just a rain jacket and keep his warm coat at home for tomorrow. I have a few coats including one of those ones that has a fleece and waterproof shell that I can separate out which is what I did today.

I think it's a really good plan and I'm excited to try it out. The idea is then to run on Saturdays and Sundays as well and then that will be 4 days a week. Plus on Saturdays and Sundays we could run in the daylight and so it won't be as bad. Coming home from work, then going back out running is just never a fun idea and we are really bad at doing it. So I'm excited to try this out.

There is a gym by our house that we are thinking of joining after the new year as well. For now I just want to do the free thing. So we'll see how this works.....I think it'll be easier to keep me honest cause really...I love our apartment and after getting home after a long/cold winter day....I do. not. want. to. leave. it. :)

So, that's the plan. Day 1 is today.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Laughed Until We Cried

Last night Jason reminded me that we have money budgeted for bars and that Sheffields was a bar and so we could go there after work and STILL be in our budget. I know I married that boy for a reason. So on the way home from work we went there for beers and dinner and had a great time. We invented a new version of rock-paper-scissors and I'm not kidding you when I say had you been at the bar and seen us doing this and laughing so hard we had tears rolling down our faces you would have thought we were the biggest nerds in the world. Which we are of course. You also would have wanted to be our friends because we must have looked like we were having a great time.

The owner of that place was there and if you thought in your mind what the owner of a Chicago bar should look like that would be the image in your head. He seems like a really nice guy and knows what he's doing on the beer and food side. We found out that he started working at Sheffields in 1988 as a door man...now he's the owner, funny how those things work.

Tonight Jason and I are going home eating dinner and then driving to Fermilab to clean out our office. I don't want to do it, but it has to be done, and we'll be fast about it. I'm looking forward to being done for reals with that part of my life.

Alright, well happy friday everyone. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Dress and a Patient Husband

Jason's company's holiday party is on saturday night and it's a pretty fancy affair so I needed a new dress. I had plans to go shopping with my aunt last Sunday morning, but she called in sick and couldn't make it. Therefore with no time left to meet up with her, Jason and I went last night. He's so patient which is nice as I tried on a bunch of dresses and then I was like ok I'm going to get this one....then I walked around the dresses one more time and found another three I wanted to try on. I ended up getting one of the ones from this second scan of the dresses so it's good I looked. Jason was great though as he helped me decide and was patient will all of the options which was nice.

The dress is pretty too :)

My cousin is coming to Chicago this week too which should be a really good time. He's coming with his girlfriend and I was like, oh but we aren't going to be home on Saturday night....then I remembered that he's 22 now (or close) and not 12 and so doesn't need to stay home and watch Spaceballs with me while I babysit him. I guess they have friends here too so they are going to hang with them on Saturday night. It will be really fun to see him.

We also have to go to Fermilab to clean out our office this weekend. We might just go on Friday night as things are starting to get busy for the weekend. I am not looking forward to that to say the least...I'm guessing we'll be pretty quick about it though so it shoudln't take *too* long. As apparenlty we don't need any of the stuff in that office......we might be "donating" it.....and by "donating" I mean "scraping" it.

So that's all from here. Our weekly mileage is heading towards a big fat zero as we didn't run on Tuesday and it's freezing ass cold here today and we are big babies.

We do have an idea though...on Tuesdays and Thursdays we are going to try and run home from work so that we don't have the built in excuse of, "oh but we are home and it's so warm and comfortable here" as when we get home we will already be done with the run. Given that we live 5 miles from work to home it would be a really good solution I think. We'll try Tuesday and see what happens.

Thus this is the end as lunch is now over.

Monday, December 01, 2008

8 > 6 > 0

Oh yeah, that's right. These two running kids ran a whopping 8 miles last week. Now while I can lament on how horrible that is and how I really wanted to run 12 miles and blah blah blah, I am choosing not to and instead be happy that we are out there again, AND starting to enjoy it again. So it's more than last week which is also good. Just gotta keep moving the stick.

We were going to do another 4 mile run on Sunday, but after looking outside and noticing rain/snow ugliness and then looking towards our fireplace and decided that staying indoors and watching a fireplace and reading would be a more enjoyable way to go.

We had a great thanksgiving weekend that included aside from the wonderful thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's house (thanks again to the Hender gang for having Jason and I over) a ton of reading, moving watching, general relaxing, crashing high school reunion parties, having friends over for dinner, karaoke and napping. On the reading note, I read four books in the month of November. I am really enjoying getting back into reading novels and especially enjoying getting through some pretty quickly. I'm currently reading Blindness by Jose Saramango which is good aside from his difficult writing style.

So we have three weeks until Christmas which is of course very exciting. Now that Jason and I are starting our own traditions I am starting to really enjoy it again. I think we will start doing some decorating this weekend (everything besides the tree) and then probably get the three the weekend following (don't want it to dry out you know).

Our running plan is to run tomorrow, Thursday and then saturday. I don't know if we'll get out there on Sunday because Jason's holiday party is on Saturday and after a night of dancing/drinking I can probably safely say, running won't be high on my list of things I want to do.

That's all from here. Onto a busy week!

Monday, November 24, 2008

So.....6 is More than Zero?

Well technically that's true. But it's also much less than 15 which had been my running goal for last week. Ah well. This is another week and another chance to get over 10 freakin' miles. Remember when I would run 50 miles a week. YEAH. me neither.

So today the plan is to go home and run 4 miles. It's pretty nice out right now, and if the wind stays down it won't be too bad. Plus we can really enjoy a fire and reading/old DVR if we feel like we earned it.

We had a great weekend going to see a concert on Saturday night (Did you know that Tom Morello went to Harvard and got a degree in Political Science and worked in a senators office for a few months or something after he graduated....very interesting). Tom Morello was awesome as was Steve Earle.

Yesterday we went to Indy to visit with Jason's family and have an early thanksgiving dinner. And as I'm at work, I will quickly demonstrate why Jason is the best uncle in the world.

Happy Monday all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold

I'm such a weenie. Walking home last night after a long day in the office Jason and I just *happened* to walk by Sheffields...which happens to be warm and have delicious beer and we just happen to magically gravitate in there if we walk by. So we did that instead of running.

We spent the rest of the night at the Elbo Room. An old friend of mine from college recently contacted me on Facebook and he happened to be playing there last night. So Jason and I went. It was really fun to see him again as I realized the last time I had seen him was at a New Years Eve party for the millenium.

The best part of the night however came at the end of the night when my friends sister told me I should join the Windy City Rollers because I looked athletic.....we walked out and Jason was all excited and all, "OMG YOU'RE GOING TO BE ON A ROLLER DERBY TEAM". I kinda feel like if someone asks you to join Windy City Rollers...you have to give it a shot. So we'll see if I actually do that. I could hold my own on the roller rink when I was like 8 so maybe some of those skills are still looming around. So I might be checking that out. Fun to be asked anyways.

I'm really excited that today is Friday as it's been a long week. Tonight we don't have any official plans yet but there is talk of hanging out with Jake and LaurA!, and tomorrow our new couch is being delievered and we are going to see Steve Earle and Tom Morello at The Vic on Saturday night which I'm really looking forward to. On Sunday we are driving to Indianapolis to have a thanksgiving dinner with some of Jason's family which should be a good time. Next week Jason and I both took the day after thanksgiving off and so it will a nice short week although a busy one as we have a demo on Tuesday and then Wednesday I have a review here at work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Worst Book Reviewer Ever

So I just finished the book The Mayor's Tongue by Nathaniel Rich and I gave it 5 stars because well I don't know...it was awesome. I was looking back over my reviews in Good Reads and I seem to give all books 5 stars. I told Jason I need like 5 stars with an exclamation point or something...he said well isn't that just 5 stars and then 5 stars would be 4 stars? I guess he has a point. But yeah, it was really good...just really imaginitive, really good writing, interesting story. It kind of reminded me of that movie Big Fish

We were at the Borders last night and I found a book with the words "Psycological Thriller" on the cover at which point I was like well I have to buy this as I'm a sucker for those books. I started it on the train and I almost thought about just staying on the train and going back home and reading it all day as I'm on page 12 and I'm already hooked...hopefully it stays good. The books is called In The Woods.

Tonight we are going to Elbo Room to see an old friend of mine from college that I haven't spoken to or seen in 8 years (thank you facebook!) as he's playing there so that should be a good time. We are goin to go home and run first and then head over there.

Alright, that's all from here. On to work!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday!

Yep. Wednesday. You know....THAT day. The one that is in the middle of all of the other days of the week.

Should be a good day though...we have actually gone running the last two days...only three miles each day, but 3 miles is more than 0 miles so that's good. We are already going to break the chain of running days in a row today though because we are going to go out to dinner with my cousin in Chinatown and don't want to go all the way north just to come all the way back south. So we are going to instead go hangout at a Borders or something until about 7pm (see that way if I finish the current book I'm reading I can easily pick up another...ooh I don't know...Jack Reacher book) and then head on down there. Thanksgiving is ruined for me this year since my family is going on a cruise instead of sticking with tradition and for anyone that knows me...I. do. not. like. change. SO having dinner with her tonight will be like an early thanksgiving Chinese food dinner....I guess. But will be fun to see her and I'm looking forward to seeing her for sure.

Tomorrow we will go run again and then on Friday and Saturday. If we do that it will be a total of 15 miles for the week...which again...more than zero.

That's just about all from this end....well not really, but work is not underway!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Running!

That's right this whole deal here started as a running blog and there hasn't been much of that lately...and by not much I mean not existent.

Yesterday Jason and I got off the train to the first snow of the season....there was a very light dusting of white stuff on the el platform, although not nearly enough to stick or be anything interesting.

We got home and jumped into running clothes and were out the door instantly. We went three miles and holy hell are we out of shape......or it was just cold and *really* windy. In the end we didn't do too bad, taking about 28 minutes for 3 miles. On the way home we had planned to stop by the Fitness Formula Clubs gym near Halstead and Belmont. I found out online that that location is about 3 blocks from my apartment, the union station location about 2 blocks from my work and the one in Old Town (according to their website) has racquetball courts which I have been dying to get back into for years but haven't found a place that has courts. Does anyone belong to any of the gyms in this chain?

However by the time we got to that area I was freezing and starving and so we decided to just head home instead. Nice to get back out there again. We are planning on another 3 miles tonight as well...I love starting running plans when it's 25 degrees out...ah well. It should be back to the 40s tomorrow. After getting home we started a fire, read a little bit and then watched a few shows on DVR. Ending the evening with the Daily Show which was great.

And thus it's Tuesday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Weekend of Nothing...

Well....maybe not exactly nothing, but not far off. 

After a month of inlaws visiting, and other busy weekends, Jason and I did a whole lot of nothing. We were really busy Saturday morning with errands, getting firewood delivered, Jason got new glasses, upgrading our home office with a large monitor and an external hard drive which is nice as now I can just use the power of my little work laptop to do photoshop stuff but not have to buy a new desktop. 

Then around 3pm we started a fire, and started watching movies. Yes. We did watch Ironman again. I'm sorry I love it. Then we watched High Fidelity. In John Cusack's apartment in the movie there is a poster for a show that had been at Schubas. I looked at Jason and said, Hey....you know we live right by that place. I looked online and the music looked good so we decided to douse out the fire and head over for some live music. It was a great venue and a good show. A kid named Tom Schraeder played who I think is from Chicago originally and seemed to be happy and excited to be back in the city.

After the show we went just went back home....and then Sunday at 9am we started a fire....and it didn't go out until about 9pm later that day. So a day of movies, Bears football (if you want to call what they were playing football) and catching up on some DVR we had recorded was what our Sunday amounted to. I moved all my pictures onto our new hard drive as well which since there was 50GB worth of stuff.....took awhile. I have some ideas/plans to keep things organized and somehow get more of my pictures printed/ones I develop need to be kept separated. So yeah.

Anyways. Jason and I just had a great time relaxing and being lazy bums after not being that way for so many weeks.....a weekend of laziness also ups the desire to run....so we are going to try and get back doing that...I keep saying that don't I?....well good plan to start when it's 30 degrees out :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chicago : Grand & State Subway Station

Last night after attending a benefit for something (we don't know exactly what it was but Jason's friend was involved and asked if we wanted to go....35 bucks each and unlimited beer and food..although I do think it had something to do with teaching 4th-8th graders) at the Rock Bottom brewery at Grand and State.

When we left, we went into the subway station that is a stones throw away from the entrance to the brewery. We went into the tunnel where we were almost the only people there. The other people down there with us were two guys, one playing a guitar and the other singing. They were playing "Under the Boardwalk". 

I am currently reading Nathaniel Rich's book, The Mayor's Tongue which might be a little weird, but the writing is so fantastic that I don't care...and I think it's weird in a good way. I am in awe in how good writers can put words together and create sentences that almost have a rhythm and sound like they are singing to you. I wanted Jason to hear what I was reading and enjoying so much and so I started reading out loud from the book.....while we were next to the two dudes singing "Under the Boardwalk". It was awesome. 

Jason looked at me and said, "Only in the city." A great end to a fun evening with new friends.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nice Monday Evening

Last night Jason had an evening out with his work people and so I had a pretty enjoyable evening home alone. I got moving on learning photoshop from the Scott Kelby book...the 7 steps in photoshop or something. It's awesome, because it's more this is how you do shit...and less here is what it all means. So that's good. You can download the example photos from his website and just follow along. It seems pretty good so far. 

After doing some of the examples in the book I took my own photo and worked on it. You can see it here if you want. I compared the before working on it and after working on it and there are some big differences. 

The main thing I learned is that I need a new freakin' desktop as the Lightroom/Photoshop work flow is slow and choppy on our current machine....and that photoblog is kinda lame. Hmm......Apple sells nice new desktops....and since I'm learning a ton at work on how to make websites, there could be a nice side project for me to work on. So there's that....we might be making a trip to the apple store tomorrow night or this weekend. Although.....I am going to make sure things do run faster on my laptop as that's pretty beefed up. Our desktop is 4 years old and so new one would have 4 times the ram and 1.5 times the processor speed...so that should make a big difference

So that's all from here. Tonight we have dinner with a guy Jason used to work with (at Sheffields of course), tomorrow nothing, Thursday is the big demo at work and a fundraiser at Rock Bottom...and then the weekend...where I'm pretty sure we don't have anything going on for, so might be able to get a lot of good work done.....and some good movie watching, fireplace enjoying!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Going to do More of This.

Not hanging out in gross train stations, but taking and posting more pictures on my photoblog. It's kind of an ad-full blog service, but it works pretty well for pictures. I have a few on there from this month and now that our office is rolling I hope that will start rolling too.

We had a great weekend with Jason's parents in the city. They came in on Saturday afternoon and we took them through Millenium park and showed them the bean, which I think they enjoyed. From there we headed back to our apartment and just relaxed a bit before heading out for some drinks at Sheffields and then to dinner at Mia Franchesca. We topped the evening off with a fire, Ironman and some coffee.

Today we went to breakfast at Clarke's and then headed back downtown where we checked out the cultural center. On the second floor there is a beautiful dome of Tiffany stained glass (stay tuned to the photoblog for pictures!), on the top floor right now they have a great Chicago photo exhibit.

After the in-laws left Jason and I strolled through Macy's and found this awesome piece of furniture. We had found a daybed we liked at Crate and Barrel but it was *huge* and would have over taken our apartment. We found this which is a lot smaller, and pretty cool looking. Yeah that's right it's white leather...yeah Mrs. Spills her Wine Every Night ("There she goes again!") won't be allowed to sit on it :). Because we work we can't get it delivered until the 22nd as it's the next available Saturday. So we are looking forward to that being delivered in a few weeks.

We spent the rest of the day running errands and not buying an iMac and yelling at our current desktop for being super slow and stupid an annoying. But the couch took the spending for a month, but now when people come over they dont have to sit on the floor so that's good.

I have a busy week coming up with my group having a big demo on Thursday afternoon. I'm so crazy about deadlines and presentations and get nervous the night before so I'm hoping that things are in a good state by Wednesday night so that I can get a somewhat decent nights sleep that night. We are meeting a friend on Tuesday for dinner and then on Thursday that same friend is hosting a benefit or somethign....beer and appitizers at Rock Bottom....don't like that place, but they have pretty good beer and good appitizers and that's what the entry cost will get you.

Alright. So it's Sunday. A busy week coming up. And more pictures are going to be processed. So that's that.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Getting. Shit. Together.

I am in the middle of finally emptying some boxes in our second bedroom/office and I finally feel like we are getting to a place where things are calming down and we are getting our shit together. It took longer than I had expected to get used to the 9-5 work life, but I'm there now and not as exhausted as I was when I get home.

My dad gave me the photoshop suite for a graduate present from graduate school and right when I got it I had gotten some books to learn how to get the most of it, and then, we moved, I started my new job, etc etc. So I'm going to go back and get back on the taking pictures thing. That's another thing, when I got out and take pictures, I haven't been downloading them from my camera....and so they sit there, and then I hopen 8 days worth of photos and I'm like...uh...yeah there are some good ones there. So I want to get back from taking pictures I want to at least, download the photos and just get rid of the ones I know I'm not going to want. Then the task of brightening up or slighly fixing the photos won't be such a daunting task.

Jason's parents are coming to visit us this weekend so that should be fun. We are thinking that today we are going to go to the Art Institute for a few hours, and then we have dinner reservations at Mia Franchesca this evening. Then....I don't know. Something fun I'm sure.

Alright, well that's about all from here. Oh getting shit together...also means running is creeping back into my head. We have a meeting on Monday regarding Run. Track. Run., so I'm excited to see where that can go.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Era

Last night the senator from Illinois won the seat of the President of the United States. Four years ago when he gave his speech at the Democratic convention I, along with several others I'm sure, said, "That man is going to be president one day."

That day is today.

Jason and I and a bunch of friends had tickets to the rally. We met at Hackney's* in the south loop and the proceeded to the park. Once we were in, we were greeted with a giant jumbo tron and CNN with the returns. People were *so* happy. It was a crowd of 100,000 people, there was no fighting, there was no crazy drinking, just people listening and waiting. When Barack came out and gave his speech the crowd was silent and attentive. He can capture people in a way that I have never experienced. He has gotten the excited about the country again, and I think he will continue to get people back involved in their government. I talked to my mom this morning who said, "I don't know. When he talks to me I really believe what he's saying". I told her that it's probably because he really believes in what he's saying. He seems to really want people to just come together and get some shit done.

When I was in graduate school I did some work in Washington D.C. and I would ask the staffers how their job was. Was it hard when you got some many fails and just had to live for the small wins. I wonder if this kind of thing is what makes those years of fails worth it.

Like I said. I think it's a new day. It's a day where I can be proud again to go overseas and say, "I'm an American." And hopefully now I won't get looks of, "I'm sorry." So Congrats to the Senator from Illinois and let's see where he can take this country.

The boy and I are obviously happy. I'll have more pictures up later, but I'll leave you with this of your fearless duo.

*after I left a meeting early...which...in retrospec I should have stayed for the duration of.....but if I have learned anything it's that you can't go back in time. Decisions are made. They might be the wrong ones....but you can't hold on to the guilt....well that's what I'm trying to tell myself anyways.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Baracked My Vote

This morning after a very *very* bad night of sleep I jumped out of bed at 5am and Jason and I ran down to our polling place and were about 8th in line to vote. We had a bit of a hold up because our voting sheets weren't there and so we had to fill out some other papers and so on. The woman there was awesome and patient as she didn't know exactly what to do either but she did say, "Don't worry, you won't leave here before you vote." Which was nice to hear. 

So we voted for Barack Obama. We have been fans of his for awhile now and are looking forward to seeing what happens for the rest of the day. Awesome friends of ours each got tickets to the rally and asked us to be our guest so we are meeting them in the south loop tonight and then will head over. I'm pretty excited about seeing what the scene is about. 

So I'm a democrat, most of my friends are democrats, most of my family is democratic, my in-laws are democrats and so on. Now I'm not a democrat because all my family and friends are and thus I wouldn't need to talk/think about the issues because I have. I know that I am on board with the Obama/Biden ticket for my own reasons, BUT the last few weeks I have been getting some drinks with a co-worker who is most definitely not a democrat. And I love talking to him about it. I can see where he's coming from. I don't think he can see where I am coming from due to my lack of being able to make a point (which I have to work on, might be a case for my brother-in-law who can keep emotion out of it...that's you Jamie :))....BUT it totally caused me to think about it a bit more even though I knew that I agreed with Obama on most of his issues. Which I think is good. And I think it's good and fun to talk about it. And that's the important thing right? To be able to be like, well we think different, we are voting for way different reasons....but we can respect each other and still be friends the next day....and maybe some teasing can ensue :). So thanks to him, for that...although in the end, I might have ended up more liberal ;). 

Today is going to be a really fun day I hope. 

GET OUT THERE AND VOTE IF YOU HAVEN'T! IT'S YOUR RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN. 
Remember, you GET to vote. 

AND you get a free coffee at Starbucks if you vote :). 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Week in Time

It's been awhile since this blog has been updated. It's weird when you are in the habit of writing everyday there is always something to say. Then when you don't write for a long time it's like nothing has happened.

We had good week last week. My Dad and Stepmom helped with some more things around our apartment, including some new lighting in our dining room which is awesome.

On Thursday we went to Sheffields where they had free pumpkins for carving which was a really good time. I'm not kidding when I say that I'm pretty sure that it is the friendliest place in the world.

We are really looking forward to election day. Sheffields is having a pig roast and so we are going to go there after work and then head back downtown around 9 or so for the rally....unless the returns look bad at which point we won't brave it.

We have a busy weekend with some visiting at my aunt's house today, and then tomorrow my Dad and I are going to South Bend to visit Enee (who is my Dad's cousin) and look around (..my Dad grew up in South Bend).

My Dad and sue are leaving on Tuesday morning which is sad, as I will miss them, but it's been great having them here for the last few weeks. Also very excited that we have a second bedroom for them to stay in while they are here now instead of them having to sleep on an air mattress in a shitty shitty cold apartment. It's like we are real B+B. Jason's folks will be enjoying the second bedroom next weekend and we are looking forward to seeing them.

That's about all that's going on over in these here parts.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Run. Track. Run. + RunnerSusan = Awesome

RunnerSusan has become an awesome tester for Run. Track. Run. She told me in an e-mail that she had 3 years of running data on her 205 and asked if would it upload. I told her to give it a go cause I had only tried it with 3 or 4 runs on my watch. So she did and it worked. She uploaded 162 runs. I know because my boss went into the database and checked on her stats (I guessed that her username was runnersusan :-) ).

She has since then sent me a bunch of freedback and things she would like to see. Awesome because she sees how useful it is and how much potential it has even in it's most basic form.

So a big thanks to her. So for the rest of you that haven't tried it, check out this post about it and give it a go! Feedback is always welcome!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Run. Track. Run. Guidance and More!

In my weekly GeekFest Run. Track. Run. was demonstrated. After going through the site and explaining the importance of things we chose to be in there, it was suggested by other Obtivians that I talk more on here about what is what and why I chose what I chose as far as the graphing goes.

I got so frustrated a few years ago when I got my Garmin Forerunner 205 because while the watch was awesome, getting the data off of it and into a form that was useful was impossible. Since I was a Mac user I didn't have the ability to use SportTracks and I thought that there should be software or a website anyways that works cross platform.

Anyways...thus enter the RailsRumble competition and an opportunity to build something awesome. The following are some screen shots and explanation for why certain things were chosen and why even though there isn't a *ton* of functionality there is probably more than what you think and what is there is very useful.

I want to take a line here to thank the team that took my idea and built exactly what I was looking for. So thanks to Dan for the awesome Boogie Nights design, Dave for the backend cleanliness and Fred because without Fred there would be no graph awesomeness and so the site would have been a list of runs you have done which would be less than useful.

So here we go. Enjoy. (E-mail rumble@obtiva.com with comments.)

Garmin Importing
This was really important to feature. Because without having garmin importing you would basically have a spreadsheet :-). Right now this is just going to get your splits/distance/time. I don't have a heart rate monitor, but that functionality is coded in as a "todo" item for those of you that do have that so as we roll out more features that will be one of the first to come. So right now you get an unstyled list of the runs that are currently on your watch, listing the date and the total time the run took. If you select that top check box they will all import, or you can import them one by one. Please give it some time because that little spinner at the top is only spinning as "working" for the first file.

Displaying your Data!
After it's done (you can watch the status bar on your web browser) go back to your dashboard. and you will see something like this...depending what exists on your watch. My watch had 4 runs on there, spanning 3 different weeks:


The graph that is shown at this point is your miles/week. If you click on those arrows you will go backwards and forwards in time in a cool way. That's good information because you really want to know what you are doing on a weekly basis. This graph shows 8 weeks of information at one time but again you can go back and forward in time. The dates on the bottom are the Mondays of the week...because well my life starts on Monday. The right side of the screen is show you your last 5 runs, as well as the next 5 runs you have planned.

If you click on one of the points of the week, another plot shows up below it. This is expanding that week out and shows you what you did each day of the week (Monday - Sunday). So you can see what did for everyday that week (for example here I selected the second point of the first plot up there) :

From here you can get more details on an individual run. For example, if I click on the Sunday run I get the following :

So right now the text is the distance of the run, and then the time of the run (in minutes....this was the last feature implemented). The graph shown is showing your splits from the run in orange, and the filled in area is your average pace over the run. I think is by far one of the most useful graphs you can look at. So for that 9 mile run I can see where I was above or below that average pace. What I would not want to see is that orange line creeping up at the end of the run...showing that I didn't have anything left or that I didn't pace myself properly. So I can get a visual of what I was during...really how I was feeling...during the run.

Other Features!
Other features right now include displaying what you had planned to run. On your dashboard in the lower right hand corner there is a "Scheduled Runs" bin. From here you can plan runs (distance and time...although the time for a planned run doesn't do anything yet). If you have planned runs they will show that on the top two graphs so you can visually see what you are doing versus what you were *supposed* to do.

Also, if you run twice in one day, the bottom part will show both runs:

(Notice that the top run here is my run from this morning....how about that pace plot it's like I knew what pace to run to get a nice smooth line! The bottom one is made up)

Eventually these will be popup things that show all that information because it's kind of hard to see it all on a scrolling basis. Also the individual runs will show more information as we add that into the database.

You can also add runs by hand, splitting out the splits as well. Note that here we have it adding your splits up for the total if you left the total time blank, but we don't have it checking to make sure they are the same (or close) if you have imputed elapsed time and splits so be careful there.

So. That's where we are. Hopefully this provided some guidance and explains why the graphs we chose for version 0.8 where these three. This application was built in 48 hours....which is pretty awesome...there is a lot there for not a lot of coding time.

Whenever there is an update to the application I will note it on here so stay tuned! So go here to use it! http://run.r08.railsrumble.com/

3 Miles. More R.T.R.

Alright. Really. No comments? That's cool. I know the site is pretty basic and kinda buggy, but it's getting there. So this morning Jason and I got up at 6am. We had a window open in our bedroom and so we were like...uh...it's freezing and look how nice the bed looks....but then we said....nope we can get our asses out there and run a bit. Plus if we did I could upload data to Run. Track. Run. and start tracking what I'm doing. I love my pace graph from this morning. It's like we knew to keep speeding up so that our pace slope was smooth:


I noticed bug in the right hand column. Right now we are just showing the runs that are not after today....but I think we needed a +1 in there so that it showed runs for that day...so if you look close it looks like there is no run for today but there is a 3 mile run....so anyways. Obviously, going to be growing in time, but functional for now.

**edit**
Not a bug with our software *exactly* The Garmin datetime is funny and I'm wondering if it's because it's time is in AM PM and we are expecting Military time....
********

Felt good to be running in the morning.....kind of....I'm anxious to get to the point however where it feels easy...which I know it will be.

GeekFest at work today will be demoing the site which is exciting. Tonight I'm grabbing a drink with a friend and then going to Crate and Barrel to maybe buy an awesome couch for our new giant living room....

Alright that's it from here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More. Run. Track. Run.

This is a screenshot of the Run. Track. Run. site showing off the Garmin functionality. Kind of dying that we can't do anything with the site for two weeks while the judging is taking place. But you can do enough to get the awesomeness of it.


Run.Track.Run. from Dave Hoover on Vimeo.

Run. Track. Run


After you finish a run, there it is.
Sitting on your watch.
Your data with nowhere good to go.
Don't lose it. Use it!


Well. After years of having an idea in my head there is now a website to match it. This weekend Obtiva competed in the RailsRumble with an idea for a better running tracking site, something I have been wanting for years.

We are still in the early stages. Version 0.8 Alpha you might say. But we are in a great place for the site to continue to grow and lots of features are in the works. For now though you can import runs by hand or from a Garmin. If you import from a Garmin, your mile splits will be extracted and plotted. Like I said....still lots to do, but holy ass is it awesome even as it is.

So enjoy: Run. Track. Run.

(Please e-mail rumble@obtiva.com with comments and suggestions or other features you would like to see)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great Hawks Game

Well the home opener was not a success in the winning terms....but it was a whole hell of a lot of fun. They had a packed house and that place was *crazy*. Our seats were great, upper deck behind one of the goals....except the people that we were sitting next to kind of sucked. The  girl next to Jason had breath so bad that I could smell it...seriously I wanted to ask her to stop cheering. The family next to me was *awesome* in the sense that they didn't get out of their seats for the entire game and just looked kind of annoyed to be there. But smashed in between them was your favorite running duo. 

The game went into overtime tied 2-2, then went to a shoot out...where the Hawks looked like little boys playing against men. To our goalie...seriously put your legs together...the puck can obviously get through there. So we lost in a shootout....but I hadn't seen a shootout yet so it was really exciting. 

Tonight after work Jason and I are going to run 5 miles. Yay! Then we are going out to The Hideout for the weekly Obtiva gathering. So that should be a good time, although I think my system needs a bit of a break so won't be out too late.

My Dad is flying in on Friday and I can't wait to see him! They were flying in for the Cubs world series, but as this family is still not talking about it we are just going to enjoy the city for a few weeks. This weekend is also the RailsRumble competition which  should be a really really great learning experience for me. Hopefully things sail smoothly on that front and fun at the same time. 

Alright, thus starts Tuesday. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lame

My writing lately has been super sporadic. As has my running I suppose. Although last week I was sick and chose to try to get healthier faster instead of run. 

This week should be better. Although we are now thinking that it wouldn't be that awesome to run the Miami marathon and so instead we are just going to try and run to run, and not run to race. So I think we'll just try and run 5 miles 3 times a week and then 10-15 on Sundays. So we'll see if we can do that. As far as the Miami marathon.....it would have been too much. I would have wanted to see my mom and that was kind of the main point, but with a race, it would be a lot of going to bed early, going to the expo, freaking out about the race...getting up at 4am to run the race and then going home. There wouldn't have been enough time to actually see my mom. So it looks like we are going to Florida for Christmas. I really enjoy being in my home for Christmas but if we go to Florida I get to see my mom which of course makes it worth it. Christmas this year is on a Thursday, so it's looking like we'll take the Friday off and then I get Christmas Eve off but Jason only gets a 1/2 day so he'll probably take that day off too. So that should work out pretty well I think. 

So yeah...going to try running unstructured....nicer for the winter I think. 

Although if my weekend behavior continues, I'm never going to run again. I'll just leave it at we had a great time on Saturday night with fellow Obtivian people, a drunk text message to a friend led us to a bar on the west side of the city at 12:30am and we ended up going to bed at 4am. Let's just say Sunday was a slow day. Needless to say I didn't get up to watch any part of the marathon. I'm actually ok with that as I have run the race 3 times and spectated 3 times...so I get the deal. That drinking business has to stop though cause my liver is going to look like camouflage (yeah yeah I stole that from Chuck) if I continue. But I do have to say...after training for marathons for 3 years and not going out on Saturday nights, it's nice to go out again. 

Anyways. It's Monday. Jason and I are going to the Hawks home opener tonight which should be awesome. And....oops time to work. 

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Relaxing Weekend

Aside from watching the Cubs blow up in the post season again, Jason and I had a pretty good and relaxing weekend. On Friday night we went out to dinner and split a bottle of wine and got into an argument about whether or not the Cubs are losing because of "luck" or because they didn't bring...well...anything to the table. sigh. 

On Saturday we walked around the city, did some shopping and the non Saturday night we went out for an old friend's birthday party. Since we had a long run on Sunday we just had a couple of beers and then headed back home. I totally think that our neighborhood is a secret haven of parking spots. We got home at 11pm on Saturday night and I started to get the terror or circling for parking...but then I looked around and there were spots everywhere. I took the chance and kept going towards our apartment, and we totally got a spot a block away from our building. For those of you non-city people, this can be a pretty big deal. although I don't really care anymore because since moving in September I think we have driven about two or three times, which is totally awesome...making me wonder why I am shelling out 1K+ for insurance every year. Nice to have a car on hand though I suppose. 

On Sunday we had a long run of 9 miles. I know (!) 9 whole miles. We started off, maybe a little fast...but then slowed down to a nice slow run pace. As we were running a woman named Beth started chatting us up and it made the next few miles fly fly by. It was nice too because she was running at a slightly slower pace than we were and so it forced us to slow down for those 3 miles or so. Not to a bad point either, just where we probably should be. We were then able to kick it into higher gear for the last 4 miles, including a final mile of 8:04 min/mile. Nice to see some faster miles again. I swear we are going to get in 4 runs this week. We have another Wednesday night Fight Club happening but I am planning on running on Tuesday, Wednesday and then either Thursday or Friday. This week is actually a cut back week on the long run and so we are only looking at 6 miles on Sunday which is nice. 

Alright, well that's all from this world. Happy Tuesday All. 

Friday, October 03, 2008

Just Terrible

The Cubs? Yeah that's who I'm talking about. Who are these rookies playing our Cubbies jerseys? 

Sigh. 

Well shit, the Dodgers still have to win another game, so it's not over yet. 

Last night we didn't do anything except watch the debate and the Cubs both of which brought some anger in our household. A box of Kleenex might or might not have gone flying across the room. I know. We are crazy. 

Since we didn't run last night we have to run tonight tomorrow and Sunday. So we have 5 on the schedule for today, 3 tomorrow and a big 9 on Sunday. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Last Ones Out?

Really. 

Yeah. 

Map Room is awesome. Especially if you are leaving it and the doors are closing behind you. And not just closing like to close, but closing like, "We're closed so get out". Jason and I went out with people from my work who are all way cooler than I and it was a ton of fun. Almost everyone from the team I am on showed up and it was fun to see all those kids outside of the office. 

But yeah I think I went to bed at 2:30.....not usual behavior for this lady. 

Oh yeah and I got home and I'm pretty sure I drunk facebook e-mailed a girl from high school that I haven't talked to in 11 years or so. So that's pretty awesome. I'm just looking at facebook and also noting that I also commented on a bunch of people's activity feeds. Again. Awesome. 

What's not awesome is the Cubs. Holy Hell. I know it's only game one, but the team that showed up last night was not the team we have been seeing all year. Let's get 'em tonight boys!

Alright, well it's 9 am and so it's time to work.

Oh yeah and that 5 mile run this evening will probably be postponed to tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Zurich Baby!

Oh hell yeah. It's awesome having friends that decided to stay in academia because they get placed at awesome places like Zurich. Then we totally get to mooch off of them and stay with them so we can go to one of the most expensive cities in the world and not have to pay for a hotel. yay. 

In all seriousness, our really good friends from graduate school (Aaron and Karen) live in Zurich and I found tickets that were pretty reasonably priced during the week that Karen has off from work SO I bought them. It's totally nice to not have kids sometimes as we can just decide to go do that. We are going in February so the weather might not be the best (probably why the flights were so cheap) but hell, February in Chicago leaves little to be desired as well. Since we are there for a nice stretch of time we might try and go travel to Italy or something as well. 

So that's exciting news. 

In less than exciting news.....I didn't get up to run this morning. I don't know why I continue to think that I'll be able to get up early to run. I NEVER do. So we are going to have to go tonight and DVR the Cubs game and watch it make in non-real time. I'm so excited about the Cubs, but we have been here before. They have made it to round one and broke our hearts. And so, they gotta get through this first series then we can really start to get excited. Plus my Dad is flying in in a few weeks, so that's also very exciting. 

Alright. I have to stop smiling and not go looking at every website that has the words "Zurich" on them. Yay. I should thank ahead of time, Aaron and Karen for letting us crash with them for a week. Ok. Time for meetings

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Wrapup in 8 Minutes

Jason and I had the best weekend ever. It wasn't like we did anything super cool, but we did a whole hell of a lot. And since work starts in like 7 minutes.....I'm going to the awesomeness that is bullet points

Saturday
  • Early morning photographs at the lake
  • Breakfast and reading at Panera for ~2 hours
  • Borders browsing for books on design as I'm clueless on most of that, plus a book on learning Adobe Illustrator so I can keep up a bit better with the design guru at work
  • Worked on stripping an old dresser of some ugly red paint which proved to be harder than expected. But an afternoon  on the back deck in the sun and good weather = awesome
  • Relaxing on Saturday night
Sunday
  • Up early for an 8 mile run in which we never felt good but got through it
  • Over to an awesome plant store on Ashland that a coworker told me about
  • Purchased three plants that I hope to keep alive for a few weeks anyways
  • Stopped a grocery store to get food for the week....less going out would be less enjoyable but probably smarter
  • Enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of napping, Cubs, West Wing and the Bears
So that's it. 

I'm super super excited to be a part of a RailsRumble team which will be happening in a few weeks. And that's all. Here we go with Monday. ... ok that took me more like 12 minutes, but you can't put a time limit on great writing...wait this isn't great writing. Shit. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday!

Everyone loves Friday. So hence it gets an exclamation point. 

Work has been going great this week. Last week I voiced my concerns about some issues I was having (I know right? This is a whole new thing for me...totally the opposite of my usual sit and stew and get pissy for a year and then say something) and this week my work flow did a 180. I was able to do some back end work as well as understanding a little bit of the front end stuff better so I could finally feel like I was contributing and not just being the kid in the back of the room with her hand raised all the time. Today I'm going to get to work on both front end design stuff as well as some back end functionality which will wrap up the week nicely. 

This weekend we have no plans except that I want to finish my book. I'm reading Atlas Shrugged (still!) and have gotten to the point of the last section of the book which is so awesome. When I read this book last time I was reading this section when I was visiting Jason in California and I would get up at 5 in the morning and sit on his Aunt's deck and read and read and read and not talk to everyone and hate everyone because they weren't all hanging out in the paradise of the world in Atlas Shrugged :-) Yes I know it's ridiculous...but whatever. So I'm not 20 anymore and so I don't hate everyone but I am totally into it, so much so that I almost missed my stop this morning. 

Jason and I received some bad news yesterday. A beloved IU physics professor died on Wednesday. He was just an awesome guy and kind of like a grandfather figure to me especially. So that's sad....he also passed away on my birthday. Anyways. Sad and kind of shocking because we didn't know he was sick. 

So alright. Happy Friday Everyone!

Oh and we ran last night too. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fabulous Close out to 29!

Last night Jason took me out to dinner at Mia Franchesca. If you live in Chicago I highly recommend this place. It's on Clark just north of School, on the East side of the street. It was fantastic. We had a bottle of wine, a salad and then I had the salmon and Jason had some gnocci. I mentioned to the waiter that it was my birthday and so he brought us over some Lemoncello as a toast to my 20s. We went home and played Rock Band which was my present from Jason which is awesome. I have noticed that as I get older my presents get noticeably younger...which is awesome and one way to keep the young spirit alive. Don't say awesome. Awesome. 

A big thank you to all the friends and family that sent cards and presents. Bridgette sent me some awesome shoes that I'm really excited about. Anyways. Here's to 30. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last Day of My 29th Year

Tomorrow is my 29th Birthday. 

And if you think about it....when it's your birthday you have thus completed that year. When you are one, you turn one and start in on your second year. So in that thinking today I end my 29th year and start in on the 30th year tomorrow. Which I have to say I'm less than thrilled about. 29 sounds old. But sigh. At least it's not 30 I suppose. 

I'm sick which is why the posting has been non-existent. I seem to always be sick on my birthday which as I get older doesn't make it any easier to get up and be happy about being older. Anyways. It's fine. In good news, when it's your birthday you get presents and if you aren't happy about your birthday apparently you get more ... at least when you have a husband like mine. Jason has been bringing in the end of the 29th year in style with presents starting on Saturday and going to well...tomorrow I guess. 

This week we are supposed to start training for the marathon. I think we can get through a 3 mile run today and then tomorrow we are going to go out to dinner I guess. Then we'll run Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Hopefully I'll feel ok for that. 

I couldn't sleep at all last night. I kept worrying about things that I can't do anything about, which of course is totally insane. Then the train this morning was *really* crowded. I mean it's always pretty crowded but it was I'm standing on my tippy toes crowded. Doesn't help when it then has to stop because the train in front of you is stuck because the door is broken. Blech. 

Anyways. Work is awesome. I'm learning some cool Sass stuff which is interesting and fun. I less than three learning new things. And with that the day starts. 

Oh yeah...and How about them Cubs! Home Field advantage throughout the playoffs. Rock On! This could be the year. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Drugged? Speaking Up! and 4 miles.

So. Yeah. 

My addiction to caffeine hit an all time high on Wednesday when I downed 3 espresso drinks, a bunch of coffee and diet cokes. Then I went out to Sheffields to have some drinks and dinner when Jason was at the Cubs game. It's a good thing that Jason wasn't there with me because there was a total racist asshole there and when Jason's with me I get a lot braver to stand up and stay something to people like that because I know that I probably won't get my ass kicked. In other words I get a lot tougher, but that night I was alone so I just said what I would say to him in my head. No I'm not crazy.  

I went home and played some guitar hero and watched the end of the game. Jason came up and I was so "weird" or something. Remember when redbull and vodka was the drink of choice for everyone and it was awesome cause you were like drunk but also buzzing from all the caffeine? Yeah. That's where I was on Wednesday night and it was less than enjoyable.

Hence on Thursday I had to cut the coffee drinks down. So I cut things by about half and I felt a ton better yesterday. 

I have had a pretty good week at work. I spent a lot of my time in graduate school angry and I think a lot of that was me not talking about things that were bothering me, or things that I could tell weren't working. This company has a very open policy of talking about how your daily work activity is going. It's a strange thing for me as I haven't been exposed to that kind of thing. And it's more than they are just ok with hearing it, they also want to try and make things better. So that's super cool. And I'm just proud of myself for speaking up as I noticed that it was a problem over the past few years and I'm trying to work on it. So yay me!

Yesterday Jason and I ran 4 miles. We have 7 miles on the docket for this weekend, but as tomorrow I am going to a conference and then in the evening we have a friend's 30th birthday party I don't know when we would get it in...and with the party on Saturday night I don't know how we'll be doing on Sunday. SO I am thinking we could do the 7 miles tonight as it's a beautiful day and the timing would be great. So that's the plan for now. 

Happy Friday all. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forgetting Pushups. Genius Playlists, Running Again & Speedy Starbucks

Hmm...let's do that list backwards shall we. 

So there is a Starbucks a block from my job and I frequent them twice a day for my triple grande non-fat latte...remember when I gave up caffeine? Yeah I'm so over that. Anyways in the mornings the line is so super long but they have someone asking for your order and then telling the baristas what you want....you pay and then your drink is on the counter. Anyways it's just a nice deal as no one really wants to wait for their coffee....AND I'm guessing cranky morning customers is the last thing that the Starbucks people want. Alright, well that is a lot less interesting than I thought it would be. Moving on. 

Yesterday Jason and I got home and did a simple 3 mile run. But as it was so super beautiful out, we went the long way and finished our run at about the lakefront path and Irving Park and so we had a bit of a walk home, which was ok as like I said, it was beautiful out. Next week starts our full on training for the Miami marathon. Jason is probably going to the Cubs game tonight (my family has an extra ticket...but as I got to go to a game a few weeks ago and he didn't I think it's his turn). So I don't know if he'll be able to run today. So we could move our runs to tomorrow, Friday and Saturday....(We are going to do our long run on Saturday as we have a party on Saturday night, and I'm just assuming I won't be in a running place on Sunday...however I also have a conference on Saturday...SO it will have to be a very early 7 miles). Speaking of the Cubs. How freakin' awesome have they been lately. The magic number is down to 4. 

I updated my iTunes and iPhone yesterday (there was some heartache because I tried to do it in the morning before I left, got impatient and just unplugged it before it was finished......if you do that apparently you have to restore it to factory settings. Boo.) Anyways, there is this new genius feature which is a lot like Pandora (or I have heard LastFM from a coworker) where you give it a song and it generates a playlist of songs that are related. It uses your own music though so there is no chance for discovering new music which makes Pandora so cool. However if you are like me, and tend to listen to one album over and over again, you do get to discover new music that you already have in your music library :-). I am testing it out on my iPhone and I gotta say I'm pretty pleased with it. 

On Monday we were supposed to start the 100 pushups plan......yeah we just totally forgot. Some wine, some beers at Sheffields, some Monday Night Football, some more wine and the pushups just got lost. 

Alright, so we go on to Wednesday....that means tomorrow is Thursday and we are past the 1/2 way mark.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Great Weekend

This past weekend was so super relaxing. Kind of ended up being forced relaxing though because it pretty much rained from Friday night to late Sunday afternoon. 

Friday night Jake and LaurA! came over which was fun as always. We played some Trivial Pursuit which Jason and I got schooled on....although I'm standing by the fact that you don't just win because you have more pie pieces, but it's time to go home so the game can't be completed. But that's just me and my I like to win things attitude. 

Saturday we woke up to tons of rain and we were oh so sad to have to leave our apartment and comfy pjs to run errands that had to be done. We headed to Target, Whole Foods, a knitting store near my apartment and Jewel. We got back around 2pm and decided to go out for a run as it was raining, but not cold and that's not a bad situation to run in. We went about 3 miles or so. On Saturday night my only friend from high school and her husband came over for dinner in the evening. We had lots of fun with them, closing out the evening to lots of Wii games, and watching Tina Fey on SNL portraying Sarah Palin. So. So. Funny. 

Sunday we woke up and sat around the house like slugs watching the rain and the darkness outside. We proceeded to watch moves, the Bears, the Colts, more movies and I learned how to cable knit which is super exciting.....now I have to learn how to crochet because the edges of these squares that I am making for this blanket need edging and I have *no idea* how to do that...anyways then we realized that the rain had stopped and so we forced ourselves to do our "long run" of 6 miles. I think the old Jason and Leah are starting to emerge again as the more recent Jason, Leah would have just said nah, put in another DVD! We felt really good on the run and I'm really excited to start training for the Miami marathon....oh yeah we need to sign up for that. 

Today we don't have any working out, but we are going to start looking at the 100 pushups thing that has been flying around the internet. We might also walk over to the lake with our books and do some reading outside... while we can as winter is coming soon. 

Running this week is looking that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Next week the training officially starts. Should be fun to get back out there again. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The End of the Path

Yesterday evening Jason and I planned to test out this whole biking thing that seems to be taking some people by storm. So after getting home, pumping the tires on the bike and getting our super cool looking helmets on we headed out. We have heavy mountain bikes so probably not the best for any kind of long distance biking but good enough to get an idea. We biked to the lakefront path and then continued north. All of a sudden we saw signs on Lakeshore Drive for Hollywood Blvd and I was all, "Holy ass we are far north" Of course....this isn't that much farther North than our current location. So we probably did about 9 miles (I forgot to hit the Garmin for the first mile or so). Not very far, but it's not nothing so that's good I guess. It's hard to ride those bikes far cause they are so heavy and are in dyer need for a tuneup and blah blah. But fun to get farther in a workout. The end of the path is funny as there is a sign that literally says, "This is the end of the path" There is a little roundabout and it's back south. 

After biking we put our bikes in the basement of our apartment building (so nice to be able to have those out of our apartment) and ran into our apartment, grabbed a grocery list and sweatshirts and headed back out to go to the store. We ended up being able to buy everything we needed for three meals and walked back home. We got home at about 8:05 and were able to shower and cook dinner by 8:35. It's so much easier to cook in our new place as there is counter space and it's a nice area to be in. Planning on cooking a lot more in the coming days (years?). It will help to already have groceries purchased and so that will be done this weekend. 

Tonight the cousin is coming over for dinner which should be fun. I am looking forward to showing her our new place. 

This week I am running the stand up meetings at work (not a big deal) and I need to conclude with something fun...or funny....hmm......wonder what to say. 

Tomorrow we are going to try and run in the morning as Jake and LaurA! are coming over to play on Friday night which should be way fun. A big congrats to Jake as his talk got accepted at a big Ruby Conference. 

Alright, thus we proceed to Thursday. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nice Tuesday Run

....except for the bitch with the dog that yelled at us. But whatever, I totally could have taken her and she's just lucky I backed off......but that's all on that. 

We went 3.4 miles and felt good the whole time. We stopped at Belmont and walked the mile back home. Feels great to be back into it a bit. I think especially because we are so close to the path and we enjoy running out there so much more. 

Today we are going to ride our bikes, stopping at the store on the way home to get some food. We are going to take backpacks and so hopefully we won't buy more than what fits in there. I don't think we'll have to try and run on Thursday morning or Friday morning because we have friends coming over on Thursday and Friday (I heart having people in our new place!). 

This weekend is going to be checking out a plant store on the Northside that my coworker Colin recommended. Hopefully we can find stuff that the cat won't get into too much. 

Alright, and it's Wednesday. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Long Weekend & Back on Running Train

This weekend we went to Fort Wayne to attend Jason's grandfather's funeral. It was a very long traditional Catholic deal and very somber although also very respectful and nice. The flower on the right was one that was in the arrangement that was on top of the coffin.

I have to admit that as a person who is not religious in nature, the guy that spoke at the Vigil concluding the viewings on Sunday night was *wonderful*. He really did a nice job talking about Al and brought things around to astronomy (Carl Sagan even!) and other things that he really liked and helped define him as a man. It was nice to walk away with something from that even if what I took wasn't a religious thing but rather just a better feeling. So I guess a kudos to Jim Fitzpatrick.

Jason went up earlier than his brothers since we don't have any thing going on like those two boys do. We made a big pot of chili for dinner on Saturday night and there are a ton of leftovers for his parents to munch on this week so that's good. In the same way as my Dad I guess.....just go early and help where you can.

We got back late last night and are looking forward to getting through this week and a relaxing weekend at home.

In other news we went running on Friday night. It's exactly one mile from our door to the lake front path. We did about 3.5 miles. It's *so* great being close to the path again. On the walk home we went to the Walgreen's on Broadway and Belmont. We used to live just about next door to this Walgreen's and back then there was a cashier that worked there that was awesome. Her name was Maurine and she might be a little crazy but we loved her all the same. Turns out she still works there which was awesome to find out.

We also ran for 30 minutes in Ft. Wayne on Sunday morning which was really nice as well. We have a plan to get our asses back into gear this week. We are going to run about 3.5 tonight and then also start adding in some biking just for some nice cross training. We might take our bikes to Kozy's tomorrow to get some real pedals and some bike shoes so that it would be a bit easier to start adding distance on the bikes. We have mountain bikes that are fairly nice and will be fine to get around the city and start some cross training. We always have big talk about biking though so we'll see what happens.

Alright, and it's Tuesday. So here we go.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friends and Politics

You know there is nothing more annoying when friends won't listen to you when you make good points about politics. You know there is nothing more wonderful than arguing with friends about politics.

Mike and Barb came over for dinner last night. They were impressed with our new big place which made Jason and I happy. I made up some chicken enchiladas, with a couple of side dishes.

We ended up watching part of the RNC and I get too emotional when talking about politics and I always have (Jason and I have gone rounds in the past on issues) and I do like to play the "the other guy has no good points" angle. But always fun to talk about...frustrating....but fun and makes me know I want to know more about each team so I can argue better....read: well you're guy is old is not a good argument.. (well good enough anyways). Plus it's hard when you are arguing with people that are not going to shift an inch....it's not those people you have to talk to. It's the people that are on the fence....and those that don't live in Illinois where it might make a difference (Hi Mom!!!) that you have to talk to.

Today is Friday. Woot. Tonight Jason and I are going to be very exciting and do some laundry and watch Psych...which no one won my fun little game yesterday. Cloudy...Chance of Murder is an episode title from that show.

In other news our new mattress is too comfortable. I can't get out of bed in the mornings.

Tomorrow we go to Fort Wayne to be with Jason's parents and help out. Jason's grandfather's funeral is on Monday an the viewing is on Sunday. We are going early just to be there and help where we can.

Alright, well that's all from these parts. Happy Friday all.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cloudy...Chance of Murder

No...just rain. Here comes fall in Chicago.

Anyone get the title reference? 5 points if you did.

Yesterday we had plans to run. But 5 hours of sleep and a full work day later we changed our mind. Plus I truly believe that exercise programs should start on Mondays. We did decide to go to the store though...and here is why I love where we live. We don't live super close to a grocery store....although I just measured the distance and it's less than a mile to the closest store. We didn't want to move our car last night because of the Cubs game and so we just decided to walk it. The Kansas kids are coming over for dinner tonight so we needed stuff for that and then stuff for dinner last.  We figured it wouldn't be that much and it wouldn't be that hard to carry it back. So we just did that. People don't walk enough in general I think. Jason and I walk *everywhere*....but something as easy as walking a mile or so to the grocery store and walking back....I don't think it happens that often. 

So that was good. 

We had a great time breaking in the new kitchen although we again have a super sensitive fire alarm that doesn't have a button to shut it off, or it's broken or something. We spent the rest of the night watching the Cubs lose another game and the Republican Convention. We watched both with our jaws on the floor. 

Today another work day but Mike and Barb are going to come over and tell us all about the Ironman race and watch the opening of the NFL season. Looking forward to seeing those crazy kids. 

Alright, I'm off....oh but I'm on facebook now. I have joined the dark side. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Goodbye

This morning my grandpa died. We've been expecting it for some time, but it was still quite sad to get the call this morning.

My grandfather was an amazing man. He was an father, a grandfather, and a great grandfather. He was an electrical engineer and a veteran. His legacy is seen not only in his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but in a historic quest that has been followed by people around the world. The Mars Rover, which has explored the rough terrain of Mars far longer than anyone believed possible, contains parts created by my grandpa.

He made his own telescope, a reflection of both his skill and his imagination.

His humor was subtle yet omnipresent, his nature always quiet.

Above all, the best gift is that all that is found in me. We share a sense of humor, a scientific mind, and a quiet nature and for that I thank him. I thank him for being a wonderful and caring grandpa. I thank him for helping raise a wonderful mother.

We will miss you, Grandpa.

Rest in Peace.

Wake Up Call

This morning at 5am our phone rang. Our phone has this thing where it speaks who is calling...so it's CALL FROM _______. This morning, the phone said, Jason's Folks (We programed them into our phone's address book so that is what it says when they call).

Jason flipped out of bed as he knew it was his mom calling.

Jason's grandfather died around 5am this morning.

This weekend we will be in Fort Wayne for the funeral. Jason's grandfather was really an incredible man. He was a really quiet and funny man and I'm so sad to see him go. I saw a lot of Jason in his grandfather...wait...no...a lot of Jason's grandfather in him? I guess it should go that way. I hope Jason's mom knows we are thinking of her all the time in this tough time.

Now some bullet points...because I'm sleepy and well...it seems all the rage on the internets these days....oooh and I'll use a numbered list instead of just points. There see, I'm different
  1. I think humans are like water and just fill the space they live in. This apartment is much bigger than our old place and yet we have managed to fill it up. I think it's true going the other way.
  2. I say we have a lot of stuff....and we do....but since we moved 2 years ago we have gotten rid of a *ton* of books. So that's good.
  3. Our new mattress looks like the Enterprise (so sayth Jason). It's huge and almost as high as our headboard. I guess we can get a different box spring that's half the height....but I don't know I kinda like feeling like a queen.
  4. RCN came and hooked up our cable and internet last night. The internet seems faster, and the digital cable is just as good as Comcast. Plus I don't have to be with evil evil Comcast.
  5. I went to the Cubs game last night. I mistakenly wore jeans and was sitting in the Terrace reserve behind home plate where there was no moving air. Lots of sweat.
  6. The Cubs have lost 4 in a row. This is after my Dad has bought airplane tickets to be home for the playoffs.
  7. This apartment has nothing wrong with it. Seriously. You know you move into a vintage charm apartment and there is a lot of "Wow....that's weird we have no water pressure or hot water. Awesome." or "Wait....what is that shelf doing there?". There is *none* of that here.
  8. We sat outside two nights ago and the folks from upstairs came down to introduce themselves. They are an older couple and just wanted to let us know that if their music is too loud just to let them know as apparently the previous tenents just would slip notes under the door. Apparently the woman that lived here was from New York City....go figure. I'm kidding. They couple owns The Smoke Shack and The Tonic Room in Lincoln Park which is kinda cool.
  9. Speaking of New York. Jason and I went to this place called New York Deli on Clark and Oakdale. The owner's name is David and he's really really friendly. He was born and raised in NYC but has lived all over the place. GREAT sandwiches and really good conversation. We will definently be back at that place.
  10. The commute to work is so much better from here. On the way home we get on the brown at the beginning of the Loop and so a seat is to be had.....probably will be a little on the crowded side in the mornings though...but so great to not have to do a transfer from bus to train or vice-versa
  11. Running......starting tonight!
  12. Work still going great and I'm learning a ton. My friend Jake gave a talk yesterday and did a nice job. He must have been a teacher or something in his past as he just has genral bullet points on his slides and then talks about them and not a bullet point for every word that comes out of his mouth...like I do :-)
Alright, well there are the top 12 things going on in these parts. And it's time for these crazy kids to get to work!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Awesomeness

So many awesome things happened this weekend. 

First of all. This guy. Is an Ironman. Jason and I were glued to our twitter feeds all day on Sunday as we stepped around boxes waiting to see how he was doing. Congratulations my friend. You are crazy awesome. 

This weekend was moving weekend. I hate moving.  There is always the need for one more box, or more packing tape and where the hell is the Sharpie marker so I can mark this box of crap that I don't care about (literally Jason wrote "Random Shit" on one of the boxes). We moved our movers from Sunday afternoon to Saturday evening with a show up time of 6:30-8:30pm. We did some errands and packed most of the day. We had some Buger King for lunch (seriously I only seem to crave the King on moving day) and then my phone rang around 1:45. It was the movers, saying they could be there in an hour. I was like....uh....well no that won't work on our end as I was looking around all that shit still not in boxes. So we told them we could be ready in 2 hours and got on the packing. 

3:30 came around and Jason and I looked around, realized there was nothing we could do until they got there and so we headed outside to enjoy an Amstel Light. As we walked out the front door we saw a big ass yellow moving van, and realized they were out guys. We waved them down the alley, and an hour and 20 minutes later we were telling them where to go for the next apartment. (seriously people, hire movers, it's not that expensive and so easy).  

We went over to the new apartment, and the movers showed up about 15 minutes later. We are on the second floor apartment and so even more thrilled to have movers at that point. They quickly got all of our furniture in, although the door did have to come off the bedroom for our leather chair (the movers went though the back which is where our bedroom is) and we signed off that all was good. Locked up and ran back to the old apartment to run a mop over the floors, get any other last minute things, grab the cat and head back over. 

Saturday night we barely had the energy to flip the mattress over and fall down on it and pass out sans sheets, and we had to use the couch cushions for pillows as we had no idea where our pillows were. Sunday morning cranky from lack of comfortable sleep, we drug ourselves out of bed and looked into the second bedroom where we had the movers put all the boxes and wanted to curl up and cry as it looked impossible. 

But one box at a time, and we made progress and by the end of the day yesterday most of it was done except for the things that we want to put on the walls. 

Now that I have rambled on for so long I must go.....but let me say this. By far...this is the best apartment I have ever lived in. We are so happy there so far and just can't wait to keep on enjoying the apartment and the neighborhood. More to come about some restaurants we tried, the upstairs neighbors who own The Smoke Shack (Smoke House?) and The Tonic Room in Lincoln park, and the Mexican restaurant a block away that serves pitchers of margaritas.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Apartment Needs Stuff

We all know that stuff is bad. Ok, maybe I just think stuff is bad. I don't even think it's bad, but I'm three days out of a move and so right now all the stuff is sitting in my dining room and I'm wondering what would happen if I took a match to it and walked out...well I mean assuming that just the stuff burned and not the apartment as I'm not really looking to add that piece of crazy to my resume. 

But aside from just the stuff we own, our new apartment is a lot bigger, including a second full bedroom and bathroom. By full bedroom I mean not these closet sized bedrooms we have been utilizing (...uh....utilizing...really I used that word?) for the past 8 years or so. In fact we think it's going to be big enough for some queen sized mattresses along with our office furniture...but might be a bit tight......WAIT! We have queen sized mattresses that are really uncomfortable. If we move those to the second bedroom...we would have to get new mattresses that are comfy...like clouds. 

On Tuesday we went to the apartment to get the keys and the apartment is all ready for us to move in. I wish they would have really known that it was going to be ready because then we could have moved on Saturday. After just sitting in the apartment for about an hour we walked around our new hood with huge smiles plastered on our faces. We walked by a mattress store and we decided to see what they had going on. Of course I'm brilliant (I mean I do have PhD you know) and I laid on the most expensive mattress first. You know what the means right? Every other mattress in the store sucks ass. So we laid on a bunch of them and tried out the memory foam ones and some other types. Finally we settled on a pillow top type thing that had all that kind of foam stuff in it. It was really comfortable and when we got home we wondered how we could have ever slept on our current mattress. The place we got the mattress was called Sleep City right on Clark just south of Belmont. The owner's name is Charlie and so far I would highly recommend the place. Charlie was really nice and owned that store and another Sleep City on Diversey. We could have had the mattress whenever we wanted but as our bed frame won't be there still Sunday we have to wait till Monday. 

We also have a second bathroom and so will need to get bathroom stuff in there and so we looked around Linens' and Things. Kinda wish my mom was up here from Florida to help pick out stuff. I think she would get as psyched up as me about little things like shower curtain hooks (yes I might be one of those people). Understandably most people do not....but I suppose most mothers and daughters do. She is going to come to Chicago for Mother's day in the spring though and help us get some flowers and stuff for our back porch. 

Our apartment is almost completely packed up and ready to go, which is awesome and terrifying. We are going to take our electronics over to the new place before the move I think and I'm going to call the movers today and see if there is *any* way we can move our move up from Sunday to Saturday. I'm sure we can't, but I might as well ask. 

Alright. How about that for a ramblin' post. Stay tuned for our next installment when we talk about how we are pretty sure we are going to join a gym similar to Average Joe's in Dodgeball.