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Thursday, September 27, 2012

In which I buy ten items of clothing for $40

I think I alluded to a visit to Old Navy clearance a few weeks ago. I made my husband go clothes shopping while he was sick, because I am she-satan.
Then I made him go back. But it was worth it, because we got ten items of clothing for $40. The most expensive thing we bought was a pair of shorts for David that were $10 (exorbitant, I know).

What else did I buy?
Some cute T-shirts, like this green one paired with black skinny corduroys and black snakeskin flats for work.
Don't worry, I did my hair after I took this picture. 
And this plain navy top that I added a scarf to. I wore it with skinny jeans and shoes I got at K-mart for $4.99. I got them in coral, too. They're a little too chunky for my liking but so, so comfortable: the fabric straps are very soft and have a tough of stretch!

Chubby thighs courtesy of a summer of no running

I got brave and tried out the maxi skirt trend. Most maxis are too short for me, but I think with a skirt you can pull that off. I wore it with a light textured tank with a pretty blue print, one of my favorite purchases of the day.

My arches are hella high.
And sticking to the black and blue theme, I also wore my new shorts, a blue print, with a black T-shirt. This T-shirt is actually Kenneth Cole (via Goodwill obviously) but look, the Old Navy shirts look just as good.

This is the shorts pattern up close, since my hallway lighting is so poor you can't even see the print.

I also got some running shorts for $5.67, a steal, especially since they have a key pocket (I don't even buy shorts without a key pocket anymore) and David got two pairs of shorts. The only item I didn't like was a plum colored cardigan that looks a little too hippy and peasant-y for me.
Doing any between-seasons shopping? It's the best time for deals!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nothing says "classy" like a brawl in Wal-mart

This weekend was terribly disappointing for me because, after a few weeks of moderate, runnable pain, I ran ten miles on Sunday and spent the rest of the day doubled over in pain. I could not lift my left leg without some serious pain. I think it's time to actually get an MRI, what do you think?
Other than that, the run was pretty good. Even though it was steamy hot (our week of fall weather is over), I wanted to attempt a little speed, so I ran at about 7:30 pace but did the first minute of every mile as a speedy pick-up, about 6-min pace. I don't think the mild speed added to the pain, but not sure.
The pain was worsened because I followed the ten miler with a 4-mile walk: the NO/AIDS walk, benefiting the NO/AIDS foundation. It's a great fundraiser (I do it most years), but I should have been home icing. *Edited to add: Remarkably, pain abated by track Monday night, and I feel ok again*
After an afternoon of heart-breaking football, I decided it was time to man up and go to Wal-Mart. Let me tell you something about that store. I hate it. It is filthy and full of the kind of people who bring shame to America's name. Plus, you don't really save any money over clever shopping at a local grocery. Unfortunately, I am a rude and picky girl when it comes to my coffee, and I've settled on this brew as my drink of choice:
Most delicious coffee ever

You will notice a problem here. I have sworn my hatred of Wal-mart and have actually promised to never return pretty much every time I ever shop there. Yet this coffee is produced by (or at least packaged for) Wal-mart only.
So, I dragged myself to Wal-mart, armed with a library book in the case of super long lines, and managed to do two amazing things:
1. I got everything on my list (other good Wal-mart buys are grated cheese, whole wheat bread, Smucker's PB, and shelled walnuts).
2. I got into a fight in the candy aisle.
Classy, no? I was in the candy aisle buying snack mix (another good buy, $4.98 for a large bag) and watched a wretched specimen of humanity open a bag of Laffy Taffy, remove two handfuls (one went into her bra, the other she started eating right away), and then stuff the open bag back onto the shelf and continue shopping. My blood simmered a little. Not boiled, just simmered. Me and my big mouth decided to shame her. Stupid idea. People like that have no shame.
I said, "Excuse me ma'am, but are you planning on buying that bag of candy?" Her response was an instant torrent of profanity, the gist of which was that she could do what she wanted, I should mind my own business, and she had four kids at home she needed to feed. I didn't want to egg her on, but I couldn't help snickering at the last bit. "I will gladly buy you bread and milk for your children," I said, "But I highly doubt your family is having a Laffy Taffy nutrient emergency." Then I left to check out. Crazy lady actually followed me, swearing like a sailor, and got in line behind me while she called her "homies" and told them to meet me outside and cut me up (from my eyeballs to my %&^$, actually). At this point another women in line went and got security, complaining that the language was disgusting and that she didn't think we were safe. Miraculously crazy lady shut up when the police showed up, and the officer was kind enough to walk me to my car.
The hilarious thing is that the women was still pulling Laffy Taffy out of her bra and scarfing it down the entire time this drama unfolded, including in front of security!

So that's the story of my brawl in Wal-mart. My husband says to stop being a hero or I will get killed in the Wal-mart parking lot, and what kind of obit would that be?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tiny painting

David put this adorable itsy bitsy canvas and easel in my stocking last Christmas. I'm finally displaying it!

This painting joins two pelican sketches and a pelican painting in my apparently swamp-themed dining room.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Running in the heat

I'm a pro at running in heat and humidity. It's always hot and humid here, so I get lots of practice, and in addition heat follows me wherever I go.
Example 1: Clarence DeMar marathon. (High during the race: 81 F)
Example 2: Mississippi Gulf Coast marathon. (High during the race: probably around 80 - 82 F)
Example 3: Publix Marathon. (High during the race: 83 F)
Example 4: Boston Marathon. (High during the race: 89 F)

If you don't like running in hot, humid conditions, don't sign up for any races I'm running. Just a tip.

Anywho, I skipped most of summer running thanks to my persistent and annoying injury, leaving me the lucky girl who got to start back up in beautiful fall temps in the 70's (one morning last week it was 71 F!).

Clothes plastered down with sweat! 
Today the weather sort of reverted to standard September - still not brutal, but 80's and high humidity. I poured sweat. I chaffed under my jog bra and it stung (I have been out of running so long that I actually forgot about body glide). And my pace pretty much made me ill. Seriously, I am out of shape. And I'm not just referring to the thigh chub in the photo to the right (which, like all my mirror pictures, does not show what I wanted it to show at all. Here it is showcasing my sausage thighs and what I wanted to show you was my sweat-drenchedness).
I've lost a ton of speed! Running in the heat makes you strong. I missed that season, and now just a little warmth and I'm dying out there.
In past years I used summer to run slowly and build strength and endurance, setting me up for "fast" (on the scale of my ability) fall races. Not so this year.

How was your summer running? Are you ready for cool fall temps and fall races?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I signed him up.

Good thing David knows I love him, because I signed him up for his first full marathon without telling him. I emailed the Louisiana Marathon director and politely asked him for a discount code. I told him that if he gave me one, I would sign my husband up for the race. He kindly complied and David has to suffer the consequences!
David and I after Freedom's Run, David's first half marathon - about 2 years ago

I'm putting together a training plan for the hubby, but it's complicated by the fact that David doesn't want to "just finish", he wants to break four hours. I don't think this is out of reach for him at all. Last December he ran a 1:52 half with his only training being his typical daily 3 miler and one ten mile run the weekend before the race. So I think he could run in the 3:50's. One big thing he has going for him is that (OCD little dear that he is) the man loves to follow a plan. Loves it. Give him directions to follow and he is a happy man. So as long as I write it out for him, he'll do the training.
A strike against him is that he really doesn't like discomfort. Not a good candidate for first pregnant man here. So the last few miles of this race will be harder for him than for most.

So, I need your advice as I craft his training plan. What should I include for a first time marathoner?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NYC 2013?

Either I'm losing my mind, I'm terribly forgetful, or NYC marathon changed their tune.
I distinctly remember considering registering for the 2012 NYC marathon because I qualified to do so without the lottery, but I would not next year.
In case you don't know, you can run NYC marathon if you have a qualifying time in the full or half. If you don't, your name gets put in a lottery for acceptance. I read that the qualifying standards were going to drop for 2013 - and drop a lot. Women went from 3:23 to 2:59!
I really debated registering last January. Plenty of my friends were running it, and I knew it was my last chance to qualify unless I grew a third leg with a wheel on the end of it.

But I think NYC reconsidered. I just read this:
Well that sounds a little more reasonable. That I can do, and in fact I have the appropriate qualifying time in the window, too. So now I'm thinking about NYC 2013!
Is anyone running NYC this year? Or planning on it next year?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Death of the birthday dress

Still clinging to my youth, I chose to celebrate my birthday at Chuck E Cheese.
I put this picture on Facebook and all my friends thought I was serious about  having my birthday party there.

Actually I was there for a nephew's party, wishing I had earplugs and covertly eating a pork, fennel, and angel hair salad I had snuck in from home. So much better than germ and pepperoni pizza. I think that venue brings our the worst in kids - not to mention that it's teaming with bacteria. Gross.

For dinner we decided to grow it up a little and use our Groupon to Tempt, a restaurant self-described as "trendy" in the Saint hotel. That was a mistake. It was one of those pathetic attempts to be way-too-cool that falls flat. I do not enjoy dinner while sitting on a lucite chair listening to thumping electronic rave music. And the food was nothing special, ok but not good, which in New Orleans will not cut it.
Last year the leaf pattern was white, this year it is light blue after washing! 
I wore this dress that I made last year. Now, I love this dress, but tonight was its second and last wearing. After I made it last year, I realized two things about the super cheap Walmart fabric I had used:
1. It falls apart when you wash it
2. It bleeds terribly
Actually it bled while I was wearing it - it rubbed off on my skin, turning me blue, and it ruined the purse I had on my shoulder that night. To wear the dress again, I had to restitch several seams where the fabric had basically disintegrated, but the bleeding I could not fix - once I again my body was blue by the end of the night! So much as I like the dress I have to throw it out. I'm sad. I like this dress, and since I designed it and sewed it, a LOT of work went into that thing!

On the running front, I wanted to take it easy today after a longish run yesterday (I don't want any gains I've made on my adductors to go right out the window), so I went for a conservative three miles this morning. Not much, but it put me over 40 miles for the week for the first time in many months. It feels good to get in some mileage! I just feel better all over. Not running does some strange things to my body: My appetite is all off, my tummy is troubled, my skin dries out, I get mentally tired easily, I become forgetful, and - strangest of all - my joints hurt! (Now, I do know that many of these symptoms sound a whole lot like hypothyroid symptoms, and since I have a thyroid cancer history, I should get to an endo for some blood work. I will, too, but I'll see if it goes away with running first!).

I'm curious what you've noticed when/if you've taken a running break. I'm actually thinking about compiling a post that's a reference of how not running changes your body for better or for worse, so tell me your stories! Unless you're the lucky type who never had an injury!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Birthday miles

Today I turn 30, so it was fitting to run 30 miles this morning!
Longest run in my still kind of new Mizuno Mushas

But I didn't. I ran twelvish. You know, 0.412 miles per year like the old tradition. Darn this injury.
On the way home I ran into David, walking back from the Maple Street Patisserie with a bag of almond croissants for a birthday breakfast! Almond croissants and my favorite coffee were perfect this morning.

Getting back into running is humbling. I'm still feeling pain, and in fact it's really unchanged, but I'm starting to just ignore it. That's what I did all last year and frankly I was better off then. The more time I take off, the more pain I feel when I do run!
But besides the pain, I am woefully out of shape. I've gained some weight - maybe 4 or 5 pounds? I don't know, I don't have a scale, but I can feel some more heft - and it definitely makes running more of a challenge (when you basically can't do any activity with your lower body for 3 or 4 months, it does encourage some weight gain, sadly). Carrying extra weight is hard. I nitpick about 7 versus 8 ounce shoes but I don't mind lugging around ten times that much on my thighs! Silly. This just reminds me to stay fit and stop eating almond croissants.

But it isn't just extra weight. I've lost speed and skill. I'm about where I was a year and a half ago for medium-long runs: doing ten milers in around 7:40 pace. This feels very off for me, since all last fall and winter my long runs were around 7:30 and my mid-distance generally under 7:20s. I joined the Varsity group for a Thursday night run and - I hate to be the b*tch comparing herself to other girls, but - ladies I'm usually far ahead of easily kept pace with me. I'm just trying to approach this with sense and humility and slowly build speed back.

Hope everyone got a great run in this morning. I'm finishing my coffee while debating with the husband whether to go to a baby shower or a child's birthday party this afternoon. Both sound about as fun as a hemlock latte. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm glad it wasn't used.

Yesterday I spent four hours at a local university giving flu vaccines to employees. Their insurance covers it  100%, so it's a great deal for both of us - the university gets flu protection at no added cost, and I get about 100 vaccines done.
All was going swimmingly until I breezily unwrapped a sterile syringe, except this syringe was defective. Instead of the needle being safely contained in the cap, it was bent outside the cap at a 30 - 45 degree angle. I was moving fast. The needle...

...went straight through my finger. I was just staring down at my finger with a 1-inch needle sticking out of it. I had to yank it out, get the bleeding to stop, bandage up, and continue with the flu shot I started! As far as I know, she never noticed I stuck myself.

Of course I'm extremely careful with needles while using them or once used, but unwrapping a sterile needle you just don't expect a stick!

Beat that for a bad day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wearing yellow

Saturday I dragged my sick husband out to go clothes shopping. We were shopping for him, since his clothes supply has been dwindling, and I thought a comforting occupation for someone with a sore throat and headache would be shoving through back-to-school crowds in clothing stores.
Now of course I had to buy myself some clothes, too. I saw this chartreuse T-shirt on clearance (for $3.49 after 30% off clearance price!) and loved the bright color.

I wore it to church like this, with a black and white scarf and nude pumps:
Trying to show you my bun

Then I dressed it down with flip flops:

And I wanted to mention that I know it's sort of against style rules to wear yellow by your face, but I love yellow. I think it actually can be worn well by some people, as long as:
- You have pink color in your lips and cheeks. The yellow actually sets the pink off well.
- You follow warm-cool rules - wear cool yellows if you have a cool complexion; warm if you're warm complected.
- You have contrast with your hair. Sorry, I don't like yellow on blondes. It washes their hair out.

Don't mind the phone in the picture or the fact that I'm staring intently into the corner

This very oddly-taken picture was supposed to demonstrate the effects of yellow on skin tone, but instead it made me look a little alien. What I meant to show, though, is that yellow does reflect on the skin, but mostly just under the chin. So as long as you choose a flattering yellow, it shouldn't make you appear jaundiced.

Do you wear yellow? And what's the last item of clothing you bought?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Boston registration is coming up!

A few days ago I got an email from the B.A.A. hinting that perhaps I should plunk down some big bucks to try again at the Boston Marathon. Right about that same time they sent a finisher's certificate (straight to recycle bin) and a racer's record book. Clever move, B.A.A. Of course reading the book got me in the mood to race! I have BQ time, so I could register.
Maybe I should. After all...
1. I ran a slow, hot Boston this year. Do I need redemption?
2. A couple of people I know are running it and it would be a fun group. For one of the girls in the Varsity running group, it is her first Boston, and she's been getting faster and faster so I'd love to run it with her.
3. By April I should be over my injury and have time to train for a fast race.
Or not. I mean...
1. I'm injured. Not bright to sign up for a race right now.
2. I promised the running world to stop signing up for every marathon that I read about.
3. Thanks to deferments, there will be some 2000 fewer spots in this race. It's someone else's turn. I'm confident that if I can get healthy I will BQ in the future and can do Boston some other year, but 2013 might be the only chance for others out there for whatever reason.

I'm leaning toward a "no" on this one but I haven't totally shut the door on Boston 2013 yet.
In the meantime I enjoyed reading the record book.

Look at this, first page of female finishers -

There I am! Female #237!

Insane that a 3:24 gets you a top 250 finish in that heat. Insane. In 2011's ideal weather you would have needed a 3:09 to be #239. That's kind of funny because I probably would have run a 3:09 in better conditions. My PR is a 3:06 but since Boston is hilly and my PR is flat I'd add some a few minutes. What I am trying to say in a convoluted way is that the heat is a great equalizer - slows us all the same.

I love and adore going through the numbers like this. I miss it since being injured. I can't wait to race again!
Who is planning to register for Boston this year? What week do you register?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My work fell apart and "date" anniversary

Here is the story of how my workplace fell apart on Friday. Let's do a day-by-day, shall we?
Monday: My store starts getting ready for the hurricane. I know I am scheduled for a 3:30 am install of a major new system on Tuesday. I spent all day calling to confirm that this install would indeed still take place, despite the fact that we planned to close Tuesday at noon as stormy weather would be there by the afternoon. The technicians were adamant. They would be there Tuesday at 3:30 am. So I went home and went to bed early.
Tuesday: I got up at 3:00 am and checked my phone - charging downstairs. Lo and behold, a missed call from 10:30 the night before (when I was sound asleep) - the technician canceling the install! I WAS PISSED. When I dragged my exhausted self in to work later that morning, the system installation team had already left several frantic messages. They are in Illinois, and were panicked about the cancellation. The deadline for install was September 1st, and they wanted to know what went wrong. I explained that their technician cancelled and they were kind of rude about it. They were not understanding that I couldn't promise that the install would be done by deadline. For one thing, I knew nothing about the storm's effects yet; for another, I can't come in  at 3:30 am for an install and stay until 6 pm. That's not even safe. I could only do it if someone came in to relieve me or if I was closing early. Oh, and yeah - I didn't cancel the stupid thing; their contractor did!
Wednesday: We were closed through the storm. The install team had the audacity to email my boss and demand an install on Wednesday. Helloooo, we are in the middle of a storm.
Thursday: I requested an install on Thursday, because while the hospital was still on lock-down, I was able to open the store. But there were no technicians to do it. Late Thursday afternoon I was told that Friday was the absolute last day, so they were driving a team in overnight from Arkansas. I agreed to meet them at 8:00 am - an hour early - for the install.
Friday: The team showed up and ripped out my registers and servers and generally made a gigantic mess while I rushed to help the many customers on a very busy day. I was swamped, but all my systems kept going down throughout the day! Finally the installers left, but - right after they left everything started to break. That includes:
1. One register's cash drawer would not close.
2. One front terminal did not work.
3. The ordering system was unavailable, so I could not order any drugs.
4. The phones completely died, could not dial out or in.
5. The back office printer began printing garbage and continued to do so for 2 hours until I just let it jam.
6. The end of day reports would not run.
7. The scanners we use to scan drugs to determine that they are the correct item lost connection.
In frustration I tried to call in all the problems to the service desk, but I was also extremely busy and by myself - my only technician was helping her family after the storm. I was dying! When I was finally ready to leave - an hour late - all of the sudden very loud country music started blaring out of the phone speaker in the office! That was the last straw! I threw that stupid phone on the floor and left!

The next week I did finally get the place fixed but boy, was it a mess. The installers had missed several key server migration steps, hence the collapse of all systems. Insane. Now I'm just left trying to figure everything out with the new system: I never had any training on the darn thing!

I drowned my sorrows in sushi. A new sushi place opened just blocks from us and David and I went there to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the day we met!  David - cutie that he is - always remembers this date and I always forget and then pretend that I didn't. I'm terrible with dates.

That first day we got to know each other over sushi, so a sushi date made sense. Turns out that this place has a very affordable happy hour from 5 to 7. We had complimentary miso soup and cucumber-crab salad, followed by crab shumai and four different rolls - then a complimentary fruit salad! - all for under $21.00. I kid you not. Less than $30 including tip! We will certainly be visiting Kakkoii again!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Injury: Where y@?*

Time to add to my injury timeline! Where we last left off, my PT rediscovered my scoliosis, prompting a whole new list of exercises that left me first totally lame, and then remarkably better. 
For a day. Or like 8 hours.
Then I relapsed - in fact, I had so much pain at one point that I couldn't sleep, and I can sleep through a hurricane. True story.
Well, I'm creeping back slightly now. I didn't workout at all during the hurricane (too awkward with the no-power, the staying at peoples'  houses, the traveling), but once we got to Atlanta for the weekend I got in a hilly run Sunday morning. I was enjoying the much cooler weather and feeling a strong sense of déjà vu - until I realized that I was actually running a portion of the Publix marathon course!
I think uphills can be easy on joints, because the loop I ran was mainly uphill and I felt almost ok afterward. Of course, there was swelling and pain, but not crippling. And right now. just standing is painful so no biggie, right?
Then Monday I actually joined the track group for a workout. Boy, am I out of shape! I ran to the track, did their warmup, then started the workout. It was 10x(300meter at mile pace, 100 meter jog), then a 400 meter jog, then 800 at mile pace. I started with the 6-min mile group and should have sailed easily through the exercise, but actually I was winded two laps in! I started to get back into it by my 3rd lap, but by lap five I was feeling mild pain. I knew I still had to run back home (a mile) and I didn't want to push it, so I quit early and jogged home.
That was the right choice, because this morning I did not wake up in pain.

I think I am making slow headway, and it's partially because I've made a few changes to my routine:
- My PTs did not recommend any core work, but I read many anecdotes in which core work really helped. I tend to agree with this, because one thing I dropped last winter (when I got injured) was core work. So I added in some transverse abdominus work.
- I've been alternating heat and cold on the site. I made a heating pad out of a sock filled with oatmeal. I microwave it and put it in my lap while I eat or type, then swap it for ice.
- New rule: if it hurts, don't do it. Period. This means some of my PT exercises, too.
- No running two days in a row (I did Sunday and Monday, but it was early Sunday morning and late Monday night).
- Avoid popping the joint. I know this is probably revolting, but my pelvis now pops, and sometimes I just can't resist it. But that can't be good for it, right?

So that's my status and my plan. Any other advice? Pile it on, people!

* It's a NOLA thing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


We lost power on Monday before Hurricane Isaac made landfall, and thanks to its slow-moving ways we didn't get power back for a week! Luckily we were able to spend a few days with David's parents, who never lost power, and then we followed out plans that we'd made pre-hurricane and flew to Atlanta for the holiday weekend. Our god-children live there and we had a lovely visit with them. They are so precocious. Eddie just turned five, but for some reason he's preoccupied with aging. At lunch one day I pulled out my lip balm and of course, all the kids had to try it. Eddie, however, paused first. "What does it do?" he kept asking me. I told him it sort of made your lips puffy and soft. "Well, ok, then," he agreed. "I just wanted to make sure it doesn't give you those lines in your lips like you and mommy have."
Thee trip was not only a chance to see the godbabies (and my sister - we met for a quick coffee Sunday afternoon), it was the perfect excuse to not sit at home without power. So we really did ok as far as having to entertain ourselves without electricity.
Unfortunately uptown lost a lot of trees, mostly because we have had so much rain this year that the ground was soggy even before Isaac showed up. The added rain turned the ground to mush, and trees didn't have the stability to withstand the winds. I hate losing trees.

I'm loathing going to work tomorrow - for reasons I'll discuss later, but I will briefly tell you that it involves a new system, worst phrase known to man - but for tonight I'll leave you with some Isaac pictures.

Trying to let in light and wind in our living room on Wednesday.  

Trees on cars :(

Loyola law school lost some big old oaks 

Broadway was impassable thanks to another oak

And more trees on cars.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Alive. Hot. Sweaty.

Stinky fridge. Water-stained bedroom. Mildew on the walls. Mold on the toilet seat. But our power is finally back on!