The Bucket List That Didn’t Get Crossed Off

Way back last December, inspired by other bloggers, I decided to nix the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and instead create a 2012 bucket list of experiences I wanted to have before the year was up.

If you don’t follow through with resolutions, you have failed. Failure is sad. If you don’t follow through with bucket list items, nothing happens.

Nothing especially happens when you don’t get very many of your BL items in the “DONE” category like me.

I did do some things.  Just not as many as I would have wanted.

I’ve decided to keep this sucker running.  I’m working on my 2013 list with 25 new items to be revealed tomorrow.  The rollover from 2012 will stay on there with the hopes that I’ll eventually cross those items off the list.  And as the years progress, I’m sure I’ll establish a pretty decent list of “gotta do before I die which hopefully won’t happen for 100 years” items.

My actual level of BL completion is below, listed item by sad un-crossed off item.

Items categorized as UNSUCCESSFUL didn’t happen or even come close to happening.  Items listed as ATTEMPTED were at least approached with cheerful effort.  SUCCESSFUL items (the few and far between) were ones that I was able to cross off the list.

How Amy Fared on the 2012 Bucket List

1) Get Passport stamp #4: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though the possibility is MUCH higher in 2013 thanks to some college graduating sisters and their graduation present vacations.  I’m hoping we get invited (hint, hint, Daddy).

2) Pay off credit card debt: UNSUCCESSFUL: I don’t want to talk about this.  At all.  However, still thankful that my credit card debt load is tiny compared to the average American.

3) Ride in a hot air balloon: UNSUCCESSFUL. Shit’s expensive. And I’m kind of scared to go with the cheapest company because I don’t want to die.

4) Run a full marathon: SUCCESSFUL!!! Definitely a lifetime bucket list item.  AND I think I get bonus points for the BQ.  That was also a HUGE bucket list item that I didn’t bother adding to the 2012 list because I didn’t think it would happen for many many years.

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5) Run a race every month: ATTEMPTED.  I ran 10 road races and 1 virtual race, so I missed it by 1. I think doing the smaller ones helped me get better at racing, plus I snagged some age group awards, but the more longer races I do, the less excited I am about paying $10 per mile in a 5-k with no medal and a sad cotton t-shirt.  Sorry.

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6) Compete in a triathlon: UNSUCCESSFUL.  But I think I’m more prepared mentally to take on this challenge in 2013.

7) Learn to swim: ATTEMPTED.  I think I’m closer than I was this time last year.

8) Read my way through Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of all time:  UNSUCCESSFUL. I knew this would take more than 1 year.  I’ve read some books that I hadn’t heard of that I ended up  loving. But I’ve also been stuck on the 180 pager The Souls of Black Folk since August. I read 7 books this year (on the list anyway…I think there were 2 that I’ve picked up that weren’t on the list) which is better than the 1 I read in 2011.

9) Go on a White Water Rafting weekend expedition: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I’m starting to rethink this one.  I was pretty bored after a couple of hours of kayaking down the river in September. Could I really spend 4 days cold and wet with sore shoulders followed by sleeping on the ground for 4 nights?

10) Start dressing my age:  ATTEMPTED. I think some progress has been made. I tried to avoid stores where the majority of salespeople are in high school and I haven’t worn flip flops since it got cold out. I did however walk around Chicago dressed like this, so whateves. Although, maybe wearing black stretchy pants IS dressing my age. Sigh.

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11) Visit a new state: SUCCESSFULGot to experience Illinois in all of it’s finest! And by finest, I mean Chicago.

12) Send a birthday card in the mail to people on their birthdays. SUCCESSFUL. I did this at least twice.

13) Learn how to use my camera and take awe-inspiring photos: ATTEMPTED. I started looking up tutorials on Pinterest.  I’m still not Ansel Adams, but I least I know how to change shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, even if I have no idea what any of them mean. I did get a bokeh photo in of the Christmas tree!

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14) Relearn French: UNSUCCESSFUL. Although I’m listening to the French Cafe station on Pandora right now, so maybe I’m picking up a little bit? However, one of the potential graduation trips might require that I learn, at the very least, how to say, “I’ll take another glass of wine!” in order to get around (“plus de vin, s’il vous plaît!”).

15) Go horseback riding on the beach: SUCCESSFUL. It was fun.

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16) Write a novel: ATTEMPTED: I totally started one! I am 5 pages in.  At least I have the idea and the characters and the general plot line.  Now that the gingerbread house is done, I’ll have more time to devote.

17) Buy a new car: SUCCESSFULAnd I’m in love.  Aside from the fact that I spend twice as much money on gas. 

18) Do a massive house cleaning and reorganization: ATTEMPTED: I think this will happen pretty soon into the new year.  I’ve cleaned out a few closets and drawers.

19) Take the GRE: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I do want a masters degree, but at this point, I don’t know if it would be incredibly helpful or financially responsible.  And I still kinda don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

20) Go to a live music festival. UNSUCCESSFUL. I think this will require choosing one and planning a year in advance.  But with all of these potential vacations and Boston which is quickly shaping up to be as expensive as an all-inclusive week in the Caribbean, I don’t know if this is the perfect year for it.

21) Choose an NFL Team to cheer for: SUCCESSFUL. Though, now I’m questioning my decision.  How can a team go from winning the Super Bowl to scoring once in two weeks???

22) Win something (anything) in a radio contest: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I seriously tried though.  I even put in for a pair of Uggs last week.  I hate Uggs.

23) Invest in a piece of artwork: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though I have decided that I want an abstract painting with warm colors.  So now I can be on the lookout!

24) Finish a Tough Mudder: UNSUCCESSFUL, mostly because it didn’t happen in Albuquerque like we thought it was going to, however it is scheduled for my birthday in 2013.  I’m rethinking this one because thanks to blog land and some detailed recaps, I’m not sure that I would have the best time.  I mean, cool that you are tough enough to do it, but it sounds mostly miserable. And I could think of better ways to spend a birthday.

25) Figure out what in the world I’m doing with my life and take steps to get there: UNSUCCESSFUL: but 2013 WILL be my year.  I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still feel like I’m just in a holding area until my life really starts.  Considering I’m about 1/3 of the way through life already (if I’m lucky), I want to at least feel like I’m on the right path.

So, over the course of the year, I successfully completed 7 out of 25 bucket list items.  Here’s hoping that more items get conquered in 2013!

Are you creating a bucket list for 2013? 

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Gingerbread out the Ears

Happy Day After Christmas!

For the next few weeks I’ll be in a state of depression because the world that has been so beautiful and sparkly will return to it’s normal, unadorned state.

Our Christmas weekend was fantastic with lots of family time, gluten free cookies, and general festivities.  And considerable drama trying to get Aaron his Christmas present after Nordstrom shipped him a size 10 black dress.

On Saturday we had some friends over for a Gingerbread House decorating party, and I was amazed at some of the creative structures that can be formed with graham crackers and frosting.  I’m not sure why we aren’t all architects  (for the record, one of our friends is actually an architect).

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AND…

I finally finished my own gingerbread house!  After an inspiration photo, a sketch, a scaled drawing on graph paper, a 3-D prototype, lots of gingerbread, royal icing, sugar, fondant, food coloring, chocolate, (an exploded Pyrex glass, but NO fire this year!!! and as I’m typing this, there is a segment on The Today Show about exploding Pyrex.  WHAT ARE THE ODDS?), and weeks of countless hours spent baking and decorating….

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…the finished product is done and ready to decorate the kitchen until at least July! Thanks for all of your sweet comments! Everything on here is 100% edible (though…ewe) and made from scratch.

While my gingerbread project does cause self-induced stress, kitchen disasters, and usually a fire or two, seeing everything put together makes me extraordinarily happy, and it really is one of my favorite parts of the holidays!

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IMG_5633I hope Santa was good to you, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Christmas Survey Because I Love Christmas

I saw this Christmas Survey on Christina’s blog, and I decided to steal it.  Consider this a gratuitous fluffy non-running related post (they do ask a running question!).  But I mean, who doesn’t love more Christmas (well, except Aaron who apparently has watched one too many Hallmark movies and now goes around calling himself Ebeneezer)?

1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song?

I mean, really.  There are so few that I don’t like (Feliz Navidad comes to mind…I think they play it more here in New Mexico).  For traditional songs, O Holy Night and Silent Night.  Newer,  All I Want For Christmas is You is my jam.  Frank, Dean, Rosemary, Nat, and Buble can sing anything and I’d be a big fan.

This however, is hands down THE WORST Christmas song ever.  But I can’t stop listening! It takes some talent to express gratefulness for being born in the USA and wish Jesus a happy birthday in one sentence.

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

Confession…we almost always take Christmas off.  There just isn’t a good time of day to squeeze it in.  One year, when we first got engaged, Aaron had to work on Christmas, so I hung out at the gym for a couple of hours.  But otherwise, if you can’t let go on Christmas, when can you?

3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?

Aaron and I always get up and go to my parents in our pajamas and open presents there with some mimosas.  Breakfast is usually some fancy pancake dish or traditional tamales and eggs. There are usually always baked goods.

Slightly deranged looking. It’s ok.

4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?

My gingerbread house is probably my favorite “Amy” tradition.  I think Aaron is still wondering how he married into such a crazy kitchen disaster.  Otherwise, watching Christmas movies, our annual Christmas party, River of Lights, falling asleep to the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve, and spending time with family are my favorite.

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What Christmas looks like at the Lavender House

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree?

REAL.  A few years ago my mom bought an artificial tree because nothing in nature was as perfect as she wanted (plus, they always look pretty dead by the time Christmas comes around).  But I can’t do it.  I love the smell.

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6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay? For as long as I can remember, we always get to open one present on Christmas Eve…Christmas pajamas.  So, always yay. (See picture above).

7. Where do you spend the holidays? Both of our families are in town, so we do presents/breakfast/Disney parade with my family and more presents/dinner with Aaron’s family.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat? 

When I think of Christmas food, I think of traditional New Mexican favorites.  Tamales, red chile enchiladas, taquitos, and biscochitos.  It ain’t Christmas without them.

9. Open presents all at once or take turns?

All at once! That way you don’t have the awkwardness of having everyone watch you and your reactions.

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? 

I’m going with It’s a Wonderful Life because Jimmy Stewart is my boyfriend and the story is SO GOOD. I really like almost any Christmas movie though. Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Love Actually, Eloise at Christmastime, Miracle on 34th Street, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Polar Express, The Holiday, The Grinch.  You name it.  Except for those wretched Claymation movies.  I’ll watch Rudolph, but anything else is just not gonna happen.

Which Christmas song do you think is the worst?

According to the Christmas Song Authorities, Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey is the worst.  I still think I Love Christmas beats it. I’ll let you decide.

(Half) Marathon Reflection…Tuesday

I know there are days of silence going on right now.  I’m not really sure when the official one is (I’ve seen several), but I know I couldn’t bring myself to post for the last several days.  I am heartbroken over the events of last week.  I came home for lunch on Friday and I sat in front of CNN and cried, and I still can’t make it through a news story without getting a terrible feeling deep in my gut.  I don’t think anyone, myself included, will recover from this emotionally for a very long time.  My thoughts and prayers are, and have been, with the people of Newtown.

The family of one of the little girls just moved to Connecticut from an Albuquerque suburb recently and they were members at the gym that Aaron manages.  Emilie Parker used to go to the gym day care pretty often and a few of Aaron’s employees knew her pretty well.  According to the news, her favorite book was Charlotte’s Web, and she used to greet her kindergarten teacher here in New Mexico last year with a “salutations, teacher” every morning.

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This weekend I was looking at my calender, and I realized that, even though I’m doing two separate training cycles, I am 4 months out from Boston meaning I am officially in the marathon training time frame.  So soon?  Truthfully, right now the thought of 17 mile runs is slightly overwhelming. I was so excited to start training for my first marathon back in June, and even though I’ve forgotten the pain of the actual race (MARATHONS ARE FUN!), I remember vividly the lost weekends, miserable 800’s, and chaffing/bleeding/blistering.  Even now that I’m getting back into the 10-12 mile runs, I’m starting to get a slight feeling of dread as I lace up my shoes.

And this weekend’s 10 miler wasn’t my most inspired long run.  Turns out, if you spend the winter running on a nice flat treadmill in a climate controlled guest bedroom and then attempt to run up a mountain, your body rebels in grand fashion. On Saturday, we kept hoping that if we waiting a bit longer to head out, the temperature would rise.  It kind of did (36 degrees is warmer than 27 degrees)…  As much as I run, I haven’t invested in any long running pants, so I wore shorts and compression socks. Meanwhile I saw people walking dogs who looked prepared for a walk in Antarctica. I was ok, but I think that my legs took an extra long time to warm up, and they had that weird tingling and redness that comes from sweating and simultaneously freezing.

The uphill miles were SLOW and I didn’t quite get the exhilarating feeling of flying during the downhill miles either.  Our past few (flat coursed) long runs have been fast, and I’ve been able to get 7 miles in during the first hour.  On Saturday I barely got 6 in during the first hour.  Luckily, it wasn’t completely miserable, but it did serve as a good wake up call that I haven’t been keeping to my weekly goals and and apparently I’ve forgotten about those lessons learned the hard way during marathon training.

So, as a reminder to myself of what I said I would do at the beginning of the cycle, here’s what needs work for the next 5 weeks leading up to Operation Fast Half.

1) Train in harder conditions than you want to:  Neither RnRAZ or Boston are flat.  So why am I training on a flat surface? Hitting pace goals is nice, but that won’t help power me through Heartbreak Hill.

2) Weight lifting/muscle burning exercises: my muscles are tiring faster than they should.  And my shoulders keep tensing.  During marathon training I discovered that rows helped prevent shoulder tightness.  Yet I haven’t been doing them.

3) Yoga, stretching, and general injury prevention: My calves are tight every day.  Running on tight muscles without taking care of them is a sure way to get injured.  I also have been neglecting the foam roller.  I will say though, I don’t see myself icing any time soon.  Ice is cold.

4) Cross-training: This isn’t nearly as essential during half training because the mileage really isn’t enough to completely burn me out or really injure me from over-training, but I still want to be doing more spinning and swimming for overall fitness. I haven’t in a couple of weeks.

5) Core exercises: I haven’t been doing my daily core exercises.  Instead of feeling like a cohesive unit barreling through space while running, I feel like I’m flopping around like an octopus.  My body parts aren’t working together.  And my lower back has been aching more recently.

I’m less than 5 weeks out from what is supposed to be a strong fast half that will help me transition into “Don’t Be the Slowest Person at Boston” marathon training, and I need to start taking this seriously.

I think I started falling into the mindset that, hey, it’s the holidays, I can be lazy.  But I can’t.  (Sidenote: this new enthusiasm may be slightly prompted by the creation of my 10 year high school reunion facebook group.  I’ve never been very keen on actually going to my high school reunion, but I suddenly feel pressure to have some noteworthy accomplishments.  Like, maybe I haven’t climbed the corporate ladder or moved out of state after talking loudly about how much I hated New Mexico for the first 18 years of my life and the last 5 years after college, but I can run a fast marathon, gosh darn it!).

And really, I should be taking advantage of the fact that my long runs are only 10 miles and weekly mileage is between 20-35 miles because too soon I’ll be back to thinking 10 miles is any easy day (just kidding…I’ve NEVER thought that!).

On the Christmas front, I am now way behind on my gingerbread house.  I need it to be done by Saturday, but I have so much left to do.  I  may have to pull some all nighters here this week….

Hope everything on your Christmas to-do list is getting done! Only one more week to fit in as much Christmas as you can!

WINNER! And (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Random.orgCongratulations, Emily! I’ll be emailing you later today, and I hope you enjoy your North Beach Sunglasses from The Sunglasses Shop! And thanks so much for everyone who entered!

Project Gingerbread House hit a bit of a bump yesterday while I was heating sugar for the windows.  I do this every year (one year I set the microwave on fire because I put the sugar in a METAL cup), and I’ve gotten good at the process, but as best as I can tell, I probably caused a crack in the glass when I rinsed it out right after it was super hot (extreme change in temperature), so the next time I put it in the microwave, it shattered because the glass was compromised.

Sometimes it helps to know science! (I don’t know science).

BUT, this is what the windows look like when finished! What’s a little fire or shattered glass when we’re talking Christmas joy?

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Oh, and I take back everything I said about making swimming progress.  I couldn’t even get my head underwater in the pool yesterday without hyperventilating.  So, it’s looking more and more like doggie paddle for me! If you ever thought I was afraid of looking like an idiot in front of a bunch of people (then you probably haven’t met me?), this should prove you wrong!

Happy Wednesday!

(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday & Other Stuff

WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS TIME!

I will be the first to admit that for me, Christmas time started right after Halloween.  I’ve been watching those high quality holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel, listening to Christmas music, and plotting ways to make this year’s holiday season the best ever.

Aaron has very politely indulged me, even giving up his Saturday nights to watch Eloise at Christmastime and not getting mad when I switch his Pandora station to Christmas music.

But now, my Christmas cheer is completely socially acceptable.  Thanksgiving is over, so I can prance around in Christmas happiness without fear that some Bah Humbug will squash my dreams.  However, I still haven’t put up a tree unlike everyone on Instagram/facebook.  We’re real tree people, so we always wait until December to make sure it doesn’t look dead by Christmas. I’d like to think this makes me slightly less crazy.

Meanwhile, on the running/half marathon training front, things have been going ok.

On Thursday my whole family (aside from my mom who was busy on Operation Thanksgiving Dinner duty) ran our Turkey Trot 5-K.   A few weeks ago I was thinking I was going to use this race as my attempt at a sub 21.  But I got out on that course, fell into a solid 7:00-7:15 pace, and was feeling really good.  I remember what it felt like for me the one time I did hit 21:05, and I decided I didn’t really want to get that awful sick feeling again.  So, I didn’t.  Maybe not the most competitive thing I could have done, but I’m ok with it.  I dread 5-K’s more than anything, and I don’t want to anymore.  I came in at 22:18 (7:10 average pace).  Still better than my last few 5-K times, and definitely a confidence booster than I can run 13.1 miles at a 7:15 pace in a couple of months.  Plus, I think this is my first ever 5-K that didn’t make me want to hurl.

To celebrate the amazing weather we’ve been having (still in the low 60’s during the day) we decided to get one more climb up our mountain on the La Luz Trail.  Typically the top is snow covered and dangerous by late November.  It is a little sad that our weather is so dry that we don’t have any snow on our mountain but it made for perfect hiking conditions. This hike is about 8 miles up a 3,600 elevation gain.  My dad and sister made their way up for the first time!

Yesterday’s long run was a little harder than it should have been after the climb up a mountain.  We had 8 miles on the schedule, so we headed to the most flat course we could find, and knocked them out.  I had an average pace of about 8:38, so I was going a just bit faster than last week.  And definitely minutes faster than I was running a year ago.  I felt pretty fatigued, my face got sunburn, and after we finished, my calves tightened up to a point suggesting I’d run much harder/faster than I really did.  I spent the morning doing some intense rehabbing just to get myself back to walking like a normal person.  But definitely on track with where I want to be right now.

On the non-running front, I’m pretty sure I did something very close to swimming last week! I’m working on a breathing rhythm, and after a few failed attempts (and lots of inhaled water through the nose…very yucky feeling), I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m hoping that with a few more lessons, I’ll at least be able to not look like a drowning abomination on Indoor Tri Day!

Otherwise, our Thanksgiving week was pretty normal:  I baked! (gluten free pumpkin snicker-doodles), two dinners with two families, late night Black Friday shopping, football watching (GO GIANTS!!!), and planning my annual gingerbread house (you can see last year’s HERE).

We’ll take some of that turkey, please!

Muppet Christmas Carol is a Thanksgiving tradition.

Aaron is obviously adopted

Macy’s at about 1:00 am. 

Hope everyone is having a minimally painful Monday!

P.S….there *may* be a giveaway coming later this week! (And by may, I mean I’ve already agreed to do one in exchange for free stuff, so…)

Giuseppe, 007, Halloween…and I Still Haven’t Run!

Good morning!

So, this is your official update that, almost three weeks out, I haven’t run yet.

I think my biggest argument against the marathon lifestyle right now is the recovery time.  I know I’m taking longer than most, but my goodness is this getting old.

Since I’ve turned this primarily into a running blog, I don’t know what to talk about when I’m not running. My puppy? (check! See below).  Halloween? (check! See below).  My intense crush on the new James Bond Theme Song? (also check! See below).  But sadly I still unable to contribute to the training recaps or race recaps or even the “I’m so sad I’m not running” recaps because that’s already been covered.

Although, a couple of sprints across the living room yesterday indicate that I might be ready for a pain free run this weekend!

And of course, this happens when we have our first freeze of the season.  Wednesday was 80 degrees.  Today I have Giuseppe bundled up in a sweater because it is so cold! (and how many times is he going to want to come in and out of the house this morning???).

So it looks like our perfect running temperatures were wasted on me this year.  Bring on the winter running gear!

I have at least been keeping active this week, but no matter what, I can’t make the elliptical feel like a good workout.

So….Basically, I just wanted to say “HI!” and share a Giuseppe picture.

And a song!

I’m pretty sure Adele was put on this earth to make a James Bond theme song.  This is just so perfect.

I rarely take interest in new movies that aren’t Harry Potter or Disney, but James Bond movies create a world so glamorous and exciting that I can’t help but want to live it in and drink martinis and save the world everyday.  And if Adele is there, sign me up!

In other news, Happy Halloween weekend! I haven’t dressed up in 4 years, but I’m kind of wanting to this year.  (We usually don’t go out on Halloween so, I would likely be dressed up watching Hocus Pocus or Monster House and eating candy since there are no children in our neighborhood, but I always buy a bag “just in case”).  I do plan on carving some super awesome pumpkins this weekend and possibly making a spooky cocktail that I find on Pinterest.

Are you dressing up this year? I need inspiration! 

Good luck to everyone racing!  I know a lot of people are doing fun costume runs! I’m so jealous because we have like 2 happening here this weekend.  And I hope Sandy doesn’t kill the Marine Corps Marathon!

Have a great Halloween weekend!

Ponds, Other Sides of Ponds, National Tequila Day, and Beating Boys

Happy Wednesday!

This morning I was watching The Today Show being broadcast from London, so not only am I getting super excited for the Olympics, but all this talk about England is also making me want to buy some Burberry and watch Harry Potter with Duchess Kate while eating fish and chips.  Is that too much to ask???

I have never been to Europe (and I pretty much refuse to have children until I do go), so my London envy is a little out of control right now.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond…

We actually developed our own makeshift backyard pond yesterday thanks to a torrential downpour and a lightning storm directly above our house (for about 15 minutes, the lightning and thunder were coming at the exact same time).  It has been a few years since I remember it raining this much.  I’m almost at the point where I’m not as excited about it everyday.  ALMOST.  Please bear with this poor desert dweller and her excitement over rain.

And yesterday, in case you missed it as I did until about 2:00 pm, was National Tequila Day.  I love that my husband will jump up from the couch upon hearing news like that and proceed to the grocery store for margarita mix so we can celebrate! Because what kind of Americans would we be if we had knowledge of such a national holiday and chose NOT to celebrate?  We’re also been inspired by Mad Men to build up our liquor collection (for display purposes and also for when Roger Sterling visits and requests a glass of whatever on the rocks), so we bought a very big bottle of tequila at Costco the other day.  This *should* last us a few years.  Maybe.  Also used our RnRAZ shot glass.  In just a few short months I can fill it to the “26.2” level and not feel unworthy!

And because this is mostly a running blog…

Yesterday I had a fantastic tempo run.  Definitely my strongest yet.  It is extraordinarily satisfying to have some macho man think that he can catch up with me because I’m 5 feet tall and decked out in pink and sparkle headbands only to hear his footsteps slowly fade in the background!  He also got an especially smug smirk as I turned around to go back home.  Never gets old.

However, I’m having some IT band annoyance again and the heel was bugging me again last night. Maybe a bit of karma for the smug smirk?  I was hopeful because everything was holding up through the mileage this weekend. Today is a recovery day (we’ll probably do 4 miles on the elliptical), so hopefully the break along with my rehabbing will allow everything to calm down.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

Happy 4th of July!

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

All historical inaccuracies aside, this painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (I totally had to wikipedia that) is one of my favorites because it shows a triumphant spirit and invokes a sense of patriotism and pride!

I had an extraordinary 3rd grade teacher who taught us the words to the National Anthem, and has us sing it (with our hands across our hearts) every week.  Every single time I hear the National Anthem, I get goosebumps.  I know we have our problems, but I feel so blessed to be an American.  And thank you to everyone sacrificing (and who has sacrificed) their lives for our magnificent country!

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL and safe 4th of July holiday!

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Today is a big day in Casa de Lavender.

Today my husband crosses over to the other side.

Today is Aaron’s 30th birthday!

30 seems like such a big deal.  We’re talking full-fledged adulthood.  None of this twenty-something nonsense.  No more child-like antics, no more immature jokes (thank goodness!), no more partying til dawn because we just can’t stay up that late.  And a whole new (less competitive) racing age division!

{Check out that incredible display of maturity!}

Yeah…not so much.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.  ~Chili Davis


I think it goes without saying that I love every second of my husband’s silliness, and I would never imagine trying to squish it out of him now that he’s at such an advanced age!

We celebrated a last few days of immaturity this weekend in Durango, CO (more on that tomorrow).

Happy birthday, Aaron! 30 is just the beginning!