Sunday, May 31, 2009

Short scrapbook update

I haven't blogged in a bit because I haven't wanted to add a super-long post on top of the last one. I've got some thoughts for more long-winded posts in the next week or so (I really want to write a review of the last book I read.), but for now I thought I just needed to update, mostly about scrapbook stuff.

Looking back on the number of pages I've photographed and posted just since I started this blog is very impressive to me. I had an idea to set a goal of making 100 pages this year when I was thinking about New Years' Resolutions, but I haven't actually kept track very well. Now, with the blog it's a lot easier. And I think I can shoot for even more. My new goal is to make 100 pages by the end of the year, starting with the ones I've posted on my blog (for easy counting). So that's 100 pages in a little less than 9 months. Wish me luck. :)

I love pretty much everything about this page. The photo, the simple design, the big title. I don't know if you can tell, but I crumpled up the paper circle, then flattened it again to glue it down just to give a textured look. I based this loosely on this sketch at So Sketchy!

This one is just OK in my opinion. Well, I like everything except for the title. What I DO like is that it's another finished page for my "study abroad" album. :) I was inspired by this page I found while cruising other scrapbook blogs.

I guess that's about all for now if I still intend to call this post a "short" update. I'm off to watch more French Open tennis. I LOVE IT!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Lord it is HOT in Florida

Why did we move here again? It was awesome when we moved here at the end of February and there were already signs of spring. By the time we got settled into our house, I can only remember one day of walking Skeletor that was uncomfortable because it was cold. I loved the chance in March and April to be outdoors walking him.

I fear that now we've reached a point where there's no going back. About a week ago, we had a string of beautiful days: breezy with highs around 78. This week, the HOT is back, and it's looking like it's here to stay. My run this morning (I missed running yesterday evening because of errands, shopping and generally having fun with my husband) was brutal. For the first time since starting the Couch to 5K program I wasn't able to keep up with the routine. I was supposed to run 2-10 minute intervals and I had to stop and walk for about 90 seconds with 4 minutes left in the second run. I definitely didn't help that I hadn't drank enough water before heading out and I didn't carry any with me, but the heat and the humidity just made it so hard to feel like was getting enough air. And this was not in the middle of the afternoon, this was at 8:30 in the morning.

So anyway, I'm a little disappointed, but at least I think I've discovered that I'm not a first thing in the morning runner. I think from now on I'll try to stick to my "normal" schedule of walking Skelly in the morning and running in the evening. My plan is to do today's run again on Saturday before moving on to the "Day 3" run for this week. That scheduled run is 25 minutes with no walks, so I definitely want to have some positive momentum going into that. And I just try to keep telling myself that getting out there and running at all is the real accomplishment and I shouldn't beat myself up about being perfect.

Part of me also feels bad that I missed the run yesterday. Not to mention the fact that I swapped it for a bacon cheeseburger at Cracker Barrel while I was out shopping. Logical, smart, self-confident me knows that it's mentally better for me to have a treat like that once in a while rather than avoid eating out like the plague and restrict myself. The problem is just that self-conscious, body-image obsessed me is still very much a part of me and wants to convince me that one cheeseburger automatically makes me an unhealthy person. The struggle is still there, but I'm happy to say that I feel like the balance has definitely shifted to the positive attitude.

It helps that I really had a good time yesterday. After making some delicious French toast for lunch, Adam and I headed out to go shopping in Destin. First, we stopped at Michael's. It was the first time I had been to this one and the scrapbook section was ENORMOUS. I walked around and saw everything, but nothing was on sale so I walked out empty-handed (but with plenty of ideas in mind for when paper or paper packs go on sale 50% off). Adam stayed busy at a discount bookstore next door and ended up with a $5 about Iraq.

Then we went to the Bass Pro store, where Adam was similarly restrained. He looked around at just about everything, but the only thing we bought was a camping mini-spatula for my scrapbooking. I know it sounds bizarre, but I'm going to use it to lift stuff off the cutting mat of my Slice. Making Memories makes a tiny spatula specifically for that, but it's about $6. This one at Bass Pro was $2 and we got a military discount. I was so impressed that my husband could go to this store and come out with something for me, I let him convince me that we should go to Cracker Barrel. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

On our last stop, my earlier thriftiness paid off. I talked Adam into checking out the "Scrapbook Clearance Center" since we don't get out to Destin very much. Everything in there is 50% off everyday. There was definitely a lot of weird stuff that I can understand why it was clearanced, but the store was pretty big and had plenty of good stuff, too. By promising Adam that I would only buy plain cardstock and page protectors for the month of July, I justified spending almost $30 at the end of the month, when we're pretty broke. $30 went a LONG way though. I took pictures of all the stuff I got when I got home.

A super-cute kit of dog papers, stickers, etc.

Six sets of American Crafts letter stickers

30 sheets of GORGEOUS American Crafts paper. I LOVE the fact that these have a coordinating solid color on the back. It makes putting a page together so easy.

Finally, an Air Force die cut and my little spatula. I think I'll have to give it a try today, just to see how it works. :)

Alright, I know this is already way too long, but I'm WAY behind in posting pages I've finished. All these days off have resulted in LOTS of scrapbooking. And all this new stuff is calling my name today. I've got to get my laundry under control, but I'm sure I'll sneak in some time to play with paper. Here are just a couple of my more recent layouts.

Obviously, I'm trying to get as much use as possible out of that dotty patterned paper. :) I used this sketch from So Sketchy! for the layout and I LOVE the way it turned out. The papers are so bright and fun and there's not too much else going on to clutter it up.

This one is NOT based on a sketch (gasp!). I think it came out a little plain/boring, but I just didn't have embellishments that matched. And I generally think that adding too little is better than adding too much. I never want to take away from the photo(s).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Worth it

It's not always easy to do the right thing, but when you're done, it's always worth it.

Sure, that sounds good, but agreeing with it and putting it into practice are two different things. Yesterday was a really weird day for me. I had no momentum or desire to get anything done. I overslept, I took a nap, I watched early round French Open for hours. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty lame. At least throughout it all I knew I planned to run in the evening. I would redeem myself by being active and keeping my commitment to Couch to 5K. Just before 6, I shook Adam out of bed (he napped for an hour longer than me) and got dressed in my running gear. We had decided to drive 5 minutes to the beach and run on the biking/running trail along the street out there for a change of scenery.

As Adam is lacing up his shoes, he looks out the back window and says it's raining lightly. Now, I did run in the rain on Friday and felt like a champ for sticking with it, but I wasn't really planning on making that a regular workout. My commitment starts wavering. But the rain isn't TOO bad, so we hop in the car and drive over. Yeah, it's definitely raining. On the bridge over the sound to the beach, it starts RAINING. Hard. I am NOT going to run in this. I'm looking at Adam making faces and planning to reschedule this for tomorrow in my head. Finally, we roll up in the parking lot and it's back to raining lightly. Well, I guess we're all the way out here and this is not any worse than it was Friday, so I get out and stretch. Just as I'm done and starting to head out on my warm up walk, it stops raining. I turn around to smile at Adam and there is an HUGE rainbow behind me. It's big and easy to see and a full half-circle. WOW. It was exactly the boost I needed. It would have been so much easier to stay at home when we saw the first sprinkles, but because we went out anyway, we had a great post-rain run capped off with a beautiful rainbow. Totally worth it.

Now, if the rainbow was a sign that Adam and I had made the right choice by braving the rain, I'm not sure what being locked out of our car when we got back to the parking lot was a sign of. Just another reminder that even when we think we've figured it out, it's clear that we have no idea what we're doing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Nap Time

What's the logical way to spend your afternoon if you fell asleep around 10pm and slept for almost 10 hours? Probably not take a nap. Unless you're like me and fall prey to the "too much sleep makes you sleepy" rule. As usual, it's left me feeling a little disappointed in what I've managed to accomplish (not much), but I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. To be fair, my weekend was pretty full with working, so today is like the first day of my "weekend." You're allowed to take it a little easy on the first day of your weekend. Also, by some quirk of the Hallmark scheduling gods, I'm not working again til Saturday, so I have plenty of time to tackle my to-do list.

My scrapbooking has been fairly steady this week, even with working a little more than usual and a lack of inspiration from my stash of stuff. I even entered some online scrapbooking challenges, which was one of my New Years' Resolutions (the other was to try making a mini-book - that one's still out there).

I submitted "Easter '09" for the Get Sketchy challenge at Crop Addict. The sketch I chose had 3 vertical pictures, but I combined them all together to fit my one 5x7.

Can you tell that I made this page about my 24th birthday right after? I hadn't cleared the paper scraps off my table yet, so I decided to recycle them into this page. I used my Slice to cut the big numbers. I submitted this one for the Scrapbook Challenges Blog Hop Sketch challenge.

I really love the idea of online challenges like these. By submitting I'm entered in a draw for some scrapbooking goodies, but if I don't win, I've still got a great page for my albums. There really is no down side.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What a difference

First of all: WOOOOOO!! I DID IT! I ran for 20 minutes yesterday! In the rain! I realized it was raining lightly when I stepped outside, but I had already changed and had my iPod all set to go. I really didn't want to have the run hanging over my head for another day, so I decided to go out anyway, hoping it would stop soon. Unfortunately, around minute 8, it just got stronger. At that point, I figured I was already pretty wet (and far enough from home) so I kept at it. It was still never really pouring, just coming down pretty regularly, but I did have to keep blinking water out of my eyes. I was tired with about 3 minutes left, but I also knew that I could keep it up and finish. I had this goofy grin on my face for about the first whole minute of my cool down walk. I felt like such a champ for being committed enough to finish, even with the rain.

Which all begs the question: who is this girl? It can't be Mary. Mary shakes her head in confusion at the DC joggers who are out at 7am on Christmas Day all bundled up. Mary WALKS. Just four months ago, I made this scrapbook page: 10 Random Things About Mary. #2 on the list, right between "I love to play Mario video games" and "My favorite color is pink" is "I loathe running."

I think I used to hate running because I thought I couldn't do it. The difference for me was a program that slowly introduced it to me and proved to me that I could. Even though it's been almost a complete 180 degree turn around for me, it's been pretty slow and gradual. I really can't say enough good things about the Couch to 5K program. It finally made running seem approachable to me. I looked at the routine for Week One and thought, "Hey, that doesn't seem so bad." And after doing Week One, the routine for Week Two didn't seem so daunting either. Now, I know that I can run. I KNOW that I can finish my first 5K on the Fourth.

Right now, I still wouldn't say that I love running, but I'm beginning to love the feeling of accomplishment and progress that I have after running. Yesterday, at the end of my run, I felt like I was on top of the world. I can't wait for the feeling of crossing my first finish line.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A little uninspired

I generally believe that attitude is a big indicator of success and that it has tremendous carryover. Let me explain a little. In my experience, things are a lot easier to accomplish if I go into them with a positive attitude or the expectation to succeed. I also think that a positive attitude about one thing, like running, will contribute to a positive attitude about another thing, like job hunting. It's just mentally harder to by upbeat about one thing and depressed about another.

Inspiration, however, does not seem to follow the same rules of carryover. For the past few days, answering the dreaded "What's for dinner?" has been pretty simple. I've looked at my dwindling supplies in the pantry and fridge and been inspired to use up what we have and be mindful of what will go bad fastest. I love the feeling of knowing what's for dinner tonight AND having a few ideas for tomorrow up my sleeve.

The same can not be said of my wardrobe. I am decidedly NOT inspired by the lack of good choices in there. The same goes for my scrapbooking. Since I used up most of my new goodies from Croppin' Corner, I have not been excited or inspired by my stash of stuff. I just keep seeing the same ugly paper I bought 3 years ago and wondering what I ever thought I was going to make with it.

I'm sure I'll get past this phase in all of its forms. Getting dressed and getting scrappy will get easier (especially if I can make a few small additions) and making dinner will surely get more difficult. As long as I can keep a generally upbeat ATTITUDE, I'm sure I'll be able to navigate little slumps in inspiration.

It also helps that I still have a backlog of scrapbook pages to post, so it makes me feel inspired and productive, even if I'm not. :)

This photo came out just a little blurry (grrr), but you still get the idea. It's based on sketch #29 at Pink Sketches.

This is taken from a sketch at Creative Scrappers, but I don't remember which one right now. :( All of their sketches are pretty great. And yes, this is a page for my "study abroad" album, which I'm still not even close to done with. Whatever, it was only about four years ago.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Running Milestone!

I felt AWESOME after my run yesterday. Physically and mentally, I just felt like everything was clicking. Plus, I was super psyched that I hit a milestone. For the first time since I started the Couch to 5K program I ran for longer than I walked. I ran 16 minutes in two intervals of 8, and I walked 15 minutes with 5 minutes each for a warm up, recovery between the running intervals and cool down.

I'm still super nervous about my scheduled run tomorrow. I'm supposed to go for 20 minutes with no walking. It seems like a pretty big jump from 16 minutes running with a break in the middle. But I've seen awesome results by following this program, and I've already done way more than I ever thought possible (you know, like running for longer than I walked :) ) so I'm just going to go out there and do my best.

I was also in a super good mood when I went out yesterday because as I was getting my iPod ready to go I saw that I had two comments on my blog. From people not in my immediate family. People who have their own blogs that I think are super awesome. What a shocker. :) Thanks Mélanie and Caitlin, you made my day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Too many hobbies

I've been thinking for awhile that I simply have too many hobbies.

I mean, things would be a whole lot easier if I just had one hobby, like scrapbooking. Just keeping up with everyday life is complicated enough: running errands, cooking meals, taking care of the dog, paying bills, getting to work on time and thousands more little tasks compete for my time and attention (not to mention money) every day. If scrapbooking was my only hobby, once I finished (ha!) my daily chores, I would sit down at my desk and make some pages. Case closed.

In reality, when I get a free moment, I might make a scrapbook page, I might read my book, I might check the blogs I follow, I might go for my run, I might look over some of my French stuff, I might watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica with Adam, I might post to this blog, or I might just let my head explode wondering what I should do. The problem is that I really enjoy all of those things. And I think that variety is a wonderful thing. I don't really WANT to give up everything else that I like for scrapbooking or any other single hobby. This is why my blog I so all over the place. It's not just a scrapbook blog because I'm not just a scrapbook person.

Which is all fine and good, but sometimes having too many hobbies messes with my head. I just can't get over the feeling that I'm always neglecting SOMETHING. If I'm really diligent on my running routine, I spend less time scrapbooking. If I get a whole afternoon to scrap, I barely look at my book all day. There's always a trade-off and I can't help feeling a little like I missed out on something. It also makes me feel sometimes like I can't accomplish enough. "Sure, I did the dishes, took Skelly on a walk, finished week 4 in my running program and made dinner for the two of us, but I didn't scrap at all or post to my blog. I should've done more."

I'm trying to get over this. The logical part of me recognizes that it's impossible and not really advisable to do everything every day. It's just getting the over-achiever in me to stop WANTING to do everything every day. It's the same part of me that wants to call the whole day a complete failure if one part of it didn't go perfectly. It's not logical at all, but it makes perfect sense in my head.

This is kind of the part that I'm stuck at. I know that it's silly to resent the time I spend on one hobby as taking time away from another, but I don't really know how to get rid of the gut feeling.

Maybe more thoughts on this later...

Monday, May 18, 2009

I love Mondays

I know. It's crazy. But I love that there's this fresh start built into every week. For me at least, Monday is all about looking forward, not backward. And that's just the kind of day I needed today. My great attitude toward Monday is also helped by the fact that I haven't had to go into work yet today, and that the weather is absolutely GORGEOUS today. After two weeks of progressively hotter and more miserable morning walks with Skeletor, today really reminded me that walking him is one of my favorite things. I love the chance to be outside and especially to be doing something for him.

ALSO, today is my anniversary! Adam and I were married on this day just two years ago.

Weren't we so cute? That was such an awesome and happy day, and we've made so many happy memories since then. Of all the things in my life, I'm most proud of the tiny family we've built.

Last but not least, I have to post some scrapbook pages, of course. There's still LOTS to come. I was organizing them a little yesterday and realized I don't even have enough page protectors for them...sigh.

This first one is totally appropriate for our anniversary. Us just being silly with the camera. I used American Crafts everyday paper and the design is based on Sketch #32 at Pink Sketches. I love their sketches, I've used them a ton.

Another page of me and Adam, this time almost 4 years ago when we were studying abroad. I LOVE the way it turned out. I used some really old stuff from my stash and some paper I just got last week (Tres Jolie by My Mind's Eye). It's based loosely on this sketch posted at Lotus Paperie (more of a lift of Tania's interpretation). It's a good challenge blog.

Hope everyone else is enjoying this Monday as much as I am. Thanks for looking.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend rundown

Ok, it's only Sunday morning but I feel like I need some perspective from my weekend. I have been off work since Thursday and Adam had Friday completely free, too, so it seems the weekend has just kept going.

Usually I try, like most people I'm sure, to get accomplished on the weekends what falls by the wayside during the work week. Working part-time, this also applies to my days off during the week. Well, today I'm feeling a little disappointed. Despite three full days off, I'm not happy with what I accomplished. Mostly, I woke up and headed to the kitchen for breakfast and was confronted by messes on the coffee table, dining table, and in the sink. What happened? These piles are supposed to get smaller during the weekend, not bigger. So what DID I do this weekend?

I spent a lot of quality time with my family. On Friday, Adam and I toured some model homes thinking about buying our own place sometime soon. On Saturday, we went to Navarre beach to check out the Navarre Fun Fest and spent the afternoon eating our picnic lunch and getting pounded by waves in the Gulf of Mexico. We stayed in last night and watched Slumdog Millionaire from Netflix. Skelly and I took walks Friday and Saturday morning, and if the weather cooperates, we were planning on taking him to the dog beach this afternoon.

I stayed pretty active. Adam and I ran on Friday AND did our reps for "Hundred Pushups." Adam was still crazy sore from our exhaustion test Wednesday, so he did knee pushups. :) Saturday I didn't do anything organized, but splashing in the ocean is not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Today, I did a video workout and later I'll corral Adam for some more pushups. I didn't do so well making healthy eating choices (Papa John's, anyone?), but it could have been a lot worse.

Finally, I scrapbooked A LOT. I really wanted to dig into the awesome new supplies I got last week, and now most of it is gone. Well, not gone, but cut and organized and glued into several scrapbook pages that I will keep forever. :) I definitely think I got my moneys worth. Here are two pages I worked on this weekend, and I promise there will be many more over the next week as I get them "processed" into blog photos. I've been struggling a little bit to design my own pages, almost all of the stuff I did this weekend were based on sketches or other scrapbookers' work I found online. Honestly, though, I pretty much love most of the pages I put together with them, so I think that's OK with me.

"Dino Chew" is based on Sketch 50 at Creative Scrappers. They post a new sketch and a TON of interpretations every Sunday.

"Ghent" is all me....which is probably why I don't like it that much.

Seeing this list, I'm a lot less disappointed. Yes, there are still beach towels strewn across my dining room table, but is that the best way to measure the success of my weekend. Probably not. I should measure it instead in moments like this: me and Adam showing off our blue tongues from the food coloring in the cake frosting after church this morning. This is what a good weekend looks like.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Scrapbook pages

Somehow there's been a disconnect between my scrapbooking and my blogging about scrapbooking. Reading through the blog, it seems like I haven't been doing much scrapping recently. That actually couldn't be further from the truth. I HAVE been making pages. What I HAVEN'T been doing is finishing them by gluing them all together, taking pictures of them and cropping those pictures. Right now I've got a backlog of about four layouts I need to glue up and five finished layouts I need to take pictures of. I've been really motivated/inspired by the stuff I got on my last trip to Croppin' Corner, so I'm sure there's even more where that came from in the next few days.

Anyway, I am ready to share two pages at least. Obviously, they're both mostly made from the same paper line: American Crafts travel. I really like how both pages turned out since sometimes it's hard for me to use such bold color and patterns. It really helped that I used sketches for both of them from So Sketchy! The first is this sketch and the second is this one.

Now what I need is some quality time to ORGANIZE all these new pages...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Overthinking it.

I've been thinking way too much lately. Overthinking. Probably my last post is a symptom of that. But lots of other things have been on my mind, too.

I made the mistake of getting a book about blogging from the library on Tuesday. Even more since I started this blog, I've been really fascinated by the "evolution" of blogs and their importance/consequences for the rest of the internet. I generally think they're a pretty remarkable connectivity/marketing/time-wasting tool. Whatever that means.

Anyway, I learned that there several reasons that my blog will never be successful. Nevermind that I never intended for it to be successful or to be read by more than me and my closest family. The more I read about what a blog needs to be to reach large numbers of readers, the more I knew that my blog would never do that. Despite my lack of ambition, being told that I would not succeed made me disappointed. Made me wonder why I bother with my blog if no one is ever going to read it.

All day yesterday, I was hit by this funk of overthinking it. It started with my blog, but soon I was overthinking about all the things that get me most anxious: finding a job, following through on my running program, the prospect of buying a house. I ruined a perfectly good game of raquetball with my husband and didn't want to deal with the drama of deciding what to make for dinner so we ordered pizza.

Today, I'm feeling a lot more relaxed. The advantage of hindsight has helped me see that a blog is a silly thing to worry about. And that the rest of my wallowing was not warranted either. I just let the worrying train gain momentum.

So here I go to make a warm, healthy, dinner and spend the night curled up with my family watching a movie. I'm ready to give the happy, healthy train some momentum.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Randomness and Supreme Court Nominees

My Internet. Is. So. Slow. Right now.

Mostly just Blogger. I’ve tried all that my non-technical brain can think of right now: signing out and re-logging in, restarting Firefox, and restarting my computer. It still wants to take 30 minutes to bring up my “Compose Post” page. My new strategy is to leave it alone and hope that it fixes itself. Really proactive, right?

Except that I had some thoughts swirling around this morning that I really wanted to get down in my blog. I am so determined not to let this moment of clarity pass that I am writing this in Word to copy and paste into Blogger later. Total commitment.

I’ve always been a curious/intellectual/nerdy person. Learning “why” something happens has always fascinated me. Some curious/intellectual/nerdy people are interested in the mechanical and technical reasons “why” things happen. They study science, computers and engineering to learn “why” things have happened and how to use that knowledge to create/influence a whole new generation of mechanical and technological wonders. My interest in “why” tends more toward the personal and intimate. I majored in International Relations, the study of how countries interact with each other. In this field, the answer to “why” something happens is often at least partly based on personal feelings and perceptions. Why did Hitler invade the Soviet Union? The complete answer must take into account Hitler’s unique psychology, the feelings of his closest advisors and the diplomatic conventions of the time period, as well as the military capabilities of the German army.

More and more, I’m beginning to appreciate the effect of random or arbitrary advantage/influence in my field. I was especially struck by this as I watched the news this morning and saw CNN report on President Obama’s “short list” of nominees to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Souter. Of the eight candidates, seven are female and the single male, Carlos Moreno, is Hispanic. Basically the story is, if you’re a qualified white male, sorry, this just isn’t your time. Obama has effectively created another job requirement for filling this particular vacancy: you must contribute diversity to the bench. As far as I am aware, it is extremely difficult to choose your own gender and pretty much impossible to choose your own race. So by inserting the diversity requirement, Obama has given women and minorities a greater advantage and influence for something they have no control over. I don’t intend to set hearts ablaze in a debate about whether setting this kind of job requirement is right or wrong, merely to point out the random set of circumstances that will bring one of these candidates to prominence and power. The timing, the President, the current makeup of the court and the politics involved decide who will be nominated and confirmed, not simply who is the “most qualified.”

I can think of four books I read in the recent past that espouse this thesis of randomness in one way or another. A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power argues that political leaders are more inclined to fight genocide in a far away country if they have some personal connection to the conflict or know someone affected. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond argues that the confluence of those three advantages are what led to the rise and dominance of Western Civilization in the last 500 years. Malcolm Gladwell argues in Outliers that almost any successful person or venture had some random nudge and happened to be at the right place at the right time. Most recently, I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan which begins with a chapter on the way a unique mutation in corn that would have been disastrous in the wild, led it to be mass cultivated here in America and become pretty much the foundation of our diet. (Obviously, these are extremely limited and generalized statements about these books and their arguments are much more thorough and nuanced than I’ve made it seem.)

So pretty much, I’m not breaking any new ground here. But I am really interested by the idea of finding random causes for other phenomena and especially the idea of addressing such random advantages as they happen rather than in retrospective. I think the possibilities are basically limitless, but I also think it’s possible to find correlation without just cause.

I know this might seem a little intense or out of the norm of my regular blogging, but I’ve been mulling this over most of this morning, and writing it down really helped solidify my thinking. I don’t mean to be boring, but if I’m just myself it’s bound to happen sometimes. ☺

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Waking up early

My husband and I couldn't be more different when it comes to our sleeping/waking cycles. I am a morning person and he is a night owl. For me, it doesn't matter what time it is, if I'm tired I go to sleep. For Adam, if it's before 11pm, it's too early to go to bed, nevermind how early he woke up or how busy his day was. Basically, this results in a lot of instances where he's awake after I've gone to sleep, and times where I wake up and have lots of alone time before he gets out of bed. Many times, one or both of us are frustrated that the other can't adjust to our personal biological clock. A lot of times, though, at least for me, I appreciate a little "me time" to start the day.

Like today. My alarm started going off at 7am and I got out of bed at 7:20am. Adam and I planned to retake the pushups exhuastion test
and go for our run at 8:30am since I have to work tonight. As can be expected, that time start has gotten pushed back because Adam didn't roll out of bed until almost an hour after me. But I'm still in a great mood. Waking up early was easy; I felt really well-rested. I fed the dog, started this blog post and made a mental list of the things I need to accomplish today.

I think I'm going to try to wake up at about this time for the next couple of days, even if I don't have early plans like today. I'm at my most productive in the morning, and waking up early extends that time. Early is also preferred for morning walks with Skeletor now that summer temperatures have come to stay here in Florida. Hopefully, Adam will understand.

On a different note, here's a page I glued together last night and photographed this morning. See? So productive.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Let's hear it for moms

Mother's Day may have been Sunday, but moms do so much we should definitely be able to keep up the love for at least a few more days. I hope everyone was able to spend some quality family time, doing whatever makes mom happy. I was feeling a little bad Sunday morning when I was heading to work because I felt like I wasn't going to get any special time and because, yet again, I wasn't going to be able to see my mom. The last Mother's Day we spent together was in 2005, right before my brother Tim & Julie's wedding.

But when I got home, I was on the phone with my mom, my husband had dinner cooking, and I had this card waiting for me:

Pretty much the cutest thing ever, right? Adam and Skeletor got into my scrapbooking stash. They know just how to make a girl feel special.

Running is still going strong. Yesterday, I started week four and I ran for a total of 16 minutes (in four intervals)! I was pretty impressed with myself. Adam came with me and said it looked like I did it no sweat. Which is not true, there was definitely lots of sweat involved. But I did it, so I know I can do it for the next two days, too.

Still unsure about our plans for this weekend, but we're probably going to stay in town. If we do, I'll try to get Adam to take me to the "Fun Fest" on the beach.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My house

Both sets of parents have been bugging us for awhile to post pictures of the outside of the house we're renting here in Florida. I'll get them up on Flickr soon (but not too soon, I'm working pretty solid today through Monday), but until then I thought I'd post them here. I couldn't really think of anything else fascinating to write about; I've been kind of cranky and out of it since I got back from my very hot and tiring walk with Skeletor this morning. At least I have two days of rest from running.

The front elevation. (Notice Skelly sniffing around the mailbox plants.)

The front door.

View of the backyard from the southeast corner of the trees.

The patio. Big doors on right go to living room. Smaller doors on left go to master bedroom. Pooper-scooper readily available in the corner between them.

The nasty drainage creek (on the left) and the wilderness behind our house.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Delicious snacks!

I decided it was time for an altogether more light-hearted post. So I thought I would compose an ode to my new favorite snack:

Wholly guacamole (100-calorie pack) + baby carrots (lots of them) = pure deliciousness.

Seriously, go talk to your math teacher. I'm sure he'll back up my mathematical reasoning. Why did I never try this before about 3 weeks ago? Why did I always assume I didn't like guacamole? I could not have been more wrong. This is super-healthy, and that's honestly why I tried it in the first place. (Now, I know there are plenty of people who would avoid it for the fat content in the guac/avocado, but I just have to put my 2 cents in here. The fat is the best kind of fat, the kind you body needs: from natural plant sources and paired with the avocado's fiber and nutrients. That's why I specifically eat the Wholly guacamole. It's ingredient list is short and pronouceable, and it's the closest thing to homemade you can buy pre-made.) I was completely hooked the second time I had it. Now I think about it/reach for it when I want something delicious, not only when I'm thinking about making a healthy choice. I think that's awesome.

In other, less avocado-stuffed, news, yesterday was pretty busy but productive. I went to the courthouse to handle my driving class paperwork and to pay my tickets and I'm ALMOST done with the whole drama. All I have to do is mail them my official class completion certificate when I get it. After that stop (which was blessedly short), I got to make a more pleasant stop. The scrapbook store in Fort Walton Beach was having 30% off the whole store starting yesterday and I still had $34 in credit left from my birthday present from Briana. I got a ton of stuff and only spent $18. So I get to go back for more free stuff some other time. :) Adam and I even had time after that to get to the gym on base and play raquetball for about 30 minutes before he had to drop me off at work. We haven't been able to play as much since we started the running routine, so it was a nice little change of pace. I worked until close so I wasn't home until after 10, but Adam brought Skeletor when he came to pick me up and it was a much nicer commute home than usual.

Today Adam has his first intro briefs for starting his FTU so he's pretty excited. He can't wait to get up there and fly. I'm glad he's happy, but I know it's just one step closer to him being deployed. :( Oh well, worrying about isn't going to help anything.

Might as well go forage for some lunch.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Good and Bad...and a layout

Lately, the little things are good. Day-to-day, I've been pretty happy. I'm really pleased with the progress I'm making running. (This week has been challenging AND fun.) I've been finding it easier to navigate our constantly changing schedules and find time for workouts, home-cooked meals and family time. I'm comfortable in our new house, our new life.

But when I stop and think about the big things, mostly money, the good mood evaporates. Mostly, I worry that I spend too much time focusing on the little things and I don't make progress on the big things. My long-term goals are to find a full-time job and to get our finances to a point to be able to buy a house. Obviously, these are related, and neither of them are going particularly well right now. My job search has basically stopped. Things are better now that I'm working part-time at Hallmark, but it's not a long-term solution, and I know that. I just feel like there are not many jobs out there, and I'm not very qualified for any of them. What exactly does a degree in International Relations qualify me to do in the Pensacola area? I don't know, so too often, I don't do anything.

Ahh...writing this all down is just dragging me down like usual. I don't feel motivated to do something, I feel absolutely overwhelmed.

I'm going to go do my dishes from last night. At least I know where to start and will have a concrete accomplishment to point to when I'm done. Oh, and here's a layout I finished a while back.

This is one of my favorite recent pages. I love the colors and the scalloped border. The only thing I'm not sure about is the green swirly on the picture, but whatever.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wasted day

I am super frustrated right now. I keep trying to make peace with the speeding ticket I got two weeks ago, and it keeps throwing a wrench into things. First, it was getting my license. A trip to the DMV is never on the top of my list of fun things to do on a day off from work, and I had to make the trip not once but TWICE because they wouldn't accept my passport with my maiden name as ID the first time.

Yesterday I phoned my insurance company and sure enough, they would raise my rates if points were assessed to my license. So I decided to take the 4-hour driver improvement course offered by the state of Florida to avoid having points assessed. (I still have to pay the ticket.) I looked into options for the class and there's one school where you can take the class online. Awesome. If I have to do it, doing it at home in my pajamas is going to be better than being in a classroom somewhere for four hours. I registered and could start right away. Great. I'll be over and done with this today.

Here's where the wasted day comes in. You absolutely have to spend at least four hours on this "course." I say "course" because really its just long web pages with text and a few pictures. What time and effort they didn't put into making the driving course exciting and interactive they seem to have put into ingenious ways to waste my day. Now, I know a lot (most) of people taking this course are extremely uninterested in reading the "lessons." To ensure that proper attention is paid and time spent, there is a timer built into the web page. You can not press the button to move forward on to the next lesson until 50 minutes have gone by. I had no intentions of half-assing the class. I started reading. And was done in 20 minutes. Right about as I was finishing, my screen changed all of a sudden and a yes/no question popped up. I had two minutes to answer or I would lose credit for the class. OK, I've still got 30 minutes to kill and this thing will know if I walk away to take my shower or something. That's kind of annoying, but hopefully I'll be able to work around it. I figure I can do some dishes, fold some laundry, etc. and I'll just have to carry my laptop around with me in case another question pops up to prove that I'm still there. Whatever.

About 15 minutes later, I'm in the kitchen doing dishes, keeping an eye on the computer. When I look over, it says it logged me out and I won't get any credit for the class because I wasn't actively scrolling on the page. I freaked out for a second thinking the whole thing was wasted, but I was able to log back in and start over with 10 minutes still on the clock. But it's impossible to do anything else. I literally have to stare at a screen and randomly click my mouse. I can't really think of anything more boring. Then again, my mind is pretty zoned out right now, so I'm sure there are more boring things, I just can't think of them.

The part that's so annoying and ironic is that I ACTUALLY READ ALL OF THE DAMN LESSON. I feel like I'm being punished because I'm smart enough to read something and comprehend it quickly. I'm not trying to find ways around actually doing the reading, I've just finished it in less than half the time they gave me. And now, I am not being allowed to accomplish anything useful around my house. This feels like such a wasted day.

On top of that, my printer is acting up again, printing really crappy quality. This is the fourth time this has happened since October. Kodak customer service has always been pretty good at fixing things, but I'm getting pretty frustrated having the issue return so many times. If I make it through all of the driving course, I have a super-fun customer service call to look forward to. Sigh.

At least writing about things helps me put things in perspective. I mean, I may be really frustrated by all of this today, but as bad days go, this one is pretty mild.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Great Mood

Last night I went to bed in a great mood. I'm still feeling it today. Yesterday was not a perfect day, by any means, but I spent time with my husband and puppy, talked to my mom for a long time AND it stopped raining just in time to take my run before dinner. Sure, I didn't do all of the dishes or finish the laundry I started, but that's OK.

Here's a page I finished a while ago. I wasn't feeling it at first, but now I think I really like it. I really struggle to make Air Force pages without using red, white and blue, but I that's something I should work on in the future. If they're all red, white and blue they all look the same.

Gotta run to make my lunch for work. My goals today are just to finish the laundry and get my Mother's Day gifts mailed. Tomorrow I'm off again and I'm going to have to take a 4-hour online driving course so my insurance doesn't go up because of my ticket. I'm super not-excited. Today's good mood can only go so far.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Playing Catchup

It seems like it's all I ever do. I'm sure other people agree.

Turns out I had a memory glitch when I wrote my last post on Saturday. I DID have to work on Sunday. Almost all day, actually. And I had to wake up earlier than usual to go to early church in order to make it to work at noon. All in all, not a very relaxing weekend. The Hallmark store was VERY busy both days, or at least it seemed that way because there were only two of us scheduled. I actually prefer when things are busy since time seems to go by faster, but it does wear you out.

I did manage to put together one scrapbook page last night while Adam was scrambling to finish his homework, but it's sitting on a pile with a couple more pages that still have to be glued up. So I did celebrate National Scrapbook Day/Weekend in my own tiny way. And I finally edited the pics of some pages I made up last weekend. They're still not perfect, but I'm OK with that.

This first one goes along with my post a few days ago about running. I had Adam snap some pictures after a run last week. I'm modeling the running capris that I bought at an honest to goodness running store. I was a little shocked that the sky didn't fall when I went in there, and even more shocked when the owner took me completely seriously when I explained that I was just starting running and didn't want shorts because "chub rub" is annoying and painful. I do hope that someday in the not too distant future I'll be able to purchase and use a pair of running shorts.It's just too damn hot here in Florida.

This page is way overdue. I snapped these pictures the first time Apollo came to our house to play with Skeletor (umm...almost 2 months ago?). He is A LOT bigger now. I took another picture a while ago of Logan holding Apollo again and you can really tell the difference. It's about time for another pic I think. Once he's full grown I'll have to try to make a growth chart page.

Finally, this is 10 Random Things About Skeletor. I made Adam and Mary versions in January (they were some of my last pages before we moved) and I've had a list made up for Skeletor since then just waiting. For some reason, this one took A LONG time, and I'm not super thrilled with the outcome, but I'm glad that it's done. I cut the numbers with my Slice.

Not much exciting planned for the day. I need to get in my run, but the weather may or may not cooperate. There's severe weather north of us, so we've got flood and tornado watches. So far it hasn't rained here, but I'm not holding my breath. Sigh. Maybe I'll go to base and run on a treadmill? I don't know.

Also, we're extremely broke already, and it's only the 4th. Sweet.

But I don't want to end on a bad note. We're fine. My fridge had gotten so sad and empty toward the end of the month and now it's awesomely full after a trip to the commissary yesterday. I'm going to go rummage around for some lunch. That'll cheer me up.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

National Scrapbook Day!

It has been too long since I posted. Lots of stuff going on, and doing pretty OK keeping up the running training.

I don't have a lot of time to post (or do much of anything else) today. I'm about to head to base with Adam to get in today's run and then do a major kitchen re-stocking at the Commissary. Then I'll be home for lunch and have to get ready to work 4-9:30. So even though it's National Scrapbook Day, I probably won't have time to even think about scrapbooking. Well, maybe I'll have time to think. Work usually gets pretty dead in the last couple of hours. Hopefully, I'll be able to make up scrapbooking time tomorrow. I've got no big plans and Adam has a lot of school work for his online grad class to catch up on so I can have a lot of me time. I probably SHOULD wash the car, but there's time for that in the coming week.

I'll also try to edit some page photos I've got piled up to get them posted in honor of NSD.