Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Weekend

This weekend went by in the blink of an eye!  Saturday we went to the outlet mall.  We hit Under Armour first, as usual.   We got some good deals.  My husband got more than I did, but it's always hit or miss for one of us.   

Sunday we went to my husband's mom's house.  We did Easter with my family last weekend because that's when my brother had his son.   (every other weekend )  But we started Sunday morning by getting up in time to run 5 miles.  Like we set an alarm so we'd get up in time to get this done and be at my mother in law's house by 11 am.  Who are we?!?!  Like seriously!  We set an alarm to go run.  A few years ago I'd have laughed my butt off if someone told me we'd do this.  In recent years this is something I would do. . . but now my husband is joining me.  It's just amazing how much we've changed. 

Again, in order to run "together" I speed up and my husband slows down.  The previous 2 weekends, we've been at 10:40, so this was just a tad slower.  It was just so fun though!  We took a cute selfie afterwards. 

I love the spring flowers :) 

So we went to our Easter gathering.  A fried of the family comes every year and she works at Walgreens.  She gave our great-nephew a kite that she got on clearance for $0.19!  It was a big hit and he was a pro kite flyer!  He looks tall in this pic, but I believe he's about 7 years old. I  think he turns 8 in July.  I'm not sure.  . . I can't keep up with the ages of all the kids. 

I love that you can see that the kite is a turtle in this pic.  Turtle Power!!!

After that we took my car to a mechanic friend to be worked on today.  I won't get it back till tomorrow though.  I had three lights coming on randomly. . . check engine, vehicle stability control and the traction light. . . a weird combo, but the point to the O2 sensors, so both are going to be replaced tomorrow. 

I did better with eating this weekend.  Last Sunday I was at my low for the year and the next day - bam! 2 pounds up!  What?!  Last weekend was that time of the month so I had that against me.  It took me all week to get those pounds to budge. 

Here I am today.  Last Sunday I was 184.2.  So pretty much a wash.  I'd like to see the 170's sometime soon, but I know I"m not being strict enough on my eating.  And yes that is Bachelor Ben in that photo.  I had the People magazine in my bathroom! :) 

Last but not least - I got a cat trap in the mail and I caught my cat!!!

Ha ha.  Mr Blue is a sucker for a box.  Put one on the ground and time him. . . he's in that sucker within 30 seconds flat!  

Have a great week!

Friday, March 25, 2016


I'm really struggling with the acts of terrorism that took place in Brussels Belgium this week.  It hit really close to home for me.  In some ways this has hit me even more than 9/11 here in the US.  I've spent a lot of time in Belgium.  In 2001 I accepted a job in Belgium.  I'd like to say it worked out well, but it was suppose to be a year long job and I came home after 2 months.  It wasn't the right time in my life for me to handle such the culture shock that I experienced.  Living alone. . . in a small town, so the language barrier was huge. . . I had a friend from college that had been there for year but it was the opposite of helpful ("I had to figure it out, you can to").  He was the connection that got me the job but unfortunately he wasn't much of a friend when I was there.  In the end I came home 7 days before the 9/11 attacks on NY.   Sometimes I think I'd have stayed longer if I hadn't made it home before those attacks.  I'd have been scared to fly I'm sure!

While my American friend sucked, I did make some friends while I was there.  One those friends was Lieve.  We are still friends.   I visited her in 2006 when a friend and I flew to Germany for a horse inspection.  We stopped in Belgium first.  My husband (then fiance) and I went to Lieve's wedding (to David) in the fall of 2010.  They came to our wedding in April 2011.  We met them in Vegas in Aug 2013.  I (alone) visited them last year when I was in London for work. I met my goddaughter for the first time!   That just so happens to be a year ago this week.  I left for London on March 21st last year.   I have no idea what I'd think/do if this attack had happened while I was there.  First of all I flew out of the Brussels airport. I wonder how I'd even get home if I were there right now?   I've been in that airport many times as you can see.  The first was when I flew to Belgium for an interview for that job I mentioned above.  I left the states on Thursday and returned on Sunday for a Friday interview.  Talk about jet lag! My first time ever to fly across the pond and what a quick trip that was!

My friends live about an hour from Brussels.   Belgium is a very small country but a very divided country.  Hugely divided based on language - Dutch/Flemish in the North and French in the South.   They are safe.  Lieve's cousin works at the airport but she was late to work the day of the attacks.  I keep thinking "I was there".  I was there in that departure hall many times, checking in to fly home.  I think that's why it hits me a bit more then 9/11 did.  

Another reason it's been weighing heavily on my mind is that there is a large chance my work will want to send me to London again this summer/fall.   Timing is always a question.  This time for 2 weeks instead of 1.  And I would want to go visit my friends, just like I did last year.  Last year I took the train from London to Brussels.  I'm already pondering if I have the guts to go this year.  Not necessarily to be in Belgium, but to fly out of Brussels.  Everyone is a sitting duck in terms of terrorism.  You never know what will happen.  Belgium is really a hot spot for the Islamic terrorists right now.  I've read a few articles (bad idea!).   And honestly part of me wonders if I should even go to London.  Not sure I'd have a choice.  Flying scares me (post 9/11).  I don't really worry about the plane malfunctioning, I worry about it exploding over the ocean.  

My heart is so heavy for Belgium right now.  For the airport that is destroyed and not open yet.  For the families and loved ones of those killed.  I imagine we should be thankful the death toll was relatively low. My heart is heavy for the whole world because these terrorist are gaining speed and this isn't going to end any time soon.  I'm just sad.   

But to lighten things up I will share a few photos from my time in Belgium.  When I lived there I didn't have a digital camera, so everything is print and I haven't scanned anything in.   So none of these are from that time unfortunately. 

I don't have any personal pics from Brussels.  I toured the city when I lived there(my printed photos are stashed somewhere) and haven't toured it in any capacity since then.  Just visited the airport.  However, in 2010, 2 friends from college came to visit me and my American friend that were in Belgium.  We toured Brussels and we searched high and low for Manneken Pis.  I call him the little peeing boy.  He's a tiny little statue and they dress him up sometimes.  We walked in circles for a long time looking for him.  It's easy to walk in circles in Europe where the blocks aren't square.  I'm sure we passed him several times not having any clue how really tiny he was.  I stole this photo from facebook cause I laughed out loud when I saw it.  You don't have to know Dutch to read this!

Me in Antwerp in 2010

Antwerp 2010

Belgium claims they invented the French Fry.  And they have "Frituur" stands and shops everywhere.  You eat fries with mayonnaise and it's fantastic!

Brugge 2010

Brugge 2010

Brugge is one of my favorite cities in Belgium.  Some call it the Venice of the North.  While we were there in 2010 we took a boat ride through the canals.  I took this photo of a dog in the window.  A few weeks after we returned home I was watching TV and I believe fast forwarding through the commercials when what do I see?  This SAME dog.  I rewound it.  I called my husband into the room to see. . . it was a Godiva chocolate commercial.  I've never been able to find it online.  But I saw the commercial several times.  I appeared to be filmed in Brugge and sure enough - same dog, same window. I got the biggest kick out of it. 

You can't share photos of Belgium without a chocolate photo!
While were there in 2010 we went to an amusement park in the Netherlands called the Efteling. While not in Belgium, this is one of the only photos I have of all four of us.  L-R: David, Lieve, me, my husband. 

The most recent photo is from last year. . . we went to Keukenhof in the Netherlands. . . a tulip park.  And this is me and my adorable goddaughter, Kato.  

Again, my heart is just so heavy right now.  I really hope the powers that need to come together and put a halt to the terrorism.  Surely we have enough smart people in the intelligence industry to spy on these people and figure out their plans.  We need to do something.  I've been reading about the open borders in the European Union and the problems Belgium has with border control.  Maybe the borders need to be closed.   That sounds drastic, but you have to protect yourself and your country.  We have to make it harder for the terrorist to move about in Europe.  

There's not much more to say I suppose. . . thanks for listening.

Monday, March 21, 2016

This and that. . . and a new phone

This past weekend was busy.  I almost felt like I didn't have a weekend.

Friday night we upgraded phones.  I'm not sure I said much on the blog, but we upgraded in November and took all three phones back.  I have 3 lines on my account: myself, my husband and my mom.  We are android peeps and I cracked my screen sometime last fall.  We upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S6 in November.  The battery life was horrid and after much stress and drama, we returned them.   I felt horrible.  I'm basically in charge of all phone decisions and maybe I overthink it.  I'm a technical person (if I never said, I do software development) and I read lots of reviews.  But ultimately Samsung bombed the S6 for various reasons, including the crappy battery and the lack of an SD card.   This past Monday my husband cracked his phone and unlike mine, he was not usable at all.  So off we went to Target on Friday night.  After 2+ hours of craziness (computer systems were down, the promotions didn't work), we walked out with three Samsung Galaxy S7's and my promise to everyone to keep these phones.  The good news is we are all happy.   I also walked out with three of these: 

The promotion for the phones was a free Gear VR and a $100 Target gift card.   The gift card offset the cost of the phones, but this VR (virtual reality) thing. . . well it's not my thing.  They sell these for $100 at Target.  So I posted on on Craigslist to see if it sells. . . so far nothing. . . . . 

On Saturday I ran some errands.  We were having Easter with my family early, on Sunday this weekend.  So I decided to the errands on Sunday.  I hit up Walmart and I found this Blender Bottle. 

I won't say how many Blender Bottles I have . . . but this color was too hard to resist.

I saw this fun M&M treat on Facebook that I wanted to try.   I got the supplies to make them for our Easter gathering.  They turned out really well and were a big hit, but I burned pretzels in the process. I didn't know microwaving them for just under a minute would burn them.  Yikes!

My 5 year old nephew loved them so much . . . he told me he was going to eat them all!

Sunday morning was the first day of spring as you know.  There was snow in the area. . . and I love snow. . . and I didn't see a flake.  Totally bummed.  It was misty raining here and cold. . .  hubby and I went for another run together. But I ran on Saturday too.  My legs were tired. I agreed to 3 miles and we drove to town to change up the scenery.  I didn't map out a route but  I thought I knew approximately where to run to get 3 miles in without lapping around the park at the end.    It turned out to be exactly 4 miles. . .  I didn't want to do 4 miles, but I hung on and we finished with a pace around 10:41 just like last week.  

I took a selfie with my new phone.  The front camera is a wider angle than my old phone.  I love it!

I just can't believe how well my hubby is doing with running.  I'm so proud of him. 

Sunday morning I weighed in at my lowest weight this year!  Of course 24 hours later I gained 2 lbs.  I never understand how that happens. . . but I was excited to see this just once.  I'll see it again!

That's all I got for now.  Our Easter gathering was fun, if a bit windy and chilly.  It's Monday evening now and this Monday has lived up to it's name.  It's time to chill with my kitties!  Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A fun 4 mile run!!!

The *only* time I've really ran with someone and we purposefully ran together and stayed together for the whole race (with limited walking at water stops and such) was during the KY Derby Half Marathon in 2014.  It was my very first half and I ran it with a friend.  We had never ever ran together before so I had no idea what to expect.  But we stayed together and finished together and it was fun.

So yesterday morning (Saturday) it was kind of sort of misty outside, but it was a cooler temperature and overcast - perfect running weather.   I didn't *want* to run as I had done a brief 2 miles on Friday after lunch and I was just tired.  I thought about taking the day off.  My husband was talking some nonsense about going to the gym.  What?!  He's a new runner and I think he hasn't quite figured out what *good* running weather is.  I said if you run here at home, I'll run with you.  Can we stick together?   My husband runs a pace around 10:00 - 10:15 I would say, but I also think he's still finding his pace as he's only been running consistently since January.   My current pace seems to be around 11:15, maybe 11:00 if I'm having a good run.  Could we meet in the middle?  And if so for how long?  I told my husband that it's good for him to do a run at an easy pace once and a while.

So off we went and I didn't want to run any mile (or much of any distance) faster than 10:30 cause I knew I couldn't hold it long.  We planned 4 miles and so I needed to find a rhythm and stay there.  The first mile was easy.  The second wasn't all that bad either.  I thought "if we can make it to the halfway point and still be together I'll be impressed".   We turned around at mile 2.  I hadn't eaten anything that morning but I had a pack of Gu with me.  I didn't take it and that was a bit of a mistake. I did take it around 2.5 and that was a bit late.  I was starting to struggle and when mile 3 hit I was pondering walking and let my husband run off a head of me.  But I pushed through.  At 3.5 we turned the corner to home and I was groaning.  My husband told me I could do this!  I stayed strong and we finished 4 miles together!

They say the best way to increase your pace is to run with someone faster than you. :)   It sure does help.  I told my husband I'd like to do it again on a regular basis, provided this wasn't a fluke.   Next time I won't run 2 miles the day before.

We got home right as fedex was delivering my Advocare order.  I truly believe that Advocare has really improved our health and our life.  My husband is the smallest he's been since I've known him and probably the smallest he's been in his adult life.   I love the products so much!

Notice our matching headbands?   We got them last weekend when we were in Springfield at Scheel's.  They are Junk brand headbands.  Technically both are unisex.  But mine is stretchy and his ties in the back.  My husband sweats buckets easily so I think he's learned that headbands are amazing for keeping sweat out of your eyes.

So 10:41 pace!  That's pretty good for me for 4 miles.  I was running well last summer before I got sick and I hope to get back to that again.  It was fun to run with someone else the *entire* time.  However, I can't talk and run.  They say you should be able to but there's just no way.  No matter how slow I run, my breathing sucks and I sound like I'm in respiratory distress.   I can never hold a conversation.  Just not possible.  I think it would be fun to run and chat, but right now I'll just take running with someone else.  It made the time fly by!

I was in a workweek hustle this week and I kicked some butt!  I'm really not sure how because I have a desk job and it takes effort to reach 10k steps a day.   So I'm really not sure how I slammed this one, but I did. Yet another reason I was tired yesterday and wanted to have a day off.  Maybe today will be that day.  It's hard for me to convince myself to take a rest day.  Especially on a weekend.  It's different if I've been at work all day.

 I can't stop taking photos of Doughnut the barn kitty.  She's so pretty but she's not all that nice. She's a typical female that only likes you when she wants to like you.  She purrs so loudly but then will just randomly squeal and bite you.  I guess I should be glad she's not super friendly cause I'd be cuddling her all the time and I wouldn't get anything done at the barn. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Small random things. . .

I'm still struggling with food. I'm embarrassed to admit this.  I don't know why I can't ditch the sugar.  Last year was much easier and this year I'm just sucking at it.  I know as Spring arrives and then turns to Summer, that this struggle will only be magnified.  

We went out of town this weekend.  We drove about 1.5 hours north to Springfield IL.  We went for an overnight just to get away.  The IL Horse Fair was going on at the state fairgrounds.   So that was one thing on the to-do list.  I bought these girl scout cookies there,  Did I mention I was struggling?   We don't have this lemon option in my area and I love lemon!

Then we hit up an amazing store called Scheel's.  It's a 2 story store with a Ferris Wheel in the middle!

I call this store a cross between Cabela's and Sport Authority.   It has much more hunting stuff than Sports Authority and more clothing than both stores.  It seems like they have every workout brand there is.  They also have jeans, a sports section with many many teams, a home decor section, a cafe that also sells fudge and ice cream. . . some games kids can play.  The place is amazing.  We always look for sales.  My hubby found an Under Armour shirt marked down from $80 to $25.  Then when we left to meet friends for dinner we reviewed the receipt as we spent $147 and the chick didn't charge us for his shirt!  Ooops!

So last week another horse ate the bottom of Eli's tail.

See the long strands?  They all use to be that long.  This photo is a bad angle, but I guesstimate about 6" of hair is gone. :(  I wanted to cry.  I was under too much stress to deal with this and worry that one day I'd arrive at the barn to find even more tail missing.  I've been putting MTG on the ends because I was told it would deter the culprit from eating more at it tastes bad.  I don't know about the taste, but I hate the smell!  So far it's working.  Thank goodness.  I did buy a tail bag while we were at the horse fair, but I really prefer not to use it.

Last week was really rough in terms of some major fighting between my hubby and I.  One night I was in the bedroom watching TV and staying away from him.  My kitty, Mr Blue, snuggled me and tried to make me feel better.  I love kitty snuggles!

In my effort to get back on track, last night's dinner was breakfast!  Hole in one eggs in Ezekiel bread and turkey bacon.  I'm trying. . . not succeeding often, but trying.  After dinner I stuff my freaking face with all kinds of sweets.  It's like I have no control.   I'm determined to work on that.  Maybe I will start posting weekly weigh ins again.  Cause I've got to find ways to have success and maybe that will motivate me.

Last week during the days of fighting with my husband I backed into our barn.  Lots of red paint and a dent.  Nice huh? It's all his fault.  He made a stupid choice last week and when I noticed some mud all over his truck I decided to check out the rest of the truck and bam!  Backed right into the barn.  So I blame it on him.  He did get the paint off and popped out most of it out. But still. .  . I hate denting my car :(

That's all I have for now.  I wish I had more to say and was more positive, but it's been a rough time and I think the stress is affecting my eating choices.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Struggling. . .

I find myself struggling with life right now.  As a results of the stress and emotions I am struggling with my food choices.   Friday was out of control stupid.  I just ate everything I saw.  I felt horrible and sluggish.  It's really eye opening when you realize how your food choices make you feel.  But ultimately that didn't stop me from shoving crap in my face.

My sweet tooth is crazy strong.  My Dad loves sweets too.  I blame him as I clearly inherited his sweet tooth.  My boss and coworker were in Switzerland last week and brought me back some chocolate. I  really wanted a hollow bunny, but it died on the way home. :(  (tastes the same though I suppose!)

It's also Easter time. . . the time Baby Binks come out to play.  These are usually sold for $1 and they are my weakness.  I adore hollow chocolate.  I love the candy bunny eyes.  These are a smaller size (till too much, but smaller) and I am addicted.  Did I tell you I was struggling?

I was working on a fitbit streak. How many days in a row could I reach my 10K step goal.  I answered that yesterday.  33 days.

You can see I did not reach goal yesterday (Monday).   That was day 34.  Bummer :( I had a Dr appt after work.  It my yearly woman Dr appt and quite frankly I just drove home after that and I didn't work out.   Streak over.

So I try hard not to talk about my relationship issues. I can't decide what I should or should not share.  But I guess the thing is, FB is a highlight reel of life.  Everything has to be happy and positive.  I don't necessarily want my blog to be that way.  But how much is too much?  I haven't figured that out.  I blog not necessarily because I think my life is interesting and everyone wants to know about it.  But more because it's almost therapy, like a journal.  I put it "out there" and get it off my chest.  Who reads it?  I don't know.  And that's the magic I think. 

Anyways, before I met my husband he was married for 4 (?) years.  He was a lot larger (I believe almost 300 lbs).  He lost weight (65 lbs I think) before I met him.  So I've only seen pics of him at his largest.  He's joined me on my healthy journey and is currently checking in around 205-208 he tells me.  He's the smallest I've ever seen him.   But before I met him, he chewed tobacco.  He quit before he met me.  I think during the time he lost weight.  But I've busted him for chewing.  I can't remember the first time. I feel like it was in the fall and so potentially fall of 2014. . . maybe fall of 2013.  I don't know.  But I found a can of chew in our kitchen cabinet (hidden) last fall.  I called him on it.  I was *not* happy.  I don't like chewing.  I want nothing to do with it and I don't want him to do it.  That it was just another one his lies really threw me over the edge.  It's a whole other story but I really think he's a compulsive liar.  So . . . last night as I was coming home I stopped at the mail box (remember I live in the country and our box is at the end of our driveway).   I opened - no mail.  But what was in the back of the box?  A can of chew.  His brand.  His flavor.  He says it's not his.  I have no logical explanation for why it's not his.  But I have no explanation for why someone else would put it in our box.   It's not a logical hiding place for him.  But . . . people do weird things to mailboxes in the country.  I mean other than smashing them.   My crazy neighbor (yes he's bat shit crazy) had his box stuffed with shitty diapers.  But you know. . . I get it . .  it's cause he's nuts and someone hates him!  A can of chew?  That stuff isn't cheap.  Who would just throw it in our box?   That would be a waste of money.  But why would my husband hide it in the box?   I went for a drive after asking him about this.  I needed space.   I believe it's his no matter what he says.  My mom doesn't know - she also doesn't get why it would be in the mail box.   But I will tell you this. . . I wanted a soda!!!!  I wanted it bad.  A fountain soda.  My drug of choice.  This kind of stress isn't helping me.  I didn't get the soda.  But maybe I should have.  I just came home and ate chocolate.  But I've already fallen into the slippery slope of sweets.  I don't need to fall of the "no soda" bandwagon too. I've got to get myself together.  Any tips and advice for finding my willpower again is greatly appreciated.