Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One more week!

So I am almost done with the Couch to 5k program! Today I did week 8 day 3, which was walk 5 minutes, run 28 minutes, walk 5 minutes. I ran a little over 2.3 miles in 28 minutes. This from a person who never ran in her life, not in high school or ever after. 5 months ago I was running in downtown Seattle, through the Olympic Sculpture Park, and I was exhausted after running for 1 minute. 2 months ago it got so nice out I switched from running on a treadmill in my apartment complex's gym to running on the trail behind us, and the first time I did it I had to drop back 2 weeks in the program because I couldn't run more than 3 minutes outside.

Now I have one more week of the program and then I run an actual 5k! I am nervous and excited and most of all so happy with my progress I could burst into song. When I am tired and out of breath while running I say to myself, where will I be if I keep running for another month? Another 6 months? What can I do if I keep running for a year?

The trail I have to run on is fantastic. It's about a 3 minute walk from my door through the back of the apartment complex to reach the trail entrance, and it's a soft asphalt trail the runs along a nature preserve, separated from the woods by a wooden fence, with bushes and small trees screening the other side from houses and condos. It's shady and cool and winds past a meadow full of flowers and a small lake where ducks live, past blackberry bushes, under huge northwestern pines. It's well maintained, I've spoken to the man who keeps it clean and swept, and the people here love to use it. I pass people walking their dogs and children, people biking, people strolling, and other runners. I wave to them with the hand that isn't holding my phone and most wave and smile back.

Running is hard work, the last 5 or so minutes especially. I run at a pace that feels comfortable for me throughout the run, usually about 4.8-5 mph, or a 12.5-12 minute mile. In the last 2 minutes of the run I push harder, I go faster, at the pace my long legs want to go but I can't sustain for long yet, and it feels like flying. I fly through the woods under the trees, through the sun-dappled shade, and it is simultaneously relaxing and invigorating, my mind is calm while my body works.

Then I get home and tell Ben that I ran, and every day he is excited and proud and cheers me on, he has never failed to be incredibly supportive, and it means so much! Every one I tell is supportive and excited and happy for me, thank you all so much!

Kitten Friend

I love watching Ben and the Kitten interact, it's so adorable. Yesterday when Ben got home from work he was very tired and went to take a nap, and Kitten was curled up under the blanket next to him. She stayed there for a while, but after about an hour she came out to see if I was doing anything interesting without her. When I went to wake him for dinner, he asked if he still had a kitten friend before moving his legs around. So cute! My little family.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Goodbye to Milly, last of my parents' cat herd

This morning my parents' cat Milly passed away. She was very old, we think at least 17, and we knew she was on her way out for a while now. She wasn't in any pain and went to sleep and just drifted away, which is the best possible thing to wish for. She lived a good and long life and loved and was loved.

She showed up at our back door when I was about 12 or 13, just skin and bones and purrs. She looked to be just over a year or so old at that point. She never meowed, she said something I can only transliterate as "nyeng," and she said it so softly you couldn't hear her through the glass door, just see her mouth move. We had a cat inside already, Trouble, but my parents can never resist feeding hungry creatures. She was so friendly and obviously used to people that I think someone abandoned her in the woods behind my house, but I have never seen a cat that was a worse hunter. I named her Milly because she looked like one, and because the word Milly looked like her, with the points of the "M" her ears and the "y" her tail. My dad made her a nest on the porch and she was our outside cat for a while until one day we saw that she was leaving a trail of blood. We grabbed her and took her to the vet, and as he palpitated her stomach a dead kitten slipped out of her. I grabbed my little sister and pulled her out of the room, knowing we didn't need to see any more then. The vet said that the kittens died because she was so thin she couldn't support them. She was spayed and got all of her shots and when we brought her home, she was an inside cat.

She and Trouble (was the least amount of trouble of any cat I've known) got along fantastically, though Milly was one of the dumbest cats I've ever seen. Very sweet, but dumb as a rock. She used to get her head stuck in the kitchen chairs, and would jump up on the table onto papers and go sliding across and boom! fall right onto the floor. She loved people food, and would climb up your body for a chicken cheesesteak.

She gained weight for a few years until my older sister moved back home and brought her two cats, Frenzy and Sunshine (the Kitten), with her. Kitten and Milly took one look at each other and a lifetime feud was born. The torn part of Kitten's ear is from fighting with her, and she got Milly back too. Frenzy would defend Kitten and they'd wage very loud wars throughout the house, which were dangerous to interrupt. That's one of the reasons I took Kitten to live with me, mostly because she was such my cat but also because ever after years living together they never got along.

Milly started as kind of my mom's cat, I think, but for the last few years she's been attached to my dad. He has that quality which makes him irresistible to children and animals, he just seems to exude safety and peace. The pic above is her helping him on the computer, as you can see she's very helpful.

Frenzy passed away a few years ago, and now with Milly gone I'm not sure what my parents will do. They have an outside cat, a very friendly marmalade they call Cliffy, but he seems so happy outside I'm not sure they'll bring him in. It does seem hard for them to be without any little furry things around, though.

Some more pics I found when looking for the ones of Mookie. Her sleeping in a box

Trouble being a roundcat

Kitten in a sink
My sister's mini dachshund Toast with pink ribbons on her ears
Frenzy and my dad. He was sitting there and she just climbed up him until she found the spot where she wanted to be. She looks so sweet and innocent here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's December, somehow

So Ben and I are celebrating Christmas 3 times this year, once last weekend with his family, on Dec. 26th with my family, and by ourselves when we get home after that trip to NJ. We went up to see his family for Christmas and Thanksgiving, and I got him, modestly speaking, the coolest gift ever.

These are dice modeled on the Deathly Hallows symbol from Harry Potter printed on a 3D printer in bronze. How much more awesome could fit into a sentence?! They're from Shapeways, which is a fantastic site where you can upload 3D models of things and choose a material to have them printed in, or use other people's models.

They are probably not actually usable in a game, I didn't see the model creator say anything about trying to make them actually balanced, but the numbers are distributed correctly and they have a very satisfying *thunk* when you roll them. They're heavy and feel solid in your hand, too.

It was a good thing we decided to give each other gifts at each Christmas this year instead of waiting, I could barely stand to wait this long to give them to him, and he loves them!

The rest of our trip to NE was good, saw his family and friends and all. We went over to Iowa for Thanksgiving and saw most of his cousins and their kids, it was a good trip. For Christmas his parents gave me very warm slippers and a kit to knit a really pretty purse. And we managed to fit everything in our suitcases, yay! It was cold enough to wear my knitted sweater a few times and it got lots of compliments, it's very warm and cozy!

I saw these adorable knitting bags on Etsy and added them to my Christmas list and waited like 10 minutes, but no one bought them for me and I was afraid they'd be sold to someone else and there was only one of each and so I bought myself an early Christmas present :) How insanely cute are these?!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011


Last weekend Ben and I went on a cruise for a friend's wedding and it was awesome! We're really excited for them and hope they'll be as happy as we are!

The cruise was from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico and back. We tried to take a picture with Miami in the background, but the window was all reflective and blurry. Oh well!

It took 4 tries to get a pic where neither of us was blinking and my eyebrows weren't doing that thing they do in 75% of pictures of me! But all I have to do to like my smile in pictures is think about how happy I am to be next to my husband, and it works :)

We ended up waiting a little long to book the cruise, we wanted to make sure we weren't going to get laid off before it, so by the time we did all they had left were rooms with balconies. Darn! :) It was really surprisingly inexpensive, I guess because it was kinda late in the season, and we loved it. This is the room with a towel creature I maintain is a sloth, because look at its face! But Ben thinks is a seal or something silly like that :)
The bride was gorgeous!
I wore the same shoes I wore to our wedding, which are these awesome shoes that have a wooden base so they're very sturdy and contoured to the shape of your feet, good arch support, and come with different ribbons you can use to hold them on. I wore them with mint green satin ribbons when I got married, black ribbons to the wedding, and stripy blue ones to the reception. Love them!
We spent most of the first day at sea at the reception and hanging out with everyone. It was cool in that unlike a regular wedding we actually had a lot of time to hang out with the bride and groom, which was nice.

The second day we docked in Cozumel. We actually didn't spend any time there, we went on a excursion to the Yucatan. We took a boat to Playa del Carmen, which like a lot of Mexico alternates gorgeous architecture
right next to empty lots full of rubble. (The rubble was less photogenic.) Also the thing that makes me most aware I'm not in America is when the names of stores lining the street are not in English! It's strange to me for there to be words I can't read!

From Playa del Carmen we took a bus to the Mayan ruins of Tuluum, which was at its height in the 1200-1500s. The tour guide told us Cortez landed there first, and got bored and wandered off when he saw the Mayans didn't have any gold. He went and wintered in Cuba and came back the next year farther south, and found the Aztecs and their small amounts of gold.

Tuluum was gorgeous though! I can't help but love any place with this many palm trees :)
This was their astronomical observatory.
All of their buildings were oriented north-south, with north as defined by Polaris, not magnetic north. Several of the buildings had small holes where the sun would shine through only at solstices or equinoxes.

There were iguanas everywhere, they were like squirrels there!
We even saw some doing push-ups just like the little lizards here, to show off how strong they are! Lizard ladies love that.
The tour guide said that when the ruins were rediscovered in the 1800s, they were easy to excavate because unlike Pompeii, they weren't buried underground, they were just covered in jungle.
You can just see the water through the trees here.
After the tour we had an hour or two to spend there, and it was my favorite part of the trip.
The water was gorgeous and felt just cool after walking around in the sun.
I floated in the water next to my husband, both of us borne up and down as the waves rolled by, and the world was perfect.
After the water, we walked back and had lunch in a little tourist trap place the guide had recommended as clean, quick and good. Chicken and cheese quesadillas with a bright salsa and slices of avocado, rice and beans with salty tortilla chips, perfect after being in the sun for a while. Mexican is perfect summer food.

Unfortunately we had to leave that gorgeous water behind and go back to the boat. I think we ended up sleeping the rest of that day, ha.

We saw some other ships go by and watched birds chase flying fish through the wake.

This is one of my new favorite pics of Ben, he looks so relaxed and content.
This bathing suit cover is my souvenir from the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
The bride and groom decided that they wanted to have a formal water slide event, she wore one of the 4 (!) dresses she brought and the dress code for the gentlemen was ties and swim trunks. It was so funny!
It's hard to water slide gracefully though!
It was a fantastic weekend! We've had a very busy summer this year, though, and it's nice to be home and relax with this creature who thinks she's sneaky.