Monday, January 21, 2013

A Day in the Life of Ollie

I know these "day in the life" posts used to be clever and unique approximately 5 years ago, so bear with me as I catch up to "cool."  Due to MLK day today, I get to spend a 3rd consecutive day with my little pug and I couldn't be happier.  I've also gotten her schedule memorized so I thought I'd share it with you.

7:30  Wake up.  Massive face itch/eye booger exchange on my blankets.  Prancing around my bed like a bunny or deer hops while I check twitter.  When I am finally awake enough, pug gets put down on the floor (my bed is super high, so she's too chicken to jump off.  I'm thankful for this.)

7:45  Pug freaks out about STARVING.  Clearly she has never eaten before in her life.  Insert whining, weird yipping, and really really fast spinning in a circle as I try to make my way to the kitchen.  If I should happen to use the bathroom instead of heading straight for the kitchen, I get a pug jumping up in my lap while I er.. go.  Kitchen it is.

7:50  Inhale 1/2 cup of ridiculous expensive, grain free crap free, better food than I eat.  (Pugs have a ton of allergies and issues with their digestive systems, so only the best for OLL$E.)

7:51 Check around bowl for any scraps.  Sniff out any crumbs that may be hiding on the kitchen floor.

7:52  Bathroom break.  If it's cold and mom is taking you out, decide not to go 90% of the time.  Wait until mom's fingers and toes have turned yellow due to raynaud's and then start shivering to come inside.

8:00 Watch mom get ready for work.

8-8:45 Assume position on the couch.  Wait for mom to add all blankets and pillows to the couch for a truly delightful all-day lounging experience.  Give mom a kiss for her efforts.  Watch her until she departs.

8:45-6:15  Nap


10:15/noon/2:15  Kyle will usually come home on one of his breaks to let her out.

If in the 90% window of no potty break before work, chances are someone will leave a present in the hallway.  "But mom!  It's not cold and snowy in the hallway!  It's nice and fluffy!"

6:15  Key in the lock, Ollie jumps to attention and readies herself for freak out mode.  MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM'S HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME!

6:15:30  Weird spinning, yipping, lots of licking, awkward pug butt-low-to-the-ground running while I attempt to put her harness on.

6:16   Potty break.  Lots of sniffing.  Wants to play with ALL OF THE DOGS BECAUSE THEY'RE SO LOVELY!


6:31  Sniffing everywhere for food that may have spilled.

6:33  Settle back on the couch for more lounging.

6:30-10pm Variations

If I have class, she likes to sit on my lap on a pillow and get her edumacationz on.  Ollie the Pugbrarian.  If no class, couch sitting positions may include, by my feet, on my feet, on my stomach, on my back/shoulder, over/on my head.

10pm  Bedtime.  Wake Ollie up.  Carry her or she follows me to the bedroom (if she's not super duper sleepy from her 4 hour nap).  Put her on the bed in her spot, cover her up, stick feet next to her warm little pug buddy since they still haven't warmed up from any of her potty breaks because my circulation blows.

10:00-10:15  Pre-bedtime itching/licking aka bathtime.

10:15pm-7am  Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeping.  As long as she's tucked in under the covers she doesn't snore, and then she gets to sleep with me.  Otherwise she gets the boot.  Poor pug.

Friday, January 18, 2013

One 2013 Goal Done

No sooner then I had drafted my 2013 goal blog post, and scheduled its publish date, did I receive a phone call with the potential to cross one of the goals off of my list:

  • Nab my dream job.  Or one that will lead to my dream job.  I love my job as a library assistant at an academic library, but my passion is within the public library, working with children.

Without setting out to do so, I received a phone call asking if I'd like to be considered for a position I had interviewed for, and heartbreakingly was not offered, last February.  And with six short looooooooooong days of worrying, obsessing, willing the phone to ring, I received the offer.

Cue franatic freak out.

I accepted the position, and today is my last day at my current job.  I never thought I'd want to work in an academic library, but I was willing to try my alma mater to see if academia would change my mind.   I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, particularly helping students with research (I mega puffy heart love research) and interacting with college kids.  But I know that my passion lies in helping the greater public, and eventually, hopefully children and youth.

So goodbye Augustana College, and hello public library world. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gym Rant

In my "fallen off the running bandwagon" phase, I have also lost a bit of my tough ass runner girl schtick as well.  Meaning that when it's below zero temps and/or wind chill, I will be a-runnin' on the treadmill.  Luckily I'm not running *that* many miles yet, so the treadmill won't kill me.  And I am alternating with outdoor running when the temps/road conditions allow.  I am also lucky in that my apartment has a small gym with a couple of treadmills, a stationary bike, an elliptical and a small little weight set.

I'm also lucky that there is rarely anyone in there, so I can crack open the window to let in the freezing air.  Ahhhhhhhh.

But one night I wasn't so lucky.  Shortly after the new year, I was running away on the "good" treadmill (every small gym has this.... a treadmill that is awesome, and a treadmill that just blows) when a teeny tiny barely clad in workout clothes gal came in and hopped on the treadmill next to me.

Let me point out, that I am hardly the person to be silently snickering about someone's workout habits.  I have a total cheerleader approach to working out no matter what it is you enjoy doing, how you do it, what you look like while doing it, etc.  But... BUT.... BUT!!! this girl drove me up a wall.

It started out innocently enough.  She started the treadmill, bringing the pace to a speed faster than mine.  I was running a 3 mile recovery run the day after my first speed session in eons, so I was running SLOW.  I resisted the urge to race her like a good runner girl.  Also?  If I had tried my legs wouldn't have allowed me too.  This information, not annoying.

Moving on.

The gym set up is as follows, left wall--floor to ceiling mirror, treadmill to its immediate right--crappy TM and the one this chick is on, I'm on the TM next to her.  Ahead of us is a tiny pool and windows.  You can't really see yourself in the reflection.  I tried one day when my knee was smarting a bit while running to see if my form was being wonky.

In the 20 odd minutes that I was running next to her, this gal spent 85% of it staring at herself in the mirror to her left.  Like head craned at a completely unnaturally, uncomfortable 90 degree angle.  Not only is this incredibly narcissistic, but it's also totally unsafe.  I totally get that sometimes it's nice to check your reflection and think "dang, this body looks good, yo!"  Or at least that's what I assume your jock homie inner dialogue sounds like, but to do it almost the entire time you're running?  Seems... weird.

In addition to this, she would also hold herself up on the railings of the treadmill (while checking herself out in the mirror, sooooooooo talented!) every 20 or so seconds, presumably to give herself a rest?  I dunno.  I've seen people do this before, and I don't get it.  It's not like she had anything to prove.  I was essentially crawling on the TM next to her.  Makes so much more sense to me to just run at a manageable pace and to take walk breaks if necessary, right?

Drove me up a wall.

I guess that's the perk of running outdoors.  If someone annoys you, you can just speed up or slow down to get away.

Friday, January 11, 2013

101 in 1001 Check In

I started 101 goals to be accomplished in 1001 days back in March 2011.  I thought this would be fun, because I rarely set goals further than a year out, and long term goals are just as important as the short ones.  I also have a tendency to have a terrible memory, so if something isn't written down I won't remember it.  I spent a long time crafting this list, looking at many others for inspiration, and putting out some "dream big" goals of my own.  I set my 30th birthday as my final 1001st day.  Since I'm nearing the final year of my goals, I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at the goals, and strategize how I'll accomplish the remaining ones.

I hope to accomplish something off the list each weekend, even if it's to watch a movie that's on one of the lists!  And I vow to look at the list whenever I complain about being bored and want Kyle to do something fun with me.

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

in progress: italic / completed: bold
Goal Start Date: March 30, 2011
Goal End Date: December 26, 2013 (The Big 3-0!)

Take a photography class  I may settle for some one-on-one photography instruction from friends that are great photographers.
Fall in love
Get accepted into master’s program (4.27.11)
Go to a Packers game at Lambeau  We were planning to attend a Packers game this fall, but it didn't work out with our schedules.  This will happen in 2013.
Get a library position (8.13.12)
Grow an herb garden  This could be hard if we stay in the same place, but perhaps a small little potted herb garden on our deck would be feasible.
Go on a brewery tour (several in San Fran with Megan 10.12.12)


Meet 5 new people (2/5 Niki who came up for the Sioux Falls Marathon, Dominique long time bloggy buddy at the Dallas Marathon expo and race.)  Keep on keepin' on.

Make 3 new friends (4/3 New running buddy Karla, Kyle's bff's gf Liz, two new co-workers)

Meet 3 bloggy friends (3/3 Met Lisa at the Fargo Marathon 5.20.11, met Susan for Twin Cities Marathon weekend 9.30.11, met Shawn enroute to Philly for the Philadelphia Marathon 11.18.11)
Send 5 letters/cards to friends that don’t live nearby
Join a running club (ran with the Runners Block group several times)
Make a new running buddy (Rachel!  Yay!)
Call (skype) one person each month I haven’t spoken with in awhile (4/33) Definitely need to pick up the slack on this one.  Need to plan a more frequent catch up with my nephew Harrison for sure, and friends with little ones.
Send Christmas card/letter  I took an adorable pic of Ollie and sent out the image (or technically posted it to my blog, facebook, and instagram, but a full on letter is in the cards for Christmas 2013.
Send a random care package to 3 friends (1/3 2 are sitting around waiting for me to mail them.  oops.)  STILL need to send these out.  Yikes.
Join a stitch and bitch group (tried but meeting times conflicted with class)  Working to start one at work with one of the librarians for January!
Host a swap party with friends  I was envisioning this to be a clothes swap party, but most of my friends and I aren't the same size.... Not sure if this'll work out.

Travel  There is no way that my finances will allow for travel outside of the U.S. by the end of 2013, so getting a passport, leaving the country, and due to $$$, go on a cruise will be crossed off the list.

Get my passport
Take a trip and leave the country
Go on a cruise
Go to NYC  Hopefully a trip to see Susan is still in the cards for next Fall!
Skate at the Rockefeller Center
Go on a vacation that doesn’t revolve around running/racing (mini-vacation with Kyle 2.17.12, and 12.14.12)
Take a random road trip I'm such a planner that nothing is ever "random."  What IS a random road trip anyway??

Running and Fitness  You can tell that many of these goals were set while I was on a major running high with awesome race performances.  Given my battle with injuries, many of these are no longer feasible.  Waaaaaaah.

Run a Boston Qualifying Marathon
Win a race  There's always a chance in small 5ks in the summer.  Maybe I'll stalk a good one!
Run 200 miles in one month (working on this for March 2012--didn't happen)  Definitely doable once I get my mileage up there again.
Run 60 miles in one week Ditto above.
Complete half Ironman
Bike a century race  Megan and I are potentially planning to do one of these in June!  Yay biking!
Run Sub 4 hour marathon  The jury is still out as to if I'll run a marathon in 2013, but if all goes well, this goal isn't out of the question.
Sub 3:50 marathon
Sub 1:50 half marathon  The 100th time is the charm, right?
Sub 50 min 10k (5.7.11)
Run 22xx 5k  I <3 speedwork, so this could be fun.
Run the Goofy Challenge  Still a SMALL possibility to do this in 2014 as my graduation gift to myself (which is technically after the end date, but only by a couple of weeks).
Run NYC marathon (applied for lottery for 2012, didn't get in)
Do 100 pushups  Good tough goal!
Take a bikram yoga class (12.26.12 birthday sweatfest!)

Crafty and Creative
Decide on Scarves for PRs logo (Megan created a sweet one! plus it's green!)
Create Scarves for PRs business cards  I don't have time to crochet currently, so I've backed off almost completely from making scarves unless sought out by someone.  Maybe I'll get excited to make them again next fall.  
Start Scarves for PRs Etsy shop (no longer plan to do this, maybe once grad school is over!)
Create blog business cards (meh, that'd mean I'd have to blog consistently)
Complete 52 photo project (1.4.12)
Take a photo every day for 1 month (done January 2012)
Create 5 new Etsy items to sell (0/5)  ditto to above notes
Paint bookshelf
Learn to knit
Start t-shirt quilt
Complete t-shirt quilt
Decorate office (new job, no longer have an office)
Make office artwork (see above)
Take photos for all completed projects (as applicable)

Book Worm
Read 15 classic novels (currently reading Little Women and Pride and Prejudice)  I need to do some MAJOR work on this one.  I will plan to do 3/month once I'm done with school to get me 15 by the end of 2013.
Read a book in a day (6.20.11 Normal Gets You Nowhere)
Get book tattoo (slated for graduation 8.13!)
Join a book club (4.14.11 attended 2nd lunchtime book club)

Get wisdom teeth removed  Don't wanna slash ouch slash $$$$.
Have moles checked (7.2012, and one removed, ouch and $$$)
Stop tanning (have not visited a tanning salon since 12.2011 1x)
Find out my blood type (9.2012, O+!)
Donate blood (9.24.12)
Get a professional massage (7.12.11)

House and Home
Donate Clothes 2x/year (fall/spring) (3/5)
Clean Coat closet (5.12, slightly cheating because I moved, but I cleaned and purged!
Clean Bedroom closet (5.12, ditto above)
Thaw Freezer (5.12, ditto above)
Decorate kitchen No kitchen space to decorate, will switch this to dining room.  I know what artwork I want to put in there but haven't seen the exact thing to buy yet.
Finish decorating living room  Kyle! Grab your hammer and nails.
Transfer files from old computer (didn't happen before it was trashed, if I haven't accessed it in 5 years, I probably don't need it)
Get rid of old computer (sell/donate/trash) (5.12)
Back up MacBook (I have tried to do this but I must be d-u-m-b)
Purge wardrobe of anything I haven't worn in the past two years  My name is Jeri, and I'm a hoarder.  [Hi jeri]

Pay off car  I calculated how much I'd have to pay each month to accomplish this and it's not feasible.  I do plan to up my payment to take care of it sooner than the 5 years originally planned.
Go one week without spending any money at all (not including direct debits for bills etc.)  Must get groceries, pack lunches, and then I should be golden.
Pay off road bike (6.3.11)

Kiss in the rain
Ride in a hot air balloon
Go golfing
Go ice skating
Go ice fishing I'm sure I could accomplish this any weekend this winter by hopping in the truck with Kyle.  But brrrr.  Trip currently planned for January 18th weekend.
Watch 10 of the top 50 IMDb movies  Need to decide which movies and GO.
Watch all 2011 Oscar nominated movies (Black Swan 5.18.11, The Fighter 5.1.11, Inception, The Kids Are All Right 1.26.12, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours 5.8.11, The Social Network 4.3.11, Toy Story 3, True Grit 2.4.12, Winter’s Bone)
Watch all 2012 Oscar nominated movies (The Help 1.16.12, Midnight in Paris 1.22.12, The Artist, The Descendants 3.22.12, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Hugo 3.4.12, Moneyball 3.12, The Tree of Life 3.6.12, War Horse)
Watch all 2013 Oscar nominated movies  These have been my favorites to work on, because I have watched movies I never would've picked up.  Can't wait for the 2013 list to be up, I haven't seen any of the predicted nominees yet!
See a 3D movie
See a psychic and get my fortune told
Go to a roller derby match
Go to a wine tasting
Go to the Harry Potter theme park
Rewatch LOST! (currently rewatching Season 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Make sushi rolls at home
Go to a Drive in movie
Watch a meteor shower (summer 2011, I don't remember the exact date)

Make a fabulous dessert I’ve never made before
Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years
Write down everything that happens on 11/11/11 and 12/12/12 (11.11.11 Tom & Sara got married and I got to celebrate with them! 12.12.12 I went to work, wore green and gold in honor of Wisconsin's Aaron Rodgers day, ordered pizza with my Wednesday afternoon students, snuggled on the couch with my pug and finished my final paper for the semester!)
Invest in a digital SLR camera I still want to buy one, but it's not a top priority currently.
Encourage someone to make a list (1.3.13 yay! Convinced Megan to make one!)
Get a pet (6.8.12 And Ollie is the love of my life!)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best Books of 2012

In 2012 I set a goal to read 52 books.  I had read 60ish in 2011 while spending 4 months in grad school, so I figured that would be a great goal to have.  Around June I shattered that goal, and decided to up it to 100.  I ended up reading 113 books in 2012, which is my all-time most.  I consider reading to be my 3rd class of each semester (that I don't have to pay for, huzzah!) and I set aside every lunch break that I'm not doing homework to read, and occasionally before bed.  It's really important to me to read as much as possible for my future profession, plus I love to do it, and there are so many books out there I want to read.

I know I've bombarded you with a list of the books I've read over the last year, but I enjoy doing a "best" list, so without further adieu, here's a list of my favorite reads in 2012.  These aren't all books published in 2012, although some are, but just the best I've read this year.  Enjoy, and make sure to let me know your thoughts if you read or plan to read one of these!  Helping people connect with a perfect book for them, is one of my greatest pleasures.  Uff, that was cheesy, but true.

10.  Once a Runner
A book every runner should read.  This fictional tale of a runner's quest to break the 4 minute barrier in the mile and his tenacious attitude and training regimen throughout.  If this story doesn't motivate you to kick ass, nothing will.

9.  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
I'm a big Mindy Kaling fan, and this book did not disappoint.  Her memoirs and lists will make you snort-laugh outloud.

8.  Lover's Dictionary
This book structure is so unique, that everyone must read it.  A story is told with each letter of the alphabet telling a small tale of a relationship from A to Z.  The reader is left to infer much of the relationship due to the brevity of the book, which adds another element to the story.

7.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Brian Selznick is a genius.  The story and illustrations in this book are gorgeous.  While the story is quick to flip through, take time to pour over each page of illustrations.

6.  Gone Girl
Within a chapter of the book, I was obsessed and recommending it to anyone that would listen.  Any book that can have me obsessively devouring it, page by page, is a great book.  The ending wasn't as I was predicting, which was good, but I didn't thoroughly love the ending either.  It was essentially a 6 star book minus the ending, so I ended up with 4 stars.

5.  Still Alice
Prior to reading this book I had no knowledge or experience with dementia or Alzheimer's.  This story opened my eyes to all the trials and heartbreak that dealing with the disease personally or familially can cause.  A beautiful but heartbreaking story.

4.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
I listened to this book on audiobook per the recommendation of a librarian friend.  The book is narrated by the author, Sherman Alexie, and his great accent lends an extra element to his story.  A tale of his growing up on the Spokane Indian reservation and attempts to leave are chronicled in his novel, amongst crazy childhood tales.  Some crass language and stories could offend, but it is definitely worth the read.

3.  When You Reach Me
This story takes some twists and turns that are completely unexpected in a modern day twist reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time.  

2.  Ready Player One
A story set in the future in a world that most wouldn't want to inhabit.  In this world, everyone is plugged in to a gaming system to explore multiple planets.  When the creator of this gaming system dies, he loads a quest in to the game for people to attempt.  This book will appeal to gaming geeks, those that identify with the 80s, and people who love a good book.

1.  Fault in Our Stars
I read this book early on in 2012, and nothing ever topped it.  John Green is a genius, and this book is no exception.  A story of a terminally ill cancer patient and his cancer stricken love, and their relationship while dealing with their illnesses.  One of the most heart wrenching reads ever.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012 By the Numbers: 5,783.63

This is one of my favorite posts annually, so I'm going to keep it up for 2012.

Miles ran:  924.6

Miles away from my goal:  575.4  (lofty goal much?)

Miles away from last year's mileage: 409

Miles per week average:  17.78

Picture 5

Miles per month average:  77

Picture 4
Total number of runs:  135

Miles per run average:  6.85  (so at least when I ran, it was a decent amount, right?)

Time spent running:  6 days 9 hours

Marathons: 1

Times I dropped from the full to a half after registering:  2

Times I regretted that decision:  1?  Brookings was PERFECT race weather, and my training had gone really well for the first few months, I probably could've had a decent day there, but I shall never know.

Half Marathons: 4

10 mile: 1

10K: 0

5 mile:  0

5K: 0

1 mile:  0

PRs accomplished:  0.  This should come as no surprise given my mileage, right?

Pairs of shoes purchased: 3?  Not sure.  I did just discover a pair of unopened saucony kinvaras in my closet.  So between those, the shoes I'm currently rotating (kinvaras and mizuno wave riders), and the precious new wave riders my parents got me for Xmas, I should be set for most of 2013.

Hotel nights booked:  5

Flights taken:  2

Race road trips taken:  1--Just a quicky down to Sioux City.  

Number of runners met:  2--Dominique, Niki

People I'm still bummed I didn't meet: 1--Alyssa at NWM

Runner BFF Race Weekend Reunions:  2.  Brookings and Green Bay.

States crossed off my "run a race in every state" list: 3. Iowa, Nebraska (the Sioux City race dipped in to Nebraska briefly), and California.

Awesome Race Photos garnered:  2.  I didn't buy a single race photo this year, likely because most races sucked and it showed on my face slash I don't care to commemorate crappy performances in photo form.  However, my mom did snag a few great ones as she always does.

Dear God I can't believe you'd post those race pics on the internet:  0? I don't remember any this year.  WIN!

Cute boys encountered on the bike trail:  0.

Number of times Megan and I wished Jenn was with us for a race week:  2 for 2.

Number of sub 4 crash and burn attempts:  0.  YAY!  (Only b/c I didn't make an attempt.)

Number of times I was proud of my racing efforts:  2?  I was happy with my efforts in Brookings and Sioux Falls.

Number of times Kyle ran with me:  2-3.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Books by the Quarter: 4/4

**ready unless I read another book in december

The Dog Stars was a somewhat slow moving book at the start, but a book I really enjoyed.  It's an adult novel, but hinges on the end of the world (or after the end of the world) setting that I so dearly love.  I even suggested this book to Kyle to read as I thought he'd identify with the main character.

I was excited to read The Heist Society, because I thought it'd be in the same realm as the Pretty Little Liars books that I adore.  It was just... meh.  It's an adventure with some mystery throughout, but it wasn't really a page turner.  I don't know that I'll read any more in the series, but will likely give the authors other series a try.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a dark, depressing book I've been wanting to read for awhile.  I read this on the flight home from San Francisco, and that wouldn't be my recommendation.  It is a raw story of teen suicide and a lot more.

I read Marriage Plot for book club, and didn't really enjoy it.  I went to the book club, even after not loving the book, to see if others could tell me why *they* loved the book, but no one did.  It was very beautifully written I just never felt connected to anything or anyone in the story.

Ready Player One was one of my favorite reads of 2012.  I was obsessed with this book from the get go, flew through the book, but never wanted it to end.  The book is set in the future where everyone "plugs in" to a gaming system, and the game system creator designs a quest for participants to complete after his death.  Any gamer or child of the 80s would eat up this book.


In November, I read some children's books to kick off my Children's Book Review blog, and also to supplement my coursework.





I also read Eat and Run after meeting Scott Jurek (and having my book signed by him).  It was a motivational book, as the guy is an insane ultra runner, and I loved having a glimpse at his childhood and personal life throughout the book.

It took me awhile to get through the Diviners, as a) it's a giant book and b) it was a bit of a slog.  It reminded me a bit of season 6 of Dexter, and that just threw me the entire book.


I finished the Matched series, Reached, and really enjoyed how it turned out.  I won't reveal too much, but it was definitely a series worth reading.

Starters is another dystopian series I have been planning to read for awhile.  It was entertaining but fairly predictable.

Meant to Be is one of the books I was most excited to read in 2012.  I had heard it stated as the best YA book of 2012.  My thoughts:  It was a good story, and one I would have devoured as a teen, talking about MTB=meant to be, in reference to people ending up together forever.  It's a good message for teens, but a little "duh" to me as an adult.  With that aside, the story lines were good!  I probably would've loved it had I not had such high expectations for it.