Monday, November 29, 2010

Arriving Home

Coming from home, arriving home, always very confusing.

I don't like flying. Its so convenient though, and I am a rational person, so I set aside the underlying conviction that all my planes are going to crash ans concentrate on the fact it is a statistical improbability. This rationality unfortunately can't help what the changes in altitude and cabin pressure combined with cramped quarters and less than fresh air do to my head and stomach. Luckily these unhappy effects usually wear off after an hour or two on the ground.

Arriving back in Columbus today was surprisingly relaxing and nice. We came home to a much cleaner house than I have grown accustom to thanks to DH's efforts before he left. The pets were all happy to see us and River was surprisingly sedate/controlable. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and thus have a freshly stocked fridge with lunches and snacks for the week. I have so far retained some energy and motivation and got my bags all unpacked and some cleaning done before relaxing for the evening.

Some other updates:
- River: Turns out the reason she is more sedate/controllable than usual is because she got into a tussle with my cousin's dog (our Dog Sitter) while we were gone. While I am not happy that she started another fight, or that it resulted in some injury to both her, the other dog, and my cousin (all minor, don't worry), I am very glad that it seems to have knocked some sense into her. She seems to realize now that she is not the biggest dog on the block and maybe she should not start something all of the time. This was evidenced by he behavior when we fed them tonight. Grim was eating out of both dishes and instead of being assertive or pushy or aggressive, River sort of stood near the bowl that Grim was eating out of at the moment and cowered for a minute or two until I got up to sent Grim back to he own bowl.

- Reading: I did not do much reading while I was in Duluth, but it would appear I got enough ahead before leaving and did just enough reading to stay relatively on pace. I mostly read a Soup Cookbook while I was there (400 Soups). I have read cookbooks before, but now I have learned the lesson that when you choose a cookbook to just read through it should not be one that repeats the same type of recipe over and over and over and over... the point is, with one month and one day left, I have 4542 pgs left to read, or approximately 141pgs per day. Time to get (keep) cracking!!

- Motivation: As mentioned, still going strong. Upcoming plans for this month include starting to run with river (for real). I hate running. I absolutely hate running. BUT, there is not other solution to the equation that has remained a hassle in my life for some time. That equation is that I have limited ammount of time (t) outside of work. In this time (t) I needs to meet all of my personal and household needs, including socializing/recreation (s), household duties (h) and pet duties (p), and health activities such as cooking healthy meals and exercising (e). This would suggest a simple equation
t = s + h + p+ e
But, as anyone that cannot afford to either stay at home full time or hire a made knows, this is pretty much the hardest equation in life. Increase h a little at the cost of s and end up depressed due to social isolation. Don't put quite enough time into p and end up with a dog that keeps you up all night or chews your shoes. Most of all, of course, the goal is to get the numbers right and maximize your utility (that is, your happiness). For a very long time I have been saying I was going to somehow increase p and e in this equation, and for sometime it has not been happening. Increasing two categories at once is not easy. In fact, for me it has been impossible. The solution? Running. Running would allow me to kill two birds with one stone by simultaneously spending time on p and e. This would effectively increase the ammount of t by changing the equation
t = s + h + (p+e)/2
Of course, this is not entirely accurate as there are parts of personal health (e) and pet duties (p) that are not combined, but to keep this simple I will pretend that exercising the dog is the only component of p and exercising myself it the only component of e.
Enough vague nerdery for you? Ok. I will stop.
Now, if only I could find a way to combine cleaning my house with socializing... want to visit LEKT??

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanks for the Food

It is my last night in Duluth and I just thought I would write a quick blog post before heading to bed. It has been a fun trip. As usual, it both feels like I have been here forever and that it is too soon to leave. DH arrived here safely on Tuesday night. We spent out time here enjoying my family's company, and eating lots of good food. We got on a horse once - I rode on a short trail ride with my sister while DH only got on for a minute or two for a photo op. We had a tasty Thanksgiving with good company. We went to a bunch of tasty restaurants including a new family favorite, Duluth Grill. We watched football, played some board games, assembled some jigsaw puzzles, looked at some Christmas lights, and walked some dogs. It was a fun, relaxing trip, a nice way to recharge. Now it is time to go back to my "real life" and get back into the swing of things. I hope to carry some motivation and energy with me and get some things in order at home in the next month. I hope everyone had a great holiday!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I made it safely to Duluth.

I meant to post a couple of days ago about the adventures of packing, but I was too busy at work to do it. I was trying to clear my desk off before I left (figuratively, or clear my electronic desk as the case may be), and that kept me very busy. I did not quite succeed in that, but I did get it in pretty good shape and manage to leave the nasty ugly task that I was dreading undone, which is mean of me, but now my supervisor will probably do it while I am gone, and because my desk is in such good shape other than that she won't be mad or even think it unusual.

Anyways, packing. I am bad at it. Speaking of organizational issues... and I feel like packing for a long trip home is the worst. I never know what I may need. I need lots of warm bulky clothes as it is Northern Minnesota, but I also need lighter clothes for indoors. I need nice clothes to wear out when I visit old friends and for the Holidays, but I also need farm clothes that I can wear out with the horses or to play in the snow, but I also need clothes that is warm and comfortable to where under winter clothes when I am going around town. I need to pack winter boots and a coat, and also a warmer coat/parka. I need warm lounging clothes and pajamas. Do you see how this multiplies? So, instead of thinking through it logically I just start throwing everything in a bag, and therefore end up over packing. When I was done unpacking last night, I realized I probably brought something like 50-75% of my normally-used wardrobe, which by the way is just way too much. Oh well.

Anyways, I am in Duluth now. Life is good. DH will join me next Tuesday. Until then, he is stuck with our Bandersnatch (otherwise known as River). I meanwhile have been introduced to my parents two new dogs (one of which is actually my sister's on reserve). Ellie is an ancient Golden Retriever who seems very quiet and is very cute. Maya is the biggest Newfoundland I have ever seen. Massive. I thought our past Newfoundlands were big, apparently not.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Real Day Off

First, a small reading update. In the last three days I have finished two books - The Book Thief and It Walks in Beauty. I now have read 33265 pages total, meaning I have completed 83.16% done with 86.84% of the year gone. To complete my goal I will have to read 140 pgs a day. That is a 5 page reduction in my per-day quota. Another way to look at it is if I still intend to read 145 pages a day (as my last post dictated), then I am 2 days ahead of schedule. I will take it, especially since I am over half way done with Harry Potter 7 and Persuasion at this point. In an ideal world I could get a good 5-6 days ahead before leaving for Minnesota next week, so when I fail to read much there (which is likely), I will still be in the running.

I had Thursday off. It was lovely. It felt special, and DH and I have no idea why. We felt like we could do anything that day. DH asked the good question - why don't we feel that way every weekend? They are all ours to do what we please with, yet they don't have the same sense of freedom that Thusday had. After some doctors appts in the morning, we went out to breakfast at a chain restaurant I had never been to called First Watch. It was fine, but I prefer Bob Evans breakfast. Then we ran some errands, went to Half Price Books (where I of course got a few new books, including Good Poems, an anthology of poems chosen by Garrison Keilor, which certainly will be part of my reading list now), and then went to the dollar theater for a movie. We saw the new Wall Street - Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. It was a bit slow, but I decided that I really liked it. I thought the characters were interesting and realistic, and the acting was fantastic. DH did not like it, partially because he thought none of the characters were likeable or sympathetic. I disagreed. After much discussion about it, we came to the conclusion that he judges characters more harshly than real people and I judge them less harshly. When we got home from the movie we watched the original Wall Street, which was also fine, but nothing special. We went to bed crazy early and I did some reading, of course.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stupid Ankles and other Rambles

You know that ankle I twisted last week? Well, its still bothering me. Partially because I am an idiot and partially because my ankles suck. I am an idiot because I assumed it was not a big deal despite feeling that twinge of sprain and did not elevate, ice, or rest it. My ankles suck because... well, they just do. We have weak ankles in my family. My sisters and I have all had multiple sprained ankles. It was an annual occurence in soccer for me to sprain one, if not both ankles. My first sprain was in 8th grade and I got it walking across a tennis court. Notice: walking, on a flat surface. Talent. The joke has always been that I tripped on one of the lines. Anyways, the point is, my ankle still hurts and I need to start treating it better, you know, like I sprained it.

In other news... um. Maybe I don't have other news. This week is nice. I get tomorrow off. I am going to Trivia tonight. I am getting a lot of reading done. I am reading good books. I had a book club last night that was a lot of fun. I am looking for another book club. I am always looking for more book clubs. We might start one at work. I am already thinking about next years new years resolutions. I have not given up on getting organized, but I need to make it more concrete if it is going to happen. Did I mention I have tomorrow off? And I don't intend to spend it organizing. I do intent to spend it reading. Maybe we will go make a chore chart. DH is taking it off as well, just for kicks.

Um.. I think thats all? Bis spaeter!

OH! And two more books came into the library for me:
Linger by Maggie Steifvater, and
The Scarlett Pimpernel (another book for a book club).

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Reading Task

I have fallen a bit behind with my reading goals and its crunch time. With how poorly some of my other resolutions are going I really want to finish this one. Just to remind you, the goal is 40,000 pages. As of tonight, I have read 32305. That leaves 7695 pages. A different perspective: 85% of the year is gone and I have reached 80% of my goal. A different perspective: there aer 53 days left, so to reach my goal I need to read an average of 145 pages a day. Thats a lot. We will see what I can do. Here is a tenative plan:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - 592 pgs (for book club, I am actually half way through this)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - 759 pgs (I am about 100 pages in, want to finish it before the movie comes out next week)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - 328 pages
Alvin Journeyman by Orson Scott Card - 381 pages
Persuasion by Jane Austen - 304 pages
Everlost by Neal Shusterman - 313 pages
Mike and Mike's Rules for Sports and Life - 208 pages
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami - 467 pages
It Walks in Beauty by Chandler Davis - 368 page
As You Like It by Shakespeare - 320 pages

Total: 4040

Those are the books I currently have fromt he library or am in the middle of... looks like I need to find 3500 more pages. LOL

Ooh! Two new books just came into the Library for me -
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia - 592 pages
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult - 448 pages

Those would bring the total to 5080 pages, leaving 2615 more to find.

I don't know if you can tell from these lists, but I am already instituting techniques to make this happen. Almost all the books listed above are what I would call "easy reads". There is no way I will be able to read 7500 pages in two months of things like Nabokov and Dickens. I have to read things that read fast and that are enjoyable/keep me reading. Another way to get more pages is to read poetry and plays, both of which have more pages for less time in general. In some ways, changing what I am reading to reach the goal is a let down, but in other ways I think its a good thing. For the next few weeks I will only be able to afford to read things I enjoy, if a book is slowing me down I should just skip it. This is not something I normally do and I think it could be good for me. After all, isn't reading a book you don't like sort of a waste of time?

Disorganized Thoughts on the Weekend

On sunday we "found" an hour. Neither of us remembered it was daylight savings time (fall backward), until "noon" on Sunday when DH tried to turn on the NFL pregame programs and found nothing on. It was a beautiful, magnificent discovery. I spent the extra hours playing Sims 3. DH spent the extra hour sleeping through a movie. Ah, the joys of the weekend.

We did almost no cleaning this weekend, which based on the state of the house was really bad of us. I found I just couldn't care that much when I would rather be doing other things. I went shopping with a friend and bought about 10 new tops. I am wearing two of them right now and love them. On Friday night we went out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and then to see Easy A, which was a hilarious movie. I love Emma Stone. We watched Clash of the Titans on Saturday night, which was pretty boring for an action movie.

Football was good. Vikings won. I lost in fantasy. The Browns beat the patriots in an exciting game. It was not close at all, but it was exciting because how unexpected the blow out was.

My schedule coming up? 3 days of work. Thursday off. One day of work. The weekend. three days of work, then I leave for Duluth.

I will be in Duluth in 9 days. HP7 comes out in 10 days. I am excited. Life is good.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Post #400

Another day, another post.

My right leg hurts. Wednesday night I got a very bad cramp in my calf, which is an occasional occurence for me (not always the right leg, but always the calf). Once the initial cramping is over the soreness lasts for a few days. Then, yesterday while I was walking the dogs I twisted my right ankle, just for kicks. We all know how wonderful of ankles I have.

It is Friday! Yay for Friday. I discovered today that we actually can work overtime tomorrow, so I may put in a couple hours to make up for how bad this week has been with regard to work. I also planned a shopping trip with a friend. I really am in the mood for a lot of football this weekend. Oodles and oodles of first downs, long throws, kick-offs, touch downs, and hard hits. Not the "We are fining you fifteen-thousand dollars" hard hits but the "I love this game!" sort of hard hits. I hope the games are good.

Other "to do's" this weekend - finish my book club books for the next two weeks, clean the house, and nail down my plans for everything that needs to happen before I leave for Duluth.

Yay Duluth! Only 12 days left.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sick, Broken, Busy

We had a lot of plans this weekend. Monday night we went to the preview of an online estate sale with our friend T, then out to dinner. Tuesday night we went to an election party. Wednesday night we were supposed to go to trivia. Today we needed to pick some little thing sup that we won at that auction.

Unfortunately, this was all complicated by (1) me having a cold and (2) the Buick deciding it was it's turn to have battery issues. My cold was not horrible, but it was bad enough to make me not want to work. I ended up cutting all of my overtime for the week and coming home early both yesterday and today. I have been spending the time reading and watching stuff on Netflix. Streaming netflix is pretty much the best thing ever, did I mention that?

Somethings I have watched:
Donnie Darko - weird but really good
Mansfield Park -Jane Austen is always nice
Wristcutters - a dark dramady about what may happen after suicide
I also have watched episodes of Doctor Who, Primeval, Law & Order SVU, and am currently watching Alice in Wondeland (Yes, the new one w/Johnny Depp that I have been craving to see again).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ah, November Air!

First, I encourage everyone to get out and vote. Yay democracy in action!

Second, apparently Novemeber is National Blog Month or something and there is a challenge to post everyday in November. I already failed that challenge by not posting yesterday. I started to write a post, but it was taking a political term and I do not write political things at work because of the state employee political action issues. I do plan to finish that post, hopefully on Thursday. So, I am not going to post everyday. I will try to reinvigorate the blog though!

Third. It is November. Back at the beginning of October I pointed out I had three months left to make any progress on my New Years Resolutions. Now I only have two months. It was not an organized month. Maybe I am just not meant to be organized. I will start projects or processes, they just don't last. I am not quite resigned to my fate yet. I started November off on the right note with a cleaning spree on Sunday. I think the main problem I have had with this resolution is my inability to come up with concrete goals associated with it. We had discussed having a chore chart, and I think we will do that this month. If it works it will be at least one thing. I also noticed that I have fallen a bit behind on my reading, and need to pick that up to read 40K pages. I really want to reach that goal!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


The title of this post used to be a cool marketing invention. Now it is very much over-used. And here I am, contributing to its overuse by putting it as a post title. I intend to add pictures of the events described in this post to my blog at some point, but if I wait until I have the pictures to right this I won't remember anything.

Friday night we went to BW3s for dinner, mainly because I was craving it. YUM. Mango Habenero Sauce and blue cheese. Yummy. After that we finished that we went out to buy the last parts of our costumes, including *dah da da dah* blond hair dye. Then we headed back to the house. We watched "Percy Jackson: Lightening Thief" - a bad book which turned out to be a worse movie - while I dyed my hair blond. DH was supposed to help, he was not very useful for applying the actual dye because he was too nervous, but he was great for the small conveniences of having him run around getting me a fan, or pouring me a drink while my hands were all messy. I am now a blond, at least temporarily (6+ weeks?). We will see what happens. I really have never dyed my hair before (not successfully at least), so I don't know exactly how this works with roots growing and such. Basically, I will leave my hair like this until I decide it looks too bad, then will either get it cut or professionally dyed to fix the issue (back to my regular color?). Whatever you do when you want to be done dying your hair. It is quite the change!!
Anyways, that was Friday. On Saturday I went to the last outdoor Farmer's Market of 2010. I got apple cider, cheese, and a secret addition to my mom's very belated Bday present. (you will get it soon, like 11/17 perhaps? LOL). I dropped the loot at home and then went in for a couple of hours of overtime. I don't mind working Saturday's. It is totally relaxed, you can leave when you want, and it feels like every task you do will make Monday better. When I got back to the house I just wanted to sleep. So I did. When I did get up I finished making the last part of my halloween costume, walked the dogs, and then dog dressed.

I have to admit, DH's and my costume was a stretch. It was obvious what we were dressed up as, but we gave a twist to it for our political friends (who are pretty much all of them). Pretty esoteric of us ultimately. I went as Alice in Wonderland. DH went as the Mad Hatter. Those costumes are pretty obvious. However, then we carried tea cups and wore name badges - Christine O'Donnell and Joe Miller. In other words... (wait for it)... we were the mad Tea Party. I know. Really really academic of us and all that crap. But the parallel is too interesting to me not to draw it.

I was going to discuss that point a bit more (the comparison of the political movement being called the Tea Party to the mad tea party that occurs in Alice in Wonderland), but I simply don't have the energy and want to get this posted.

The halloween party was great. Besides us there was a bad guy w/damsel in distress (she was even tied to a railroad), hermione and ron from harry potter, two chilean coal minors, and the miller high life delivery man.

I expected to spend Sunday mostly relaxing and watching football. I did that, but I also managed to get a lot of cleaning done. It was a good day.