Then and Now: January

Well, January is over already! This year is already going very fast. I must be getting old or something! It's fun to look back a year at all the photos and see what I was up to last year vs whats going on this year. Last year I was traveling, so things are a bit different now! Not to say that any one is better than the other, but they are definitely different! Some things, such as my mileage, have changed drastically. Others, such as the weather, are similar. Here are the comparisons of 2011 vs 2012, the Who, the What and the Where of January.





Miles Run
2011 = 0 / 2012 = 85

When you look at it this way, it seems like I ran a lot of miles in January, even though January mileage is so much lower than my last 6 months of running. This puts it in perspective though and makes me glad I am running more miles this year than last! 

2011 = 0 / 2012 =  1

Coyote Hills Half Marathon - Fremont, CA 
(race recap HERE )

Books Read
2011 = 7 / 2012 = 5

The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton:  
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a fun, easy read about a woman who goes searching for her grandmother's ancestors and finds out more than she bargained for.

Still Missing – Chevy Stevens:
This book gets a 4 out of 5 as well. It was good, and it held my attention, but it didn't quite end the way I thought it should. I guess you could say there was a twist. I was kind of dissatisfied by the ending though. 

You can see the other books HERE




How was your January? Did it differ much from last year? How are you doing on your resolutions so far?


Notes and Peeves: Race Day

The race went well. I have a few notes to share about it and then you'll have to stay tuned for the recap, which will be posted on Friday! But first, a few random notes.

{1} Runners World wrote an article called Why is Running so White? I found it interesting that although the top performers are usually African, they stated that "Core runners" (who tend to enter running events and train year-round) are 90 percent Caucasian, 5.1 percent Hispanic, 3.9 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and, in perhaps the most startling figure, only 1.6 percent African-American. Well Heads Up RW! Get your butt over to the Bay Area! We've got all kinds of runners over here!

{2} I believe that it is bad luck to wear your race shirt the day of the race. Plus, I think that you should not wear it before you EARN it! It would be like wearing a shirt that says, "I have a BS in Biology" when in fact you are still a freshman!

{3} When running a single track trail race, DON'T stop short in the middle of the trail! Also, when you are running on a double track, please don't run intervals, causing me to have to pass you and then you passing me and then me passing you the entire 2nd half of the race! It's hard enough to pass people when you HAVE to!

This guy was in my way from mile 6 - 12!
Other than that, the race was good! They had coffee and hot cocoa beforehand. The shirts were v-necked technical tees. They had overflow parking and a shuttle to take you back and forth. If you got there early enough, you could park at the race start, but it cost $5 (park fee). The booths were set up well; it was really easy to find the packet pickup and sweat check. There were plenty of port-a-potties at the start, but none on the course.

The course was beautiful. It was two loops around with a little bit of an out and back section. It was right on the bay it was a gorgeous clear day and you could even see the City (in the distance) from the course!  It was partially a paved bike path type trail, with sections of gravel trail and a small section of single track.

Afterward, there were cool medals. There was plenty of water and the snacks were amazing! There were ice creams and pie and cookies! I think they may have even had some fruit. Just kidding, there were also bananas, apples, oranges and bagels. For drinks there was coffee, cocoa, water and power aid. All in all, I would say there was a pretty good set up!

Do you have any running or crowded place pet peeves? Do you have any race superstitions? What was the best post race food that you've ever been offered?

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Ice Cream in Winter

This week it finally snowed! So, instead of grabbing a beer (inspired by Kim), grab a hot cocoa before the sun comes out. Oh wait, it's too late? Well then, grab whatever you want then and let's see what's been happening around these parts!

The snow was beautiful!
(Monday morning)

But it melted away really fast!
(Monday afternoon)

So we made ice cream to make up for it. 3 kinds of ice cream. Vanilla ice cream, peach frozen yogurt and mandarin sorbet! See what happens when  you get an ice cream maker for Christmas. I bet by Feb 7, we will be tired of it. BUT. It's SOOOO good! 

Mandarins at the ready. 

I got a letter from the NORTH POLE! Thanks Santa!

I went for a run in the valley where it is warm. Then to celebrate my run, I had a HUGE burrito. Actually, had is a little tame. More like I INHALED a huge burrito! I heart roach coaches!

Then I headed to the Bay Area, where I stayed at a friend's house. Here is little A, trying to put on her shoes. 

They actually went out of town and I stayed to mooch lodging off them, eat their food and catch up on Top Chef house sit. 

On Saturday I ran the Coyote Hills Half Marathon. More on that later. 

How was your week? Did it snow? Did you run? Have you ever made your own ice cream?


Racing With the Stars

Hello and welcome to Random Saturday! I just wanted to thank everyone for their words of encouragement about my race today! It starts in about 3 hours; I am just having a coffee and have a bit of extra time and thought I would post a few tidbits.

{1} Yesterday I ran Running, Loving, Living's 3.5 mile birthday race! I got a 27:52. It was a good race, which I did on the Iron Horse Trail, which is flat. Also it was about 55 degrees! You can't beat that with a hat! It's fun to do virtual races to keep the motivation flowing.

{2} I am staying at my friend's house for the race. I normally don't watch any TV really, but last night I caught up on Top Chef on On Demand. OH Tom Colicchio! I think he is getting nicer! I like him; I don't know why. There is just something about that bald head of his!

{3} Have you popped over to Triptych lately? Our latest word is BOLD. If you have a fun photo which you think is BOLD, go over there and link up! 

{4} Last but not least, I often "star" people's posts in my Reader to come back to or recommend.I guess it's like olden day Pinterest! Ha. Ha. Here are a few goodies for your Saturday reading pleasure!

-- Pioneer Woman (you know I love her) makes Sausage Kale Breakfast Strata!

-- Karen's 52 week (52 goals for 2012) project! I need to finish making my list!

-- Using your iPhone for your 365 project is a great idea! Along with app suggestions!

-- This post on how to plan a good vacation makes me want to travel!

-- This girl talks about how it's okay to have off days.

-- Happy Birthday to her

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Today is my honey's birthday, so I am wishing him a great day from afar. Now I am going to go and run my little legs off!

What was your favorite post this week? If you could only watch ONE TV show, what would it be?


Race #1 Here I Come!

Well, the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge is getting going! Many people who are doing the challenge have already run their first race!

Yesterday I received a treat in the mail! Chica bands!

For a long time I have been trying to grow my hair out. This is a pain in the butt not only on an every day basis, but especially when I am running. I have tried many clips and rubber bands and hats and everything else, but there are always strays! So I was excited when Jill not only set up the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge, but she even went so far as to get sponsors, and one of them is Chica bands! I can’t wait to try them out, as I have heard great things about them from other runners. They are really going to be great to have for the 12 in 2012 Running Challenge!

Our other sponsor is iFitness, who have agreed to give us a gear belt to use for the races. It's a great belt, with a waterproof pocket that fits my iPhone as well as a couple Gus and an ID, which will be great in this rainy and snowy weather we've been having! With these two sponsors, I am going to be good to go!

My first race is tomorrow! It is a Brazen Race (there are many in the Bay Area). I have never run a race that is put on by them, so I am interested in seeing how it goes. The race is at 9, which I LOVE (the last one I ran was at 7). The weather forecast is good and I have a few goals this time, but they are not like normal ones. Here they are:

Finish: I have no doubts that this will happen, but I am always glad to just finish the race!

Don’t look at my Garmin: I am not running this one for time. This will not be a PR. I will wear my Garmin, but I don't plan on using it. I want to run at a pace that feels good. Also, since this is a hilly race, I will be running slower anyway, so I may as well just be comfortable and see where that takes me!

Time: Even though I will not be looking at my Garmin, I still like to have a time goal. However, I have no idea what kind of time to expect. On my trail runs at home, I usually average about an 11:15, but I think this one should be a little less strenuous. So I guess I will try for about a 2:20 goal, which is a little under an 11 minute mile. I really don't know what to expect.

HAVE FUN: I am looking forward to this race. It should be a fun one, since it has variable hills and flats, dirt and paved. I think it will be a pretty small race as well, so it will be fun to see what they have in store for us! 

Good luck to everyone who is running this weekend: Jill, Courtney...and anyone else! Go get 'em!

Have you run a race yet this year? Do you wear a headband while running/working out? Do you play for fun or to win?


The Thrill of the Race

I admit, I have not been "feeling it" as far as running goes lately. It has been snowing, raining and cold outside. The fire is going inside, and there is coffee and things to do and to talk about! The cat and I have been enjoying our cozy indoor retreat.

However, like always, I go out and run anyway. Once I am out and about, it feels great. Even though it's cold or wet, I get a rush of adrenaline from running. But even then, it still can be a little boring. That is why I like to change it up, so to speak. I try different routes, run trails or hills if I can, do intervals if I can't. This makes it a little more exciting.

This week, with the snow, I am banned from the trails (they are obviously not plowed and are situated on a steep hill which could make running in snow deadly). So I have had to find other places to go.This week I went back to my normal road, which I have been avoiding since the trails are so much more fun. It was a little snowy, but passable.

The other thing I can do is go down to the valley, where there is no snow. So yesterday, I took a little field trip and had a great run in 50 degree weather!

Last but not least, another way to get pepped up when I am feeling low (on the running front) is to sign up for a race. There is something about the hype and anticipation leading up to the race, as well as the race itself, that just keeps me going and makes me feel great. Today I got an email from the race director about the race on Saturday, and it made me remember how excited I am! I had forgotten but now I am raring to go! And I just re-checked the elevation profile...I am going to kick this race's butt.

This is what the race looks like:

This is the trail that I have been training on:

I am ready. Bring it on.

How do you get motivated on off days? Have you ever run a trail race?


Twenty-One Things

Kathy at Just Keep Running tagged me in the 21 Random Things tag, and I have been working on it for over a month. Do you know how hard it is to think of 21 random things about yourself!? That you have not already shared over the last 6 years? Yeah. It's hard.


{1} My mother is from Back East. My father was born and raised in California about 8 miles from where they live now. This makes for an interesting "how they met" story. The first attempt was to hook my mom up with my Uncle, but she fell for my Dad instead. My Dad liked her, even though she made gummy noodles. They got pregnant right away. Along came me. The End.

{2} That's not really the end. I grew up in the mountains, near a river. I was pretty much allowed to run free. That's the good thing about living in the boonies. I also never had (and still don't have) cable TV.

A typical summer at home
{3} The bad thing is that sometimes random people who are not so great pick you up and accidentally drop you. Yes, I was dropped on my head as a child. And I turned out FINE! a;lktjpoigugh!!

{4} I also rode the short bus to school. Since we were so far from town, the big bus couldn't come all that way, so there was a separate smaller bus that picked up the people that were really far away and then took them to a main bus stop where we would meet the big bus.

{5} I played baseball, soccer and was on ski team in High School. Ski team was the best. We had meets on Mondays, so we got out of school!

All Stars Baseball 1990
{6} In High School we had a "nutrition break" from 10 o'clock to 10:15 or something like that. I don't think I ever ate anything nutritious during this time. It was just an excuse to hang out with friends, eat nutty buddies and drink cokes. Nutrition -- schmootrition.

{7} I didn't usually bring my lunch to school. My parents would give me $2/day and I would save it up until I could buy a lot of nutty buddies. I guess I've always been a saver. You have to prioritize, man!


{8} I went to school at Sac State, where my major was Pre-Physical Therapy. I then switched to San Francisco, where they called it "Kinesiology", which I think sounds much more professional. And people don't really know what the word means, so that must be good, right?

{9} I worked at Nordstrom for 8 years. First I sold coffee, then I sold shoes, then I managed people who sold shoes (and I BOUGHT a lot of shoes). As much as the corporate BS sometimes got to me, it was a great place to work when I was in school. They worked around my schedule and paid my way through college!

{10} My first trip abroad was to France, where I worked at a grocery store for two months during the summer. You should have seen me trying to get a "price check on register 3"! Speaking French was hard, and it was even harder over the phone! They had an acronym for me to remember at the register: SBAM: Sourire (smile), Bonjour, Au Revoir, Monsieur/Madam.

{11} My favorite thing to do on my day off was to hang out at Dolores Park with a book, looking at the skyline of the city and watching the gays rub banana oil on each other. No joke.

View from Dolores Park
{12} My first apartment in San Francisco was a sublet and was shared with three other people, none of whom I had met before. We had a house cleaning schedule. Only three of us actually followed it. The fourth, who was a boy, ended up being my closest friend.

{13} I was a pescatarian for about 15 years.

{14} I used to have over 20 houseplants, which I loved. I gave them away in order to travel to Europe and I never got them back. I don't have a place for them so it's okay. They are in a good place.


{15} I can speak Spanish. Not very well, but I can get by. Especially if the subject is food, lodging or transportation. That is what traveling does; you only learn "traveling Spanish". Actually I am better at writing and reading it than I am at speaking it.

{16} I have never had braces.

{17} If I could eat one food for the rest of my life, it might be Mexican food.

Mexican food in...Missouri
{18} I have had surgery 4 times.

{19} In the past 7 years, I have been "home" about 8 months. The rest of the time I am working somewhere else or traveling for fun somewhere else.

{20} My go to outfit used to be black on black. I had to wear suits to work every day, so it was easier. Now I am starting to embrace colors, but I think it comes from being able to dress much more casually at work. If I had to wear a suit again, I would probably be back to black again.

{21} I can't stand having fingernails. I don't bite them, but I keep them cut VERY short. I hate having them hang over my fingers. I also never paint them becuase I start chipping the paint off after a while. I guess I have a fingernail fetish.

Whew! That's Twenty-One! So, if you are bored or need something to post about, feel free to join in or add some in the comments! If you are reading this, you are tagged!

Do you have any fetishes, fingernail or otherwise? Did you ever get dropped as a kid? Do you speak a foreign language?


The Best Lasagna Ever

Have you heard of the Pioneer Woman? I am sure you have, but if not, you can find her blog HERE. She makes a lot of down home things and sometimes even healthy things.  I have made a few of her recipes and they always turn out great. One of my favorites is the “Best Lasagna Ever”. 

The Best Lasagna Ever (**modified by me a tad)

Layer 1
10 oz lasagna noodles

Layer 2
3 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup parmesan (**I used shredded, she calls for grated)
2 tlsp Italian seasoning**

Layer 3
1.5 lb ground beef
1 lb hot breakfast sausage
2 cloves garlic
2 cans (12 oz) whole tomatoes
2 cans (6 oz) tomato paste
Italian seasoning**
**2 cups chopped zucchini, celery, bell pepper or other veggies

Layer 4
1 lb mozzarella**

Brown the hamburger and sausage with the garlic. Once it’s done, drain off half the fat and add the rest of layer three to the pot. Let that simmer for about 45 minutes. While it’s cooking, mix together layer two and cook the lasagna noodles. Once everything is done, layer (in a 9x13 pan or similar) in order: 3 or 4 noodles, cottage cheese, meat, then add mozzarella. I usually make two pans at a time and can get two layers out of each. Instead of mozzarella on the very top layer, put parmesan on top (after the meat layer). Cook for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

I usually make two pans at a time and cook one right away and put the other in the freezer, where it will keep for a long time and you can make it whenever you want! If you are cooking from frozen, I found it best to leave it out all day and then cook it for about an hour and a half, but it depends on your oven strength (mine is weak).  You can also make it and then keep it in the fridge for a couple days before baking.

**Modifications:  I did use actual shredded parmesan, even though she says you can use Kraft. I also used real buffalo mozzarella, even though her photo shows the harder kind of mozzarella (like string cheese).  I also added veggies, which is not in her recipe, but I like to sneak them in when I can. For Italian seasoning, she uses separate ingredients of basil, parsley etc. But I found it easier to just use Italian Seasoning!

 If you are interested in calories, if you make this into 12 servings, it’s approximately 450-500 calories per serving. So it’s not necessarily low fat, but it sure is good! I use two pans and can get about 9-12 servings per pan, so that cuts it down a little. Except for the fact that I just eat TWO servings instead!

What is your favorite Lasagna recipe? Have you tried any of the Pioneer Woman’s recipes? Do you modify recipes or stick to the schedule?


A Bit of Snow and A Book

This week has been pretty mellow. With the weather like it is, it isn't conducive to really do much else than stay inside and read! I am still going through my stuff, both computer-wise and physically, and am finding (and throwing away) some interesting things! I may have to do a post next week about "weird things I have found on my computer". But until then, grab a hot cocoa (inspired by Kim) and check out what this week entailed!

I ate a lot of these. They are the Costco International chocolates from Belgium and other chocolatey countries. I really only like the two dark ones, and I am eating them nice and slowly, but my parents have made a pretty good dent in the other flavors! 

 I picked out my first book FROM MY BOOKSHELF to read! I have a whole box of "books I haven't read" so as I've said before, I am TRYING to read them instead of buying new ones! #1 The Handmaid's Tale. Have you read it?

It snowed. And then rained. Which became this. But it did not stop me from running 5 miles in the rain and slush! I was SOAKING wet when I got done! I would rather run in plain old snow than in this wet mess! 

But the little bit of snow WAS pretty! 

Then it rained and rained and rained HARD, and we had to drive at night with rocks on the road! SLIPPERY WHEN WET!

For Christmas I got the Macro Extension Tubes that I wanted.  Except I haven't quite figured out how to use them. Does anyone have any pointers? I feel like I am holding the camera SO close to the object!

How was your week? Did it snow in your neck of the woods? Do you go running if the weather is bad? Have you read The Handmaid's Tale?


12 in 2012 (2): January

A while back, I joined up with Jill for the 12 in 2012 running challenge. You can read more about it on her site HERE. It entails running 12 half marathons in 2012, which sounded like a great idea to me! I thought it a great way to keep myself motivated and to possibly get to run a few races in places I have never been.

I will admit, I have had a hard time deciding how to schedule these races. I should have known that it would not be easy, since I travel a lot for work and don't really have a "home base" so to speak. And even when I do have a semi-home-base, I don't know how long I will be there, since my work is on a contractual, as needed basis and can arise at the drop of a hat.

So, I wondered, how the HECK was I going to plan 12 races this year!? Well, I started off by assuming I would be home, in California. I used Running in the USA to figure out where the upcoming half marathons near me were. Of course, I am hoping I will not be home, but at least this gives me a little bit of a plan, even though it IS tentative! There are some REALLY fun looking races in my area and there are also races year round, which is more than I expected! Luckily within 100 miles of me, there is pretty good winter weather conditions!

Next up was my training schedule. This has been hard, I have to be honest. First there was Christmas and family and then New Years and travel (with hiking and pilates though!) and the next week it was roofing and sorting! There just seems like a lot to do and I am so tired! But I am trying to run at least 15-25 miles a week, even though it has been a chore (and I haven't quite made my mark each week). Thank goodness for the HBBC or else I may have been a real lazy person during the holidays. Training has not been as good as I wanted, but it has not gone away entirely!

Dec 19 - 25: 28 mi run
Dec 26 - Jan 1: 20 mi run (+ 4 mi walk)
Jan 2 - Jan 8: 10 mi run ( +19 mile hike / 9 mi walk)
Jan 9 - Jan 15: 8 mi run (+24 hr roofing)

As you can see, I am going steadily downhill, which was not the plan at all! But, this week I have 11 miles so far, and plan to run 6 today and a 10 mile run this weekend, giving me roughly 27 miles.

The weekend after, I have my first of twelve half marathons for the year! It is the Coyote Hills Half in Fremont, CA. Since most of my running lately has been trail running, I decided to sign up for a semi-trail run. I am very excited to try something new, and kind of relieved to not have to attempt a PR, since trail running is already a little slower anyway! I plan to have fun and hopefully get some of my drive back!

Has anyone else run their first race of the year yet? Is anyone else running THIS race?


Where I've Lived (2) : New Orleans

New Orleans. It's a great place to live. Even though I was there right after Katrina, it still had heart. The people still had joy and food! And music! If you ever get a chance to go, do it. Go eat all the delicious food and go to a small hole in the wall bar and watch a live show. It's totally worth it.

I not only lived in NOLA for several years, but I also started my 365 Project in NOLA and so I have a lot of photos of everyday life, which is what a 365 project is all about! I am glad that I tried it while I was there, because there are so many fun and interesting things to take photos of! You can see other photos of New Orleans HERE

It's almost time for Mardi Gras again! Soon people will be partying in the streets! I know the King Cakes are already being eaten. And the babies are being discovered!

9th Ward : 2009
King Cake Babies
French Quarter Doors
St Bernard Parish
St Louis Cemetery
Mardi Gras Beads (Lower Garden District)
City Park
For my previous Where I've Lived: New Orleans, go HERE. Don't worry; there are other places on the way!

Have you ever been somewhere where they celebrate Carnival / Mardi Gras (or another big event)? Did you like it or would you rather visit a place when it is less crowded?


Eleven * 3

Thanks to Lucy, I have something to talk about today. Otherwise, the brain is functioning very slowly these days!

11 things about me
1. Right now I am in a sorting mode. You probably already read about my sorting through my storage and throwing things away? Well I am also trying to sort through my computer and name all my photos and organize them and print some out etc. I need to do it more often, but traveling around a lot often causes me to just put them in a folder by month and date and then forget about them for a while. 

2. I signed up for my first 12 in 2012. But you will have to wait to hear more about it. I am excited! Finally got the ball rolling! 

3. I have a chapstick everywhere. One in my purse; one in my toiletry bag; one in my pocket; one in my running bag. I have to have it everywhere I go. I need some right now actually!

4. I don't like dogs. Sorry dog lovers. They smell and are hairy and slobbery and they pee and poop and you have to feed them and walk them and stuff. Just not my cup of tea. 

5. I love playing games. Cards. Board games. Wii. Word games. Quizzes. Whatever! Bring it on! I challenge you to a game of charades!

6. I have only read one book this year. See #1 above. Due to this, I have NOT been reading. At all. Also, I have 3 magazine subscriptions that I am way behind on, like 3 months. So I have several books and about a 8 magazines that I need to read. AFTER I sort all my photos. 

7. I barely ever wear socks except when I go running. When I lived in San Francisco (or Florida, or NOLA) I wore flip flops 90% of the time. Except when I was working. But then I often wore open toed shoes or flats, with no socks. And sometimes even at work, I wore "nice" flip flops, even though I am not sure I was allowed. Nobody said anything. :)

8. I have one brother. He makes wine. And beer. He is a very nice brother. VERY NICE.

9. I rarely wear makeup. When I need to, I put on mascara. And chapstick!

10. I haven't gotten my hair cut in about 8 months. The time before that was when I chopped it all off in Thailand. I need a haircut but I am TRYING to grow it out. Also, the last time I went to the local hairdresser, and she took about 7 minutes and didn't cut it any better than my Dad could have! What a waste of money!

11. I am dreaming of lying on the beach in Mexico. Anybody want to join me?

11 questions for me

1. If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be? 
I guess Abe Lincoln would be an interesting fellow to have a little chat with over coffee. 
2. What's your favorite smell? 
Cinnamon, the first smell of rain, a nice clean soapy man smell
3. If you had to choose 3 bands to listen to for the rest of your life, who would they be? 
Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Kings of Leon
4. Chocolate Frosty or Vanilla Frosty? 
5. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Vet
6. Ice or no ice in your drink? 
Depends on the drink, but probably ICE. 
7. If they were to make a movie of your life, who would play you? 
Gweneth Paltrow
8. Guilty pleasure food? 
9. If you had to choose between having perfect health for the rest of your life or having an unlimited supply of money, which would you choose?
Health BY FAR! 
10. How would you describe yourself in 3 words. 
11. Most important accomplishment you have done thus far in life. 
Wow, this is a hard one. I guess graduating from college was a very proud moment. Also traveling the world, but that is more fun than responsible! 

11 Questions for You: 
1. What kind of toothpaste do you use?
2. Name your dream vacation.
3. How many siblings do you have?
4. What blog do you read (almost) every day?
5. What would you do if you won 1 million dollars?
6. Do you like animals?
7. What's your favorite book?
8. What's better: having a housekeeper or having a chef?
9. What's worse: snakes or spiders?
10. Where is the farthest you have been from home?
11. Who is the most inspirational person in your life?

I tag

The Rules
1. Post the rules.
2. Post 11 things about you.
3. Answer the questions the tagger asked you.
4. Write 11 new questions for those you tag.

You can do this on your own blog or answer some of the questions in the comments!


A-List Monday: Roofing vs Exercise

For the last week, I have been helping to re-roof a neighbor's house. It has not been easy! Not only is standing at an angle very uncomfortable, but it also uses muscles you did not even know you had! However, this may be better than a workout! Everyone who has made a New Year's resolution to work out more should just start doing construction instead.

FYI, the roof we put on was metal, which entails metal panels about 3 feet wide and  8-10 feet long. The roof was pretty steep on most of it, which makes it hard to keep the panels from sliding. I have illustrated these concepts below with my "excellent" art skills (which are at about preschool level).

3 ways Roofing is like exercise: 

{1} Roofing is like Yoga. You are constantly stretching, kneeling, crouching to reach a stapler without having to move too far while holding a panel, doing the childs pose in order to screw in the panel you are holding down with your body, or doing a downward dog in order to hold down a panel without it slipping.

{2} Roofing is like aerobics. You are walking up and down the roof, hopping over things, running across the panels and best of all, crouching and standing, crouching and standing. I once took a salsa aerobics class in college. Let me tell you, roofing makes you twice as sore the next day!

{3} As shown above, roofing IS weight lifting! I must have screwed in several hundred screws over the past few days. This is no easy feat, since the metal panels are difficult to screw. You have to put some muscle into it. Well, when you don't have any arm muscles to speak of, this is HARD! My arm is like jello today! Just the right one though. Also, the panels don't (unfortunately) walk themselves from the ground to the roof. They have to be carried! This means military presses for everyone!

According to LoseIt, you burn 300 calories an hour by roofing x 8 hours = 2400 calories per day. It's like running a marathon!  So, for all you January resolution makers, instead of joining a gym, go join Habitat For Humanity! It's cheaper AND it's a better workout.

Have you ever done any home improvement work? Did you like it? Were you sore the next day?


Look What I Found This Week

This week, since the weather has been so un-winterlike, I decided to do a little "spring" cleaning. Since I travel so much, all my stuff (except for my one suitcase that I travel with) is in storage. This week, I went through that storage, to see what I could get rid of. Of course, if you are like me, you know that sometimes going through your storage to "get rid of it" results in a walk down memory lane. So, grab a beer (inspired by Kim) and look what I found this week! In addition, I did do a few other things. They are also included below.

Before I went crazy and started doing a major sorting movement, I had my extended family's Christmas party (in January)! It was great to see all the cousins! 

My Dad (yup, that's a kilt) and cousin
Some of my younger cousins -- pretty in pink
I went running. Only twice! I have been slacking due to the fact that I have had so many other things to do this week! I need to get back on track, so to speak! 

I found a new trail! A little overgrown but FUN!
Instead of running, I have been helping re-roof a house! It is a lot of work! 

I also went to an auction -- not to buy anything, but to see how it worked, in case I want to sell anything. BUT...you can get some darn good deals on things! I saw one 46 piece dish set, a nice one too, go for about 5 dollars! 

Okay, so you have gone through old stuff, right?
I wonder if you keep as strange of things as I do. 

{1} My diary from when I was about 8. Complete with fool proof locking device!

 {2} My first medal from my FIRST running race! 1986.

{3} My first digital camera!

{4} My "best friends" necklace from Jr. High! Remember those!?

{5} SO MANY books. It is really hard to get rid of them though! 
*in case you can't read, they are "travel/memoir/reference" and "Not Read Yet" *

*These are the "not read yet" books! 
A whole box. I am SO embarrassed! I need to get a move on with my book reading goal!*

But...and you should be very proud, I got rid of FOUR bankers boxes of books! FOUR! I am sad, but happy!! 

And, last but not least, we had a bonfire. To burn the old files I threw away (tell me, WHY did I keep some of them?) as well as....the Christmas tree! How sad. Except I don't know if you can see or not, but my parents were VERY excited about it. 

Okay now, you need to help me. Am I normal? Or do you keep things too? What item is it hardest for you to get rid of? What do you do with your Christmas tree once you take it down?