Confessions & Randoms

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that everyone had a great weekend and that spring is starting to show in your neck of the woods. In the Bay Area, it finally stopped raining and on Saturday it actually got above 70! I was very happy and celebrated by taking a nap (inside). I know it doesn't make sense, but I left the windows open, so I don't feel too guilty about it! 

Before I get to the confessions, here are a few random thoughts churning around the old noggin. 

Today I have a plumber coming to fix a leak under my kitchen sink. It is going to cost me more than my last vacation, which makes me cringe big time, and reminds me of the joys (!!) of being a homeowner. This is one of those things I want my personal assistant to take care of and I will just write a check. It will not be a happy check, but at least I don't have to deal with the guys in my house and things possibly going worse than I already imagine. Just tell me when it's over please! 

On the reading front, I have really been enjoying thrillers lately. I think my brain capacity has diminished recently and it is just so much easier to listen to a fluffy thriller than anything more substantial. The last one that I read and enjoyed was None of This is True by Lisa Jewell. I also just finished Kill Show, which came highly recommended by Lisa and Engie, and it did not disappoint. Due to my lowered brain function, I have also been getting back into podcasts. I just cannot concentrate enough for much more at this moment. Some of my favorites lately have been The Adventure Sports Podcast and All The Hacks

I went skiing with my Dad last week and it was a great day. We got snow on Wednesday and we skied on Thursday and it was sunny and nice with great fresh snow! The only thing that was a bit of a bummer was that my ski boots, which I have had since high school (that is a long time!!) broke in the middle of a run, so we had to rent boots. However, that did not stop us from having a great time. Lately I have only been skiing maybe once a year and this was the perfect day for my one day this year! 

Lovely day on the slopes

Today, something big is happening in my life (aside from the plumber) and I will talk more about it next week. However, I am both looking forward to it and dreading it in equal measures. Stay tuned to find out what the heck I am talking about! And now, onto a few confessions...

I am not very good at spelling. Yes, I read a lot and I know a lot of big words, but sometimes I still can't remember if "protein" is "I before E" or not. By the way, why IS the E before the I in protein? It does not make any sense. Also, if I can write it down and look it it, my spelling is better, but if I have to spell it out loud to someone, I am slow and I have to look inside my head at a whiteboard in order to get the letters out of my mouth. I think in general I am more of a visual learner and will remember things much better if I read them or write them down than if I hear them (over the phone for example). 

I sometimes hoard food. No, I am not like the chicken girl in Girl, Interrupted, but I do like to have something on hand in case I get hungry. I also do like to buy things on sale, so if it is a two-for-one, I will buy two of them. I also shop at Costco, although I am trying not to do that as much, as there are certain things you just don't need a two year supply of (although I will continue to buy the five dozen egg pack and the two pound bag of coffee). I bought a huge bag of protein powder a couple of years ago, and I finally just had to throw it away (gasp!!!) as it was a little sweet for me, and I barely used it. 

I eat expired food. I do not like throwing food away. I will eat expired food in most cases (obviously not rotten eggs or moldy veggies or anything) and have some spices that date back to the teens (does curry spice REALLY go bad?) that I finally just threw away. Plus there are some arguments about "sell-by" vs "use-by" vs "freshest by" dates. If it smells fine, I will usually go for it. This really disgusts some of my friends and family members. 

I schedule a lot of my text messages. Since I get up super early (usually around 4 am), and this is also when my brain is working at its best, I often reply to texts or send texts to people then. However, I am loving the schedule feature, and will usually set the text to go out around 8 am instead of the hour of the dead that I am actually sending it. There are a couple exceptions to this, such as when I know the person keeps their phone on silent at night, or if I know they get up super early too (Hi Mom!). The other thing I do, so I won't forget, is schedule texts like birthdays or anniversaries when I think of it. Otherwise the day will pass before I know it and I hate being the person to wish someone happy birthday a day late. 

I have never cleaned (or used) my fireplace. Some people like to sit in front of a crackling fire at night. Some people love the routine of starting a fire. I am not one of them. I bought a house with a fireplace and I have never used it. Therefore I have never cleaned it. I grew up in a house with a woodstove, which was our only source of heat, and making a fire (and chopping and carrying wood) is a chore to me. I also do not like smelling like smoke, even when camping. I can make a fire in a jiff if needed for survival, but it is likely I am not going to just do it for fun. 

Your turn! What random things are happening in your life? Do you ever schedule your text messages? Do you have (or use) a fireplace in your house? 


A Lifetime of Blogging

Lately I have been going through some of my old posts. I had an idea that I was going to relabel some of them and try to tidy things up a bit. But then I realized it was a huge undertaking and would probably not really be that helpful to anyone but me, so I binned it. However, it did make me think about my blogging journey and I thought I would have you all join in with me in talking about your own journeys too! Please feel free to answer any or all of the questions including links if you like! If you do not have a blog, feel free to tell me when you started reading blogs and what kind of blog you like reading the best! 

When did you start blogging and why? I started blogging in 2006 while traveling. I had been writing a mass email at the time, explaining where I was and what I was doing but found it easier to post it online and that way people could come and look at it when they wanted and it would all be in the same place. However, blogging was fairly new to me and my friends and family and I did not really get many comments for a long time! 

Egypt 2010

What was your first blog post about? Here is my first post (excuse the naivete and bad formatting! I swear, I got more polished eventually) It was about a bus ride from hell that went from Laos to Vietnam. It was a long ride, it was hot, our bus broke down...but here is the silver lining, according to 2006 me: After the breakdown there were really no problems except that I saw a bucket of pigs feet soaking in water right near the toilets and I thought how glad I am that I am a vegetarian... (FYI: I am no longer a vegetarian).

What is your most used label and why? I am going to cheat on my own question and answer the top three. Feel free to do the same. Lists (314 times), Travel (243), Running (233). And why? Lists is so general and crosses a lot of other categories. Travel makes me glad, since this is the travel spot, not the running spot or the food spot. Running has been around for long enough that it makes a podium spot, I guess! 

What is your most viewed post? And why do you think this is the case? Stephany is going to get a kick out of this, but my top post is actually a guest post that she wrote about theme parks in Orlando. I am guessing it is because it has the word Disney in it. The second most popular is a post I wrote about strange signs you find when abroad. I am guessing it was popular because I used the word $ex in one of the captions... Mr. Lovely's 10 reasons why Nepal is better than India was also a big hit. 

Do you answer comments on your blog? If so, what method do you use (email, post on blog, etc.)? I do answer comments! I used to always respond via email because if the commenter put in their email, blogger would send the comment to my email and I could just reply to the person via direct email. It seems that is not really the case as much, and so a lot of people don't have their email linked, so I just reply on the blog itself. However, I find that harder, since the person has to go back and check rather than knowing I responded, so I do try to email people back if I have their info. NOTE: If you are anonymous, please state your name in the comment so I know who you are (unless you don't want me to). 

Do you go back to see if a blog post that you commented on got replies? If so, how do you keep track? Yes, I do go back, although it is much more helpful if I get an email letting me know that there is a response. Probably only a handful of the people I follow have this though. So my current method is to keep the tab open to the comment and then check it later to see if there is a response, although this is not really a very efficient method. I will be interested to hear if people have tips or tricks for this. 

What blog that you still read now have you read the longest? This won't come as a surprise to most of you, but I have to give a shoutout to my OG Lisa. A down to earth Mom of two living in MN and working in the finance industry, she gets it done! Also, she commented on my site when nobody else did, regularly! I have a lot of one comment posts from the beginning and it is almost guaranteed it is her. She is thoughtful and responsive and she taught me that it is okay to go out on a limb and support another blogger as they get started, even if you are the only one. Thanks Lisa! (P.S. there are so many other great people out there, and I just can't stress how important ALL of these connections are!)  

Do you post on other forms of social media regularly? If so, where? I am very poor at most other social media forms. I have accounts, but rarely post! I don't get the same sense of connection from most of them and I also find myself wasting time on them when I do log on (as in looking at posts on FB of the children of a girl I met while traveling in Australia in 2006 who I have not kept in touch with). 

If you talk about people in your real life, do you use their real names? I may have at the beginning, when nobody read my "online journal" but as I started to gain traction, I made code names for most people. Perhaps it's overkill, especially with all of the things that we all post online these days, but I still want to respect other people's privacy as much as possible. 

If you could get paid to blog no matter what you are writing about, what would your focus/theme be? I would probably write about travel, but I would hopefully have to be traveling in order to get fodder! However, even if it was just about past travels, it would probably still be fun. 

Your turn! 

When did you start blogging and why? 
What was your first blog post about? 
What is your most used label and why? 
What is your most viewed post? And why do you think this is the case?
Do you answer comments on your blog? If so, what method do you use (email, post on blog)? 
Do you go back to see if a blog post that you commented on got replies? If so, how do you keep track? 
What blog that you still read now have you read the longest?
Do you post on other forms of social media regularly? If so, where?
If you talk about people in your real life, do you use their real names? 
If you could get paid to blog no matter what you are writing about, what would your focus/theme be? 

Please feel free to answer any or all of the questions including links if you like! If you do not have a blog, feel free to tell me when you started reading blogs and what kind of blog you like reading the best! Or if you are a private writer or journal keeper, what do you normally write about? 


Things I Do Not Buy

I noticed the other day that although I have not bought toilet paper since March of 2022 (a 24 pack), I still have seven rolls left in my overflow stash. This could be partially because I bought a bidet in September 2022, which has drastically cut down on my TP use! The other thing is that I am at work four or five days a week for eight or ten hours, so many of my potty trips are at work. However, I was quite surprised to find that it had been that long when I looked back at my Amazon history. I do suspect that I probably had several left over before I bought the last pack, but I am surprised to still have some left! Question: How many rolls of TP do you go through each month? 

Sign in hospital bathroom. Hands? Really?

The other thing I rarely use is paper towels. I bought a Costco pack of 12 rolls when I moved into my house in May 2015 and I (a) still have two rolls left and (b) have given away at least six of them if not more. I just do not use paper towels! If someone comes over for dinner I will use them but otherwise, I use a rag to wipe the floor or the counter (a clean one!) and if I am eating dinner alone, I just use a dishrag as a napkin too. I have a set of older dishcloths that I use for those kinds of things, and a set of new ones that hang on the sink for wiping dishes or whatnot. Question: Do you use a lot of paper towels, napkins, cloth napkins, or dish towels? 

I have actually never used Doordash or Uber Eats. Once at work, I had to order for a group, so I have a Doordash account, but I have never had food delivered to my house. I tend to cook at home and am happy to eat oatmeal for dinner if I have not had a chance to go shopping, or I have a commercial district with restaurants and a grocery store about a half a mile from my house so I can just walk to get food. A coworker of mine ordered Chipotle through Doordash and he said that it cost like $40 with the delivery, food and tip, and I cannot imagine spending that much on Chipotle. You do you and all, but that is not where I want to focus my spending personally. Question: What is the weirdest thing you have ordered for delivery? 

After having several purges and getting rid of many books, I set the goal to not buy anymore until I had read (and given away) the ones on my shelf that I had not yet read. Confession: I still have a couple on my shelf that I have not yet read, but except for those two, I am reading 100% library books now. In the past 10 years, I have bought very few books. I did go to Powell's in Portland about five years ago and I used a gift card that was given to me to buy a few travel books. However, I am now down to only about 20 books on my shelf, which are mostly books from my childhood, and I do not have any plans to buy more books any time soon! Question: Do you still buy books? 

Powell's is awesome. 

I love going out to eat as much as anyone else, but there are a couple of things that I never order at a restaurant. The first is spaghetti. Don't get me wrong; if I am at an Italian restaurant and they make their own pasta, I will go to town on some ravioli or tortellini, but I will likely not order spaghetti. The other thing is roast chicken. If I am going to pay for meat at a restaurant, I feel like it should be one that I don't or can't cook. Fois gras? Yes please. Duck? Sign me up! Rabbit stew? You betcha! Roast chicken? Nah, I can make that at home. Question: Is there something that you rarely or never order at a restaurant? 

Exception to the rule: chicken and waffles!

Years ago, I realized that it is so much easier when hiking or traveling to just bring smaller tampons with me. I should have swapped long before that, but at that point, I finally made the switch to applicator-less tampons. I hated using the plastic tampons due to environmental issues and the ones without an applicator are not really any different. I do wish that I would have heard about or tried the Diva cup earlier, as I think that would have also been a good way to not have to use/carry so many feminine products on long hikes! Question: Have you tried the Diva Cup (or equivalent)? If so, what are your thoughts? 

List of questions: 
How many rolls of TP do you go through each month? 
Do you use a lot of paper towels, napkins, cloth napkins, or dish towels? 
What is the weirdest thing you have ordered for delivery? 
Do you still buy books?
Is there something that you rarely or never order at a restaurant? 
Have you tried the Diva Cup (or equivalent)? If so, what are your thoughts? 

Feel free to answer one or all of the questions above, or tell me what things do you NOT buy? 


Winter in the Bay Area

While it is not unusual for January to be rainy in the Bay Area, last month felt like it was raining almost all of the time. Maybe this was because I needed to patch and paint my front porch and the patch needed at least 24 hours to dry properly and I wanted a few clear days to do the paint job. We patched it on December 16th and I did not have a chance to paint it until late January. So in my mind there was not a stretch of clear days in that period. I actually looked it up, and here is what I found. 

A lot of cloudy days! (grey = cloudy)

But maybe not as much rain as I thought? (I painted on the 28th)

However, having said that, there were several times that I had a marvelous walk or hike and did not get rained on at all! The day of the crosstown trail hike was perfect, and last Tuesday I went out for my normal after work run along the bay, which is generally about six miles, and it was so nice I did double the mileage! I went all the way from my office to Hoppers Hands / Fort Point, where I watched the surfers catch some waves under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so beautiful and it made me remember why I like running, but I was definitely a little sore a couple of days later!! It was completely worth it though. 

Headed out to Fort Point from Crissy Field.

FYI, here is what it looked like two Tuesdays before this! 

I got completely drenched on this run!

I would say that my least favorite weather when doing outdoor activities is probably rain. When you are backpacking, being wet all day and setting up your tent in the rain is really not that fun. Trying to get warm while also not getting your only dry item (your sleeping bag - hopefully!) wet is not that fun. Having to put wet clothes back on the next day and start hiking is not that fun. Going out for a run when it is raining is hard mentally. In fact, I don't mind running in the rain too much, but I prefer it if it is not raining when I start running; it is just hard mentally to step outside knowing you are immediately going to get wet. Commuting to work by bicycle is also not that fun. 

Headed to work.

I know this is probably easy for me to say, since I do not live in a place where it is -30 F in the winter, but for outdoor activities, I would rather have snow or (slight) cold than rain. Obviously I do not want to freeze my butt off, but I can put on an extra layer at least. I hate being wet. 

The silver lining is that this January the lows have not been that low. Usually we get down into the just below freezing or just above freezing area, but we have had pretty steady temperatures lately and I often don't even have to put on the heater. Don't get me wrong, I do have to wear socks and an extra sweater, but the winter has been fairly mild. The blue bars in the chart below are the actual lows, whereas the blue line is the average lows. Check out the 31st; the low and the high were almost the same!

The arrow points to the day I had the great run (almost 70 degrees!)

Last week the predictions for the next 6 or 7 days was rain, and for Sunday and Monday (yesterday and today) it was supposed to be a bomb cyclone or an atmospheric river or some hoo-ha. So dramatic. They even had signs on the freeway saying not to travel both days and a tornado warning. The city of San Jose even declared a state of emergency due to flooding. 

So yesterday I was planning to go out for a run but it was pouring when I would normally start, so I decided to put it off. However, it was basically 100% chance of rain, with not even one hour that was not supposed to rain. But, around 7:30 it sounded like it was slowing down a little, so I decided to chance it and I did not get rained on until about midway through my run! I got about 45 minutes of basically no rain. The last half was wet but I did what I wanted, I started with no rain! Also, at the end of the run, I saw my third ugly Tesla truck!! I saw one in Monterey, then another last week in Danville, and this one was in Oakland. I guess they are hitting the streets! 

Pretty ugly eh? 

The bomb cyclone never manifested, but we did have some really heavy wind and I was out of power for about two hours in the middle of the day. Luckily, I had charged my phone so I just made myself a cup of tea (yay for gas), did the dishes and tidied up the house while listening to my audiobook. So basically exactly what I would have done anyway. 

So now that it is February, and Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring, here's hoping that means less rain for this month!! I guess that also means I will have less excuses to not go outside and go running or biking? Time to get my butt in gear! 

Speaking of rain, I heard a joke! If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? 


How is your winter going so far? Do you think we are overreacting to the weather? Have you seen the new Tesla yet and/or do you like it?