Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tomorrow's race

Yesterday, I went to the Running Expo to register for the half-marathon tomorrow.  Typically, I do not wait until the last minute, but I was on the fence about the race for quite some time due to injuries earlier in the year.  The injuries have been healing nicely with physical therapy though I think this is mostly because I am no longer standing for 8-10 hours a day every single day. When I tried to register on the last day, I missed the online registration by 30 minutes.  I guess the deadline was 12am that day and not 11pm of that day.  I could have been a stickler about this, and I even thought about running as a "bandit" (these are people who just  run the race but are not actually registered, thus not paying) at one point.  But, my ethics would never let me do that.

When I went to register, there were quite a lot of people, so I no longer felt dumb for registering late.  It was good I went yesterday, because there was apparently a ten mile wait on the interstate just to go to the Expo today.  Yikes!

I browsed the Expo.  This one is pretty nice, because it is a huge event--over 19,000 entrants tomorrow for the half and full marathons. An additional 10,000 for the 5k, 10k, relay, and other events today.  I was proud of myself for NOT buying much.  The only thing I decided to buy was a headband and participate in a fundraiser/raffle of which I know I have no hopeless chance of winning.  It was one of those "how many pigs are in the jar" contests.

The issue of which headband to buy was an interesting dilemma.  There were 3 different groups-sweatybands, bondibands, and chicabands. I tried to see what the differences were of each.  They all claimed they don't slip, help wick sweat, and were of course stylish.  I spoke to the bondiband woman who said these actually worked.  She gave me the backstory of how bondibands came about.  I wanted to try one of them, but did not want to dish $15 for one band.  I wound up going with the bondiband which was only $8 for one band.  I found a cute one that is purple (my running outfit is purple) with pink dog paw prints.  I tried it on today while I was walking the dogs and mowing, and it did stay in place.  It'll be interesting to see how it works tomorrow.

So tomorrow.  Well, I will be getting up at a bright and early 4am and meeting with some running group members at 5:20am.  The race starts at 6:30am.  There are predictions of rain and storms.  Ugh!

This is technically my first half-marathon.  Though I do have a time in mind, it's not as important to me per se.  At least not this go around coming back from not running for over a year.  This race is more about camaraderie than anything else.  I've met some great people and wanted to share in the experience of running this race.  The majority of them really do not care that much about a time (a few do).  For them, it seems more about completing the race, and running a good race for themselves.  And this is what I want to feel too--just to run the race and feel good about it.  The time is only the icing on the cake truthfully.  (I also would like to remember this race as I don't seem to have much memory when I ran my marathons back in 2008 :-/)

I'll keep you all posted on how tomorrow goes.

A social hit

A few nights ago, our running group met for a pasta dinner. Having carbs or what is known as "carbo" loading before a race is a pretty typical thing for many runners. I find this a bit ironic for me, because, well, by standard definition, I probably carbo load a lot as I tend to eat noodles very frequently.

In general, the dinner went fine. We chatted, ate, then headed over for a brief dessert at the running shop. I've noticed I've become a little more at ease during these events with this group of people, reminding myself that people are not really observing every morsel I eat.

This event was another good observation of group dynamics. This running group is fairly new, so a lot of us are still getting to know one another. I'm still trying to figure out everyone's name and get an idea of their "story."

I may be weird, but I do like to see how my perceptions match up (or not) to who these people are. I have a tendency to try to snag and observe snippets here and there from things they say, to things they say to other people, to their facebook pages, to their actions, etc.

This was brought up to me when some of us headed to a happy hour at a nearby sportsbar. If you all remember, last time I was invited to this, I passed up on the offer. This time, I decided to go ahead and go even if I was only going to order an iced tea.

There were 8 of us there. Yes, I was the lone iced tea, but that was okay. I do admit I feel strangely odd when people drink even a beer or two and then drive home. I know or at least I hope people know their limits but still, I kind of get worried. :-/ not to be judgmental or anything.

Anyway, an interesting conversation came up about why some of them joined the running group. My perception of several of these people are that they are gregarious, social people, but in fact, some of them are not. One girl I typically run with said she is not social at all. She said she is the type that works and goes home, and she's been content with that. She made the comment that the group was a lot more than she expected and that she was enjoying the social aspect of it.

Another girl said she was totally fine with just wearing her ipod and running solo but decided to join the group anyway. Another guy who is hilarious joined after a few friends recommended that he did. He ran his first half marathon last year apparently in combat boots or so I heard.

What I found interesting about this whole thing was that I joined specifically for the social aspect of it and to meet new people which seemed vastly different from others. I mean why join a group then ya know? Perhaps, my view is skewed after years of solo training and isolation.

In the grand scheme of things, I guess this really should not be surprising. People join things for all different kinds of reasons. This is just another case of how perceptions affect our thoughts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cirque delayed

Ahh, Mother Nature has played her nasty role here. The week has been filled with heavy rain, high winds, and tornado warnings. Not much fun to say the least. Cirque du Soleil cancelled their shows this entire week due to the rising river levels. Seriously, the river is like 4 feet above flood stage and not receding quickly whatsoever. Their poor site is a mess with workers having to boat their way to the tents and trailers. We have heard that for whatever reason this show seems to carry a "black cloud." They've had snow in AZ, floods in San Diego, ice in an Francisco, and now record breaking flooding here.

This means no work for me, at least until next week, hopefully. Boo. But actually, this sort of works out as I have decided to run the half-marathon this weekend. By not working, I'll have ample time to register (yes, I missed the online registration by 30 minutes!) and go to the Expo which is always fabulous, though a bit mazey. I may also have time to do a SAR session with Tovah too. I've got to check on that one for sure.

So I complained mentioned about the black clothes I had to buy for this temp job. I did follow everyone's advice and went to thrifty/consignment places. I was pretty surprised to find some nice clothing for bargain prices. Here are a few of my purchases: I am usually not a big dress person, but I really liked this B. Moss one. The blazer was just my size, and I figured would work well for other occasions. You can see a few more black items I found. A few of the pics are just other clothes I like or ones my mother brought me. I'll get to that in a minute.

While my mother came to visit, she brought me more clothes. Some were black, others not. You see, my mother is like the Queen of consignment shop/bargain hunting. I even took her to one here which she fell in love with, telling me that every time she visits, we must go to that store.

Many times, my mom finds great buys, because she has a lot of patience to dig through stuff--I do but to a point. Now, one thing I have decided my mother does, and for whatever reason, it clicked on this visit, is live vicariously through me by buying me what I call "Bohemian" clothes. Seriously, check out this dress which has grown on me I must say:

Though my mom is a child of the 40s, she really loved the 60s era and went all out on flowery dresses, headbands, and the like. The blousey shirt in the photo album is another one of her bohemian finds. I wore that the day I went to the butterfly show. one thing I did have to buy twice was black shoes. The first pair I bought hurt my feet way too much standing. So I wound up with this pair of Merrell last week. Sadly, they were not on sale, but again, they are usable for future occasions.

That's the wrap on my clothing saga. One thing I am trying to do in general is dress better. It's not that I dress poorly or anything, but I tend to dress for comfort than style. I guess that is the dog trainer in me, years of fearing dog prints on nice clothes. But I think overall, it is a good thing for me--kind of lifts my mood a bit. And heck, we all need that at times in recovery, eh?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Butterfly show

Last week, my dad and I visited the Conservatory here which is hosting a Brazilian themed butterfly show. Though I do love butterflies, I was a little disappointed overall, just because I wanted to see more species. It seemed I just kept seeing multitudes of the same ones. Plus, I was hoping to see a larger butterfly count. At least I didn't notice any dead ones like someone mentioned in a review last year.

I may go again at another time when it is not so crowded. The day we went was on a Sunday, the second day after the exhibit opened. So of course there were tons of families and kids there. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it is a fun event for kids, I just like to not feel so rushed into taking photos and such.

Anyway, I've always found butterflies such a nice metaphor for recovery and am always reminded of their beginnings as caterpillars. In a post last year, I mentioned my sighting of some Black Swallowtail caterpillars around my curly parsley plants. They were literally only there for an evening/night, and then like a flash, they were gone, only leaving the stalk remnants of the parsley. Unfortunately, recovery is not an overnight process and takes a lot of time. Don't we all wish it could like a flash though? You eat, your body is restored, your mind changes about food, and boom we're all better, normal, happy. Then, we could just have a party.

All I can say is to try to stick with it, as hard as it is at times. Familiarity is always easier, so it's learning to take chances, to face your fears, to trust your body, to realize that there is a much better life outside of an ED, to discover/rediscover who you are.

And lastly, I just want to give a shout out to all those wonderful ED recovery/body image bloggers and advocates out there. It's been a pleasure to watch some of you blossom and gain your wings in recovery. It's a scary thing to gain those wings--you can easily fly as you can fall. But, by taking flight, you are seeing what is out there for you, what is within your grasp.

More Butterfly photos

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Okay, if you have been reading my blog long enough, you know I dress up the dogs on holidays. I do not go overboard with it, it's mostly just for a photo op. There were a few things I had been working on for this Easter. 1) having a group shot of all 3 dogs and the bunny and 2) teaching one of the dogs to hold a basket with eggs in it.

I must say that this was all accomplished, though not necessarily as pretty as I'd like. These photos really do need more than one person, but for the most part, they didn't turn out badly. I at least got a few good pictures. These were literally the only ones where everyone was looking at the camera. I tried placing the ears back on the dogs with Clover, but all were not very cooperative at that point--maybe 5 minutes into this. LOL

Anyway, Happy Easter all! Hope everyone has a prettier day than here--rain, humidity, and clouds. This is the forecast for the next four days.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cirque du Soleil gig

I'm sorry once again for my lack of posts. This week has been really busy. My dad was here until yesterday, and I started my temporary job with Cirque du Soleil as an usher. I'm hoping to write some more posts this weekend. I have some posts in mind on family, clothes, this job, and running, so please bear with me. Hopefully, there will be some breaks of rain/thunderstorms this weekend. I've learned from past experience, it is best to unplug your computer completely, including the power surge whenever it is lightning, so as not to kill a router, modem, or any other piece of valuable computer equipment.

This Tuesday, I had my training for Cirque and worked the next two days. At first, it seemed like a ton of information thrown at you, but once you actually see the show, it is much easier to figure out when/where you are supposed to be/do things. Being on the set, and waiting for the show to open is thrilling. There is a huge amount of adrenaline in the air. That and making sure everything goes as planned too. There is a ton of technicality involved, so one loose knot or cable could easily cause a disaster.

The show itself is wonderful. This is my first time to be up close and personal, and it is amazing what these artists can do. Thinking about the way those contortionists move just makes my body hurt! Unfortunately, Mother Nature has decided to take her course which has caused a lot of stress for the crew and less work for me. :-(

Some people wondered (my dad in particular) why I took this job. 1) I needed something. Sometimes, I think he expects me to be waiting by the phone for calls by potential employees. Yes, I have my phone on, but I'm not going to be sitting and waiting. 2) I thought this would be a great networking opportunity. Though I still consider myself to be a pretty reserved, quiet person, I pick up and observe a lot of information by listening. It's really interesting to see the different people there--all different ages and to learn a little of their "story." There is one older gentleman who I met at the last orientation at the temporary agency who always asks "how are you doing, kid?" His story is similar to many with the downturn of the economy--his position was cut. He really lost quite a lot of income from that. It's just simply sad. There is another older retired couple, and one girl who is a senior in high school. This is her first job.

I struck up a conversation with this girl. I feel awful, because I do not know here name, despite the fact we all have name badges! On Tuesday, she was very chatty since two of her friends were there, but the last two days, she was alone and much more quiet. I noticed she had a cheerleading jacket which she confirmed to me later. I mentioned to her I had been a cheerleader in highschool and had thought about trying out for my college team at one point.

The college I went to has an excellent competitive cheerleading team. They are well known and have won many competitions. She was definitely familiar with them, but what I found interesting was the first thing she asked me. She asked, "don't they have a height/weight requirement?" I couldn't verify this for sure, but I think it is more that they choose people on talent and who have similar body types/heights. I don't think there is an actual height/weight you have to be, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, there is another three weeks of shows with potential work. Your work schedule is based on your performance. If you do a good job, then you will get to work more. Currently, the only people who are working all six days are the people who are what is called "Cirque followers." They sign up to work with Cirque at their different sites, but they have to provide their own accommodations and other expenses.

I'll post more about Cirque, some Cirque facts, and other observations. I've heard the kitchen has some fantastic food, but we are only allowed in there on 2 show days. I'm interested in trying it out, but it's a bit pricey at $10/lb. I'll let you know if I do.

Now off to bed to wake up early for a group run. I have a feeling we'll be running in rain. :-(

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The week in review

For some reason, I feel like I've been MIA on here and in general online, well except, for facebook. :-P Actually since my last post, I've been a bit busy. Friday, I went to a day long dog seminar a few hours from here. It was about scent work and getting reliable behaviors. I've known the speaker for a few years now. It was really sweet, because when he saw me, he gave me a big hug! This seminar had both working and observer spots, and I had thought about bringing Tovah. However, my self doubts got in the way, and I thought she wouldn't be ready. She was actually right in the mix--some more experienced, others not. Oh well. I told the speaker I'd film myself and send it to him. I now have some stage fright though. :-/

The next day, I had an early morning run with the running group. We met with a few larger groups that day and had a kind of brunch afterwards. I was surprised to hear that some of my running buddies said their goal was to keep up with me. I am not that fast of a runner at all, and one girl had qualified for Boston a few years earlier. The run went well, but I made a few wrong turns and wound up running an extra 0.5 mile.

My mom and her husband were also here this weekend. They both enjoyed their time here and realized this was the first time in years that they fully got to spend time with me. Before, I was always working, so it was a nice change of pace.

The big things were shopping and setting up my Wii. My mother now has a new favorite consignment shop and shoe store. She had told me that we must visit these two stores whenever she visits. LOL

My mom's husband and I played Wii Bowling which was fun. I won one game, he won the other. I also tried my hand at the sword fighting game, the frisbee game, and the table tennis one. Sword fighting made me incredibly sore for the last two days, seriously! Frisbee, I am absolutely terrible at. It is obvious I could never have a frisbee catching dog, because I cannot throw frisbees. Table tennis, I wasn't too bad at. The archery one should be interesting.

Now, the other big adventure was that the dogs alerted me to something underneath the deck on Saturday night. Well, it looked to be a raccoon. They shooed it away to the shed at one point, then yesterday, it was found in the metal dog house. I was sort of amazed, because I had let Tovah out a few times and she did not bother it, thought she knew it was there. Hank, on the other hand, barked at it.

This raccoon appeared to be about 7 years old.
The raccoon was not too happy to be in there.

The trapper guy came yesterday to remove it. It looked like it was nesting. However, today, he said it might have had a disease as some of her organs/wounds looked to be rotting. She had an open wound on her neck from something. The trapper also said it looked liked she may have been shot. It was likely that she would have only lived a week anyway. So though I felt badly for her, I am glad it is gone for the dogs' sake. Raccoons can be vicious, and if they are sick, just their saliva alone can infect the other animal.

My mom and her husband are now gone, but my dad may be coming this weekend now. So no real down time if he decides to come. I'm waiting to hear about the temp job. I do not mind being flexible but I want to know for sure if I am doing this job or not. The hiring manager said not everyone would get the job. This would be a bit of a shame as I now have a lot of black professional looking clothes--most gotten at consignment shops.

So that's what I've been up to for the last week. Hope everyone else's week is off to a good start.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sad random thoughts

Every so often, I do a google search on a specific name. It is the name of the veterinarian at UMN who treated Baxter in his gene therapy trial. Truly, I am interested in this study (not a stalker by any means), and it sounds like things have taken off as there is now human recruitment beginning for a human protocol. It is exciting since gliomas are devastating in both the human and canine populations.

Besides her name, usually there are also pet owners who start blogs, write articles, etc. about their beloved animals and their journey through this study process--surgery, gene therapy, vaccine therapy. The stories are all happy, hopeful, grateful, remarkable stories of how well their dogs are doing. Then, there becomes a dichotomous feeling of both elation that the trials have been successful, but also still a tremendously sad feeling, knowing my dog didn't make it at all. And really seemed like he wasn't even given a chance as he passed away a month and 4 days after his surgery.

Sometimes, I ask myself why I even do the search if I am only left feeling sad afterwards. It's not an often occurrence, and I do think about e-mailing the veterinarian and will likely do so soon anyway. By some bizarre reason, my father keeps thinking she might have a job for me. I seriously have no idea where he gets this. Plus, she is in MN where it is ever so cold with horrible, brutal winters, and I'm in no position to move either.

Anyway, this was just some random thought today. I still need to do Baxter's video. It's on my eversogrowing list of things to do.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Following your gut instincts

A few weeks ago, I posted about a new match guy, the amusement park guy, who revealed a lot early on. I had reservations about him and both my gut instincts and deductive reasoning proved right in this instance. It's not even about being right, but rather that I'm following my gut instinct which tells me he is not dating material at this time. Essentially, he is not over his ex-wife.

Yesterday, I sent him an e-mail just asking how his weekend was, how his son's birthday party was, etc. I am tempted to post the whole e-mail but will instead post only part of it and fill in the gaps.

I should have given up hope long, long ago and I am torturing myself emotionally hoping and praying that she will change...she refused to have dinner with [son] and me on his actual birthday to have "boundaries" with me. I cooked, cleaned, worked, paid bills, shopped, bought her flowers, and adored her...She knows that I never stopped loving her and I begged time and time again for reconciliation... And I would do anything in the world to have my family back, to have her back to the way she was...I cry about it a lot. I keep praying that she'll come back to me.
I think it is very apparent that he is not over his ex-wife at all and seems like he needs some counseling. I feel for the guy. They were together for 12 or so years, and then she changed or something, and decided she wasn't in love with him anymore. However, he is still in love with her. I guess I'm wondering why he went on a dating site if he was clearly not ready to move on. People are sympathetic, and I am highly so, however, if you are on a dating site, the idea is to get back on the bandwagon. Most women I know do not want to hear how you long for your ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, etc. who has obviously moved on in this case.

It is no doubt we all come with our baggage (I have another post on that), but seriously, this is just too much. I'm in no doubt the type of person who solely wants someone's attention, but I most definitely do not want to be competing with an ex. So I'm not sure where to leave this one. Friends, acquaintances? It's a bit too bad, because he does have some nice qualities, but I'm not willing to wait for him to get over his ex-wife either. Hate to put it this way, but next.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sudden busyness

It is weird, I have not been that busy other than job stuff, but within the last two days, boom, it just got busy, a bit overwhelming, and complicated. Some of the stuff is just due to procrastination, like getting my taxes done. I am determined to do that this weekend. I have also put off watching some dvds that I've had for some time. However, since I'm going to a dog seminar next Friday, and the presenter is the one who is in the dvds, it would be helpful for me to watch them. The dvds accumulate to 12 hours, so it's a big chunk of time.

Those are the procrastination ones. Now, the other stuff just came out of the blue. I met with a temp agency this week for a position with Cirque du Soleil which is coming into town. Most of these jobs are hospitality type jobs which I honestly have no experience in, so I signed up for the one that seemed easy, straight forward, not a big problem--an usher. Though not glamorous by any means, it is something. It'll be for 2 1/2 weeks or so in mid-April to May. What I really thought would have been a fun job was to be a costume dresser, but I have zilcho sewing skills. I'd also be horribly afraid of screwing up a costume or something, so way too much pressure for me there. Still though, to be backstage, talking with the cast would have been so fun. In some ways, I hope this temporary job will be a way to network with others.

The downside of this is that I will have to buy more clothes. If you remember awhile back I had to buy khaki pants for work which I wound up not using since the dress code got changed to jeans. Although it is nice to have khaki pants for various occasions, I would have only bought 1 pair versus 3. The dress code for this temporary job is all black, including socks. I have 1 pair of black pants and a few black hose type socks, and that's it. Typically, I do not wear much black due to dog hair magnetism. Despite keeping lint brushes around, it is never possible to remove all the dog hair. And Tovah and Hank are blowing coat, so black is not a helpful color to be wearing.

Therefore, I will have to buy black pants, tops, and shoes (I have a pair of black, but they have a heel) by Wednesday's dress rehearsal. Really, I'm not looking forward to it. Not because of body image insecurities (yay me!), but rather because it takes a lot of time and money that I'd rather spend elsewhere. At least there are some decent outlets around here, so I'll be going there first.

The other issue is that I had already signed up for a specific dog seminar that will be in town in May. However, it coincides with the temporary job position. I think I've found a way to work this out, so I'm crossing my fingers it will work.

The rest is neverending with job stuff, laundry, cleaning, reading, working with the dogs, meeting with the running group, appointments with the dentist and dermatologist this month, etc. And for some reason, this entire week, I've had headaches which is really odd. Headaches are very atypical for me, so I'm hoping it is just a weather thing.

All in all though, I'd rather be somewhat busy than have nothing at all. But I do think I'm going to need to start scheduling myself better and getting up earlier. :sigh: