Thursday, July 7, 2016

Random thoughts

1. Not all Root Beer is created equal. Shasta root beer is the worst!!
2. Why is this 50 year old still breaking out with zits? I mean come on!!
3. I have some fantastically talented friends in Texas that totally rock at home decorating. That is           definitely NOT my forte. Those sweet ladies went and staged our home that has been on the                 market for nearly 9 months and it looked so good. I loved it. I also realized that I basically suck at       home decor. Oh well, I think I have talents in other areas....I'll have to think what they are??
4. I miss mountains!
5. I'm tired of this hot summer. Heat index over 100 for too many days. I'm melting....
6. There is possibly light at the end of the house selling tunnel. Counteroffer is on the table. I could         feel happier about that news if we hadn't had to drop the price so dang much just to get some               lookers.
7. Collecting permission forms for our youth for youth conference and YW camp is killing me. There      has to be a better way.
8. Hot bread just out of the oven is divine.
9. The girls running in the 1500m olympic trials don't wear very much.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Enough is enough!

Until recently I would not have classified myself as a control freak, but I am deciding that maybe I am one. In the process of selling our home, I have very little control and it is DRIVING ME CRAZY! So come on people, the house has been on the market for nearly 6 months and we've reduced the price $90,000!   I can only control the selling price and then have faith that everything else will work out as it should. I wonder who is more weary of my pleading, our realtor or Heavenly Father...I have bent both of their ears a lot.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Apartment living..

Would it be considered rude for me to purchase a pair of soft slippers for our upstair neighbor to wear when she is walking around at 5:00 AM? High heels on tile floors at that hour are LOUD!! And it happens every single morning, weekends excluded thankfully.

The new neighbors on the right are very nice people. They have a huge, but friendly dog named Josie. I like Josie, except for when Josie makes noise during the night that I can't hear, but that our dog, Millie can, and such noise precipitates the need for Millie to voice her opinion. (Maybe that is why the lady upstairs who wears high heels on tile floors, seemed to stomp around a little bit more this morning)  I  do get up and give Millie a stern tongue lashing for her part in the midnight din. But what's a poor dog to do when she hears rustling around outside?

And really, do people need to come and go at all hours of the night? And when they come, do they really have to lock their car with the remote so that all the apartment residents can hear the unmelodic sound of their car horn as it signals that yes, indeed the doors on the Honda CRV are securely locked? For Heaven Sake, just push the button on the door if you're coming in at 3:00 AM and spare those of us that are trying to sleep the racket.

Back to Millie....every single time she needs to go out, I have to go out too because there is no just opening the back door and letting her run free to do her duty. No, every time  we have to find the leash and lock up the apartment (while Millie is pulling full force on the leash and I'm trying to fit the key in the hole) so we can go and explore for just the right patch of grass that is acceptable to for her to relieve herself. At which time, we dutifully pull out the little green sack to pick up the doggy poo and place it in the poo receptacle. I have determined that not all dog owners that live in our apartment complex are as considerate. And by the size of the piles, I am pretty sure it is the owners of the large dogs or the owner of the small dogs that have intestinal problems that skip this common courtesy and rule specifically listed in the lease! (Josie's owners are thankfully some of the considerate ones. Thank goodness because Josie is a great dane, and I suppose looking at her size, her piles are bound to be big ones)

I am not totally ungrateful for our living situation. I do thank my Heavenly Father daily that I have a roof over my head; just not that there are high heels walking around on that roof.

There, with all that being said......Please, oh please someone buy our house in Texas so we can escape the life of apartment living.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Big Changes for us!

OOOOklahoma...where the wind comes sweeping down the plain..

Back in August Eric started looking for a new job. We were really tired of him living in Kuwait and me in Texas (and he had the boss from Hell). Some very fortunate circumstances, and when I say fortunate circumstances I really mean blessings from heaven,  fell into place and he ended up getting hired by GE Global Research. His time with his old job ended at the beginning of September, but we hadn't been given the official offer from GE so we spent a few months
enjoying being together (retirement preview..we'll be fine!)  but very nervous about being unemployed (grateful we were prepared by following council to avoid unnecessary debt). Finally the official offer arrived and we signed on the dotted line. We put our home on the market and moved to Oklahoma City. We left 4500 square feet and moved into an 816 square foot apartment. Needless to say I am very anxious for our house to sell so we can move our stuff here and get into something a little larger with a yard for the dog and get the bees moved up here.

Oklahoma is a slower pace than Houston. We like that. The people in both places are some of the nicest people we've ever met, but there definitely is a different mentality. Okies are way more relaxed!! In our search for a home we have noticed that even in planned neighborhoods the people have individuality. Everyone doesn't  have to have the same shrubs in the front yard and two live oaks planted 12' feet apart..ok, I'm being a little sarcastic.

 Eric's new job is going to be awesome for him. He gets to go back to his research roots which he is very excited about. Yesterday he met his big boss and found out that he remembered Eric from his days at the Idaho National Lab and from a technical conference that Eric helped organize and presented a paper. That was fun for him to learn about that connection from his INL days.

We are loving the cooler weather. It is nice to walk outside and have it feel like fall. We have experienced two tornado warnings already. That part is not very fun. One of those was actually when we were driving here. I was following Eric and I kept hearing weather reports on the radio about a storm which included a tornado watch and softball size hail. Eric thought we were in front of the worst of it, but then I hear on the radio that the storm was crossing Interstate 35 between mile markers 83 and 84. Guess where we were?? We were able to exit the interstate and park under a parking awning so we were protected from the hail which only ended up being dime sized.

The only Cowboys we are going to root for are the Wyoming Cowboys. Not becoming Sooner or University of OK Cowboy fans!! We may consider becoming Thunder fans. Life is good! We love that we are able to have these adventures. It is really fun to experience new people, climates, flora and fauna.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Capturing a swarm!!

We have experienced a new adventure in being backyard beekeepers.

Thursday we received an email from the beekeepers association stating that there was a swarm of bees in a tree and would someone come an remove it. Since the bees in question were in our neighborhood and one of our hives was empty, we responded to the email. (who knows, maybe they were our bees first place, hence the empty hive)

We rounded up an empty cardboard box some pruning shears, a ladder, and our bee veils and gloves and off we went.

The homeowner was very nice and happy to have the bees gone. I don't think he was impressed when Eric told him this was our first time capturing a swarm. The capture went text book perfect (according to Beekeeping for Dummies). Sorry the photos are not great. It was dusk and we were just using a phone camera. It couldn't be the photographer ;).

Swarm of bees in a live oak tree. We cut the branch with the bees and put them in a box.

Getting the bee filled branch out of the box.
Just chillin' in a cardboard box. Little do they know it is moving day!

The book said to put a sheet under the entrance and shake the bees onto the sheet and let them climb into the hive. So that it what we did.

Moving in to their new home. It took some of them all night to figure it out and they even had to survive a rain storm, but eventually they got it. I think they are happy about the new pad. Last night they were going crazy flying orientation flights. This morning we gave them some sugar water just to make sure they like it here so they stay and don't have to work so hard to build up their colony.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My journey to a Half Marathon

I wanted to document my experience mostly for me. This blog has taken the place of my journal.

We did it!!

On February 28th Eric and I ran the Woodlands half marathon. This was a big deal for me (not so much for Eric who has 12 full marathons under his belt). He was a good sport and ran with me at my slow pace. So here is how this went down and why it is a big deal.

Since marrying Eric I have had a desire to be a runner so we could share a common interest and if you've ever watched someone train and complete a marathon it is inspiring. Plus running is a good inexpensive way to exercise and drop some unwanted pounds. Early in our marriage my excuse for not running was I was pregnant, then I was too busy being the mom, then I was too fat and it hurt to run. Once my kids were in school, I started teaching school myself and my excuse was there was no time to run. I started running in the summers and would get into good enough shape to run a slow 5k or two but that was about it. Then the school year would begin and I would have great intentions to keep running, but I didn't. This went on for 15 years!

Fast forward to 2013... Eric switches jobs and we move to Houston, TX. I am no longer teaching school. I am 40 lbs overweight, I am staring 50 in the face, I've just become an empty nester and I don't feel good at all. I was literally sicker than I had ever been when we moved to Texas. I had developed diverticulitis and the antibiotics I took made me sicker.   The good part of that was I dropped 10 lbs. I had been walking quite a bit before the move and decided that I no longer had excuses for being inactive. I started running.

In the beginning I would run for a minute or two then walk for awhile. It was hard!! I worked up to being able to run a mile slowly then progressed from there. I eventually over the space of a year worked up to running 12- 20 miles a week. I dropped 30 pounds and was feeling good about my progress. Eric had gone online and figured out a half marathon training program for me and I was following that religiously. 10K's were now doable for me! The heat and humidity in the summer in Texas is brutal so I would go running before the sun came up and it was still miserable, but I plugged along. I was not fast. I was a consistent 12 minute miler and I was ok with that.

 If you've ever met my husband, you will learn that he is a sweetheart, but he is competitive. He likes to run and he cares about his times. He always wants to get faster. I was happy if  I ran a route a little faster than the day before, but getting faster was not my focus. I was happy to just put in the miles. Eric didn't quite understand my contentment with being a consistent 12 minute miler. He would ask me, "Don't you want to see how fast you can go?" After getting this line of questioning a few times I started to think that maybe the right way to be a "real" runner was to focus on time and PR's. I started to push myself a little more. I ran a 5K race in our neighborhood and my pace was 10 minute miles. I didn't die. After that I started to pick up the pace slightly. Time was still not a huge focus for me, but I probably cared more than I did before.

About 2 1/2 months before the actual Half marathon I was at the point in my training that my long runs are around 8 miles and about to increase to 10 miles. I completed my first 8 miler with Eric and I was really excited. That is the farthest I had ever run in my life! It was hard, and I got to look forward to (insert sarcasm) doing it again the next Saturday. The week zoomed by and it was long run day again. This time I would be doing it alone as Eric was working overseas. Seven miles into the run I started to experience pain in the back of my left leg. I kept going, trying to run through it. Bad idea....I walked/limped the last mile to home. Long story short I ended up not being able to run for a few weeks. I was still hopeful that I could get my training back on track after some rest. I would rest the leg then try to run on it. I could usually go about 3 miles before it gave me any problems. Then one day I was trying to do 9 miles and about 6 miles in with no warning pop..instant pain again. It was at that point that I resigned myself that I wasn't going to be able to do the Half. I completely quit running!! Meanwhile, Eric was training to run the same half while he was working in Kuwait. He was also dealing with an injury. His knee had been giving him some problems so his training was not going well either. He had already had to withdraw from the Katy Half because of knee pain.

It is now a couple of weeks before the half and both of us are able to run a little. I decided to go out and see what I could do. My training schedule was for me to run an 11 mile long run. I had only been doing shorter distances mostly because of fear of reinjuring myself. I mapped our an 11 mile course and set out. I had to walk some about 4 miles in because I was bucking a head wind. After that I started to feel pretty good. I got to an area in the neighborhood that has a gate. I had my electronic card with me so I though no problem. Big Problem.. since I don't live in the gated part of our community don't have access anymore to the paths that go through the gated part (which ticks me off because I pay the same amount of HOA dues as they do). I had been on that path a number of times, and the gate was never locked before. I was mad and not mentally prepared to figure out another route on the fly. I back tracked and headed for the last loop of the run and headed home. I mapped the course that I ended up doing and found that it was 9.5 miles.

At this point, I am still thinking there is no way I can do the half marathon. It is only a few days until I have to pick up my packet. Many of our running friends are telling us to run it anyway even if we have to walk a good portion of it. Well, I am confident that I can run at least 9.5 miles then I can walk the last 4 if I have to. Eric has still been experiencing knee problems but he is game run/walk it with me so we commit to do it. I was scared and just kept asking myself if I was crazy. I was most afraid that it would totally suck and I would feel like I had to do another one some other time to redeem myself.

Race Day! The weather was perfect for running. It was cold by Texas standards and the forecast was for clouds and temps in the 40 - 50's. Perfect running weather for me. The race started at 7:00am which made for a really early morning for us. The Woodlands are a good hour drive from our house. I was still questioning the stupidity of doing this, but I was in the starting shoot anyway. Eric kept wanting to inch up to the faster pacers. I didn't care what my time was. I just wanted to finish and not die. When we started the pace was really slow even by my standards, but I liked it. I was afraid that I would let my nerves dictate and go out too fast then run out of steam. A forced slow pace was good for me and Eric! As the runners thinned out we were able to up the pace to where I felt comfortable. Around mile 3 I had to go to the bathroom. There was a port-a- potty with a line. Some girl was saying that just up the road at the next light there were a whole bunch of bathrooms. So we kept going.  We got to the reported spot and there were no bathrooms! In fact the next bathroom wasn't until mile 6. That is 3 miles of having to use a toilet...not fun!!! And to top it off there was no toilet paper. Needless to say...I will be purchasing new gloves for next winter's running season. With that little obstacle out of the way, we continued on. The miles went by and I found that I felt pretty good. Eric was doing well and his knee was not bothering him. I was pretty tired at mile 10, but so far I had run every step. After mile ten we began to walk through the water stations then start running after we finished our cup of water/Gatorade. At one point I walked a little longer after the water station, but found that it was much harder to get going again than it was to just keep going so we kept running. 13.1 miles.... we did it. Our time was 2:38. We averaged 12 minute miles even when including the bathroom break into the time. I was very happy with that time so I don't feel the need to redeem myself. I don't ever have to run another one unless I want to. I will say that it is a possibility however, I have no desire to do a full marathon. I felt pretty good afterwards, but I was spent.  I cannot even imagine adding another 13.1 miles on.

How much have I run since completing my goal.....well, not much. I need a new goal and some serious motivation to keep at it. I keep having some issues with pain in my right leg this time. Not fun.

Welcome home Miranda!

February was a big month for our family. After serving an 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, our daughter, Miranda returned home. Miranda thought that only Eric and I were going to meet her at the airport and that she would fly to Idaho later to see all of her siblings. What she didn't know was we had schemed to have everyone here in Texas when she got home. Grandma Flash (Eric's mom) arrived February 4th. Paige, Brent and their 3 little girls along with Abby drove to Boise and met up with Isaac and Kandace. They all flew together from Boise. Bailey, Chad and their 2 little boys flew out of Pocatello. They all met up in Salt Lake and flew on the same flight to Texas on February 6. If your counting that is 15 people including Eric and me. The logistics of transporting that many people and luggage takes some planning. We ended up renting a 12 passenger van and also using our car. So much fun! Our surprise didn't go exactly as planned because Miranda's flight status was not updated correctly and we ran into Friday night traffic on the way to the airport. Most of us were there, but a few were still parking the van when she walked into the airport. She was still surprised.
We had a fun weekend together. Some of the gang had to go back to Idaho for jobs and school. Paige, Bailey, Abby , Grandma Flash and the kids stayed in Texas for awhile.
The Whole Gang

Nieces and Nephew with a sign for Mindy

Meeting Oliver for the first time

Meeting Lela for the first time