Monday Mindspacing Vol. 145

1) I'm (slowly... LOL) approaching 1300 posts... Wow. I would never have imagined when I started this blog nearly 7 years ago how many fabulous people I would meet because of it.

2) I was recognized in public because of my blog! If it's happened before, whoever saw me didn't say anything. I was so confused at first. LOL But it was cool! Thanks for reading!

3) I have been ravenous for the last 2 days. Like if you get your hand close enough to my mouth, you might lose it. I'm pretty sure it's the high level of activity. My old trainer is moving so I worked out with her one last time on Friday. WOW!! a- it's been a long time since I worked out in front of a mirror-- arms miraculously awesome (I never do any arm work), a little thigh jiggle and a little belly jiggle, b- I'm much stronger than I thought I was w/little strength training so running is AMAZING, c- she said I my lunge jump switches were so graceful and most people land like elephants. LOL & yay!

From the abs down was misery on Saturday but I had a 7-mile run planned so I did it. Then I lead a run/walk for 2.5 miles. I got home and was murderously hungry! If we owned a chicken, it would have died. This hunger could not be quelled all day. I would eat, still be hungry afterwards or know the hunger would soon return. Sunday, I lead a 1.5-mile run/walk, then ran 2 miles. Why hello, Ravenisha. (My name for the weekend.) 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning after eating? STILL HUNGRY!!! First breakfast has already been consumed: a stuffed pepper with a corn tortilla and Honey Bunches of Oats with Raisins in almond milk. Second breakfast: a frittata using the pepper filling with 2 slices of wheat toast is imminent.

4) Why do overweight or obese people think it's okay to "jokingly" call me fat or tell me I'm going to get fat? That's what my mom said to me when I told her I couldn't get rid of my hunger. Really? I'm going to get fat? She apologized but that "joke" is never funny. Just because you see/hear of people working out or they look slim doesn't mean they don't have their own issues with weight. Maybe just maybe that's part of why they work out.

5) Speaking of that... I went into the archives for other times I spoke of weight and found some crazy! On one post, Rashan, before he was even my boyfriend, said, "You should totally feign anorexia when you go home. That would be hilarious." NUT!! I'm about to bring that back for old times sake. People seriously used to ask me if I was eating enough. RUDE. If I wasn't, you couldn't save me with a slick remark in a 20-second conversation.

6) I'm sleeping horribly again. I'll wake up after 2 hours feeling refreshed then go back to sleep 4-5 hours later. How nutty is that? I do not like it.

7) We are OBSESSSSSED with the Olympics round here! Like watching THE most random sports and getting all into it! Women's weightlifting you say? All in! We've also been watching the usual-- swimming & gymnastics. Synchronized diving? Synchronized AWESOMENESS! I love all of the synchronized sports! And I can't wait for track! Shocker, right?? :) I LOVED the torch lighting and fireworks of the opening ceremonies!

8) My sister-in-law stays posting pictures on facebook... of herself. You look the same. You have two kids under the age of five. You live far away. Please post pictures of the children.

9) Y'all know I love Mariah Carey! I briefly considered watching American Idol now that she'll be a judge. Decided against it because I realllly hate amateur performers. I still love you though, Mimi.

10) Conan O'Brien played a mash-up of a bunch of news anchors around the country who unwittingly used the same cliché over and over and over. INSANE! This is EXACTLY why you're not supposed to use clichés in journalism. I'm gonna show that video in every journalism writing class I ever teach. LOL

11) Rashan has finally stopped asking me to fix the local news here. LOLOL! We still can't watch it together because it's so awful that I moan and complain the entire time. I do probably need to flex that critical muscle, though so I'll be torturing myself again soon.

12) I don't get the appeal of QVC & HSN. I have never wanted to sit and watch either of those channels or been remotely tempted by their wares.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 144

1) Rashan and I fell asleep before 1 a.m. which is SUPER early for us (usually 3 or later) and were both up by 7:30. Nutty. He went to wander around the grocery store. I almost went with him but it was too bright outside.
2) This man can't take a grocery trip of less than an hour no matter how few ingredients on the list. Today: THREE!!! Bring me my almond milk!! It's Cinnamon Toast Crunch time!! (Turns out he was detoured around an accident.)
3) My mom called me last night and asked me to take an impromptu trip to Charlotte to hang with her as a new bishop is installed. This man is one of my favorite preachers ever. Even as a child I knew he was awesome! Consider it done!
4) Have you guys watched "Four Houses" yet??? It's hilarious! You must get on it! Basically four people go judge each other's houses and vote for the best one.
5) The Next Food Network Star (NFNS) finale was underwhelming. A clip/reunion show as the finale??? Lame.
6) Have I told you guys how much menu planning for the week has created all kinds of awesomeness for me??? Super extra awesome! I don't have to scramble at night to come up with what I'm going to cook. I select based on what's on sale and from the hundreds of recipes I have saved in my bookmarks.
7) Rashan said my car has a distinctive smell: french fries. ROTFL!!! That car has seen more french fries than a little bit. When I get in my car after running, then run an errand and get back in the car, it smells like old man sweat to me. Hot, right?
8) I don't like mint. Or dill. I do love dill pickles, though. But not dill relish. Only sweet relish.
9) I need to make pickles.
10) This episode of "Chopped" with the past winners of NFNS produced two desserts I would never want to eat based on looks and description. Yuck.
11) My sister had a California cobb salad in New Orleans that I can't stop thinking about! That thing was so beautiful!!! LOL @ me dreaming of pictures of OTHER PEOPLE'S FOOD! It doesn't happen often but my oh my!


Unforeseen Circumstances

Remember my August 4th half-marathon? The one I've been training for for months? Look at the message they sent out yesterday... YESTERDAY!!!

Dear Participant:

Thank you for registering for the (race).
We are sorry to announce that we have canceled the Half Marathon, 10K and Kids Fun Run due to unforeseen circumstances.
We will be issuing a full race refund within the next two weeks.

What the what?! Two weeks out and you cancel a race?? WDDDA??? I had been stalking the website for weeks for details on the course route. It always said the same thing: Course route coming soon! Wednesday night, I sent an email to the race series asking for details on the route. I decided right then I wasn't registering until I heard back from them regarding that.

Thank God I'm a member of a national running group! Before workers at the race series could respond (if they ever will), I saw several people post the message you see above. What is an unforeseen circumstance??? This is a national race series!!! Granted, they mostly focus on triathlons but they've held running only races in other cities. I would hope you know what goes into planning a race to not have "unforeseen circumstances"! And what does that mean?? Oh the mystery! On twitter, I'd ordinarily play a game where we think of the most outrageous reasons to cancel a race. You may feel free to do that in the comments. I'll start: they heard of a cholera outbreak that day and decided to cancel the event just to be safe.

I'd picked this race because it was the perfect confluence of my needs: near home, far enough out (at the time) that I could have a comfortably long training period, inexpensive. This race peaked at $60 on race day, whereas half marathons usually cost $70+ WEEKS out and upwards of $150 on race day. I guess you get what you pay for? Or don't get what you pay for. Or don't get what you don't pay for. (LOL) I'm just glad they're giving refunds to those who registered without a hassle. Many races have a no refunds policy, which when they cancel (or postpone) the race, OF COURSE, makes people very angry.

Anyway, I quickly transitioned from shock over the cancellation to making my peace with it. Just the day before, I'd done what I thought was my last double digit run before my half. I was excited that even with a bathroom break (which I normally don't take during runs), I was able to shave 23 minutes off of my first 13-mile run. And yet, I knew I wanted to shave even more time, preferably at least 7 more minutes. Plus, the more you run a distance, the more comfortable you become with that distance. So a few more times running it? Sounds good to me! I'll get better and better at pacing myself. This also gives me time to continue with the strength training I've begun and re-start my speed work. We'll also be further out from the hottest part of the year so HALLELUJAH to that! I won't have to wake up before the sun to get my runs in. YAY!!! The only drawback is I have no idea where we'll be living by September so it really doesn't even do me any good to search for a race. But in the grand scheme? That's a minor thing. I'm gonna go ahead and claim these "circumstances" (couldn't find enough grass-fed cows to fly in and hand-butcher for the post-race party?) as for the best. Hey! At least I won't get cholera!

**Update: I did some sleuthing on their facebook page. For the last week, they've been saying they were waiting for course approval from the city/county/DOT. Ummm... what??? 


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 143

1) Home stretch to my half marathon! I'm doing my final long run TOMORROW!! I now call long runs those that are 10+ miles. Crazy, right?? Tomorrow is 13.1!
2) Did y'all stop praying about my job? I haven't gotten one yet so KEEP PRAYING!!
3) I did cross training this week... REAL CROSS TRAINING for the first time since I started running. Why am I so crazy???? Clearly I should've been doing this all along (like I knew) and why would I start AT THE END of half marathon training? Like I said, crazy. I did zumba, cardio kickboxing (both in one day) and this AWESOME weightless workout. I only made it through twice on the weightless workout instead of four so I'll keep working up until I get there!
4) Sponsored posts make me itch. They're so over the top with their effusive, glowing reviews. Throwing in one semi-bad thing fools no one.
5) Remember my weird late night cooking desires? Saturday morning at 2:30, I decided I wanted to make peach cobbler... so I did! It was good and easy. With more time, I'd go ahead and make pie crust but this one will do in a time crunch or with a ton of fruit lying around begging to be used.
6) Four years ago today, Rashan and I met in person for the first time! Awwww! It was the most awkward day of our relationship. LOLOL Sooooo awkward! And two days later, he asked me to be his girlfriend. :) If you had told me he would be my husband, I would've been SHOCKED!
7) I used to call all pregnant women "Pregneesha." LOLOL I need to bring that back! Somebody should hurry up and get knocked up! Not it!
8) We called to talk to Rah's sister for her birthday on Friday and our six-year-old nephew quickly stole the phone to tell us something VERY IMPORTANT. I don't remember what it was. He just loves to talk to us. :) We talked to him more than SIL.
9) I have to do a family reunion recap post. I learned some amazing things about my family history and got to know some of my extremely old first cousins! My oldest first cousins are/will be 51, 52 & 53 this year. Since they're only a few years younger than my mom and have kids at or near my age, I know next to nothing about them. So I got all up in their business. And the business of my 45-year-old cousin and his 25-year-old girlfriend/wife/fiancée. Clearly I wasn't enough in the business because I'm not sure of their relationship.
10) My dad... women flock to him like crazy. How do you meet someone at your family reunion? She's not related! Don't worry! LOL One of my aunt's friends. My dad also likes to gossip. He was half listening to my conversation at the dinner table for the banquet and heard the word abomination. When I tell you his head whipped around so FAST!!! H-i-larry-us! Stop being nosy!
11) OMG! We have a family friend down there named David who I absolutely LOVED as a child! We dropped right in without calling and he welcomed us like he'd seen us last week instead of 15 years ago. (Well he's definitely seen my dad more recently but not my sister and I.) This is in the middle of nowhere. Isn't the country amazing? He's 78 now but EXACTLY the same. STILL AWESOME! So glad we got to see him!
12) My phone constantly makes me favorite tweets I have no intention of favoriting. This makes me want to throw it out of a window. This phone has been annoying me more and more lately. Do better, LG!!


Wed & Anniversed

Anniversed is a word, right? It is now! Last weekend, Rashan and I headed to Savannah. I'd cooked the french onion soup his mom requested, baked the ginger snaps she'd politely and lovingly harangued me for (LOL) and even though Rashan's sister (N) said I didn't have to, I made something for her as well... a vegan chocolate cake with tofu mousse and coconut milk whipped cream. Let me hang on that point for a minute before I move on. It's been a long time since I was around unadventurous eaters. Rashan, my mom and my sister and even most of his family are so happy to have someone cook for them that they'll eat whatever I place before them. My dad will wonder why I'm going through so much trouble, then enjoy it as well. I don't know why but it bothers him when I compliment my own cooking. I'm not supposed to enjoy it? Or just not to mention that I enjoy it? Hmph. Either way I'm ignoring that particular bit of advice.

I'm getting behind and ahead of myself so let's go back to the beginning. We had pre-determined our first stop in Savannah would be Seafoodlicious. It's a fish market turned takeout window. We adore this place! Awesome portions and delicious fried food- oysters for me, shrimp for Rashan. I even send people there when they say they're heading to Savannah. Except this time, the fries weren't great and the portions had shrunk. It's no longer a great deal for $9.25. I'd return for fresh seafood but there are plenty of other places to go for cooked or raw oysters where I can sit and relax.

OMG!! Y'ALL!! The heat index was every bit of 115 with 100% humidity. I have NE.VER felt anything like that in my life. EVER! I couldn't stop exclaiming over it! Shouldn't there be something resembling an ocean breeze??? Please???? Completely and utterly shocking. AND MISERABLE!! Rashan had told me about it many many times but I'd never experienced it on any of our summer trips there. I thought he was exaggerating. THIS IS MY SORRY FOR 2004 (through 2012 and infinity)!! Please don't let me ever feel that again!!! (Unless it's for a job I love...)

When we got to his mom's house, I gave a round of hugs to everyone and felt more at home there than I ever have before. Even though Rashan's mom opened her kitchen to me the first time I came years ago, I still felt a bit awkward. I know they would hate to hear that but there are so many personalities that I was always trying to figure everyone out. Even this past Thanksgiving, it was my first time there as Rashan's wife. I was still kind of feeling out my role. Now? Totally in my skin. Our oldest niece is 14 and loves me! It's awesome! She even asked to come back to North Carolina with us. I wish we could've brought her back! There's far too little space here. Our only bathroom is through our bedroom. That will never do. It's terrible for hosting company. Side note: They all refer to where we live as "North Carolina." I don't know why it amuses me. Maybe because they never mention the city by name? Because it sounds so formal? Because they disassociate it as our home? Not sure but it's funny! Also, they all want us nearby, which I love!

Around 4, the house started filling up with people for N's wedding dinner-- a pasta bar with lots of dessert. I met her new husband and his children. There are minimal introductions even though there are less than 30 people there and we all separate according to the family groups we already had before the wedding. At the end of the day, I still had no idea who most of the people from his side were. Siiiiiiigh. Let's return to this cake I baked, shall we? My plan was to tell no one it was vegan and let them just enjoy it. Someone must have spilled the beans because NONE of his family even tried it. I was so annoyed. But N, oldest niece, my BIL and oldest nephew all said it was good. And I liked it, too. Yay!

Speaking of oldest nephew... he's 16, quiet and lanky. We've never exchanged more than a few words every time we saw each other, his mostly mumbled. I vowed to change that this time! Rashan & I sat at the teen table. I cracked jokes with all of them and broke the wall. Yay! I also rode his bike. Did I mention he's about 6'1 and I haven't ridden a bike in over 10 years??? I was praying I wouldn't kill myself! As you can see I didn't. God answers prayers!

After the dinner, N & S (new BIL) wanted all the siblings to go out to eat together. The first thing suggested was Applebee's. Y'all. Y'all know KNOW how I hate that place. Of ALL the chains, it is my least favorite. AND we're in SAVANNAH!!!! Can we please go somewhere that can't be found in every U.S. city and town???? But guess what I did? Said I'd go wherever they wanted. Someone else said no to that spot. THANK YOU, JESUS! More answered prayers! And we landed on a Mexican restaurant. EVEN BETTER!

S's sister didn't come for some reason. Rashan's brother was moping and didn't come so they N & S's teenage daughters come (14 & 15). S's brother was there with his 21+ year-old sons. They sat at the bar. Such a strange, strange dynamic. I consumed a GIANT margarita. HUGE EYES! That thing! We got to our hotel and I fell straight asleep. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and asked him if he drugged me. (He didn't.) Then I got us free breakfast from the hotel (right around the corner but blessedly quiet) of ham, eggs, fresh waffle (made on the iron by me), milk, water and potatoes. It hit the spot! I went right back to sleep for a few more hours and woke up like a new person.

IT WAS OUR ANNIVERSARY!!! YAY!!!! One year of marriage! This was our only day for just the two of us since he had to be back at work on Monday. We headed to Hilton Head and found a restaurant near the beach. It happened to still be serving brunch! I LOVE BRUNCH!! I got the crab cakes benedict. I LOVE EGGS BENEDICT!!!!!! The crab cakes were good, though small. The hollandaise was flavorless. The side of grits that the waitress sold me on were also flavorless. Um... does your chef have a thing against salt? Seasonings of any kind??? No bueno. BUT all brunch items came with champagne or mimosa. Mimosa, please!

Then we headed to the beach. Yay! I love the beach!! I mixed patterns in my top and bottom bikini to Rashan's chagrin. I loved it! We marveled at how close to the water we could put our things. The beach was nearly empty! Amazing! We waded in and within minutes, our things were being covered by the ocean! Ack! Tide, y u no tell us you were coming in? Y u no look different coming in and going out? We hustled to move our things to the very back of the beach and that ocean kept coming! Twas nuts! But it was so calm and I could walk out incredibly far and it was only hip high. It reminded me of the beach at the Gulf of Mexico. Pretty amazing. Oh! This water was also extremely warm and in some places down right hot! Is this the sauna section of the beach?? Très bizarre.

After the beach, we hit the road. Would you believe I wanted Del Taco really really badly? Best fast food tacos ever! Would you also believe we passed the exit because it wasn't marked??? Would you also believe I threw a minor hissy fit over this missed fast food? We ONLY get it en route to Savannah because we have no other reason to use this highway into SC and it's nowhere else in the southeast. We found it on a fluke the first time and couldn't find it on purpose this time. Not cool, people. No matter, the first year of marriage has concluded, the second year is underway and it's been a WONDERFUL WEEK!! Wednesday I made burgers, then we walked down to the baseball park to watch the 4th fireworks. We leaned into each other as we watched them and held hands on our walk back home. Then we enjoyed strawberry/peach sangria courtesy of moi. Love!


Lessons from the First Year

On Sunday, Rashan and I celebrated one year of marriage. So exciting! I loved being able to say I was married less than a year! But now I love that we get to build even more upon that wonderful first year. Are we officially no longer newlyweds??? Anyway, here are the things I've learned in the first year.

1) You don't have to say everything that comes to your mind. LORD HAVE MERCY!!! I have always had a problem with my mouth so this was a struggle for me. I'm not quite so bad as if it's on my mind, it's out of my mouth but I don't hold things in. I see no reason for that. I should say I saw no reason for that. When it matters, I'll speak up but...
2) Some things aren't worth the argument. This goes right along with number one. There are 7 million things that I like just so and 3 that Rashan likes just so. At the beginning, I had to tell him my every pet peeve. Oh my GOODNESS I know I worried the mess out of him. Sometimes he would just sigh, others he would look at me like I'd grown an extra head, still other (fewer) times he would respond.
3) I LOOOOOOVE RASHAN! I already love him more than I did before we got married. ALREADY. And I could've told you that at three months. Marriage is a serious commitment. We're in it 100% and it shows! When we were dating and even living together, I always knew either of us could leave whenever but this is REAL. There's no up and leaving. There's no ignoring the seriousness of this commitment. And being on one accord about that is enormous.
4) I can relax. I am so much more chill when he's around. He has an incredibly calming presence. If I'm having a bad day, he doesn't even have to say anything. A hug is enough to release all of the tension I was holding in my shoulders.
5) Our parents are the anti in-law nightmare. When people talk about their horrible in laws... every single time... I thank God that neither of us has to deal with that. They don't stalk us about having children, they don't say mean things to us about the other. They are rooting for our marriage and wouldn't do anything to tear us apart. Marriage is hard when those you love don't support it. I'm so, SO glad we don't have to worry about that.
6) Keep it in the family. My first friend to marry did so almost 5 years ago. She said an older lady gave her advice to keep married issues between married people. I had kind of realized this a little in the year or so prior to our marriage through hearing some SPECTACULARLY bad advice (that I didn't follow), even from others in relationships, but I really stuck to it once we got married. Any petty argument or one of us getting on the other's nerves? We'll be over that in no time. But if I tell anybody else about it, they'll remember it forever and bring it up again. I don't even tell my mom and I tell her a lot. The most I'll say is "he's getting on my nerves." That's plenty.
7) We can live on surprisingly little. It has been interesting to be a single income household to say the least but we've made it work. We hope never to be here again without a much larger nest egg but we have done it. It wasn't always easy but it wasn't as difficult as I might have imagined.
8) Nothing happens if you go to sleep mad. Sometimes you wake up over it and other times you wake up knowing you'll get over it but ready to talk about it like a sane person. Just go to bed. LOL
9) We can still learn new things about each other. This is one of my favorite things! Considering at one point we were both prolific bloggers, including two streaks of blogging every day for months, had years of daily marathon phone sessions of 6-12 hours and yet we still manage to find stories the other doesn't know about. I love that this will happen for years and years.
10) My mother LOVES this man, y'all! It's a bit crazy! I need you to chill out. This is another reason why I don't tell her about our spats. She'll take his side!
11) Some days we still have odd communication gaps. We don't miss anything huge because we're very careful to ask about the big things. But sometimes we make an assumption about something because we know each other pretty well. That assumption just happens to be wrong. Like where he didn't tape a show I wanted to see because he knows I don't like a full DVR. Um... I'd rather have the show. I can watch it and clear the DVR.
12) My day is better with him in it. It was already true but it's even more true now. When I'm having a terrible day, a little Rashan takes it all away.

*And Rashan wants you to know you go through cereal so much faster when there are two people eating it!