Saturday, December 29, 2018

Happy Holidays

Today, 12/28, marks 11 years since I stopped smoking. I totally missed the 10 year anniversary of the blog back in August, but I certainly don't miss lighting up anymore. Although I do still get cravings sometimes. It's never easy. I ran 4 miles today to celebrate the accomplishment.

And since we're just on the other side of Christmas I wanted to share some pictures from the holidays.

Lena's gotten a bit peckish
Evil Genius didn't want to pose for the family picture in front of our Christmas tree, so we had to use a skeleton stand-in. The skeleton ended up being buried under our new front porch.

It is a pretty tree
Here's a couple of interesting pictures. I was working on the porch in shorts & a t-shirt on Dec 7, then we got a rare snowfall on Dec 8, about 4"!

pouring concrete on a sunny day

And tons of snow the next day

Kids walked with me to get Chinese food in the snow

And we got to go to a Hurricanes hockey game
Work gave me a really nice thank-you gift for taking on an extra project - 4 tickets to a Carolina Hurricanes and a VIP parking pass. We got a suite, all the food was included, plenty of drinks, the kids had a blast. and the Canes won big!

So for Christmas this year we had a wild ride. We started with Kelley's dad's side of the family on Christmas Eve. I didn't get any pictures, but it was a big crowd. My kids were the youngest people there, which has never happened before, and the family who has been hosting since I started going to this thing 20 years ago said this was the last year they were hosting. So next year our Christmas Eve plans might open up.

Santa came to visit the kids, and left way too many toys & clothes. Kelley's mom and sister came home with us from Biscoe and stayed for all of the festivities. Then Kelley's dad and his wife came by, eventually also our niece Kailiegh and her boyfriend came over as well and stayed for breakfast (or brunch? it was around noon).

Girls in their new pajamas

Playing with the new loot

Kelley handing out presents sitting down
Then around 3:30 we got on the road to go see my parents in SC. They had a pretty chill Christmas day, but the day after was quite hectic. My brothers came over for our big breakfast and opened presents. The big reveal was that my youngest brother Morgan and his wife Martha are finally pregnant, after 5 years of infertility treatments! We are all so happy for them.

And to finish the holidays we had to take family pictures

The four of us in our Ugly Christmas Sweaters

My parents and the grandkids

I'm on the right, with my parents and brothers
Then all of my mom's family came over later for our big family Christmas. It was fantastic getting to see everyone again, most of those folks I haven't visited with since last Christmas. Again, I didn't get pictures.

Thursday my God-parents came up from Atlanta to visit with us and a few others who came to the house, with my brother who lives in Los Angeles, his wife, and I got to get my hands on his baby for the first time! Cute little guy was great.

Then the weather forced our hand a bit so we came on back to Raleigh. Overall we had a wonderful holiday filled with fun times, lots of family togetherness, and love. Hope you had as much fun as we did!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Teen Cave

It's like a man-cave, if man-caves were built for teenage girls. We got this couch that forced a piece of furniture upstairs, which forced us to turn the guest room into something else. Enter the teenager. I had to completely remodel the bathroom up there, she called it "working on her suite". She originally picked the orange color when we moved in 8 years ago, now she wanted it purple. We had to replace the carpet, move the furniture up, and hang a huge TV on the wall.

We had a recent family vacation in Pigeon Forge, TN, so I took pictures of the teen-cave to show off to the bigger family that doesn't come visit us in Raleigh. Enjoy the tour and some pictures from the vacation.

These stairs used to have carpet on them. I still need to paint the risers, and the treads could use some refinishing too.

The landing was hardwood under carpet! Such a pleasant surprise.

The remodeled bathroom.

On my woodworking blog, I did a whole category for this bathroom remodel. We found that sink on a clearance sale at Lowe's, same with the engineered flooring ($30 and $40, respectively). I also blew open a closet, made those shelves, flushed up the wall, redid the electrical, added the medicine cabinet and 2 lights, made my own shiplap and did the accent wall back there, hung the rest of the drywall... it was quite a mess. But the finished product is really cool. The tiny bathroom up there came out great!

New carpet, and we moved all of her furniture up there

The double recliner that spurred the whole thing

The big TV mounted with the playstaion and VR

The whole big family on the train at Dollywood

And out on the deck at the cabin we rented

the cabin was really nice

It was a really fun vacation in TN. Morgan made it with his wife, and my parents of course, but Michael had to stay home with a sick kid. I thought the room turned out great, everyone else agreed. This was a great way to setup the holidays.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Catching something

I've got a bug to get back to regular training, not just running when I can or feel like it, because that's almost never. It's never too early to plan for next year, right? I'm going to knock Oregon and Tennessee out of the 50 state list as the only athletic plans out there. I'm already registered for the Boring Marathon in Boring, Oregon outside of Portland. I'm also looking at either the Dirt Circuit (probably), a 12 hour race near Knoxville, or the Trash Panda Marathon (raccoons) in Chattanooga. I like the 12 hour because I can rest in between laps, it's a 3 mile loop so I can do 9 loops and call it a day if I want to.

Those are both in September of 2019. Plenty of time to train after I finish up some of these projects, and I'm planning on taking that (Fall 1) as my break from grad school anyway. I can only take 5 out of 6 possible class times next year, so that's going to be the skip. Really I'm ready to be done with grad school already. It's take a LOT of time and I kind of hate it. Head down, muddle through, take it one class at a time. I finished the first class already with an 89.75, a quarter point away from an A.

How I really feel about grad school
Again, I'm so glad the election is over. The blue wave is really nice and seems reasonable, but I really wish Beto had won and Florida didn't fuck up everything again. Mostly just because I despise Ted Cruz and Rick Scott as people as well as for their political propaganda.

I hate Florida
Final note: it's been so long since I've posted anything here I totally missed the Thanksgiving gratefulness post and the 10 year blog anniversary post. I ate so much over Thanksgiving that I'm not sure I will ever actually be hungry again. Well, at least not until I actually start running.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Almost Athletic

I got to be near an actual athletic event recently! My friend KC from the RAM team did the Swim the Suck 10.3 mile open water swim race. She asked me to pilot for her, so I hopped in the kayak. No way I'm going to pass up another road trip to Chattanooga! KC and I also got to hang out with her husband Chris, and another couple (Fred & Lisa) made the trip too. Fred swam, Lisa kayaked. I only took pictures while we were on the river, but the entire weekend was filled with craft beer, BBQ, and lots of laughs. Nooga is a really fun town.

Selfie in the house the night before. Feeling it.

Me with KC before the race

Suit up!

the Tennessee River

Selfie with a girl taking a selfie behind me

This is actually KC and Fred in the water

Lisa on pilot

Good form

My view for 4 hours in the water

Finally the clouds starting to break

They had an inflatable cow at the finish line

KC and Chris at the finish

Here we go!

That whole trip was a blast. It really makes me miss swimming open water, swimming long, and swimming on the RAM team. At least I can still run, but it only happens once or twice a week, and usually not longer than 3 miles.

Last weekend was the NC State Fair. I don't go to the fair, and usually complain about the traffic. But this year the traffic didn't bother me, my commute goes in the other direction now. I do love to run by the fairgrounds while the fair is going on, it's always so nice to see all of the people who come out to the fair. So I went out for an easy 3, and it was cool. and it felt good, and I took my phone so I could always call for a ride home. Then I decided just to keep going towards the capital building, my regular 10 mile route. And funny thing, I never fatigued! Finally I discovered I was too close to getting back to the fairgrounds to call for a ride so I decided to just finish it out. It was the first time in double digits since the marathon in Colorado, and the really I have only hit 5 miles once since then.

On Hillsborough St

At the state capital building

a farmers market downtown

the NC State Fair
So I'm feeling good. When we were in Chattanooga, Chris suggested I try CBD oil to medicinally help with the inflammation. Amazon can't sell that, but I did get some hemp oil. Funny thing is, it really seems like it's working! My hands, wrists, and elbows were in really bad shape for weeks, and I was really debating going back to the rheumatologist because the current meds just weren't working. This hemp oil does seem to be the real deal. We'll have to see how that works out.

Mentally, I'm only doing ok. Summer lasted way longer than it should have, so now we get absolutely no fall in NC. No leaf colors, they are just dropping. Went overnight from high's in the 90's to high's in the 50's. insane. I'm not ready for the holidays to be here yet. More sleep and less weight would be nice. Road trips and great long runs like this really help! But finishing the porch project would be really nice too.