Monday, April 2, 2012

This one will be more positive...

I promise!  It's been a crazy good week...The day after my last post, I completed my first 50-mile trail race!  In true KFo fashion, I added a couple extra miles for good measure, running 52 rather than 50 - however, I got lost, so it's not like I did it on purpose.  The main thing is, I DID IT!  The haunting of dropping out at mile 41 from AR50 last year still stings, but not quite as much now that I have a finisher's belt buckle.  The fact that my longest run in the last 4 months was 17 miles was stupid, but at least I know I can gut it out now.  I was the 4th woman overall (out of 9 finishers, but 6 DNF'd).  Of the 70 who started, only 40 finished, so that makes me feel pretty good about my accomplishment - proved to myself I have the guts, the courage, and the wherewithal to dig down deep and get through it.  Yay me!

Also...yay team!  Amy the wonder-runner also did her first 50-miler, and it was her first TRAIL race ever.  She came in 2nd woman overall in a blazing time, and looked fresh as a daisy by the time I had completed my day.  Wow!  Plus, Yolie the Race Mom was amazing - there for Amy and I at every start/end loop, cheering us on, playing fetch, and generally being supportive.  What a great day...the mud, the sand, the heat, and the getting lost could not dampen my spirits at the end.  Not sure I'm quite ready to tackle that elusive 100, but I've got a little gnat in my ear that is trying to convince me.  We.  Shall.  See.

The rest of the week was fairly anti-climactic after that.  Recovery yoga session on Monday morning, short, easy run on Tuesday morning (quads were still a little upset with me), massage Tuesday afternoon (ouch! - but the good kind), and then a break for the legs on Wednesday and Thursday.  The excitement returned when a friend offered me a chance to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to DC for the weekend, after I had mentioned that I was free all weekend and didn't have a whole lot of reasons to stay in TX.  So...off I went.  Had a great time hanging with HC, eating some great food, running through the national mall, looking at what remained of the cherry blossoms.  Finally got to experience the cherry blossoms during festival season - and ALMOST go to bandit the Cherry Blossom 10-miler, but that would have been too perfect.

Now I am back in town, trying to get a groove for school and work, but spring break pretty much did me in.  I'm ready for summer break and beyond!  Not sure it'll be a "break" as much as "planned return to the real world," as my continuance in this program is definitely in doubt.  Once again, we shall see.  I just feel pretty schooled out right now - over 30 years of my life in these classrooms, and not sure it's gotten me anywhere.  LOL.  OK, it's gotten me a few places.  But I think I might be at that point where more isn't necessarily better.

All right...since I'm writing this to up date but also to avoid getting any work done, I better stop the word vomit and get back to doing something a little more productive.  Hope everyone (all 2 of my loyal readers!) has a great week and a happy happy Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Businesses suck, too!

I just cancelled by domain name with NETWORK SOLUTIONS because I haven't used it and haven't had time to really manage it. However, they opted me in to an auto-renewal without notifying me, and I had to CALL in order to opt out. By ths time, of course, they had already renewed the domain, charged my credit card, and were all set to basically take my money without ever letting me know. I was forced to call them - and when I explained the situation to them, they refunded my money and then said "There is a $10 refund request fee charge." WTF?????? Obviously, I feel this is a bunch of BS. The rep said she would "elevate" this request of fee waiver to the billing department, but when I asked if there was someone in the billing department I could speak to, she said "they don't take calls." How conveninent...and that is exactly what I told her.

It's 10 bucks, right? Not that big of a deal in the big picture of things - however, it's the principle of it all. It's an absolute SCAM!!!! DO NOT USE NETWORK SOLUTIONS for anything - unless you are willing to keep one eye on them at all times! Seriously ridiculous. OK. I think I'm done ranting for now.

Moving on to other, more important things...I head to Decatur, TX today to hang out with a dear friend and prep for a race I am not really prepped for...50 miles on the trails at Grasslands Park. Ummm....yeeeeaaaahhhh. It's been rainyg and cool at night, with temps during the day set to hit the low 80s tomorrow. Fortunately I handle the heat fairly well, although not sure how well I'll deal with it on the trails and with the humidity. Hoping that the trails are not as sandy as they were last year due to all the rain we've had, but also hoping they dry out enough to avoid the muddy bogs of 2 years ago; if it's too muddy, I'll likely not even attempt it. Or I'll attempt it but with hopes of just turning it into a long run. I need one, anyway. (It would be nice to earn the buckle, though!) HA! We'll just have to wait and see what comes along tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm so lucky to have my friend Yolie taking care of me tonight and tomorrow - good friends are a most valuable and valued treasure!

I'm not nearly as nervous about this race as I probably should be...but perhaps the nerves will finally settle in tomorrow morning? Likely it will happen when I am about to start the race and can no longer remain in denial. One of these days I'll learn, but obviously it's not any time soon. Or any time soon enough, I should say.

Here it is already the Friday of my spring break and I have really accomplished less than half of what I needed to do and intended to do. I feel a bit guilty about not putting my nose to the grindstone as I feel I should have, but I've slept and slept and slept, watched movies, sewed, and generally been a lazy lazy bum. I wish I had just gone ahead and bought a plane ticket to somehwere - picked out a spot I'd never visited and up and left. But now it's too late! However, perhaps I'll take a weekend trip in April; after all, I did take one in early March, even if it didn't turn out exactly to my liking. Hmmm...it definitely might be worth doing. Keeping my eye on airfare.

OK. Time to get started with the day. I've got a lot to do and I actually need to DO it! Keep your fingers crossed for me, my friends!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What we WANT to do...

Is very different than what we feel we HAVE to do.  For example, I slept in this morning (daylight savings time screws me up this time of year!), got out of bed, and managed to mix and make two batches of cookies, bake a key lime pie, clean my bathroom and kitchen (including all the dishes I had dirtied during baking), and vacuum my entire apartment in just over two hours...because I have a small group of pals coming over tonight and I promised them homemade desserts.  Also because apparently having friends come over means that I feel obligated to clean (not that my place is ever very messy or dirty...but you know how it goes).  HOWEVER, I still have PLENTY of school work that I could be doing - and it's going to take plenty more time than just over two hours.  BUT I don't really feel like doing it; I've been doing it for a long time (or at least been thinking about doing it!), and I'm weary of it.  I am technically on spring break now - though I am in clinics Thursday-Saturday - and all I can think about is how much WORK I'm going to have to be doing.  <sigh>  I wish I had a group of friends that could inspire me the same way I am inspired by them coming over to my house.  (No disrespect to my schoolmates, who are all inspiring - it's just a different sort f inspiration).  Anyway, enough whining.

The weather is gorgeous!  The humidity is coming in with a vengeance, but these 70-80 degree days are lovely...walking around without a coat is delightful!  Of course, that means that I still have to carry a jacket, because it is the season of unseasonably cool weather INside.  Yep.  But I don't care.  I love the sun.  And, my running of late has been really really strong!  Managed to keep up with the "fast girls" this past Saturday, and I wasn't killing myself to do it.  Until the end, that is.  But I was still able to muster up a cool down mile after a super fast 11th mile, so I'm thrilled.  Maybe my trail race coming up in 10 days won't be too disastrous after all.

OK.  I am just procrastinating further, obviously, be continuing to blog rather than getting to the other things (not as much fun!) I need to do today.  Hope everyone is enjoying the gorgeous weather, is happy, and looking forward to something...the weekend, a dinner with a loved one, a gathering with friends, or just smelling the spring blooms.  We are all going to die some day, so we might as well make the most of every day we are alive!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It's been a long time, baby!

And to be frank, I had all but forgotten that I had a blog...that's how crazy my life has been of late!  But, it's time to start cracking again - even though I'm really jus using this as an excuse to not get to work.  <sigh>

So...a quick one before I get my chicken in the crock pot and force myself to get some school stuff done.  Because I had a REALLY fantastic run this morning!  Ran 12.5 miles with the "fast girls," and felt amazing!  Must have been the hills...or the tulips that we got to see.  Such a nice little reward.  I feel better at a faster pace than as slower one these days, but that's a good thing, right?  Regardless, I haven't had a run like that in a very long time - gives me hope that I'm not going downhill as fast I as thought.

I could go on and on about stuff right now, but since I do have a list today, I better get going.  Just had to put it down.  It's been a struggle, the training, this semester - with 4 part-time jobs and 6 hours of PhD coursework to do, I admit that I've bitten off a bit more than I can chew.  Thank goodness for spring break next week - a chance to really drill down and finish up, so I can do at least a LITTLE coasting toward the end of the semester!

I'll try to remember to be better about blogging.  At least once a week, right?  For my one follower and those of you who check back on occasion - I vow to do more!  Have a great weekend and don't forget to spring forward....

Friday, January 27, 2012

An amazing person

I met him yesterday, while I was in the process of working in a clinic for relief. He came in because he wasn't sure if he had a day off or if he was supposed to work - so erring on the side of caution, he figured he had to work. When he discovered that he didn't have to work, he still took some time to stop and chat; in the process, he earned my respect with with just 6 words:

"I've been practicing for 60 years."

SIXTY YEARS. You didn't read that wrong - and I didn't hear it wrong. This gentleman is finally getting ready to retire, after 60 YEARS of service to animals and people. Unfathomable to me. Awe- and hope-inspring to me. Here is a man who found what he wanted to do, found his passion, and followed it. Here is a man who has enjoyed an extraordinary career in a field which has evolved faster than most. Here is a man who was lucky enough to not go to work every day, because he enjoyed it so much it wasn't a job.

He graduated from Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College in the early 1950s (before it became Texas A&M University!). He was the first person to go to college in his family, and he graduated from high school at the age of 16. The next day he turned 17, and he got in a year of university studies before being drafted into the Infantry. He spent three years as an Infantryman (a hard life now, harder then, I would imagine). We talked about the horrible food - though I ended up with a greater appreciation for my horrible Army food after hearing his story. Doc said that at one point they were eating C-rations from Australia, and this was before things were really refrigerated. So, they had a ruck march that was going to take them about 3 days - and they received enough of these c-rations to get them through the three days. At the end of the march, he still had two days' worth left, because the food was canned mutton (sheep). Not only was it sheep, but it was rotten sheep! What is good and what is bad is all a matter of perspective.

He left not too long after that yesterday, but we worked together today and I was able to let him talk some more since the clinic was very slow. When Doc started practicing there was but one antibiotic - penicillin. They didn't know about Vibrio, IBR, and the like. They didn't have vaccines for many of the diseases that we read about today but rarely see. They didn't know how to evaluate bulls for breeding potential, so he got together with a group of vets to figure that out. No vet schools had x-ray machines, so when they built the new one and brought in someone to teach the students how to read films, the school took an old Army x-ray machine and installed it and sent the vet to MD Anderson to learn how to read human films. "A bone is a bone, after all," Doc said.

Most of his career was spent in mixed animal practice; I asked him what his favorite species to work on was and he thought for a moment before saying, "I can't that I have a favorite. They're all so interesting and different." His demeanor is quiet, calm, thoughtful, and kind. I can see why he has had such success for so long.

The last story I can relay is this one: he pregnancy checked 100,000 cows in ONE YEAR. He got paid a dollar a cow, but could buy a "good chevy truck for $1250, so I was making pretty good money!" The most cows he checked in one day was 946...in a single day. He was apparently pretty successful, too - as he sat with some cowboys on a lunch break one day, one of the ranchers rode up and told the cowboys that "Doc made me an extra quarter of a million bucks this year!" The cowboys' jaws about dropped to the dirt, and once they recovered they were able to ask the rancher "How?"

The rancher pulled his calf sales record out of his shirt pocket. Handed it to one of the cowboys and said, "How many calves did we sell last year? How many this year? How much profit did we make on those extra calves?" Doc was pretty popular after that! And the rancher had made his point - bringing in a vet had helped the cowboys, not hurt them. A lot of stories, a lot of memories contained in that brain of his. I'm still wrapping my brain around the fact that someone has been doing a job for 60 years. Incredible. And he seems like a good, down-to-earth guy - a guy that has given back as much as he has earned. So I hope you see why I had to write this. Why the words had to be put into e-space. Even my dear friend - who's mentor practiced for 56 (?) years before retiring - was tickled to hear my tale. Couldn't make it up if I tried. Serious kudos to you, Doc! May your retirement be as rich as your career has been. And thanks for sharing - I'm blessed to have known you for even the few hours that I did.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Month!

First off - hi Dave! Good to see you found me again. Hope you are well and the running is feeling great! Next off, hi Hamilton! Thanks for reminding me about this blog. I've been crazy enough this month that I almost forgot about it. But now I remember, so here I am...

A few things to report, then I must off to teach a class on gut bugs on my birthday. Yes, it IS my birthday - at least according to the dentist that aged me when I first arrived here in these great United States. I claim the whole month, really, because the only person who knows the exact date of my birth is unknown to me - so they really did have to tell my birth date by my teeth. Therefore, I have a rightful claim to the month of January, no? Anyway, I started off the morning of my 39th year with a dreadmill run - it was supposed to be a stationary bike ride, but someone already occupied the bike. And it was (and still is) raining outside, and cold. After my White Rock experience, I choose NOT to run in that weather, so dreadmill it was! An easy 4 miles followed by a few minutes of core. A good way to start off my new year.

In the meantime, I am still trying to decide which 100-mile race to sign up for and tackle. Perhaps I'll chicken out (help me here, Hamilton!), but we shall see. I am leaning toward Lean Horse in August, but that means I'll have to forego Pike's Peak Half. Oh! Decisions! But I do know if I don't do it this year I'll likely chicken out altogether so there you have it.

I keep hoping that the next 5 weeks won't be as bad as they look on my calendar, and so far so good. It's probably a good sign that I need to find a way to stop doing clinical work when I groan every time I see it on my schedule...or at least stop doing clinical work the way I am doing it. Unfortunately for now, unless I'm willing to live off student loans again (which I'm not), it's the only way I can pay my bills. Unless....my department chair gives me a guarantee of teaching at least once class each semester. But that might not happen any time really soon. So I'll just have to hang in there in the meantime.

OK. Enough whining! Life is good. I'm healthy, happy, and still young. I have great friends, my running is going well (I'm practically off my orthotiocs altogether - and loving it!), and learning a TON. I may still be deciding what I want to do when I grow up - actually, I know what I want to do when I grow up. The job just doesn't exist right now. Guess I'll have to keep chugging and figure out a way to make one....but the real point is, I'm still plugging. Hope I continue to have the wherewithal to get there.

Have a great day, everyone - it's my birthday, and since I'm having a fabulous day, you should, too!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And we're back!

On New Year's Eve, henceforth referred to as "NYE." It's a little past 7am as my darn internal clock didn't let me sleep much past the dawning of light through the tiny cracks in my new vertical blinds...it's a new place to live and so far I'm loving it (except for the VERY thin walls. But that's apartment living!). My sis is in the next room, having flown in last night, and after we talked until almost 2 in the morning (a dress rehearsal for tonight - tho I may need a nap before if I'm actually going to make it to midnight!), I am awake. The mark of a true morning person, I suppose...

So, I AM in the new apartment. I went on a bit of shopping spree yesterday, as a dear friend helped me out by giving me a very useable washer and dryer, thus saving me over a thousand bucks. Which, of course, isn't really going to be saved. I've spent some of it already - I am now the proud owner of an espresso machine, a very nice blender, and a crock pot. All sitting out on my counter, all in stainless steel finish, and I STILL have enough room to make a pie crust. You have NO idea how happy this makes me. Oh how I've missed having a lovely kitchen! (electric, but I'll settle for that with all the space).

A few boxes yet to be unpacked. Mostly books - was waiting for my sis to come help me with arranging things. Much harder to move a bookshelf when it's full of books. Yeah, I know. I'm queen of stating the obvious. Anyway, she's got a great eye for getting things put in just the right spot. AND we get to go pick more stuff out together. GOOD stuff, for a change. Might as well go whole hog. After all, it's looking more and more like I'll be here for the next three years or so; better settle in and be happy for the duration! So far, so good. My sis is here to celebrate the New Year with me by helping me decorate and make this place a home, I'm happily single (have a serious crush, but it's just a crush. And sometimes crushes are super fun!), and looking forward to a VERY busy year!

OK. My stomach is grumbling and once my sis is awake we'll be off on a run. Short, but enough to burn some calories and therefore enjoy the rest of the day guilt. Also, we're going to buy lottery tickets today - one ticket for each lotto drawing. Why not? It's cheap, it goes towards the schools, and we have as good a chance as any if we buy a ticket. Besides, it's fun to dream about what we'd do if we ever actually did win. Nothing wrong with a little daydreaming!

OK. Up and at 'em. I'm off to start my day. If I fall back asleep, I'd be here way too long. Then I'd be robbed of the pleasure of taking a nap later on. Now, how are we going to find the time to get in a pedicure? I desperately need/want one....