Tuesday Tidbits

  • I am an absolute zombie today.  I stayed up later than usual last night, then I woke up at 2:00 am wide awake.  I hate it when that happens.
  • A couple of years ago, we got a Cuisinart soft-serve ice cream maker.  It makes the BEST. ICE CREAM. EVER.  It came with a recipe book, but we’ve only ever used it to make chocolate.  We decided to branch out Sunday and made the orange sherbert, expecting something like a Push-Up.  We threw it out.  It was DISGUSTING.  It reminded me of some kind of medicine that I took as a child.  We’re trying again with the peanut butter ice cream recipe tonight.  I don’t see how that could go wrong.
  • I hereby retract my “You suck, Samsung!” statement from yesterday.  I called them ready to argue but didn’t even have to.  They acknowledged that it was a known issue with that television and set us up for an in-home repair.  Glad D hadn’t ordered the part yet.
  • I am positively HOOKED on the Glee.  Thanks, Netflix!
  • Responsible pet ownership is ridiculously expensive. It’s ALWAYS something!!! Bella now has atopic dermatitis.
  • I’m taking a vacation day Friday.  Four-day work week.  YAY!!!

They Just Don’t Make ’em Like They Used To

When D and I got married and built this house four years ago, we bought a new TV.  And if you know me or D, you know that we don’t just go into a store and buy anything on a whim.  We spend countless hours first researching what we are buying.  We ultimately decided on and purchased a 56″ Samsung DLP.  It got great consumer reviews; it appeared to have a superior picture on the Best Buy floor; and it was within our price range.   Win-win-win.

And we lived happily ever after.

Until last Friday.  Last Friday night I noticed a little white dot on the screen.  D said looked like one of the mirrors had gotten stuck.  I googled it.

My, how the reviews have changed over the last four years.  Apparently we are one of the LAST people to have this problem with this TV.  We even found information that Samsung was repairing the issue for free.  Until December 31, 2010.  A lot of damn good that does us now.  That’s pretty shitty of Samsung to KNOW that there is a problem and not issue a recall.  I also found several forums in which other customers who had the same problem said that once it starts it gets progressively worse quickly.  They couldn’t be more right.  What started out as one dot last Friday night has now ten days later turned into 13 dots.  (Just try watching a baseball game and trying to keep your eye on the ball with 13 extra little white dots on the screen!)

And guess when our extended warranty ended.  No, really.  Go ahead.  Guess.

A MONTH AGO.  June 24th, to be exact.

D, being the electronics guru that he is, thinks he can fix it though.  He’s gone deep into the forums and found a part number for a chip that controls the mirrors, and supposedly this chip will fix it.  It’s worth the $100 to try it because a new TV is NOT in the budget right now.  I guess we’ll find out in a few days.  But regardless of whether it fixes it or not…

YOU SUCK, SAMSUNG!!!!!!!!!!!

It Ain’t Purple, but…

Meet my new ride!!!  Well, she’s not my ride yet.  She’s still a little gimpy right now.
I’ve been looking for an H3 for a little while now, and since I wasn’t able to get the one I REALLY wanted, I went with my second choice–blue!  We found this one at a car sale in Massachusetts last week for a KILLER price.  Because the other side looks like this:

The wrap kind of camouflages the damage in this photo (The lady that owned it was a real estate agent and had an advertisement wrap for her business on the truck.), but trust me it’s there.  It will need a new driver’s side back door, a new nerf bar, a new black rubber piece that runs under the door, and a new leaf spring (whatever the hell that is–it’s what the hubs says) and it’ll be ready to roll!  D’s thing is body work (in addition to computers and mechanical work and electrical stuff and… well you name it and he can do it and do it and do it perfectly.  It’s kind of sickening actually.), so he will be doing the repairs himself, saving us the cost of labor, so we’re going to have a ridiculously small amount of money in a 2006 H3 with 46,000 miles.  About half of its NADA book value.  Can’t beat that!
D’s an old pro at this car sale stuff.  He used to turn around a couple of Corvettes each month, buying them wrecked, fixing them, and selling them.  He knows it’s a gamble when you buy them at a sale when all you’ve seen is photos and read another person’s description of the damage.  Sometimes it’s not as bad as it looks; other times it’s worse.  We fell into the first category this time.  And BONUS (not mentioned in the sale terms), it’s FULLY loaded and even has a kickass stereo system in it.  Oh, and a brand new set of tires.  The only thing left that I really want to do to it is tint the front windows and get some new wheels.  But that stuff can wait.  First priority is getting her road ready!

Tuesday Tidbits

I’m enjoying doing the Tuesday Tidbit series.  So many times things happen that I want to document but aren’t in and of themselves postworthy.  Such as…

  • We finally joined everyone else in 2011 and signed up for Netflix.  I am totally digging the instant streaming.
  • I’m doing Adam’s virtual Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K this Saturday.  It’s gonna suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
  • I’m just getting started on the third book in the Harry Potter series.  I’m rather enjoying them.
  • Me, my sister, and two of her friends are having a girls’ night at a local winery Saturday night.  Every so often they have a “Concert in the Vineyards.”  It’s just an outdoor nighttime concert where everyone brings lawn chairs and picnic stuff.  They only ask that you don’t bring in other alcohol because they keep the store open until the concert ends.  The winery is 3.5 miles from my house, but I’ve never been to one of these events.  Should be fun!
  • I want a boat.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever been this un-tan in June.
  • Work still sucks.  In addition to everything else, I’ll find out this afternoon when one of my full-time carriers goes out for a worker’s compensation carpal tunnel surgery.  Since her sub will be tied down on her route the full 4-6 weeks that she’s out, that will essentially leave me with NO subs.  God forbid someone get sick or have car trouble.
  • We have ants.  Not inside the house, thank God, but they have taken over outside.  I was trying to pull some grass out of the landscaping a few days ago, and everywhere that you pulled and disturbed the mulch, they came crawling out by the hundreds.  Pest control came and sprayed yesterday.  She said we were one of the lucky ones if they weren’t inside because they have been HORRENDOUS this year.
  • Remember that used bicycle I bought a few months ago?  It’s still sitting in the exact same place in the garage in the exact same condition I bought it in.
  • I love this time of year (minus the heat, humidity, and bugs).  My belly is happy and full of fresh local veggies.  I’ve already eaten more squash and zucchini this year than I think I ever have in my life.
  • Hot or not, I have GOT to get my running base back up.  That 10K I ran back at the first of May is the longest I have run since my last half-marathon in April.  This three miles here and four miles there stuff isn’t gonna cut it anymore.  I’ll never acclimate to the heat if I don’t just get out there and do it.
  • I took the afternoon off work, but I don’t even get to enjoy it.  Eye appointment at 1:30 and chiropractor at 3:45.  I hope it doesn’t make me as sore as it did last week because it’s Tuesday.  That means 400s!  That has quickly become my favorite workout!

Out of Whack

For the last couple of months or so I’ve known it was way past time for a chiropractic adjustment.  I just start to feel kind of “off” when it’s time, and I’ve had that feeling for a while now.  I hadn’t had one since shortly before the marathon back in the winter, so I made an appointment and went last Wednesday after work.  I went to a new guy this time because my old one really pissed me off the last time I was there with a lot of misinformation and inaccurate billing.  I’m so glad I changed.  I like this guy a LOT better.  I didn’t realize what all I was missing out on since the other one was the only chiropractor I had ever been to.

Anyway, long story short, my hips were out of whack again.  That was the root cause of my foot tendonitis that I battled back in the fall of ’09.  Regular adjustments have kept it at bay, but as I said it had been a while since my last one.  I had just been putting off trying to find a new doctor and went longer between adjustments than I should have.  He put me through the wringer.  I felt SO much better when I left.  For a couple of hours anyway.  Then the soreness set in.  By that night and for the next couple of days I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  After having run Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and feeling good about getting back into a groove, the soreness kept me from doing much of anything (even making sleeping difficult) for the next three days.  I finally ran again yesterday morning, and I was amazed at how different it felt.  Funny how running with two legs that are the same length just feels so much better!  I go back on Tuesday, and I’m hoping I won’t be quite so sore afterward.  Hopefully he worked out the majority of the kinks during round one.

Lesson learned.  I’ll be sticking to regular adjustments from now on.

How do you feel about chiropractors?  Miracle workers or quacks?  Ever been to one?  Or any other holistic or homeopathic practitioner?

Tuesday Tidbits

  • I ran four miles last night.  Considering the slump I’ve been in, that’s a pretty major victory.  It wasn’t fast (10:24 pace), but the sign at the sporting goods store I ran past said 88 degrees and I was in full sun.  I’ll take it for now.
  • I’m seriously considering getting my dogs a salt lick so maybe they will quit mauling me when I come in after running
  • I’m making upper body strength training a priority.  When I was running in Gatlinburg, I caught my reflection in a storefront window and saw my arms jiggle.  We ain’t having that.
  • I bought the most pungent, strongest tasting onion in the history of the world this weekend.  Seriously, I wish they would invent scratch-and-sniff for blogger.  You wouldn’t believe it.
  • Google Chrome has been the solution to all my blogger/commenting woes.
  • I keep seeing the word “edamame” in recipes in blogs.  I finally googled it a few weeks ago to see WTF edamame is.  I’ve since been looking in my grocery store but can’t find it.
  • I got dealt a pretty big blow at work last Monday.  How can a company expect employee loyalty when that company shows the employee no appreciation whatsoever?  (I’m not even referring to myself this time, but it does directly affect me.)
  • I’m interviewing AGAIN for the vacant position in my office.  It’s been vacant since January and I haven’t been able to find any help yet.  And as a result of this big blow I was dealt last week, in August I will be short another person.  AND I just received two weeks’ notice from another substitute carrier this morning.  This is beginning to piss me off.
  • This is my 200th post.
  • I’m addicted to Cuties mandarins.
  • I am also addicted to caramel Hershey kisses.
  • I stayed awake for an ENTIRE movie Friday night!  “Just Go With It.”  It was pretty funny!
  • I haven’t bought the VFFs yet.  The photo from a couple of posts ago was from where I tried them on in a store.  I was planning to order them online.  Now I’m not so sure.  I read about Amanda’s top-of-foot pain and Jen’s continued injuries and it makes me really, really nervous about even trying minimalist running.  I’m not injured now, and I’m kind of looking at things from the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” perspective.
  • Intervals this afternoon!

Gatlinburg (and my bear encounter!)

As you may recall, we spent the majority of last week in Gatlinburg.  The whole family was there because my nephew was getting married on June 1st.  They all (and I mean ALL–nephew and his bride-to-be, his parents and two sisters, both sets of his grandparents, her parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle) all rented one big cabin to stay in.  We got our own place.  We were invited to stay in the cabin, but that’s just a little bit too much togetherness for me.  Besides, if I want to get up and walk to the kitchen nekkid at 2:00 am, by George, I’m gonna do it.

We drove up on Tuesday, arriving in just enough time to get checked in and changed before the rehearsal dinner at Tony Romas.  After dinner, we joined everyone back at their cabin, which had a gameroom, for a lot of this:

D and his Dad

and this:

Father of the Bride and the youngest neice

While they were doing that, I preferred to sit on the balcony with a cold beverage enjoying this:

We left around 11:00 when everyone started turning in to get a good night’s rest before the big day.

It was SO AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL to be able to sleep in the next morning!  SO nice not to be awakened by a dog needing to be let out or a cat howling that her breakfast is late.  The drawback to sleeping in?  It got hot and I was planning to run.  It was a pathetic three miles.  (If I had known that’s all I was going to be able to do, I probably wouldn’t have even done it.  I HATE getting ready and getting all nasty for three measley miles.)

Then it was time to get ready for the wedding!  The ceremony was outdoors at the very tip top of a mountain, and it made for an absolutely stunning setting.  I don’t have any pictures because photography was prohibited while the professional photographer was there.  We were able to sneak in a few with my camera after the ceremony, though.  I couldn’t let the occasion pass without at least a couple of pictures.  It’s not too often we’re all dressed up.



Dang sun, making us squint



Neice, T

And then we all loaded up and went back to the cabin for the reception, which was lovely.

After the party was over, we went outside to discover this little fella in the trash.  He was licking cake icing off of a plate before I disturbed him.  If you look, you can see he still has some on his nose.

The next day was a very laid-back one, spent walking around the downtown area, window shopping, playing putt-putt golf, eating fro-yo, and we ended the night with The Hangover 2.  HILARIOUS.  Oh, and you know those old-time photo things?  We got those done too.  I’ll have to remember to scan the photo and post it later.  I’m not a big country girl or anything, but I’ve got to say that my husband makes one damn fine cowboy.

.
The day was relaxing, but by that evening, I was wondering what in the hell we were gonna do to keep ourselves occupied for the next two days.  Good thing the rest of the family was there, because they go to Gatlinburg all the time and know of lots of things to do.  The next day we all went to Cade’s Cove.  I had heard of it before, but I honestly had no idea what it was.  Basically it’s just this preserve that you drive through and supposedly see lots of wildlife.  Several people have told me about seeing bears there, but, as is my luck, we saw a grand total of three turkeys and two deer.  And lots of gorgeous scenery.

After that, we found this groovy little swimming hole just off the side of the road in one of the gazillions of streams that run around the area.  The water was FREEZING!!!
I couldn’t believe how clean and clear the water was.  Try just stopping off the side of the road and jumping in a creek here and you’ll become crawdad and cottonmouth food before you know it.
And on the agenda for Saturday?  HIKING!  I had been looking at trail maps all week long trying to decide on which one we were going to do.  I wanted something that would be challenging for me but that wouldn’t kill D.  We ultimately decided on Ramsay Cascades.  It was eight miles long (four-mile out-and-back) and was rated as “moderately strenuous.”  It was classified as a “backwoods trail” that featured waterfalls and breathtaking scenery.  Sounded like a winner.
We packed a lunch and headed to the trail head to get started about 9:30 Saturday morning.  The first mile and a half I was thinking, “Really?  This is a piece of cake!”  Yeah, there was some elevation gain, but it wasn’t bad at all and the trail was well maintained.
And then we got to the trail.  (I read later that the first mile and a half is an old logging road that just isn’t used anymore.)
When they said “backwoods trail” they meant it.  You KNOW you’re in some backwoods shit when your Garmin starts going backwards.  I’m not exaggerating at all.  I wore it just so we would have some idea as to where we were distance-wise on the trail.  When we got to the road/trail split, it read 1.4 something.  Several minutes later I looked at it again and it said 1.38 miles.  I just thought I had looked at it wrong the first time, but when I looked at it again a few minutes later and it read 1.35 I knew something wasn’t right.  I  turned it off and threw it in the backpack.  With the heavy tree canopy that we were under, there was no way it was going to keep a signal.
Oh, and all that elevation gain that we didn’t have the first mile and a half?  FOUND IT!  And it’s not like it was just elevation gain.  It was elevation gain with a natural obstacle course built in.  

We definitely got the challenge I was looking for!  And the scenery along the way was as beautiful as was promised.

And four miles later we reached our destination.  It was worth it.
There were lots of big, flat rocks there that everyone was sunning and picnicking and resting on.  We picked out a spot and did the same.  It was very relaxing.  Laying there on that rock… eyes closed… sun beating down on my face… cool mist from the falls… sound of rushing water… ahhhhh, nature.
After we got our bellies fueled back up with PB sandwiches and pretzels, we started back down.  I learned something hiking in the Grand Canyon a few years ago, and I relearned it again on this hike.  I am an uphill-hiking rockstar.  I seriously could have done that all day long.  But going downhill is a WHOLE ‘NUTHER STORY for me.  I can’t keep my footing for crap.  I kept having to stop and tighten the laces on my shoes because it’s like my whole foot was sliding into them, cramming my toes into the tip.  And my quads were definitely feeling the burn on the way down.  But good ol’ out of shape D must be part mountain goat because he just bounds right down on the downhill.
We got maybe half a mile back into the trail when we caught up with a big group of about 10 or 12 hikers that had left quite a while before us.  They were stopped on the trail.  As we got closer we could see why.
BEARS!!!
A momma black bear and her two cubs.  Well, we didn’t see the two cubs.  They had already moved down off the trail too far for us to see, but the other hikers told us they were there.  But Momma Bear didn’t seem to be in any big hurry to leave.  There she was, less than 100 feet away from us, just doing her bear thing, not minding in the least that we were there.  But still we didn’t want to continue on, because if we had, the trail would have led us right between her and her cubs.  I don’t know a lot about bears, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have been a very good idea.  So we just watched her poke around the ground, climb over the rocks and into the stream and splash around there for several minutes before she finally moseyed on her way.  Some of the people in the group were scared to be that close to her, but there were a few of us who were absolutely thrilled.  For some reason, I found it absolutely exhilarating.
As I mentioned, we were under a very thick canopy, which made the majority of the trail somewhat dim, so taking pictures was difficult.  We didn’t want to use a flash and scare Momma Bear, so we just did the best we could.  They still turned out too dim to really tell anything about them, but when I overexpose the heck out of them she shows up crystal clear!
That was definitely the highlight of my trip.
All in all, the trip was a win.  I wasn’t sure whether or not I would enjoy the area, but it had more to offer than I realized.  I wouldn’t mind going back for a couple of days here and there.  I don’t think it’s a place I’ll ever go back to for any more than a long weekend, but it could be a nice little three- or four-day getaway.  But for me a vacation just isn’t a vacation unless it involves a beach.
Hurry, September!!!!

Uninspired

I ran three miles last week.

I have run zero miles this week.

I don’t feel like running.

I don’t even feel like READING about running, hence my lack of presence in the blog world lately.

Something has GOT to shake me out of this rut.

Maybe these will do the trick.