Saturday, March 31, 2012

Catching Up.

In October 2010 I ran my first marathon. It was a wonderful experience and as I geared up for my second I started to think about upping my pace. I was feeling strong and doing some actual speed work on my own {previously unheard of}. Mikey and I had initial plans of running in the California International Marathon since it's known for being a fast course and could make the road to running Boston a bit quicker {no pun intended}.
Then, all of a sudden, we were enmeshed in planning a wedding. And getting married. And working. And then it was too late to sign up for the dang thing! We scrambled. Over four months of training was not about to go down the drain! We luckily found a marathon a week after the CA one was scheduled so our training plan would work out. 
Even better, It was in Tucson! My wonderful in-laws live in Phoenix so we made a weekend out of it. Things got somewhat hairy since we kind of unexpectedly moved the weekend prior to the race. The race was on December 11th which also meant that our Big Drive to Arizona for Christmas was lurking. We hunkered down, though, and flew to Phoenix on a Friday afternoon. Saturday we drove the two hours to Tucson and checked into our hotel. 
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There were all sorts of neat-o southwest decorations on the grounds. 
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Since land is so abundant and cheap in this part of out country most Hiltons and similar hotels are more resort like that not which usually means lots of space, golf courses and several swimming pools. And palm trees, apparently.
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I loved the local fauna inspired iron cut-outs!
I also enjoyed the flora.
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The gift shop proved to be quite enjoyable as well.
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Tiny creatures!
I got my dad one of these rattlesnake coffee mugs; he has a thing for rattlers. 
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"Go figure" and "To each his own" would be appropriate reactions in this situation. 
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We found a fun Italian style restaurant that night and enjoyed dinner and TV in our room. One thing I adore about hotels is the beauty of having a room with two queen beds. One is for sleeping, as you might surmise, but the other can be reserved for eating and MTV watching; who cares about crumbs when no one sleeps in the bed?!
This marathon actually starts in the middle of the desert. Every runner is required to take the shuttle from the hotel since there is not plentiful parking in rural Sonoran Desert land. It was still quite dark when we arrived {shuttles left at 5:30 ish}.
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That poor guy didn't ask to be in the picture.
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As you may have learned at Miles and Laurel, that Saguaro is probably older than I am!
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Unsuspecting runners. "We love downhill!"
There was some snow on the ground but it wasn't terribly cold and once you start running everything is hunky dory. If you knew me in my Minnesotan college days I'm sure you're thrilled to read how far I've come since those outdoor winter track practices. Let's just say that there were tears involved. Not no more y'all...not no more.
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I was pumped up when we got ready to start. I had my sights set on Boston and running a great race that day. The first six miles implied just as much. I was running amazing miles. That should have been a warning sign y'all.
The interesting thing about this particular marathon is that it also is touted as a fast course. Why? Because the first six or so miles are down hill. To a non-runner that might sound delightful. To a delusional runner {myself} that could be great. But. BUT. Those miles were my downfall {pun entirely intended}. I was running so fast. It felt amazing. I was cruising and there were mostly men around me; I always use that as kind of a barometer when I'm racing...if there aren't very many women then I'm kind of tearing it up. That's not to sound sexist or whatever, it's just what-it-is when it comes to running.
Anyway. After those six glorious miles we hit the main highway. As much as I love the desert and cactus and sandy scenery, it can be boring. We had about one or two more miles on the highway and then did a loop around where Biosphere 2 is located. The end of this loop marked the 13.1 mile mark {half way} and that is precisely where I started to hurt. Badly. The impact of the downhill on my little leggies was such that I was having trouble even lifting up my feet since my quads were so exhausted from the pounding and fast pace I had been pushing earlier. Eating my Gu, drinking the Gatorade at various stops and my in-laws cheering me on at various places along the remaining 13.1 miles of said boring highway are what got me to the finish. 

Prior to this day I had never walked during a race. I had never even walked during a run. Ever. I've been running since 14 and I'm 28. That's a lot of running! In that second half, though, on December 11, I walked. I totally walked. And the walking made it worse. That's also something that I had never experienced either. The end of a run always signals relief but those walking respites hurt just as much as picking up my legs to continue shuffling along {it was not running at this point} and only made it harder to start up again. 
People who I had passed up at the start were now passing up yours truly. I was keeping track of my time and slowly watched as Boston slipped out of my grasp. It didn't bother me too much at the time {& still doesn't actually; there will be another race in the future...another try} since I kind of set the bar pretty low {just finish!} for most things I do. 
And finish I did. I still improved on my previous time {woot!} and my Mike ran in under four hours which is AWESOME for a first marathon.
We went back to the hotel and I made use of their "cold" tub which sits next to the hot tub and felt heavenly on my aching {ACHING} muscles. Driving back to Phoenix let me nap a bit. Miraculously we got on a plane early the next morning and with the help of a local taxi company I actually made it to work in time to teach my first class {and four others}.
All in all it was a good experience. My husband was able to run his first 26.2 and do super well and we had a fun visit with family. My knees, though, might tell you otherwise. This race is why I've been out of commission since then and according to my physical therapist it is most definitely that down hill that triggered my knee pain. That and a left leg that is slightly weaker than the right. I've been slogging along with me at-home exercises and even ran for a whopping six minutes with no pain last week before the drama-rama with my grammy happened.
Things have calmed a bit {knock on wood} and I've been doing the rehabilitation for a few days again now...hopefully some miles are in my near future.
Oh man I'm glad I got this out; it's been almost four months but I wanted to be able to actually think about it and some free time on a Friday was just what I needed.
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So happy!
Boy were we GLAD to be done; ha! I'll keep y'all {me} updated on my running {or lack thereof} progress if it gets to be interesting {beyond six minutes} anytime soon.
Good weekend {& Palm Sunday} to you!
 xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, March 30, 2012

Regarding.

Regarding yesterday's pictures; we were in the city last night. As to the question of "Why?", seeing that it was Wednesday and we are notorious home bodies, I have some 'splainin to do. Soon. I'll let you know in a few weeks so hold tight.
Also on the horizon online-journal-wise, a few things for which I've not been accountable: 
  • our Tucson marathon experience.
  • some recent cooking escapades {I believe I mentioned Enchiladas somewhere along the line}.
  • last weekend's loveliness. Becs has covered said experience QUITE nicely and you can check her out HERE if you'd like.
  • Don Draper {we just actually watched the season premiere tonight}.
Is there anything exciting in your own personal {blog} hopper? These are things that I've been mulling over for ages buuuuuuuut I've also let life happen ;). To tide you over I present a brain cactus {my own classification} from the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden.
Good Thursday and Almost Weekend to You!
 xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, March 29, 2012

City.

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xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clueless.

My title for this post does not reflect my opinion about Alicia Silverstone rather it refers to my favorite A.S. movie; I totally DUG that flick for all of 1995. I am putting up this video, though, because I cannot get it out of my head. 
Warning; if you are a bit queasy by nature you may want to skip San José Señora until tomorrow.
Also, I don't mean to offend anyone and I respect parents of children {& animals} to NO END. Every parent {biological or otherwise} does what is best and works well for his or her family and I, again, am not judging or saying that this is bad.
But. I had noooooooooo idea that this is a practice within our society. I thought it was restricted to avian populations.
Behold.
Interesting, no?
xoxo, natty ♥

Some things.

We arrived home today. I was able to hang out with my grandmother all day today which was great. A few more Good Things for this Monday.
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How we all felt last week.
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Feeling a bit better this week?
1} Great Friends; it was blissful to spend the weekend with a friend I don't get to see very much.
2} Great Family; both the one I had and the one I married into...thanks for being Fabulous, y'all.
3} Scraggly dachshunds.
4} The Voice.
5} My Husband; he's been doing so much for me and my fam-bam in the past week...thank you so much sweetie. So Much.
 xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A celebration.

Becs and I went on a lovely little hike this afternoon. After a bit of resting and getting ready for tonight we're set up to have a bit of a family celebration for my hubby's birthday and his father's as well; Happy Birthday to those March babies out there {you too Becs!}!
I'm off to freshen up a bit and get down to party ;).
 xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A respite.

Today was great. With the stress of last week but the knowledge that my grandmother is doing better {let's keep up that trend!} it's been really nice, actually, to be in Arizona. We didn't know if we would go through with this weekend. Family encouraged us, though, and I'm glad that they did. It's been lovely to have a break.
The me-maw was able to go home today {woot!} and will continue speech therapy. Luckily there were no physical effects. She'll need someone around her for at least a month and will have to lay off the driving but she's got her house and garden {not to mention family} as well as NPR and a plethora of books to keep her occupied and engaged.
That being said, again, today was great. I'll do a real post on it all but Becs, my MIL and AIL {aunt-in-law} took our hummingbird class in the morning and then we joined up with the men folk to take in the Cubbies play the Padres. My friends, Spring Training {Cactus League} is.no.joke. People take it ser-eeee-us-lee and it is a total blast.
Outside of the Butterfly Pavilion at the Botanical Garden.
More to come for you later next week. For now we're off for some Wild West BBQ. I'm so happy to be surrounded by family and friends, the heat {it was in the 80s today} and the knowledge that my me-maw is on the road to recovery.
 xoxo, natty ♥

Just try and get him to smile.

Today he turns one year older!
Who is he you ask?
He's my hubby ♥.
Happy Birthday Sweetie!!!!!
I love you so much and can't wait for for all of the birthdays ahead of us.
 xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, March 23, 2012

Yesterday's picture.

I took the picture of my hubby and cousin yesterday in a hospital room. In the effort to record my everyday life I'm posting although I'm pretty bummed out right now. My grandmother had a moderate stroke on Tuesday night. We were in the ER until the wee hours of the morning. She had the kind of stroke that doesn't cause any physical problems but she has this horrible word recognition issue. I can't remember the fancy/technical name right now and just couldn't possibly look it up right now but the gist is that she might hear one word or question and respond to another seemingly random word/question. It's super weird and upsetting because she seems so out of it but the "good" thing is that it's just what happens to the brain in this sort of situation. Hopefully it gets better.
Anyway, we're still traveling this weekend. She's very ambulatory and seems as though she's improving {knock on wood} bit by bit and was even asking us if we're ready for our trip so it feels "ok".
Ugh. I'm so grateful things were caught quickly.
Over and out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Boys I Love.

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xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Random.

In case you can't tell, my blogging lately has been flogging. Ha! Not really, that wouldn't make sense. I really mean to say that it's "lagging" but "flogging" just sounded so much better!
Anyway, it's a time of the school year where I feel as though there are piles of work waiting to be done all around me. But isn't that how all of August to May works anyway??
So until I can get my druthers expect some more posts like this and those of Saturday and Sunday past...ones without much going on and kind of scattered thoughts. I do have some ideas coming up {new recipes, that marathon we did in December that I still haven't explained [I want a nice period of time where I can sit and really hash it out], plans for the future...} but for the time being please bear with me.
With that being said, some thoughts on my mind right now:
  • The pooch and I just went to the dog park. It's a few blocks from where we live and I try to walk him over once a week. This park isn't very popular and neither is the four to five PM after work time slot. Today, though, was a record high; at one point there were six separate dogs and owners! The dog park is always anyone's guess as to what kinds of wild cards {owners and dogs} one might encounter. I'm the shy owner who doesn't really talk too much to the other owners {as in I don't make the first move}. Guinness is much like that too. Since we got this hairy dude almost six years ago I've observed that when at dog parks there are inevitably the following: 
  1. A zealous dog person who adamantly protects his/her dog from other dogs; why even come? 
  2. The over enthusiastic and, ahem, amorous male dog.  
  3. A timid older dog that just watches what the other ones are doing.  
  4. A yipey tiny dog.  
  5. The dog that only sees the ball his/her owner is throwing for her. 
  6. The owners that are flirting with each other.
        I could go on but if you've ever experienced this aspect of modern society you'll
        know of what I speak. Today the dogs were all good and our little guy even
        mixed it up a bit and actually played with the other hounds rather than
        standing behind my legs and merely observing. Way to get out there Guinness!

  • Have I mentioned that we're going to Arizona this weekend? Well, WE ARE!
  • We're also going to have a bit of an east coast tour during spring break; more on that later.
  • I'm feebly continuing with my physical therapy on my own at home. I'm also feeling so.very.antsy and ready to run again. I haven't spoken with my lady-doctor-physical-therapist-friend so I probably shouldn't give it a go on my own but I SO want to.
That's about all for now. I've got some lesson planning and dinner cooking and laundry to look forward to between now and bed time. Wish me luck!
 xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, March 19, 2012

Great.

I thought I'd break out an unseen picture since it's a brand new season and all...a new blog background should be coming soon as well.
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Yeeeaaaaahhh!
As the seasons officially changes later this evening, a few positive thoughts on my mind:

1} Family and Friends that I Love.
2} We're going to Arizona this weekend!
3} I'm going to see Rebecca in Arizona this weekend!
4} I'm going to learn about hummingbirds in the desert at the Desert Botanical Garden with Rebecca {and my wonderful Mother in law} in Arizona this weekend!
5} Somebody {not I!} around here has a birthday this week!



What's great in your neck of the woods? It's burning up all over our fair land but San Jose has been colder than usual; blech! One more thing about today, true to form, about ten years after everyone else I've discovered Polyvore and have been happily putting together little colorful outfits instead of taking care of the dishes and laundry. Happy Monday to you!
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thus begins another week.

Today was quite laid back. After coming out of my sodium hangover {read : corned beef is reeeaaaalllly salty}I went to see my seventh grade cousin in a play and came home to grading. Which is what I'm still doing and it's almost eight. Ugh.We had a great time hanging out with family last night and, as mentioned, enjoyed quite the meal. Mikey made pizza for dinner tonight and I still wasn't that hungry. Though it didn't stop me from eating about half the pie. Oh well.
I'm sticking with the grading for a bit longer and then getting ready for Monday.
Good begining of the work week to you!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Busy Busy Busy.

Oh the irony. After those lovely days and whilst the rest of our fair country enjoy record highs, we here in the Bay Area are finally getting our comeuppance in the form of chilly weather, rain and just overall blech-ness.
Oh well. We still don't ever get snow here!
I'm taking advantage of the nastiness outside to cook up a storm for my family's St. Paddy's Day dinner tonight. Say what you will about this day and it's lack of actual Irishness, we in my clan do make a day of it and enjoy celebrating a tiny bit of our own personal heritage. We have corned beef and cabbage; I'm making two to add to our feast as well as a colcannon and two soda breads; hence the busyness.
Erin go bragh!
 xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finally it's Friday.

To cap off this week our theme day was related to our class theme. My homeroom is a sophomore one so I'm with their motif this year which was Harry Potter.
I went the easy route and dressed up as a wizard trying to blend in as a muggle {mismatched}. That won't make sense if you're not up to snuff with HP terminology and because I'm pooped I'll let you do the googling if indeed you fall into that category.  My friend and I made sure to snag the part of the class' decorations that were our effigies {all of the homeroom teachers get put up there somehow}.
I think I'm supposed to be a Weasly brother.
We also had a baby shower for a coworker after the festivities. I contributed the diaper decorations which thankfully did not involve candy bars of any sort {if you don't get the reference then be glad} but were a lovely three tiered diaper cake and a diaper signing station {to write nice notes for mom & dad when they're doing diaper duty}.
The cake came out nicely, yeah? 
After I told him what I was making last night and got started with it Mike disgustedly asked me if I was really going to bake on those diapers. Ha!
Aaaaaand for my own memories since I once was a student at the school where I now work, I recorded our Alma Mater. This song is sung at the end of most any rallies and assemblies. It's been around for quite a while and can be sung very beautifully but if left to their own devices the kiddos throw in A LOT of stomping and yelling. 
Either way it's a special song.
Have a GREAT weekend and don't forget your green tomorrow!
 xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Care Bear Stare!

For Cartoon Day today I was a Care Bear.
I LOVED these dudes growing up though I can't remember which specifically I had an affinity towards. I do recall having an awesome Care Bears Nutcracker themed Christmas Special {Care Bears Nutcracker Suite} on VHS that I would watch year round. In doing a bit of research for our costumes I learned that the Care Bears were actually created by a greeting cards company and did not begin as the charming cartoon show they starred in and I so enjoyed. You learn something new everyday.
Some teachers were original Care Bears. I, though, chose my own bear.
I present to you Running Bear. There were some other FABULOUS bears on campus today : Princess Bear {also seen above}, DNA Bear, Social Justice Bear, Calculus Bear. I could go on. And, yeah, the pictures this week haven't been great. It gets super chaotic during the day {the rallies especially} and I feel goofy enough dressed up so that asking for a picture made of me seems almost over the top. Emphasis on "almost".
Anyway, how did it get to be Thursday already?
Happy almost weekend dear Reader!
 xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Words With Friends.

A few months ago Sir Alec Baldwin stirred up some trouble playing the game Words With Friends while aboard an American Airlines flight. You can read a perspective about it HERE
When brainstorming costume ideas for Smart Phone App Day {in between teaching and grading, natch} some coworkers and I decided on making t-shirts so that we could each be a letter from aforementioned word game {it's kind of like Scrabble but on a phone}. So we went for it.
As a faculty-staff group we recruited enough people to spell out...
We used old {or new} t-shirts, contact paper to make the stencils and bleach gel pens. The stencil was the outline of the letter. We pressed the contact paper {sticky on one side} onto the shirt and filled in the letter shape with the bleach gel. 
Mine was blurry around the edges. Oh Well.
A 20 minute wait and rinsing off provides a bleached-out shape!
I was "L" and worth one point though my family thinks I'm worth more;).
We scrambled around at the end-of-the-day assembly and the kids yelled out their guesses for what we spelled out. Yep, that's my job.
I also took a short video off the sheer and utter screaming that happens all throughout the rally.
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I know you're jealous! And Happy Tuesday y'all!
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, March 12, 2012

Maravilloso.

After almost 80 degree warmth last week there's a high of 49 slated for this coming Sunday; yuck! But let's look on the bright side, shall we?
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Praise the Lord what a GREAT day!
1} Spirit Week 2012 has officially commenced. Let the learning take a back seat. Just kidding but it kind of feels that way.
2} Today being Detective/Spy/Secret Agent Day we all were very incognito at work today.
3} There's some corned beef and cabbage {with my name on it} right around the corner!
4} Spring Break is rapidly approaching.
5} Day Light Savings Time! Happened yesterday! I'll gladly trade an hour of sleep for {seemingly} longer days.
What's fabulous in your neck of the woods? Crazy weather? Fun costumes?
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Special Day.

Today's a great day.
Today's a great day because on this day in the mid 1980s an extremely special person came into the world.
That great girl in the coral dress down there? Yup, that's her!
Happy Birthday Becs!
You are such an amazing girl and a fabulous friend! 
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Here's to many sunny days and happy smiles in the next year dear one!
So much love from California, natty ♥

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ahhhh.

Saturdays can be so nice! Today was no exception with some errand running and BBQing and napping.
I hope you're enjoying something similar!
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, March 9, 2012

She's got Spirit.

I work at a great place. One perk of this job is that for a week in March every year we have Spirit Week. The four classes each have their own theme and decorate a corner of the gym accordingly as well as incorporating their two class colors {classes vote as freshmen which colors they will have and on a class mascot...I was a maroon and gold wizard fyi}. There's a rally every day {at the end of the class day thankyoubabyJesus} and the four classes accrue points throughout the week for various things : how many students in costume {there's a theme each day}, the quality of decorations, the song/cheer sung at each rally...and many more opportunities including but not limited to performance in games {Teacher Bowling is an example}.
Today's post is regarding the theme days and gym decorations. 
Each class has access to the same set of materials so as to encourage equality. The building begins Friday afternoon before the big week and will continue into the following Saturday. The kiddos get pri-tee creative. This is what our gym looked like today.
I'll give you some shots of the finished product when it comes about. It's fun to see the girls really working together to make their corner of the gym look great. I don't have much perspective since this is the only high school I've EVER been a part of so I can't say if this is normal but I can say that I LOVE having kids laying around and painting an almost life sized Voldemort in their class colors. And using chicken wire.
On to the costumes. I've been mulling over my options and already have a few planned. There are two that I really need to finesse this weekend. This are the themes I have to work with.
  • Monday : Spy/Detective/Secret Agent Day. 
  • Tuesday : Smart Phone App. Day
  • Wednesday : Favorite Holiday Day
  • Thursday : Cartoon/Disney Day
  • Friday : "Rep yo Dec Day" when each class dresses up as their theme. My class is Sophomores and their theme this year is Harry Potter {see #Voldemort reference above}.
I'll show just a snippet of one costume and then do a full reveal next week.
Try to get something done between now and then; I know you're dying to find out but I've got a life.
Happy Friday to you!

xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What was that?

That picture from yesterday 
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is a few hunks of some queso Oaxaca. It's Oaxaca {wuh-ha-kuh} style cheese. Oaxaca is a state in México, aka our neighbors to the south. There are many types of cheese that hail from south of the border and many are unique to their region of origin. Wiki Wiki Wiki tells you THIS about it. THIS too. I've sadly never been to Oaxaca but I sure do love the food {mole!} {& agave!} from the state. 
Mickey and I made enchiladas this weekend and in our quest for some ingredients we ended up at Mi Pueblo's supermercado/grocery store. I couldn't help but ask for a bit more cheese than we really needed {about 3/4 of a pound more}. This cheese can come in a bun-type shape but it can also come in these ropes. Much like another cheese very near and dear to our hearts this cheese is a bit, ahem, stringy. It pulls away gloriously and tastes even better than mozarella string cheese. Plus it's much more fun to go to the counter and order in español. And a bit cheaper to boot.
¡Qué delicioso!
xoxo, natty ♥