Thursday, April 30, 2015

To Do Lists

I love lists. 

I live and die by lists. At any given time there could be five lists floating around the apartment, my cubical at work, or in the bottomless abyss that is my bag. Lists are my thing. Crossing stuff off my lists is something like pure heaven.

I must be the weirdest person ever. 

This past weekend I wanted to do SO MUCH. Naturally, I wrote a list. This is what it looked like:

hilly bike ride (two for one Sunday)
long bike ride
run (Saturday)
bake (peanut butter apple bars, yum!)
new recipe (I slow cooked a ham?)
laundry (Monday)
mow lawn (wouldn't start, trimmed trees and raked instead)
criminal minds
farmers' market
married at first sight (obsessed!)
practice softball
repot plants 
buy big planter for raspberry bush (Ollie's FTW)
x-ray (Friday)

I'm almost positive my husband thinks I'm crazy all half the time. Especially when this is the "before" of me repotting my house plants.

Once I get an idea in my head, I envision what I need to do and do it in the exact order and way I imagine it. If it doesn't happen, I tend to go a little crazy. I'll call it a quirk. Quirks are cute, right? Crazy is just, not cute.

I've accumulated so many plants since college. My apartment nearly looks like a jungle. One plant here. Another from Nana. One plant sprouted a new one. It's ridiculous.

My first goal? Get rid of the plastic pots. As my mother-in-law would say, "It looks generic." The only pot I did buy was for my snake tongue plant. All these other ceramic pots I've had. They were just waiting for fresh soil and a new plant.

By the time all was said and done, I had a huge pile of dirt in the middle of the kitchen floor, three less plastic pots, still more empty ceramic ones, and a husband with a broom. A total win if I ever saw one.

It took about two hours to replant pretty much every plant I have. But I'm really happy with the way they look and they all have fresh soil mixed in now too. It's things like that, when you cross them off your list, you just breath a little easier. 

I mean, it's totally pointless. But it feels so good. Especially when I can rearrange the plants and take back my basket.

Not too shabby, huh? Now it's time to start on my next to do list. Still up? Cleaning...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fitness Flash

I almost became spider-man last week.

Well, sort of. I WAS injected with radioactive stuff. It just didn't give me any special powers. Unless you count my insides glowing when shown on a screen. Then I totally had special powers. Too bad it only lasts for a day or so.

Last weekend was the first one where I didn't have any commitments. And I JAM PACKED it with stuff to do. I swear I don't know how to relax and do nothing. It might be a problem.

Last week was pretty bad ass when it came to exercising. We took off Thursday for my bone scan but other than that I was active every day. I'm still subbing zumba for swimming. And I know it says beginner but I'm on the intermediate difficulty. I'm freaking sweating by the time twenty minutes is up.

Over the weekend, Ryan and I ramped up our run and swim. We can see improvements in pacing on our runs and we KILLED IT on our ride Sunday.

Well. It killed us. Here's how the week shaped up...

We did sort of have good news? All my bone scans and extra x-rays came up empty. So I must've just pulled a side muscle real good. I'm going to give my doctor a call tomorrow to confirm that I can ease back into swimming. Here's hoping.

As far as that other news. Still in limbo. Maybe I'll find out on Thursday? At this point, I just want to know. Can we fast forward through the weekend? I've got some more nothing to plan and relaxing to not do.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Oh, the Options You'll Have!

I mentioned in my last post that I gave the induction speech for Pi Mu Epsilon, the math honor society, recently at Potsdam. My albeit short talk concluded with a poem I titled "Oh, the Options You'll Have!" A total and complete knock off of Dr. Seuss's book by a very similar title.

In case you're wondering, here's how it went...

Today is your day!
You’re now in Pi Mu Epsilon,
what a great thing to say.

You’ve done the hard work 
and rocked all your classes.
I can’t say I’m surprised
with the students Potsdam amasses.
Each one of them talented and capable of more.
I’d love to see what you choose; what your life has in store.

You might not know now, and that’s quite okay,
to decide what you’ll do, you have some leeway.
With the knowledge that you have and time yet to spare,
let’s talk about options the world has out there.

Of course, you may know
and have it all figured out.
But maybe, just listen
for an alternate route.

The options are endless!
I must confess.

With Potsdam behind you,
and its miracle quite famed,
trust in your background.
Don’t be ashamed.

You’re already ahead.
Don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just plug right along,
math will carry you through.

the options you’ll have!

If you look closely,
in most every field
there’s a bit of math
waiting to be revealed.

So look deep down and tell me what you see.
Where do you want to go with your mathematics degree?
No matter what you’ll be one of the best.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll top all the rest.

So what do you see 
for your mathematics degree?

To be like Drinfeld
and win the Fields Medal?
Or do engineering,
creating a bike pedal.

You could work for Legoland
as one of their designers.
Maybe in logistics
scheduling big cargo liners.

Forbes’ top three jobs
are all based in mathematics.
Lucky for you
there’s no need for acrobatics.

You could be just like me
and work in finance.
Be like JP Morgan and
give business a chance.

What about sports? ESPN needs statisticians.
And NASA needs analysts for their space missions.
You could be a teacher, to big kids or to small.
A 3D printing manager? One ring to rule them all?

And yes! You can work in music! Imagine that feat.
As a music data journalist you might hear a sick beat.
At Spotify you might predict the next song.
Good luck stopping yourself from humming right along.

What about cryptology?
Breaking tough codes?
There’s civil engineering,
designing systems of roads.

You could be a lawyer;
that jump is quite logical.
The next Lewis Carroll
writing about the anthropomorphical.

Then there’s the trusted,
the tried, and the true.
A college professor
and more school to pass through.
But please don’t forget, there’s fun to be done!
There are adventures to have and hearts to be won.

Enjoy your life
and take your time.
Admire those great
and beautiful mountains you’ll climb.

You might get mixed up
and lost along the way.
Just step with great care
and you’ll make it back okay.

Because with Potsdam behind you
of course you’ll succeed!
98 and 3⁄4 percent guaranteed.

So congratulations!
Today is your day.
Your mountain is waiting
get on your way.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Potsdam | Norfolk

Want to see what the tallest building in St. Lawrence County looks like?

BAM. Look at it. In all its eight story glory. Yep. Raymond Hall, the tallest building in the North Country, is eight stories tall. And it's on my alma mater's campus.

For the past two weekends, we've traveled to Potsdam and I must say I absolutely love the campus. All the buildings are brick (except for the new performing arts center eyesore) and covered with ivy. It's all very idyllic. I must have visited the school five times before I finally committed. But once I did I never looked back and it's always been home.

The first weekend, was all about math. Ryan gave a talk about rings and algebras to BA/MA students and some of our professors. Can I just mention how strange it is to call professors by their first name? Like there's no way I can be on their level. But hey, I'm an adult now. So yeah, hey Derek.

I was super proud of Ryan. He totally rocked it. He even inspired students to look into taking Modern Algebra 2! I was a little proud of myself too, because I was able to follow the logic for most of the talk.

Ryan also managed to get a chuckle out of a few professors with his line "playing the same game...." Math is full of games. Adding zero, multiplying by one. There are so many tricks.

Ryan was totally in his element. I know he's looking into options outside academia but he's a natural in it. Me on the other hand? I am most definitely not a natural speaker. My math part of the weekend was giving the induction speech for Pi Mu Epsilon, the mathematics honor society.

My seven minute speech was short, sweet, and to the point. It included an accountant joke and an original poem inspired by Dr. Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" I shook for a good two minutes of it. And I wondered why I had an eye twitch.

The next weekend was much more pleasant. Ryan had nothing to do but hang out with his family. I got to hang out with other Business alums from Potsdam and hold mock interviews with current students. It's my third year on the Advisory Council and I love coming back to work with the students. Each year I think I learn something new and from talking with students, I think they get a lot out of it too.

I know that I'll also never do a back to back work weekend. It's just cray, cray. But these are the things I'll do for my alma mater. Go Bears!

After a long day of "working"on Saturday, I dragged Ryan out for a walk around Norfolk. I brought along my camera so I could fiddle with the settings and get better with lighting. Here's what I shot...

Ryan's parents own this great house in town that has three acres out in back. It also has what is my favorite little barn/shed ever. I mean, seriously, that door. Their driveway is pretty cool, too, I guess. You just might have to be between six and eight to appreciate it, though.

Being up there, looking back at this, makes me want to get lost. I can't wait until we go back.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fitness Flash

It's basically a travesty that I forgot how much I love Zumba.

When I went looking for a cardio routine to replace swimming, I remembered that I had an old xbox and a couple of dance games. One of them being Zumba: Join the Party. I do have to say that I don't like the user interface in the game but I do really enjoy "playing" it. Now that I've done it a couple times, I'm mad that I ever stopped.

I may have the moves of a robot but damn if it's not fun. Maybe next time I'll even get out my gypsy skirt.

I'm happy that Ryan and I mostly followed the training schedule for this week, scaling where appropriate. Here's how the week shaped up:

My bone scan is this Thursday and I'm looking forward to it being over. I've been told it isn't all that bad but I do have to lay in a tube for an hour. Here's hoping I don't have claustrophobia. I do hope the scan gives me some answers on my shoulder pain. I also hope that I can get an estimate on how long before I can swim again. I miss it.

What are you doing this week for exercise?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Music, Ice Cream and Other Drugs

My eye has been twitching for a week. A WEEK.

I tried catching up on sleep to see if that would help. Nope. Didn't help a wink. Get it? Because my EYE. WON'T. STOP. TWITCHING. 

Even better is that my boss notices it. She laughs at my pain. I look like I'm drugs. Or going through withdrawal. I don't even drink coffee, sheesh. So, I'll thank my buddy stress for this. We have a love hate relationship, which is leaning towards the latter side of that spectrum. Jerk.

Reasonably I should lower my stress level, but at the moment it's a bit of an unreasonable request. There are so many balls up in the air right now. I've just been going, going, going for two weeks straight. I'll be going right through this weekend into next week with no break either.

I need a mental health day. Maybe my eye will stop freaking twitching.

I'm really grateful that I have some levity in my life though. Like Ryan coming home the other day to me in the bathroom holding a little pink box thinking I had some big news. He was incredibly relieved to find out it was a box of Nair.

And then we have conversations like this...

So what's going on?

HEADCOUNT HELL. But let's not talk about the ridiculous last minute requests upper management makes while giving no direction whatsoever.

I may have big news coming. Let's preface that with it's not baby news. It's a pretty big deal but unfortunately has to go through a lot of different channels before anything happens. I've been in limbo for the past three weeks and I haven't been able to talk with anyone, besides Ryan, about it. It's killing me. (Hello, eye twitch) Hopefully, I find out next week.

Have I mentioned HEADCOUNT HELL. Yes? Well, it's coming from all different sides and it's all based on the same set of data, parsed in completely different ways. Thankfully we're having a meeting to prep the data for the next big meeting. Ahh, bureaucracy.

To put the cherry on the stress fractured rib, I have to get a bone scan. That involves putting radioactive shit into my body and taking a few pictures. After that, they send me away for the uranium err "material" to settle in my bones for a few hours, they stick me in a tube for an hour. If I make it through that without having a panic attack it'll be a miracle.

What helps? Besides an incredibly charming and funny husband? Music. Like the new album from James Bay. I may be overplaying it a bit. But really? It's pretty fantastic. I love, love, love "Hold Back the River." It also doesn't hurt when häagen-dazs is on sale and there's a  $1.50 off three coupon to boot. Hello dulce de leche!

Here's hoping some fresh air helps this weekend too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fitness Flash

This past week was tons of fun.

(I hope you read that with sarcasm) I worked late, was poked and prodded, traveled in a car for eight hours, and gave a speech. Oh, and let's not forget I have a potentially fractured rib. Yep. I'm just broken. 

What a joy! With swimming out of the picture for the next four to six weeks, our training plan is going to need some tweaking. Here's how last week shaped up:

It's not as great as I'd hoped but it is what it is right? I tried to swim on Wednesday (on doctor's orders) and felt like I was stabbed with a butcher knife. Apparently that's what a stress fracture in your rib feels like. Who knew?

I am really happy that we were able to run outside on both days. The weather is picking up here and I'm so excited for it! Bring on Spring!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fitness Flash

We are officially back in business.

In fifty-four short days, Ryan and I are competing in our first triathlon. It's a little terrifying. I mean, at this point, we're both pretty confident that we could finish. It's just where we finish in the pack.

If I'm going to be honest, I'll be happy to not get hypothermia during the swim and finish crawling over the line. We all have priorities, okay?

This second month of training is prepping our endurance. Which means longer bikes, faster swims, and longer runs. I'm not quite up to 5K distance yet with my runs, but I'm working on it.

After falling and hurting my shoulder on the bike last week, we skipped the swim over the weekend and let it rest up. It's not impressive by any means, but here's how last week shaped up:

I can't wait to see how we improve over these next four weeks. It might be difficult to do everything on the plan, since we're going up north for the next two weekends, but I think some creative thinking might do the trick.

Or maybe I should pray a little that Spring visits the North Country.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hoppy Easter

Did you search for eggs this morning?

This guy helped me hide them this morning. I pretty sure that every single house plant at my parents had an egg hidden in it. They totally overdid it with the eggs.

As an aside, can I just say that Ryan dresses himself. Bright colors? He's ALL over them. They're his favorite. And I have no idea where he got it from.

Did you bake a ham today? My parents deep-fried a turkey. Us? We had tex-mex. Carne asada, skillet corn, cornbread, and onion strings. All combined in burritos from flavortown. 

I feel like time is flying by too fast. I blink on Friday and suddenly it's Sunday afternoon. I yawn and it's already April. Where does time go?!

 From our family to yours, Hoppy Easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Taco Seasoning

I am a wimp.

Those things up there? Ingredients of pain. Delicious, spicy ingredients of pain. Not like the pain from falling off your bike and having your husband catch you with his knee. That's a completely different type of pain. And another story completely.

This type of pain, though? Mouth-watering. In that you want some water after you mix this blend in with your food.

It could just be me though. I am a wimp. Especially, when it comes to spice.

To me? Mild buffalo wings are spicy. Seasoned french fries? Let's just drown those in ketchup.

And WHATEVER happens. Don't drink hard cider when eating spicy things. Because you know what doesn't help cool down your mouth? HARD CIDER.

I may have learned that lesson the hard way.

This seasoning, though.

It just makes a taco. Or burrito. Or typical mexican food. The two HEAPING tablespoons Ryan adds? It punches you in the face with flavor. Then makes your tongue beg for sweet relief.

Unless of course you're into that sort of thing. In which case, it will praise the spice gods. Feel free to do so now. I'll wait.

Taco Seasoning                

Makes: 8 tbsp          Prep Time: 5 min


   3 tbsp chili powder
1½ tbsp cumin
   1 tbsp black pepper
   1 tbsp salt
1½ tsp   paprika
  ¾ tsp   red pepper flakes
  ¾ tsp   garlic powder
  ¾ tsp   onion powder
  ¾ tsp   oregano


1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
2. When preparing taco meat, mix 2 tbsp of the seasoning once it's brown and crumbly with juices still in the pan.
3. Store seasoning in airtight container until next use.

Calories: 15 per 2 tbsp

That other story? 

As a little background, Ryan and I bought new pedals and shoes at the end of last year. They're the kind that you "click" together so you can have better efficiency. Over the winter, we installed them and used them with our bikes on the trainers we have. 

Well. Mother Nature decided to bless us with a couple 60°F days. Naturally, we wanted to stretch our legs outdoors rather than in our den of pain. So out we went on our bikes with these fancy new pedals.

To ground you, the shoes, once clipped in, are ON the pedals. Your foot is an extension of the bike. You have to do this crazy footwork to get them unconnected. If you don't, you fall. 

You can probably guess where this is going. First red light we come upon. Standing in the middle of the road. Light turns green. I tip. I scream. I fall. 

Shoulder? Meet Ryan's knee. It was a terrible first impression.

I made it to the sidewalk after avoiding all eye contact with the guy in the truck behind us. Ryan then tried to show me how to not fall. What does he do? Fall. What do I do? Fall again. 

Thankfully we did get our act together to finish the ride. Here's hoping to many more rides this year, without any more bumps or bruises on the way.