Sunday, August 4, 2013

{14 miles...}

In May, Suzanne and I joined the Raleigh Galloway program to help us get back into a consistent run schedule. We also knew that having the large group, and our pace group, would help hold us accountable when the other may be out of town. The runs have gone very well thus far. Several weeks ago, I ran my first double-digit run since May or June of last year.

After joining Raleigh Galloway, we started tossing back 'n forth the idea of running a full marathon. We're signed up for the half that's part of the Richmond Marathon and could easily upgrade to the full marathon before September 30. We reviewed the calendar to see when that would be on the Galloway training calendar. Once we realized it was doable, we decided that we would make the decision on the full after the August 31 18-miler.

Yesterday's run was supposed to be 12-miles. Since Suz was at the beach and I wanted to stick with people I knew, I decided to do 14-miles, the furthest I've ever run in my life (and probably not a good idea to jump like that!). 

The Galloway group met at a the Inside-Out Sports store on Creedmoor Road to head toward the Lake Lynn area. When I saw the run was at Lake Lynn, I should have known it could be a really crappy run. While the Capital Area Greenway system is great, Lake Lynn just isn't my cup of tea. There are lots of places where the path is tilted in toward the lake significantly, especially if you are running clockwise around the lake. 

The run was a monster for sure, but I survived. As soon as Rose, Monica and I were done, I immediately got in the car - not the best idea. My right leg started feeling like it was seizing up/cramping. On the drive home, I texted Suz and told her I didn't think my body was going to let me do a full, all the while crying because I knew I could do it and I want to do it. I also texted Jason to let him know I was on the way home and to lament the feeling of "failure" of the long run. He assured me that it was gonna be alright. Who knew that 14-miles could be so mentally and physically testing?! 

I was so very grateful to see Jason waiting at the front door when I got home. He hugged me and reassured me that I could do it. He held me while I cried the biggest alligator tears from the feeling of failure. Once I got my "mess" together, he reminded me that this was the furthest I had run and that I had said the running area wasn't idea, etc. He "talked me off the ledge" of skipping out on running the Richmond Marathon. 

Once I had my shower and fountain Coke (evidently I stopped at McDonald's on the way home to get a fountain coke - I don't remember!), I was in a bit better mood. I put on my Raleigh CrossFit "Stay in the Fight" t-shirt as a reminder of how far I've been and where I'm going. That's what the coaches would tell us - stay with it. 

Looking forward to the rest of this journey toward completing Richmond!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

{Adventure with the In-Laws}

Early last week, we asked my in-laws that they were up to this weekend. My mother-in-law promptly responded with "Field Trip?" Jason and I talked, knowing we had no idea what she had up her sleeve, and we were in.

Well, you have to know how things work with my mother-in-law to understand that... Several years ago, we started taking periodic day-trips to places. We've been on a winery tour, driven to a couple different places just to enjoy a meal, etc. The whole point of the thing is to explore a part of our state in a quick day-trip and have some good times together.

Yesterday was our first field trip in a long time. We got up to be ready to head to the Wilmington area at 9:30 a.m.  Our first stop was Sweet & Savory. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated, but had a great spot close to the back on the kitchen side. My in-laws had never had the homemade chips, so Jason ordered a basket for the table to share. Not long thereafter, we ordered our lunch and spent the remainder of our time eating and talking. We caught up on each others happenings and discuss the current state of events in our state. We talked about memories, stories of childhood beach trips, etc.

Crazy in-laws
After lunch, we decided to head toward Carolina Beach. In all of Jason's and my years, we've never had Britt's donuts. Today that was going to be remedied, at least for Jason. We got lucky getting into Carolina Beach and found a perfect parking space about 1 block from the boardwalk area. We walked around for a while - had to walk off our lunch! We also went to a nice observation area on the boardwalk to hang out for a bit. That didn't last too long as there wasn't a cover on the area and the seagulls were making their presence known if you know what I mean! Then, it was off to Britt's! My father-in-law and Jason both had 2 donuts each and would have eaten more had my mother-in-law not stopped them :-)  While they enjoyed donuts, I had a wild cherry snocone, complete with red-stained lips, teeth, and tongue.

We did some more riding around, and then it was time to head back toward Raleigh. We had dinner reservations at The Country Squire in the Kenansville area. My mother-in-law has fond memories of The Country Squire and people come from miles away to enjoy the restaurant.

Well.... things got interesting about 1 mile from the exit for The Country Squire. I noticed that the van steering wheel was shaking a little while we were in Wilmington, and had made the comment about 5 minutes earlier that I needed to take it for an alignment. Then I heard a loud "pop" and somehow I managed to guide the van, slowly and carefully, off the side of the road. We had blown a tire. I don't remember much, but Jason said he heard the noise, saw me pull over, and then I immediately started to cry and shake. Boy, oh boy. (Did I mention that Jason lost a tire on his wheelchair earlier in the week? He got tossed from his wheelchair and we spent Tuesday getting that repaired. Obviously, not our week for tires!)

My father-in-law got out and looked at the tire. I remember him saying that he'd never seen a tire look like that and he was so proud of me for guiding the van off the road safely without hurting us or others. Here's where I was especially thankful for him.... He called AAA and dealt with all of that. The customer service agent with whom he spoke was kind and helpful. She even called after the AAA roadside person had been dispatched, just to check in. Now, that's customer service!

Insert request for all - If/when you see a car/van/truck on the side of the road, please move over. Having a car issue is stressful enough, but having other vehicles whiz by at a high speed makes it incredibly scary!

About 30 minutes later, Bernard from Wallace Towing and Roadside Assistance showed up in his navy blue Chevy Silverado. He was ready to be our knight in shining armor! Bernard had a bit of difficulty getting the van lifted to change the tire, but once he used the jack that came with the van (special because of the retrofit) and then got it lifted the rest of the way with his jack, he was in business. He got the full-size spare on and sent us on our way. Bernard was just a nice "good 'ole boy" was was beyond friendly and reassuring that everything was gonna be alright. He did tell us that we were the 5th vehicle with the exact same tire issue on that stretch of I-40 that day. Something is odd about that to me...

After getting the tire fixed, we were back on our way home. We decided to skip dinner at The Country Squire, and we'll plan another field trip to go there soon. We got home just before 9 p.m. and we were all wiped! What a day! It was fun, but I told my mother-in-law that the next time we took a field trip, we better not have anymore tire adventures!

I'll be contacting AAA Car Care on Atlantic Avenue tomorrow morning. They replaced the tires a couple years ago, but I'd assume there should be some kind of warranty on the tires. Since the tires are on the older side, I know I'm going to replacing all of them, but still want to check out "the deal" with the current tires. Fun stuff!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

{Catching up...}

I've been terrible about blogging the last couple of months. Honestly, I've been distracted by things going on around me. It's affected my attitude, my working out, and everything around me. So, now that things have calmed down a bit and I feel like I'm heading in the right direction again, I'm back to blogging. :-)

Here's a sampling of pictures of what's happened since mid-April:

My cousin, Ryan (center), graduated from Carolina in May. While at Carolina, he studied Music, Voice Performance - with a concentration in Opera. This picture was the evening of his senior recital in Hill Hall.

While I am concerned about what he's actually going to do to make money with his degree, it seems like he has a solid plan. He's moving to New York in August and will be taking private voice lessons with a professor from Julliard before applying to graduate school. Hopefully, big things from this kid!

  I got new shoes! OMG they are bright!

I joined the Raleigh Galloway running program in May. I've been running intervals/Galloway-method since I started running in 2010. I decided to join the bigger group (even though I swore I never would) because I couldn't get back into the running habit after my surgery. I'll tell ya...There's nothing like having a program of 500+ people and a pace group of 30-50 people to hold you accountable for your long run.

Suzanne, one of my running buddies, joined with me. We've signed up for the Richmond Half, but are seriously considering the full (OMG - did I say full marathon!?!?) We'll decide after our 18-miler on August 31 on whether to change races!

We went "home" Memorial Day weekend to visit family. A part of every visit home is to see my Granny. God knows I love this woman with every fiber of my being. She's been a constant source of joy in my life. She is always a voice of reason and consoling words when I need them. Love her!

Girls Night Out! Love spending time with these ladies! On this particular evening, we went to Chubby's, then to Orange Leaf for frozen yogurt and girl talk. Love them!

Jason's birthday was June 13. We originally had plans to go to Boone/Blowing Rock with the in-laws, but due to accessibility issues it didn't work out. So, we took his birthday off and headed to Wilmington for the day. We started our day with an early lunch at Sweet & Savory. After lunch, we headed over to Wrightsville Beach. We walked down to Robert's Grocery for snacks, then spent the remainder of the afternoon sitting at the Johnnie Mercer pier. Bliss.

The Board of Directors of my organization had their June meeting at the Executive Mansion. Hardest part of this day - My boss (Executive Director) announced to the Board his intention to retire on January 31, 2014. It's been a wild month with this announcement, but I am finally able to say that I am ready for the new adventure that could come from the change...

Jason started training at Raleigh CrossFit! I've been trying to get him to go since I joined last year, but he wouldn't go. I mentioned it again after the Carolina Clash event and he agreed! I think it's safe to say that he's hooked!

That's just a sampling of what's been going on... It's been a busy couple of months, but I think things are starting to level out... YAY! Back at it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - Foodie Questions}

So, I haven't posted much in a while. I'm going to get back in the saddle with writing this week. I have come to realize that my blog is for me. It isn't about anyone else, who does or does not read it, etc. Now that some of the fog has cleared from my mind, I'm getting back to it!
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
Foodie Questions
  1. Do you make grocery lists?  I do. I'd waste so much money in the grocery store without my list!
  2. Do you have a routine when shopping in your favorite grocery store?  I pretty much follow the exact same path through the grocery store every week - produce, deli, meat. I don't generally go anywhere else in the store because I don't eat a lot of other foods.
  3. What is your favorite seasoning?  I love, love, love GAMMS. It's the company of the hubs' cousins. So good!
  4. What is the healthiest food in your fridge right now?  We went grocery shopping yesterday, so the fridge is loaded with fruit and veggies!
  5. What is the most unhealthy food in your fridge now?  The hubs picked up a package of whoopie pies at Trader Joe's yesterday. That's the one outlier in the fridge.
  6. What is the most exotic produce you’ve ever had? Hmm... I'm not terribly interesting when it comes to fruit. I've never prepared it myself, but I'd have to say starfruit. It was so delish in a dish at DisneyWorld last year.
  7. Tell us about your favorite local restaurant.  My favorite right now is MoJoe's. I know that I can always go there and not have any issues. There's nothing fancy about it, at all - but the food is so good! Love their Cobb Salad with grilled buffalo chicken.
  8. What kind of pasta do you prefer (regular, whole wheat, etc.?) I don't eat pasta all all. Since I have Celiac, there are few pastas I can have :-( I don't miss it enough to do the research.
  9.  If you could make one food calorie-free for an entire week, which food would you choose?  Hmm... This one takes some thought.... Probably bacon!
  10. If you had to choose would you rather give up french fries or chocolate?  I'd give up chocolate in a heartbeat! I can't imagine going to MoJoe's, Kaleel's or a few other places and having to miss out on hand-cut fries.

Monday, June 10, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - How Do You Celebrate?}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
 How Do You Celebrate?
  1. When is your birthday?  September 7
  2. Do you like to celebrate it or do you prefer to keep it quiet?  I'm more the low-key type for birthdays. Dinner out with family and/or a few friends is all I need.
  3. Have you ever had a surprise party?  Yep, I think it was my 20th birthday. My college roommate, Charity, arranged the whole thing. She got me!
  4. What sign are you?  Does it represent you well?  I'm a Virgo and per Wikipedia "....people born under this sign are quick-thinking, observant, and analytical." Yep, that's me.
  5. Do you tell the truth about your age?  Yep, no reason not to.
  6. Share your best birthday memory.  21st birthday.... Went out with college girlfriends to the Longbranch. We had a great time and when it was time to leave, we'll just say I was a little "happy". I fell (hard) in the gravel parking lot and somehow came out without a single scratch. I swear, I had a liquor bubble guarding me.
  7. Share a few item that could be on your birthday wishlist.  I'm never good at making lists for gifts...Some clothes, perfume, and a VitaMix :-)
  8. What is your favorite kind of cake?  Good 'ole yellow cake with chocolate icing
  9. If you could be anywhere on your next birthday, where would you be?  We'll be at Disney World! Perfect!
  10. Do you make a wish when you blow out the candles?  Yep!

 Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions!  Don’t forget to  link up in the comments!  

Monday, June 3, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - Summer Fun}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
Summer Fun
  1. What is your favorite summer fruit? Hands down - watermelon!
  2. Do you know how to swim? I do. Growing up at the beach made me quite the little fish.
  3. Do you prefer sun or snow?  I am a sun girl! I wish that I actually liked snow :-/
  4. What temperature do you like most inside your home?  This one is kinda tricky. We just got a new AC and are trying to get things figured out. Right now, our AC is at about 76.
  5. Is it humid where you live?  Uh, without a doubt! I love summer, but I'm not looking forward to the humidity in July!
  6. What is your favorite food to put on the grill? The hubs and I will grill just about anything. I do best with chicken and pork on the grill though. Still getting my technique right with steak and seafood.
  7. Do you prefer to wear a one-piece  or two-piece swim suit?  I like tankinis - full coverage, but I don't have to take the entire swimsuit off to go to the bathroom.
  8. What is your favorite summer drink?  Strawberry daiquiri!
  9. Do you prefer the pool or the ocean?  Ocean
  10. What are you looking forward to most over the summer?  Lots of things - trip to Blowing Rock/Boone with my in-laws, training for several fall half marathons, beach/pool time, vacation in September, etc.
Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to link up in the comments at!  Happy Monday, friends!

{Starting from scratch...}

Well, kinda....

It's no secret that my running has suffered terribly since my surgery in November. During the winter it was entirely to cold and the cold breeze bothered my incisions. In the spring, my heart and soul just wasn't in it. Now, here I sit, 6 months after surgery, starting fresh.

This past Saturday, I went for a "test" run with the Raleigh Galloway group. I have been running for just under 3 years using Galloway-esque training methods, but hadn't ever run with the group. I know his run/walk/run method is the ticket for me because I've run 6 half marathons by run/walk/run.

Anyway... I've always been a little "Judgy McJudgerson" about the group because they are so huge! I wasn't sure that it was a good fit for me. Due to not being able to always coordinate schedules with my running buddies, I realized that the accountability and structure may be worth a shot.

We met at Capital RunWalk in Cameron Village around 6:45 a.m. I quickly found some of my NCRC Women's Beginner Running Program buddies and chatted for a bit. Suzanne and I ended up connecting with the 11:30 pace group for 6-mile run. The run went from Cameron Village, down Clark Avenue through Meredith College (loved running through my alma mater), and back.

I'm not going to rehash the entire run, but here's some highlights:

  • It's nice to have a large group, even though it seems a little impersonal at first.
  • The run felt awesome! Normally after a long run, I'm exhausted. After the run on Saturday, I helped my mother-in-law with her yard sale and subsequent clean up. The hubs and I also went out wtih some frinds. Not once did I wish for a nap!
  • I was able to stay toward the front of the 11:30 group the whole time. I may even try the 11:00 group next weekend.
So, here's to a great season with Galloway! (and maybe a full marathon in the future...)

Monday, May 13, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - Questions and Answers}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
 Questions and Answers
  1. Do you use coupons?  Not really. I always intend to, but always seem to forget
  2. How often do you weigh yourself?  I try not to weigh more than once a week, but often it is more than that.
  3. What was your favorite TV show as a kid?  The Cosby Show
  4. How often do you drink alcohol?  Once a week, maybe
  5. Have you ever met a celebrity or public figure that you really admire? Nope
  6. If you had to choose between only your cell phone or only your laptop all week which would you choose?  I'd pick my cell phone
  7. What is your favorite brand of detergent?  We use Arm&Hammer or Gain
  8. If there was a movie about your life, who would play the role? I have not a clue in the world!
  9. What book are you currently reading?  I just finished Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom. I'm probably going to go for something in the chick lit genre next.
  10. If you could spend one day on vacation anywhere in the world, which place would you choose?  A beach, with beautiful turquoise water!

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to link up in the comments, and say hi to someone new!  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Jason and I haven't had professional pictures done since our wedding day, just over 7 years ago. The pictures we've had taken of us since then are few and far between, and usually are selfies.

Last spring, we had made arrangements to have pictures taken, based on a recommendation from a friend. About 2 weeks before the appointment, the photographer and I were emailing back and forth about locations, etc. In that email, she finally confided in me that they were nervous about whether they'd be able to get good pictures of Jason (he's got a startle reflex that doesn't love camera flashes), etc. So, that revelation scrapped pictures...

Jason and I talked a little more about it and decided to postpone pictures until after my surgery. We thought it would be nice to celebrate the "new me" and celebrate us. I've been following Laura Case on Twitter for a while. She's friend with several people I knew. At some point in the fall, I finally asked if she'd be willing to take pictures for us.

Three weeks ago, Jason and I met up with Laura at Sears Farm Park in Cary. We met around 6 p.m. because Laura thought the lighting would be best at that time. Usually, J is a little hard to photograph. I think Laura knew that she just had to keep interacting with him and keep him on his toes!

Laura said they were going to be fabulous before we left that evening... Boy was she right, look at these!

Laura mentioned this one in her comment, so I had to add it.
He does do this a lot! That boy!
Laura also took some pictures of us by ourselves. I love these! Look at my cute husband!

Had to have a hat on for one!

It might sound a little silly, but I really think that Laura caught the "new me" perfectly. I think she actually got genuine smiles out of me.

Thank you Laura! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - A Little About Me}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
A Little About Me
  1. Have you ever experienced love at first sight?  I would say yes...The very first time I saw my husband, I just knew it was going to be different...
  2. What channel is your TV on most? Our TVs float pretty evenly between ESPN for the hubs and HGTV for me.
  3. Share one quality that you’re proud to have.  How can I say this without seeming pompous? I think that my ability to show care through service is a great quality.
  4. Describe your idea of a great evening.  So many choices... I think take-out and a movie is probably at the top of my list.
  5. If your friends were asked to describe you in three words, which words would they choose?  Bossy? Tough? I don't know. Just might have to ask though.
  6. What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
  7. If you could change one thing that would make your life easier instantly, what would it be?  I'd wish for more outward self-confidence!
  8. What is one healthy food that you crave?  Cucumbers
  9. Do you wear socks when you sleep?  If it's really cold, I'll climb in bed with them on but they are usually off my feet within 30 minutes or so.
  10. Share at least three things for which you are thankful.  I am thankful for my hubs (7th anniversary today!); my best friend (Margaret) that's stuck by me though everything; and all my other friends (running, CrossFit, work, etc.) that bring so much to my life every day!

{Our 7th Anniversary}

Today, Jason and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. Time sure does fly....

Seven years ago we were joined in marriage in front of our friends and family at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Raleigh, followed by a beautiful reception at the Albert Coates Local Government Center. Every day that I go to work, I get to walk through parts of the building where our reception took place and it still makes me smile.

In our seven years of marriage, we've been through our fair share of ups and downs, all the while working things out together.  While we may not always agree, but we are partners through it all and do our best to compromise on all things - big or small.

I am so thankful that the powers that be saw fit to have Jason and I meet. I am even more thankful that our relationship grew and we were later married.

(Truth be told, I am kind of a brat so he's had his work cut out for him. Glad he wanted to take on that challenge!)

(Classic Olan Mills pose - thanks Laura Case!)
Here's to many more years together!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

{Essure procedure}

First things first, what is Essure? Essure is a non-surgical permanent birth control. It is hormone free and works with your body to create a barrier to prevent pregnancy.

I was diagnosed with PCOS in August 2001 (Read more here, if you want). Since that time, I have been to multiple doctors to try to understand my "place" in the world as far as having kids goes, etc. Since getting engaged (in 2005), Jason and I have hemmed and hawed about having children. While we would love to see little Regan and Jason running around, we know that it would be more challenging for us in many ways.

In 2005, I was pretty much given the "no go" on kids. Because of my medical issues, Jason and I were told we'd have no choice than to go through fertility treatments. That began an internal tug-o-war... We could go through fertility treatments and have multiple scenarios - 1) get pregnant with 1-2 babies; 2) get pregnant with 2+ babies and possibly of subjected to "selection" (and I refused to even consider "selection"); 3) not get pregnant at all. Jason and I discussed our options, the financial aspects of it, and decided that biological kids just weren't in the cards for us. We agreed that I would continue to take birth control "just in case" until another non-hormonal option became more available to us.

In 2006, I made an appointment to speak with my WHNP about non-hormonal birth control options. I had grown increasingly tired of the shift in my mood, etc. because of birth control. We discussed the Essure procedure during the appointment. At the time, I still wasn't 100% comfortable with ending the possibility of having children.

Fast forward to 2012... The issues with PCOS, including cramping, mood swings, etc. had become increasingly hard to manage. I also was diagnosed with Celiacs disease, adding even more complications to our life together. Also, in November 2012, I had my tummy tuck. Since that time, my body has been adjusting to it's new "shell" and doing odd things. These odd things were causing more issues than they were worth...

In March 2013, I made an appointment with my WHNP to discuss my options again. I made it clear that I preferred a non-hormonal option, but wanted to understand all my options. During my appointment, we reviewed several options: 1) IUD (scared of that because of Brandy's situation); 2) Essure; 3) Tubal ligation; 4) go off birth control and just "see"

On Tuesday, April 16, I went to my ObGyn's office for the Essure procedure. It went something like this:

  • Night before - Take several medications to soften/open my cervix. Enter pretty severe cramping overnight.
  • Arrived at doctor's office at 10 a.m. 
  • Around 10:30 a.m. - Taken back for nurse to insert IV for anesthesia (I chose to "go under" anesthesia, much like the anesthesia for a colonoscopy.)
  • Drug-induced nap began around 11:15 a.m.
  • Essure procedure completed
  • 12 noon - Taken into room for monitoring, etc.
  • Back home by 12:30 p.m.
It's been about 3 weeks since my procedure and I am glad that I did it. I still have to take my birth control for ~2 more months. Three months from the date of the procedure, I will have a HSG at Carolina Conceptions. That test will (hopefully) show that my fallopian tubes are blocked and that Essure was a success.

While our decision to permanently end my fertility may not be right for everyone, its the right thing for us. I'd recommend this procedure to anyone that's done having children as it is probably the least-envasive option possible.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

{What a month!}

Oh my! My blog has been totally neglected for the last month. Rest assured that even though our life has been pretty hellacious, we've done our best to maintain some semblance of normalcy. This is what has been going on...

April 15 - Twice yearly HVAC system service

April 16 - I had the Essure permanent birth control implanted. (More on that later, hopefully)

April 17 - AC stopped working. Noticed (at 9 p.m.) that the secondary drain pan was full of water. (At least the sensor stopped it from overflowing and causing damage.)

April 18 - I had a work conference at UNC-Chapel Hill that I was helping "sponsor"/run. Due to the AC, I had to miss the afternoon sessions.

Newcomb & Company checked the AC in the afternoon. The repairs to the AC were going to be significant because of the parts involved. Jason and I decided it was best to replace the system vs. band-aiding a 15-year-old system. This was the beginning of ~18 days without AC (Thankfully, the weather cooperated!)

April 19 - A staff member from Newcomb & Company comes to give us a quote on new AC. During his visit, he inspected our hot water heater (we have HydroHeat) and sees that it was improperly installed. We were informed was a carbon monoxide poisoning and combustion hazard! Eeek!

Drama for the remainder of the day, including but not limited to: City of Raleigh called to report improper installation; City of Raleigh called PSNC to turn off the gas to condo; Multiple phone conversations with neighbor serving on HOA about the safety of neighbors that had same guy install their hot water heater; Newcomb & Company installed new hot water heater (to replace relatively new hot water heater); City of Raleigh inspector visits condo; etc.

Was told that person that installed hot water heater was not a licensed plumber and did not have hot water heater inspected after installation. Began "campaign" to make sure all my neighbors were safe. Most of our neighbors are older and probably don't know how the water heater should be installed (I sure didn't!).

Week of April 22 - The week was full of multiple conversations with our HOA, State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors, etc. Spent many hours working on 48page document to submit to the State Board of Examiners regarding the gentleman that installed our initial hot water heater. On Thursday evening, I had a long conversation with an older neighbor that had the same person install her hot water heater. It broke my heart when she started crying because of how scared she was :-(

Week of April 29 - Neighbor that serves on HOA Board "took over" hot water heater issue for condo complex. He was able to get some of our money back from gentleman that installed hot water heater in 2010, so long as I promised to notify the State Board (guessing he thinks that if he compensates us he won't be in as much trouble).

On Thursday and Friday, the 2-day installation of the new HVAC happened. Habitat ReStore removed old hot water heater from our deck. My mother-in-law and father-in-law spent all day Thursday at condo and MIL scrubbed the entire deck for me. Hubs stayed home on Friday while AC was being installed. One advantage of 2 days at home - was able to get lots of home projects done (resealed J's roll-in shower; re-caulked shower; re-caulked kitchen sink; etc.)

So, the saga with the hot water heater will continue, but I am hoping it will be relatively painless. I am sure that I will have to be interviewed at some point by the State Board, but they should have plenty of helpful information from my 48page complaint.

Jason and I are really hoping that things are finally getting back to normal! April has been quite drama-filled and I would love a couple of drama free months.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

{Let's Go Rays!}

The hubs is a huge Tampa Bay Rays (previously the TB Devil Rays) fan. He's been a fan of the team since they were terrible and his love of the team has never waned. The Rays AAA team is the Durham Bulls and it's neat to get out to games there knowing that those guys will (hopefully) make it to the "big time" soon after leaving the Triangle.

Anyone that knows the hubs, knows he's hard to buy for - especially at holidays. So, when I was trying to come up with something fun for Christmas, I decided to look at the Rays schedule. It worked out that they would be in St. Petersburg for a home stand at the beginning of the season. I started working on the trip in September/October and was actually able to keep it a secret until Christmas morning (yes, this was beyond difficult for me!). With the help of some connections, it worked out such that we were able to go to 1 spring training game, opening day, and an additional game.

Here's a summary of our week with some pictures:

We drove to Florida on Friday. Our plan was to leave by 7 a.m. and stay in Altamonte Springs on Friday evening. We got on the road late and finally made it to Altamonte around 6 p.m. We were able to visit with Margaret and Branden that evening, complete with dinner at Harry Buffalo.
Got a bit of a late start on Friday, but once we were properly
loaded in my car and caffeinated - off we go!

I think I now officially hate South Carolina. Traffic started at South of the Border and
didn't clear up until Georgia. (We all know how great that was for my patience.)

Lunch at Ferg's and Rays spring training

Dinner with friends...

A new mead and my favorite cider

And some baseball....

It's safe to say that this kid (well, and me too!) had a good time. He's already plotting when we can hop in the car and head to another game.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

{A little rough patch}

As I said in my post yesterday, I've been going through a bit of a rough patch recently. Between the less than stellar weather and dealing with a few minor healing issues associated with my surgery, my motivation has been lacking. Yes, I have been exercising and being careful about what I eat - but, I haven't really been feeling it. 

Over the weekend, I realized just how much I have missed running with my girlfriends. Since my surgery, I have tried to get out and run with them a few times, but the weather hasn't been helping. The (relatively) intense cold early in the morning "hurts" my incisions and waiting to run until mid-afternoon on the weekend just wasn't an option. I updated my half marathon plan and will be running the Midtown Race Series Half Marathon on June 1. I have exactly 8 weeks to get my sh*t in gear to do this race and I am gonna do it. Now, to convince my girlfriends to run with me.... ended up being just what I needed...  I got lots of motivation from different sources and that seems to be just the ticket to helping my mojo come back.

See what I mean?
  1. A municipal official that I haven't seen since October came to the office today. When I went to the waiting area to get him, he didn't recognize me! Then he whispered in my ear how nice and happy I was looking.
  2. I walked into CrossFit at lunch and a fellow athlete asked how much weight I had lost and said I was looking great. As always, I said "...Not really...I've actually gained weight..." Another athlete piped in and reminded me that I'm developing stronger muscles and "... (I) sure as hell look skinner!..."
  3. We were working on our 3 RM on the back squat at Raleigh CrossFit today. I think Coach Bobby sensed my frustration with the weight on my bar. He asked my 1RM and and quickly discussed the current weight, etc. After our quick exchange, I was able to do a 110# 3RM. When I told him he said that I needed to remember the leaps and bounds I had come since starting in July and starting back after surgery.
Then, I got this from my friend, Mary:

Top 5 Ways to a Better Life according to Dave Grohl (An interpretation of his Keynote speech at SXSW in Austin,TX)

1. No one is you and that is your biggest power. “It’s YOUR VOICE. Cherish it. Respect it. Nurture it. Challenge it. Stretch it and scream until it’s f**king gone because everyone is blessed with at least that, and who knows how long it will last . . .”  

“Who’s to say what’s a good voice, and what’s not a good voice? The Voice? Imagine Bob Dylan sitting there singing ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ in front of Christina Aguilera.”

2. Don’t be afraid of not fitting in. “I can truly say out loud that ‘Gangnam Style’ is one of my favorite f**king songs of the past decade. Is it any better or worse than the latest Atoms for Peace album? Hmmm… paging Pitchfork! Come in, come in, Pitchfork! We need you to help us determine the value of a song! Who f**king cares.” Don't be someone who designs their lives to impress others.

3. Give a damn about yourself.  It’s about taking care of yourself so you can be a better human being. A 2.0 version of you is way more equipped to help others in need. Take up yoga if you’re stressed. Ask for a big raise. Walk away from a relationship that is abusive or draining. Or just take a nap, for Christ’s sake.

4. Be humble.  No one wants to go to lunch with a supermodel who says things like, “My cheekbones, if you’ve noticed, have a similar incline to an escalator.” One thing I’ve noticed is that if you are good at something, people will acknowledge it. Appreciate the hell out of those people. Should you be blessed enough to have the fortitude to work so hard at something that people celebrate you, your first reaction should be gratitude. And know that there’s a ton of people out there from all races and socioeconomic backgrounds who can still teach you something. I don’t care if you’re Bill Clinton or Jay-Z – always be learning; always be improving.

5. Spark a revolution.  
Always have the highest bar for yourself. Wake up everyday and no matter how crappy you feel, want to change something for the better. Do something that makes someone happy. Create something that inspires someone. Be someone’s light when they are hopeless.

Monday, March 25, 2013

{Friend Makin' Monday - Ten Questions}

I've been remiss in posting. Not sure why, other than just not being in the mood. I enjoy maintaining my blog and sharing my thoughts/experiences with others so hopefully I'll be back on the blog-train soon!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 Ten Questions
  1. Describe the kind of home you would live in if money were no object. I don't think I would change the fact that we live in a condo. I think I would change the size and configuration of our home and update our kitchen. That's about it. I love our condo!
  2. Are you more conservative in your actions or more rebellious? I am definitely a rule-follower and more on the conservative side.
  3. Would you go to Mars even if it meant you could never return to Earth?  While I think it would be interesting, no. I would miss my family and friends too much!
  4. Name one song that makes you want to dance every time you hear it. No clue - not much of a dancer here 
  5. Share one thing that you wish you could go back and do differently in your life.  I have a few people that I would apologize to... There have been times in my past that I have been very mean to people and/or said some very unkind things because of issues involving others. That wasn't fair or appropriate.
  6. Share at least one accomplishment that people wouldn’t expect you to be proud of.  Does being able to put contacts in on the first try count? I am abnormally afraid of things being in/near my eyes.  I talked to my eye doctor because I wanted to try contacts again, after having not used them for 5+ years, last week. She gave me several sample sets. I was freaked out the first time I tried to put them in, but they went right in! YAY!
  7. Describe one delicious thing that you’ve eaten lately.  Might seem a little silly, but a See's milk chocolate bar...  I only get them at Christmas and I try to savor them. I had a milk chocolate bar for dessert last night and it was so good!
  8. If you had a theme song that would play every time you entered a room, which song would you choose?  The music questions are so hard for me! I can hear a song and know that I like it, but if you ask me the name of the song or the artist, I'm clueless - Hence, not being able to name songs :-)
  9. Has technology enhanced your life, or has it over complicated your life?  I think that technology has enhanced my live in a kinda over-complicating way. What I mean is this - it's made it easier to have resources, contact with others, etc., but it has also made things that much more difficult. We can't go to a restaurant for a nice meal with family/friends without checking FourSquare/Twitter/Yelp/Facebook; we don't visit people in person the same way we used to, etc. Technology has it's plusses but we have to know where to draw the line.
  10. If you could get paid to do any job, which job would you choose?  It might sound a little silly, but I would be a professional meal planner, organizer, etc. There's something about getting organized (and helping others do the same) that feels awesome.