Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The time has come to 'officially' start training for my half marathon. My cousin Jess, who lives in SF and will also be running the half, has scouted out of the course and gave a report of which miles will be the hardest. After a few easy flat miles, there's a long incline to the bridge. After my month of laziness, I'm eager to get back to running. Actually, I'm eager to get back to any kind of exercise.

This weekend I managed to control my eating and drinking - sticking mostly to water Friday night and only a bit of wine Saturday and Sunday. I need to be more diligent, but its a start in the right direction. My goal for the weekend was NOT to buy any food (I'm looking at you, Chipotle) and I succeeded! I didn't eat super well by any means, but I always figure that homemade has to be at least a little better than mac and cheese from Noodles & Co.

I've got a busy weekend ahead, so I'm hoping to keep up my good weekend eating behavior. I'm adding the additional goal this weekend to work out both days (contemplating lifting on Saturday and then long run on Sunday - which is back down to 4 miles). I'm trying not to make the rookie mistake of trying to be 'perfect' all at once with eating, drinking, and working out (then giving up when that fails) and instead make small adjustments that will stick over time. My 'fat' pants are starting to get tight and, as Alliy once told me "Its hard to be optimistic when even your fat pants don't fit"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Technology, meh.

Last Thursday, after I came into work at 6am for a conference call with the East Coast, my computer promptly got a virus and went haywire. After trying to talk with IT, I gave up and sent my computer to Kansas City where it remained until today.

I'm not good with technology. or change for that matter. How I managed to move across the country with no friends, I'll never know. I fought to keep my Microsoft programs in 2007 instead of 2010 - I've seen people with 2010 and I've just now figured out where everything is in 2007 so I knew I wouldn't have the patience to deal with relearning.

I forgot, however, to specify which version of windows I wanted, so now I'm relearning all over again anyhow. I'm now in Windows Vista (shakes fist at Bill Gates) and I dont understand why they have to change so much with each new version. Don't they realize that, aside from the tech-savvy people, it only angers the general public? Nothing ever just works as it should, although a touch of that might be user error rather than the computer, and has forced my coworkers to listen to me complain all morning long. My email alone has been loading for 45 minutes and I've tried in vain to find the "desktop" icon that closes all windows. It appears as though that option, my favorite, has been removed in this version.

But it did, however, somehow remember my log in information for blogspot. I was nervous about this, as I had no idea what my web address or log in info was. While a bit disconcerting for anyone using this laptop after me, it was nice to be able to come update my blog, ranting about technology whilst my email slowly loads.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not Charlie.Sheen.Winning.

While just a few weeks ago I spouted about how I was winning at life, I am now flailing. I had been feeling like being a bit reckless and I succeeded. Granted, my reckless is still other people's cautious, but all the same, I now feel the need to get my life back in order.

This is a cycle I go through every few months or so. I feel too in control, too rigid and want to let my hair down and just go nuts under the guise of "I'm young! With no responsibilities or kids! If not now, when?!" And then eventually my liver and my credit card tire and my apartment begins to look as though I'm auditioning to be on Hoarders and I revert back to schedules and simplicity.

Today is that day. While overall my apartment isn't bad, it has about two weeks worth of beer cans and wine bottles sitting in my kitchen (which weren't a solo venture but a group effort). Making dorky NEPA assessments to the state of my kitchen, my officemate and I joked that the cumulative effect was moderate to major adverse, with no beneficial impacts. If you understand that joke, seek help - you're as nerdy as I am.

But since this spiral has been a bit longer and a bit bigger than previous ones, I've created a list of things to do to get my life back in working order. Some are smaller than others (go to target vs. clean out closet/give to goodwill or go to gym vs. stop eating crap), but I'm determined to return to being a functional adult by the weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Breck, Beer, and REI

These are a few of my favorite things.

This weekend I got to check out Breckenridge for the first time, driving up Saturday morning to attend the Breckenridge Beer Fest. It was MUCH smaller than the Great American Beer Fest held in Denver, but also a heck of a lot of fun.

Please note my future husband in the background, wearing the blue striped hoodie. Megan noted "he looks like a provider".

My favorite part about the beer fest, other than FINALLY procuring an Oskar Blues tasting holder (a open top beer can on mardi gras beads - I got "mama's lil yella" instead of Dale's Pale Ale) - my favorite part was the brewery who's sticker just had 'SBC' in big letters, an endearing nickname only my family would understand. Alliy - who ever would have thought that a trip to Weis for temporary tattoos would be so everlasting.

Sunday morning, we headed back towards Denver, dropping my season-long ski rentals back off at their home in Idaho Springs. After picking up the Echo, I drove to REI to use my 20% coupon and member dividends on a new sleeping bag, fuel belt, shoes, and tee shirt. It was a good day.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gov't Shutdown - ahhh!

I've been happy living in Denver but I have never been so happy to NOT be living in DC. Apparently its madness with the impending shutdown. My buddy Tommy has already reserved a keg for Monday for his "Get Down with the Shutdown" house party. He also sent me an article of the drink specials for the bars on the Hill, including penny beers for those with a congressional ID, to help them afford to drink during the furlough.

My old roommate Lauren, however, has learned she is apparently an "essential" employee and will not be getting any time off, regardless of the budget. She is a background investigator but I wonder - how can she do her job when there is no one at federal offices to help her investigate??

As a federal contractor, we were curious to see how this would affect us. We just had our government shutdown meeting and learned we do not get a paid vacation courtesy of Berger and the federal government. We can continue working on our existing projects and contracts, so long as we are not at a point where we need government feedback. We should have enough work for a week or two, but if this shutdown lasts as long as the 1995 shutdown did, I'll be looking at some free time around my apartment.

I find it a little ironic that the potential shutdown could occur during National Park week - the one week a year where all parks are free to get into and enjoy. Instead they will all be closed. For the larger parks, it was interesting to read that the shutdowns would be gradual, not immediate, as it takes a few days to make sure everyone is out of the backcountry and wilderness areas of the park. I cannot imagine being on a 14-day backcountry camping trip and coming back to civilization only to find the government has thrown a tantrum and shut down. I think I'd turn around and hike right back in.

Also in peril is the 150th celebration of the first shots at Ft Sumter - why we are celebrating the Civil War I'm not quite sure, but that is definitely an event that cannot be postponed. The trickle down effect from people planning vacations, to concessionaires in the parks, to services provided in the towns adjacent to parks is staggering.

Its amazing how big an impact one decision, or lack of one, can have.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Begruding Student

I am back to studying yet again. I have officially set the date for taking my AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners). The pass rate is only about 55-60% for first time test takers and I do NOT want to sit for this thing twice!

The problem with taking the AICP is that I'm not a city/local planner, I'm an environmental consultant for federal planning projects. Sure, I'll knock the socks off of the 4 environmental questions on the test, but I'm screwed for when to issue a variance or what type of funding a town should use to implement their green streets initiative. All I can to is try to get inside the minds of those silly people at the APA (American Planning Association) and studying my brains out until May 19th.

Yesterday, after floundering around for most of March feeling guilty for not studying, I finally broke down and purchased a $130 online course that everyone recommends. What I find most helpful is the multiple practice test the course comes with. I plan on going through the modules each week and then taking at least one practice test a week. Last night I took the pre-test and got 86 out of 170 questions right, which really wasnt all that bad. A 60% gives you a passing grade and I got a 51% without any studying. That gives me just enough fear and hope that I can study and get through this.

It feels good to finally have started making actual steps towards studying, but it will feel even better at noon on May 19th, when I've left the testing room with hopefully a passing grade.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I have been remiss in blogging lately, but in my defense its been busy in CO! Last week all the head honchos in my company had their quarterly "are we making enough money" meeting at the Denver office, which required high heels, long work days, and no blogging. But the long hours were worth it: I was planning on taking off on Friday and heading up to Steamboat Thursday night!

I hadn't been to Steamboat but my ski pass gave me 6 free days to ski there and I was eager to use them! I think I'm in love with spring skiing. A balmy 58 degrees at the base, I only skied with my shell and a thermal long sleeved tee. Unfortunately, all the high-heel wearing really killed one of my feet, so I only skied one of the two days.

I defy you to tell me this isn't heaven

The second day I hung back with the non-skiers and caught up on my reading and sleeping and then we all headed for Strawberry Springs Hot Springs that evening. It was a crazy dirt road to get there, but an amazing time!

I promise you I'm not naked. Its not clothing optional until after dark...

After three glorious days, we packed up early and headed out, in an attempt to beat the snowstorm that seemingly came out of nowhere, considering it had been 64 degrees the day before. We thought we shipped out early enough, but apparently not:

That wasn't even the worst it got. At one point it was a complete white out and I was pretty much thinking I was a goner. After the first pass out of Steamboat, it got a lot better and we picked up speed (it took us 2 hours to go 30 miles, originally). Unfortunately, a combination of weather and accidents closed the Eisenhower Tunnel and we were unceremoniously trapped in Silverthorne. Thankfully between the Chipotle, Outlets, and a hotel room, we were able to pass the 5 hours fairly quickly and were on our way home again shortly before 6 pm. The tunnel traffic was typically slow, but picked up and I was unpacking in my apartment before 8pm.

While trying to find out the status of the tunnel, I did learn a few fun facts about the Eisenhower Tunnel: Its the highest point in the interstate system, at 11,158 feet; its one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world; and its the longest mountain tunnel. Who knew? It also the biggest cause of headaches and cursing on Sunday afternoons as people attempt to return home.

Overall, it was a great weekend and I cant wait to get back there next year - hopefully once I've replaced the Echo with a mountain-ready vehicle.