Tuesday, September 24, 2013

1,800 Plus 1

Running right along...this is where I was this morning at 1,801 miles into my transcontinental run. It is hard to believe that I am almost two years into this run!

1801.0 mi - "8.95 mi to Nickerson, Kansas", Rice County

I am just about halfway across the U.S. I think I have about 230 miles to run in order to reach the halfway point. But, and this should be of no surprise to you, that math might be incorrect. 
It was a chilly 45 degrees this morning (and, yes, the heat was turned on in our home last night!) but the sky was crystal clear and we could see the moon and the stars for most of the run. It was beautiful!

Dan and Mimmo are so close to finishing this phase of the work. 

We have a toilet! 
It is not connected but that is just a *small* detail.

The tiling around the fireplace was installed today and all that remains is for it to be grouted. 


I am so happy with how it turned out. Definitely a 100% (plus) improvement over what was there and well worth the 5 trips to Home Depots around Northern Virginia to find enough of that embossed tile!

All of the doors have been painted and re-installed, the light-switch, electrical outlet and vent covers have been replaced and the shoe molding and light fixtures are installed. We are still waiting for the vanity for the bathroom and, after the vanity, the granite counter-top/back-splash and plumbing are installed, this phase of the renovation is finished! Just in time for the movers next week! 

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, September 23, 2013


At least Kevin is ready for the week ahead! 
 Me, not so much.
Just kidding. Seriously, Mondays are my most productive days - laundry, ironing, cleaning, grocery shopping (have I ever mentioned how much I miss my sweet and very helpful PeePorn?!?). I think I do so much on Mondays that I wear myself out for the rest of the week.

I did not run this morning. I planned to but did not sleep well last night and was really congested this morning. I am not sure if I am getting sick or if Fall allergies are beginning to affect me. I will run tomorrow and then I will take an Allegra (or something similar) to see if that helps at all. 

So, let's talk some football.
NFC East Standings
NFC East Division
New York030.000

Pretty dismal. And, although it is only because "N" comes before "W" in the alphabet, this might be one of the last times I can say the Giants are ahead of the Redskins in the standings. What ugly, ugly games we saw yesterday! You know things are really bad in D.C. when The Washington Post prints a headline like this, completely dissin' the QB...
Poor RGIII. However, I can honestly say that, if the Giants weren't having a similarly miserable season, I would be *all* over this. Alas, t'was not to be and I must keep my mouth shut. 

Since I am posting this late Monday evening, I will wish you all to have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Not A Mathematician

My run was a success! 

However, thanks to some funky math on my part, I ended up running 9 miles instead of the 8 miles I planned on. As I was running along this morning, I mapped out a route that, at 7.5 miles into my run, would put me at a spot that I know is 1.5 miles from our home. And, since we all know that 7.5 plus 1.5 equals 8, I would get my planned mileage in. I realized my goof when I looked at my Garmin about 5 minutes after I passed the 7.5 mile mark and saw 8.12 miles as the distance I had run. Oops.
Oh well. I got the mileage in and that was the important thing. Even with all of my preparations and planning, I was a little worried last night about how the run would go. Yesterday afternoon, I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold - lots of nasal and chest congestion and a lot of coughing. I tried to take an afternoon nap but couldn't fall asleep and I didn't sleep too well at night either. I got up this morning and thought that I would just run as best I could for as long as I could and not worry too much about it. I was pleasantly surprised. 

Caitlynne and I are going to a trunk/fashion show at Jan's early this afternoon and then I plan to come home and take a nice long nap. I am totally wiped out and we have a party to go to tonight so I need to recharge my batteries. At least the run is done and I can sleep in tomorrow if I want to. 

I am doing some organizing before the movers come with our stuff in less than 10 days (!) and found my camera with these photos that were taken on our last night in Thailand and in the morning we left Thailand.

We had pizza and drinks with a group of Christopher's friends the night before we left. I love these kids! 
 Saying good-bye. Sniff, Sniff.
Caitlynne and Christopher with our sweet PeePorn. She made arrangements to stay with a friend in Nichada the night before we left so she could come to our home at 3 am and say good-bye to us. 
 Kevin and I with PeePorn. I cannot tell you how much we all miss her!
 Sonder in his crate at the airport.

In the lounge before boarding our flight. I remember how excited we all were to be going home!

 Sonder and his first night in the U.S. 
Have a great Saturday! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

While The Checkbook Is Open...

This week, we had some work done on the septic system to (hopefully) prolong the life of our septic field and make it easier for us to maintain. The dogs were completely fascinated with the earth-mover. They watched the workmen from the sun-room and, as soon as the workers left, they went outside to sniff it all out.
A new valve to switch between the two drain fields was installed.

We had a cap installed over the area where the system is pumped out.  

The work was finished yesterday afternoon and we are just waiting for the county to inspect before it can be filled in.  
Tuesday evening, we had dinner with my cousin Patrick, his wife Merrily and Fogo, their very well-traveled dog. After a visit to Florida, they are now driving their way back up the East Coast to their home on Cape Cod (I know, how incredibly lucky are they?!?) and stopped at Jim and Jan's for the night. 
We gave Fogo a break and didn't introduce him to these two wild and crazy boys. 

My running socks have become a preferred "steal" for these two. 
The tile has all been installed on the lower level and Mimmo and Dan are  working on the grout this morning.  
Each day, the ledge looks a little bit better than the day before! 
I am still not exactly sure of the final design but these tiles will somehow be used to accent the fireplace.
 The guest room.
The closet in the guest room.
The shower walls - partially tiled. 
This mosaic is absolutely beautiful - the tiles are a mix of traverntine, mother of pearl, stainless steel and glass. 
We had a bit of a cold spell earlier in the week (48 degrees Wednesday morning!) and, much to Kevin's dismay, I broke down and turned the heat on - just enough to take the edge off. It was that or spend the afternoon/evening huddled under the bed-covers. I am having the fireplace inspected and the propane tank filled on Tuesday so that should help in the event we get chilly again. 

Chester thought the colder weather called for him to cuddle with Sonder. 
Sonder thought otherwise.
I am gearing up for my 8 mile run tomorrow morning. It is supposed to rain off and on this weekend but, if I begin to run around 6 am, I should have enough time to finish before the rain arrives. I really want this run to go well and am doing as much as I can to prepare for it. In addition to drinking as much water as I can during the day, tonight will be wine-free and I will make sure to get to bed as early as possible. For dinner tonight, I am modifying this recipe for Hungarian Goulash and will serve over egg noodles. My modifications include the addition of about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, a can of diced tomatoes (drained), a can of tomato sauce (I omit the tomato paste) and a cup of wine. I also bought some fresh spinach yesterday and will make a "lite" version of creamed spinach as well - which the kids love. 

Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday's Post - A Bit Late

I had this post almost ready to publish yesterday but got so distracted by the sad news of the tragic events that happened at the Washington Navy Yard. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.

This pretty accurately described the mood in our home Sunday evening.
In all fairness to the Redskins, I couldn't find anything that was snarky and Giants-related to post or I would have done so. Thank goodness Virginia Tech won because between the Redskins and Giants, our teams were not doing so well. I am not sure what happened to the Giants but, when we sat down to dinner, the score was 17-16 and it had been a close game. When we finished dinner, I was shocked to see the score had changed to 38-16 in Denver's favor.

All of the painting of the lower level was completed Friday afternoon (and looks wonderful) and Dan and Mimmo began laying tile yesterday morning.
Dan and Mimmo mostly finished tiling the rest of the lower level today - I would post photos but I cannot walk on it until the morning. Their plan for tomorrow is to finish tiling a small section in the guest room and to begin work on the ledge and in the bathroom! 

About 3 weeks ago, I signed up to teach a religious education class at our church. The program was desperate for teachers to the point that our pastor made a plea at Mass for help. I teach a kindergarten class (6 girls and 4 boys) that meets just once a week (Monday afternoons) for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I am discovering exactly how very long an hour and 15 minutes can be! 

Yesterday was our second class and we learned about how God made the world and everything in it. The activity I planned was for the kids to make a mobile like the one in the photo below. I thought it went pretty well  - although there is such a wide range of skills in the class that I ended up "helping" a few children lot more than I thought I would have to. Some of the children can color and cut with scissors quite easily, others somewhat well and then there are a couple of kids who still scribble in a single color and don't even know how to hold a pair of scissors. I know everyone's skills will "even out" in a couple of years but I guess I am so far beyond that age with my own children that I forgot how time consuming a simple project can be. 
Have a great Wednesday!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

In The Books!

I ran a glorious 7 miles early yesterday morning and another 4.5 miles with Kevin this morning. It was quite chilly out - 52 degrees yesterday and 43 degrees today. Although I didn't give in to the temptation to wear long pants, I did wear a long sleeved shirt and a pair of light gloves both mornings. All I can say is that it is going to be a long Fall and Winter. I do love running in this cooler weather though!
Yesterday morning, the sun hit me full on in the face at mile 5 and I desperately wished for my sunglasses. Something to remember for the next time I run later than zero dark thirty! 

I have been getting a lot of hill running in just by nature of where we live. My favorite route to run is what I call the "Oakton route" which takes me through the back roads and neighborhoods of, well, duh, Oakton. I can easily change up my route along the way and add/subtract mileage as necessary. However, there are no sidewalks, no streetlights and lots of wild animals (deer, raccoon, fox and skunks) so it really must be light in order to run this route. It is a tough run - the first mile is a long downhill, the second mile is a long uphill and then the route is a mix of flat stretches and smaller hills. On the return trip home, having to run that last mile (which is now uphill) is a killer but I just duck my head, focus on putting one foot in front of the other and repeat some kind of mantra to myself. Yesterday's mantra was, "the old grey mare just ain't what she used to be." For some reason, that popped into my head early in my run and wouldn't go away.

A friend recently told me about a few trails through the woods around our neighborhood and I have run a few times on them but only for short distances - the trails are just too isolated for me to run them alone. This morning, Kevin and I explored two different trails and managed to run about 80% of our mileage off-road. It is hard to believe that there are so many trails in this very suburban area but I guess you just have to know where to look. I really like to run on trails but must remember to pay attention to the ground because it is so uneven and rocky.

The Army Ten Miler is just over one month away (October 20th) and I feel really good about my running. Although I wasn't too happy when we started running this morning, I am glad I stuck with it. Not only did it give Kevin and I some time together, it was a good run and brought my weekly mileage to 24.5 miles. Next week my long run will be 8 miles on Saturday morning since we have a party to go to Saturday night. If that goes well, I will try for a 10 mile long run the following weekend and will then run a 10 mile long run each week until the Ten Miler. Not a very official training plan but I think it will work. 

Have a great Monday!