Astrological Naval Gazing

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I know that for most people, someone else’s astrological chart is about as interesting (or less so?) as hearing them describe a dream. Personally, I have my astrological sign tattoo-ed on my foot, so obviously as illogical as I may find the whole thing, I also relate to it. My scientific mind basically sides with the Big Bang theory pilot where Sheldon says the whole thing about believing that your personality is in some way shaped by the position of arbitrarily definied constellations at the time of your birth, blah blah obviously astrology is, at best, a pseudo science. But it is a pseudo science that I think is fun to explore, and as an older member of the millenial generation, I’m totally game for a free reading based on my birth date, time and location. Even though it’s irrational, I’m all like “yeah tell me all of the things about myself, that’s so cool, special snowflake, it’s as if they KNOW me… whatever… I don’t even believe in this, but it’s SO me!” You are welcome for the exaggerated internal monologue.image

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Anyway, I found a website where they will make and analyze your birth chart for free and I thought it was awesome because I had a friend who did it for me once by hand and I did a lame version myself using a book where I highlighted the sections relating to the placements of things when I was born and got a similar result but with much more work and it wasn’t as cohesive. So, if you’re into this sort of thing at all, it’s pretty cool to have it all laid out neatly without the hours of poking around in a book going from index to text and back again. It was pretty damn accurate except that, as a libra, it’s always assumed that I’m super beautiful and vain and I’m definitely more sometimes pretty and in no way classically beautiful, but I guess astrology shouldn’t be trying to predict how I look because how in the world does when I was born mean anything about how my genes combined to affect my appearance? (I know, you’re saying the same thing about personality…)

I was going to link to the site I used, but every time I try to paste on wordpress it just adds to to my title and it’s terrible like that. So, if you want one, it’s from about.com and I found it by searching “birth chart” on bing. Sorry for the lack of linking skills, I don’t even get it. (The options for linking in posts are always grey-ed out and unavailable to me).

Happy weekend everyone!

The First Day of Fall at Fort Monroe

When I woke up this morning and stepped outside, it was obvious that the weather had perfectly aligned itself with the autumnal equinox. I mean, it was suddenly, obviously fall. The air was a cool 60-something degrees, the leaves rustled in the breeze, some guys with huge power tillers or something yelled to each other from the lawn below. Aside from the loud machines and yelling it was the perfect fall morning and, magically, it actually came when it was supposed to. I decided it was the perfect day for a run at Fort Monroe, which I think is still my favorite place in Hampton.

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I discovered a new path at the end of the boardwalk and some as-yet-unseen fortifications. I had to take a couple pictures of what I lovingly refer to as the moat, as well, because I am still awed by the fact that there are actual moats, not just around fairy tale castles, but around real forts in the good ol’ USA. The general consensus is that my reaction to this is over the top, but whatever. I think it’s awesome and I want to live on the hill surrounded by this moat and pretend to be a princess. Basically, this moat makes me feel like Amy Farrah Fowler when Sheldon gave her a tiara. If you don’t watch The Big Bang Theory you have no idea what I’m talking about, but doesn’t everyone watch it? I’ve even looked up that specific clip on you-tube just to watch her flip out over and over. It’s great.

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Well, now that I’ve reached the limit on how many times one can say “moat” in a blog post, I’ll quickly sum up my run. It was my fastest pace yet despite a heavy wind that made me feel like I was barely moving. I ran 1.8 miles in 17:42, making for an average pace of 9:51/mi. Mile one pace 9:46, mile two pace was 9:57. I would feel a lot better about this is my 5k wasn’t in less than two weeks, shit!!! I still have only gotten as far as running 2 miles in a row, so I’m still 1.2 short of where I need to be I guess I shouldn’t have slacked off in the beginning of September. I’m kind of stressed about the race anyway because I’ll have to go really early, figure out where to park, and it’s going ot be very very crowded and I hate crowds and hate things where I don’t know where to park or where I’m going, etc, so this is way out of my comfort zone. I’m definitely going to have to pep talk myself into actually showing up, but I will! I will!

Life Lately ( and Cat Pictures)

First of all, I was really proud of myself a moment ago when I realized that the 3 pints of Ben & Jerry’s I purchased a week ago are not ALL gone. There’s a pint and a half in the freezer still, which is holy cow not even normal for me. I was a lot less proud when I reflected on the fact that I ordered a full combo plate of chinese food and a side of (eight!!) crab rangoon last night and there are no leftovers. Like, at all. So. That’s why I wear yoga pants all the time.

In other “news” I ran 2 miles straight this morning!!! I was shocked necause I hadn’t run since my last update and that last run was LAME. I really like my caps today, sorry. Anyway TWO MILES, and I even managed to run the second mile faster than the first in under ten minutes. That’s my first negative split, too! I guess chinese food is good fuel, I’m just kidding, it was probably despite the chinese food that I had my longest run yet. 2.01 miles in 20:26, though, I’m pumped!! Even though I’m the only one who cares, mile one was in 10:23 and mile two was in 9:57.

I also got a job this week and busted my butt tuesday and wednesday filling out and scanning paperwork and proof of this and that. I passed a three state background check with a probe into any DHS-type stuff, I mean, obviously I passed, but whatever, I am going to pretend that there’s some hidden accomplishment in not having a dark criminal past since I had to pay so much for my life to get snooped on. Got a TB screening yesterday, submitted that straight away and all that in such a hurry because there’s a training monday and then not for another 3 weeks, so I HAD to get my paperwork in in time to get looked over, approved and still give them time to invite me to training because it’s “invitation only”. Doesn’t that make an unpaid 7 hour training sound so much more appealing? No? Yeah… not to me either, but what does sound appealing is being done training asap and getting to work. I’m pretty excited about both the variety of ages I’ll get to work with (preK to grade 12) and getting to make my own schedule and pick and choose between grades and districts when work is plentiful.

I don’t really think I’ve done anything special this week aside from what I’ve just recapped here and it was pretty mundane, but I figured I’d do a little round-up anyway.

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My Workouts Since Aug 29

There have only been 3, I hit a slump and didn’t work out from the 30th until yesterday, but now I’m back on it!

Aug 29- This one was bright and early at 8am in Maine. It was even a bit chilly which was a definite change and kind of made my lungs burn. I mean, more than being a smoker accounts for. This one was short but I ran/jogged the whole time:

1.46 miles in 14:27, ave pace 9:53/mi, splits- mile one pace 9:49, mi 2 pace 10:02

Sept 11- Midday heat. Temp 86 degrees and a nice hot sun beating down on the paved boardwalk along Fort Monroe. Again, the goal was to jog the whole time, no walking. I messed up the pace a bit by not stopping runkeeper during the .03 I walked at the end, but it’s pretty negligible. Then I did a .75 mi cooldown and beach walk which felt so good though the sun was still SO hot. Racerback tan now intensified, I should consider sun screen.

1.73 miles in 19:02. Ave pace 10:59/mi, splits- mile one pace 10:32, mile two pace 11:34

And today, Sept 12- midday but it’s overcast and low 70’s. I just ran a couple times around the complex and the surrounding roads. Again, there was no walking, as is my goal now.

1.72 miles in 18:51. Ave pace 10:56/mi, splits- mile one pace 10:45, mile two pace 11:10.

Basically, I’ve been working on not interspersing walking into my training and trying to “run” the whole time. I’ve finally figured out how to pace myself so that I can run more than just one mile at a time (and then want to collapse). Unfortunately my pace makes me a jogger, not a runner, but I realized that I wasn’t able to increase my distance at the pace I was running, so for now I’m working towards jogging farther and longer without needing to walk and once I get to 3 or 3.2 miles, then I can work on picking up the pace. I’d rather run/jog a 5k without walking at a slow pace than do it a little faster in fits and bursts with walking breaks. I have never ever walked during any part of a race and there were hills (and I mean HILLS/small mountains- I’m talking about you Mt. Blue, Cony, Leavitt?) so that’s my main priority, even over speed. It’s a pride thing, for me, the spirit is to run it all even if that jog gets to be as slow as walking would be. It’s just a thing.

Anyway, I plan to get back into a more regular routine again, but I was glad that my almost two weeks off didn’t leave me completely out of shape as I feared and that I was still able to jog for 19 minutes straight! Woohoo!

Blue Apron with a Dummy (I’m obviously not being paid for this)

So I signed up for Blue Apron, the pescatarian version. They delivered the first $60 box full of all the fresh ingredients necessary for 2 vegetarian and one pescatarian meal(s) today, so if course I had to dive in and try it. I started with an easier one- cavetelli pasta with golden tomatoes and basil seed ricotta or something.

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The pretty little recipe card thinks I’m much more adept in the kitchen than I am, so when it asked me to multitask, or assumed I cut tomatoes and garlic in the time it takes water to boil and oil to warm up, I knew myself better and did one thing at a time. Once I was done my slow prep work I fired up the burners beneath the pot and pan and then I proudly (ok I was a mess) did two things at once, using wine for comfort and music to time those quick intervals where something needs 1-3 minutes.
Besides adding too much water to my garlic, tomato, pasta pan after the pasta was al dente and then having to probably cook it all into a mush to reduce the sauce, it was pretty smooth sailing. Definitely an easy starter recipe.

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Now, I don’t have a picture of it plated all pretty like a blogger is supposed to because I left it on the stove (off the heat) because cooking is so stressful to me that I just don’t even want to deal with the food anymore once it’s done. I will plate it and eat it, but we need some time apart first.
But this is exactly why I got Blue Apron, I have the hardest time coming up with any non-casserole or wildly unhealthy things to cook and eat. Also ingredients usually go to waste because I use them for one meal and have no idea what else to do with them, so this thing where they send only what you need is great. Also it’s the freshest stuff and it costs less than I would ever spend trying to buy all these ingredients and I’m not wasting and most of all, I will be learning so many new techniques (and basics!). Y’all I had to watch a YouTube video about how to turn romaine lettuce into a salad the other day, so I NEED this. I also need the Pinot Grigio that I didn’t have time to sip while cooking. So, doing that.

My Trip to Maine, in iPhone(4) Photos

Since I’m getting an upgrade when the new iPhone comes out, I had to specify how old my current phone is so I can later ooh and ahh over how great my new phone’s camera is. Because I don’t care about having the newest of basically anything, I’m waiting only because I’m hoping the iPhone 5s will go down to $99 w contract not this crazy $199 price. If it doesn’t, friends, I will likely be the proud owner of the 5c while everyone is on a waiting list for the 6. And I won’t care. Speaking of phones, you’d think I wouldn’t ramble so much when updating from my phone, but my fat thumbs have mastered this keyboard! Ok, no, they haven’t. Autocorrect is basically writing this post.
Uh so pictures.

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The bridge from NH into Maine, and the eastern peninsula of VA as seen from the amazingly long Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel.

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My in-law’s amazing backyard. It’s even better in person because I didn’t quite capture how hilly it is. It seems like it should be Ireland or something.

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I texted this picture of my dad scrubbing my car for me to C and said “this is why I’m a princess”. He was like “O lord” because he knows it’s true. My dad used to always change my oil for me too and he offered but I wouldn’t let him, I was there for his birthday, not scheduled maintenance! The truck belongs to John, the awesome neighbor across the street but he said I missed the best part- the ghost flames (painted on only visible in certain light or something).

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The one with the nice weather was in Delaware, the traffic going north from the beaches looked rough but my way was clear! The other two are at the lookout before you go south over the Chesapeake bridge.
Okay, so there you have the relatively few pictures of my trip and the relatively high amount of anecdotes and rambling. Have a good weekend!

I’m a Little Sensitive About Animals

I spent the last 3 days in Maine celebrating my father’s birthday a few days early and paying quick visits to family. On the trip there, I stopped for the night in North Haven, CT after driving for 8-9 hours and the second day was only 4-5 hours. I’ll definitely  be posting about my visit in Maine a little and the trip up, but this is a story about the trip home. I decided to do it all in one day if Labor Day traffic wasn’t too bad, so that I could have a full day with C before he leaves fr Nebraska on Wednesday. I managed to make the trip in 13 hours (driving from 6am- 7pm) and never hit any bad traffic.

So, anyway, hour 11 I hit the eastern peninsula of Virginia, on 13 South and all of a sudden I’m behind this tractor trailer-sized truck just stacked with chickens. They were crammed in so closely that until I was quite close behind it and made out a little birdie’s moving head I didn’t know if they were alive or not. So, there I was behind this truck, bemoaning the poor conditions the chickens were subjected to, already 100% glad I went back to being pescatarian and the truck turns right. The truck turns right into Tyson. If you don’t know that Tyson is known for chicken products, well, they are quite a big purveyor of chicken. I couldn’t help it I started crying, not eyes-welled up, but full-on crying. I felt so horrible for those poor chickens, who already had seen no joy in their lives, kept in their cramped cages, but now were being delivered for salughter. Oh my God, I could hardly contain myself.

I called C. once I had composed myself a bit more to tell him about the horror I’d just witnessed. I started out by telling him that I was fine and nothing had happened to me or the car since I was still audibly upset, and then I told him. He thought it was THE funniest thing ever and I was like, “it’s not funny, they didn’t even have a good day first!” and that made him laugh harder, though he was kind of trying not to find it too uproariously funny. He just laughed the whole time and the more I tried to tell him about why it was so sad and not funny, the more he laughed, in the way you laugh at someone that is somehow tinged with regret about laughing and somehow sounds like they feel bad about it while laughing. He’s a huge animal lover, but also quite the carnivore and was raised in a farming and hunting family, so he tends ot think of these things differently. I let him go because I was probably going to start getting mad about his inability to feel for the chickens/stop laughing etc, but I spent the rest of the trip home trying not to think about the chickens and failing. There are literally tear-drop stains on my GPS which I hold in my lap. So, yeah, I guess I’m a little sensitive about things related to animal cruelty and it’s either quite ironic that I was the one right behind the truck or it was definitely meant to be a great reinforcement for me to continue with my not eating meat or poultry. I also now kind of hate route 13 through VA because I drove past a Purdue plant only half an hour or so later. I won’t turn this into some kind of PSA because it either acts as that or is funny, depending on your views, but yeah, that happened.

My Husband, the Gypsy

While I am the one with the cliche-ed “gypsy soul”, it is my husband who is ever in motion, mapping routes and setting up in a new spot. He was only here for three short days after we moved before heading off to NJ, then NY, for work. Those three days were spent unloading the moving van and then (on his part) never leaving the apartment in the hopes of feeling a little relaxed before jetting off to work again.

This past winter and spring, work wasn’t very busy for him and he was around almost always, but now it appears his job has turned him back into a traveller and he’s not been home much at all. I’ve been looking forward to his coming back to Virginia ever since he left. I’ve discovered so many cool things that I want to explore with him, and we’re quite behind on our “Shameless” dvd watching, which is best done with take-out. Anyway, I’m going to Maine this weekend to celebrate my father’s birthday and (quickly) visit family, and C is now coming home right in the middle of the time I’ll be gone. That would be fine if he were staying for a week, but apparently even staying a few days to watch the cats took some arranging on his part, and so, it seems, our visit will be very very brief. I was going to start driving monday and be home tuesday, but he’s going to somewhere as yet unknown to work on a wind project either tuesday or wednesday, so I’m going to try to cram that 15 hour drive into just one day so that maybe we get half a day together before he leaves again. Guys, this is not what I was expecting and I’m pretty bummed out about it at the moment, especially since he’s going to an island off Africa right after this next project. But… but maybe he’ll be able to get a cat-friendly hotel so I can drive out with the cats and visit (again, hugely depending on where he will be) or I’ll find a cat-sitter and fly out to see him for a weekend. We will make it work, as we always do, but I’m hoping this version of “making it work” means we actually see each other because sometimes we don’t for 3 months and that always sucks.

So, let’s hope he’s nearby-ish or I can find someone to look after the cats because this half-day visit is definitely not going to be enough time with him before he heads off to Africa. Life is pretty unpredictable with his job which is exactly why I’ avoiding getting a full-time gig of my own. Working weekends or as a sub definitely allows me more flexibility when it comes time to either fly off and see my husband or else not see him at all. 

I Used to Look Cheap, but Now I am Expensive.

My transformation, at least hair-wise, into a classy lady of Hampton Roads is complete. I guess it’s about time I stop trying to look like a my little pony who lost it’s plastic hairbrush because damn, guys, I’m gonna be 29 in October. Which also means that having my hair professionally died has the added bonus of covering grays. Because I have had those since I was 19, but they have multiplied tenfold since then. I tried at-home dyes and they wouldn’t quite take so now I have an excuse to get pampered every 6-8 weeks and try cool things like ombre balayage. I’m kind of lucky really, because while I may be too old for DIY rainbow hair (especially witht hose gray hairs popping out), I am not too old to experiment with some of those subtler , yet still fun, techniques. 

So anyway, since I already showed you the before/after from the cut, now here’s the before/after color. You know, it’s definitely true that looks that are considered “classy” are pretty much reserved for those with some cold hard cash to throw at their appearance because there is NO WAY I could ever achieve this look at home, it took 3 hours and way more mixtures than you’d expect. Meanwhile, I definitely achieved my randomly bleached rainbow hair all by myself and it cost like $20, but literally 0 people ever called that look “classy”.

after cut and color

after cut and color

in different lighting; its more of a natural blend of tones than a traditional highlight

in different lighting; its more of a natural blend of tones than a traditional highlight

after cut, before color

after cut, before color

My Awkward Saturday Night

I’m pretty new to this town or city or whatever you want to call it, but I thought this Saturday evening I would go out, order a beer and an appetizer and chat up some strangers. There’s this place, Park Lane Tavern, around here that has a nice outdoor section and a huge indoor bar, so I went there to work a little friendship magic. It worked a couple of weeks ago, I chatted with a biker for like 4 hours and it was pretty fun and he didn’t care that I was happily married, he was also just trying to hang out with people.

So. I go again. I decide to wear some nice dress shorts and a chunky heel and leave my yoga pants at home where they belong. I make a big mistake, I ask for a table outside. Guys, don’t do this unless you bring a book. I end up getting sat at a high top with chairs composed of metal in a huge grid of open spaces. Basically, as soon as I sat down my bare thighs were waffled into the nooks of this stupid chair, my cellulite at every one else’s damn eye-level. Great. I decide I can overcome. I  order a beer and a bavarian pretzel appetizer and look mostly out at the sky and sometimes at my phone, pretending that there’s something new on fb when there isn’t. If I ate or drank faster, it would have been fine, but it turned out to be about 40 minutes of this and I looked like a lonely weirdo. So, it was awkward enough having broadcast my cellulite and lack of friends for all to see, but then I go to pay my bill. It takes forever, I’m sitting there staring out at the horizon like it’s a cirque du soleil show until finally the waitress comes back and tells me my card was declined. And she ran it twice. Okay. I am now the most pathetic patron in this stupid restaurant/bar hybrid full of couples and groups of friends. The waitress looks at me when she says this like she’s afraid it’s the only card I have, but thank freaking god, I am in fact married and not the loneliest person on the planet and I do have my husband’s card which only gets turned off when I forget to tell them I’m travelling.

I decided to call it quits with the faux-socializing at that point, forgoing my plan to have another drink at the bar area. There are only so many pity glances I can take in one night, so I go home and call my credit card company. Apparently, despite my having already given them my updated address, they mailed something to my old address and it got returned. So they immediately put a hold on my account. Great, thanks credit card company, that’s never embarassing. Anyway, while I was on the phone with them I made sure to update them about my upcoming travel plans so that this won’t happen next week. The nice lady told me that it definitely would be fine unless I shopped at places that I don’t usually shop at online or a bunch of other scenarios. So, cool, this will be a repeating phenomenon. I told her,” I know this isn’t your thing, but if you have any sort of suggestion box, could you put a little feedback in for me?” and she said sure, so I then asked her if maybe they could consider doing that thing where they call you to confirm purchases before just shutting of your goddamn card. This has happened to me 4 or 5 times this year, starting when I did my christmas shopping online, I’m wondering when they will figure out that I just enjoy online shopping and variety in my life. Probably never.