Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MOVE!

There is a hilarious skit on Saturday Night Live called "Nick Burns Your Company's Computer Guy" that cracks me up, probably because I'm a computer geek and people always ask me for computer help and it can be...

In the skit, Nick berates computer users he has to help, telling them "MOVE!" so he can take over their computer and fix it. Recently Bill decided it's funny to yell "MOVE!" at me whenever I take too long to do something or ask him to help me. This usually happens in the kitchen which makes it even more hilarious, I don't know how I ended up being to weak one in the kitchen. Check out one of the skits on YouTube:

Granolas in SoCal?!

We picked up a box of Kashi Go Lean Rolls at Costco this weekend (they had a $5 off coupon, otherwise they are $20 for a box of 24 bars) and I think these are excellent for snacking. Their selling point: 12g protein and 6g fiber which provide an "optimized glycemic response", in other words, the fiber and protein makes you feel full and your blood sugar doesn't spike after eating it. I like it because it looks like a candy bar and tastes good but I am able to tell myself it isn't full of sugar. Sounds like a winner.

Interesting news: next week Bill has a job interview for an excellent company located in southern California. I've been trying to envision us living in SoCal and I had this vision of Bill going golfing with his old golf clubs and wearing a t-shirt that had some sort of recycling logo on it (perfectly acceptable where we live) and thought oh jeez. We would be the granolas down in SoCal! In Oregon, we're main stream but in SoCal, we'd be crunchy granolas, I could probably grow dreadlocks and those Californians would think yep, she's from Oregon.

So strange to think about. We looked up real estate and HA HA! We would be living in a cardboard box (5 sq feet) if we had to go there on my salary. If Bill gets an offer, which I hope he does, we will have some interesting discussions. He also has an interview in Eugene OR (about 30 miles from Corvallis) later this week so who knows what will happen with us.

It has been snowing and raining here in western Oregon for the past several days and I am over it. We've woken up to snow every morning this week, watched in melt all day and then repeated for the past 5 days. Last night Bill and I took the dog for a walk in the rain and wind and when we got back we sat down to watch TV (American Idol don't tell anyone) when the satellite went out, it had snowed an inch without us even realizing it. Freaky. Time to move to SoCal. ;)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

That is messed up

Bill and I took our semi-annual trip to the movie theater to see "No Country for Old Men" which was an interesting but violent movie that has been nominated for a bunch of awards. I don't enjoy violent movies but this had an interesting plot so I willing to sit through it. The audience in our theater seemed disappointed with the abrupt ending, it doesn't wrap up the way typical Hollywood movies do and I think that's off-putting for people who like resolution. I would compare the violence and plot to the movie Pulp Fiction, if you liked that you movie would probably like this one. I thought the acting was outstanding but the movie was gruesome. Bill loves this type of movie and tried to scare me on the way home by faking a car accident while we were driving. This is why I refuse to watch scary movies with him, he would torment me afterwards so forget it dude.

Swimming 500s is going well, I've gotten in at least 5 sessions and low and behold, it's getting easier. Plus I'm swimming an easy pace that was once my race pace for swimming 500s so that is nice!!! Extra nice! I don't pressure myself to swim fast right now, I just swim to finish and feel good. Here's the way my mind is working it out while swimming:

1st lap: this might take a while
2nd lap: focus on reach
3rd lap: I feel like a barge
4th lap: rotate body (there goes Bill passing me like he's a speed boat)
5th lap: 1/2 way! only 5 more laps oh crud
6th lap: I feel my face and shoulders getting warm
7th lap: um, I might be tired, it would be nice to stop now
8th lap: I'm not quitting (and Bill's done swimming his 500)
9th lap: I still have another lap
10th lap: kick already! quit dragging yourself with your arms and there's the wall...

Yesterday Bill met me to swim, I told him I was tired right at the start of the swim so he started saying all of the ways I could bag it, go sit in the sauna etc, and I told him to stop making it OK for me to quit and I started swimming. I got a bloody nose (it has been cold here) while warming up, there is nothing worse than a bloody nose while swimming, you don't want them to freak out and close the pool, so I had to rush to the bathroom before anyone noticed. Despite that, I still got the 500 in so given that, I think I can start following up the 500 with some additional goals and work my way up to 2 x 500 here in the next few weeks.

I sound fun to be married to, don't I?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kitty making snow balls

video

Watch this video of Cassie trying to catch snow falling this morning. It's snowing in Corvallis today, something that happens maybe once or twice a year. It started on Friday after a week of sunshine but then it rained on Saturday and we woke up Sunday to big fluffy snowflakes and now it's really coming down.

We got in some good workouts this week which left me feeling a bit fatigued by the time Saturday rolled around. I think it's important to ease into an exercise routine when you are out of shape so you don't injure yourself or burn out. For some flipped out reason, I decided on Saturday that a run at Lewisburg Saddle was a good idea, it's a 6.6 mile loop in the hilly forest just outside of town. It was 35 degrees and raining so the idea was even more ridiculous. Since I've had 3 run/walk sessions in the past 2 weeks averaging 4 miles each, the Saddle was going to be a challenge for me, a cold and rainy challenge.

We picked up our friend's dog Milo so Marshall would have a playmate for the run and drove out to the forest. It was a quiet car ride there, I think we were hoping the rain would let up but it didn't. My plan was to walk up the hills and run the flat and downhill sections. I started the loop going up, 22 minutes of walking straight uphill. I think the next section was at least 30 minutes of running, I stopped twice to walk for a minute or two which helped me regain my form and let me relax a bit. Then I walked the final uphills and jogged any flat sections in between. I finished the loop in 1 hour and 19 minutes which I think is averaging ~11:30 miles. That is about 3 1/2 minutes per mile slower than what I used to run this loop BUT I was glad to have taken on the challenge and finished somewhat strongly. Of course I'm stiff and sore today but I can only get better so that's a positive. I think I can only get smarter too.

We will likely ride the bike trainer indoors today and watch the snow fall outside. I saw the Dr. again last week and she wants us to wait until March to try again for pregnancy and has recommend I go back on Clomid and to use the drug every other month. We'll wait until March but I think we'll go without drugs initially to see if I can ovulate without them. Until then, I'm going to have some fun, lose a bit of weight and get back into decent shape. And try not to be too stupid about running in the cold and rain.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is it Valentine's Day yet?

Pic of Marshall napping in the car on our road trip this past weekend. He likes to be near me or touching me at all times, even if it means stretching from the back seat to the front and sleeping at a terrible angle, as long as he's near he feels happy. What a sweet heart. Let's tear up about it, I am! This dog couldn't be a better fit for our family. We picked him out at the local animal shelter the first week we lived in our first house. This is the first dog Bill and I have ever picked out and owned ourselves and the first house we owned and both are very special to us. Look at his little eye lashes. What a guy. One last thing disgustingly cute thing, every night we brush our teeth and Marshall jumps up on the bed and lays on my side of the bed right by the pillow which warms the bed up for me. Or at least that's the way I see it, it's probably some dominance thing but I don't care, it works for both of us!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Don't be dramatic

Bill and I drove to Spokane, Wa on Saturday and arrived just in time for a cold winter snow storm. I had plans with my mom to drive to the Coeur d'Alene Resort for a birthday party for her friend so we decided to go but to make it a short evening. Since it was an all-chick affair, Bill stayed back at my parent's house with the satellite t.v. As my mom and I were having dinner with friends, we could see the snow falling on beautiful lake Coeur d'Alene (pronounced core duh lane) which was lovely except that we had to drive back home.

It was great to see old friends, my mom made friends with some women about 30 years ago and the fun has lasted through the years. I hadn't seen some of the ladies in over 5 years and it was interesting to talk with them, one said, I haven't seen you since you started running. I thought that was an interesting comment, as if a line was drawn in the sand, before and after I became addicted to exercise. More on that later...

My mom and I left as soon as we politely could and set off for the slow drive home. I was driving the Jeep and my mom was encouraging me from the passenger's side. Everything was going well, we were driving between 35-40 mph on the highway when we saw an accident had occurred ahead and the police were there assisting someone who drove into the ditch. I eased up on the gas and just as we were passing the accident I hit a patch of ice and started skidding into the left lane where a semi truck was aggressively passing me. Just as I realized I was swerving into a speeding semi on a patch of ice, my instincts kicked in and I counter steered us back and forth until the Jeep stopped skidding and the truck had passed. It was a moment that could have changed my life, we could have ended up in the ditch or worse, under the semi. But we didn't. We were fine.

After I regained the ability to breath again, I had an epiphany, the worst thing isn't always going to happen to me. Before that moment, I had a cloud hanging over my head that I couldn't shake and there were times, moments of weakness really, where I wondered if I was playing on a winning team. I was starting to believe that given the circumstances I would end up overturned on the side of the road, but I didn't. I relied on myself and luck and the worst thing didn't happen. I'm going to be fine, as long as I'm breathing, I'm going to be fine.

So the drama is over. Or it was over until we tried to drive up to northern Idaho the next day. We got about 20 miles away and turned around. With the wind chill at 5 degrees and snow drifting across the highway it made no sense for us to drive any further. We weren't going to want to be outside in the weather to snow shoe or cross country ski anyway. We went back to my parents house and watched our friend on the NY Giants make his way into the Super Bowl his rookie year. Amazing! He could have ended up not getting on the team and having to return home to start a "real" career but instead he ended up in the Super Bowl. Sometimes the worst thing doesn't happen. I'm starting to get some faith back.

p.s. we went to my sister's apartment to play poker after the football game and my mom and sister took all of Bill's money again. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I--DA-HO!

Th Jeep is loaded and we'll be on the road as soon as I get done messing around with this. The cats have their regular house sitter and the dog gets to make the 7 hour car ride to Spokane and then the additional 2 hours up to wintery Priest Lake tomorrow. We'll be back Tuesday so I'll load some photos then. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 18, 2008

HUUUH!!!

I forgot about DOMS. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or better felt as ouch! it hurts to move. I'm trying to get some fitness back for my physical and mental health and whilst I was trucking along through my first week back to regular exercise (LL Cool J singing in my head "Don't call it a comeback..." since we're too cheap for Ipods) I thought woo-ho. I feel the base fitness I spent the past 5 years developing and I'm going straight back to the way it used to be.

Look at me running on the treadmill. Look at me swimming a 500 on my first day back in the pool. Look at me, exhausted and tired. Ok, don't look at me. Even more important: don't touch me! I'm sore!

It might take a week or two to get back in shape. Duh. Oh well, it feels good to be tired and I need some distractions right now. I decided to face up to some "fears" that I have about returning to exercise. I don't like swimming 500s, even though I love swimming across a lake in the summer and I love triathlons, I prefer short sets in the pool. So I'm swimming 500s until I get over it. It's only 10 laps, I should not be afraid. The goal is to be able to do 3 x 500 without freaking out. It might take a while but I've done two swims this week with a 500 in the middle of each workout so I think I can do it.

Another fear: a return to running. I was an obsessive runner. I quit to get pregnant and keep my body fat up. Now my body fat is too up so after more than a year off, I'm running (in short bouts) again. I thought it would take a long time to get back to what I used to do (my typical 4 mile run at noon on a workday) so my first day running I did the 4 mile run I used to do. Only I walked more than half of it. That's ok, it felt great to get to the 2 mile turn around even if it took a good 15+ minutes longer than it used to I got it done. Yeah!

I ran on a treadmill last night, alternating 5 minutes of running with 3 minutes of steep uphill walking. After 30 minutes of this Bill said, "Wow, you're sweaty" which is pointing out the obvious, thank you honey.

I'm sore today and I have to go swim a 500 again here in a few minutes. How glorious! I am recalling what my life used to be like when I was an active triathlete. I just need some saddle sores from too much bike riding and everything will be complete.

I missed you old life, let's hug. It feels good to have you back. It's temporary until we get back on the fertility rollercoaster, but today, it hurts so good. I hope LL shows up for the swim...

Don't call it a comeback
I been here for years
Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear...

I'm gonna knock you out (HUUUH!!!)
Mama said knock you out (HUUUH!!!)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Long Way Around

We watched a lot of movies last week, so here is a list of the good and poor ones...

"Long Way Round" starring handsome Ewen McGregor was recommended to Bill by a friend. It's a documentary following charming (and handsome) McGregor and his friend on an extended motorcycle trip across Europe, through Russia and then the US. It is a 2 CD adventure but it is setup for TV episodes so you can break up watching it. Initially I was put off by it, they were whining about not getting the free motorcycles they wanted and then were pissed when advisor's warned them about rough travel through certain areas. They came across as spoiled brats to me, but they redeem themselves later when the times truly get tough, they stick it out and show their true character. I'm not one for tracking the exploits of self indulgent rich people, but you do get an interesting look into the cultures they experienced and did I mention that Ewen McGregor is in it? Get it! You'll enjoy this one.

Less impressionable movies we sat through recently:
  • Ocean's Thirteen (boring, same as the other Ocean movies but without Julia)
  • The Simpson's Movie (terrible and short thank goodness)
  • Mr. Brooks with Kevin Costner (weird and not that thrilling for a thriller)
  • Reign Over Me with Adam Sandler playing a man trying to come to terms with losing his family after 9/11 (interesting and touching but not very believable plot)
  • Winter's Passing with Ed Harris and Will Farrell (not great, slow, and strange)
  • The Kingdom with Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Gardner (simple minded patriotic silliness, mostly because of the ending)
Only one I would recommend right now: "Once" is a charming movie, probably only good for people who appreciate singer songwriter style music or understated stories. The music is the feature of this film so if you aren't a music fan, it probably won't appeal to you but I liked it a lot.

We're going to take a break from all of this movie watching and head out of town this weekend to northern Idaho. We've rented a cabin at Priest Lake, ID with my mom this weekend. I can't wait to get up there with the dog and do some x country skiing and snow shoeing and Bill can't wait to get to the bar at the resort and watch football (no tv in the cabin! gasp!). Should be an interesting weekend. Bill is bringing his poker chips for a rematch with my mom and I think they might be staying up without me for that!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No easy way to say it

I miscarried. It was a shock, a terrible time, and pretty painful. Fortunately, Bill was able to be there for me so I had great support, plus our funny animals kept me smiling, and I had a nice home to recuperate in so that kept me from feeling too sorry for myself despite the tough circumstances. It was a loss for us and it hurt, but I realize that right now is the best I've ever been in life, I have everything I need except this one thing, so now is not the time to give up and feel bad. The hardest part has been telling people. It brings up the emotions all over again but as time passes it gets easier. Because I wrote about the pregnancy on my blog, a lot of people found out which meant even more people to tell when I miscarried. I may not write about future early pregnancy on my blog which is unfortunate, I know there are some readers out there who are trying like we are and could benefit from knowing about the ups and downs we experience with this process.

Below is the story of what happened when I miscarried. I am sharing this for the couples out there who are interested in fertility. Do not read if this type of thing is upsetting to you or if you don't need to know because I do going into detail.

About an hour after swimming I noticed a small amount of blood when I went to the bathroom. Of course I panicked and thought I swam too hard so I called my Dr. immediately, the nurse said it was common to have some bleeding and not to worry unless there was cramping or continued or increasing blood. I took the next day off from work and had mild cramps all day (like light menstrual cramps) and still had trace amounts of blood. I didn't worry except I was urinating frequently (at least every hour) and my temp was up so the next day I called the Dr. again and they asked me to come in to test for a urinary infection. They had me come in to the exam room and just to be sure they tested for the baby's heart beat with an instrument they used outside of my stomach. There was no heart beat so they did an ultrasound. The baby was still there but it was slightly smaller than my last ultrasound (two weeks prior) and there was no heartbeat. The Dr. told me the baby had stopped developing and that I would miscarry soon. Just like that, it was done. It felt awful. There is nothing like sobbing in the Dr's office, you know you aren't the first or the last and that they deal with this daily, but it still feels like your world is standing still. Fortunately, I like my Dr's office very much and there were hugs and even some tearing up from them and I was so appreciative of their kindness.

The Dr. gave me some options, I could do nothing and pass the tissue like a menstrual period which could be painful and potentially upsetting to me and could take several weeks, or I could take a medication that would cause my uterus to contract to expel the tissue which could be painful and there is a risk that you won't pass all of the tissue and get an infection. Or you can have a procedure called a D and C where they scrape your uterus to remove the tissue for you. There is a small chance (less than 5%) that the Dr. will puncture your uterus doing a D and C. You can have a D and C in the Dr's office or you can have one at the hospital where they put you under and you sleep through it.

I decided to think about it over the weekend which made for a terrible weekend. I felt fine over those two days because the pregnancy hormones were leaving my body (I thought I was feeling good because the 1st trimester was ending) so my energy levels were coming back to normal and I was no longer nauseated. On Monday, Bill and I went in to the Dr's office together where she did another ultrasound to confirm and yes, it was the same. We decided that in order to move on we would have the D and C in the Dr's office. I was suffering from depression and dragging it on would have been torture to me. I was also worried about infection because my temperature was spiking frequently and I was still urinating a lot so the D and C was the right thing for my health.

The Dr and nurses were so lovely to me and Bill was there the entire time, chatting away with everyone to distract me. They gave me Vicodin for pain and some other drug for anxiety, the D and C took 15 minutes or less but it was very painful. Fortunately, we had opted for an ultra screen (genetic testing) so I had significant blood work done at week 10. The results came back a few days after the D and C and it showed a very high probability of fatal Down's syndrome, a common chromosomal problem that causes miscarriage. There is some comfort in knowing the cause, that it wasn't something I did or could have prevented. The odds for this type of problem go up at age 35 but the good news is that I was able to get pregnant in the first place so there is hope for a next time.

The day after the procedure was harder emotionally than it was physically but late that night I woke up with terrible cramps. I had to take two Vicodin to go back to sleep but that was it for pain. I have had small amounts of bleeding and I should get my cycle back sometime after 4 weeks. For now, I'm taking it slow, I took a week off from exercise but I'm getting back into it with a goal to lose about 5-8 pounds over the next 5 weeks. I am letting myself recover mentally by not thinking about the future or the past, just living in the now.

Bill and I grew closer through this, you can't wake someone up in the middle of the night and ask for help and not love that person more in the morning.

We're spending time with friends and may plan some extended weekends to help the time pass, it takes time to get over these things and that's about the only thing that will heal me emotionally. It was hard to tuck away the pregnancy books for another time, hard to get my old clothes back out of the garage, and hard to see my body change back so quickly. But... we spent the weekend with our friends, interacting with their kids and it wasn't upsetting at all. It feels good to be normal again.

Miscarriages are very common, there was a stigma around them in generations past and women wouldn't talk about it. Women today are more open and that helps quite a bit when something like this happens to you. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and it is painful for everyone who experiences it.

I'm surprised by how well we are doing, we were able to make each other laugh during the worst of it and I think we're going to be fine here in a while. It will just take a bit of time. Thanks for listening.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Movies

We have Netflix but I asked Bill to go to the local video store on Friday since we were in between mailings and a terrible storm was hitting the west coast so we were going to be spending a lot of time at home. I asked him to get a chick flick and a "shoot 'em up" movie for himself. He came up with:
  • Rush Hour 3 (not good, minimal plot, short movie and Chris Tucker is annoying)
  • Live Free or Die Hard (actually had a plot and was entertaining for this genre)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (good but you have to pay attention and it helps to have watched the previous movies recently)
Too bad the new Rambo movie wasn't there too ;) Apparently my request for a chick flick went out the door at the store. Luckily a Netflix movie Bill had ordered (he gets credit for this one) arrived in the mail, "God Grew Tired of Us: The Story of Lost Boys of Sudan". Here is a description of the documentary:

"An award-winning, critically acclaimed film, narrated by Nicole Kidman, God Grew Tired of Us explores the indomitable spirit of three "Lost Boys" from the Sudan who are forced to leave their homeland due to a tumultuous civil war. The film chronicles their triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and a relocation to America, where the Lost Boys build active and fulfilling new lives but remain deeply committed to helping friends and family they have left behind."

We really enjoyed this film on many levels. First to learn about life in Africa, and how people were driven from their beloved homeland in Sudan. Then you see how a group of boys survive 10 years in a refuge camp and create a community and have lots of laughter despite starving and having no information about their families. Then they are flown to various places in America where they are given a place to live but have to find a job and support themselves within 3 months. The view of American life from these boys is stunning. If you are feeling sorry for yourself and your lot in life, watch this and you will see the wonderful blessings you have to be born in a country where you have access to food and electricity and the opportunity to make a good life. Very inspiring, I hope you watch this one.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Snow Day

It snowed in Corvallis this morning (just a little) but we could see snow in the hills at the edge of town so we drove to Oak Creek this morning and went for a hike in the snow with the dog. Bill talked me into a 5 miler so I slept through the football game this afternoon (yeah Giants! and Go Seahawks!) but it was great to get out on the trails we run in the summertime. Marshall had a blast romping in the snow, catching snowballs and taunting Bill. Yesterday we ran a bunch of errands so it was an uneventful weekend, I think we'll plan some weekend trips soon before I get cabin fever. We need to head down to Phoenix again at some point and I might talk Bill into driving me to northern Idaho to rent a cabin at my favorite resort and go snow shoeing around Priest Lake. Just a pesky 10 hour drive to get there, no biggie!

Trail to Mulloch Peak

Marshall catching snowballs

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

2007 was kind of crazy for me, being newly wed, having my husband squish two years of business school into one, doing some remodeling at home, going on and off fertility drugs and finally getting pregnant after almost of a year for trying and then, of course, being pregnant! This was all on top of all the other things I usually have going on including being a computer geek at OSU, being a web store owner on the side, doing as much triathlon training as possible and keeping up with three animals and assorted friends. It seems kind of crazy to me to contemplate everything that happened in 2007 so even though we received lots of great holiday newsletters from family and friends I wasn't able to put one together for us, it was too much to think about.

The best of this past year was what I learned about myself, and I really didn't figure it out until these past few days. It's simple and obvious and something I need to work hard to protect: my lifestyle brings me joy. I had to set some of my favorite things aside lately while I've been dealing with early pregnancy and it made me miserable. I need longs walks in the woods with my dog and swim class to break up my work day. I need my different jobs to balance out my interests and to feel challenged. I know having a child will change my focus but I think ultimately Bill and I are who we are and our future kids (I hope with an "s") will get to know us as we are, active and outdoorsy people who prioritize a healthy lifestyle. I've started to think about working after the baby comes and how we will balance life and a child and it is a little scary to think doing it all.

Of course you can't solve the world's problems today so lately I've been daydreaming about running my favorite routes (I miss it so much!) with a sporty baby stroller. That's what I'm looking forward to, running on the bike path at the base of Bald Hill, taking my splits ;) and having Bill running beside me pushing the baby stroller and the dog looking back at me while he trots ahead. That's what I'm dreaming of for 2008 and I'm really looking forward to August.



View of Mary's Peak from Fitton Green trail area
taken on New Year's Day while hiking with Bill and the dog.