June Update – Being Awkward Around Famous People, Shows, Crafting

Hi everyone.

I just have to say how elated I am over the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday.  What a beautiful day for love and equality.  #lovewins

What have I been up to?

1.  Awkwardly meeting famous people.  So I met Nick Offerman earlier this month at his book signing.

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I HATE MY HAIR IN THIS PICTURE SO MUCH. Hi Nick Offerman!

He was a really cool guy, but I was SO. AWKWARD. I cringe when I think of our conversation and how I seemed to have forgotten the skill of making basic conversation.  It started off with me apologizing for buying three copies of his book. WHY WOULD ANY PERSON FEEL THE NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR THAT? Like I’m giving him money by buying three copies of his book, and I felt the need to apologize for it.

JESUS.

I am too embarrassed to continue blogging about it.

2.  Going to a badass show

My brother, friend, and I saw Bully this past Tuesday in concert.  They were badass.  It’s been so long since I’ve been able to feel that sort of raw energy at a concert.  It brought me back to five or six years ago when I had just started going to shows.

We first went to short performance at Waterloo Records.  This was the album release date, so it was pretty cool to be there for that. Alicia Bognanno, the lead singer, then signed albums afterward. She was so nice!

My brother is in this picture but I didn't think he wanted his picture all over the internet. Hi Alicia Bognanno! You're badass.

My brother is in this picture but I didn’t think he wanted his picture all over the internet. Hi Alicia Bognanno! You’re badass.

Then we went to the show at Emo’s later in the evening, which just left us buzzing with happiness and excitement and creative energy. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so excited by a band.  Seriously, if you haven’t checked them out, DO IT. NOW.

3.  Crafting.

Short rant – I was going to make an upload of the various crafts I’ve worked on since December, but (sigh), they’ve mostly been smaller cross-stitching items. I really had ambitions about making this space something useful, where I would post crafts, eventually tutorials…but honestly, my skill set is nowhere where it needs to be for me to be doing tutorials.  When I think about where I want to progress with my creative life (starting a part-time Etsy business, creating pattterns and projects on my own, posting tutorials on blogs), I’m a good ten years away from doing that.

So what really is the point of this blog then? When I was in my younger twenties, I envisioned myself as a blogger that would eventually get attention just by people being interested in “quirky ole me.”  But you have to actually do interesting and exciting things to garner any kind of attention. I miss Vox.  That was the best blogging platform.  And I don’t have the need to share every detail of my life as I did ten years ago.

To the two or three people who are semi-interested in what I have to say – thank you.

ANYWAY.

Enough blog self-loathing.

So I tried making this kimono today.  It was an easy no-pattern project from Mollie Makes that had my name on it.

…it’s really not my style.  I’m going to try and reuse the fabric for a wrap skirt, if I can.  I’d hate to waste the fabric – it’s so airy and pretty, even if jersey is a little more difficult for a newbie like me to use.

4.  Upcoming Travels

I have field work next week here in town, and then at my site in a coupe of weeks.  Then…BOSTON.  And then in the fall…ARIZONA.  I’ve never been to Massachusetts or Arizona, so I’m pretty excited.  Even if it involves more plane rides. I hate flying, but I’m really working on getting over my fears because AIN’T NO ONE GOT TIME FOR THAT.

5.  Birthday!

Well, that’s coming up next week. I’ll be 31!

6. Gardening.

Or rather, trying not to kill my plants.

7.  Game of Thrones Geekdom.

So I have to say, the ninth episode of the last season emotionally scarred me and I have never cried during an episode of television like I did then.  It was terrible. And a major storyline in the season finale was spectacularly spoiled by someone on my friend’s list who is NO LONGER MY FACEBOOK FRIEND (though I’m kind of sorry for my rude post I left him before I dropped him.  Sorry not sorry).

So now that the show is caught up with the books, I’ve been indulging in book spoilers and theories now and they’re SO juicy – like R + L = J and Lady Stoneheart.  I’m giving the second book a try and I’m a third of the way through it.

Well, that’s pretty much it.  Hopefully I’ll update this more than once a month.

I don’t want to go to sleep so you get a post YAYYYYYYY

I’m just going to accept that I’m in the “Omg, how is it already (month/year here)” phase of my life here.

This has to be super short because I have to staff a hotline starting at 8 AM tomorrow and is it terrible that I consider getting to the office by 8:15 “early?” So the fact that I’m still awake after midnight means I’m LIVING DANGEROUSLY.t

It’s been a busy week.  One of the projects I’m on is in the “ALL REPORTS MUST GO” phase, so I’ve been trying to wrap up this one particularly frustrating report that I’ve been working on, oh, for the past year (true and long story).  And just when that report is miraculously wrapped up – more data comes in! In the form of seven or eight reports.  So time to review those reports and add more data to mine, possibly changing everything in the process again.

I’m going to stop talking about work because no one cares.

We all moved to the first floor to make room for the other office to move in (since we’ve merged). I like my new space a lot. I’ve already added my pictures and knickknacks to my new cube, and it feels homey.  I sit next to my team leader and my work buddy.  I’ve thrown away a lot of junk that had accumulated in my nearly 7.5 years (!) of employment, so it’s so nice and freeing to have less STUFF. I’m trying to adopt this spring cleaning approach at home, too.  My apartment was once big enough for just me, but now with a dog, a boyfriend who stays with me on weekends, and an alarming amount of craft supplies, I am starting to run out of space.  It is a total first world problem, I acknowledge this wholly.  So I’m trying to reorganize all my stuff so that I don’t turn into one of those people from Hoarders in twenty years or something.

EVERYTHING MUST GO.

I’m taking a good chunk of the day off on Friday and I am so excited. I am driving to see Boyfriend tomorrow if the weather holds up, and then we’re going to go visit our families on Friday.  I don’t know if anyone has been following the weather in Texas or cares, but it has basically been like this for the last two or three weeks:  “Chance of rain and thunderstorms.  Oh, and some of these storms are going to drop like seven inches of rain so get ready for flash floods.  And if you are in Dallas, there are gonna be tornadoes.  Deal with it!!!”

I’ve already packed my craft bag.  Like, why do I pack so many things? Am I really going to do watercolors, cross-stitching, and crochet all this weekend? Nope, but I’m going to pack my stuff like I am anyway.

I’m rambling and kind of exhausted-hyper if that makes sense.

Last weekend Boyfriend and I saw Rush.  It was pretty badass.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Rush for a looooong time, but in recent years have warmed up to them.  It’s really because of Boyfriend; not like our musical interests always overlap, but hearing Rush always reminded me of him, even before we started dating (because the first time I met Boyfriend back in 2009 was after I watched him onstage performing with his band and they played a Rush song, AWWWWW).  Also, Neil Peart is a badass.  I’ve never seen anyone drum like him!  He does the most badass technical solos ever and almost looks like he’s bored doing it.  He was hands down the best drummer I’ve seen (I’m sorry Dave Grohl, you are still mah #1).  His playing style is a huge contrast to Dave Grohl’s, which is basically “I’M GOING TO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF MY DRUMS UNTIL I GIVE MYSELF CARPAL TUNNEL.” *

I’m just saying that air drumming along to the “Tom Sawyer” solo was pretty awesome.  It’s definitely a check off my musical bucket list, like singing “NA, NA NA NANANANANANA, HEY JUUUUUUDE!” along with the audience at a Paul McCartney show (which I’ve totally done.  /bragging).  I haven’t played drums in months but seeing it makes me want to get back on my kit and finally learn that goddamn song so I can feel like less of a failure as a human being.

Also, why is this song so pretty?

This has nothing to do with Rush, but I’m also digging this song so much:

I am aiming for my next post to actually be cohesive, with an actual theme about my creative pursuits and less of GUYS LOOK AT ME INTERNET YELL. But whatever.  It’s been a long week and I’m wired.

Night night!!!

*My drum teacher said that, as much as he loves Dave Grohl, he would never have his students learn to play the way Dave Grohl does, because apparently his wrists are really inflexible. My teacher is basically amazed that Dave Grohl doesn’t have a massive case of carpal tunnel.

Confusion will be my epitaph…

I’ve found that I’ve run out of titles for my blog posts.  Well, not run out of titles…just really lazy about them.  In my younger blogging days, I turned every blog title into an adventure.  This was back when I blogged quite frequently (nearly every day!)

And I haven’t blogged since…March 12th.

So I will just default to a song lyric instead as the title.  We listened to King Crimson’s Court of the Crimson King album this weekend.  That album has to be one of my favorite musical discoveries from the last several years.  Boyfriend and I tend to have different music tastes (his: mainly progressive metal, mine: mainly indie), but when when our tastes overlap, they do so beautifully.

Hi.

It’s been a little while.

What have I been up to?  Work, and a little bit of traveling here and there.  I’ve had some field work here and there, which has been interesting.  Work has been challenging at times but I’ve enjoyed it for the most part.  Boyfriend is in the dissertation writing/job searching part of his PhD program.  It’s exciting and scary, so that’s been on my mind a lot.

I’ve been able to travel a little for fun, too.  Last month, Boyfriend and I traveled to Colorado!  Boyfriend had a conference in Denver, so I tagged along with him.

I had never been before to Colorado before but I fell in love with it pretty much right away.  My brother visited Colorado back in 2012 and has talked about moving there ever since. After visiting, I can totally understand why.  Colorado felt like home.  We really enjoyed Denver.  It was a lot like Austin, but with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop.

I was able to meet up with friends from childhood who live in the area.  I hadn’t seen them in about twenty years, so it was wonderful seeing them.  They were so kind and gave us a tour of the area.  We went to Garden of the Gods, Boulder, Louisville, and Red Rocks. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think Garden of the Gods wins.  I had never in my life seen anything so beautiful.

Let me spam you with pictures.

I think about Colorado just about every day.  I hope one day I can live there.  Until then, I can’t wait to go back and visit my friends in this beautiful state!

This past weekend, Boyfriend and I took a day trip to Houston.  We geeked out at a couple of museums. I love the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.  When we were there in December, we didn’t have much time to explore it. This time, we found an entire building full of art ( we thought there was only one…but there are two).  We were there for two hours and still didn’t have time to see everything before closing.  Just another excuse to go back!  This time, I saw Van Gogh, Remington, Chagall, Pollack, and Bierstadt, as well as ancient art from the Romans and Greeks.  I geeked out so much!  I especially loved the Bierstadt painting. I had studied him in high school so it was so exciting to see it up close.

I also saw this painting and loved it enough to buy a little print:

I’ve been able to work on little creative projects here and there, too. I need to make a separate post soon on my progress (or lack thereof.  So many works in progress that aren’t finished!)

Well, it’s almost midnight!  I should probably sleep.

Generic Title for Generic Update

Any time you finish something you’ve been looking forward to for months, the next question is, “…well, what’s next?”

After I finished the marathon, I wondered what I could possibly focus on next.  I had told one person my marathon time and the next thing I knew, someone I hadn’t even met before was emailing me and asking me to run a 10K in April.  He was positive I could run it in sub-50 minutes; me, not so much. I considered doing it, but decided to pass on the opportunity.  With all the field work I have coming up this month and next, I don’t feel like I’d have the opportunity to train properly for it, especially considering the expectations people have of me now to finish in a certain time.  Plus, I felt like training for something so soon after the marathon would just burn me out from running.

So, what is next?  Work.  Work has been keeping me very busy.  I have field work on and off for the rest of the month.  It’s different field work than I’ve been doing so I’m pretty excited about it.  But it’s also been a little challenging trying to wrap up office work in time for both field work and my little mini-vacation coming up in a couple of weeks.  People are stressed and tensions are running high.

I’m woefully behind on the craft updates.  I’ve been working slowly through some. I’m also way behind in my creativity course but I hope to catch up at some point.

I’m kind of in all the things mode right now. I want to finally finish my SER and apply for my P.E. license, damn it.  I want to start Code Academy.  I want to start going to DIY workshops and learn about tools after a completely frustrating experience I had with a Home Depot employee last week (I actually had to tell him, “I don’t want to be judged for being a woman,” so that should give you an idea of how that conversation was going).  But right now, I just have to get through March; or to my vacation, at least.

Also, I’ve been obsessed with song lately. I don’t know, it’s just a good song.

I should plan on going to sleep. I hate Daylight Savings Time. I just cannot be an adult during the first couple of days after Spring Forward.

I don’t feel like this was a comprehensive update, but whatever.

Marathon Day #2

GUYS!!

My marathon was today.

It was AWESOME.  I PR’d!!!

Jenny split times

I know it is super obnoxious to be like, “LOOK AT MEEEEE” but I just can’t help feeling happy and proud of my time.  I tried to be pretty quiet about it on Facebook but I feel less bad about talking about it on my blog.

I might have mentioned that I did one marathon, the San Antonio Rock N’ Roll, back in November 2011.  I finished that marathon in 4:33.  The temperature crept up into the 80s by mile 17, so it was a brutal race.  I really don’t remember the last 10 miles of that marathon at all, other than going into a survival shuffle and perking up near the end, since I always try to finish strong if I am able.  While that marathon was an amazing experience, I burned out really badly from it and didn’t run very often for the next year and a half.  In 2013, wanting to return to form, I decided to train for a half marathon. I’ve done two since then but felt thirsty for another marathon.

This training season went really well, with your normal moments of doubt like, “Am I training hard/fast/strongly enough?” followed by little injuries creeping here and there (my right shin hurt on and off for the last couple of weeks).  I was terrified to do the Austin marathon.  I live here so I know how hilly the city is, and the half marathon course, which I’ve done twice now, is very hilly (I’d say the half marathoners have the worst hill at the end of their run.  It is so steep that it’s difficult to run up without feeling like an asthmatic.  If that hill had been on the marathon route, I might have just crawled up it).  But it seemed like a challenge and as the weeks went by, I felt more and more ready to do it.  The past several weeks I listened to my running song, “Bridge Burning” by the Foo Fighters, and envisioning myself finishing strong by conquering the last (not-so-steep) hill.

I was incredibly nervous yesterday. I couldn’t sit still, cleaning my entire apartment, and talking with Boyfriend about all my random fears (“WHAT IF I GET FOOD POISONING TODAY?!”) I somehow managed to sleep a little and woke up at 5 am, nervous as hell but ready.  Boyfriend got up with me, drove me to the race area, and hung out with me until the start of the race. Boyfriend is not a morning person, but he always dutifully waits with me before every race, cheerily and without complaint.  Being there with him always makes me feel so much better. He gets about a bajillion boyfriend points for being so awesome.

About a minute before the starting line, I thought, “I can’t believe I’m crazy enough to do this again!” But once I crossed the starting line, I turned on my running song and started.  It’s always a bit emotional to see so many people running, with the crowds cheering you on so much.  I listened to the advice of my dad and my training coach and took the first three miles (which were a slow climb uphill) slowly.  Once we started going downhill, I started going faster and found my groove.

I had three goals for this race.  My baseline goal was beating my San Antonio time.  My “I really really want to PR” goal time was 4:10-4:15.  My “this is probably not even possible, but I can dream, can’t I?” goal time was a sub-four hour marathon.

I passed up the pace group for 4:10 around mile 6 or 7.  I thought, “Well, as long as I can keep it together, I got this.” My experience from San Antonio helped. I had been on track to running about a 4:15 then until the heat completely overwhelmed me.  Keeping this in mind (since the temperature was already creeping into the 60s and getting humid), I reminded myself not to get too carried away with the race and to focus on finding a pace I could sustain for another 20 miles.

Around mile 9 or 10, the course split and the half marathoners went one way, while the marathon runners ran the other.  This part always makes me a little emotional, regardless of which route I take.  I thought, “I’m really doing this! I’m RUNNING A MARATHON!”  I had the dumbest grin on my face.  The half marathoners wished us luck while we encouraged them.  The camaraderie of these races are awesome.

I was feeling pretty good until mile 14 or 15. I knew I would hit a wall then, just because I always hit a wall around that portion of the course during training. It’s in a neighborhood and there’s a very long stretch of just street and houses, so it’s easy to feel discouraged.  In training, I’ve found that I hit a wall in the middle when I still have around 10 miles left to go.  I found a pace that was comfortable and stuck with it.

Around mile 18, I saw my coach on the sidelines, which was awesome. I did a total girly scream when I saw her.  She had oranges, which was equally awesome.  “You guys have too much energy,” one tired runner said as he passed.  I thought, “I DO have energy.”  Seeing my coach and hearing that comment completely turned the race around for me.  From then on, everything turned into one of those extreme advertisements in my head. “Fuck this, I’m strong!  I got this shit!  I’m at Mile 19, I FUCKING GOT THIS.”

At mile 20, I cheered without shame as I passed the marker.  I felt so happy.  I was still feeling really tired but I felt a lot stronger than I had in San Antonio.  I looked at my watch and figured that even if I slowed down to a 10 min/mile pace, I would be able to meet my goal.  I was so excited but wanted to stay focused for the rest of the run.

At mile 25, I saw the 4:00 pacer.  In my fantasies pre-race, I would catch up to the 4:00 group and then pass by them to finish a sub-four hour marathon. So when I saw her in real life, I was like, “No fucking way.”  I looked at the time and realized that the pacer was running a little slower and I probably wouldn’t beat 4 hours.  But not like I couldn’t try.  So I kicked it in for that last mile. I bolted up that last hill, listening to my song, feeling so tired and happy as I crossed the finish time, and elated at my time – 4:05!  It wasn’t quite sub-four hour, but it was close.  And it was 28 minutes faster than my San Antonio time.

Envisioning the finish line pre-race always makes me a little emotional, and I really wanted to SHED SOME TEARS, DAMN IT. But I am always way too relieved and happy at the finish to cry.  The closest I came to crying was when a volunteer put the marathon finisher’s medal around my neck.  That was a wonderful moment.

And then my legs really, really, really started hurting. I ran into some running friends and while it was wonderful to see them, it was painful even standing still.

I found Boyfriend near the gear pick-up station and I made the slow, slow, slow walk back to his car.

This afternoon has been pretty chill. I took about a two or three hour nap and my legs feel better. Boyfriend and I ate Thai food. I have been basking in the afterglow of love from my family and friends.

And now…will I do another marathon?
Pre-race, I was determined to take a break from marathon training for at least a year.  Training is so brutal on your body. I just wanted to relax and focus more on “shorter” half-marathons.

But now…I don’t know guys.  I was so close to a sub-four hour marathon. SO. CLOSE.

…I kind of want to train for another one.

I’m going to relax and see what happens. I won’t pressure myself because I don’t want to burn out from running again.  Even if I wait a year to decide to train again, I know I can do it.  For now, I’m going to be completely lazy without any expectations.

The First Update of 2015

HI GUYS.

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I MADE A POST! (You’re supposed to read that to the tune of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.”)

(Am I trying too hard?)

(Sorry).

The last time I blogged, it was…December?  December was a great month. It was, daresay, the best month of the entire year.  Let’s see.  Boyfriend and I went to a show in San Antonio where we were able to meet Devin Townsend and Tobin Abasi (guitarist from Animals as Leaders).  They were really nice.  Boyfriend is the mega fan but I still had fun.  Then several days after that, I had my half marathon.  I ran it maybe 45 seconds slower than the half I ran in February, but it was still a lot of fun.  Then the Friday following my half, Boyfriend and I went to see the Black Keys and St. Vincent.  Not going to lie, I was there for St. Vincent, who was AMAZING.

Then Christmas happened, where I was thoroughly spoiled by all my loved ones. I think my favorite gift was from my brother:

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This tape is Dave Grohl’s solo project that he completed before he joined Nirvana.  My brother was afraid I wouldn’t recognize it when I opened it, but my reaction was “OMG OMG WHAT!?” the minute I opened it.  I still can’t believe I own it.

Boyfriend and I took a wonderful trip to celebrate our third anniverary.  We went to museums in Houston, where we were able to pet sharks and see Monet, Picasso, and Dali paintings up close; to Galveston, where we were able to PET PENGUINS; and NASA.  NASA was so crowded that we weren’t able to do much.

But back to the penguins.  We took a behind the scenes tour of the penguin exhibit, so we were able to see how their food is prepared and where they live.  At the end, the penguin participated in an “enrichment activity” (I am so tickled by that phrase) that involved the penguin stepping in paint and walking over canvas.  Our penguin was named Mo and she was the cutest thing ever.  See for yourself:

I totally bought a Mo original for $10, and it is now hanging on my wall.

As you can imagine, I was not ready to return to work/being an adult.  January was a little bit stressful.  The Site That Will Not Die returned with a vengeance.  I think of that site as a noxious weed; just when you think you’ve exterminated it, it grows stronger with the strength of your tears. I wish I could tell you how awful that site is but I like having a job and not being fired.

Then field work has been postponed twice already.  I was so ready to go out and do it, but I’m glad that we didn’t go; it was so muddy that I would have missed my 21-mile training run, for sure.  Two coworkers are going out next week in my place so I can rest up for the marathon, and I feel SO GUILTY ABOUT IT.  It will be pretty muddy and they will be doing a lot of walking. I’ve been to this site over 20 times now and haven’t missed a groundwater sampling event since 2011.  So I feel like an overprotective mom with this site. My coworkers are awesome and I know the site is in good hands. I just feel so much ownership of the site, for better or for worse, that it feels almost wrong not going.  But it will be nice resting up for the marathon.  It will be even nicer not having to go out afterward, since I will be waddling for probably about a week.

I can’t believe the marathon is ten days away. I’m excited. I’m terrified.  I’m tired. I’ve been training since July and it’s easy for me to go into freak out mode (did I train hard enough? Am I going to do well?) I entered into my first marathon with a happy haze of naivete’.  I’ve obviously never given birth but I liken it to that…you don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into until you actually do it.  So as excited as I am for the marathon, I’m also like, “Oh yeah. Miles 17-24 are probably really, really going to suck.”  I ordered a new Foo Fighters shirt and “Bridge Burning” is pretty much my soundtrack for my runs now since I’m getting myself hyped up for it, and just thinking about it now, honestly, is making my heart race with excitement.  I can’t wait.  But I’m so scared.

I think after this race, I’m going to rest with the marathons for a bit.  I find that I enjoy training for half marathons better.  I can still run the distance, which I genuinely enjoy, without killing my body.  Marathon training is tough, and I’m not even running as much as I should (I’m running three times a week). I’m doing well enough on the long runs so I think that the amount I’m running is perfectly okay, and my coach even said that she’s trained for several marathons with that schedule.  Muscles hurt more than they used to though, and my right shin just starts hurting on and off throughout the day now. I’m looking forward to taking a nice, long rest after this marathon, and maybe train for another half during the second half of the year.

We’ll see, we’ll see.

I’ve been keeping busy on the creative front and will have to dedicate an entire post to my efforts.  I’m pretty excited about the year. I have some neat personal projects in the works, and I have some travel opportunities to look forward to (one that may or may not involve watching Dave Grohl play music or two or three hours…) :)  I’ve been getting closer to a group of coworkers, which has been really cathartic, especially regarding the Site That Cannot Be Named.

I will be better about updating this blog. Yes.