So it seems I’ve taken a bit of a break from my blog, huh? I didn’t plan on it, but I’ve had a lot going on in my life since I last updated my webpage. Between the craziness at work stuff, rededicating myself to running, buying a car, and doing my best to enjoy what free time I can scrape together, I’ve been busy! Right now I’m sitting on my couch, watching Netflix, and recovering from the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend. My legs are killing me and I’m exhausted. I have quite a few half thought out posts in work about what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks, but none of them are anywhere near ready to publish. This week promises to be busy too, but I’ll try to spend some time writing. Not sure when I’ll fine time, but I’ll try! I had the best of intentions when I made my New Year’s resolution #4 back in February to blog about events in a timely manner, but I’ve definitely fallen behind lately. That’s a side effect when you’ve got a lot going on, I guess. At any rate, in general, things are going pretty well with me. I’m just waiting for life to slow down a little so I can catch up!
When I first made my New Year’s resolution #2 back in January the first big step I intended to take was turning off the television when I start getting ready for bed at night. As far as that goes, I’ve been really successful! Since New Year’s Day I’ve been listening to podcasts or the radio during my nightly routine, except for just a handful of days. (On those exceptions I’m usually under the influence of “The Simpsons.” Curse you, FXX for showing marathons five nights a week!) I’ve been trying to pare down the rest of my television watching as well. The good news is that none of the new series that have started since the fall have really grabbed my attention. I had high hopes for “Gotham,” but I found it boring. It also helps that a few of my regular shows have either ended or will be ending after a final season. For example, it looks like due to the latest Jeremy Clarkson scandal that “Top Gear,” at least in its current form, is gone forever. Understandable, but sad. Also, “Downton Abbey” will be over after next season. Now that’s depressing! The upside to these developments is that I have fewer and fewer excuses to sit on the couch and veg out. I’m not sure if this helps or hinders my progress in that area, but I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment. During the month of April I’m going to try watching Netflix rather than cable. I definitely have more than enough programming on my Netflix list, including “Arrow” and “Daredevil” that I mentioned on Tuesday, to keep myself entertained for a month. I have friends who have completely ditched cable and been really happy with the decision. I don’t think I’ll go so far as to cancel cable (if only to be able to watch “Doctor Who” episodes when they’re new), but I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes this month. Now excuse me because I’ve got some binge watching to do this weekend!
FYI, this post contains discussion of pseudo-personal medical information of a female nature. Nothing graphic, but I wanted to inform everyone upfront in case any male visitors want to stop reading. I completely understand if you either don’t care about such matters or would just rather not read about them. Either way, you’ve been warned!
When I was eighteen I started taking birth control pills because I had debilitating menstrual cramps. Once a month I would wake up in unbelievable pain, and sometimes it was so bad that I vomited. I remember lying on the bathroom floor in a fetal position, crying because I felt so terrible. I could barely function until the cramps subsided. This made going to school on such days really miserable. Sometimes painkillers would help, but only if I took them soon enough. If not, there was nothing I could do but wait out the pain. Then when I was eighteen my mom took me to the doctor to find a solution. After trying a few different options, one particular variety of birth control pills finally got my cramps under control. It was wonderful. Some months I still had mild pains, but they were completely manageable compared to what I used to endure. I ended up taking birth control pills for fifteen years. I only stopped in January 2012 when my ex-husband and I decided to try and have a baby. That’s when I was reminded of how horrible menstrual cramps can be. I usually miss a half day of work every month because I can’t do much of anything when I feel so awful. I dread this day every month.
Yesterday morning I was awakened at 4:30 AM by a twinge in my abdomen. I knew exactly what that meant. I sprang out of bed, ran downstairs to grab my Aleve, and took two tablets as quickly as possible. I was hoping to ward off the worst of the symptoms because I was registered for the Seal Beach 10K at 8 AM. Much to my chagrin, it wasn’t very long before I was in major pain. I stayed in bed with my heating pad, unable to go back to sleep, and prayed that I would feel better in time for the race. Unfortunately luck was not on my side. I only began to feel a little better around 7:45 AM, which was far too late to get ready and make it to the starting line in time. What a disappointment. I can’t believe I had to miss the race in my own hometown! At least the shirt is pretty cool this year. That’s something, right? The rest of my day was basically a wash since the Aleve wore off around noon and my cramps came back with a vengeance. I felt terrible pretty much the whole day. What a way to spend a Saturday. So for anyone out there who thinks women are exaggerating when they talk about period pain, please understand that some of us are truly suffering. And it’s even worse when I miss something I was looking forward to, like a race, because of cramps! Better luck next month.
I had to work today (yes, on a Saturday), but the whole time I was there I was daydreaming about being at Disneyland instead. I should have gone yesterday when I had a day off, but it was really hot in Anaheim and I’m not ready to break out the shorts quite yet this year. Winter cannot be over already! But anyway, back to my story. In addition to all of the pins I buy at Disney parks and events, I have quite a few that I’ve gotten off of eBay as well. What usually happens is I see a pin that I like at Disneyland, but I don’t buy it before it sells out or gets retired. Other times I see a single pin in a larger set that I want to get without buying the whole thing. In both of these situations eBay is very helpful. Usually I can find what I’m looking for at a decent price. On the other hand, sometimes the pin I want is either very popular or very rare and I have to decide whether acquiring it is worth the inflated price. Specifically, the new series of pins commemorating the Disneyland 60th anniversary this year. One new pin is being released each month, but usually on days that I can’t make it to the park to buy one. And they sell out quickly. I was tempted to get one off eBay, but people are selling them for way too much there. I still haven’t given up hope of making it to the park on one of the upcoming release days, but that depends on whether I’ll be able to take the right day off work. Once I learned about the 60th anniversary pins I thought back to the Disneyland 50th anniversary back in 2005. I didn’t have an annual pass back then, but I did go to the parks with Dan and his family that summer. (It was the Fourth of July and the crowds were insane!) At the time I hadn’t started a Disney pin collection yet, but I wish I’d picked up a 50th anniversary pin or two. The good news is that people who did buy them then are now selling them on eBay! I got one for a great price and I love it. After that I thought about the Disney World 25th anniversary. That was back in 1996, and as it turns out, I was there that summer too. It was during the Mu Alpha Theta national convention in Orlando and we spent one day that week at Disney World. Buying pins wasn’t even on my radar at the time, but a couple of weeks ago I searched eBay for Disney World 25th anniversary pins out of curiosity. There isn’t much of a variety available (I don’t think pin trading was that popular back in 1996), but I did find one for a very low price. It’s adorable and it looks great with the rest of my pin collection. I like having souvenirs of those Disney trips on my corkboard, even if I had to buy them years later. Great memories!
After not running for almost four weeks, I was so nervous on Saturday at the beginning of the Race on the Base 5K. I’d already transferred from the 10K to the 5K due to my knee problems, but I was worried that even just 3.1 miles was going to be too painful. Fortunately I knew this was going to be a good test of what sort of shape my knee was in because it was such a short distance. I could just walk the remainder of the race if it started to hurt. As concerned as I was about my knee, I was equally concerned about the rest of my body being out of shape after nearly a month of little to no exercise. I knew I my breathing would be labored no matter how slowly I ran, and I knew my muscles would be super sore the next day, but I still needed to try. So how did it go? I felt great! Actually, I was completely thrilled! I definitely got tired a lot sooner than I would have if I’d been running regularly, but my knee didn’t hurt. It was incredible! This gives me hope that it’s healing, even though it’s still not 100% back to normal. And on top of that, the PA I saw at the orthopedist’s office today agrees with that assessment. She didn’t even order an MRI because she’s confident that I’ll make a full recovery with a little physical therapy with my local chiropractor. This is fantastic news because I’m really looking forward to running again. Hopefully my work schedule will calm down soon so I’ll be able to!
I started this blog post about a month ago, and at the time I thought I was doing a terrible job of familiarizing myself with this year’s the Academy Award nominated movies. But as of the beginning of the ceremony this evening I realize that I’m actually not that poorly versed. I’ve seen five of the eight Best Picture nominees, as well as some of the movies that just have actors or actresses nominated. I even watched one of the foregin language films thanks to Netflix Instant. Strangely enough, I haven’t seen a single one of the animated picture nominees. That might be a first. I still want to see “American Sniper,” “Whiplash,” and “Selma” at some point, but I think I’m fairly prepared to watch the Oscars tonight. It should be fun!
“The Hobbit” (seen on 12/25)
“Into the Woods” (seen on 12/27)
“Boyhood” (seen on 1/25)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (seen on 1/26)
“Ida” (seen on 1/28)
“The Lego Movie” (seen on 1/30)
“The Imitation Game” (seen on 2/14)
“Gone Girl” (seen on 2/16)
“The Theory of Everything” (seen on 2/18)
“St. Vincent” (seen on 2/19)
“The Judge” (seen on 2/20)
“Birdman” (seen on 2/21)
Based on my limited activity over the last month, “running” might be too strong a word. After the disaster that was the Surf City half marathon and my subsequent slow recovery from my knee problem, I’m having to rethink the spring races that I registered for before I was injured. First of all, Race on the Base is next weekend and I’ve already waved the white flag and transferred from the 10K to the 5K. I was really looking forward to the 10K because I’ve heard the course is flat and fast. It would have been a good opportunity to set a personal record, and I could really use a good proof of time when I register for future Disney half marathons. But it’s not going to happen this time. No big deal, really. The question is, what do I do about the other two spring races I signed up for? The Coaster Run is at Knott’s Berry Farm on March 8th and I’m really excited about that one. As of right now I’m registered for the 10K, but I probably need to figure out how to switch to the 5K instead. I just don’t think there’s any way that my knee is going be in good enough shape to run 6.2 miles in a couple of weeks. And the fact that I haven’t run at all in the last three weeks doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence either. I’m undoubtedly out of shape. So as much as I hate to admit it, all signs point to the 5K being my best option. And I’ll still be able to run (or walk if I need to) through Knott’s Berry Farm, which will be pretty cool. The last spring race I’m planning to do is the one in Seal Beach on March 21st. Last year the Seal Beach 10K was my very first race, and doing it again this year would be like coming full circle. Plus, it’s kind of hard to pass up on a race that starts a few blocks from your house. I just need to figure out what distance I’ll be able to tackle one month from now. I’m going to wait a while before making that decision. I’ll see how my knee feels during the Race on the Base 5K next Saturday. I know it’s silly, but I’m still hoping I’ll wake up one day and everything will be back to normal. But in case that doesn’t happen, I have an appointment to see on orthopedist on March 3rd. Fingers crossed that I can get back to running soon.
Tonight I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a somewhat unorthodox manner by going to see “The Imitation Game.” Strangely, it’s actually the first of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen in the theater. I realize I’m way behind where I was this time last year, but I’ve got plans to see a few more of the Oscar nominated movies before next weekend. But anyway, I figured “The Imitation Game” was one of the most anti-Valentine’s Day film offerings, and therefore perfect for the evening’s entertainment. And it was amazing. It excited my mind. I’m going to say something a little crass, but for an engineer like me “The Imitation Game” was like porn. It lit up parts of my brain that are dormant a majority of the time. Those neural pathways usually only kick in to gear when major problems present themselves at work. I have a little bit of experience tackling crazy problems, sometimes even under very restrictive time constraints. Nothing like the elaborate encryptions that Alan Turing’s team was struggling with, but I think I have some idea of their work process. And I’m in awe of it. Based on my admittedly short career in the aerospace industry, I know what it’s like to work with a limited set of tools to try and solve a complex puzzle. It’s like trying to perform surgery with a spoon. You learn to be creative in ways your college courses didn’t even begin to teach you. You invent new paradigms when you have to. Learning on the job becomes trial by fire sometimes. It’s a humbling experience and it makes me realize just how amazing an achievement it was to break the WWII codes. While watching the movie I started thinking about how I might start attacking something like Enigma. My brain doesn’t work on anywhere near the level of the folks depicted in “The Imitation Game,” but I probably could come up with a rough framework for where to start. I’m no mathematician, but that didn’t keep me from comprehending the remarkable work of Alan Turing and his colleagues. I just hope my scientific brain helped me appreciate it a little more than the average viewer.