Monthly Archives: February 2016

Kindness… Pass It On

My child just came to me and asked me if he could show me a video.  I always take the time to watch the things that are important enough to him to want to show them to me.  Tonight, I’m especially glad I did.  It’s about random acts of kindness.  If you have a moment, watch this.  At the very least, it will make you smile.

Jamesy over at 50 in 50 Marathon Quest is looking for some music for his Motivational Music Monday.  Go check it out… maybe there’s a quirky little ditty you know about that you’d like to add to his list.

And if none of that made you smile, maybe this will… I made cupcakes.  That’s it.  Just cupcakes. No frosting.  Just cupcakes.  AJ ate one and said, “Mom, these are the best cupcakes ever.”

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I don’t know… I think the asymmetrical thing works, don’t you?

Ominous

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Today was my last long-ish run before the Lake Sammamish Half next Saturday.  The sky was dark and scary, which pretty much summed up my state of mind during my run.  But I’m not worried… I’ve got my 2016 PR Shoes to see me through!

Echoes Of My Neighbourhood #11

I live in a little town called Lake Stevens, aptly named for the lake which the community surrounds. Summers get a bit busy here as everyone finds something to do water-related… swimming, skiing, kayaking, boating, fishing, rowing.  We even have our own little rowing club. There’s sometimes activity on the water in winter as well, even people suited up skiing (extreme, very extreme).

At the Cove in the summer, we have “Music on the Lake,” where various local bands will come and perform, as well as outdoor movies.  The town’s biggest party takes place the last weekend in July, known as Aquafest.  Five blocks of Main Street are roped off and it becomes a fun little carnival with lots of games, rides, craft vendors, and food booths galore.

And it has just occurred to me, I’ve never shown pictures of the actual lake.  While it was cloudy when I took these pictures, we are never lacking for sunshine in the summer.

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While Internet safety is always a primary concern, I’m not too worried about those of you who like to stalk.  I went to my local Wal-Mart this morning and stocked up on hunting supplies… so chances are I’m going to see you before you see me.  😀

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I am joining Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha from A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales for her series, “Echoes of My Neighbourhood,” where she challenges us all to share a photo of bits and pieces of wherever you are at any point in time.

 

Thursday’s Thoughts

I’m calling this Thursday’s Thoughts because I really just want to ramble and I suck at coming up with clever titles.  I do have a pretty picture though…

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Okay, well, I have prettier ones than that, but that one will have to do.  Still, you have to admit, it’s really a different looking flower, special in its own little way.

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The highlight of my week at work… the county came to put up “No Parking” signs along our street and jack-hammered right through our phone line.  When the county worker was approached about it, he said, “Oops.  I probably should have got a dig order before I did that. My bad.”  We rescue injured wildlife.  No one can get through to us to report an injured animal.  “Oops, my bad” just doesn’t cut it.  I’m super hoping the director goes medieval on the county.

So, for that reason, I came home and wanted to watch cute animal videos on YouTube to relax. Found tons of them.  Probably spent an hour doing that, and then spent lots of time searching for something funny to put on my blog as I get so annoyed with all the doom and gloom of the everyday world and news.  So, here you go:

mouse in mouth

And why is that so funny?  Because I’ve totally been there.  Maybe I didn’t get a mouse in my mouth, but I have been known to sleep with a few half-eaten lizards.  A sign of pure love.

The Lake Sammamish Half-Marathon is a week from Saturday, just in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, ;).  This particular race was Jamesy’s very first half-marathon ever in the history of ever.  We all know I run for bling.  This was James’s “bling” for that very first one:

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I kid you not.  It’s a cardboard shoe.  I think that if they would’ve handed that to me after the race, I would have said, “Yeah, one and done.”  But then again, the very first 5K I did, they didn’t hand out any finisher medals at all and gave us one super ugly tech shirt.  And that was a difficult course we ran.  Hmmm, no wonder it took me awhile to get my run groove.

Just for fun, see if you can solve these brain teasers.  They were on the Linked In feed.  They’re actually quite fun…

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Let me know if you’d like the answers.  I might be nice enough to put them in my next post, :D. Not really… put your answer in the comments, and I’ll let you know if you were right or wrong.

I’ve spent the entire week working on video from Hawaii.  I’ve finished one from the run streak I did the day before the race.  It was fun to do, although I seriously need to work on my editing skills and everything else related to filming and videoing and such.  If you want to watch it, it’s here.  Not a lot of good scenery footage, but you do get the idea of where I ran every single morning while in Maui (other than on race day).

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Anyone got any fun plans this weekend?  Hope it’s a great one!!

Happy Full Moon Monday

Sunday I had my “long” run.  There was so much going on in my brain while I was running… great thoughts for my weekly update, random silliness, and so on and so forth, but when I finally sat down to write it all out, I drew completely blank.  The only explanation I can come up with is because that’s pretty how much last week went for me… the sooner forgotten the better!

Not that anything majorly bad happened… I’m healthy, no injuries, I have a job and a home, and I have a wonderful family (blessings counted every single day).  However, I was tired.  Like crawl into bed and sleep for 2 days tired.  Is it because my mileage is peaking as Lake Sammamish is only 2 weeks away?  Have I not eaten enough hamburgers recently?  Maybe not enough chocolate?  Perhaps it’s the effects of the impending full moon…

Anyway, for whatever reason, I did not have a good week.  But I won’t dwell on the negative… only the positive, so I’ll see if I can highlight something happy…

Oh, wait, I’ve got it…

  •  One happy thing that happened to me last week… I won $11 in the lottery!  I can now say “I’ve won the lottery,” because I won more than I spent.  Yay!  Happy-happy-joy-joy!  (yeah, stretching it, I know)
  • Also, I have streaked for 53 days now, a total of 121 miles, and last week I ran a total of 17 miles, so that’s a positive, although my long run on Sunday didn’t quite go as planned.  I got up at 7, with plans to be out of the house by 9.  However, I lolligagged around and didn’t leave until 11.  By then the energy I got from my peanut-butter bagel had diminished, I was feeling lazy, and I was super tight when I hit the trail.  I took my GoPro out to record my run, but I only got about 20 minutes of footage as my memory thingamabob stick was full, so that didn’t work out.  And then it started raining and hailing on me… I swear it felt like it was going to snow.  No, it didn’t snow, only a downpour of rain, but I had to call it after 5 miles.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  Best to have a bad run before the race then on race day.  We’ll chalk it up to that and just aim for better next time.  I’ll go ahead and get a 10 or 11 miler in this coming weekend and I should be good to go for the race.  (wait… I’m supposed to focus on the positive, aren’t I…)
  • James decided we needed to do an ultra event… Hamster Endurance Run in August.  I get to thank Rebecca from Travel, Running, and a Little Bit of Style for putting that little seed into Jamesy’s head.  She signed up to do one, James read about it, thought it was super cool, and voila!  We will now be doing one (it’s okay Rebecca, really, it’s okay, ;D).  As this is our first endurance run, we’re choosing the 6-hour option… a chance for James to get his 50K sticker and for me to run past my half-marathon distance.  He has it all figured out for me… all I have to do is circle the course 10 times plus an additional 0.2 miles and I will have completed my first marathon distance (rrrrright).  Regardless, it looks like a fun event, lots of social opportunities (eat, drink, and be merry) and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
  • We decided that not only are we going to go see Adele this summer, but we are also going to snag tickets to see Howard Jones, OMD, and Barenaked Ladies on July 16.  Back in the Eighties, I had 3 groups/musicians that I loved… Tears For Fears, Wham!, and Howard Jones. So this is kind of exciting for me to actually get to see him perform after all these years!  I wonder if he’s as “out there” at 60 as he was 30 years ago!
  • While it rained every day last week, the sun still came out every single day.

Huh!  Go figure!  I guess last week wasn’t such a bad week after all!  I guess when you start writing out the positives, the negatives quickly go by the wayside.  Lesson learned!

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James has a new thing he’s doing on his blog every Monday.  If you’re a music lover, go check it out!  Motivational Music Monday!  Post some songs that inspire you and get you to move, or songs that just make you happy (or sad if that’s the way you roll)!

And as it IS Motivational Monday, I will leave you with a thought:

persistence

… and I am that river…

Have a great week!

Anything you’re looking forward to this coming summer?  Race?  Concert?  Major life-changing event?

 

Echoes Of My Neighbourhood #10

I am joining Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha from A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales for her series, “Echoes of My Neighbourhood,” where she challenges us all to share a photo of bits and pieces of wherever you are at any point in time.

I live in a rural area in the Pacific Northwest.  For 3 of our seasons, you can pretty much count on the rain being somewhere in the weather forecast.  But I love the rain, every day of it, otherwise I wouldn’t live here.

Anyway, as I said, we’re very rural.  And on those long country roads, one sees various outbuildings just hanging about for no particular reason.  They’re small and they have a bench and they provide cover from the rain.  The only thing I can surmise is at one time, they were used by children waiting for the school bus.  But if I’m wrong and if someone knows their actual use, please shout it out.  It’s been a great mystery to me for years. Regardless, they come in a variety of shapes and colors and are quite fun to look at.

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The following is actually a “free library” on the side of the road.  Donate a book, take a book, go sit on the bench and read a book.  The planters are gorgeous in the summer, filled with flowers and color.  Every spring the wood is touched up made to look new again which, in turn, makes the bench look super inviting.  What a fabulous idea to promote reading and re-use!  Kudos to the incredible people who created this!

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A Fishy Story

red bettaMy fascination with fish began a few years ago, about 2008, when I was asked to fish-sit my neighbor’s betta (okay, maybe I fed the dogs too).  But he was your typical, red, veil-tail betta, and he was the coolest fish ever.  He used to rocket to the top of his bowl and then float casually back down to the bottom.  With his tail all fanned out as he gracefully floated down, he looked like an autumn leaf gently drifting to the ground.  My neighbor and I would drink wine and just watch him.  Total zen.  That fish lived for at least 4 years.

She made taking care of a betta look like such an easy thing to do, so I just had to get one for myself.  We were all very excited to have a new member of the family!  AJ joined in on the fun and got to name him… Bob (because eventually that is what he would do… you know… bob, :P).  No official tank stuff needed, just a bowl and partial water changes once a week, feeding once a day… easy peasy.  Bob lasted a mere 6 months.

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Bob #1

Being a new fish owner, I had no idea how fragile these guys actually were.  The plants I had put in his bowl were plastic, and he had a ragged treasure chest/castle thing to swim in and out of (fish enrichment, you know).  The ragged edges of the plants and treasure chest shredded his fins and he died.  Yes, I cried as he was flushed out to sea.

Bob #2 was going to have a better life.  Jamesy got me a nice rectangular 10-gallon tank with a heater and filter system.  I got rid of the plastic and went with more natural feeling, softer plants.  I also eliminated the treasure chest and put in a fun circular log for enrichment.

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Bob #2’s new tank

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Bob #2

I think Bob #2 lasted about 6 months as well… if.  I didn’t know you had to cycle a tank to bring the water up to standard, so he developed ich.  And died.  Again I cried.

Once Bob #2 died, I decided to move onto a different type of fish… something that was more hardy and wouldn’t die so easy.  Enter a school of neon tetras.  Cool looking, but pretty boring. A betta has tons of personality, but tetras have all the personality of a sardine.  So James went to the fish store and bought me about $70 worth of cool fish as I wanted him to pick out the next batch.

Tragedy soon ensued when I forgot to wash my hands one time before reaching into the tank water.  The lotion from my hands created a toxic environment for the fish, and I lost about 10 in a matter of 3 days.  That little incident is now referred to as Armageddon.  There was 1 lone survivor… James’s otocinclus, a sucker fish, aptly named Otto. Have you ever seen these things? Not at all attractive.  But oh, what a survivor.

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Not my oto or picture, but Otto looked just like this.

My neighbor felt quite sorry for me, so she decided to get me a swordtail, supposedly a more hardy fish, and actually quite pretty to look at.

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Not my swordtail.

Eventually she gave me a male from her own tank to go with my female.  The inevitable happened… no, they didn’t die… they had babies!!  Swordtails give birth to live fry, so I had all these little things swimming around my tank!  I promptly went to get some floating plants to give the babies some cover so they wouldn’t become dinner or get sucked up into the filter!  One actually survived the whole ordeal!  This is Little Guy:

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The mother soon perished after giving birth (surprise, surprise), but the male survived and Little Guy survived, who grew up big and beautiful.  Come to find out, Little Guy was actually Little Girl and soon had babies of her own!  THREE of her fry survived to grow up big and beautiful as well!

Five swordtails and an oto in one 10-gallon tank wasn’t a good thing, so James found me a lovely 35-gallon tank to transfer the whole family over… all except for Otto… he wasn’t having it, and trying to catch an oto is near impossible, so I let him be.  Unfortunately, once again, 6 months after I transferred them to their new home, all 5 of them perished in about a week of each other.  However, this little tragedy was baffling because I actually did cycle the tank and the water before transferring them, and my water was pristine.  I even added medicine to the water once I realized something was going wrong.  And the catfish didn’t get sick at all.

You’d think I’d give up by now, don’t you…

Fast forward to today… I now have 3 angelfish, 2 in one tank, 1 in the other.  Otto died a couple of months ago from old age (!), and I’ve had my angelfish for a couple of years.  They’re the only ones who can survive my hands of death.

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Moral of the story:  While having a betta is great fun, don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s easy.  Fish are hard work and temperamental little bastards.  And once you start, you will never ever stop…

Who owns fish?!  Have you been sucked into the bottomless abyss as well?