Sunday, May 26, 2019

American Pie

”American Pie” by Don McLean has always been one of my favorite songs. For about a year now I have been starting most of my runs listening to it on my iPod. At 8 minutes and 33 seconds long it is the perfect length for my warmup. It’s got a nice slow tempo. Whatever comes up next is always faster paced and then I pick up my pace.

I was 10 years old when that song was released. I never knew what it was about; I just liked it. “The day the music died” was February 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson “The Big Bopper” died in a plane crash. In the song, that plane crash symbolizes the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation.

Everything you could ever want to know about “American Pie” can be found at understandingamericanpie.com. If you want to listen to “American Pie” click  youtube.com/American Pie.

Album released November 1971
Anyway, my last three or four runs I had started out listening to “American Pie” as usual and realized that the same songs were coming up. The third time it happened I thought “Wow, that’s a coincidence” but the fourth time I realized my iPod was playing in alphabetical order. Duh!

When I started my run yesterday I started with a “B” song which was “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton (Frampton Comes Alive album) and went from there. I am going to work my way through my iPod alphabetically. I bet when I have it set to shuffle there are hundreds of songs that never come up.

Now I will get to hear all the songs.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Frugal Friday

Yesterday I wrote a long post about my annoying, miserable bosses. Then I reread it, fine tuned it, added a picture, previewed it, reread it again , and went to bed. This morning I DELETED it. I don’t want to have negative icky posts on my blog. Let me tell you, the writing and deleting was cathartic. Anyway, this is the picture I had selected for that post:
My boss excels at making simple tasks complicated
Today was wonderful because both bosses took the day off. And it’s Friday and the start of a holiday weekend.

On to something else. . . many finance bloggers have a weekly post dedicated to the week’s frugal and thrifty activities. I decided that would be a better topic for this post.

Someone said being thrifty is when you spend less on things you don’t care about so you can spend more on the things you do. The funny thing is my husband and I like all the things we do that save money more than the expensive alternative.

1. On Monday my husband and I did a trail run with our running club. It was the final run and party for the spring series. I brought a homemade pasta salad to share. The run, the delicious barbecue dinner, and the live entertainment were all free.

2. One of our cars had a recall notice and we brought it to the dealership to be taken care of (free of course). Said vehicle also needed an oil change. Rather than pay the expensive dealership price, my husband brought it elsewhere and used a $20 off coupon. He gets major kudos for this; I would have been a one stop shopper.

3. I brought my lunch and beverages to work every day this week. I had salad every day with some type of protein: tuna, chicken or hard boiled eggs. For my snack I brought fruit four days and a yogurt one day. I put the yogurt in the freezer at work and by lunchtime it was a semi-frozen treat.

4. I carpooled to work with my daughter three days this week. Most weeks we carpool every day. Her last job was on the way to my job. Her new job is even closer. See side note below.*

5. My husband mowed our lawn. At least half of my neighbors use lawn services. That can’t be cheap! Someone from the lawn service jokingly (or for real?) asked my husband if he wanted to come work for them. Hubs said his rate is $50 an hour.😉

6. I made homemade iced tea. This costs pennies to make and it’s better for me than diet soda.
Delicious iced tea 
*Side Note Below - I heard from the new job. If you recall from last week’s recap post they called my references. This week, potential new boss called to say they were submitting the appointment package to HR. If I get this job, I will be working even closer to my daughter. Gee, we plan well!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Last Week Recap

Books
Author Herman Wouk died last week. He was nine days shy of his 104th birthday. His major works include The Caine Mutiny which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. He also wrote my favorite book of all time  Marjorie Morningstar which I’ve read about 6 times. Maybe I will reread it in his honor. Obviously, I recommend it if you’re looking for a good book.
My much loved copy of Marjorie Morningstar
Finances
Last week I signed up for a new Southwest Visa credit card. I used an affiliate link that I found on the points guy.com website. I have to spend $2,000 in three months and will earn 60,000 SW points (very easy for us and card will be paid in full each month). The annual fee for this card is $69. After the fee, this is about a $900 value. My husband and I may use the points to go to the west coast in the fall.

Work
If you read my post three job applications then you know I am job hunting. I had an interview two weeks ago and it went well. The exciting part is they called my references last week, so I am hoping to hear some good news shortly. When I started my current job 6.5 years ago, I truly believed I would be here until I retired. The work is Ok (what can I say, it’s work). The wonderful people who hired me are all retired and the new managers just don’t cut it for me.

Food
Last week I made chicken using a variation of this apple cider vinegar chicken recipe from eating bird food.com. Just like the website’s author, this has become my go-to chicken recipe. It’s low-carb, Keto-friendly, and it takes me under five minutes to throw together in the morning before work. I let it marinade in the fridge until I get home. Sometimes I make it right in a giant ziplock bag. Leftovers are great for lunch the following day in a salad.
For awesome pictures of final result go to the recipe website 
Fitness
My Mizuno Wave Rider 19 running shoes were discontinued so I took a chance and ordered the newest incarnation, Mizuno Wave Rider 22, from Amazon. They arrived last week - major fail. They are on their way back. Thank goodness for free shipping and free returns. As for last week’s workouts, I ran 4 miles on Thursday, did a bike ride on our rail trail on Saturday, and swam 40 laps on Sunday - three workouts total.

On to the new week!


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Joyce Meyer

My coworker and I went to see Joyce Meyer. If you’re not familiar with Joyce, she is an American Charismatic Christian author and speaker (as per Wikipedia).

The crowd was very large, mostly women. She had three sessions - one last night and two today. A lot of people attended all three and many people traveled to see her. Admission was free for all sessions.

People arriving at the arena 
Joyce in person and on the big screen 
I have written before how it’s all connected and this was no exception. One of Joyce’s ministries is funding for drilling of wells to bring clean water to villages in 25 countries. In my last post about marathoner Meb Keflezighi I wrote how Meb was inspired by the villagers walking miles every day to get water.

I took notes and I want to share what was most meaningful to me.

Pray for your children. Make your children your best friends. Never speak poorly of your children.

God has been removed from public education and colleges today. Modern education teaches humanism, secularism and socialism. This is ignorant thinking; separation of Church and State is a deception. This is not America’s true history.

Encourage yourself! Think “this is going to end well”.

God loves you unconditionally!

Remove the words “I can’t” from your language.

Make it through one day without complaining. Have an attitude of gratitude.

You’re not too old to do something new.

The key to power is Faith. Faith is the belief that good is going to happen “to you and through you”.

Be childlike in your Faith. Take a leap of Faith. God will give you the perfect timing. When God tells you to jump - JUMP!

When God gives you favor, take it and say “Thank you!”







Thursday, May 16, 2019

26 Marathons

I just finished reading 26 Marathons by Meb Keflezighi. Kim, who blogs at Kimhastheruns.com recommended this book a couple of months ago.

If you’re not familiar with Meb, he is one of the few runners who has won both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon, and medaled (silver) in the Olympic marathon. In his career, he has broken race records, run four marathon finals for the USA; last month he was Grand Marshal at the Boston Marathon.

Meb ran 26 marathons in his career as an elite athlete, one race for each of the 26 miles in the marathon. In each chapter he breaks down one race and relates it to a life lesson.


Some of the memorable parts for me:

1. After his first marathon Meb said “Never again”. Shortly thereafter, he was visiting family in Eritrea (Meb was born there and immigrated to America as a child). He saw the Eritreans walking miles every day to get clean drinking water. Seeing what they did to survive made Meb realize that the pain he felt in the race was nothing in comparison.

2. There are so many things that can and did go wrong for Meb on race day - food poisoning, running 26.2 miles with a Breathe-Right strip in his running shoe, lost luggage with all his gear, and so many injuries!

3. Meb’s strategy of setting multiple goals for a race. Goal A may be to win, however if that’s not likely, Goal B may be to medal or Goal C may be to PR. If that’s not looking good, Goal D may be to  finish in the top ten. Ultimately the goal may be to just finish.   

4. When he fell on the slick road at the end of the 2016 Rio Olympic marathon and placed his hands over the finish line and did pushups (he came in 33rd place).

5. His devotion to his wife and three daughters; the struggles of bringing in and keeping sponsors to make a living.

6. “Underpromise and overdeliver”!

Now that he’s retired, Meb still runs marathons - as a pacer, helping others to achieve their goals, or just in the pack, supporting the recreational runners. I was inspired by Meb; he truly is a class act.

In a running race there are no losers; as long as you are out there, you’re a winner.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Weekend Update

On Saturday we had a small lunchtime party for my older son who is getting his PhD degree. I am so proud of how hard he worked the past six years to earn this. The ceremony for the doctoral graduates is Wednesday night.

My brother-in-law from California was here, which made it feel special as we don’t see him that often. It worked out perfectly for him flying in for just a weekend, as he had another function to attend Saturday night and Sunday morning.

We had the food brought in - sandwiches, wraps, pasta salad, veggie salad, fresh fruit, and of course a cake. Everything was delicious and we had enough for dinner that night and lunch and dinner Sunday.

When my mother-in-law passed away in 2017 (at age 89), she was still living in the huge house in which she had raised her children. Meaning she never downsized anything. There was an estate sale for the big stuff, but 10 or so boxes of photographs and memorabilia have been in my other brother-in-law’s basement ever since.

He brought all the boxes over to our house Saturday. After the party, my husband, my California BIL, and I went through and tossed a ton of stuff. On Sunday, the three of us did some more.

I’m glad to report that we are down to 5 boxes / bins. My husband moved them down to our basement. I’m okay with that as we have the room. I am sure those boxes will sit there untouched until the day we move!  That’s the funny thing about sentimental items, isn’t it? Nobody wants to get rid of them, but at the same time nobody actually wants them.

Boxes of memorabilia in my living room 
Greeting cards from almost 100 years ago 
I must mention that my California BIL is an Ironman and marathoner. He is the real deal - he has sponsors and he medals in his age group. He is modest; he says “I was on the podium”. He also works full time and manages to fit in all his training.

He did a 5.5 mile run Saturday before the party and an 8 mile run on Sunday in a torrential downpour. Like my son and his PhD, if you are motivated you can find time for everything.

Unfortunately, their motivation didn’t rub off on me this weekend - I did nothing as far as exercise. I did get in two workouts last week and, since I forgot to report, four workouts the week before.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and belated Happy Mother’s Day to the moms.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Reading Lately

Vox by Christina Dalcher
In the not so distant dystopian future, women can no longer hold jobs, learn to read or write, carry money, and they are limited to 100 spoken words per day - monitored by a wristband all the girls and women have to wear. Dr. Jean McClellan is a wife, mother and former linguistics expert who is forcibly recruited to resume her old research on Wernicke’s Aphasia when the President’s brother incurs a brain injury while skiing. The research team includes Lorenzo, Jean’s former lover, and sparks quickly fly when the two are reunited. The research team soon realizes that another, more sinister government plan is underfoot. This book is reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale or The Hunger Games although nowhere near as good. It was a very easy read. The chapters with Jean’s family and Lorenzo are fleshed out, but I could have used a few extra paragraphs explaining the technical parts - the research lab, the government’s doings. I guess it didn’t matter, I got the gist of it anyway.

Euphoria by Lily King
This is a fictional tale of three young anthropologists, Nell Stone, her husband Schuyler Fenwick “Fen”, and their new friend Andrew Bankson. The story takes place on the island of New Guinea (north of Australia) in the 1930’s. This was a heyday for anthropologists; they basically boated upriver, claimed tribes to research, and settled right in. Nell is loosely based on anthropologist Margaret Mead, on whom the author did an immense amount of research. The central theme is the main characters’ love triangle, unfolding in the steamy jungle with the tribal activity going on around them. Fen’s ego was already suffering, as Nell achieves international acclaim for her work. When Bankson enters the picture, Fen can sense the immediate connection between Bankson and Nell - tensions rise. In a rash attempt to boost his ego and anthropological reputation, Fen does something that puts all of their lives in danger. This book is well written, draws you in; it’s intellectual and engrossing at the same time.


What have you been reading lately?