Happy third anniversary, Tim!

As of today, Tim and I have been “together” for three years.  I use the word together in quotations because, well…our relationship started off slowly.  Let me rewind.

In April 2007, Tim and I met.  Here, specifically.

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(Source.)

Law school.  I had a standing lunch date with one of my friends.  I went to go find her at our designated spot, and who was sitting in my seat but Tim.

She introduced us.  I was kind of cold, because hell, I was hungry and some random asshole was sitting in my seat.

He walked away.  I ate lunch and realized he was hot and maybe I shouldn’t have been mean to him.  I friended him on Facebook immediately.  (Ah, young love.)

But, this all occurred around finals time.  Which (okay, we didn’t have Buckley at that time), went kind of like this:

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Stress.  No time to do anything else but study.  So I didn’t see him for awhile.

Until…the end-of-1L year massive drinking party here, on May 4, 2007.

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Classy, no?  (Source.)

I saw him there.  He bought me a beer.  We talked about how much we both mutually hate the Chicago Cubs.  We figured out we were taking the same classes in summer school that year.

The next day, he called and asked me out on a date.  For our first date, we went out for pizza.  Not knowing we were going out for pizza, I dressed up, including a slightly scandalous shirt.  It was a little awkward, but we spent the night talking and had a great time.

We actually, legitimately dated for all of May and most of June.  As in, he would call me up (or vice versa) and invite me out to dinner, or a movie, or ice cream, or over to watch baseball.  It was lovely.

He didn’t call me his girlfriend until July, but that was the best summer ever.  I was smitten. (I think he was, too.)  And the rest is history—three years and four days later, we’ll be married!

Vegas, Day Two!

Hello again from Vegas!  I”m blogging a bit earlier than usual so I can do some more ‘splorin’. 

Conference breffist:

0414 023The eggs and taters were pretty meh, so I left them and ate all the fruit, yogurt, and granola, as well as an unpictured small banana nut muffin. 

Went to meetings all morning, then conquered lunch!

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I seem to be doing a good job with the “fill half your plate with fruit/veggies” rule.  I had a giant salad with a balsamic dressing, plus some roasted chicken on the side.  I got some beef and cheese, too, but…it was kind of like eating lunchmeat/cheese without bread, so I left most of it.  I also had a wee bit of tomato basil soup and a PRETZEL ROLL.  (OBSESSED.)

We had an hour and a half for lunch, so I went exploring!  Mostly to the pool area of Caesar’s Palace.  Can you blame me?

There was some sort of photo shoot going on.  You can see the photographer up on the balcony.

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Basically, there was a model floating on her back, and some guy had to keep throwing those red balls at her.  Weird.

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Everything here is so massive!  I can hardly believe it.0414 0030414 004

I finally settled down in a beach chair in the shade (don’t want to get tan lines before the wedding/didn’t have sunscreen!) and relaxed and people watched for the remainder of my break.

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After the afternoon sessions were over, I ventured out onto the strip for a very special task given to me by Leah

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The Flamingo!  She’s getting married there a few weeks after our wedding. 

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I did a little more wandering on the Strip, BUT I had a lot of strange men coming up to me offering their sexual services.  Like, at least 2 or 3.  It creeped me out, so I headed back to Caesar’s.0414 0080414 009

There’s more than enough to entertain me here for a long, long time, and I am completely paranoid when traveling alone, so…yeah.  Also, with all the events I have to pop into here and there, I don’t have a whole lot of time to stray too far anyway!

The plan for tonight?  We have a dinner/reception thingy, then I plan to gamble a bit more (NOT blowing $15 in one bet this time).  I’m also debating splurging on a pair of running shorts from the Nike Store for my “souvenir”—I only have capris, and I’d love to find a pair that doesn’t chafe my thighs.  Oh, and who am I kidding, probably another television bubble-cuzzi!

Re: exercise.  I wanted to exercise here, but they charge $25 a day!  My sister has been pestering me about running with her in Napa, so we might wind up doing that.  If not, I won’t stress about it—I’ll be back at the gym next week!

Question of the day: Are the mixed nuts and chocolates next to the “Welcome” note on the minibar free or not?  They are not in the “lift the chips up for 20 seconds and get charged” weighted looking thing, and not listed on the minibar menu.  Discuss.

Dad

Look, before I start marathon training and inundating you with posts about buttcheek chafing and runner’s trots and other savory topics, I figured I should spill the whole, gory, raw story about why I am running for Team in Training.  I hope you will humor me whenever I talk about it once you read this, because this is a very, very important cause to me.  This will be the only time I will pour out the full story.

(Note: some of this is filled in with things I’ve heard about the situation from my mom, sister, and other friends and relatives.  The seven-year-old mind is not the most sophisticated.  Also, excuse the lack of photos.)

It’s 1991.  I have just turned seven years old.  We are at Cedar Point, an amusement park in Ohio, on a summer vacation.  My dad, who is known as Mr. Fitness in my family because of his love of running and vegetables, wakes up with a large lump in his mouth.  Thinking it’s a tooth or gum abscess, he goes to the dentist when we get home.  The dentist refers him to an oral surgeon, since he doesn’t know what it is.  The oral surgeon sends him for a biopsy.

We are in the basement.  We go to the basement when we have serious family discussions, because there is a couch my sister and I can sit on while our parents can sit in the armchairs and tell us things.  (Normally, we watch television in our jammies on the floor of our parents’ bedroom, or are playing outside.  Okay, I’m usually  reading in my bedroom.)

My mom is crying.  She says, “Your dad has leukemia.”

I don’t get why she is upset.  The extent of my knowledge of leukemia is that people on TV get it, but they beat the odds and get better, even if they have to be bald for awhile.  I say, “okay,” and go back out to play.

I start the second grade.  My teacher is really, really nice to me and gives me extra attention.

My dad is admitted to the hospital for treatment.  My mom starts disappearing, too.  Before my dad was sick, she worked part-time and was usually home after school.  Now, after school, I have to go to my friend Laura’s house while my sister goes to basketball practice.  Sometimes I will come home and find my mom crying.  I learn to ask things like, “What are his platelet counts?” and “How are his white blood cells today?”  even though I don’t really know what that means.  (I can usually tell if it’s good from my mom’s reaction.)

After awhile, my mom and dad both come home and I am excited.  But my dad lays in bed all day.  His thick, curly black hair starts falling out in clumps, so my mom shaves his head.  He has a tube in his chest that has to be cleaned and dressed every day.  I watch my mom do it.  She has to use red, white, and blue swabs on it and give him medicine through it.

Pretty soon, we start hearing the term “bone marrow transplant” floating around.  Transplant!  I think.  That’s when they get better on TV!  I’m happy this will be over soon.  We wait and wait.  Everyone—my mom, my aunts and uncles and grandparents and all their friends—are tested to see if they are a match for him.  They’re not.

Finally, one day, we get the call.  They have found a donor!  We can’t know who it is, but my dad is going to get his bone marrow.

School is out for the summer, and my mom moves to Minnesota with my dad.  The University of Minnesota hospitals have one of the best bone marrow donations in the country.   Before they leave, my dad writes me this letter.

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My sister and I become constant babysitting charges.  My grandparents move in for a week, and they are always looking at me with pursed lips.  We stay with my dad’s best friend Uncle Bob and his wife Aunt Sally, and Aunt Sally buys me my first outfits at Gap Kids.  I don’t hear much about my dad.

It’s my eighth birthday.  My Aunt Pat throws me a birthday party and my mom isn’t there.  We paint pottery and eat cake.  I find out that as I painted my ceramic kitten, my dad’s bone marrow transplant was underway.

My Uncle Bob drives us up to see our parents afterwards.  My mom is living in a sad looking apartment.  She gives me a pink unicorn sleeping bag for my birthday.  My sister and I sit in the waiting room a lot and only get to see my dad a little bit.  I remember being shocked at how thin he had gotten.

My sister and I go home to Chicago and watch the fireworks with the neighbors on the Fourth of July.  I participate in a bubble gum blowing contest and can’t wait for my dad to come home once the transplant fixes him.

On July sixth, my mom comes home.  I know immediately something is wrong.  My aunts and uncles are lurking but not answering my questions.

Again, the basement.  I stick my head in the couch cushions because I don’t want to hear what she is going to say.  I don’t know how she said it, but I remember thinking, “Who will walk me down the aisle when I get married?” right away.

We all cried, and cried, and cried.  There was lots of food brought over.

A family friend took us shopping for dresses for the funeral.  Mine was a white turtleneck with a black and red plaid jumper over the top.

At his wake, my mom gives us pictures we drew to tuck in the casket with his body.  My sister puts hers under my dad’s hands but I am scared so I just put it on the side.  He is so pale and cold and doesn’t have the gorgeous curly black hair my dad had.

He was buried in a suit and his running shoes. This is the song they play–his favorite, while he was sick.

I’ve been out walking for hours.
I’ve got something on my mind.
How did we get here? where are we going?
And why is life so hard?

I read the stories, see the photographs.
World’s in a crazy space.
I’ve got to hold on to my dreams;
There’s just no other place.
There’s just no other place.

I believe
we can change anything.
I believe
we can rise above this.
I believe
there’s a reason for everything.
I believe
in my dream.

We all dealt with the loss of my father in different ways.  My mom tried her best to keep it together, but she was devastated.  My sister retreated into her bedroom and shut the door.  I tried to hold everyone together.  Our family was broken.

As time passed, obviously, the pain becomes less acute.  Our family motto was “one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.”  My mom had to start working full-time and figure out the finances, which my father had always done.  My sister and I became latchkey kids.  The teachers at school looked at me sadly when I went back to school in September.  They had all known my dad; he read to the kindergarten classes because he liked giving back to the community, and he’d worked the night shift so he picked me up from school ever day.

And they’d all seen him running around our small town every morning, waving, every morning on their way to work.

Today I go through life and not having a father is just a fact.  I don’t cry about it every day like we once did, and I can tell people, “Oh, he died when I was eight of leukemia” without a second thought.   But you bet your ass I’m sitting here, writing this, sobbing like a baby thinking about getting married in a month without him there.

So, this is why I’m running for Team in Training in October.  I realize that you might be annoyed when I mention this and ask you to donate or participate in fundraisers.  And I’m sorry if that bothers you, but really?  No little girl should have to know what a platelet is and stand at her father’s coffin.

If my dad was here, he would be running this marathon by my side.  But he’s not, and I need you to help me get through this.  I need to run for something.

Please, donate.  Nobody should have to go through what my family has been through.

Happy birthday, Tim!

Today Tim turns the big 2-6.  Happy birthday, sasquatch!

Tim is wonderful for many reasons.

He gets me ice cream from the ice cream man.

He is super duper smart.

And he is kind to animals…

…and babies.

He supports me even when times are bad.

The beginning:

Here’s to 26 years of the coolest guy on the planet.  I love you!

Flying solo

First of all, thanks for all the sweet comments re: Ronda!  I am glad we are besties again.  It’s amazing what little changes can do, although I do need to get some new, slightly stronger Spanx to hopefully eliminate the hip wrinkling that’s going on now.  (The pair I wore yesterday were old and kind of stretched out.)

Anyway.  Day one of my bachelor party widowhood!

Made a fresh green monster at lunch.  Cherries, chocolate whey, milk, and spinach. 

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For my afternoon snack I sampled a new flavor of Luna Bar I saw at the grocery store the other day.

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I’m not really a big blueberry fan, but I’m a sucker for a label that says “NEW!”  I was pleasantly surprised with this!  It had kind of a blueberry jam-like topping that I really enjoyed.  It’s a hair too sweet, but most Luna Bars are, so nothing new.

Anyway, the afternoon dragged on…and on…and on.  But finally it was time to go home.  This has been a crazy week!  To put things in perspective, I leave for work at 7:15 am.  On Wednesday I got home at 7:30 pm, on Thursday I got home at 7:45 pm, and today, I got home at 5:30…to pick up the dog and walk right out the door again.

Milhouse needed to be groomed; namely, his anal glands needed to be expressed.  (The joys of dog ownership!)  So I picked him up, and dropped him off at the groomer’s.  While he was being groomed I had dinner at Panera, and did a little shopping!0312 004

Paul Mitchell Quick Slip.  Apparently this stuff cuts your blow-drying time in half, which is what my ridiculous moptop needs right now.  (Tim complained about my lengthy blow-drying this week.  I can’t wait to get my wife chop.)

Milhouse was happy to be done at the groomer’s.  He’s exhausted, poor thing, and so am I!

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I’m finishing up a little B&J FroYo, catching up on Real Housewives, and hopefully hitting the sack nice and early.  (If the dog and cats don’t decide to chase each other around like madmen/women at bedtime again, that is.)0312 006

As for running, I’ve done all my mileage this week except the 3 miles and cross day.  I am going to play it by ear tomorrow—I will either take Milhouse out for a nice, easy wog (walk-jog) or skip it.   It’s cold and rainy and I just have not seen the inside of my house enough this week.  I’ve scheduled a sports massage for myself for 11:15…I still have that knot in my calf from trying out those stupid arch supports.  I’m also going to attempt to find ANOTHER shower dress (I’d puke, but I think I have a good action plan for tomorrow).

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Flashback Friday: Awkward College Photo Edition

Who wants a laugh on Friday morning?  Look no further!

I am a proud alumna of Northwestern University, class of 2006.  I graduated with a double major in English and History in 3.5 years, and I seriously love love love this school.  I will be paying down student loan debt for the rest of my life, but I don’t care.  The professors are top-notch, the campus is incredible, and I made amazing friends there.

This post serves no purpose but to show you the lifestyle I led from 2002-2006.  It was decidedly not healthy.

This was my 21st birthday.  I got a digital camera from my then-boyfriend, so really, this is where digital documentation of my life begins.  I spent the day at the beach, got horribly sunburned, drank two drinks, vomited like crazy and went home with sun poisoning.  Sadface.

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Hey, look, it’s Mary!  Mary reads the blog and is half of Mary and Matt, who we had brunch and barbecue and Avatar with recently.  Hi, Mary!

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I had braces for most of college.  I got them after my freshman year, and they got taken off the day before graduation.  I had to get two teeth pulled, so for awhile I looked like a total yokel.  Awesome!

This was Halloween, I think, but I can never be sure.  Really, in college, I went to very few parties that did not involve costumes.  I was a cow.  Animal ears, Mean Girls style.  Oh yes.n2400406_9228310_6871

Oh, hey, I was in a sorority.  I know lots of ridiculous songs and am just now purging my extensive collection of t-shirts with mildly sexual logos on them.

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Classy.

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Look, it’s Mary again!  We had an 80’s Tacky Prom every year as part of said sorority.  Yes, I am wearing a Hypercolor t-shirt.  Remember those?  It still worked!  Which is why my pits are clearly pink in that picture.

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Sometimes I looked pretty and didn’t wear costumes.  I mourned the day this hot burnt-orange dress was too small.  I also miss my bountiful bosom. I do not miss the asshat attached to that hand, though.

n2400406_30298277_6403 Anyway.

My point is that college was a lot of fun, but I look back at those pictures and no way could I live that lifestyle again.  I ate a crap ton (okay, I could still go for some home cooked sorority food), drank more than I thought I did, and was in some seriously unhealthy relationships with assorted men. 

And I took some ridiculous pictures.

What was your college experience like?

Confessions

Sometimes, as a blogger, I don’t talk about things because I’m ashamed of them.  So many bloggers appear to be absolutely perfect, and I would like to openly state that I AM NOT.  So, guys, it’s time to come clean with some confessions.

  • I drink diet soda–maybe 5 or 6 cans a week.  I’ve stopped drinking it at lunch, but I usually have one with dinner every night.  I drink plenty of water during the day.  If this is my one little vice, I’m okay with that.
  • I don’t use an incline on the treadmill when I run.  I’m not running for speed, and I’ve never seen my pace drop significantly going from indoor to outdoor running anyway, unless I’m doing ridiculous hills.  And my half and full marathons are almost completely flat, so I’m not concerned.
  • I don’t eat enough vegetables.  I try.  But I just feel neutral about most of them (or actively dislike them), and I like eating things that I enjoy.  In my defense, I eat a crap ton of fruit, even though I know it’s not the same.
  • The phrase “clean eating” annoys the bejeezus out of me even though I think the concept is good.  I think the word “clean” places a really unnecessary value judgment on foods that can be really unhealthy.  If a slice of homemade apple pie, made with real butter, sugar, and apples is “dirty,” then hell, call me Christina Aguilera.
  • I still don’t like hot oatmeal or pumpkin.  I’m a bad blogger.
  • I use Gu as running fuel because if I keep Clif Shot Blocks or Sport Beans in my gym bag in my office, I will munch on them because I find them delicious.  I would have to be pretty hard up to shoot a Gu in the middle of  a workday.
  • I can’t bring myself to change the first 3 pre-sets on my car radio from Chicago stations to Kansas City stations.  I haven’t lived in Chicago in four years.
  • Sometimes I don’t feel like a “real” runner because I prefer the treadmill to the outdoors.  There’s nowhere to put your water bottle outside, and no air conditioning/heating, and no television, and there are things that make me sneeze, roadkill, cars, and UV rays.  I’ll race outside, but I just don’t get much of a thrill out of nature.
  • I worry about my wedding dress decision pretty much every day, and curse myself for not buying something that hides the lower half of my body a little more.
  • I eat something sweet every night.  My latest favorites?

Ahh, that felt good.  Now you come clean.

Confess your sins in the comments.  Nobody’s perfect–embrace it!