Sunday, January 31, 2010

Missing the Murphy Man

The Murphy Man is gone for a month, maybe longer. I am not happy about this at all. He left Sunday and I am already missing him. Our house (for better or worse) is not the same without him!!

Todd shipped him off to hunting dog boot camp for some professional hunting training. Personally, I think he is a family dog and doesn't need all this extra training. But, he takes Murphy to a lot of hunting tests and feels he has reached the end of his training abilities. With a professional trainer, Murphy gets several hours of individual training each day, seven days a week.

The house is already cleaner. Murphy sheds everywhere! I vacuum all the time. I was going to have our capers cleaned, but that was a bust (another post for later). Plus, he spills food and water all over. Lucy prefers to eat outside, which rocks! And, Murphy feels the need to drag all of his toys everywhere each night in an effort to get us to play with him! So we'll definitely have less to pick-up for awhile.

Maybe this is what it feels like when your kid stays overnight at a friend's house, but I am lonely without him! I'll take the mess, the drool, and the loud snoring from the dog bed on my side of the room! I need his snuggles and morning wake-up kisses. He is my "baby man" since he is a huge 85-lb puppy!!

I hate to wish time away, especially considering my increasing age, but I can't wait for this month to be over so he can come home!! I think Lucy really misses him too!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lacking optimism

I hate the beginning of the year. Seriously. Hate. It.

First of all, I hate the cold weather, snow, and ice. Give me 85 and sunny year round and I would be one happy girl. So, the fact that the beginning of the year is a frozen tundra does not excite me. Honestly, I have never figured out how people that live in cold places can be all optimistic at the beginning of the new year. It is cold, people! Summer is months away. Now, talk to me in April. That is when my optimism starts to show!

Second of all, I hate the fact that the gym is UBER crowded. I had to wait in line for an elliptical at the gym tonight. Yes, Friday night at 6pm. Seriously?!?! After working an 11 hour day, I wanted to get in my 30 minutes of cardio and get home. I do not want to wait in line for a machine all because my crappy gym has 5 pieces of equipment out of order and they refuse to put time limits on the machines. All that nonsense is making one grumpy gym member (along with the others of the same opinion I was chatting with in the waiting line).

Third, I hate the new people at the gym. I feel bad. I was new at one point in time. Everyone has to start somewhere. But, it seems that the new people these days are clueless. Here are a few comments I had to keep to myself this week (which took much restraint):
  1. This is a gym, so you should probably wear gym shoes. The sketchers you are wearing do not cut it for jogging on the treadmill.
  2. This is a gym, so gym shorts would be acceptable. Yes, you do look stupid lifting weights in jeans.
  3. This is a gym and they do provide locker space. If you feel the need to change clothes after getting off the machine next to me, please watch what you are doing and don't whack me with your clothes during the middle of my workout while trying to pull your sweatshirt over your head. The locker room is 30 feet away and I am happy to direct you there.
  4. This is a gym and you really need to use the equipment properly to get the maximum benefit. If you don't know how, it is best to ask someone instead of sitting on the machine with a puzzled look for 10 minutes while the rest of us glare at you to move on.
  5. This is a gym and not a social hour. I, apparently unlike you, have limited time to be at the gym, so please do not block machines while you stand there and gab about your last drunken night out.
  6. This is a gym, so deodorant would be required. Just wear it. Nuff said.

I could go on, but you get my drift, so I'll spare you. Clueless with a capital C. I am definitely frustrated and lacking optimism today. I really need a super warm sunny day. My husband suggests I should just go tanning. LOL

Monday, January 25, 2010

Murphy's napping spot

Murphy decided he needed to get on the bed AND lay on Todd's clothes at the in-laws. Bad dog!! ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Mobile blogging redux

I am pretty much too cheap to pay for iPhone apps, but I saw this new on called BlogPress that allows you to blog and upload pictures. That is something you cannot do using the mobile secret word email method. So, I ponied up the $2.99 for the app. We'll see how it goes. If you see some weird pictures on my site, I'm just testing. LOL

Oh, I also signed up for Twitter. Not sure if I'll use it much but I'll try to keep up on everyone else. Although, I am probably already behind. Social networking has that effect on me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Helping Haiti, Part 2

As a follow-up to my previous post on giving to Haiti, I saw this article on CNN today about giving cash as opposed to goods during the relief effort. The article indicates that goods are not always usable. You could donate baby formula, but what if the country mostly breastfeeds their children and/or the water is so contaminated there is no way to mix it. Your donation won't do any good if the item is not usable or it is expired, or not sensitive to the culture of the country.

Additionally, many of the large organizations have methods in place for shipping and moving items throughout the affected areas. Donations of goods that must be sent can backlog ports that are already busy with organizations working in the area delivering relief on a large scale in an organized approach. Additionally, it can be more costly to ship the goods than to buy them locally or regionally, if available.

Just more reasons we should consider what we are donating and who we are donating to.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ice Dogs

It's late. I should be working on my coursework. Or maybe sleeping. Or doing the work I brought home from work that is untouched. But, I am procrastinating. It's definitely way too easy thanks to social networking.

Anyway, that's not the point of this blog. Instead, here is a cool picture of the dogs at McCormick's Creek State Park on 1/10/2010. It is a great state park and we visit often as it is just up the road from our house. Todd took them out for several hours and both came home exhausted. Probably more tired than I have ever seen them before. Unfortunately, I missed this adventure due to a much needed trip to the grocery store. I'll be in on the next adventure (well, when the weather warms up a bit). :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Helping Haiti

As I sit at my desk and type, I feel sorrow for the people of Haiti. I cannot imagine the scene there. I see pictures on the news, but I'm sure the pictures don't give any justice to the damage. I still can't fathom the destruction and actually living in the middle of it without anything, even basic necessities like food and water. It seems unreal to me.

Like many Americans, Todd and I felt compelled to do something. There isn't much we can do except give money and pray for the situation. When we started looking into the giving opportunities, there are so many organizations you can give money to, and many will do all they can to provide help to the people of Haiti. But, one thing we noticed is a lot of smaller organizations and missionary groups that were accepting donations. I found it odd that some local churches were even mentioned on the evening news as taking up collections from the public for Haiti. I applaud their efforts and I'm sure every group will do all that they can in Haiti with whatever resources they have. The fact that every little bit helps is amazing. While there is nothing wrong with giving to smaller organization, your donation may go farther with organizations experienced in disaster relief.

The need in Haiti is so great that larger organizations and groups ready for emergency situations have the greatest ability to respond in this type of situation. Many of the larger organizations have hundreds of people already on the ground in Haiti doing work, or on standby to mobilize in a disaster of this size. They have the supply chain, funds, and people to make things happen - move food, provide medical support, and assist with search, rescue, or recovery. Additionally, they have the ability to stay for long periods of time and continue to fund raise for rebuilding efforts down the road. Many of the larger organizations, like the Red Cross or World Food Programme often work with the government to coordinate efforts, which is important to make sure the impact is immediate and widespread (as conditions allow).

But, be careful as you research where your donations should go. Organizations like Yele Haiti, which has been widely advertised in the aftermath of the earthquake, already exist in Haiti, however they are not very large and don't have any expertise in disaster relief. Some have reported improper use of funds by this group in years past. Look at sites like Charity Navigator to see how these organizations are rated, how they use their funds, and what people are saying about them.

In terms of Haiti relief, CNN appears to have the best and most comprehensive list for donating to organizations. The list is long. It is interesting to read other blogs on donating, philanthropy, and the Haiti disaster. Some have called for one, united disaster relief agency, or at least a shorter list of organizations to act as first responders so that the funds can be channeled to the disaster right away. People like choices and want to give to the organizations they are most interested in. However, the idea of one or fewer agencies is good concept we should all consider in order to save the most lives and make the best use of funds when disaster strikes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Catching up on coming home from AZ

The last day in Arizona was sad and also scary. I didn't want to leave the warm weather and went on one last sunny 50* run. So nice! After grabbing lunch, we headed to the airport. This is the scary part. I fly, but it is not my favorite thing to do. The line to check-in was long and we waited only to get rejected by the auto check-in kiosk. This was the required first step to get boarding passes, but we knew it wouldn't work and were sent to the lady at the counter who handles all the issues. There is a known terrorist (who is in jail at the moment thankfully) with a name similar to Todd's name. Because of that we ALWAYS get stopped and someone higher up has to approve and print our boarding passes. No auto or pre check-in for us ever. Fun times.

This process always takes awhile. While the nice counter lady was getting us approved a line developed behind us and you could tell they were not happy it was taking so long. Sorry people! I would love not to have to wait at all and get auto boarding passes like everyone else. Most of the peoe behind us had simple issues like a kid flying alone and a lady with a pet. No higher approval needed for them to board.

Because of all that, we made it to the gate with 3 mins to spare. Just enough time for Todd to get his cinnabon (his treat to himself for flying cause he hates it worse than me) and me eat my TCBY yogart. I love the white chocolate mousse. I would eat that stuff everyday if I could! Pretty healthy and super tasty! Too bad they are pretty much only at airports anymore.

We boarded the plan only to realize our seats were not together even though we were traveling together. What?!?! I hate flying so started to freak out. Then the pilot kept announcing while people were boarding they expected turbulance due to a storm over St. Louis. What?!?! At that point I was all tears - didn't want to go home, not sitting near my husband, and expected turbulance. I just couldn't do it! The stewardess saw me crying. At first she wasn't helpful and then she could see I was really upset, so she got someone to move around so Todd and I could sit together. Relief!! The flight was pretty uneventful except for the bumpy ride over the Midwest and a crying child at the end. We got home to about 10* and we had left Phoenix at 68*. that pretty much sucked. Our house was frigid that night because it took forever to warm up.

We got the dogs back the next morning. It's always fun to have them come home from boarding because they go crazy seeing us and running around their place! No more small, cramped kennel (that costs us a fortune).

Monday, January 11, 2010


Had a bit of a panic attack and wasn't able to sleep last night. Normally, I am exhausted and fall into bed without any problems, but I tossed and turned all night last night and maybe slept a few hours. Mostly, I am worried about everything going on. I have this need to keep up on everything and complete tasks/assignments/work on time and to the best of my ability. But, with so many things happening, I am worried that I won't get it all done. I have to remind myself: take things one day at a time, you are only one person, people will understand you can't possibly do everything. We'll see.

My class started tonight. I think it will be good, but it is a master's class. So, there is a significant amount of reading and several papers due. I am not quite sure what to expect, so I'll have to take it week by week. I'm also a little nervous that I haven't written a paper in years and never in the APA style. I ordered the APA style guide to help me out, but I have a feeling it will take me a lot longer to write the first couple of papers while I get used to the writing style. I am definitely worried about doing well in the course and what future classes will be like.

I want to finish my masters, but I also have a fulltime job, well more than fulltime job. Even working 50+ hours per week, I am behind and getting new projects added daily. I usually try to stay ahead of the things coming at me, but it has been a bit crazy lately and for now I am just keeping up. Plus, I am tired when I get home work work. After a 9-10 hour day, I am wiped and don't want to sit at a computer anymore. That makes it hard to take classes on the side. I am worried that I won't get everything done I have to do on daily basis for work.

Then there is running. I already signed-up for several races, including 3 half-marathons. Yikes, what was I thinking!! This means I need to start training yesterday! I am already behind! Running is my stress relief. Sometimes I'll run for an hour just working out problems in my head - things to be solved at work, tasks to be done at home, etc. The issue is I really need the stress relief and sometimes training can become a point of stress and not relief. Plus, I am trying to keep up 2-3 weight training sessions per week. I am worried that I won't get in my training and lose the pure joy of working out for enjoyment.

Then there are always things around the house and family commitments. We certainly have a to-do list of items for our house. Additionally, we'll be out of town for family events several times in the next few months. I am worried I won't have time to grocery shop or do laundry on the weekends, let alone do my assignments for class. I am worried people won't understand if we just can't make it once or twice.

Mainly I am worried because there are so many balls in the air - more than I can fit into this blog. I am hoping I can keep on top of it out and no one will be mad if I have to say no in order to get it all done. Bowl - A Success!

At the game

I never got around to blogging about the remainder of our trip to Arizona. Given that we spent more time traveling to and from the state of Arizona then we were actually there, I didn't have much time to post on arrival. We were in Tempe for 2 days. It was amazing. Most of the time we spent doing Bowl game events, which the Iowa State Alumni Association did a great job of organizing. In the

On Wednesday evening we drove out to Rawhide, which is a replica wild west town. They had a pep rally with the coach, team members, and other university officials. I wasn't expecting a huge crowd, but it was packed. There were 5,000 fans there for the rally. It was crazy - you couldn't go anywhere because the lines for food and drink were so long. We listened to most of the pep rally and then decided to eat at the steakhouse in this "town." It wasn't anything special, but the food was decent and they had a live band playing, which was kind of nice. After that, we headed back to the hotel.
On Thursday, we go up and got ready for the game. The game was at 4:00, but the pap rally was downtown Tempe at noon. We got something to eat at a local Irish bar, which was amazing. I would barely finish half of my corned beef sandwich, let alone the fries! After that we headed to the pep rally to get our bead, tattoos, and stickers. There were about 10,000 fans at the game-day rally. I can't believe how many people made the trip - many driving both ways to get there! We stayed for an hour or so and walked toward the game. We wanted to get in to check out the stadium and get to our seats.

The stadium was mostly full of Iowa State fans. Seriously, it was like 10:1 Cyclones:Golden Gophers, which definitely made for a better game atmosphere. The pregame was decent - parachuters came down on the field and they had fireworks. I won't say much about the game other than to note that Iowa State won 14-13. It was a close game at the end and could have gone either way, but a win is a win, no matter how ugly. I am just happy the Cyclones won. Otherwise, Todd would have been really upset. He gets so mad just watching the game at home when they lose. I did not want to deal losing after making the trip out.

After the game, we were hungry and found some food at a local bar. The servings were huge and it was super cheap food. We had no clue going there, but we could have split dinner it was so big! After that, we walked around Tempe's New Year's Eve block party. It was huge! We heard this is the biggest block party after Times Square. I am not sure if that is true or not, but it was definitely packed with people, food vendors, rides, activities, and 40 bands. It was $15 just to get in and we had to go through security, which was interesting. There were police in full riot gear, police on foot, on bikes, in cars, and on horse. It was crazy. Someone said that the was a big street fight a few years ago, so they are prepared I guess. We stayed long enough for the fireworks at 10pm (celebrated the New Year in the Eastern time zone). After that we were so exhausted due to the time change, our travel, and everything we squeezed into the trip, we headed back to the hotel. We heard the fireworks at midnight celebrating the Mountain time zone, but we were in bed already. Lame, I know, but we were so exhausted.

I was not excited to go home at all. I LOVED the weather in Tempe and didn't want to deal with work after being gone for a week (the emails were piling up even though lots of people were on vacation, too). But, I did want to get home to my dogs. I always miss them!

All in all, it was a good trip. I was surprised I did made it that far in the car. I don't mind traveling, but driving for 24 hours is not my idea of fun at all. But, I watched a ton of movies, read through my stack of magazines, and kept up my social networking (about the only time I was good about keeping up with that). :) I am hoping we can head back out there to catch some spring training games. I have always wanted to go to spring training, but have yet to make it. Maybe this year??
In the Arizona sun

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tuesday's travels

Back to Tuesday and then the rest of the week. We checked out downtown Santa Fe. Very cool, although cold. Tons of little specialty shops along little streets. In one spot, all the locals set out their goods for sale on the sidwalk. They literally put down a blanket and put out their handmade items, mostly jewelry. If I was more into jewelry, I would have bought some as it was pretty cool.

After checking out many different shops, we grabbed lunch at Blue Corn Cafe. I finally got some good homemade guac and tacos with homemade blue corn shells. We stopped at another pottery store that sold actual kitchenware. I would love to have a set. Still debating as one bowl is $30 and I would still need plates, cups, etc. I may have them ship me one serving bowl at least. It is so cool! We actually watched them make it in the shop.

We were originally supposed to be in the Grand Canyon for a few days, but canceled that on the way and stayed in Santa Fe instead. Part of our 15 hours at home between trips included a visit to PromptCare for Todd's foot. No fracture, just some stretched tendons that made it painful to walk on one foot. He now gets new raquetball shoes, and we decided to nix any hiking for now.

We left Santa Fe late afternoon for more driving. But, we finally made it to Arizona. Unfortunately, it was mostly nightime driving, so we missed all the senic stuff.

We found a cool brewery that all makes pizza. It was 10p - midnight our time - so anything would have been good at that point! After that we crashed. Three days of driving for two days of football was exhausting!!