Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/31/13

Dear Journal,
Q: What inventions can you not live without?
A 2012: I could probably live without a lot of things, but I really enjoy TV, telephones and computers.
A 2013: I can't live without modern technology. Being on bed rest means reading and watching tv. A lot..

Picture of the day 3/31:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/30/13

Dear Journal,
Q: Pick a color for today.
A 2012: Green. Mega millions jackpot is up to $640 million dollors. Big money! Big money! No whammies! Stop!
A 2013: Todays color would have to be red because opening day for baseball is tomorrow and we're Angel's fans. Go red!

Picture of the day 3/30/13:


Yesterday morning I had surgery. We woke up bright and early and made it to the surgery center with plenty of time.

I got brought to the back and put into a gown. Patrick waited in the waiting area for my mom and Isabel. The first nurse said only Patrick could come back, but my nurse said my mom and Isabel could come back for a minute to give me a hug and kiss before surgery.

Patrick was able to sit with me until the anesthesiologist came to put in my IV. She also put in a intraclavicular block to numb my whole arm. From what I could feel, the needle was rather large. It hurt but it was more uncomfortable than painful.

Patrick came back after she was done. Toward the end of the injection I got really dizzy and my heart rate shot up. It was due to the adrenaline in the shot, but it freaked me out a bit so I was glad when I saw Patrick again.

We kissed and both said "See you later" and I was wheeled back to the operating room. I got onto the operating table, was covered in warm blankets and given a "cocktail" which put me to sleep.

I woke up still in the operating room, but the surgery was over and all I could do was say thank you repeatedly. To the nurses and the doctor. Everyone.

I stayed in recovery for just a little bit before receiving a pain pill and then Patrick came back and sat with me before I was able to get dressed with the help if a nurse and go home.

It felt like I was only out for 5 minutes, but I was in surgery for about two hours. After trying so many other methods of treatment with no help I was beginning to think people were doubting me. I was in pain, but there didn't seem to be a reason..

So while in recovery I was oddly pleased to find out that the doctor did find something more going on with my wrist. Apparently there was damage and there was no structural support. He was able to fix it, but it's pushing my medical leave from 6-8 weeks to at least 12 weeks.

Not sure how I feel about that. Guilty is the top emotion, but I also know if I go back to early then I risk a reinjury.

For now I'm just trying to stay comfortable, which is not easy. I'm in a lot of pain and although I know the pain medication is probably doing something, it's not doing enough.

Thank goodness I have good nurses. I don't know what I'd do without Patrick and my mom.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dear Journal 3/29/13

Dear Journal,
Q: Write down a few lines from a song or poem that you identify with today.
A 2012: "I won't give up, even if the skies get rough, I'm giving you all my love, I'm still looking up." -Jason Mraz
A 2013: "May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on." -Fun

Picture of the day 3/29:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/28/13

Dear Journal,
Q: What do you want to remember about today?
A 2012: I tried Meditteranean food for the first time at Rachel's birthday dinner. And I liked it...
A 2013: I want to remember that I have an awesome family and I am so grateful that we all get along. I don't spend any time with my extended family. We never really knew much of my mom's side of the family and we stopped talking to my dad's side of the family about 5 years ago when my grandma passed away. It was just the way it was and we joked that it was a good thing we got to pick our friends because you're stuck with your family.

I can't even begin to explain how lucky I feel to have family that I not only get along with, but actually want to spend time with. I consider both my sister and my mom to be two of my best friends. I love my in-laws and I love my sister's in-laws. It's never felt like anything but family for us all and it is amazing how easy it always is.

Picture of the day 3/28:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/27/13

I received this Q&A journal exactly a year ago today. I wrote in it every day for three months, some days going into more detail than others. I figure I'll write what I wrote last year first for the days that I did just to see the difference from last year to this year..

Dear Journal,
Q: When was the last time you felt like you were on top of the world?
A 2012:I felt on top of the world on March 18th of this year when I completed my first marathon.
A 2013: I felt on top of the world on March 17th when I crossed the finish line at the LA Marathon, completing my goal of finishing a marathon in under six hours. Of putting my mind to something and achieving it. And I think the minute it all hit me was when I saw my family at mile 26, right before the finish line. I got all teary eyed and knew at that moment that no matter what I was going to be finishing. I knew that I had completed the marathon using my intervals and I didn't give up.

"The voices in your head are all liars." Best shirt ever and I fully intend to pay it forward.

Picture of the day 3/27:

Happy Birthday to Me!

Last Wednesday was my birthday and it was amazing, like always.

I got dressed up for work and felt beautiful. My coworkers took me to lunch for sushi and we celebrated with lemon meringue pie.

Lorien brought me presents, including a target gift card, a tshirt with different sayings from Friends and a cupcake book. My coworker Tina brought me beautiful flowers and a puzzle.

After work my phone died so I don't have any pictures from dinner with my family, but it was beyond amazing. We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant in town and it was delicious!

I am very blessed to be surrounded by my family so often, but especially on my birthday. I got a gift card to target, a gift card for a facial (I've never had one before), a watch, cupcake liners, a new dress, shoes, a blouse and new earrings.

Then I opened my gift from Patrick. Tickets to see Jason Mraz in Santa Barbara in September. It's a one night show and I cannot wait!

I wish I had more photos, but it is what it is..

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/26/13

Dear Journal,
Q: Who do you aspire to be like?
A: I try to aspire to be like my parents. I think that I am a lot like both of them and I can only hope to be as good of a parent like they were for us. I personally believe that they did a pretty great job raising both Rachel and me and I couldn't have asked for better parents. I never felt like I wasn't good enough. I always knew that if I did my best then it would be good enough for them. That's it. Just do my best, and I think I turned out alright...

For the most part.

But in all seriousness, I want to not only be a great parent, like my parents, but I also want to have a happy marriage like they have as well. It's definitely something to strive for!

Picture of the day 3/26 (aka bedtime):

Book Reviews

Since I have set a goal for myself to read 24 books this year (yes, I'm a slow reader), I thought it would be a good idea to write a quick book review after reading each book. What I like/dislike about the book and a summary.

I couldn't even tell you how I go about picking out books. Sometimes it's based on reviews and recommendations, but mostly it's based on the cover and the description of the book on the back. I can usually tell within the first sentence or two of a description as to whether or not I'm going to enjoy a book.

I'm the type of person who likes to finish books that I start, no matter if I like them or not. It's very difficult for me to leave a book unfinished. However, I did this for the first time in a while last month. I was reading the book Apples to Oranges by Marie Brenner and I just could not get into it. I don't know if it was the writing style or if I just couldn't connect with the storyline for whatever reason, but I had to put it down and not pick it up again. And after thinking about it, I'm okay with that. Why waste my time on a book that I'm not going to enjoy when I can pick up a book and read it within a week (again, slow reader). And that's exactly what I did.

I don't usually have the time to sit down with a book. It's just not something that's high on my priority list even if it is something that I find highly enjoyable. So this year I challenged myself to reading two books a month. Something I felt was manageable. Since I don't read every day I knew it would take me longer to get through a book than normal and even then it would have taken me a while.

It's a little over half way through the month and I am right on track for where I need to be. I have finished a total of seven books and I just started my eighth.
I plan on writing reviews soon for the seven books I've finished and then I'd like to write a review after each book after that. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/25/13

Dear Journal,
Q: __________ made you laugh.
A: Isabel made me laugh today. And I made her laugh. We had dinner at my parents and then she and I got the giggles. We were messing around and making funny faces and funny voices and we just couldn't catch our breathes.

It's nights like this that I feel like a great mom. When I still have patience left over from the day and can mess around with her and not care about anything but her happiness. And then can make it home while the neighbor kids are out running around and let her play with them for a little while. Now we're laying in bed watching Madagascar. It's been a good day.

Picture of the day 3/25:

I Feel Pretty..

Oh so pretty!

I went shopping yesterday with my mom. I bought a bathing suit Saturday morning from Target and wanted to find a skirt or shorts or something to cover up the bottom half and decided to stop at Kohl's since I would be right there Sunday morning.

While there I started looking around at the clearance and stumbled upon a dress that I liked. I tried it on and liked it. Didn't love it though. Then my mom brought in a long, flowy dress with zebra print and asked if I'd try it on. I did and I loved it. It was snug in all the right places and I felt comfortable in it.

I knew that I could put it on with flip flops for a casual summery day or add my black jacket and heels to dress it up for work. That's exactly what I did this morning, adding make-up and actually wearing my hair down for the first time in a while.

And you know what? I feel pretty today.

I keep coming back to this whole dress for success idea and I keep falling off the wagon time after time because of so many stupid reasons. Most of it being I don't have the time to do my make-up or my hair or pick out an outfit that no one is going to appreciate.

But I appreciate it. I like to look nice. I like to feel pretty and sometimes I do get the compliments which perk me up.  I know I shouldn't rely on others opinions to change the mood I'm in, but I do. So hearing a co-worker tell me I look nice puts a little boost in my mood and a little bounce in my step.

So I'm going to work on taking the time before bed to pick out an outfit and take the time in the morning to put on a little make-up. I don't wear much and it takes me 5-10 minutes max to do it, so why not?

Here's to finding three more work outfits before I'm out and can get away with laying around in sweats for a week straight!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dear Journal 3/24/13

Dear Journal,
Q: What did you daydream about today?
A: Today was a day of dreaming about expanding our family. Patrick and I had a very serious talk and decided that adding to our family was not the right move for us and we have closed the doors on having anymore children. That's not to say that the door can never be opened again, but I'm pretty sure this is the final decision.

Being someone who's dreamed about having more than one child of my own meant that I didn't take this choice very well, but I really think it would be better for me to resent Patrick for a little while rather than having him resent both me and a new born baby for eighteen or more years.

Le Sigh.. I guess at some point the daydreams will end and I'll be okay with this decision.

Picture of the day 3/24:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/23/13

Dear Journal,
Q: Are you country or rock n' roll (or hip-hop, emo, folk, punk, etc...)?
A: I like a variety of music, but I guess since my favorite artist right now is Ingrid Michaelson then I'd have to say folk. I'm the type of person who can turn on a radio station and usually like 80% of the music that's being played.

Picture of the day 3/23:

Weigh In 3/23/13

Running 26.2 miles is exhausting.. Mentally, physically and emotionally. Triple whammy!

The day of the marathon was a difficult day food wise. I probably ate more points of gu, chomps, sports beans and gatorade than I did actual food. That may be an exaggeration, but it felt like it that day.

I had little to no appetite afterwards, but we drove through McDonalds because everyone was hungry and it didn't sound awful. I was craving the sodium from a Dr Pepper and french fries. But it just didn't taste good. It tasted so bland..

My appetite returned in full force the next day. And the day after that.. And the day after that... I won't say I gave in and overate every meal, but I didn't track most meals and gave myself the week off from tracking.

"I can eat what I want! I ran a marathon!" This is the excuse I used and no one really disagreed with me. In fact, after a few days of not eating and not tracking I started thinking that I should start reeling it back in, attempt to lose some weight this week.

But I have no self control and have a difficult time saying no to going out with the family for dinner and I kept the celebration going. I told myself to just anticipate a gain and I would get back on track after weighing in on Saturday.

Not the best decision. But I can't go back now. And the results were better than I could have hoped for!

This week: +0.4
Total +/-: -4.8

I had honestly been talking to myself on the way to my meeting that I could handle a gain. Anything less than a 2 pound gain would not derail me. I ran a marathon!! One week would be fine..

But I only gained 0.4, not even half a pound! And it's time to get back to tracking. Because this 0.4 pound gain can easily turn into more if I continue the excuses. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dear Journal 3/22/13

Dear Journal,
Q: Jot down a news story from today.
A: Is it bad that I read this question and thought, maybe I need to go online to find a news story to write about. Then I went onto both MSN and Yahoo and got completely frustrated with the "news" stories provided. Frustrated and saddened. So I had to turn it off. I just cannot handle the news and refuse to watch it. I can usually handle morning news because it's not awful, more gossipy.

Maybe this is why we watch American Dad at our house at 10pm instead of the 10 o'clock news.

Picture of the day 3/22: (Awful quality, but I wanted to show off my new art over our bed. Thanks hon for hanging it! Headboard and new lamps to come soon!) 


I am not the type of person to ask for help if I feel like I should be able to handle something. It took me months to feel comfortable asking Lorien for help when I needed it at work, and she's my best friend.

I felt like asking for help was a sign of weakness, that people would judge me for not being able to handle the amount of tasks I had assigned to me. My mind did not register the increased volume of tasks and of work as the years went on. Our office has grown tremendously from last year and I have the numbers to prove it...

It's too difficult to try to explain what I do on a day to day basis, but it ends up coming down to having a certain amount of accounts assigned to me and performing different tasks on each of these accounts. I have 67 agents compared to Lorien's 42 and it's divided this way because of the next position up. For some reason my agents send in more accounts, but Lorien's agents write more business with us so the Assistant's job is where the division comes in.

Confused yet?

Anyways, back to my point of this post. I've been doing my best to get as far ahead as I possibly can with my surgery quickly approaching. I wanted to make it as easy as I could for Lorien and the temp to take over any accounts left in my queue. Accomplishing this meant coming into work early and taking short lunches, something I've been doing on a regular basis since I got back from my honeymoon in October.

On Monday I buckled down and set aside time for each thing that I need to focus on per day. If something new was assigned to me after I stopped working on new business, it waited until the next day. Same with emails and entering loss runs. I just had to focus my time or I would get behind.

And it worked.

Until Wednesday when I had a down pour of everything. Agents were sending in submission after submission, most on a rush basis. Those not sending new business were sending information needed in order to clear accounts for quoting. Again, most on a rush basis.

I can handle stress. I can multi-task. I can get it done, but with four work days left (and no plan in place for my absence) I was starting to get a little anxious over all the things. I've been trying to talk to my manager about what needs to be done before I leave and what's going to happen while I'm out so that I can spend my time off focusing on my recovery and not worrying about my work, but there still has been no plan in place (other than bringing in a temp that we are supposed to train in the four days that I'm here to do a job that took me two months to train for...) Fingers crossed this new temp is awesome and picks things up quickly and can be hired as a new Technician.

At our meeting this morning, where we were going over our training plan for the temp, I stated that I needed help. Could I do the job by myself and get it done in the next 4 work days? Absolutely! Would it be less stressful for me to ask for help and focus on the million and one other items I still need to complete? Hell yes!

So I did it and her initial response was "I have no help to give you."

But then she offered to ask the other branch managers if they can spare some people to help. And the outpour of help was overwhelming and so appreciated! I only really needed to get rid of 15 accounts in order to feel the stress start to lift from my shoulders and I was able to work on the rest by entering loss runs. When I come in on Monday I'll have 8 (if not more) new business waiting for me. And I'm planning on working for a few hours on Sunday by just sending my reminders so that I can focus on training the temp on Monday as well.

So, the point of all this is, it doesn't do you any good to try to do it all. I asked for help, I got it, no one got hurt or thinks any less of me, I can go home and enjoy my weekend (minus the 2 hours of overtime on Sunday) and I can leave work next week to focus on recovering and coming back with a fixed wrist.

As soon as I got back to my desk I realized I had yet to change my daily calendar. Wouldn't you know it, but it fit perfectly.. I'm feeling really good right now. And I plan on keeping it that way!

Online Shopping

I went online today to try to find a specific table lamp. I saw this lamp a few months ago and loved it, but didn't buy it because I didn't need it. Then I kept thinking about it and figured I could put it away until we buy a house, but I couldn't remember where I found it. Then Patrick moved a painting from the dining room to our bedroom and I started obsessing over these lamps and how perfect they would go in our room.

Then I thought I'd look online to try to find something similar and if these lamps from Target are not the same lamps I've been dreaming about then they are pretty darn similar...

Threshold™ Table Lamp with Pleated Shade - Orange

The painting is of a field of flowers, mostly red with a few yellow and one orange. I'm pretty sure this lamp will match it and will tie it together perfectly. Plus our furniture is black, so win-win.

But of course, you can't shop online without finding deals, and a lot of stores online give you free shipping if you place an order over a certain amount. That's how they get you to spend more money, and I'm a sucker so I did some retail therapy..

I will make excuses and say that I did need new work shoes, some of the items were on clearance and the shoes were buy one get one half off.. That and my cart had a lot more items before I deleted stuff. I can usually go in and find a bunch of stuff I like and then I slowly delete items until I have just what I really want. But who am I kidding? I'm a girl, I love to shop and if I find something that I like that I can afford I'm going to buy it.

Women's Merona® Erin Patent Mary Jane - Assorted Colors

Women's Mad Love Lynn Canvas - Pink
Fruit of the Loom® Fashion Cotton Boy Short 4 Pack - Assorted Patterns/Colors
Mossimo® Women's Printed Sleeveless Dress w/front zipper
Merona® Women's Cowl Neck Striped Pullover Tunic - Assorted Colors

Update: Bucket List

It's about that time again.. Here is my updated bucket list. I have highlighted recently completed items in pink and italicized items that are in progress.
If you have any awesome items on your list, please share them here! I am always looking for more ideas to add to my list.

1. Complete a 5K
2. Complete a 10K
3. Complete a half marathon
4. Complete a marathon
5. Complete a tri-athalon
6. Complete the Goofy Challenge
7. Donate hair to Lock's of Love
8. Write a book
9. Learn to drive a stick shift
10. Go wine tasting
11. Ride a zip line
12. Ride in a hot air balloon
13. Learn to water ski
14. Horseback ride on the beach
15. Ride a mechanical bull
16. Learn to ski
17. Jump off a cliff into deep water
18. Swim with sharks
19. Swim with dolphins
20. Swim with sea turtles
21. Milk a cow
22. Ride a camel
23. Ride an elephant
24. Watch an animal being born
25. See killer whales in the wild
26. Visit the Grand Canyon
27. Visit the Galapagos Islands
28. See the Northern Lights
29. Visit the Amazon Rain forest
30. Visit Yosemite
31. Visit Yellowstone
32. Witness a meteor shower
33. Visit Mount Rushmore
34. Watch a sumo wrestling match
35. Go to Disney world
36. Take a pottery class
37. Fly a kite
38. Make a quilt
39. Complete a cross stitch
40. Get out of credit card debt
41. Earn a black belt in martial arts
42. Be on the kiss cam at an Angel's game
43. Fly in a helicopter
44. Watch it snow
45. See the Rose Parade floats
46. Get a tattoo
47. Learn how to make sushi
48. Travel solo
49. Learn a new language
50. Write in a journal every day for a year
51. Read for 20 minutes every day for a year
52. Adopt a pet from a shelter
53. Go on a safari
54. Have my photography showcased
55. Climb up the Statue of Liberty
56. Go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival
57. Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
58. Hit a bucket of balls
59. Volunteer at an animal shelter
60. Start a blog
61. Take one picture a day for a year
62. Go to a World Series game
63. Try escargot
64. Go to Time's Square for New Year's
65. See a psychic
66. Mud Wrestle
67. Jump into a pool fully clothed
68. Go to Ireland
69. Go to Australia
70. Go to Japan
71. Go to Africa
72. Go to Italy
73. Bowl a perfect game
74. Win big in Vegas
75. Take a cake decorating class
76. Organize photos into albums
77. Make one recipe a week for a year
78. Go apple picking
79. Buy a piece of Tiffany's jewelry
80. Go to a movie by myself
81. Go to dinner by myself
82. Complete a coloring book
83. Climb Mount Everest
84. Host Thanksgiving dinner
85. Visit Ground Zero
86. Go dirt bike riding
87. Learn to play an instrument
88. Join a softball league
89. Go canoeing or kayaking
90. Learn to surf
91. Sing karaoke
92. Take a pole dancing class
93. Go scuba diving
94. Break a Guinness World Record
95. See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
96. See the Eiffel Tower
97. Play in a poker tournament
98. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
99. Build a birdhouse
100. Watch a chrysalis turn into a butterfly
101. Learn how to change a flat tire
102. Hike down the Grand Canyon
103. Go white water rafting
104. Learn how to meditate
105. Take a yoga class
106. Read every book by Jodi Picoult
107. See "The Star" by Edgar Degas at Musee d'Orsay, Paris
108. Open a martini bar
109. Drive a boat
110. Visit the Pearl Harbor museum
111. Go para sailing
112. Go snorkeling
113. Go rock climbing
114. Pay off someones layaway
115. Run 1250 miles in a year
116. Complete 30 Day Shred
117. Ride a mountain bike down Mammoth Mountain
118. Marry my best friend
119. Have over 50 followers on my blog
120. Complete a marathon in under 6 hours
121. Ride Lex Luthor's Drop of Doom
122. See the Grunion Run
123. Crochet scarfs and sell them
124. Ask for a raise and prove that I deserve it
125. Cross stitch my photography using PC Stitch
126. Buy a house
127. Own a corgi
128. See Ingrid Michaelson in concert
129. See Snow Patrol in concert
130. Visit all 50 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
131. Run a mile straight
132. Complete Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30
133. Complete Jillian Michaels Body Revolution
134. Be a spectator at a marathon (with a sign and preferably at mile 16)
135. Complete the Dopey Challenge

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/21/13

Dear Journal,
Q: The first thing you ate today was _____?
A: Honestly? I ate two mini crunch bars.. At 5:30 am.. Can you tell that Weight Watchers is working? No self control with this girl.

Picture of the day 3/21:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/20/13

Dear Journal,
Q: What was the last book you read?
A: I just finished reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower. It was okay. Not great, but not awful. I actually read it pretty quickly, so it held my attention. I'm not sure if I'll watch the movie now that I've read the book, but it's a possibility.

I'm now reading A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard.

Picture of the day 3/20:

A-Z Title Challenge- Update

Almost two months ago I posted about a reading challenge that I found on the group I follow on good reads.

This challenge is simple: read 26 books throughout the year, one beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Ignore any articles at the beginning of the title (The..., A..., etc.). For the letters X and Z, you may choose a title with those letters anywhere within the title.

2013 A-Z Title Challenge
Duration: January 1-December 31, 2013

3/26 Completed

A- The Art of Racing in the Rain- Garth Stein
C- Change of Heart- Jodi Picoult, Confessions of a Scary Mommy- Jill Smokler
F- Forty Scrubs- Joanna George, Five Days of Summer- Katia Lief, Falling Into You- Jasinda Wilder, The Friday Night Knitting Club- Kate Jacobs
G- Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
H- The Happiness Project- Gretchen Rubin, Happier at Home- Gretchen Rubin, House Rules- Jodi Picoult, The Help- Kathryn Stockett
L- Left Neglected- Lisa Genova, Look Again- Lisa Scottoline
M- My Sister's Keeper- Bill Benners
N- No One Heard Her Scream- Jordan Dane
O- The Other Daughter- Lisa Gardner, One Good Dog- Susan Wilson, One Day- David Nicholls
P- Please Stop Laughing At Me- Jodee Blanco, The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky, P.S. I Love You- Cecelia Ahern
R- Run Like A Girl- Mina Samuels, Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss- Dean Karnazes
S- The Stepmother- Carrie Adams, A Stolen Life- Jaycee Dugard, Sister- Rosamund Lupton, Second Change- Jane Green, The Story of Rose- Jon Katz, Sing You Home- Jodi Picoult
T- The Time Traveler's Wife- Audrey Niffenegger, Two Kisses for Maddy- Matthew Logelin, Ties That Bind- Heather Huffman
W- Waiting for You- Abigail Strom, Water for Elephants- Sara Gruen

I mixed it up a little and added all of the title's that I plan on reading up to this point. I am also planning on going to the used book store tonight to look for some more books to fill in the letters I do not have yet. Title's in black print are books I've already read, blue I am reading and green I have waiting to be read either in paperback or on my Nook.

I still have a long way to go.. Good thing I'm going to be off for 6-8 weeks with my wrist surgery and can get caught up on my reading!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/19/13

Dear Journal,
Q: What is your work ethic?
A: I like to believe I have a really good work ethic. I am willing to do what it takes to get the job done and I am constantly taking on more work without complaining (at least not directly to my boss).

Unfortunately, having a good work ethic and a high stress job does not make it easy to have an easy home life.

Picture of the day 3/19:


In 10 days I will be having surgery on my right wrist. Right wrist arthroscopy, synovectomy and debridement, open 6th extensor compartment and tenosynovectomy.

I have no idea what any of that means, except that this is the beginning of the end of a very long journey that started over 16 months ago.

I started experiencing some pain in my wrist as well as some numbness and tingling in my hand, ring finger and pinky finger. It caused some concern, but I didn't say anything at first because I was still somewhat of a new employee (just over a year) and I didn't want to cause any problems. I enjoy flying under the radar.

I talked to Patrick about it and decided that I would give it some time to see if it would get better on it's own. If it didn't then I would speak to my manager about it. The next morning, while getting coffee in the break room, I experienced the pain again but this time I had weakness as well, so much so that I couldn't lift the coffee pot.

That was enough for me to know it was time to talk to my manager. I went into her office with no intention of filing a workers' comp claim (the irony of filing a workers' comp claim while working for a workers' comp insurance company is not lost in this). In fact, I only wanted to let her know what was happening in case it continued to get worse. She told me that she had to file it as a claim because I told her about it*.

I was then assigned a case worker and a doctor. I will spare you the boring details. I will tell you everything that I've tried to make this better before we came to the conclusion that surgery was necessary because we did try everything we could think of. In no particular order:

- Anti-inflammatory and pain pills
- Approximately half a dozen wrist braces
- Injections (x3)
- Physical therapy (6 sessions)
- Occupational therapy (two times, 6 sessions each)
- Acupuncture
- X-Rays
- Nerve conduction studies (x2)

To be honest, I'm ready to have this surgery and I've had a long time to think about it and come to terms with the nerves of it. The thing I'm most worried about is being out of work for that extended amount of time.

I just had my pre-op appointment yesterday and found out that I can be released back to modified duty after two weeks. The problem with that is, there is nothing to modify about my job. I'm typing and writing constantly for 8+ hours a day. So, more than likely I will be out of work for 6-8 weeks.

6-8 weeks. Up to two months of not working.

I know that this is necessary in order for my wrist to heal properly so that I don't re injure it, but I can't help but feel guilty. We're already short staffed and I know that my job responsibilities will fall solely on one person. Normally I wouldn't feel this bad about it, I know that I need to take care of me first, but in this case that person is my best friend and it's just not right that our office is so unprepared for something like this.

We recently lost an employee when she took another position with our company in a different department. We're a branch office, so it's not like we have a bunch of employees at our disposal. Before she left we were an office of 9. Replacing her has not been successful. In fact she's been gone for almost two months and our manager had known she would be leaving a month before that. They didn't start interviewing until 2-3 weeks after she was gone.

Then my best friend was promoted to the next position up. Her training has been unorganized and slow and replacing her original position had not even begun until recently when our manager decided we should probably bring in a temp employee to take on some work while I'm out. The issue with this is 1. I told her at least a month ago that I was going to be having surgery and 2. Training for this position lasts longer than a week and a half. In fact when I was hired I was told it was a two year learning curve. There is absolutely no way that a new employee can take on the amount of work that we do on a daily basis. We can barely handle the amount of work we receive on a daily basis (hence our big work meeting where our bosses boss came from home office to discuss issues and workload was the main issue). And we've all been here 2+ years.

So my work ethic has me stressing in order to get as much taken care of before I leave. This will involve me coming into work as early as I possibly can as well as bringing work home. There is a lot that needs to be done and there is a lot of work that I anticipate coming in the next week and a half before I leave. I need to learn how to relax and just do what I can, but at this point in time I know that's not going to happen.

When I leave Thursday I am going to know that I did everything I could before I left and then the rest is up to everyone else. I can't expect myself to come back before I'm ready and I fully intend on using this time off to heal and relax and work on me.
*Since reporting this claim, four other employees have told the same manager about various issues, 3 wrist issues and 1 knee injury. She has not forced anyone else to file a claim even though they have told her what has been happening. I find this frustrating and infuriating, but I pick my battles and am just worried about getting my issue fixed.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear Journal 3/18/13

Dear Journal,
Q: In three words describe your spirituality.
A: I'm not sure.

Picture of the day 3/18:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/17/13

Dear Journal,
Q: What new activity have you tried?
A: Nothing new lately. I have been focusing on marathon training and have not wanted to incorporate any other activities until my body gets back to normal in a few days. After that I plan on doing some Jillian Michael's DVDs as well as running.

I did intend on trying cake decorating, but the class got canceled. I'll try again after my wrist heals.

Picture of the day 3/17:

Race Recap: LA Marathon- Take 2

Today was the LA Marathon, and the second year that we participated in the event. And the last time I plan on running in a marathon. I intend on completing half marathons from this point on because, as they say, I'm only half crazy.

Last year was a lot different than this year for many reasons. I feel like I was better prepared last year than this year. Training this year did not go as well as had hoped because I'm stubborn and cheap and refused to be fitted properly for shoes. The last long training run ended for me 3 miles short, in tears, declaring that I was not going to do the marathon. I eventually went to get fitted (about 12 days before the marathon) and did end up getting new shoes (thanks mom & dad). More on how the shoes worked out later.

Another thing that was different was the time we got to the starting line. Last year we signed up for the 4:30 am shuttle in Santa Monica that brings you up to Dodger Stadium. This means that I spent the night at Rachel's and woke up at 2:30 am in order to be awake and ready to drive to Santa Monica to catch the bus. Then we sat around the parking lot of Dodger Stadium for a few hours freezing. This year Rachel's husband, Shawn, drove us. They picked me up at 5 am and dropped us off right at Dodger Stadium. Since they'd be at the finish line we'd have a ride home. I am forever grateful to Shawn for being willing to do this. It made a HUGE difference not having to sit around waiting.

The weather was differnt this time as well. Last year it was really cold and at the end of the course the winds were so strong that it was just awkward and very uncomfortable. This year it was much warmer. There was only one part that I was uncomfortable and it was near Santa Monica. There was a lot of fog (which was wonderful because it blocked the sun) and it got a little chilly and slightly windy. Nothing like last year and I am so thankful that it was a beautiful day today.

The last difference that I can tell is that last year I put 100% of my mental focus on Rachel because this was her goal. I may not have been the best support because I did hit some road blocks myself, but the only reason I ran the marathon last year was because she wanted to. This year I made a goal for myself, so I feel like I was focused on me more and I think that pushed me a little more.

My main goal this year was my pace and I had a time goal of finishing in under 6 hours. To be completely honest, I didn't think I was going to make it and doubted myself from the moment I made it. But I still had to try! I actually made 3 goals for myself: 1. Finish 2. PR and finish faster than last years time of 6:15 and 3. Finish under 6 hours.

I achieved all three, by finishing with a time of 5:53:04. I am so excited and I cannot begin to explain the emotions that went along with crossing that finish line and reaching my goal. But I'll try.

While standing in line for the porter potties I was telling Rachel that I didn't really feel excited or nervous about the marathon. It just was something that I was doing. No big deal. In fact, the feeling I was experiencing was what I anticipated feeling at the end. I didn't like that because I still had to put in the work to actually feel what I was feeling.

Rachel and I started out strong.. A little too strong. We had some very fast paced miles. At mile 10 Rachel said she needed an extra walk break and encouraged me to keep going with our intervals. I will tell you that I felt guilty leaving her, but I knew that I needed to focus on my goal this year and I kept going. I ended up only skipping a few running intervals during the entire marathon. A couple during each of the hills, one during a water station because I wanted the water and gatorade to go in my mouth instead of all over my hand or down the front of my shirt. I have yet to perfect the water drinking while running..

I hit a mental wall around 16. I couldn't get my breathing under control, I felt slightly dizzy and I could tell my heart rate was up. I ended up texting my mom and she responded with "NO NONE OF THAT KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK" and "U CAN DO THIS." It definitely helped and I kept on going. Then I got behind a woman who's shirt read "The voices in your head are all liars." That was all it took to take me the rest of the way. I kept telling those voices to shut up and focused on the interval I was in, not the next or the one after that. Just the one I was in. It did help that I put music on around mile 14. I've been training without music, so it gave a little extra something to keep my feet in beat with the music.

The longest I've run without extra walk breaks straight through is 22 miles, so I kept telling myself to make it to that point and we can re-evaluate at that point. But then 22 miles was so close to 23 and after 23 it's just over a 5K and I could do that. And then I told myself I could walk mile 25-26 so that I could run the last .2 miles, but I felt like if I stopped running then I wouldn't start again. So I just kept going.

I was keeping track of my time by checking my blog since I forgot the handy dandy bracelet I printed out. I guess since that's the only thing I forgot and since I was still able to access it then I can't be too upset with myself. I was consistently around 6 minutes ahead of schedule so I kept trying to do the math toward the end to see how slow I technically could go, just in case. But I didn't need to. And there are no words to explain the pride I felt for myself.

I text the family when I turned onto Ocean Avenue and could see them around the 26 mile mark. I immediately welled up and showed them my watch as I ran by saying "I'm going to do it!"

I crossed the finish line with a distance on my watch .28 over that of a marathon distance. I knew this was going to happen early on since my watch would ding before the mile marker, so I took a picture of my time at the marathon distance and my time when I crossed the finish line.

The only complaint I have about the marathon is the finish area. I understand why, but it's very frustrating to have gates lining the street for half a mile to a mile after the finish line, forcing the finishers to continue to walk to the end of the area before they can get onto the side walk, turn around and walk that distance back to find their families. I just finished a 26.2 mile run, you really want me to walk 1-3 more miles after? I saw Rachel finishing as I was walking back and high fived her as she ran by. As soon as I got back to where my family was standing I burst into tears. I hugged Patrick and thanked him for everything he's done while I train for these insane events. I thanked my parents too. Then I laid down on the grass while Rachel made her way to us, eventually putting on a sweatshirt because I always get really cold and shiver after a marathon.

I reached my goal and I can say at this point in time that I do not plan on running any more marathons. But, who knows. I guess I shouldn't write it out completely, but as of tonight, no more! I didn't take as many pictures as I did last year, but I've posted what I have. Sorry if none of this makes sense. I'm exhausted!

Here's my actual pace:
Mile 1: 13:20
Mile 2: 12:55
Mile 3: 13:06
Mile 4: 12:51
Mile 5: 14:00
Mile 6: 13:35
Mile 7: 12:52
Mile 8: 12:37
Mile 9: 12:39
Mile 10: 12:48
Mile 11: 12:19
Mile 12: 12:55
Mile 13: 13:12
Mile 14: 13:34
Mile 15: 13:30
Mile 16: 13:21
Mile 17: 13:44
Mile 18: 13:48
Mile 19: 13:53
Mile 20: 13:59
Mile 21: 14:05
Mile 22: 14:10
Mile 23: 13:43
Mile 24: 13:44
Mile 25: 13:33
Mile 26: 12:48
Mile 0.48: 5:48

Pre Race photo

Start line




Seeing my family

"I'm gonna make it!"

Marathon distance finishing time

LA Marathon finishing time

My finish photo
Rachel's finish photo

Finishers medals

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dear Journal, 3/16/13

Dear Journal,
Q: What do you want to buy?
A: Patrick just asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I honestly have no answer for him because at this moment in time there really is nothing that I want or even need to be honest. I guess if I wanted to buy anything it would be clothes because I love buying new clothes.

There is nothing I like more than buying clothes and putting outfits together. It doesn't always show because I'm lazy and I never take the time to put outfits together, but when I do I really enjoy it.

Picture of the day 3/16:

Happy Birthday Leah!

Leah's birthday is on the 19th, however the kids were with us this weekend, so a celebration was planned a few days early. Friends, family, Patrick on the barbeque, cake, ice cream and presents. What more could an 11 year old need?

I had a lot of fun sitting around talking to my parents and my in-laws while the big girls played in the spa, Isabel played on the swing on the hill and the boys played out front.