Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Work Schmurk

Do you ever have a day that is so bad it actually becomes comical? I did today. Around 9:30 am, I was cool as a cucumber—everything totally under control. By 11:30, things started to get hairy…. I sprinted to the St.V deli, where I now spend at least 2 days a week, (St.V, not the deli) and grabbed a sandwich to scarf down in order to tackle 14 things at once by 1pm. By 1:15 I had a line out the door to my borrowed cube, and my phone was ringing like a beast. By 2, my assistant has officially not shown up for work (awesome), which means all the work I thought was done was not even started. By 2:30, I got into a little scuffle with one of those accountability-avoiding-blame-it-on-everyone-else-slime-monkies who actually blamed me for placing the media on a plan he signed. Evidently, he thinks I decorate empty wall space with my media plans. (scream) By 3pm all my extras for tomorrow’s TV shoot bailed. By 3:32 I had completely sweat through my really cute new shirt thinking about how I would find the extras and punch them. By 4, Will (MY HUSBAND) has agreed to be one of the extras in my Hospice TV spot, and we had somehow secured two more peps—one of which will play Will’s wife in the BRoll and is like 20 years older (giggle). By 5:15pm I was laughing hardily at my sweaty self as I tried to make a sneaky break and ended up not gracefully or sneakily at all spilling my purse full of station dubs, a laptop, some awards and a shoe on the way to the car.

I could go on, but I won’t. I’m grateful for the laughter. Things always work out—they really do. Why can’t I remember that when I’m in the throws of it all?

Walked Gracie when I got home, and enjoying the amazing trees blooming around our neighborhood. What a beautiful gift at the end of a difficult day. (sigh) Good night.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

We finished...!

...and I'm officially on running vacation. :) We had a great time at this weekend's Country Music Marathon in Nashville with our friends and other friendly members of the Haase family. Friday's trip down was a balmy 81 degrees add Indiana humidity, and the radar was telling us that we were in for a Saturday of thunderstorms. Turns out radar was right.

We woke up to thunder and lighting Saturday morning around 5am to catch our 5:45 shuttle to the start line. Being the excellent planners that we all are, we hadn’t packed a lick of waterproof anything, but mascara. Will said that he had a thought, disappeared and returned with as many black trash bags as he could get. We each shamelessly turned them into ponchos and stomped through puddles to our shuttle, wondering why this sounded like such a good idea 3 months ago :) The start was pouring and busy with our 30,000 running buddies. Will and I separated so that Ashley and I could hit the Porta-Potty one last time. He started in our #14 corral while Ash and I got kicked to #20 due to a very long line. Just as our corral was released (about 47 mins after the initial gun start), the rain stopped, and we enjoyed a DRY, and ultimately gorgeous day!

Due to the rain, I opted not to carry any electronics so I didn’t take any pics. You can see some, however, by clicking here http://www.cmmarathon.com/elite/galleries/cmm/2008/index.html

Will finished great and met his goal coming in at 1:58. Ash and I came in at 2:23 with one potty stop around the 5K. Dave, Ashley’s husband, finished the half at 1:39 and circled back to join his sister, Amy, in completing her first marathon at 3:32 (amazing!). Dave’s younger sister, Hollie, and her boyfriend, Brian, finished the full as well in 4:45. What a day!

By the time we made it back to our Hilton Hotel, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and we spent a sore but relieved afternoon trolling for cowboy boots, eating some BBQ, and tasting a few of the 72 beers on tap at Broadway Tavern. We even stayed out at Tootsies for some live country music until (gasp) Midnight! My body is paying for it today and so is Will’s (even though he denies it), but a couple sore "hami's" are well worth the adventure we had. :)

Thanks to all for tracking us along the way—we are grateful for all the great motivating energy you gave us. It worked!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Born to Run

Well, I wanted to update the good ol' blog a few times this week, but Mandy has been swamped at the office and I have been waiting for some pictures. The boys trip to GR last weekend was an absolute blast! I'll post a funny picture of old men behaving badly soon...

This is the big weekend for Mandy and I. We will be in Nashville for the Country Music Half Marathon on Saturday morning. It's an early start, with the gun sounding at 7:00 a.m. (Central)! The weather is calling for a chance of storms and showers, so we are crossing our fingers tight that we won't have to run in soggy shoes.

You can track all of our progress in the morning by visiting www.cmmarathon.com and clicking on the results tab. Because of the wave starts, we probably won't actually cross the start line until 20 minutes or so after the official start. My goal is to run the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours, but I will not be disappointed if I finish in 2:10. So, log on and cheer us on!

And, I didn't want to do this, but I have to: How about those Cubs?!?!?! I can't stop watching them until they lose another game, and I lost some serious sleep last night staying up with them in Colorado. I am not making any bold predictions or getting confident (I still don't like the starting pitching staff), but it is fun to be a Cub fan right now.

We'll update everybody on the weekend come Monday...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Might Actually Be Here

So, Mandy and I both thinking that spring is actually here, which is exciting. There have been back-to-back warm days, energy levels are up and we are enjoying our little strip of yard with the G!

Aint she cute!??! And, I think my dog is beautiful, but check out that grass!!!! We had a rough first season with it last year thanks to some overactive crochus, drought and other issues. But this spring, it is lush. Mandy thinks it looks fake. It just goes to show what 3 bags of seed and the investment in a lawn care provider can do for you. Before the sun torches it again this summer, come on by and walk barefoot through it.

Spring is also the time to end hibernation and enjoy some life outdoors. I'm on the road again this weekend, but this time for pleasure. DUDES WEEKEND! Brian is coming into town tomorrow and we'll play some overly-competitive golf for beer... beer that we will be consuming when we drive up to Michigan with the fellas to cheer on Rockford Lacrosse, coached by the world famous Tim Murray. For all of your Rockford lacrosse fever, give them some love here.

I should have good pictures and maybe some videos to post of that upon my return...

One more cute picture of the baby... What a cuddler!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Golf Season

So, I felt somewhat bad this weekend because I held Mandy back from a weekend of college fun in Bloomington for IU's Little 500. We were supposed to go down with friends and enjoy the festivities, but I wanted to have one weekend at home in the month of April (I'm gone the next two). In hindsight, we actually got a lot done and had a great chance to catch up on some rest and quality time with the dog. But, I'll admit it after the fact, I really wanted to stay home for golf, in all its forms.

I was supposed to play on Saturday, but sleet, wind and sub-40 temperatures quickly ended those hopes. So, what was left? Quite simply the best sporting event on television: The Masters! I'll admit that I am not a huge fan of how snobby and in-awe the announcing has become. I mean, seriously, it's a little over the top when somebody misses a 4-foot putt and the announcer says, "That was an easy putt, but nothing is easy when it's Augusta, it's the Masters and your standing on the royal ground of legends playing tricks on you." That's a little over the top.

But, nothing they can say will ever take you away from admiring the grounds. It is heaven shaped into a golf course. Not a blade of grass out of place and a perfectly sculpted landscape of elevation, bunkers, natural waterways and foliage. Every year, I am reminded that my one major golf goal is to play there:

Well, maybe someday...

I had a good conversation with my friend, former boss and golf coach (can you count somebody as your coach when you haven't had a lesson in almost 4 years, but haven't consulted somebody else?), Alan, last night and we were talking about how boring the golf was yesterday afternoon. There have been years when the course actually played tougher, but it seemed more enjoyable to watch. But, no matter how bad the drama was, you can't turn away.

I was also blown away by the number of comments on TV from people talking about how much experience plays into being successful on that course. C'mon, any true golf fan could play that course blindfolded. I'm not saying they could execute the shots needed, but I know almost every little slope and angle of that course just from the countless hours of TV coverage I've watched.

- Keep it middle of the green and let it feed down on #16
- Drive it down the right side and avoid the false front on #15 if you go for it in two
- Play a going draw on #2 and don't miss long or left on the green
etc. etc. etc.

Well, the weather should improve enough this week to get out and enjoy the weather for at least one round. And in the meantime, I'd like to thank my way cool Father-in-law for This Addictive Mini-Golf Game to keep me motivated while indoors.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Finding a little balance

Today, despite the cold, wet outdoors, I got a fresh breath of air.

What seemed to be the longest week ended last night at around 11pm when I finally read the last email clogging my inbox, and shut the face of my laptop.

Instead of working late at the office (again), I came home to two smiling faces, took a jog down the Monon with Will and Grace, ordered pizza and cuddled on the couch in my sweats-- reading my email. This may seem normal to all of you, but for us it’s a little departure from normal.

Until now, we have had a rule not to bring our work home—we never even had internet! Until last night. That’s right, Will and I decided (after much discussion) that we would flip our wireless switch to help mitigate some of my work load.

Simple as it seems, it felt like I had just achieved the greatest work/life balance ever! Did I really plow through 100+ emails and still eat and chat with my hubby while Gracie napped at my feet? Is it too good to be true? Can we really work and play at the same time? This concept seems so strange to me!

I have always felt sad for the people that have to bring their work home (now me), and the people who spend their happy weekend family time churning out projects for Monday’s presentation (also now me). But it seems that the better we get at our work, the harder it is to balance it with the rest of our life. Could it be true that the better we do at work, the worse we do at home? I suppose it could be. But not for me.

This is where my “fresh breath of air” comes in…. I believe that the reason I have been able to have a job and add any value to it is because I have the blessing of a successful home.

This morning for example, Will knew just what kind of day I needed—waffles for breakfast, a chilly hour at the dog park, nap, errands where we stop for coffee and get the luxury of taking our time and looking at the fish in the pet store if we want, farmers market (in the rain) b/c you can get a pound of carrots for 79 cents, home to build a fire and watch the Masters while the rain pours outside….

I will never stop working hard at home to have days like these. The rest, I’m confident, will fall in line. The wireless will help too. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where did I put my big-girl panties?

Some days it seems like everything is happening so fast! The minutes just dart by me, and before I know it, we are into the next day, the weekend, the next month, and poof!-- a new year!
I find myself thinking a lot about time-- how I spend it, how I can save some, where I can find more, if I'm on it, if I'm out of it, if there's ever enough.... Most often, I ask myself how I’m using it. Am I loving people enough today? Am I showing them I care? Am I being honest? Giving? Am I living richly towards God and the things that are most important?

Today, I woke up and found the day I’ve been anticipating for 9 months (no, it’s not what you think)—my supervisor is giving birth to a baby girl as I type, and I’m left to hold down a monster account and two more to boot all my by little self. Yikes!
We’ve spent months planning, downloading, and prepping. Now, this is it! And for the first time, I want the next three months to fly by. (sigh) Life has a funny way of letting you stand in the nice comfortable shadow for a little while, and then one day kicking you into the arena. A little voice is saying, You're ready! Your time to shine! Another is telling me to run for the hills.

Time to take a big girl step into my big girl panties, and grab the bull by the horns. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Back in Indy and ready to paaaaarrrrty

(Will here)

Well, it had been a whole two weeks since my last business trip (Yes, going to Cabo was a business trip), so it was time for me to get up and go last weekend. I had a quick little trip to Texas. Into Houston on Friday afternoon, up to Dallas on Saturday and back home on Sunday. It was a blur of highways, cattle farms, fruit and cheese plates and somewhat inebriated men reliving their fraternity experiences through casual conversation.

I will say this for Texas, however. That whole "it's big" thing is certainly true. Lots of land and lots of people. Houston was one of those cities where you can be stuck in traffic on a 10-lane highway for an hour and never see evidence of the city. No high rises, skyline, nothing. It was amazing. Who knew that many people lived down there.

And then there is the space of the state. At 80 mph, it took 4+ hours to get from Houston to Dallas. That's like driving from Indy to Milwaukee and stopping at the oasis just north of Chicago for 30 minutes. Geesh. The state is so big, even the statues are large. Check out this monster of Sam Houston. Look at the size of those trees in the background. You could see this guy from a mile away on the highway. It looked like a giant rolling pin stuck in the ground until you got close to it.
But, I am back and don't hit the road for another 5 weeks for work, which means it's time to hang out. Can't wait for Timbo to visit and then I'll return the favor next week. Mandy and I have the half marathon in Nashville coming up in two weeks! I think we're ready for it, but Grace is certainly not a 13.1 mile type of dog. She came on our 8-mile run on Sunday and almost didn't make it. I can still hear her panting right now.
By the way, for those of you who run, or bike, or do anything outside and you need to check the distance, this is the coolest site. Awesome Map Path. It's like Google maps, only you can click to start and stop a route and see how far you go, and it includes little markers to show the 1-mile intervals. So, if you have a little route you normally run (or bike) around your neighborhood, you can track it on the map and see the exact distance. This has been very useful for Mandy and I because we can time our miles perfectly on long runs.

Okay, that's it for today. Go work on your free throws, Memphis.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Come on little guys!

It’s another rainy day in Indiana, and despite the frost-covered, 30 degree drive to work yesterday morning, it’s starting to look like spring! The little buds have poked their yellow and green heads out of the dirt, and are patiently awaiting a warm sunny day to bloom. If only it would hover around 50, we would know winter is behind us.

Will and I have so many plans for our yard and landscaping this spring/summer, and I’m anxious to get started! Last year, while trying to unravel our hose (something that is surprisingly difficult), we discovered an old flower bed brick edge buried under several inches of gravel in our driveway. For me, this is like finding buried treasure-- remnants of someone else’s time. We are planning to restore the bed this season, and my head is filled with visions of what it must have been years ago. I will also be attempting to plant a vegetable garden this year (stop laughing), and hope to grow our own tomatoes, zucchini, squash and herbs. My grandma Jeannie has been amazingly helpful in this department. She can actually identify each squirrelly plant I have growing in my yard, and help me understand how to care for it—what a rare gift! I hope to have her advice again this year, as I am truly a rookie in this area. Anyone have any tips? I need all the help I can get! We can see traces of areas where these things have grown before in our garden so I think it’s best to try those spots again.

One of my favorite things about living in an old home is trying to imagine what it must have looked and felt liked 50 or 80 years ago. Was the weather warmer this time of year? Were there babies in the house? What did they cook for dinner? No doubt they used our same ancient stove that kicks the temperature up about 15 degrees in the kitchen. Did they plant the huge daylilies that come up each year for us to enjoy? Trip on the same funny floorboards in the dining room? Was the coal shoot unsealed and covered in ash?.... I can't help but wonder.

I love knowing that we get to carry on the legacy of our beautiful home, and each day uphold the traditions that have existed there for decades. The space feels rich in history and in love, and we feel so grateful to be the keepers of the keys. Here’s to a bold new season (right around the corner)!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I actually pull from the right!

Well, I am glad that my sense of fashion has been broken down to it's simplest forms by my personal designer wife, but she failed to get the directions correct. The shirts on the right are next in the rotation, not the left. The shirt is the big factor in determining the outfit. Everything else from there (tie, pants, socks and shoes) have to go with the shirt. I am proud to say that I only own 2 white dress shirts, and the rest have color, pattern or something. You can't get dressed up for work every day without being somewhat excited in what you are going to wear.

It's hump day and I am just getting ready to hit the road again this week. Houston and Dallas get my attention over the weekend and then I am home on Sunday to run 8 miles! If you haven't heard, Mandy and I are running the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville, TN. It's on April 26th. Of all of the music genre races I agree to join... Actually, I think it might be more entertaining for me to run in the Broadway Musicals Half-Marathon, if there is such a thing. Oh well, I am not complaining and we will have a great time running to the beat of some twangy band...

Oh, and in case you have been sleeping under a rock today, Tom Crean was named the head basketball coach at Indiana University (my other basketball love besides Butler). I don't know how they did it, but IU found a way to get a good coach to agree to come to a sinking ship. I actually think he can bail water fast enough to get it turned around. And with the way Butler is recruiting and Purdue is playing, the next decade of hoops in this state should be awesome. I'm sure I'll ramble on about that later.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Casual Everydays!

One of the things I love the most about my job and this agency is that we have no dress code. …So everyday feels like casual Friday! On windy, stormy mornings like this, it feels like such a luxury to throw on your favorite sweatshirt, a pair of well worn, perfect fitting blue jeans, and some comfy flats for…gasp…work.

Mornings are only ever tough for me because getting dressed often feels like a chore. I have always been emotionally involved in my clothes. No matter how many times I lay them out the night before, fully accessorized, belts, adorable boots, matching socks and so on, the cute outfit almost always gets overlooked in lieu of my mood that morning.

Then, there’s Will. He’s a pretty spiffy guy, and always looks so put together sitting at the kitchen table with his banana, but Will’s big secret is that he “pulls from the left.” That means whatever shirt is in the rotation on the left is what he wears. Right is for clean clothes, left is for wearing. How easy is that!? Why can’t I be so easy?

I’m grateful knowing that, while I’m perfecting my “pull from the left” system, my job gives me a break, and let’s me wear what I want—whatever or wherever I may find it.

On another rambling note, Gracie had her annual check-up at the vet last night, and did really well—she even gave the tech a “high five.” So stinking cute even the vet almost fell over. Anywhoozer, $400 later, we were being talked into buying a new flea and tick medication that Lilly just released.

“It smells a little funny, but only for a couple minutes and it soaks in really fast,” the vet said. Sounds great! We’ll take it.

When we actually applied the stuff at home, we realized that it probably kills fleas and ticks by gassing them to death. I opened windows, turned on the attic fan, put Grace in her kennel, and went to the basement with Will to avoid the stench of our poor paint-thinner scented pooch. We are obviously awesome parents as she was stuck in a little cage with her own smell, but we couldn’t handle it. Nasty, nasty stuff. When the guilt finally got to me, and I heard a little whimper coming from upstairs, I dug an old IU tee shirt out of a box, and cut it to fit her and cover the gross blob of oil between her shoulder blades. She liked it. Here is a shot from Gracie’s “Casual Monday.”