Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If Andrew can do it, so can I.

I ran five miles today. The loop I usually do is between 3.1 and 4.2 miles (depending if I add the stretch to the second light) all said and done. So when I got to the 2.2 miles mark I thought, why not keep going? After all, I've been running for a while so I think it's time to move forward. No more easy 3 milers. It's four or more from now on. So I went past the second light. About a half mile past. Which means I have to go back that half mile too. Really, I wanted to see if I could do it. I debated for about, oh, 3 seconds, if I wanted to go all the way to Boniface gate - an additional 1.5 miles from the light I would turn around at...but decided against it. Seven miles today would have been too much. But 5 was okay. Took me about an hour. I was purposely going with an easy stride. In reality, I figured that if Andrew can run 26.2 miles then I can run 5. And so I did.

I've been flirting with the idea of running the half marathon during the Big Wild Life runs in mid-august. If anything, I will be at least running the 5k sponsored by Snow City Cafe. Andrew ran it last year. There are a couple of people I know who are making it their goal to be able to do the 5k - people who have never really exercised consistently before. Don't get me wrong - I am interested in their plans and I hope that they can do this - they will be super proud of their accomplishment. And hey - maybe later they will do more. One of the women suggested we put together a team and since I am the 'most experienced' that I be the head of the team and we run it all together....The woman who suggested this run/walks 3 miles in an hour. I KNOW I can do it in 28/29 minutes. This may be selfish, but I don't want to feel obligated or bogged down having to run as a group when I know I could get a PR for myself. I haven't told them yes or no or really discussed it with them because I don't want to say yes but then decide to do the 1/2. Because you can't do both. They race at the same time.

I am asking God to help me not to have the 'runner's attitude' as I call it. Which I just displayed some to you all. Thinking that I know better. Thinking that just because I have been running [relatively] consistently for the past 2 months that I somehow qualify as 'knowing my stuff' and am only out to get PRs for me, not helping and encouraging others to get outside and just go. 

I'm working on it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A long one but worth it.

Not too much has been going on recently. This past week was a little stressful for me. The kids were all cranky - which is in part (I believe) from another caregiver in the room who couldn't separate her emotions from her personal life in the workplace. Hence, she was constantly yelling a the kids and being negative. Her negativity began to wear on both the other caregivers (one of which is me) and the babies. Andrew has been really stressed as well. Tomorrow morning at 8 am he goes up against the Below-the-zone (BTZ) Board and he's really nervous. When he's not working or fishing (there was a salmon derby this week), he's studying like crazy. If he makes an excellent impression tomorrow, he could put on his Senior Airmen promotion early. So you can see why he's under a lot of stress!

I need some advice from everyone who reads this. Whether your comment comes through here or Facebook or even in an email, I appreciate all advice. Andrew and I have decided that we need to crack down on paying off various things. This decision has been stirring around for some time, but has become more definite this weekend when I got a notice from Great Lakes.org, a lender in which two of my loans from school are serviced by, about the two loans they hold. Both are coming out of a year-long determent.  Originally I put them into deferment because I qualified for Economic Hardship based on Alaskan standards. I have gotten a better job since then that pays a little bit more, but I have also had to make additional loan payments from other lenders since getting that job. Although I know it is better to pay loans back, even if it is just a little bit every month is better than putting them into another deferment or forbearance, but I don't feel I have any choice as of right now.

I am not going to discuss the exact numbers of which I owe (and it is more than you think) but to give you a general idea - by the time I am done paying I may have been able to purchase the equivalent to a lower-end ranch style house. The loan payments are not too much the issue here. We are PCSing next year (whether to a new base or to the New England area) and we would like to have our car paid off before then. And if some of you remember, last Veteran's Day we got into a car accident and are still working on paying off that loan as well.

We have been blessed in many ways. A friend who is currently on deployment is storing his stuff in our basement and we are able to use his car. He is applying to extend for another six months, which means that instead of coming back in November like he planned, he will come back in May of 2013. Having his car is a huge blessing for us as Andrew's job sometimes requires him to travel around base etc. It's a plus for me too since I work at 8 am and Andrew works at 7 am. Having two cars means that I can go to work at normal time instead of being dropped off early. It also helps out for when I have errands to run over lunch or doctor appointments to attend.

So we have been looking into ways to save some money - well, it won't be going into a savings account but rather towards the car payments, among other things. We are looking into dropping the cable and land line we have and just paying for internet. We don't even use the land line but yet we still have to pay for it. And we just found out that in order to have internet we don't need the cable of the line! Aurora Housing on base told us we did in order to have the internet - they lied! Andrew will also be canceling his smartphone plan from Verizon. Originally we were looking into combining a downgraded cellphone with the internet for Andrew, but with the GCI provider (it's the only one in Alaska) it would be the same amount of money that we pay now for the bundled cable/phone/internet package. I think what is going to happen is Andrew is going to transfer his line to my mom's family plan and downgrade to just a text-no-data-plan cell. And then we will drop the cable and land line and just pay for internet. We will be saving over $150 a month.

We just bought a Costco membership today mostly so we can get our monthly stash of meats from there. I also ordered a year's worth of contacts - and I only spent $100! Much cheaper than ordering from any other place I've found. I also found a pair of lens I liked but we need to think on it. Because of my prescription, the lens could be really thick.

What  I really would like for you is advice or tips on saving money whether it is on groceries (We don't get a whole lot of coupons in the mail/newspaper etc.Most coupons are specific to grocery stores around town. Which we don't shop at) or gas or whatever you have on your mind. Anything that helps would be greatly appreciated.

Also, this summer will probably be the only time Andrew comes home (even if it for a wedding). The next time we will see everyone will be September/October of next year. Money will be tight over the next year, so trips/plane rides to the East coast will probably no longer be happening until we PCS. So if you want to see us, come to visit us instead.

Whew. Done for now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


You know it's a super-slow run when it takes 35 minutes to run three miles, whereas last week racing I ran almost four miles in less than that time. I ran today in the first time since Tuesday (and Tuesday was the first time after the race). I had been lying low for the past week because of the cold/cough thing going on since I wanted to get better. And most of last week it was cloudy/rainy when I would be running after work. But I must say, that even though this run was slow, the run on Tuesday was the 'painful one'. You know, the one that is still working the kinks out of the muscles after racing hard etc. So even though this one was slower, I knew my legs and lungs would support me - I just have to get back into the groove of running.

The cough thing: I went to the doctor today and she thinks it is just allergies. I have never been allergic to anything plantlike before. Plus, I've already been up here for a year and a half and last year I didn't have a problem. The runny nose - yes maybe that is allergies or at least some form of it. The 15-minute cough sessions that cause my whole body to shake and pull my stomach through my esophagus? I don't think that's allergies.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More from the Begich Boggs Nature Center

A three-dimensional map.

Different areas of Alaska highlighted.

Life Cycle of salmon

Salmon display

Smokey the Bear!

Andrew is getting cozy with Smokey.

There is one at the Center! We signed the log.

Alaska State Bird: The Mosquito

Moose & baby
On the giant ice worm. They live inside glaciers.

Alaska State Flag, blowing in the wind...it was very windy.

Bryon Glacier, Begich Boggs Nature Center & Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

The trailhead. And we forgot to sign the ledger. Oops!

Being artistic. Walking on the snow.

Bryon Glacier

You can't see it, but on the right hand side, around the land mass, there would be Portage Glacier. It has receded this much in 10-20 years.
 Begich Boggs Nature Center
You look through the mask and can see like the animal.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
We went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and saw some elk.

Alaska DOES have deer!

Wood Bison and babies.

He is so cute! I wanted to take one home...

Resident brown bear

Couple of once-orphaned moose

Being fed by a AWCC worker

The very first baby moose they brought in. He turned four in May.
I wanted to point out that Jeff Corwin came here and filmed. You can barely see if on the second slide.
This is about the film Ito the Wild, using some of the center's animals.

Some caribou.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Professionalism and snot rockets

One of the topics we had to go over at work was Professionalism. This includes not gossiping about the workplace, keeping other people's (and your own) lives private as well as how much information you share with parents about other children in the room. At the end of the session, we have to make  a goal to work on and sign/date it when completed. I decided to begin for the month of June to not listen to or engage in gossip/other people's lives in that sense.

I've already failed. An issue happened today with one of the caregivers in my room where she had to leave early and probably will not be here tomorrow...and maybe not next week either. One of the lead teachers from across the way poked her head in and asked what's up with her (the first caregiver from the room) and I basically just told her the story. Then when my girl came back, the other woman came in again and was sayin' "oh I heard what happened! Are you going to fly to XXX etc etc?"

As you can see, I failed. I've only lasted for TWO days. And it's not even June yet!

On another note, I have my first race tomorrow and I have a very stuffy/full of pressure sinus and I would appreciate prayers for it to go away. Overnight. I would rather be able to run clear tomorrow and save my fellow runners multiple (if not many hundreds) of snot rockets.