On this Memorial Day, I would like to take just a moment to acknowledge and thank all our fallen soldiers and their families for the sacrifices that they have made to afford us all the freedoms that we know as Americans. You are in my heart and prayers all days, but especially today.

And now this weekend will have another sentimentality for me. I found a new kind of freedom this weekend. I was baptized into the Church yesterday morning. I was raised in the Church, but I haven’t set foot in a church building in probably 10 years. When I heard that an old dear friend was going to be back in the area preaching a gospel meeting this weekend, I decided I’d like to go hear him. Something about hearing the sermon from him… I don’t know. I heard him in a way that I’ve never heard a sermon before.

Now I know I’m no angel, and I didn’t magically turn into one overnight. I’m still me. But I’m a better person now than I’ve ever been, and I know I’ll be a better person tomorrow than I am today. And it is such a GREAT FEELING to know that everything that happened in my life before yesterday is GONE. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and and made a lot of decisions in my life that have always weighed heavily on me, and it’s so liberating to finally be able to let go of all those things. No more fear. No more regret.

A fresh start.

Oh, Mexico

Okay, so it’s time that I give you a proper recap of our trip to Cabo. It really didn’t all go down like I told in my last post. That’s not to say that that stuff didn’t happen, but that’s not ALL that happened!

The flight down Saturday was pretty uneventful. No problems. No screaming babies, no obnoxious passengers, no terrorists, etc. It was a little after 8pm local time when we landed, and almost 10pm by the time we made it through customs, fought off the timeshare creeps that LITERALLY pounced on us as SOON as we walked through the door, and got a taxi to our resort.

We were starting to get a little concerned on the taxi ride. We made it into Cabo San Lucas, and then we kept going. And going. And going. And going. We were going down a long and winding road, and Hubby was like, “Either you’ve booked us to stay in some sort of Indian cliff dwelling, or we’re fixing to be robbed and fed to the fish of the Pacific Ocean.” It was only a minute or two after this statement that we turned on a road that was lined with palm trees decorated with white lights, and I knew we were gonna live. We pulled through a huge arch gate and I was immediately in awe of the place. Even though it was dark outside, I could see enough to know that it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The bellboys snapped to attention unloading our luggage and ushered us into the lobby. Again, wow. I went back into the lobby the next morning and snapped a few photos:

Check-in was the first of many pleasant surprises during the week. The guy spoke nearly perfect English, so I had no trouble understanding him when he said, “We’ve had a cancellation, so your room has been upgraded.” SCORE!

The bellhop loaded us and our luggage onto a golf cart and took us to our room. (The resort WAS basically built into the side of a cliff, so it was SUPER hilly and it was enormous, so they had golf carts to serve as transportation around the grounds. That came in handy for girls in stilettos! :D)

The room was every bit as impressive as the rest of the place.

We basically tossed our luggage in the door and headed down to one of the bars to start the week off right with a nightcap. We hit the hay right after because we were exhausted from the long day of traveling.

So here’s the skinny on the rest of the week!

Sunday: I got up early and went to the grocery and then went for a walk around the resort grounds with the camera.

When I got back, I woke up Hubby and we went to the beach. The resort we were at (Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach) was located on the Pacific side of the peninsula, so the beach there, although beautiful, was nonswimmable. WAY too much undertow to even wade out safely. But there are four Pueblo Bonito resorts in Cabo and the Sunset Beach offered free transportation to them all. We went to the beach at Pueblo Bonito Rose. It was super nice. The bar wait staff took great care of you, and the view was divine. The only negative was the beach vendors. They were EVERYWHERE, and they were RELENTLESS.

In addition to the vendors, these guys would come around and play and then beg for tips.

That pretty much sums up our Sunday. We stayed at the beach until time to get cleaned up and find some grub for supper.

Monday: Most of the day was spent soaking up the sun poolside.

Yeah, there’s really no point to this picture other than I’m kinda proud of the changes in my body over the last few months. I’ve worked pretty hard! 🙂 Vanity? No. Just a strong sense of accomplishment. LOL Those are different sentiments, right?

The resort had five pools, one of which was right outside our room. How convenient! 🙂 After lunchtime, we showered and headed into town. It’s not within walking distance from Sunset Beach, but if you took the free transportation to the Rose, you could walk to town from there. That saved us lots of money on taxis! So we just walked the streets of Cabo that afternoon scoping out the places we would want to come back to later in the week. Stayed in town for dinner then headed back early and watched a few episodes of 24 that we had DVRd and put on the laptop to bring with us. The plan was to watch them on the plane and during layovers, but the last episode we watched on the flight left us hanging and we couldn’t wait till the trip back home to start back up! Jack Bauer is the only man I would leave my husband for. Good thing for Hubby that he’s fictional.

Tuesday: Tuesday morning I attempted a run. Emphasis on the word “attempted.” Steep hill running in Mexico desert heat is HARD. I saw a couple of other vacationers out trying to run, and they were about as red-faced and out of breath as I was. I put in three miles and threw in the sweat-soaked towel. I did at least get to see some pretty scenery during the run.

Then it was off to the beach again! I had read about a beach that was supposed to be less crowded with fewer vendors: Lover’s Beach. The only way to get to it is by boat, so that’s what we did. We took a water taxi out. He rode us around so we could see the sights, dropped us off, and scheduled a pickup time. It was during this taxi ride that we got to see El Arco, the famous Cabo landmark.

While we were sitting at the Rose waiting for the bus back to Sunset Beach, I realized just how small the world really is. Hubby saw a guy that reminded him of a guy he knew from back home. He was all, “That guy looks like Keith.” *Guy turns around* “That IS Keith!” Yes. We traveled to a different country hundreds of miles from home and run into someone we know that just happens to be staying in the same place. Hubby and Keith were pretty close friends years ago but haven’t hung out in quite a while. We remedied that during this trip! He and his wife were on their way to some reservations right then, but we made tentative plans to get together later in the week.

Wednesday: By far THE BEST day of the trip. Zip lining and hardcore hiking, anyone???

That night we met up with the couple from back home and shared some good drinks and good times in the lobby bar. His wife and I really hit it off. We have so much in common!

Thursday: Started the morning off with a trip to the gym and put in some mileage on the recumbant bike and followed that up with a walk around the grounds again. Then back to the beach at the Rose. That evening we met back up with our old/new friends for dinner, drinks, and music at No Worry’s and went out on the town after that. Friends, if you ever find yourself in the Cabo area, I highly recommend that you go to The Giggling Marlin. This place is awesome. The emcees are hilarious, and well… I think the photos speak for themselves.

Friday: Recuperation and H20 in vast amounts. It was at least noon before we ever considered venturing out and then it was only to the pool where we continued to just lay around and drink water. A day like Friday reminds us why we don’t have many nights like Thursday night! For our last night in Cabo, we met up with our friends again and went to Cabo Wabo. Honestly? I was not impressed. The food was good but overpriced, the music was just okay (we were hoping Sammy Hagar would show up to play a set as he’s been known to do, but he did not), and it was just like every other bar/club I’ve ever been to. We didn’t stay out late that night. We were all fading fast, still not fully recovered from the previous night, and we knew we had a long day of traveling ahead of us on Saturday.

And I guess that’s it. Nothing noteworthy for the trip home: taxi to airport, wait, fly, layover, fly some more, then 3-hr drive home from the airport.

It’s always great to get away, but it’s always nice to come back home to a familiar bed and wagging tails, too. 🙂

And by the way, the couch came through surgery just fine. She has a pretty good scar at the wound site and at the graft site (they took some leather from the back to patch the underside of the cushion), but she’s gonna be just fine.

The Drunken Mexican Weight Loss Program

Yep. That’s gonna be the name of my new book. I can’t give away all the deets now because I don’t want to cut into my profit margin from said book, but here’s the gist of it:

LOTS of laying around on the beach or by the pool. This is the warm-up for your day. You should start no later than 10:00 a.m. and continue to warm up for a minimum of four hours. Breaks are okay. This is a very strenuous activity, so you will need to get in the water about once an hour to cool off. And remember–hydration is key. The beach/bar wait staff also seem to know how important this is as they never have to be reminded to keep ’em coming. They have your best interest at heart.

After you have warmed up sufficiently, it’s best to recharge before you jump right into anything else. You wouldn’t want to hurt yourself. It’s at this point that you should shower and take a nap. Two hours is plenty. If you let yourself cool down too much, you run the risk of having to warm up all over again.

Now you’re ready to refuel. This is a very important part of the program. Eat whatever you want in riduculously large amounts. And don’t forget dessert. Calories don’t count in Mexico. I suspect there is some sort of calorie-negating substance in their beer, but I have not yet done the scientific studies to confirm this. For now, it is just a hypothesis.

As you are refueling, don’t forget to continue the hydration. At this point it’s time to vamp it up a little bit. In addition to the steady flow of liquids, I suggest adding in at least one shot of a more potent liquid whenever you feel the urge. Listen to your body. It knows what’s best.

And now for the physical activity. DANCING. Lots and lots of dancing. For some reason, the level of your dancing skill is directly proportional to your level of hydration. Feeling a little awkward on the dance floor? Have another round. It’ll clear those inhibitions right up!

At the end of a successful first week of The Drunken Mexican Weight Loss Program, you should have lost a total of 1.5 lbs. At least that’s what initial studies and my bathroom scales have shown. Please feel free to do a study of your own and report back to me with the findings.

Closed for Business

I am completely, totally, 100% in vacation mode. In less than 48 hours I will be boarding a plane to Cabo San Lucas, and I. CAN’T. WAIT.

I have been a female version of Michael Scott at work this week. I have been goofy, I have been nonproductive, and I have probably been a little obnoxious. I told my employees when I came in Monday morning, “If you need anything from me this week, you have five minutes to let me know, or else it will be two weeks before it gets done.” When everyone said they were good, I made the declaration, “Then the vacation starts NOW!” And, by George, I have held true to my word.

In the past, I have worn myself ragged in the days leading up to vacation trying to play get-ahead so that I didn’t have to play such a mean game of catch-up when I got back. I would stress myself so badly over everything (Will my neice remember to feed my cat? What if one of the dogs gets sick? What if an auditor shows up at my office? ARGH!) that my mood would carry over into the first couple of days of our trip. Not this year! I plan to board the plan a happy camper and enjoy every single second to the fullest.

I even started packing Tuesday night rather than waiting till the last minute as is true Pam fashion. (I got a little excited as I was packing some running clothes. I’m excited to see what kind of cool places I’ll have to run!)

Not much left to do now but finish packing and take the dogs to the sitter’s house tomorrow night.

Yes, I pay a woman $24 a day to keep my babies in her home as part of her family while I’m gone rather than sending them to a boarding kennel. What can I say? I love the little vermin.

And let’s not forget about my spa appointment tomorrow! If there is an ounce of stress left in me, it will be massaged away tomorrow at noon, followed by a manipedi to send me straight into nirvana.

Oh, and on a side note, my couch is scheduled for surgery next week. Please keep your fingers crossed that she pulls through.


Whirlwind Weekend

How is it possible that it’s 8:30 Sunday evening? I feel like it was just a few hours ago that I got off work on Friday afternoon!

Yesterday consisted of a 1.5-hr drive with me, Hubby, and two 50-pound dogs all crammed in my two-seater to go to my hometown for a combination Mother’s Day/Dad’s birthday/friend’s 30th birthday celebration. Busy day to say the least!

This morning I got out of bed about 8:00 and did some light housework (the quiet stuff, so I didn’t wake up Hubby), all the while arguing with myself about whether or not I felt like running. All week long I had planned on doing a longish run this weekend because it was supposed to be sooooo pretty out. I honestly did NOT feel like running, but I convinced myself that I would hate myself if I didn’t because in all likelihood this is the last of the cool weather. (It was 47 when I got up.) Might as well take full advantage of it.

I am SO GLAD I did.

I just recently bought a fuel belt so that I could change up my routes. I’ve always had to lay out my long runs around my house or my parked car or a convenience store or something. NO MORE! I threw on my belt and hit the pavement.

And today I hit a pretty major milestone. I ran ten miles NONSTOP. Since I had my belt, I did not have to stop for water. I did not stop to walk. I did not stop to stretch. I did not stop to pee. (I did not pass Go. I did not collect $200…) I started running, and I did not stop running until my Garmin beeped it’s 10th alert. I struggled with a humongous hill between 4 and 5, and I just kept telling myself, “Push to mile 5, then you can stop and walk.” Well, the hill ended shortly before I hit 5, so I told myself, “Okay, you’re fine now, you don’t have to stop because you’re fixing to turn around and coast down the hill you just overcame. Enjoy it and you can walk at mile 6.” Well, hell, by the time I got to 6 I was feeling great because I had just pretty much coasted for a mile. So I pushed further: “If you push to 8 miles, you’ll be back to the highway. You can walk then.” So I did. And I still felt pretty good. So I was like, “Ah, what the hell! You’ve come this far! Two more miles! Go!” And I did, and I made it, and it was awesome. Average pace 10:49.

Yay me!

And then I rewarded myself with more housework and laundry and a shitload of yard work.

I’m exhausted, but I’ve earned it.

A few days ago I changed something on this blog, but no one seems to have noticed. Which leads me to believe that either you are so dazzled by my mad writing skillz that you don’t notice anything else or that you just don’t care. We’ll pretend it’s the former.

So do you see it now?

I’ll give you a moment to look around.

*crickets chirping*

No, I’m not talking about the profile picture. Keep looking.

*Jeopardy theme song*

I’ll give you a hint: Races Completed & SCHEDULED.

*ding ding ding ding ding!!!*

THAT’S RIGHT, BABY!!! 12/5/10!!! SIN CITY!!! I’M THERE!!!!!!!!!!!

My heart aches for Nashville

I’m sure you have seen the news and know that a lot of Tennessee is under water. Thankfully, neither we nor anyone we know personally lost our homes, but there are so many who did. And most of those people will not be covered by insurance. We don’t live in a flood zone, so most people don’t have the flood insurance rider on their homeowner’s policy. I don’t. It seemed unnecessary. You don’t move to Hawaii and buy avalanche insurance. This type of thing just isn’t supposed to happen here. Tornado or earthquake? We’re fairly prepared. If you live in this area, you know those are good possibilities. Flooding? Not so much.

There was a lot of water under our house but nothing a sump pump couldn’t take care of. But go 10 miles in any direction from our house, and it’s another story:

And this is nothing compared to Nashville. My heart literally hurts when I see the pictures of Nashville. A week ago I was running in those streets, standing in that store, eating in that restaurant, drinking a beer at that bar… And now it’s all under water. The Grand Ole Opry? That is such a shame. I’m sure my grandma is crying in Heaven over that one.

I’m trying to focus on the fact that these are just brick-and-mortar buildings and be thankful that the loss of life was no greater than it was. As bad as it seems, this is nothing compared to what New Orleans endured (and is still enduring). But this just hits a little closer to home and heart, ya know?

Gettin’ with the Times

For the longest time, I held out on getting a cell phone. I got my first one when I was 20. That wasn’t TOO unheard of 10 years ago, but it sounds super old now when it seems that babies come out of the womb with a congenital cell phone. Now I don’t even have a landline. Haven’t since I moved away from Newbern in 2004.

And then came the texting, which I refused to do. At first. I was all, “If you want to tell me something, call me.” People would text me with a question and I would call them back with the answer. I was 100% antitext. Then a few years ago I went to a three-week training course for work and sat in a classroom all day (BOOOOOOOORING!!!). The only thing to do to keep yourself awake was to text your classmates. That warmed me up to the idea of texting. Then I got good at it. And now I can text with the best of them. It’s to the point now that I actually detest talking on the phone. I’ve been known to ignore my ringing phone only to text the caller a minute later to ask them what they wanted. Pitiful? Yes.

And what came after texting? Smart phones. Oh, the glorious smart phones. An all-in-one cell phone, laptop, mp3 player, GPS, camera, and camcorder with an app to do everything imagineable. But since the very first time I heard the terms “data plan” and “3G” I have said that I would NEVER pay an extra $30 a month to have a cell phone that does the things that my $60-a-month internet at home already does. I swore I would get a Jitterbug before I got a smart phone.

Never say never, folks.

My love my new Droid Incredible .

How did I ever check facebook, decide where to eat, find walking directions to my next door neighbor’s house, or know what the weather was like without it?

Baby’s First Brick

Until just a short time ago, I didn’t even know what the term “brick” meant when used other than in a masonry context. But today I bricked! It was just a tiny brick, mind you, but a brick nonetheless. I made a 45-min workout out of it–20 min on the bike, 20 on the treadmill, and a 5-min cooldown and stretch. I didn’t cover a lot of miles on the bike (just 5.5). This was my first time on that stationary, so it started with a lot of awkwardness–figuring out the settings, adjusting the seat, etc, and then only did 2 miles in the 20 minutes on the treadmill. Well, actually 20 minutes and some seconds. I had to back off the 6.0 mph setting for a little bit at first. The ol’ legs were tight and didn’t want to move! They were loosened back up within a couple tenths of a mile though. I gotta admit, that was pretty fun! It’s DEFINITELY something I will be adding to the mix!